Synergy

Day 1 – Today I decided to really thoroughly test synergy, and the best way to find out if you really love or hate something is to use it on your personal PC every day, for better or worse I am going along for this ride.


Digg!

My main PC has dual screens, and I would really like to maximize my desk space so I stole the “Guest PC” from my other desk and set it up on my desk. With a 24 inch in the middle and a 19 inch on each side I feel like I am getting a tan when I turn on both PC’s after squeezing all three monitors onto my desktop.

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Day 3 – I am lazy and haven’t setup synergy yet, I am using both PC’s using 2 sets of keyboards and mice. It’s really frustrating when I start typing on the wrong keyboard, or move the wrong mouse. I don’t think I will ever get used to having two. I will most likely install tomorrow, but I felt adding today’s entry was important because I am experiencing all the frustrations Synergy is suppose to solve.

The only thing I do not like about this setup is I am used to having all my chat and messenger windows open to my right, and now my secondary screen is to the left. It’s weird to move the mouse left to a new screen for me, I will let you know how I adapt.

Day 4 – The guest PC is fully patched and updated. Installing and configuring Synergy took all of 30 seconds after following my first write-up instructions. http://multimonitor.net/2007/06/throw-out-your-kvm%e2%80%99s-synergy-does-it-right-part-1/

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Writing today’s entry is simple, it is natural for me to copy a URL from my main PC and paste it into this review. The clipboard copying is a sweet bonus.

And it works with images too! (Not files, copying screen shots or in paint.)

Adding automatic startup is as easy as clicking a single button and synergy will start on boot and the PC’s will automatically connect.

Day 5 – I realized today that when I type on a full screen E-Mail or Word document on a secondary monitor I tend to move the mouse pointer out of the way and onto the main screen. This causes a problem with synergy setups because your keystrokes go to the PC with the mouse. I catch myself typing a couple letters and nothing will show up on the slave PC’s word processor until I figure out my mouse is on the master PC and I just accidentally searched Google, oops.

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Day 9 – When games or movies are running in full screen mode and the cursor leaves to the other PC’s desktop weird things happen, like the start bar shows up over the full screen application, or in other cases the sound and/or video stops. No thing to be critical about, as soon as you move the cursor back to the main PC all is well.

Day 10 – Having the “Guest PC” to my right is driving me bonkers. Rather than training myself to stop pushing the mouse out of the way to type, I swapped the guest pc over to the left of my main monitor, and my secondary monitor on my gaming PC went to the right. Ahhh, this is much more fluid and natural. Everything behaves the way I like. Cursor out of the way, Chat to my right, and torrents to my left. Live is good, and very accessible.

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Day 13 – Not a single crash, or other issue. Synergy has been running for days and every time I boot, the PC’s Sync like magic without any intervention. This is definitely a very stable product. One feature I wish I had was the ability to change an option on the Guest PC’s synergy (Sync Screen Saver check box) without having to plug in a mouse and keyboard to the system and stop synergy. But there are so very few options that this miner issue is barely worth noting.

Day 14 – I have been full screen gaming pretty regularly with Synergy and have not had one issue. I guess it’s good to point out that whenever you are using an application that does have issues with the mouse leaving the screen such as a first person shooter with Mouse-look, you get used to pressing Scroll Lock button to disable synergy. Most games do not have the key mapped to anything and you can game on without an issue.

Day 15 – I am writing this entry on my guest PC while waiting for the next round of Supreme Commander to begin. I feel I can use both PC’s like a pro! I really enjoy the ease and benefits of Synergy and I am now wondering about what the limitations are.

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Day 20 – I set up a laptop with Synergy and configured it to be a 3rd PC, and my 4th monitor. Just as I suspected it works like a charm. A couple setting tweaks and I enabled screen wrapping so when the cursor rolls off the utmost right screen it appears to my left. Too easy! A couple tweaks more on the server settings and the laptop is now below the primary monitor in a “T” formation. I imagine you could set up a 4 PC setup in a 2×2 formation if you wanted to control multiple PC’s with little mouse movement but the configuration could get confusing and may need to be written down to get it just right. Here is where Synergy could really benifit from a GUI where you can drag monitor icons around.

