Reader Alan Lynch has one keyboard, one mouse, and multiple Macs. And that started him wondering. He writes:
On my desk I have an iMac as well as a MacBook Pro, both of which I use throughout the day. I control the iMac with a wireless keyboard and mouse and would love to use these devices to also control my MacBook Pro. Does there exist some kind of Bluetooth KVM switch that I could use to share my keyboard and mouse with my laptop?
The difficulty with a traditional KVM switch is that these devices have nothing to plug into, as they’re wireless. And there’s no intermediary device I’m aware of that you can pair to your Bluetooth keyboard and mouse that can then be used to switch between computers. But there are other ways.
One is the open-source Synergy project. This allows you to share a keyboard and mouse not only with another Mac but also Windows and Linux boxes. In its native state it requires some Terminal mucking. A couple of applications that serve as GUI front ends to Synergy have been released—QSynergy and SynergyKM—but I’ve had no luck making them work with a Mac running Lion.
I have had luck, however, with Abyssoft’s donation-ware Teleport. It’s a clever idea. Simply install it on each Mac and choose one Mac to serve as the host (meaning its input peripherals will be used to control any linked Macs). Then, within the Teleport preference pane (which you access via System Preferences), choose a layout for your computers—your laptop on the left and your iMac on the right, fo instance. To control your laptop, just drag the cursor to the left side of the screen. After a very short delay (accompanied by a bit of animation) the cursor will appear on the MacBook’s display. Once it’s there you can not only use your mouse to control the MacBook, but your keyboard will work with it as well.
Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.