Today I would like to introduce to you an amazing USB cable KB-USB-LINK3M (Japanese text only) produced by Sanwa Supply Inc., a Japanese computer goods maker. This product facilitates file transfer between a Windows PC and a Mac. The standard price is 6,804 Japanese yen (87.5 US dollars), while Amazon offers 3,979 yen (51.2 US dollars) as of 25 Sep, 2012. Manuals, wizards, option lists – all text is written in Japanese, but I hope this hands-on could help you learn about this cable.
First of all, I want to tell you this cable can actually connect two machines on the same platform (e.g., Win-Win). However, you might as well buy an ordinary cable for that purpose because it will be much cheaper. Given that you want to connect a Windows PC and a Mac, I will focus on Win-Mac connection under the following environment —
- Windows: Windows 7 Home Premium
- Mac: Mac OS X version 10.6
Now let’s get started. Both ends of the cable are shaped the same way, and you can plug either cable terminal to a Windows PC or a Mac. It flickers in blue once connected, and may irritate some of you working in a dark cave. Now on both machines appears the installation wizard of the driver, which is stored inside the cable. You should just follow the installation steps.
In my environment, the installation went smoothly on Windows and Mac, but in the ensuing initial setting process, I failed in getting the Windows keyboard recognised by my Mac.
The wizard on Mac as shown below prompted me to press the key on the immediate right-hand side of the left Shift key, and so I did but nothing happened. What did I do now? Simply disconnect, reconnect, and press the key – and it worked just fine for some reason and my Mac has finally recognised the Windows Keyboard.
Set the positional relation of your computers
Now you need to define how the two machines are physically aligned. Right-click the purple “SMART DATA LINK” icon in Windows Taskbar.
Hover the mouse over the top of the displayed option list “マウスカーソルの移動方向”, and you will see another option list appear on its left that specifies which direction the other machine is positioned. The Japanese descriptions [右側] refers to right, [左側] left, [上側] up, and [下側] down, respectively. Because I set side by side my Windows PC on the left and my Mac on the right, I chose the option “ホストPCモニターの[右側] (right)”, but you can align the machines vertically, too.
If you have finished the initial setting, you can treat and control the two machines as if one, using a mouse and a keyboard that belong to either computer. I will use Windows’ mouse and keyboard to control both machines this time. Further instructions will be based on the usage environment I have configured as mentioned above.
Mouse operation and data transfer
You may be surprised how easy you can transfer files between two machines with this cable.
First, hold your mouse and bring the cursor in the Windows screen rightward. Now you see the cursor going to the right end, but bring it farther right out of the screen. What’s happened? Now the cursor has come across the border into the Mac screen! You can freely move the cursor from one screen to the other using the mouse.
The next step is file transfer. I’d say this is what you would get this cable for. All you have to do is drag a file in one screen and drop it on the other screen. Note the original file remains undeleted, in other words, it is a copy-and-paste operation, not cut-and-paste.
Character input and text copy-and-paste
Character input (both English and Japanese) on one machine by the other’s keyboard has worked all fine except shortcut commands. Let’s say you edit a file on Mac. You can type characters using the Windows keyboard, but you cannot execute the “Ctrl + S” command to save the document.
Copy-and-paste on a text level was no problem, in either way (Win to Mac, Mac to Win), and in both English and Japanese.
One of the biggest advantages of KB-USB-LINK3M is that you can transfer files between Windows and Mac intuitively without a complicated configuration. Having said that, I’d have to admit the initial keyboard setting was sometimes a bit of a drag. This cable costs more than ordinary USB cables; however, it may deserve the price if you have an occasional need to transfer files back and forth between a Windows PC and a Mac.