We've never talked about The Garage from Microsoft here at The UpStream, but it is something worth mentioning. The Garage is an initiative at Microsoft, similar to Google Labs, where employees are encouraged to work in innovative projects. Unlike Google Labs, however, some pretty impressive stuff has come out of The Garage. Most of the projects are eventually integrated into an existing Microsoft project or are used internally to speed development or deployment of said projects. From time to time, however, a project is so unique and so useful that it deserves to stand on its own, and today we have one such project.
The product is called Mouse without Borders. The simple, descriptive name succinctly encapsulates what it started out as but hides a lot of its true awesomeness. MwB, as the name suggests, allows you to use a single mouse across the border of your average viewport. In essence, a mouse on one computer in your office or home can move to another computer and control your interactions without having to actually connect the mouse to that computer. Reading that description was all I needed to try it out. What I didn't know was all of the other great features that are hidden behind the name.
To find out what all Mouse without Borders can do for you, see a video about the product and get the download link to try it yourself, hit the break.
For those of you who have seen the business offices here at PLuGHiTz Corporation, you'll know that my desk has 2 computers and 5 monitors on it. For those who haven't, I've included a photo. It can be very frustrating sometimes to be switching back and forth between keyboards and mouses simply to change computers. I can't even tell you how many times I have started typing on one keyboard expecting it to happen on the other computer. Needless to say, one of the first questions we had in the office was, "Can I use this to share keyboards, too?"
The answer is an emphatic YES. If you have transferred control of a mouse to another computer (simply by moving the mouse to that computer's screens), then its keyboard will also transfer over. In fact, I am currently writing this with the left computer's keyboard on the right computer. The impressive part is that there appears to be almost no lag. As I type, the text is appearing immediately in the screen. That is impressive to note because I am using a wireless keyboard which is then being passed over a network currently servicing around 12 devices, all moving a good amount of data at any given time.
Speaking of moving data, MwB also allows you to copy files from machine to machine, as well as sharing clipboards. While I have currently not experimented with transferring files, I have used the clipboard sharing, and it works like a champ. All-in-all, this is a really well-made, well thought out product that the designer should be very proud of.
If you would like to get a hold of this to try it out yourself, it is available from Microsoft's download. If you want to see a little more about it from Microsoft, you can do that below.