A KVM switch sounds like it has the potential to be a complicated piece of hardware. It's not. Without this most charitable of devices, you wouldn't be able to make use of more than one computer with a single keyboard and mouse. Your desk would be cluttered with input devices of all shapes and sizes, your ambitions of multi-boxing your own 40-man World of Warcraft raid would be dashed, and you wouldn't be able to slack off at your place of business nearly as discretely. After all, the entire point of a KVM switch is that it requires some kind of physical response--like whacking a button on the device--to switch a set of input devices between different desktops connected to the switch.
Why does this matter? Well, I don't have a KVM switch, but I do use a piece of software that's just as good: Synergy. This little open-source app has been my virtual KVM switch of choice for awhile now, but its time is just as quickly fading into the limelight. A new sheriff is in town, and he goes by the name of Input Director. Both programs allow you to control multiple, independent desktops (or laptops) using a single keyboard and mouse sans any "switching over" whatsoever--it's as if you just have a giant, spanned desktop across your systems.
Since Synergy has been at the top of everyone's must-have lists for some time (including Will's!), I thought it might be prudent to walk through the additional benefits and heartwarming fixes that Input Director brings to the party. Click the jump and find out how this free application will transform your multi-computer life for the better.
If you ask a gun enthusiast why he needs that M4 SOPMOD to hunt squirrel, you’re asking the wrong question. It’s not that the average squirrel in the Adirondacks is on PCP and likely to require two magazines to put down; it’s that the M4 SOPMOD is a fine and uniquely crafted weapon regardless of whether it ever sees action worthy of its true potential. So, please, don’t ask us why you’d want to spend $200 on a keyboard with up to 36 macros available across 12 programmable macro keys (recordable on the fly from the keyboard itself), customizable keyboard backlighting, and even a 320x240 color display. If you’re a gamer, understand that you’re buying more power than you may ever need, but absolutely should have.
The key action is cush and quiet (preferred by most gamers and characteristic of Logitech’s boards), and the plastic is smooth yet never slippery beneath sweaty digits. The keyboard itself includes a hardware switch to disable the Windows key, and both macro and function keys are slightly elevated for easier nailing. We appreciate the slightly larger than usual Mute button below the media control keys to the upper right, and love the barrel-style volume control (if only it were reprogrammable for use as a scrubber or dial).
How jacked up is your keyboard? Do you have one of those super-fancy, 800+ button, LCD-screen, lit-up, wheeled contraptions that's less an input device, more a control panel at a nuclear power plant? If so, you're probably the kind of person who doesn't need the apps I'm about to list out in this week's freeware roundup. Unless, that is, you're also one of those people (including yours truly) who have a ton of buttons and options to play with, yet no resolve to actually go about mapping this to that.
And if you're just rocking a plain ol' keyboard, I hope you're sitting down because you're in for a world of difference. The applications I'm profiling today are all keyboard-focused, and they all seek to add some kind of additional, awesome functionality to (or based on) your default button layouts. Launch programs! Use your keyboard media buttons to control all of your media players! Look up every Adobe-related shortcut within the span of seconds!
Suffice it to say, I have the keyboard krazies today. Join me after the jump to get your hands on some of the cooler keyboard-related freeware and open-source apps on the Internet!
I have a problem booting from my Windows XP installation disc. When I installed Windows XP for the first time, I didn’t have any problems. I could see “press any button to boot from CD,” and pressing the button would start the installation process. As soon as Windows XP is installed, I reboot and I see “press any button to start from CD,” but nothing happens when I press a button, and it loads Windows from the hard drive, not the installation CD. It looks like the keyboard isn’t recognized.
I have a Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI motherboard and a Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 videocard. My processor is an AMD 64 X2 4800.
See the solution to Vitaliy's problem after the jump.
Microsoft today unveiled what it claims is its thinnest keyboard ever, the Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000. As the name suggests, the new plank is aimed exclusively at Bluetooth notebooks and desktop PCs, with Bluetooth-enabled notebooks projected to account for more than 55 percent of all laptops by the end of 2010, Microsoft says.
