How to Share Your Keyboard and Mouse Between Windows, Linux, and Mac Computers

Synergy Project

When I was recently listening to the No Agenda Show (the best podcast in the universe), Adam Curry shared about how he shares his keyboard and mouse seamlessly between multiple computers. He uses an open source project called Synergy, and it’s absolutely brilliant!

After installing the free software on my primary Windows 7 machine, and a ten year old laptop running Xubuntu, I was able to move my mouse between computers as if they were one computer with multiple monitors.

The set-up took all of about 5-minutes and we were up and running. Like I said, brilliant!

Synergy supports Microsoft Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. They have been developing the software since May 2001 and it is extremely refined and easy to use. So much better than using a KVM switch or two sets of keyboards and mice.

So if you are wanting to share your mouse and keyboard between multiple computers on the same network I can’t recommend Synergy more highly…

Best Alternative for Google Reader – Feedly

After spending the better part of my morning trying to find a web-based alternative for Google Reader I have finally settled on Feedly.

Feedly is available on the web phone and tabletFeedly is available for use on the web as well as on tablet devices. If you get in before Google Reader shuts down on July 1 then Feedly allows you to automatically sync with your Google Reader account, making the transition relatively easy. Actually the developers over at Feedly have been planning for Google Reader to shut down for a while now and have a plan already in place.

There are a few reasons that I decided to go with Feedly as my replacement for Google Reader. They include:

  • Availability on the Web, iOS devices and Android devices
  • Integration with other services

One of the main things that I do with Google Reader is use it to save and share information with other services. Feedly integrates in with many other services that I use including:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Evernote
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Buffer

The main one that is missing that I wish was there was integration with IFTTT (If This Then That). Because it doesn’t integrate in with that I will need to modify my workflow a bit, but I should be able to get around it.

So if you are looking for an alternative to Google Reader I would recommend checking out Feedly for yourself.

Some other RSS readers that I looked at, but that fell short of my needs were:

  • RebelMouse
  • Netvibes
  • FeedDemon (desktop app)
  • FeedReader

Google Reader to be Retired July 1, 2013

When logging into Google Reader this morning I got this warning box:

Google Reader will be retired July 1 2013

Google Reader being closed as of July 1, 2013 kind of sucks! It is one of the online tools that I use significantly for my news gathering for the YWAM News Podcast I produce every week…

I’ll be having to look for alternatives for Google Reader starting today and I will let you know what I find …

Read the Google blog post about it here.

eZ Publish Editor Incompatible with Internet Explorer 9

Tonight I just spent over an hour trying to figure out why in our installation of eZ Publish I could not use the article editor to make some changes in an existing article. I got random errors, including eZ Publish declaring that <img> was in valid variable.

For some reason along the way I had started to use Internet Explorer for all my interaction with the CMS we use for work. I guess that when they upgraded to IE9 the compatibility between IE9 and eZ Publish broke. When I would click in the editor block and made any changes they would not save. Also when I clicked on any of the editor icons the editor box would simply lock up…

To fix the problem all I had to do was start up my default browser, Google Chrome 19, and everything worked.

So I guess the moral of this story is do not use Internet Explorer for anything other than testing your web-sites.

Used Linux Terminal Server Clients

NCD Thin Start ClientA few years ago a company was selling off some of their old thin clients. We purchased a whole bunch of them for about $50.00 each for the non-profit I was working for and started using them to connect to our Windows Server 2000 and 2003 Terminal Servers. They worked really well for us connecting to Windows Terminal Server.

Well since we have started to play around with Linux Terminal Server we have also discovered that they actually work quite well as Terminal Server Clients for that. All we needed to do was install a software update to the thin clients and there we go! They just worked, which was fantastic and totally unexpected.

The thin clients that we are using are NCD ThinSTAR 200s.  Although NCD went out of business a few years ago some of the employees are still running what looks like basically a consulting firm to support all the thin clients that are already out there.  On their site you can download the software and manuals that you need to upgrade the software on the thin client.  Because of the small amount of RAM in the ThinStar we had to only set it up with two clients, so we did the Windows Terminal Server client and the Linux X Connection client.  The upgrade was simple to the new configuration (It was actually so simple that I ended up accidentally upgrading ALL of our thin clients with it one day instead of just our two test ones when we had a power outage and they all reboot with the thin client manager PC running on the network.)

These thin clients are now configured to connect to our Windows Terminal Server as well as our Linux Terminal Server which is great.  We have still not started to use Linux Terminal Server as a production server since I don’t have the hardware to run it, but the potential is definately there.

I have seen more of these thin clients come up for sale on eBay and other used computer sites around the web.  I reckon that would be the way to go, especially if you can pick them up in pallet size orders as was one deal I saw in the UK.  With a dozen of these, a terminal server, a switch, a dozen LCD monitors and a satellite connection you would have a pretty neat little package to send to a remote location.  The LCDs and thin clients wouldn’t even use that much power so it wouldn’t be impossible to run the whole thing off of a portable generator.

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Find International Country Codes for Phone Calls

One of the challenges with having friends, family and co-works all around the world is figuring out how to call them. Although I love to use Skype for most of my international voice and video calls, occasionally an actual phone call is needed.

I came across a site that tells you all the telephone country codes that you need to make international phone calls from one nation to another. Since every nation is different, and every every nation has their own codes and numbers to dial, this is a very useful tool…

It’s a great tool as it seems that every country has it’s own phone codes to call outside the country, and then of course you actually need to know the international country code for the nation that you are trying to dial.