In my role as a software developer and system administrator I’ve elected to haul around a laptop with me, specifically the Dell M6500 Mobile Workstation, so I have the versatility to work from where ever I happen to be when problems arise or creativity hits me. At both work and home I have a docking stations connected to monitors and keyboards so that I can easily dock my laptop and use it just like a regular computer. At home though, I also have a personal computer that I use for whatever, gaming, downloading, etc… but when I come home I remove my USB dongle for my keyboard and mouse from my desktop to my docking station and manually switch one of the inputs on my monitor. Now I know I could just go out and buy a KVM switch for $20 from where ever and problem solved, but most KVM’s only support a single monitor, and the ones that support dual and triple monitors become costly and I’ve always been looking for something more elegant. Last night I found it.
Behold Microsoft Mouse without Borders. Developed by Microsoft employee Troung Do as part of the Microsoft Garage Projects essentially the software allows you to use one keyboard across multiple machines. What’s great about this is now I can have one monitor allocated to each machine, but use the resources of both.
The beauty of a product like this though will quickly expand quickly opens possibilities for me though. The most promising is that my laptop only supports dual monitors. I’d love to have a third monitor, or maybe more if possible, and have tried the external USB video adapters but they often have problems displaying VM’s without crashing or appear choppy. Now I can setup an additional desktop in my office, add more monitors to my setup, and use all of them seamlessly. I could even setup a test workstation that runs different environments like IE 6, 7 and 8 for testing changes before moving them to production. I currently use VM’s to test this, which I would probably keep doing, but having a monitor with each browser would be awesome.