KVM Switches

MiniView Dual Platform –
Monitor/keyboard/mouse switch

I looked up this product I depend on so much. Though a little higher than I remembered (about $129.99, PC, manufacturer direct), it is still well worth it if you run two or more computers and have limited space. The manufacturer is Iogear. They offer models for Mac, PC, or both. A two-port (two machine) and four-port model is also offered. I checked one of the leading mail order houses but they seemed high at $179. For manufacturer’s info, try this link:

http://www.iogear.com/products/

This type of device is called a KVM switch (keyboard, video and mouse), and there are several brands available. Do a search on a mail order website for the word ‘MiniView’, or the generic ‘KVM’.

This device is an electronic switch to toggle one keyboard, monitor and mouse back and forth between multiple machines with just a predefined keyboard stroke. There is also a pushbutton on the switch, but I quickly preferred the keystroke method. It comes with all the connecting cables (probably worth $60) for connecting to two computers, and the cables are color coded and molded together, removing another source of “rat’s nest” from our desktops. Operation with my two PC’s, on my tiny writing desk, has been totally reliable and seamless.

I used to use a bulky, unreliable mechanical “A/B monitor switchbox”, and I just used two keyboards and two mice. This required two desks. In our apartment, that’s now impossible, but I still wish I’d known about KVM switches years ago. Despite the price, I can enthusiastically recommend this technology and the Iogear brand. Other readers may have experience with other brands, and I hope we’ll hear from them if that is the case.

(2002 Note: this product mysteriously crapped out a few months after this 2001 article was posted. We then switched to a LinkSys KVM 2-port, which we liked, and then to a Belkin OmniView 4-port USB KVM switch, which works but has all of the quirks of USB and some of its own.)

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