Synergy - Keyboard and Mouse Without Borders
Using multiple computers used to be a hassle, but Synergy created an amazing app offering a keyboard and mouse without borders across any platform.
Synergy is a C++ based application that has been intuitively developed to run quietly in the background and allow device sharing between multiple computers. The setup is relatively simple and the time saving benefits are nothing short of remarkable. Once you've got everything setup you can control 10+ computers from one keyboard & mouse. Since the code is platform agnostic, you can switch between Mac, Windows, or Linux computers with no additional setup. I'll cover a few of the benefits below, but lets run through the setup so you can see just how Synergy works.
Setup Synergy Application in a Few Easy Steps
- Install the latest version on each computer: http://synergy-project.org/download/
- Define one computer as your "server" (the keyboard/mouse you want to use).
- Setup the other computer / computers as a "client".
- Ensure you have correct computer names (w/mac address) or IP address.
- Turn it on and check it out.
- If you like it (you will), set it to open at login and run in the background.
Don't let the terminology confuse you, how it functions is pretty simple. You're selecting which computers inputs you'd like to use. That computer functions as a "server", the other computers which you'll be sharing your keyboard / mouse with are defined as "clients". If you get an error message during setup, odds are that you have a misspelling on your computer name. Ensure that you have the correct case-sensitive characters and you should be all set. The only other issues I've run into are Firewall related. If you hit that snag just take down your security momentarily, get it running, then create a port exception in your firewall setup. If you have additional questions the Synergy Application User Guide below should cover them, but those are the only two conflicts I've seen.... and I've done quite a bit of testing.
What Cross Platform Device Sharing Allows
The Benefits of Cross Platform Device Sharing
In my opinion workflow additions come in two flavors - Novel and Functional. Synergy is both. The novelty is obvious and a little infectious. Once one of your friends sees you running Synergy, you'll either need to walk them through setup or just send them this link. After the novelty wears out though, you'll see this application for what it really is - a HUGE time saver. If you're a developer doing cross platform testing, a designer working from Mac and a Linux server, or a Windows traditionalist with a hyper secure desktop and a notebook they're using for presentation purposes... Synergy will make all of your lives easier.
The connection is very secure and most importantly - has almost no lag. While the app does run very thin (in terms of memory), there's an even easier option. Since the preferences allow you to include a toolbar icon, simply turn it on when you need it, and leave it off when you don't. The developers only ask a $10 donation and it's honestly worth every penny at twice the price.