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ScreenRecycler - Extra desktop space from another Mac Pick of the Week
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[Score: 8 out of 10]
Last year, I gave a PotW award to JollysFastVNC, a speedy VNC client. That product was actually a spin-off from ScreenRecycler, which is interesting in its own right. Just what is ScreenRecycler? A program that lets you use another computer -- Mac or Windows -- as an additional screen for another Mac. In other words, it's a virtual second monitor. This is actually something that I'm asked relatively ofen: "Hey, I've got this old Mac, can I somehow connect it to my main Mac to use as a second screen?" My typical answer has been "no, that's not something you can really do." But now, with ScreenRecycler, you can actually do just that. ScreenRecycler uses JollysFastVNC to connect two machines together, but sets up the second machine as an extended desktop for the first machine, rather than just controlling that machine's screen.

There's a video on this page of the ScreenRecycler site that shows the program in action, using a PowerBook G4 as an additional screen for a MacBook Pro. It really is a pretty impressive solution, and works well for most programs. The exception are those programs that require hardware accelerated graphics; they may not work at all, or may not work correctly, when used on a second display that's running through ScreenRecycler. But for non-intensive tasks such as displaying palettes, editing text, writing emails, and even watching videos, ScreenRecycler works quite well (the faster the connection between the two machines the better, obviously). While it's not cheap, it's a heck of a lot less expensive than a second monitor.
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ScreenRecycler - Extra desktop space from another Mac
Authored by: Auricchio on Jun 23, '08 01:12:44PM

Using a Mac as a screen is a neat capability, but a horrible waste of electricity.

---
EMOJO: mojo no longer workin'



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ScreenRecycler - Extra desktop space from another Mac
Authored by: frgough on Jun 24, '08 07:30:45AM

Waste is defined as spending something purposelessly. If gaining the extra screen increases your productivity or adds value to your work, then spending money for a new monitor would be the waste, and the electricity spent is actually a worthwhile use of that resource.

Of course, I know what you meant, but I refuse to participate in your guilt.



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ScreenRecycler - Extra desktop space from another Mac
Authored by: hamarkus on Jun 23, '08 02:09:31PM

If I see this correctly, this would allow me to have more than one external screen with a laptop?



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ScreenRecycler - Extra desktop space from another Mac
Authored by: taxi on Jun 24, '08 04:07:26AM

You can also use it to have a pseudo second screen on a Mac Mini that is running a TV as a media centre. It's not quite perfect, but means you can do stuff on that machine without interrupting what's showing on the TV.



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ScreenRecycler - Extra desktop space from another Mac
Authored by: hamarkus on Jul 15, '08 01:20:09AM

Well, TightVNC (installed on a PC) is unable to connect to my Mac (where Screenrecyler is running). I've tried changing the ports from the default 6900 to 7900, no change. The Mac can initiate a RDC session on the PC, so I know they can connect to each other. On the Mac, ScreenRecyler is listed in the Firewall as exempted application.

There might still be a firewall on the PC preventing the connection, but I have no idea how to check this. Or there are some settings in TightVNC that I would have to change for this.



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Got it working
Authored by: hamarkus on Jul 15, '08 01:55:48AM

Switching the port in Screenrecycler to 5900 made it work (I had tried to set the port in TightVNC to 6900 but apparently that did not stick).



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