Working Around a Glitch in Teleport

I recently shared my story of migrating from my reliable old (introduced in January 2001) Digital Audio Power Mac G4 with its dual 1.6 GHz upgrade and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to my first Intel Mac, a 2.0 GHz 2007 Core 2 Duo Mac mini running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. But a few days after switching to the Mini, Teleport stopped working properly.

Although the Mini is stock with a 5400 rpm laptop hard drive and just 1 GB of memory, I’ve made it far more responsive by switching to an external 7200 rpm hard drive connected via FireWire 400. That hasn’t made this little Mac a speed demon, but it has made it quite a bit more responsive.

I am planning to upgrade to 3 GB of memory and replace the internal hard drive with a Western Digital Scorpio Black, a 7200 rpm notebook drive with a reputation for speed and running cool. Maybe in May I’ll have the money to do that.

One Big Problem

Teleport is a great donationware System Preference produced by Abbyssoft. Version 1.0.1 works with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, which I run on my dual 1 GHz Mirror Drive Door Power Mac G4 so I can use Classic Mode. And version 1.0.2 is compatible with OS X 10.5 Leopard and 10.6 Snow Leopard.

As I detailed in 2 Macs, 2 Operating Systems, 1 Mouse, 1 Keyboard, if you’re using a Tiger Mac and a Leopard one, the “master” Mac must be running Teleport 1.0., but with Macs running OS X 10.5 and 10.6, it doesn’t matter which is master and which is “slave”.

You can use Teleport with Leopard and Tiger with no problems. You can use it with Leopard and Snow Leopard with no problems. But as I and several other users have discovered, you run into problems when using it with a Snow Leopard host and a Tiger client. The modifier keys (Shift, Cmd, Ctrl, and Alt) stop working when controlling the Tiger machine – and that’s kind of important.

Several of us have posted this problem to the Teleport forums, but no fix yet. There appears to be a version 1.1 in development, but until it’s finished, the problem persists.

My Solution

It struck me that if I were to use a Leopard Mac as master, it might solve my problem, so I gave it a try. First, connect the Macally iKeySlim and Logitech M705 Marathon Mouse to the Digital Audio Power Mac, which has taken over from a dual 500 MHz Mystic Power Mac as my Leopard machine. Then connect a keyboard and mouse to the Mac mini (so I can control it when the master is down or rebooting – all three Macs have a mouse and keyboard connected, although they are rarely used on the slaves).

Next, reconfigure Teleport so the Server no longer has Share This Mac enabled and the Mac mini has it enabled.

My plan was to have the three Macs configured from left to right as Tiger Power Mac, Snow Leopard Mac mini, Leopard Server. Problem is, Teleport requires that each client screen be virtually connected to the master’s monitor, so I couldn’t use this layout.

My solution was to virtually lay things out with Tiger – Leopard – Snow Leopard, although at this point I haven’t moved the monitors around. (23″ Cinema HD Display, 20″ Cinema Display, and 19″ Dell 1280 x 1024 display for Tiger, Snow Leopard, and Leopard respectively.) It does work, although it’s a bit strange moving from screen to screen out of their physical order. Something to work on this evening.

I’m happy to report that everything is now working as it should. The same keyboard and mouse on the master Leopard Mac control the Tiger and Snow Leopard Macs as they should. The only small issue I’ve run into is that I can no longer drag-and-drop files directly between the Snow Leopard and Tiger Macs – I have to drop them on the Leopard desktop, drag them from their to the desired client, and then drag the copy on the master to the Trash.

Overall, I remain very impressed with Teleport, and it’s nice being back to using one keyboard and mouse to control both of my production machines, even if it took a third Mac running Leopard to make things work.

Update: In 2014, I’m still using a setup of Tiger – Leopard – Snow Leopard. The Tiger machine is a dual 1.25 GHz MDD Power Mac G4 with 2 GB RAM, Leopard is running on a 1.8 GHz single-CPU Power Mac G5  with 3.5 GB of RAM, and the 2007 Mac mini now has 3 GB of RAM that 7200 rpm drive mentioned above. running Snow Leopard as always. And Teleport still keeps everything connected. (I also have a Late 2008 Aluminum MacBook running OS X 10.9 Mavericks with 4 GB of RAM and a 7200 rpm drive, my first post-Snow Leopard experience and my newest Mac.)

Update, January 2016: Teleport 1.0.1 is the last version to support PowerPC Macs. Version 1.0.2 works on Intel Macs running OS X 10.5 Leopard and 10.6 Snow Leopard. Teleport 1.2 is a whole new version that runs as an application, not a System Preference. It supports OS X 10.7 Lion and newer, and it may work with 10.6 Snow Leopard, according to the developer.

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