So for the last year or so, I’ve been using a combination of the programs Win2VNC and OSXvnc to integrate keyboard and mouse control between my Powerbook and Dell desktop. I fire up OSXvnc, then fire up Win2VNC on the PC, scroll my mouse pointer to the left side of the PC screen, and it reappears on the right-hand side of the Powerbook screen. While it’s over there, input from the keyboard is sent as well. Move it back east and it re-appears on the west side of the PC monitor. I can even cut and paste text from one machine to the other.
This is an unbelievably convenient way of working, and going back to typing on the Powerbook after years of using an ergonomic keyboard cuts my typing accuracy and speed by about 30% (BTW, what happened to these things? It seems manufacturers aren’t really interested in them anymore — i.e. I have yet to see an ergonomic bluetooth keyboard.).
One major problem I always had though was that there was no mouse wheel support on the remote machine (Powerbook) and certain key combos (such as Alt-Tab or Ctrl-Esc) would lock Win2VNC, necessitating a Ctrl-Alt-Del on the Dell, pulling up the task manager and manually killing the Win2VNC process. Given that the Alt-Tab combo is a very common keyboard combo for me, I find this extremely frustrating when it inevitably happens 2 or 3 times a day.
I couldn’t find a new version on the Win2VNC homepage, but I did find a link to a hacking/support blog of sorts, wherein the topic of mouse wheel support came up. After reading through some posts, I came across a kick-ass modification of Win2VNC. I guess I could have just have dug a few entries deeper in the Google results and would have discovered this modification available via SourceForge, but honestly, I thought the original version was on SourceForge and it was a redundant link.
Feico de Boer’s version of Win2VNC hacks in mouse wheel support and, by using the Scroll Lock key for the first time EVER (for this user, at least), allows one to not only use key combos on the host machine without locking it, but also send them to the remote machine!
Now I know that this doesn’t sound like much — but please understand that I use this VNC combo every day, for 10 hours/day, and these little enhancements make this way of working not just functional and convenient, but now, for the first time ever, SWEET.
If you’ve got two machines you want to control from one keyboard/mouse combo, I suggest giving this version of Win2VNC a whirl.