Articles: Use Two Computers at a Time!
Want to use two computers at a time?
I was confronted with this question when I decided I needed to upgrade beyond my first-generation Mac Pro. Make no mistake, with 10.6.8 and plenty of RAM, the machine was (and is) actually doing great work for me. But, as it goes in the computer world, there were a few apps that I wanted to use that insisted on the latest OS, so I figured it was time to consider upgrading.
However, I really wanted to keep the old Mac running next to me, and not because of some sort of emotional attachment. I have some other apps I need to occasionally use that don’t like anything later than 10.6.8 (and a couple that wouldn’t survive the Migration Assistant), and I still need to be able to access them. So what to do?
I decided to put a late-generation 27-inch iMac on my desk, right next to the 30-inch Cinema display hooked up to the Mac Pro. I thought I’d probably need to find some sort of USB A/B switch so I wouldn’t have to have two keyboards and two mice in front of me. Being somewhat impatient and impulsive, I decided to run by the nearby Fry’s Electronics store, despite their legendary lack of good service. Unfortunately, the legends proved to be true. After tracking down a second bored employee and asking a second time whether they had what I wanted and having a the same incorrect USB hub offered to me, he pursed his lips and wandered off to presumably look through his database.
Five minutes later, I saw him off in the distance, talking to another customer! Holy mackerel, the bad service is not only not a legend, it’s in-your-face scary bad! I scampered out of there actually being glad that they didn’t have what I wanted, because I sincerely didn’t want them to have any of my money after that. Ever.
So I get back to my desk, which now had two keyboards and two mice. After digging around on the internet, I found a little app that had some promise. Dubbed ShareMouse, it offered the potential of allowing one to hook up one keyboard and mouse to two different computers at the same time. And it works!
It’s a tiny little app that engages in some network wizardry so that a computer that doesn’t even have anything plugged into its USB ports can see the mouse and keyboard of another as soon as the mouse pointer is moved over to the other display. It’s magic!
You can even copy something on one computer, scroll over to the other, and paste virtually anything. You can select a document and simply drag it over to the other screen, and voila! a copy on each machine. Whichever display is active will be at full brightness, while the other dims to a user-controllable level.
And it works on two machines with significantly different versions of the Mac OS, 10.6.8 and 10.10.4.
We have no skin in the game with ShareMouse, but it’s such a nice little app that we had to share it. It’s shareware to start for “non-power users,” but as soon as you want to copy a file, it asks for twenty bucks for the “Professional” version. Money well spent if you want to use two computers at a time!
Kevin Anderson is the co-founder and CEO of PowerMax, and is one to never be shy with his opinions. He loves pina coladas and moonlight walks on the beach -oh wait- we got that from an old post on eHarmony. He's all happily married now, something we was able to be after successfully using many of his philosophies to recover from the heart-breaking and tragic death of his wife. He does enjoy and appreciate humor and thinks the world can never have enough of it. He loves the book "The Four Agreements." He's also a believer in the self-taught philosophy of "CHI." Which, in addition to being a cool-sounding Chinese word, also stands for "Confidence, Humility and Ignorance." He believes we should all have equal measures of each, with the latter being an acceptance that all of us really don't know nearly as much as we think we do, so we're better off having an open mind instead of planting a mental flag and not noticing that we just planted it in a mud bog. He will also answer virtually any email sent to him by a customer, which you can do by sending to any email address on our site or through anyone you've ever worked with at PowerMax.