Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Tidying up the Home Office with Synergy

OK, my wife kind of likes the idea of me working from home, but she definitely did NOT approve of the maze of keyboards, mice and laptops that make our dining room look like a spaghetti factory (no, not this one).  I tried to satisfy her aesthetic sense with a KVM switch, but the dog and cat decided that the cables behind the table were JUST the place to conduct their mock battles.  To top it off, my wife actually looked BEHIND the table...how was I to maintain efficiency AND earn Spousal Points?

Enter Synergy.  It's a wonderful little client-server app that farms one machine's keyboard/mouse/clipboard out across an entire range of systems.  Want to do all your big FTP stuff on that box over there?  Cut-and-paste across the monitors, and you're there.  Want to tidy things up further?  Shut the laptops and run on external monitors.  It's cross-platform, with binaries available for Windows, Macintosh, Debian/Ubuntu Linux and Fedora/Red Hat Linux.  The configuration (I used a WIndows machine as the server) was almost effortless; basically, you just define rules about the positions of one's monitors by their hostnames.  For example, one of my rules says "reliant is left of disruptor", and another says "galileo is right of disruptor"...and that's basically it.

Did I mention that Synergy is FREE?  If you want to clean up your workspace and get back to a single keyboard/mouse pair, make haste to the Synergy website, linked below.


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