If you are running two separate computers as I am you could soon go crazy using two keyboards and two mice.

There are hardware solutions called a KVM switch (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) that allows you to use just one set to control everything, but these can be semi-pricey and you have to manually switch between what system they are controlling.

I didn’t need a monitor solution since I setup my main monitor to work with either system and could simply select the source at the press of a button. I did though need a good solution for the keyboard and the mouse.

Thankfully there is a great free open source software called Synergy that allows you to use a keyboard and mouse on one system to control another system via a network connection. Synergy is just plain great software and I use to use it with my main PC and a laptop. There are versions of Synergy for both the PC and the Mac and they inter-operate beautifully. Even better is that you can do copy/paste operations from one system to another. It is great to just move the mouse cursor from one system to the next and the keyboard automatically works with whatever system currently has mouse focus.

Lifehacker has some good instructions for how to set this up for a dual systems (specifically a PC and a Mac). The interface for setting up the PC version isn’t exactly pretty and a little confusing to get going. Though someone has created a GUI wrapper of Synergy for OSX that is much easier to setup.

Synergy once setup just plain works and you soon forget about it and just go to work using its capabilities.

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There seems to be two terms of art for those people coming from the world of PCs to Mac.

Switcher – Those who are moving totally to the Mac platform.

Slider – Those who are moving back and forth between the two platforms.

I am definitely in the “slider” camp since I make my living writing code for Windows primarily using Microsoft’s Visual Studio and Adobe’s Flash.  And while Flash and some other programs I use like Dreamweaver are available on the Mac, it is pretty much all PCs at the workplace.  I have been using PCs at home for years.  I started computing by learning basic on a school mainframe and then later owned a Commodore 64, Commodore 128, Amiga 500, and then PC compatibles using DOS and then later Windows 2.0 through every version up to Vista (yes even the horrible Windows ME).

Listening to a lot of podcasts both technical and Catholic I was hearing more and more about using Macs. I got an iPod a couple of years ago and I fast became an admirer of its beauty and ease of use after having several portable mp3 devices starting from a Rio MP3 CD player. The iPod was a gateway device for me to start seriously looking at Apple computers and with the advent of the Intel based Macs and the ability to run Windows via both Boot Camp or in a virtual machine using Parallels or VMware Fusion this was the incentive for me to buy my first Apple computer, an iMac.

Being a lifetime geek I love playing with computers, operating systems, and various programs.  Being a Catholic we often talk about the concept of both/and instead of either/ or.  So I am quite Catholic when it comes to operating systems instead of being Windows or OSX or Linux – why not both/and?

The point of this blog will be exploring the Mac and making the adjustments from being mainly a Windows users and the best interact with both.  I will deal with mostly Mac software, but also hardware as it relates to running both a PC and a Mac.

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