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My two 20-inchers for my Linux machine at home are awesome for the sheer wideness. Still, it can't hold a candle to my current setup at school:
(Edit: bbcode screws up, and markdown doesn't seem to allow external urls, am I doing something wrong?)
That's a full 6 foot desk of wideness. Dual-core Pentium machine with Linux hooked up to the two on the left, and my iBook hooked up to the third one. 1600x1200 + 1600x1200 + 1280x1024 + 1024x768 + swivel chair. I am using Synergy, of course. I consider it pretty much the most useful program in existence.
You should still ask for a 24-incher and a second vid card for the Mac Pro to go in the center.
Oddly, I have never used Visual Studio. Eclipse is the only IDE that I have really spent any serious time in, but still, I would take Vim every time given the choice. Maybe I am biased, but I would say that it is essential to have the skills to program without an IDE to become a proper programmer. Learning on the IDE separates you from the basics of how a computer operates and makes it harder to solve the problems which will inevitably occur down the road. It's kind of like giving a first grader a calculator instead of teaching them how to multiply by hand. Tragically, learning it "the hard way" isn't even really that hard, it's just people get scared within two minutes of seeing a command prompt and give up.
carriage returns[ img ]http://www.ece.ualberta.ca/~jarret/mydesk.jpeg[ /img ]arescrewedup
you need to have some sort of functional knowledge on the subject.