Synergized.

I see Desk Tops.

From left to right: Linux, Mac, Keyboard & Mouse, Windows (Saitek joystick just off-camera to the right).

So what, you’re wondering? So what? It’s what you’re not seeing that matters, thanks to this awesome little application: Synergy.

Each monitor is plugged into a different computer, but Synergy allows me to use one mouse/keyboard to control all three – it even copies Clipboard data – from links in emails to pictures or even entire file, across a local network connection. Switching screens is as simple as moving the mouse.

Actually, I have Krenn to thank for discovering this: I’d skimmed Hack Attack’s review and misunderstood, thinking it was a software KVM switch. But no, it’s really a KM (keyboard & mouse) server that lets each system run its own physical display but use a single, central, keyboard/mouse to control all of them.

According to their FAQ they are planning to incorporate some VNC type functionality so that you can plug an extra monitor into one PC to which a remote desktop can be promoted from a distant, headless server.

My only wish is the ability to drag windows between displays like Parallels on the wire.

It’s a little twitchy playing the game on a secondary box, and that was the one area that a little config hacking was required, but not to bad in the end.

12 Comments

Ah! Thanks for reminding me what that program was called. I used it a while back on six computers we had set up in a monitoring bank. It was pretty sweet to move the mouse between all the different computers. I was trying to remember what it was called so I can set it back up on my main computer and my laptop, since it’s working again.

Oh man. I want to have your babies now.

Goodbye KVM that pixel shifts 20px left off the screen. Goodbye keyboards under the desk. Hello one keyboard, one mouse.

Been using this for a while (and mentioned it in comments a few weeks back here) – it’s absolutely brilliant. I’ve got 3 machines at home, and 3 machines at work linked up this way. And one of the machines is the same laptop which transits between both locations – because the configuration resides on the server, you can have 2 copies of synergy running in client mode on the one machine, when I take the laptop home it just connects to the named server there and suddenly assumes it’s rightful place in my desktop (on the left at home, on the right at work).

Yep, here’s my work layout… the left and center are from the Windows laptop, and the right is the Linux tower under the desk. It’s seriously handy compared to the USB KVM I was using to switch the left (of two) monitors back and forth.

What’s that desk stuff you’ve got there? I like the elevated corner for the monitors.

Damn nice mac… maybe the KFS Fund could donate one to the needy Viruses. :)

The corner station’s a standard item around here, at least in the previous-generation furniture areas… motorized so it can convert from seated to standing use, and the keyboard layer can go as far above as it does below. Made by Steelcase.

Under the middle monitor is my Sanyo clock/radio with an iPod dock on it, the black puck to the right of the radio is my Nortel USB headset control for my softphone. The rest is all pretty standard odds and sods for peripherals like the iPAQ PDA and such.

Yeah, love synergy, It’s really useful.

Though I do remember theres a problem with the way it interacts with mouselook in wwiiol. Or rather the combination of it and Trackir from memory, in that when you turn your head far enough, the mouse runs over to the next computer, and suddenly your centre is all screwed up. You can re center it, but after it’s happened a few times, I found it’s just easier to disable it.

The solution for a FPS and synergy is to define a key or button in Synergy as a toggle that disables being able to move onto other screens – the synergy docs actually suggest this somewhere.

The default is scroll-lock but the Mac keyboard doesn’t have a scroll-lock key, and it took a little while for the light to go on and me to register that you have to assign lockCursorToScreen on the server and not the client – i.e. on the Mac not the PC.

Also have to tell it to send relative movements to the Windows box rather than absolute otherwise you can’t turn your head 360 :)

Where’s the C&C monitor? *boggle*

Eeedjit. Not allowed to play other games at work, so I’m not going to be so stupid as to show that monitor in my photo …

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