This weekend I put together a new machine for my home office to complement the iMac on my desktop. Since I didn’t want to fill up the desk with another mouse and keyboard, I decided to get a USB KVM (Keyboard, Video, Monitor) switch that allows me to go back and forth between the two machines. In my setup, the iMac has its own built-in monitor, the new machine has its own monitor, and then they share the mouse, keyboard, and speakers. The new machine has9.10 64 bit on it.
I went with the Belkin F1DG102U Flip 2-Port KVM Switch with Audio Support (USB Connection) that I found at my local Staples store. (Amazon has it for less.) I gambled on getting this: if it didn’t work I would have to end up buying the other peripherals, but if it did work, then it would be great because I would save a lot of desk real estate. It seems to work, with the following caveats.
- You do really need to press the jacks into the outlet connectors quite strongly. The little remote switch did not work at first, but when I jammed it in there it worked fine. Second, I have a wired iMac keyboard but have a Logitech V450 Cordless Laser Mouse. Originally I had the USB wireless receiver for the mouse plugged into the keyboard, but I needed to remove that and plug it in to the KVM switch alongside the keyboard USB.
- Bad things seem to happen if one of the machines or displays goes to sleep, especially on the Ubuntu machine. It doesn’t want to wake up and, since your display is blank, you just need to reset. This happened to me once when I was installing some operating system updates and it really wrecked things; I needed to reinstall from scratch. However, I did remember to go into Ubuntu’s power management and tell it not let the screen sleep before I did the upgrades again.
Also see: Life with Linux: The series