With my laptop now back in the shop again, I have returned to my pair of Mac minis. Not entirely pleased to suffer the bonds of VGA, I pursued a DVI KVM. The only one I could find was an OmniView KVM from Belkin. On the PC Connection website, it indicates that the OmniView is Mac compatible, as does follow-up research at the Belkin site. Excellent, I think I have found my beastie! I order it and await its arrival.
A few days later, I unpack the unit, unpack the separately ordered KVM cables, and hook it all up. The design of the KVM itself is a bit odd, it is not your typical rectangular box, but in the right sort of situation odd design can triumph over beige boxes. Included in the box was a transformer plug, complete with L shaped AC adaptor. There’s a slight problem in the design here, plugging in the L-shaped adaptor either blocks a USB port, or it blocks the Monitor DVI port. Suddenly, I’m wondering who made that design call. Attaching the Belkin-issue KVM Cables made a second design flaw fairly obvious: you have to nearly crimp the cables to get the sheath to stay on the back.
What really got my goat was what happened next. With everything in place, I was greeted with the sort of beeping a piece of life-support equipment might make if I’d suddenly had a heart-attack. A glance at the manual showed nothing, but a phone call to Belkin revealed the true nature of the problem: Belkin doesn’t recognize Apple’s USB Keyboard as a USB Keyboard. Unless you have a PC-compatible (whatever that means, I was under the impression that USB keyboards were USB keyboards…) keyboard, it won’t stop the beeping.
The tech-support representative wanted to walk me through the process of flashing the firmware on the device, except that to do this you need a PC with a Parallel Port. I would argue that this device is, in only the loosest of terms, Mac-compatible, for to do anything with it, you’d need PC accessories, which likely Mac users will not have. Saying that it will work with any DVI machine, while forcing you to use one set of accessories is barely compatibility, and Belkin ought to reconsider the language on their site.
Seen a good DVI switch? Had a similar experience? Let me know.