I’ve been using Synergy to share my mouse & keyboard between my Linux desktop and Mac laptop in the office.
One of the features of Synergy that hasn’t been working so well for me is the screen-saver synchronization. I’m not too picky, but I do want to be able to quickly lock both screens at once so I can leave the room without leaving a bunch of server terminals open to anyone who walks in!
After a little research, I found that Synergy’s X11 server code looks explicitly for Xscreensaver, but Ubuntu ships with gnome-screensaver, which has a different interprocess control API based on DBUS. This is apparently an issue of much contention, as a lot of video players and other apps haven’t updated to speak the new protocol, and you end up with screen savers activating during long-playing files and such.
One possibility is to manually reconfigure Ubuntu to use Xscreensaver, but it would probably be cuter to add support for the DBUS interface to Synergy.
So I finally gave in and picked up an Apple TV unit; that frees up my Mac Mini from TV duty to be my main home computer, while letting the Apple TV concentrate on being a media player.
The good: unit is very compact, setup is pretty straightforward, and picture looks good once I adjust the ungodly color saturation my TV defaults to on the component input.
The bad: at least for the shows I tested (Veronica Mars season 3), video playback is totally broken at HD resolutions!
At 720p playback stutters very badly, with very jerky motion and sound out of sync from picture by about a second.
At 1080i I don’t even *get* picture during playback, just sound. (Menus display fine.)
At 480p everything looks great, though, and the currently available content doesn’t need more than that, so I’m leaving it there for now.
A quick Google scan doesn’t show any other obvious complaints of this problem, so I’m not sure if I’ve got a bogus unit or if it’s something funky with the Veronica Mars encoding that might not be a problem with other shows…
Update: At some point it started working fine. *shrug*