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View Full Version : Best Keyboard/KVM for PC/Mac setup


PaulFolbrecht
May 10, 2004, 12:43 PM
Hello and it's nice to be here (just registered).

I just bought a dual 1.8 PowerMac which I *love* - my first mac. I also still have a PC and want to share keyboard & mouse with a KVM. I kind of have a few related questions.

1) First, I did buy an IOGear USB KVM and have it hooked up to my Apple keyboard & Logitech mouse. Problem #1 is that double-ctrl does NOT switch machines as it is supposed to. I don't know if this is the fault of the keyboard or switch. (It has no hardware (physical) switch, so it doesn't work at all for me now.)

2) I'd like to use an M$ Natural keyboard but I don't know if I'll get Apple-key functionality with it. Will the Windows key function as the Apple key on a Mac?

3) On that note, does anyone make a Mac-specific "natural" style (slanted) keyboard? They are much easier on my wrists and I don't want carpel-tunnel.

Thanks in advance for any insight.

phillymjs
May 10, 2004, 01:19 PM
I use a Dr. Bott 2-way manual KVM with a Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop keyboard. I imagine the mouse that comes with it would work fine as well, but I used a corded Logitech. The setup works perfectly.

I've found that the fancy KVMs that offer hotkey-switching, OSDs, etc, are really intended for servers and are not as flexible when it comes to things you'd be inclined to do on your everyday systems, like remapping your mouse buttons. I'm a lefty who likes both buttons to be single-click and a mousewheel click to be a "right-click." I once tried a really nice IOGear KVM, but found that it ignored my mouse button settings and the media keys on the keyboard-- unacceptable.

With the Dr. Bott KVM, the machines basically act like you're yanking out/plugging in the USB and video cable when you switch from one to the other. There's no fancy mouse 'emulation' so the computer keeps thinking there's a device attached-- the KVM just passes the pure signal from the device through to the selected computer. The only very minor downside is that it takes a second or two, sometimes a little longer) for the USB drivers for the devices to load and recognize the mouse on the computer you're switching to. Actually, I only really see this on my PC (running XP Pro), the Mac is ready to go instantly. Also, sometimes my PC decides it doesn't want to load the keyboard drivers, and I have to switch back to the Mac and try switching again. Keep working on that alleged "plug and play," Microsoft.

As for a 'natural' keyboard, as long as Microsoft has Mac drivers for it it will work fine on both platforms, but to be safe check online for other people's success stories with it on the Mac before you plunk down cash. For the media keys to work, you may need to install Microsoft mouse drivers even if you don't use a Microsoft mouse (yes, this sounds asinine, but I ran into this problem).

~Philly

7on
May 10, 2004, 05:14 PM
Yeah, drivers are sooooo Windows ;P

Most of the time it just works (though I don't use fancy buttons)

PaulFolbrecht
May 11, 2004, 02:30 PM
Well, I had a spare USB M$ Natural around and it turns out it works great. Works with the KVM and the Windows key does function as the Apple key. I'm set.

Gerg
May 11, 2004, 02:43 PM
I have a Belkin USB KVM switch, the 4-port SOHO model. It includes jacks for sharing & microsphones, and allows for the shared use of a USB device, such as my HP LaserJet.

On the Belkin, Scroll Lock twice is the keyboard shortcut to switch between systems.

The only problem I seem to have is, on occasion, the keyboard will make a "Shift" something into a Caps Lock. In other words, I press "SHIFT" and release it, but it seems to "stick" as I type, though it's not physically stuck.