Apr 2005

One Keyboard/Mouse, Two Machines

(9:26 am) Tags: [Software, Why I like...]

I have now moved into my new office, even if it is still not finished yet. Since I do work on 3 different operating systems, I have 2 machines on my desk. The first is my portable, a 17″ Apple Powerbook. The second is a Windows XP Dell Dimension 8400 desktop machine with a 20″ LCD screen. All of my Linux machines are remotely accessed (as they should be for a commandline junkie like me). Since I built the desk in the office to be 2 L shapes back to back, I don’t have enough space to operate both machines comfortably. I installed a keyboard tray to hide one of the keyboards, but still have to swivel significantly to get to the laptop, where email resides. This was causing a lot of neck and shoulder pain, which is not good for a programmer.

Then I remember talking to Alex about Synergy. Synergy is a software program that runs on multiple machines and allows the machines to share one keyboard and mouse. Excellent, I thought to myself. I am in just the position for this to work. Does it work on Windows and Mac OS X? It sure does. 2 downloads later, and one simple configuration, and this post is now being written on my Dell keyboard, piped over TCP/IP to my Mac, where the letters are dumped into the screen in Camino. This software makes my week! Now with the laptop sitting on my iCurve, the 2 LCDs are sitting side-by-side at eye level, and the keyboard/mouse are down at a resonable height. I wish I would have done this sooner.

So, I’m working along, thinking I am the smartest human on this planet, and then the need to copy/paste between the machines hit again. I usually use to IM logins to do this, but it just so happens that Synergy supports a common clipboard between the machines. BRILLIANT! These guys are great! No more need to keep 2 IM logins active just for copy/paste. And I can use the machine that is natural for the work presented.

Donation via sourceforge on the way. Keep up the good work guys. I know drag and drop support will be a huge pain, but it will truly put you over the top! Simple drag and drop for files only is good enough for this guy.

Alex, you really have to try this bad boy. It is better than it sounds.

The real power in Synergy will be the integration (copy/paste, drag/drop, etc), not just the keyboard sharing.

Random thoughts on integration through Synergy: cross-platform, shared quicksilver anyone? Common notification system?

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