Being a Mac user in a Windows world can be tough. If you’re like me, even if you use Windows professionally, there are certain Mac apps that are essential to your productivity. For me, OmniFocus and OmniOutliner are two that come to mind immediately. In my search for ways to make my Macs play nicer in a Windows universe, I recently discovered one of the coolest gadgets I’ve come across in a long time – the J5 Create Wormhold Switch. It helps me join my Windows and Mac computers – literally.
The full name of the product is the JUC400 Wormhole Switch – USB Transfer Cable. Think of it as a different take on a KVM switch, with some special sauce stirred in. It’s almost like a hardware version of Synergy, with drag and drop thrown in, and without the need for your machines to be on the same network.
You plug one end into your Windows PC and the other end into your Mac, and then you’re able to move your cursor from the edge of your Windows PC over to your Mac’s screen, or vice versa, using the same keyboard and mouse. You can drag and drop files between macines, and copy and paste content as well. Maybe I’m easily impressed, but this pretty much blew my mind. I can now keep OmniFocus up on one screen, and move back and forth to it from my Windows PC without a second thought, using a single keyboard and mouse.
There are a few caveats you should keep in mind. First, there is a very slight delay when you reach the edge of one screen and move onto the next, but the delay certainly isn’t a deal breaker (if you prefer, you can also toggle between screens with an ALT-S keyboard command). Next, if one of your machines is a laptop, and you want it hooked up to an external monitor, the Wormhole Switch doesn’t remove the need to connect the laptop directly to the monitor with a monitor cable. The switch is only operating to share the mouse and keyboard, and to send the copy and paste magic back and forth between machines.
When I first hooked this up, I was a bit disappointed because the mouse tracking on my secondary machine (my Mac) seemed a bit slow. It turned out that my tracking speed was set low in my System Preferences. Once I turned that up, I couldn’t even tell that my mouse and keyboard weren’t connected directly to my Mac.
I’ve been using the switch for about a few weeks now, and I’m still giddy over it. If you use both a Mac and a Windows PC, it is worth a look. The switch currently lists for $28.79 on Amazon (the Amazon links in this article use my Amazon affiliate account, meaning I get a very small slice of any purchase you make on Amazon). I found mine at Best Buy, if you like to support brick and mortar stores.