September 13, 2011 report
No-borders mouse runs across screens
(PhysOrg.com) -- Microsoft has announced a free download that lets you work your mouse to navigate across multiple PCs. Mouse Without Borders is the name of the program and it is drawing positive reviews from first-time users taking it on a test drive. They like the program's ease of use in navigating multiple computers on the desk with a single mouse and keyboard, as if the machines were simply multiple displays of the same system.
The program lets a user copy and paste from one computer to the next; drag and drop files from one machine to the next; log in to all the PCs on the desk at once and lock all the connected PCs at once.
Up to four PCs can sync up into one unit.
The free program is a 1.1 MB download and no additional hardware is required. What is required is that all the computers involved be on the same local network. You install Mouse Without Borders on the first PC. You are given a security key and then you key in the information into the other PCs, and you have them linked. You can move the keyboard and mouse across the computers.
As any open source developer can attest, Microsoft is not known for giving away its software free but this new application is the product of "The Garage" which is both a physical place in Building 4 at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters and a company program. The Garage welcomes sandbox tinkering and project incubations by employees outside their regular working hours.
Mouse Without Borders easily won attention inhouse and it was decided to download the app to the public. The video shows developer Truong Do as the creator. Truong Do, when not at the Garage, works for Microsoft Dynamics, the ERP and CRM line of applications designed to work with other Microsoft software.
The Garage and its science fairs within Microsoft helped expose the project to 9,000 people before it was ready for external release as a free download. According to reports, they subjected the app to rigorous tests to ensure they could bring it to the public bug-free.
Truong had been looking for an easier way to cope with different mouse and keyboard configurations for each PC in the office, so he devised his own solution.
"The project is testament to the power of The Garage which helped Truong develop the user interface and set up the usability tests that have helped the tool become very accessible and easy to use," said Steve Clayton of TechNet.
This is not the first time, though, for an application such as this. Open-source Synergy has a following, as a program that enables a user to share mouse and keyboard between multiple computers. Unlike Windows-only Mouse Without Borders, Synergy is supported on Windows, OS X and Linux.
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