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Thread: two computers

  1. #1
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    In contrast to the general wish of having several monitors hooked to one computer, I would like the opposite:
    Two computers working from one monitor, one keyboard and one mouse. Yes, I would like to sit in my comfy chair, don't move, and be able to switch from one mac to another mac, working with one or the other.
    Is there software which allows me to do this? Special hardware adapter needed?
    Help will be sincerely appreciated.
    marrand

  2. #2
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    There should be some KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) switchers out there (I believe that Belkin makes one) that will work for Macs. One first step if you don't wish to buy that is to have a monitor with dual inputs selectable from the front panel (both LCD and CRTs with this capability are available in large numbers). Then you could have a keyboard and mouse for each (perhaps with a keyboard drawer) and you may be set.

  3. #3
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    Alternatively, there's a free, albeit slow* (*- meaning that it's as fast as your network speed/thruput) solution as well, VNC (Virtual Network Computing)

    My $.02

    ------------------
    Bill

    "I made a conscience decision in a semi-conscious state"

  4. #4
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    Thanks all, but it's not quite what I had in mind.
    So, there I am sitting in my comfy chair, one keyboard, one mouse, one monitor, and two computers (macs, of course) running and connected to the same KVM. I do not want to slow down at all, as with VNC.
    Somehow I recall reading someplace that this can be done, but cannot recall where. I hope I wasn't dreaming, and someone will write and say "here it is!!".
    marrand

  5. #5
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    i don't understand what you want then. You have a kvm. you asked how to do it. What is missing? I fail to see what you want so paint a clear(-er) picture.

    Dr. Bott also sells kvm, as do others. Sony and ViewSonic have monitors that can be direct connected to two computers.

    you only get into trouble with mixing ADB and USB.

    Do you want one machine in a window? Logical Virtual Machines? Timbuktu on steroids?

    My ideal is to have four macs, two monitors, and be able to use any keyboard or monitor to see the others, and have dual display on one system.

    I'd like to see an LCD with dual computer support like the Sony CRT model which runs around $700.

  6. #6
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    Ok, I wasn't clear in explaining. I used the term "KVM" as if I know what I am talking about, but I don't; so, please forget any reference to it.

    I now have a 19" Sony Trinitron (GDM F-400), improved G3 DT (rev.1, originally 266 Mhz), ADB keyboard, and trackball (which I referred to as mouse before). A typical home computer setup. Yesterday I received ADB to USB adapter by Griffin Technologies; since my G3 has cards with USB and firewire ports, I tested the adapter. All worked great, except trackball speed needed adjustment.

    Next week my new G4 will arrive -- the last Mac to boot into 9.2 (so they say). Of course I will test it out alone; that is, with my Sony monitor, its own keyboard and hooked up as directed. But my G3 will be disconnected.

    So, let me try again -- here is what I want. I want to remain sitting in front of the same keyboard (ADB), the same monitor and the same trackball, but have two booted computers hooked in the setup. The monitor will see only one at a time; I presume there is software which will allow me to press a few keys and the other machine will be displayed. Whichever machine is displayed, I want to be able to copy files back and forth between machines. And most importantly, I don't want to loose any speed on either machine.

    Yes, displaying only one machine at a time. Actually, about half of what Gregory has: not four macs but two, not two monitors but one. But no dual display.

    Can I get what I want? Does the setup I propose require a special monitor?
    Thanks all.
    marrand

  7. #7
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  8. #8
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    KVM switch will do it. I use one everyday for 5 macs and(one monitor, one keyboard)

    like this:
    http://drbott.com/prod/db.lasso?code=1101-MSU2

    The only problem you have is that both your macs are not USB. One of my Macs was not, so I installed a USB PCI card, which worked.

    The only downside was that I could not hold down "C" to boot from a CD because the driver for the USB card loaded too late in the start up process. Also, you need to select a computer when rebooting, otherwise there may be no video signal (blank screen).

    Go for it. Easy as pie.

  9. #9
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    shoot, I like Chris's choice better. Share usb devices too? Cool. I don't have the need, but that is sweet with a USB printer, drive, etc.

  10. #10
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    Thanks newbie and chris. I will look into both sites today.
    To newbie: my older G3 has PCI card with USB and Firewire ports. In fact, I used them with the USB/ADB adapter to be sure they work. And the new G4 will have USB, so both will be USB compliant

    Yes, I can see how the hold "C" key won't work for that one, but I can always boot from CD using Start Disk menu. A little awkward, but I don't boot from a CD that often.

    Thanks again.
    marrand

  11. #11
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    Yup. Did not think about the first time I tried to run DiscWarrior; kinda freaked me out until I remembered that the USB was not native. Look for read-mes or FAQs from whatever vender you choose for problems with non-native usb, just to be sure.

  12. #12
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    Ok, the problem of two booted computers working off one keyboard, mouse and monitor has been solved -- i.e. the KVM switch.

    Now, a different problem. I would like to have two computers work off one keyboard/mouse/monitor but only one is booted. However, on the desktop, I want to be able to see both, and using "Startup disk" to designate the one that is "on".