Day 22 – I have noticed that when you have the push to talk key set in Ventrillo and the cursor leaves this system while you are pushing the key, it stays pressed. This could lead to an embarrassing situation whenever some application leaves the microphone on. The same thing happens in WoW. When running using the “W” key, I continue running if the mouse leaves the main PC. Bringing the mouse back into the host system resets the key. I would consider this a minor issue, because most games and professional applications are not affected by this.

Day 25 – With the addition of a second 8800GTS onto my Gaming PC the time to review Synergy is coming to an end. I need all 3 monitors to begin breaking testing the next cool app’. All 3 monitors are hooked up my main PC, but the utmost right LCD’s VGA is hooked up to both PC’s. Now i can still access the Guest PC with synergy, I push the input button on the monitor to switch to the VGA source.

Comments

10 Responses to “25 Days with Synergy”

  1. Simon on August 26th, 2007 5:18 am

    If you have two Windows boxes you may give MaxiVista a try. It is easier to config and has an additional option (using the 2nd PC as a monitor!). Pretty cool.

    They have a video demo at http://www.maxivista.com/demo.htm

    Simon

  2. Grizz on August 26th, 2007 7:02 pm

    I have my eye on trying that in the future. Want to check out all the free options first, because free is very good.

  3. black.duster on September 20th, 2007 7:30 am

    I have been using Synergy for about a year in multiple environments and on Windows and Linux platforms. Great solution instead of a KVM! The only anoying glitch is one that wasn’t emphasized enough on the web page, IMHO. Synchronizing screen savers adn logon doesn’t seem to work. Unfortunately, I might get five or ten minutes a month to look into the issue. Humm. My time is up for this month. By the way, even without the screen synchronization I mentioned working, the tool is worth it!

  4. dan on January 24th, 2008 5:27 pm

    did you ever have a problem playing full-screen games on the client? when i move my mouse from the main (server) pc to the “other” pc, the mouse only tracks around the edges of the other screen…which translates to wierd movements in the game. The game works fine on the server. I even tried the scroll-lock trick…to no avail.

  5. Grizz on January 24th, 2008 5:45 pm

    Yes, I tried only one game so far and had the same issue. I tried playing with the hardware mouse rendering and that did little. Not sure where to go from there. It seems as though the mouse gets stuck on the client at 0, 0.

  6. dan on January 24th, 2008 5:49 pm

    I’m trying this for IOQuake3 (the open source version) on some Linux systems (ubuntu). I suspect that this problem might be relegated to the OS I’m using…

  7. Dante on March 8th, 2008 2:43 pm

    To dan,

    what do you mean with “logon”? Are you talking about the login to your Guest system?
    Windows only works with automatic logon (via control userpasswords2), while Linux (I used ubuntu 7.10) can load synergy before the logon window appears.

    Would like to hear more about it.

  8. Dave on May 5th, 2008 11:03 pm

    Just stumbled across this while playing with cross-platform synergy (works like a charm under Ubuntu once you get the config file figured out)

    Your start menu appearing when you change screens is an easy fix, in the options menu there is a checkbox marked “Don’t take foreground on Windows Servers.” This stops the synergy app from taking foreground when you switch to the client machine.

    That should fix your problems on most games, though a few still react oddly when the mouse heads off to the client PC… FPS games in particular are picky, but you can always hit Scroll Lock (the default key binding) and confine your mouse to its’ current screen.

    Hope this helped 🙂

  9. Pushlittlekart on July 19th, 2008 10:39 am

    Vista security features make it very difficult to play a full-screen game. When moving away from a full-screen game, the windows desktop goes into focus.

    This is horrible for games with poor alt-tab support.

  10. Wagoo on October 13th, 2008 7:17 am

    > did you ever have a problem playing full-screen games on the client?

    I did have this problem. I tried adding this to synergy.conf on the server (linux):

    section: options
    relativeMouseMoves = true
    end

    ..and now gaming on the client (vista) seems to work fine. No jerky mouse movements. 🙂

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