Monday, December 11, 2017

How to control 2 computers with a single Logitech M585 / M590 mouse and use it to copy-paste file from one computer to another

The Logitech M585 / M590 are multi-device flow wireless mice that can be paired with up to 2 computers at the same time either using the Logitech USB Unifying receiver or using Bluetooth. The main different between them is that M590 is a silent mouse while M585 will still produce click sound like other ordinary mice.

New user of the Logitech M585 / M590 mouse might have difficulty to figure out how to make the pairing with 2 computers, and how to make use of Logitech Flow to seamlessly move the mouse cursor from one computer to another.

This is because so far Logitech does not provide clear step-by-step instruction on how to perform the necessary setting. The printed instruction that comes with the mouse is like this:

Are you able to figure out what does these 7 steps mean?

Anyway, I managed to find out the way to do it by guessing on the above instruction and reading a few articles which scattered around Logitech's website and forum, each of them are like piece of brain teasing puzzle for us to link them together to figure out the ultimate answer.

If you also have a Logitech M585 / M590 mouse, I am going to share with you the know-how here.

There are 2 levels of using this Logitech M595 / M590 mouse in 2 computers:
  • Level 1 - you can pair the mouse with 2 computers at the same time, but using the mouse between them one at a time.
  • Level 2 - you pair the mouse with 2 computers at the same time, using the mouse between them one at a time, but the mouse control can flow seamlessly from one computer to another, and you can copy file from one computer and paste it to the other computer by just using your mouse.

How to setup for Level 1 - sharing one mouse between 2 computers?

Unlike ordinary mice which can only be paired with one computer at one time, your Logitech M585 / M590 mouse can be paired with either one or two computers at the same time.

The different is this:
  • For ordinary mouse, you can only use it in one computer. If you want to use it in another computer, you will need to unplug the USB receiver from the original computer and plug it into the USB port of the other computer. For mouse that works with Bluetooth without the need of USB receiver, you need to perform Bluetooth pairing with the computer before it can be used in that computer. If you want to use it in another computer, you perform the Bluetooth pairing with the mouse again, and the mouse need to forget the Bluetooth pairing of the original computer before able to make a new Bluetooth pairing.
  • For Logitech M595 / M590, it can pair with 2 computers at the same time, and it supports 2 different pairing methods: either using the Logitech Unifying receiver, or using Bluetooth. It is possible to pair with 2 different Logitech Unifying receivers (probably one is the Unifying receiver that comes with the mouse, the other is the Unifying receiver of another Logitech mouse, or you purchased an extra Unifying receiver from Logitech). It is also possible to pair with 1 Logitech Unifying receiver and 1 Bluetooth. It is also possible to pair with 2 different computers, both using Bluetooth respectively, without making use of Unifying receiver. (Note: Bluetooth pairing for Logitech M595 / M590 in Windows 7 is not supported. You can read this article for more detail on the supported operating system.)
Note that on top of the mouse, there are 2 LEDs, one is labelled as "1" and the other labelled as "2". When your mouse is currently working in Computer 1, the green LED 1 will light up. When your mouse is currently working in Computer 2, the green LED 2 will light up. There is a round button for you to switch between Computer 1 and Computer 2. Press one time, the mouse control will switch from Computer 1 to Computer 2, press it again to switch back the mouse control to Computer 1.

By default, the computer that plugged with the Unifying receiver that comes with the mouse is detected as Computer 1. You can also make Computer 2 to use the Unifying receiver of the mouse too.

The way to pair the mouse to Computer 1 and Computer 2 is as below:
  • Switch on the mouse, LED 1 will start to blink slowly. If it found a paired Computer 1, the LED will stop blinking and stay on for a while, then both the LED are off.
  • Press the round button, now LED 2 will blink slowly. If it found a paired Computer 2, the LED will stop blinking and stay on for a while, then both the LED are off.
  • To make a new pairing with Computer 1, long press the round button when LED 1 is on. Then LED 1 will blink faster. At this stage, any paired information for Computer 1 will be forgotten, and it is ready to make a new pairing for Computer 1.
  • To make a new pairing with Computer 2, use the same long press round button method when LED 2 is on.
To pair with a computer using Bluetooth:
  • While the desired LED (either 1 or 2) on the mouse is fast blinking, go to Bluetooth settings in the computer, search for the mouse, and perform the pairing. If you are using laptop, you can control the mouse cursor with your touchpad before your mouse take over its mouse control.
To pair with another Logitech Unifying receiver:
  • You will need to download and install Logitech Unifying Software.
  • Run the Logitech Unifying Software in your computer.
  • Click on the "Advanced..." button.
  • Prepare your mouse for pairing. Either LED 1 or LED 2 should be fast blinking before continue with next step.
  • Now, click the "Pair a New Device" in the Logitech Unifying Software Advanced View window.
  • Follow the instruction on screen to turn off your mouse, and then turn it on again.
  • The pairing should be complete at this step. You should be able to see the name of your mouse under the Unifying Receiver tree listing in Logitech Unifying Software.

