Gadget Spot: USB Laptop KVM Switch

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Who knows what a KVM switch is? I didn't think many of you would.

KVM stands for Keyboard, Video and Mouse. Iogear's USB Laptop KVM Switch (selling for $50 at local Best Buy stores) is a gadget that plugs into the USB ports of two computers and lets you control one using the keyboard, video monitor and mouse of the other.

This comes in handy when I want to use files on my netbook, with its 10-inch screen, while I'm at home where I have a desktop connected to a 42-inch DLP HDTV. Using a full-size keyboard and mouse connected to that computer and its big monitor, I can more easily work with the netbook files.

You might also use a KVM switch to move important files from an old laptop to a new one, or from a friend's laptop to your own (with their permission, of course). It's a mighty handy tool if you do work on multiple computers.

Setup to use this KVM switch took mere minutes. I was controlling my netbook - and transferring files to it - within 10 minutes.

The KVM Switch, with its USB 2.0 capability, also allowed me to copy my iTunes library from my desktop to the netbook so I could use the netbook as the primary synching device for my new iPhone 3G S. It strikes me as a better idea to have a separate computer to synch each of my three iPhones.

Speaking of iPhones, there was heated controversy last week about the iPhone being capable of extending internet access to your computer through the AT&T's 3G cell phone network, but AT&T not activating this feature at the get-go. That feature is known as tethering.

In fact, when AT&T activates tethering later in the year, they say they may charge an extra $30 to $50 a month for the service. If this controversy has your butt in a bunch, check out on your iPhone's Safari browser (don't insert a www at the front of that URL).

I don't suggest you follow the instructions you'll find there, but it's supposedly a way to add tethering to your iPhone today without a "jailbreak."

Who would ever do such a thing?

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