A friend of mine recently got me to try out a piece of software called Synergy. He told me it was like a software KVM switch, only without the “V” part. He said it was like working with a dual-head computer system, only it worked across separate computers. He also said that it was cross-platform and provided a shared clipboard!

I have to admit that at first, I really didn’t fully understand what Synergy did, but it sounded impressive enough that I had to try it out. Once I got it installed, I was truly amazed! I was amazed first by the technical aspects of Synergy. It’s not that Synergy is that complicated. In fact, once I got it running, I understood very well how one could go about constructing such a thing. The thing that most amazed me, however, was the boost in productivity I found from working with Synergy.

Like many IT professionals (or hobbyists, for that matter), I have several computers in my office or on my desk. Several of my machines are laptops. With this setup, I generally switch back and forth between my desktop(s) and laptop(s) throughout the day. This process can be rather tedius because it involves moving my hands from one keyboard / mouse to another. Now, I understand that there are KVM options and other ways to deal with such a problem. But in my case, these were not entirely feasible. And, if you give Synergy a go, you’ll discover that a movement of the mouse cursor is as convenient as switching a KVM or even more convenient in the case of a KVM without keyboard controls. What Synergy has allowed me to do is to sit back and use a single keyboard and mouse seamlessly between my desktop PC and my PowerBook, whether my PC happens to be running Windows XP, Linux or Darwin.

I highly recommend Synergy for anyone who uses a laptop on their desk next to their desktop computer. It’s not difficult to set up at all and there is even a nice installer for Windows.