A lot of us have a spare computer lying around. Maybe an old laptop, that still works but isn’t really suitable for most modern apps. Or, maybe you have both a desktop and laptop that you use at the same time. It’d be sweet to remote control your laptop from the desktop, but still use the laptops internal monitor. MaxiVista (http://www.maxivista.com/) makes this trivial. When you buy the software, you first install the server piece on what is referred to as the “Primary” computer. It then creates a small exe that you run on the slave computer, known as the “Secondary” computer.
When running, it takes over the secondary computer, letting you drag your applications onto it, just as if you had a true second monitor hooked up. I find this very useful when I work out on my back porch. I take my main laptop, along with an older laptop. I can then use the older laptop, which normally just sits gathering dust, as extra workspace to drag my e-mail onto. Also handy with Visual Studio, you can drag help or some of the tool windows onto it.
If you spend a few extra dollars for the Professional version (right now on sale for $27.96 US) you also get remote control. I find this VERY useful. I use it in my home office, and run the secondary program on an older desktop. I then remote control the desktop from my powerful laptop, and can offload tasks to the desktop like downloading updates or files from MSDN. All controlled from my laptop’s keyboard and mouse.
Again, if you step up to a ‘whopping’ 35 bucks (US) you can get the Mirror Pro version. This allows you mirror your machine to another computer. Think eXtreme Programming here, or maybe just code reviews. I’ve used this to mirror my desktop to a coworkers machine so we could do some code reviews. Much nicer than both of us hunched over trying to view the same monitor!
Some miscellaneous things: The Pro and Mirror Pro versions will let you control up to three secondary computers, which I have done. MaxiVista runs over a network, it is not a replacement for remote desktop control software. It’s intended for situations where all of the computers are together in the same room.
Some standard disclaimers, I do not work for MaxiVista or have any financial affiliation, I just think it’s a cool tool and endorse it with no compensation of any kind. All prices I quoted were on their website as of August 23, 2006. Prices will vary over time.
And finally, if I haven’t convinced you yet, you can download a free trial from their website. So what are you waiting for?