Proxi, Synergy, and more

by Volker Weber

Andy Reimer sends me a mail that requires a full quote:

Your site has introduced me to several technologies that I might not otherwise have known about. Here are a few that I've been using the last few weeks that I really think are worth mention. You may already know about many or all of these, but a search for these on your website came up blank, so I thought pass them along.

Please continue reading about those technologies.

From Griffin Technology, the company that makes mac-centric hardware, this is what Automator should have been. Designed as a universal replacement for the various software drivers for their numerous hardware devices, this application has taken on a life of its own. You can configure Proxi to do a host of 'Tasks' based on a variety of 'Triggers'. Naturally the triggers include the various types of input that can come from a Griffin AirMate or PowerMate, but extend beyond that to include scheduled triggers , skype triggers, keyboard triggers, and eleven others. For each trigger you can have many tasks, including writing to a file or executing an applescript. A trigger combined with tasks is called a 'Blueprint'. In the month that I have been using it, I estimate it has saved my 3 hours just with a few custom blueprints. Did I mention it's free?

Having both a Mac and a PC, I have at times struggled with the means of keeping my desk uncluttered by too many peripherals. The PC has its own monitor, keyboard and mouse, but if I used a KVM switch I would still only be able to control one computer at a time. I found that I seldom switched over to use the PC and it was being under utilized. Now I use Synergy, a small application that allows me to control my PC with my Mac keyboard and mouse. Synergy consists of server and client software, so I have the server running on my iBook and the client running on my PC. My iBook has an external monitor connected, and sitting to the right of the laptop. When my mouse hits the right hand side of that monitor, the server software starts communicating with the client on the PC sending mouse and keyboard data. You see, my PC monitor is to the right of my mac monitor, so as soon as I "leave" the mac desktop, I start controlling the PC. It's really quite amazing how useful this open source application is if you have more than one computer on your desk. Supports Mac, PC, Unix.

Etymotic ER 6 Isolator Earphone
Earphones are a very personal choice, but these are hands down the best I've ever used. They fit my ear well, stay in place, prevent background noise, and provide (to my ear) unsurpassed clarity of sound for an in ear product. I can now actually listen to pod-casts while taking the train, or walking though noisy downtown and not be distracted from the topic at hand. I recommend anyone with a love for music (and $150) try them.

The Printable CEO : Emergent Task Timer
Blogger and all round smart guy David Seah has developed several paper based techniques for staying on track with his business as a digital design consultant and all around smart guy. He calls these the Printable CEO series. His latest addition is a flash conversion of a printable form that allows you to easily keep track of where your time is spent during the day. You simply put in the tasks you are working on, and click the little buttons that represent 15 minute blocks of time. It even has a built in timer that will play a chime every 15 minutes to remind you to update the form. At the end of the day, you can print it out for your records (no ability to save or export yet). I find the built in chime a bit anoying so I set up a Proxi blueprint that chimes every 15 minutes instead. Looking at the form now I see that I've spent almost 45 minutes writing this email, which makes me think I should get back to paying work.

Thanks for running a worthwhile blog. Congratulations to all Germans for doing such a good job of hosting the World Cup.


Der erste Link ist falsch: Er zeigt nicht zu Proxi, sondern zum Printable CEO

Markus Weimer, 2006-07-23

Synergy2 is pretty darn cool, I have to admit. A bit hard to set up, but very useful. Worth it for the cut and paste thing alone...

Kevan Emmott, 2006-07-24

It took me about an 45 minutes from downloading Synergy2 to getting it working, but that included the time to read the docs. Since I switch between running the server and the client on my iBook when I'm at home or work, I've written an Applescript to simplify that proccess (and yes, I trigger that Applescript with Proxi). If no config tool for the Mac is forthcomming, I may build one with Applescript Studio. You are right though Kevan, the ability to copy from one machine and paste to the other is very useful.

Andy Reimer, 2006-07-24

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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