How software helped me replace a KVM switch…

When I first started off as a software engineering student, I was told that a Mac would be required. Although I have a perfectly good PC setup at home, I didn’t really question it and my friend was kind enough to sell me their used MacBook for a great price. The biggest issue I had when transitioning wasn’t learning the new OS or the desk space the MacBook took up, it was that my PC setup was essentially going to be unused. I had spent months funding, sourcing, and building my PC setup from scratch. I couldn’t just leave it to the side collecting dust! I did some googling and found a KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switch would allow me to control my MacBook and my PC with just one keyboard and mouse. Perfect!

I could now just keep my MacBook closed and output everything to an external monitor, controlling both my machines with my PC keyboard and mouse. All that power at just the push of a button too! It also helped declutter my desk, since I no longer had to move my keyboard and mouse over whenever I had to use the Mac. However, things weren’t seamless, I would have to push a button whenever I wanted to swap between my MacBook or my PC. Small issue, but I could deal with it, or so I thought… Constantly switching back and forth between the two became tedious over time and sharing information across the two platforms was almost nonexistent. I started craving more, I needed something more seamless. Well, after a bit of googling, I stumbled upon a program called Synergy. My prayers had been answered! First off, this is a paid program and I’m not getting paid to write this, I just like the program. It was cheaper than any KVM I saw and it even allowed me to copy and paste seamlessly across platforms! I could finally watch lecture on my PC, while coding along with my Mac, or chatting with my instructor. I encourage you to check it out if you’re looking for a more seamless solution between platforms or even between multiple PCs. The basic (which I have) is only $29 and the pro (which encrypts data between computers) is only $39. I’ve been using this program for a few months now and have had no issues with initial setup or use.

The way it sets up is simple. You declare a server and a client(s) and just start the program. You then configure the server to show where each platform is in relation to one another. Then you can seamlessly pan between each monitor or computer, plus the added bonus of being able to copy and paste cross platform is incredible. I never would’ve imagined that a piece of software would’ve replaced an entire hardware switch! I now search for a software solution first, before I try to find any hardware and am excited for the things I may come! Check it out for yourself!

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Terry L

Terry L

Current Flatiron School student trying to learn more about software engineering.