Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Synergy and Spanning Sync

Here's a hot tip I read about over at PVP Online: it's called Synergy and it lets you share your keyboard and mouse with two (or many!) computers. It works with just about any platform (Mac, Windows, or UNIX) over the network! It's great for my desk at work where my MacBook sits to the left of my dual-monitor PC workstation. This way I can treat the Mac screen like a 3rd monitor in terms of keyboard and mouse, but it is still running Mac OS X locally. There is a system preference GUI wrapper for Synergy on Mac available as well called SynergyKM. It also gives you a menu bar item so you can see its status at a glance. The configuration is a little clunky, but you only need to do it once.

On another note, a program that I have been beta-testing for quite some time is finally ready to rock an roll! It's called Spanning Sync and it allows you to do 2-way syncing between iCal on your Mac(s) and your Google Calendar account! Changes made either in GC or in iCal show up in both. It takes advantage of Apple's built-in sync services. A 15-day trial is available and they are charging $25 for a 1-year subscription or $65 for unlimited usage. I've become addicted to it from the long beta period, so it looks like I will be buying this one - it's too darn useful!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Scott Adams and Brain Remapping / Alternate Feedback

Good afternoon folks! I've got an inspirational story to share with you. Scott Adams, author of the famous Dilbert comic strip, lost his ability to speak conversationally due to a condition called Spasmodic Dysphonia about 2 years ago. NB: This is the same disorder that Diane Rehm of NPR has. He retained the ability to speak in front of crowds and in presentations, but could barely say anything at all off-stage and when there is a lot of background noise.

About 6 months ago, he regained his speech by repeating a rhyme at a higher pitch, but later relapsed after coming down with a cold. A more recent posting details his progress with two routes: botox and another form of therapy with which he has had more success. Basically the issue is that Scott feels like he is speaking much louder than he actually is so his brain turns down the output volume. The therapy he went through trained him to hum at a certain pitch to get going on words, and feel for facial bone vibrations to get his volume correct.

The brain is an amazing thing... read his article and be inspired (or at least amused!).