Every so often, I see computer setups with multiple monitors hooked to a single computer, usually set up as a single very long desktop. You move the mouse to the edge of one monitor, and keep moving; the mouse then jumps to the other monitor. This can be really handy for some specific goals; for example, there’s no better way to create an immersive experience for a simulator. Most of the time, though, multi-monitor is used just to give the user a bigger screen.
I don’t generally have a problem with screen room. (Virtual desktops are very handy in that regard.) But I do have a problem controlling several computers, and switching between sets of keyboard, mouse, and monitor to use them.
So I was very intrigued when several people began blogging their experiences with Synergy, a little utility that links the desktops of several computers together into one, such that the desktops look a lot like multi-monitor. It even handles cut-n-paste across the desktops; I can cut or copy on one machine, sweep my mouse across to the other computer, and paste. It’s cross-platform, too, running on Unix/X11 systems, Windows, and Mac OS X.
So right now, I’m typing this blog entry on my main workstation’s keyboard, but into a browser running on my laptop. And instead of having a zillion tabs on my browser to keep track of pages I want to reference in my blog, I can just zip over to my workstation’s browser with a flick of the mouse, get to the page I want, copy the URL for it, zip back over to my laptop, and paste it into my blog post. Sweet.
If you find yourself using more than one computer at a time, you should check Synergy out.