Despite my undying love for posting random articles, movie trailers, and reviews on acslater.com, it unfortunately does not pay my necessary “grown-up” bills. In order to keep a roof over my head and food in my belly I need to hold on to a full time job. Said full time job requires me to work on both a PC and a Mac at almost the same time. Sure, I could run VMware or Parallels on the Mac and do my work there, but I prefer to have 2 separate machines when doing graphics work on one and other work on the other. That’s where Synergy comes in.
Before Synergy I was using a USB switch that allowed one USB device to be plugged in to two computers. I still had to physically press a button on the switch in order to allow the keyboard/mouse to work on the other computer. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but sometimes one of the computers wouldn’t pick up the signal and I’d have to push the button a couple more times to get it to to work properly; it was just annoying. With Synergy I can no control both my Mac and my PC with one keyboard and mouse without having to use a USB switch at all. When I drag my house off the left side of the screen on my Mac the cursor magically appears on my PC and vice versa. Just as if I had 2 monitors hooked up to one computer, I can seamlessly drag the cursor back and forth between my screens even though one is a Mac and one is a PC. All that is required is an installation of the software on each machine you wish to share, a little setup telling each computer which is the server (has the keyboard/mouse attached to it) and which machines are the clients, and in what relation the monitors are to each other… and that’s it. It’s pretty simple to setup.
There are obvious limitations like dragging files back and forth isn’t possible, but it makes my workflow process much smoother now that I don’t have to wait for the stupid USB switch to click over to the other computer (which isn’t instantaneous by the way). The best part is you can hook up more than just 2 computers if you need to, and it works with OSX, Windows and Linux, so you could have all three operating systems running on three different computers on the same desk, all sharing one keyboard and mouse. It’s a much better option than a switch or having multiple keyboards and mice laying around.
Synergy is free, but a $1 minimum donation is asked if you want to upgrade to the premium version.