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Disclaimer: The entries you find in these pages are based on my individual opinions and thoughts. Some of the entries may be just plain wrong, and others harmful. Should you choose to act on, or try, anything you find on this site, you assume any and all risks associated with your actions. So there.


Two Heads, One Set of Hands

July 23, 2004

I've discovered the coolest way to work with both my PowerBook and Dell on my Desktop. The fact that I'm late to the game is beside the point (others have done the same thing for quite some time), it's still very cool.

I'm using TightVNC on the Dell (VNC is an open standards protocol for controlling one computer from another, like the commercial PC Anywhere or Timbuktu) and osx2x on the PowerBook. TightVNC is great open-source software, and is dead-easy to install and configure. osx2x does both VNC and X-Windows connections, and is embarrassingly simple to setup and use as well.

What is so cool about osx2x is that instead of bringing up the remote PC in a window on your local computer, it "attaches" the display of the remote PC to one of the edges of the local display. So the remote PC screen sits to one side of your local display. Which means that the "remote" PC can't really be remote because you need to see its display. To control the PC, you simply move your mouse to the edge of your local display... and keep moving... the mouse will appear to popup on the remote PC. At that point all mouse movements, clicks and keyboard strokes are sent to the remove PC. It is so smooth it is as if the remote PC display is a seamless part of your local display— you can move between the two with a flick of the mouse.

One mouse, one keyboard, two computers, two displays and your hands never have to move! Beautiful!

And the best part is that I can use my PowerBook trackpad (or Mouse) with all of Apple's glorious smooth-motion algorithms on my Dell! (Sorry, but Windows mice, even the best of them, simply suck at their acceleration and movement around the screen— Apple is the indisputable champ there).