Can I view my follower's gear when I'm not in a game? It's pretty annoying to shop for my merc's gear in the AH without being able to see it quickly...
Yes, you can. You can view not only your character's equipment, but also your followers with the online profile. Your online profile is at
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/<battle tag name>-<battle tag #>/, and from there, you can navigate to each of your characters. At the bottom of your character screen will be your followers, including the gear that is equipped on them. Below is an example of one of my followers (don't judge):
It may not give the best information, and it may not be 100% up to date, but it's pretty much the only option you have for a second screen.