Home » 2011 » July

Sharing my mouse and keyboard on multiple machines

Whenever I want to do some paid work I have to do this on my laptop. I have a nice (well, sometimes we argue) 17″ laptop with a screen resolution of 1440*900 which is fast enough to run all the software I need (although Vim does play up at times…). The reason I have to use my laptop for this is because it has a VPN client configured, network drive mappings and some other stuff related to my job.

I unfortunately only have 1 decent workplace at home to comfortably work at and it’s occupied by my desktop PC, its keyboard, mouse and a Full-HD 24″ monitor. Sure, I can get work done from the couch and there’s also a small table in the living room, but both aren’t really comfortable spots to work for a longer time. Besides, working at a Full-HD resolution gives me more space to work with than when I’m on a 1440*900 resolution. So my aim was to find a solution on how to share my mouse and keyboard on multiple machines.

Since my 24″ monitor had a spare HDMI input and my laptop has a HDMI output I wanted to connect my laptop to the 24″ monitor through HDMI. VGA and DVI weren’t an option for me since those were already occupied (VGA by my Xbox 360, DVI by my desktop PC). The added benefit from using HDMI would be having the sound from my laptop through the speakers of my 24″ monitor.

After searching for a couple of hours I couldn’t find any nice hardware solution. Sure, KVM cables with 2 USB connectors for your mouse and keyboard are available, but also come with VGA connections which, as far as I’ve been told, have to be used for it to function. Other dedicated hardware for sharing 1 USB device with 2 or 4 computers also exist, but meant I had to buy 2 of them.

Having wasted a couple of hours I finally gave up on it. A couple of days later I remembered a software solution existed as well. Within a couple of minutes on Google I found what I was searching for: a project called Synergy. Synergy is a very nice piece of software, which you can get for free, is open-source (GPL) and runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX.

Basically you’ll install Synergy on all systems you want to use your keyboard and mouse on (yes, systems, it supports multiple systems!). You run a server instance on the system which has the keyboard and mouse connected you want to use. The other systems simply run a client instance. When connected you can move from one computer to the other by simply moving the mouse to the other computer. Added benefit is that if you copy something to your clipboard on PC 1 and move the mouse to PC 2 the clipboard its content is available on that system as well!

My only complaint with it is that the initial setup was a bit confusing. It does have a graphical user interface but if you’re not used to the software it’s hard to figure out how to configure it. Another more annoying issue I’ve run into was that at some time Synergy (or my OS) switched keyboard language which couldn’t be changed. Only solution for that was to reconnect the client.

Aside from that I’m very happy with this solution. I can now do my paid work behind my 24″ monitor using the keyboard and mouse that are connected to my desktop PC. So all I have to do now is connect my laptop to my monitor through HDMI, start the Synergy server and client and change the display input on my monitor to see my laptop’s desktop.

Maximus 1.0.0 released

On the 25th of February 2010 a new BlitzMax project was started, called Maximus. After almost one year and a half of on and off development the client application finally reached version 1.0.0. The webapplication for the project reached 1.0.0 a little while ago.

Maximus is a module manager for BlitzMax. Its purpose is to ease management and installation of BlitzMax modules, giving the developer more time to spend on developing, and not manually installing and downloading modules and their dependencies.

Those who want their BlitzMax lives to be easier should now download the Maximus client.

Git mirrors of Subversion hosted BlitzMax modules

For a while now I’ve been keeping a Git mirror of bah.mod updated on GitHub. I’ve now moved this repository from my account to the BlitzMaxModules organization. Aside from bah.mod I’m now also mirroring rigz.mod and maxgui.mod.

If there are any other Subversion hosted BlitzMax modules you want to see mirrored on GitHub let me know.

Maximus elsewhere

The Maximus website has recently been (silently) launched as the 1.0.0 milestone has been reached. Note that the Maximus client is now in public beta and is at version 0.9.0. Be sure to try it out if you use BlitzMax.

Aside from the official website here are some links where Maximus can be found elsewhere on the internet:


My full time job ended yesterday

Yesterday marked the final day of working full time for 4 years and 3 months. I started at the company with an internship for 5 months. About 1.5 months after that I got hired as a webapplication developer, got my contract renewed after 6 months and within a year after that I got a contract for an undecided period of time. Within the first year my colleague left the company and I was left to run the internet/website department myself.

Though originally hired as a webapplication developer lots of other tasks were added later as well. Server- and project management, web- and email hosting services, general support to clients, starting up projects from A to Z with clients and lots more.

The amount of knowledge and skills I’ve gained in this short time has been immense and is something I couldn’t have gotten from any school. It has been one hell of a fun ride. Yes, it has had a couple of downsides from time to time but the positives by far outweigh the negatives.

As I’ve blogged before I’m going back to school to get my bachelors degree in computer science, which will start early September. So I’ve got about 2 months of free time. I’m still working for the company based on a 0-hour contract. Basically that means I’m a freelancer for the company without all the hassles. But I might change that after some time. Will have to see.

So far everyone in my environment responded very positive about my decision, aside from my grandmother. And although I love her, I don’t care for anyone’s opinion on this for that matter. I’m responsible for my own future and career. But other than that people important to me are proud of my decision and support me in it.

Do I have any regrets for working for over 4 years and not getting my bachelors degree earlier? Hell no! As I said the amount of experience and skills I’ve gained were totally worth it. And aside from that I’ve now got a nice bit of savings on my bank account as well.

Aside from doing a little bit of work the coming 2 months I also plan on doing some more self improvement. Such as finally getting started with some serious Haskell and refreshing my mathematical knowledge. Of course there’s also time for some relaxation ;-).

I’m sure these 2 months will fly by soon enough so I’ll try to enjoy this time. After that a new challenge awaits me which I’m eager to start with.