    At present I have a G3 DT, improved with faster zif and firewire/usb card, and two internal HD's. When I boot from one internal HD, the other sits on my desktop, and I can open it, view it, copy files to/from it, etc. Then I can switch the disk to be booted from. Can I do this with a second external mac, the new G4? That is, turn power on but don't boot; but have it connected somehow to the G3 so it shows up on desktop as another drive (or drives if partitioned). Can this be done simply, without KVM switch?

    The reason I am asking this that KVM can degrade the video signal. I don't really need both computers booted, just connected so I can boot from any HD I like (with an OS on it, of course).
    Thanks
    marrand

  13. #13
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    If I understand correctly, you want to share files and/or drives between 2 differnt Macs. Both have to be booted and running!

    You can boot and run a mac without a monitor, and access it remeotely from a different machine, but it has too be booted....why don't you want it booted up?

  14. #14
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    newbie,thanks
    Yes, I want to share files and/or drives between 2 different Macs. They can be booted, no problem. But how do I do that without KVM switch? Both have to show up on desktop. What connection(s) do I make? Ethernet? I do have a router and cable, but is that the way to go??
    marrand

  15. #15
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    I am not real familar with the KVM switch. You can do what your attempting easily via your router. -- I think. I don't see why not.

    Randy

  16. #16
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    You want a "server" or local area network storage box. Or FireWire disk drive that you can move back and forth. Rather than router, you want a 'switch' that supports 100 Mbps rather than a hub (10 Mbps). Some routers have built-in hub or switch. Sadly, even Apple's gigabit ethernet runs slow as molasses and is a poor excuse so far, not sure why they can't get say 800 Mbps when others can.

    Adaptec 39160 is capable of being attached to a common set of drives, but only ONE computer can be running at a time. Sort of interesting. And, 39160 doesn't yet work well or at all under Jaguar but is a good controller under OS 9 (but only on Beige Rev B or later Mac).

    SNAP Server was one product from Quantum but I don't know if it is still available and how well supported. Of course it costs ~$1K+ I see where Iomega has a Network Attached Storage device (NAS).

    [This message has been edited by Gregory (edited 11 December 2002).]

  17. #17
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    Yup. Filesharing/server is the easiest and cheapest way to share data. Well, OK firewire drive is easiest. You can even do it between two macs with a just crossover cable that you can get at any RadioShack-type store.

    Another option, if you want the ability to use each machine individually as a stand alone, but still be able to have full access to mac 1 from mac 2 (and vica versa), is a remote access application like Timbuktu (TB2).

    TB2 and other similar apps allow you see the desktop of mac 2 as a window on mac 1 over your network, and even over the internet. You can see, control, share, and delete anything on the remote mac. I use it everyday...it works great.

    TB2 is not exactly cheap, but I think there are some shareware apps that claim to do what you would want for home use, although I have not tried any yet.

    Anybody played with this yet?
    http://www.bombich.com/software/smd.html



    [This message has been edited by newbie (edited 11 December 2002).]

  18. #18
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    Thanks to all: I managed to hook up and operate two Macs at the same time using various pieces of advice in this thread. (When I have time, I will try to operate the third as well - Windows 2000 laptop).

    IOGEAR KVM switch and the router route did the trick. But I had to use the new keyboard that came with my new G4. I am looking forward to some fun trying to "make" the classic Apple ADB keyboard (like an old shoe, it feels SOOOO good!) work as well; ADB/USB adapter by griffin will be tried. By the way , the two computers were:
    1. the new G4 (which I partitioned as soon as it arrived into three volumes - first of OSX, second for 9.2.2, and third for dumb storage)
    2. an old G3 DT, souped up with 500 zif , USB/Firewire PCI card, two internal drives, and a lot of RAM.

    It was very easy to copy files back and forth among the various drives; I haven't tried the "heavier" documents ones yet. And switching from one computer to the other was a pleasure: simple keyboard commands work great. Yeah, my original wish in the original post (sitting down and not moving, just operating the keyboard and mouse) has been "granted"

    Gregory: what do you have against a router? I have a cable modem and several computers, and I need the router which, I believe, supports 10/100. I access internet through it and with the 500 Mhz G3, the pages load rather fast. Obviously, the new dual 1.25 G4 loads everything instantly.

    Oh yes, before I forget......has anyone heard of a simple media eject device, which plugs in as USB and has only one function: opens and closes optical drives? The G4, in the 9.2.2 boot-up mode, does not allow disk eject with old keyboard.

    marrand

  19. #19
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    Filesharing to PCs is doable in OS X without any other software, but can be more tricky in 9. I bet someone here can give you several ways to do it...

    You can eject from most keyboards with F12 in OS X; how aboout an Applescript to eject from 9?

  20. #20
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    I have a router and nothing bad about them. But a router with 10/100 rather than a router only or router/hub limited to 10 Mb would be slow for sharing files was all.

    It sounds like fun, that you got much of what you wanted, and... happy!

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