OS X and my DiNovo Edge are dancing!

Logitech

Logitech

I love it when a plan comes together, and none more so than when you get something working that you thought would be a non-starter. Enter the Logitech DiNovo Edge keyboard. I bought this keyboard back in those dark days when all I had were Windows PCs. The keyboard itself is a triumph of style and build quality and despite the fact that it looks grubby just 5 minutes after you’ve cleaned it, I wouldn’t swap it for the world.

Even so, since I bought my Mac Pro back in February this year, I have had the DiNovo Edge and my MX Revolution mouse plugged into one of the Windows PCs, and have been using Synergy to then share them to my Mac. Today that all changed. I finally took the plunge and decided to plug my Logitech peripherals directly into the Mac and run Synergy ‘server’ there to share them back to my Windows and Linux machines. It took a little tweaking to get the DiNovo keyboard working under OS X, so to save you the trouble I have listed the steps you need to follow below…

1. Go to the Logitech website and download the Logitech Control Centre software for Mac OS X. As at the time of writing, this is on version 2.6.

2. Install the software (even though Logitech don’t officially support the DiNovo Edge under Mac OS X).

3. Now you have 2 choices as to how to connect your keyboard to your Mac. You can either use the supplied Logitech Bluetooth receiver, or the Mac’s built-in Bluetooth if your model has one.

4. If using your Mac’s built-in Bluetooth, make sure it is on and ‘discoverable’, then follow the instructions to pair your Mac with the keyboard. If using the Logitech USB receiver you can skip this step as it’ll automatically discover the keyboard when you press the little connect button underneath.

5. Now this is the important bit for UK users unless you want your @\” symbols scrambled… Open System Preferences and choose International. Select the Input Menu button, then scroll down the list until you find Logitech U.K. Intl. Put a tick by it and also check ‘Show input menu in menu bar’. (Note – if you don’t install the Logitech Control Centre software, you won’t see this keyboard layout option). The joy is that by doing this you don’t have to muck around with key remapping software which can be pretty hairy when it doesn’t work properly (kernel panic anyone?).

6. Close System Preferences then go to the menu bar and click on the little Union Jack flag. From the menu that pops up choose Logitech U.K. Intl.

Hey presto, it works and… the key mappings should be correct. One other thing you could do if you’re a die-hard Windows user like me is to swap the Ctrl and Alt keys around so that Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V etc work as expected. Do this by opening the System Preferences again and choosing Keyboard, then clicking on the Modifier Keys button. Set the Control Key equal to Command, and vice versa.

Ok, the keyboard isn’t 100% supported on the Mac, but it’s pretty close and the following will work:

  • Holding F12 will eject the CD
  • The touch-sensitive sound slider works the Mac’s volume control
  • The mute key works
  • The touch-mouse-pad thing works
  • The sleep key (top left) brings up a prompt to Restart, Sleep, Cancel or Shutdown.
  • The Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons work.
  • The function keys all work as they should.

Unfortunately there’s no way to map the Fn+Function key assignments to applications etc. (I’ll keep

Mac Support

searching), but I’m happy it’s working as well as it does! Incidentally, I’ve also got my Logitech MX Revolution mouse connected to the Mac and the Logitech Control Centre software lets you configure the various buttons and scroll wheels as the MX is fully supported under OS X.

When I get the time, I’ll post up what I did to switch Synergy ‘server’ from the PC to the Mac, given that the Mac version doesn’t have a GUI. Ahh, the joys of being a Unix-clone…

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In Ctrl of my Alt – finally

Back from a rather long holiday – did you miss me? 😉

Well Apple certainly has been busy since I’ve been away. They launched the new iPhone 3G and managed to screw it up by leaving new users unable to activate their phones in the O2 stores. And what about MobileMe? Refunds to users, free 31 day extensions, what are they up to?! Anyway, more on that later because I really just want to share a quick Synergy tip with you.

Synergy

Synergy

As you probably know, I’ve been using Synergy to share my PC keyboard & mouse with my Mac and it works really well. However, there was one thing that always caught me out and that’s how the Mac uses different keys for different things. As a long time Windows user, my biggest bugbear is how the Mac changes with the COPY/PASTE keys, insisting on using Cmd+ C or Cmd + V. This means that on my Synergy setup I had to do a finger-twisting Alt + C and Alt + V when on the Mac screen to copy and paste, then reverting to doing it ‘properly’ when back on the PC.

Not any more!

Let me first say that I didn’t ‘RTFM’ (well at least properly) when I started using Synergy, I just wanted to get

Next time... Read the manual!

Next time... Read the manual!

the keyboard/mouse sharing working. I eventually forgot about Synergy’s help files and the result was that I started looking at key remapping software for the Mac to try and swap the Ctrl and Alt keys round. While I did find some suitable programs, I shied away from actually installing any of them, scared off by the fact that they’re all kernel extensions that carry with them the warnings of kernel panics if things go wrong. I haven’t had a kernel panic yet (touch wood) and I didn’t intend to tempt fate just to remap a couple of keys.

So I eventually returned to browsing through the Synergy web site again and there it was… the answer – Synergy will remap keys for you! Yes, you can tell the Synergy ‘server’ (in my case my PC) to remap keys for selected screens, so for example when the Ctrl key is pressed on the server, it should be treated as the Alt key being pressed on the Mac. All that’s needed is to add a couple of lines to the Synergy config file (C:\Windows\synergy.sgc) on the server machine, like this:

section: screens
  homepc01:
    switchCorners = none
    switchCornerSize = 0
  homepc02:
    switchCorners = none
    switchCornerSize = 0
  laptop:
    switchCorners = none
    switchCornerSize = 0
  macpro:
    switchCorners = none
    switchCornerSize = 0
    ctrl = alt
    alt = ctrl
  susepc:
    switchCorners = none
    switchCornerSize = 0
end
section: links
  homepc01:
    left = homepc02
    right = macpro
    up = susepc
  homepc02:
    left = laptop
    right = homepc01
  ibmlaptop:
    right = homepc02
  macpro:
    left = homepc01
  susebox:
    right = homepc01
end
section: options
end

The two important lines are the ones shown in red. It tells the server that for the macpro the Ctrl key should map to the Alt key and vice versa.

It works a treat, no more hitting the wrong key combination when I’m using the Mac. Obviously if you’re more used to the Mac and you’re using it as your Synergy server, then you can do this the other way round and make the Windows keystrokes behave like the Mac ones. I’m just pleased that I finally got it working as I’m using the Mac more and more, and the Windows PCs less and less.

Back to work for now, but I’ll be having a rant about Orange UK soon, and counting my blessings for sticking with Calgoo and Google calendar rather than imersing myself in the mess that’s MobileMe. See you on the flipside.