Control multiple PCs at once


Synergy is a small cross-platform tool that lets you share keyboard and mouse between several systems. How is that relevant, you ask? Well, I was looking into a dual monitor set-up, because I liked working with one at a customer’s. Somebody pointed me to Multiplicity, a Synergy-like tool, which unfortunately only works on Windows.

With Synergy though, I can attach my keyboard and mouse to both the iBook and the Windows-PC at once. This set-up lets me use the Mac as a second screen, sort of. My work involves just looking at a lot of things, whether is reading manuals and specifications on the web, or previewing the web page I am coding in a browser. I can do these on a second computer, sharing mouse and keyboard between them. Synergy lets me do these things in a manner that barely differs from using two screens for the same PC.

Of course this means I need to have two computers on at the same time, but that was already a bit of reality here, as I use my Mac as a sort of business diary.

If I am so happy about Synergy, why am I only giving it five out of ten points? The score reflects that the program still has to improve a lot, albeit mainly on small points. At the moment you have to configure, then start it, and if you want to autostart it, you have to set that up manually too. And autostarting works by no means perfect either, if the documentation is to be believed. I hope Synergy will develop into something that upon installation will autoconfigure itself, that will start looking for other computers on the network, and if they’re new, will interogate you about them. Autostart should be the default.

I may still get that second monitor, simply because the settings of my two PCs vary too wildly.

My rating: 2.5 stars

(This review was written using Andrew Scott’s hReview plug-in.)

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