Recently at the office we have had some new incorporations, and we had to buy new equipments. It was a surprise to see that our hardware’s manager brought one 16:9 screen… and I suggested that a 4:3 could be better for programming issues. Then we started to argue the differences, and basically I commented that a widescreen is only good for watching films, but is counterproductive for working with code (because you need to see as many lines as it’d be possible). In fact I told him to install it in vertical position, but unluckily it was impossible.

Later I was curious about it, and I started to search about vertical computers, starting with the ancient Xerox Alto. At one step in the computer’s evolution, and for an unknown reason (at least for me), the standard screen orientation became the horizontal one. Why? IMO it seems better to have a portrait screen. Nowadays there are some screens with pivotal options (to configure them as vertical monitors), but they are quite uncommon. Why?