Product Review: Synergy

What is Synergy?
Synergy is a software utility that allows you to share a single mouse and keyboard with multiple computers. It works on Windows. Macintosh, and Linux computers.

Why do I need Synergy?
I never seem to have enough monitors and computers on my desk. First, there is my primary desktop computer with two 24″ monitors. There is also my laptop – a beautiful MacBook Pro 15. I like to have that to the left of my primary computer. Sometimes I watch youtube technology reviews or instructional videos, or display my monitoring alerts. And finally, I have my old MacBook 13 that I keep to the right side of my desk. Even though it’s over six years old, I like to have TweetDeck running on it to view my favorite newsfeeds. Occasionally I will do a Google search on it or display my calendar. However, every time I use one of these other two computers, I have to move my hands to use the mouse and keyboard on those computers.

How does Synergy work?
Synergy installs on all of my computers. The computer that has the mouse and keyboard I want to use is set as the primary computer. The other computers are configured to connect to the primary computer. They connect with TCP/IP on the network. The primary computer configuration sets which side each of the other computers are located. I can have up to 9 total computers connected this way. When I move the mouse to the screen of one of the other computers, the keyboard immediately functions on that respective computer. The direction you move the mouse to the other computers is based on how you have configured your setup.

Synergy works so well. The mouse pointer moves easily to the monitors of other computers. In not much time, your single mouse and keyboard are used seamlessly across all of these computers as if they are one computer. There are a few glitches that I have encountered. For example, on my MacBook, if I disconnect from my office network but Synergy is still running, I sometimes lose my mouse. If I exit the Synergy application, my mouse starts working again. The other problem I sometimes have is not knowing on which screen my mouse is. It’s just an inevitable issue when you have a lot of scattered screens and you then move the mouse and have to look around to see it. Otherwise, this product works nicely and is well worth the $10 cost.

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