Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sharing a mouse and a keyboard between computers

I have a Mac at home. Considering I spend most of my computer time @ work, the poor computer was feeling kind of lonely.

Taking the Mac to work allows me to use a bunch of stuff that I really like, for task organization, to do some script development, and so on. But having to swap between keyboards and mouse is a pain.

Along comes Synergy. It allows you to share a mouse and keyboard across computers and it works in a bunch of OSs, so I can have the server running on my windowz box, the client on the Mac, and share the mouse and keyboard between them. And it even allows you to copy paste text between the 2 boxes!

Synergy works pretty good, and I'm using it every working day, but there are a few quirks that are kind of annoying. Here they are, so you can level your expectations on it:
  1. When the host machine is working hard (CPU or HDD) it stops working. This is a bit of a pain, because most of the time I want to go to the Mac when windowz is trashing.
  2. The keyboard layout for the Mac is a bit strange. You get Alt for Command, and the Windows key for Option. This means you use Alt-C to copy on the Mac and Ctrl-V to paste on Windows. It gets a bit confusing.
  3. It's not that tolerant to bandwidth ups and downs. Since my Wifi network at work sucks, this is a problem sometimes.
Still, it is a pretty cool piece a software and well worth the try. And the price is right!