Syngergy-plus for sharing inputs

Way back in the dark ages (May of 2008), I talked about synergy, and excellent piece of software that allows you to have multiple computers controlled by one central keyboard and mouse. Each computer needs its own screen, but it’s ideal for multiple laptops or a combination of laptop and desktop.

Today I saw that there was a fork of this project, called synergy-plus. This is extremely handy, because the synergy code itself hasn’t been changed in a long time, and there are a few bugs, especially when disconnecting/reconnecting Mac laptops.

Synergy has been a life saver for me and some others at my company. If you don’t use it and you’re tired of moving your hands from keyboard to keyboard, give it a shot!

Windows 7: (Probably) My Future User Platform

Ugh. Nothing screams “lots of time” like designing and testing a new user platform.

We’re humans. We dig familiarity. We like knowing where things live in our interfaces and we despise people screwing with us. It can take a long time to live down something so small as moving someone’s desktop icons (if you live at all!). How much complaining did you hear about Office 2007 and the new “ribbon” interface? Right, now imagine what it’s going to be like when the entire OS gets ribbonated.

To be fair, almost all of the reviews of Windows 7 talk about how much better it is than Vista. And lets be honest, I know I’m not the only admin out there who steadfastly refused to allow Windows Vista on my network. I use it on my laptop at home, and it’s rubbish. I have to force the power off at least a few times a week, and I had the misfortune to dual boot Ubuntu with a wubi installation…which means that whenever Vista shuts down uncleanly (read: almost always), I can’t boot because the filesystem is marked as being in use, unless I force it with mount or fsck, and that just gives me an uh-oh feeling. Wait, I’m digressing.

Back on topic, I know that I’m eventually going to have to move my users away from Windows XP. It’s growing a bit long in the tooth, and eventually Microsoft is going to stop selling licenses and actually mean it. Sure, they’ve said it a few times, and even actually done it, but the sheer abject horror of users using Windows Vista caused people to throw tantrums, riot, and set fire to Redmond. Alright, maybe not those last two, but only because Microsoft backed down and continued doling out the XP licenses. Heck, 7 is for sale in the stores right now and I just bought a new XP license for a netbook I purchased in a woot off. I honestly don’t know when they say they’ll stop selling it, but it will happen eventually.

Personally, I’m hoping that I can hold off and continue picking up XP SP3 licenses until the first service pack is released for 7. I have no scientific reason for this, but previous incarnations of Windows have led me to believe that this is the way of least grief. Everyone screws up, and the initial release of anything is always bug filled. I figure let the settlers take the arrows and hang in the rear with the gear, or in this case, the nearly antiquated software.

I’m curious about what your user desktops are running (and are going to run). Anyone here using this opportunity to migrate people to another platform entirely? I went to an Apple Tech Conference in NYC a couple of months ago and I was highly impressed with the Snow Leopard integration with Active Directory. It was a direct response to the increased market share that Apple computers have found lately, and it seems like the additional features make it a viable candidate for enterprise membership.

So what do you use? What are you going to use? Do you have plans, or do you just pick up whatever the vendors are offering?