Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Synergy: one mouse/keyboard to rule them all!

For some reason I have five computers (one's a laptop). I suppose I should consolidate, but right now, it's easier just to keep them all. However, this means I need to access all of them at any given moment.

This means FIVE keyboards and FIVE mice (do you say mice when you're talking input device?) laying about my desk, which leaves little room for anything else.

I had been looking at KVM switches for a while, but was really nervous about adding an extra hub to any DVI cables that might degrade video quality. I was also worried about the fact that most KVM's are only for two computers; they start getting really expensive when you're talking about three or four.

A long time ago I had heard about Synergy, but at the time, I just started using Remote Desktop. I thought that was going to work for me, but I've since found that Remote Desktop kind of sucks, because of it's video limitations (you can't use full 32bit color, and streaming video is a stuttery mess --in this day and age of Gigabit, I shouldn't have to deal with this).

So yesterday when I set up my newest machine, I revisited Synergy, and it's freaking great!

Five computers, and one mouse to rule them all!

Synergy is an open source program that you install on all your computers. One computer acts as the "server" and your other computers feed off that server. When you mouse to the edge of your screen, you just keep going over to the next computer, exactly like a multiple monitor set up. You can also set up areas above and below the monitor (thus, more computers can be accessed).

The down side is the developer stopped working on the project back in 2006.

The upside is that a community of geeks has taken over with a fork called Synergy+, though the only release marked "stable" so far is 32-bit. There are 64-bit versions, but they are marked unstable.

Still, regular old Synergy seems to be working well for me. I've got it running on Vista Business Ultimate, and plan on adding my XP machines to the mix soon.




captain lizardo said...

With all of these software woes and talk of a new monitor, I guess that you are editing yr new movie? When can we see a trailer?!?!?!

The Invisible said...

As soon as the software woes are in check!

Did you steal my avatar?! [smile]