The JUC400 Wormhole Switch from J5Create is a simple-looking cable, but it lets you do some pretty amazing things. With it, you can share a keyboard and mouse that is connected to one Mac or PC with another Mac or PC, in any combination. But that’s not all; you can also drag and drop files and folders from one computer’s desktop to another, as well as share the contents of clipboards between them.
Most keyboard/video/mouse (KVM) switches I’ve used allow you to share a keyboard, mouse, and display between multiple computers, but you can only use one computer at a time. With the JUC400, you can, for example, have two Macs running side by side. Using the keyboard and mouse connected to one of the systems, you simply drag the cursor to the edge of one display and it jumps to the other. You can drag and drop files between computers this way, and you can also open a text document on one Mac, copy some text, and then paste it into a document on the other Mac. It’s so smooth and simple you can’t believe that you haven’t always been able to do this.
If you have an iPad and a Camera Connection Kit, you can use the kit’s USB adapter with the iPad, and then attach one end of the JUC400 to the iPad and the other end to a Mac or PC and use the computer’s keyboard to type text into an open iPad app. Unfortunately, drag and drop to and from the iPad—which would be a blockbuster feature—is not supported.
The JUC400 requires a Mac running Snow Leopard or later. On the PC, the JUC400 supports Windows 7, Vista, XP, and 2000. All of the necessary software is located on the device and mounts automatically when connected, like an optical drive. There’s no need to carry around a thumb drive or a disc, or to download drivers from the Web in order to share files and keyboards with the JC400.
Once you launch the JUC400’s software, the small lights on the connectors flash, and a message appears to confirm that a connection has been made. The software will try to identify your keyboard by asking you to type a certain key. Next, you open the Preferences menu and tell the software where the other computer is situated, to the left, right, under, or on top of the computer you’re currently using. And that’s it. It even worked with the Apple Wireless Keyboard, the Magic Mouse, and the MacBook Pro’s built-in keyboard.
Macworld’s buying advice
Sharing files, folders, keyboards, and mice between two Macs, a PC and a Mac, or two PCs has never been easier. There are other screen sharing software packages around, but I doubt any are as easy to setup and use as the JUC400. No network or installation discs are required; you just have one simple-looking cable that does some sophisticated sharing. Recommended for IT professionals or anyone that has to share files and folders between computers.
[James Galbraith is Macworld’s lab director.]