"The design tenets of compact, clean, and refined really set the state for the success of the keyboard," said Chris Kujawski, industrial designer for Microsoft Hardware. "There is nothing extraneous about the design. We removed everything that didn't fit with those ideas and ended up with something we're really proud of -- a compact, sophisticated keyboard that pairs perfectly with Bluetooth computers."
Measuring "just a few millimeters thicker than a AAA battery at the back," the Bluetooth 6000 sports an ergonomic design with a 6-degree curve, a design Microsoft says is preferred by 94 percent of users who have ever owned a Comfort Curve keyboard.
The Bluetooth plank will be available in October for $90. There will also be a separate Bluetooth Number Pad, which is also be available next month, and priced at $45.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Asus plans to keep busy this fall launching a number of new products. Among them are an Nvidia Ion-based Eee Box, Eee Top all-in-one PC, and two ultra-thin notebooks under its U/UX series.
The 20-inch Eee Top will come with an Intel dual-core Atom 330 processor and cost around $670. Details on the Ion-based rig remain sparse, though it will reportedly sell for a little over $300. Both of these -- along with the ultra-thin notebooks -- will launch in September.
A month later, Asus plans to launch the Eee Keyboard for somewhere between $400 and $500. The Eee Keyboard will work as a fully-functional PC and sport a wireless connection hub.
First shown at CES earlier this year and more recently at CeBIT, OCZ this week officially announced the Sabre OLED gaming keyboard, a plank the company promises will be "affordable."
"The OCZ Sabre Keyboard offers the best of both worlds when it comes to OLED technology and a truly functional yet affordable gaming keyboard," commented Eugene Change, VP of Product Management at OCZ.
Nine OLED keys sit on the left side of the Sabre, each one user-programmable and capable of converting digital images or text into icons. Furthermore, the Sabre's proprietary software makes it possible for the OLED keys to change their icons and command tiers on the fly based on whatever application is running. Fire up your favorite FPS, for example, and the icons and macros change to whatever was programmed.
Other features include "glowing amber LEDs", blue side lighting, 128MB of onboard flash memory, "super tactile, low-noise key feedback," and a 5-10 degree tilt design.
Just over two weeks from now, T-Mobile will begin taking pre-orders for its second Android-based smartphone, the myTouch 3G. Like the G1, the myTouch 3G is being built by HTC, but there are a few key differences between it and the G1.
For starters, the myTouch 3G waves goodbye to the physical keyboard found on the G1, which helps the new phone sport a slimmer profile. It will, however, come with a virtual keyboard that will automatically switch from portrait to landscape mode in "most applications."
The myTouch also doubles up on internal memory with 512MB compared to 256MB - a good thing considering the G1's frustrating inability to install applications directly to SD storage without rooting the phone. And speaking of storage, the myTouch will also ship with a 4GB microSD card.
T-Mobile will first make the myTouch 3G available for pre-order to existing subscribers starting on July 8 for $200 with a two-year contract. Shipments will be begin in late July, with full national availability expected in early August.
Forget about all-in-one PCs, how about an all-in-one keyboard? That's exactly what Asus was showing off during CES earlier this year, and it looks like the 2-pound Eee Keyboard PC will start shipping before July, says Engadget Chinese.
FInal specs might still change between now and when it releases, but as it stands, the Eee Keyboard will come with an Intel Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz, 533MHz frontside bus, 512KB L2 cache), a 32GB SSD, 1GB of RAM, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, stereo speakers, and a diminutive 5-inch 800x480 touchscreen display/trackpad combo.
The general consensus is that Logitech's latest gaming keyboard, the G19, is better in nearly every way than the G15 it's poised to replace. And if you want to get your hands on one, you finally can, but you'll have to order it from Dell. According to tech news site Engadget, Dell somehow managed to snag a 30-day sales exclusive on the keyboard.
We've already posted a hands-on impression of the G19 way back in January of this year, which you can read here. The most notable improvement of the G19 is the inclusion of a bright 320x240 tilting LCD screen. Users can view the time, resource load, VoIP communication data, and even watch YouTube videos on the nifty display, in addition to a host of other uses.
More macro keys are found on the G19, along with the ability to adjust the color of the backlight. All in all, it's a worthy successor to one of the most popular gaming keyboards on the market.
The G19 is available now through Dell for $180 (plus tax and shipping).