If your Unifying receiver is paired with more than one mouse, all the mice can control the mouse cursor on the computer screen. The controlling mouse will have an orange Unifying badge shown in the Unifying receiver tree listing.

If you want to un-pair your old mouse, you can do so in Logitech Unifying Software by selecting the mouse and click the "Un-pair" button. This is optional.

At this stage, Level 1 setup is completed. When both Computer 1 and Computer 2 are turned on and within the wireless range of your mouse, you can switch your mouse to control one of them by pressing the round button. When only one of them is turned on, your mouse works just like other mice do.

The advantage of this Logitech multi-device function is that you only need one mouse for multiple computers. Logitech M585 / M590 supports up to 2 computers. Certain more advanced Logitech multi-device mice such as the M720 Triathlon can support up to 3 computers.

The disadvantage of Level 1 is that the switching of mouse control from one computer to another is not automatic. You need to press the round button. Don't worry, after you completed Level 2 settings, it will be fully automatic.

How to setup for Level 2 - seamlessly flow the mouse between 2 computers?

You need to complete the setting in Level 1 for Computer 1 and Computer 2 before coming to Level 2. Meaning, your mouse must have been paired with 2 computers.

In addition, for Level 2 to work:
  • Both Computer 1 and Computer 2 must be installed with Logitech Options.
  • Network connection can be either wired or wireless. It can be both computers connected using network cable, or one is wired and the other using WiFi, or both using WiFi.
  • Both of them must be connected to the same local area network (LAN). If there are VLAN segmentations, both of them must be in the same VLAN segment.
  • The following network ports must be accessible between them: TCP 443, TCP 59866, UDP 59867 and UDP 59868.
When you are ready:
  • Turn on both Computer 1 and Computer 2.
  • Run Logitech Options in both of them respectively.
  • Go to the Logitech Flow screen in Logitech Options of either one of the computer. It doesn't matter is Computer 1 or Computer 2.
  • Turn on Logitech Flow.
  • The computer will proceed to search for Logitech Flow in the other computer. If successful, the Logitech Flow in the other computer will automatically turned on.
You can see 2 side-by-side rectangles in the Logitech Flow screen. The left rectangle belongs to Computer 1, and the right rectangle belongs to Computer 2. The computer which the mouse is currently controlling will be coloured in cyan.

Click on the three dots at the top right corner of the rectangle, you can see its computer name.

There are options for you to disable or remove it from Logitech Flow operation as shown. If the computer is disabled, you can come back to the same place to re-enable it. If the computer is removed, you need to perform all the steps in this Level 2 to link it back to Logitech Flow.

Note that there are a few settings you can change for Logitech Flow.

Switch between computers:
  • Move to the edge: When your mouse cursor moves beyond the right edge of Computer 1, it will flow to Computer 2. When it moves beyond the left edge of Computer 2, it will flow to Computer 1.
  • Hold Ctrl and move to the edge: This can prevent you from accidentally flow to another computer by requiring you to hold down your keyboard's Ctrl key for the flow to happen.
Screen corners:
  • When enabled, flow will work even at screen corners.
  • When disabled, flow will not work at screen corners. This can prevent you from accidentally flow to another computer when you want to minimize a maximized window and move your mouse cursor to the corner.
Copy and paste:
  • When enabled, you can copy and paste text, images and files from one computer to another.
  • The method is to select the text, images or files in one computer, press Ctrl-C or right click and select Copy action, then flow your mouse control to the other computer, press Ctrl-V or right click and select Paste action.
  • This copy and paste action will lag if the file size is big.
  • Note that direct drag and drop is not supported by Logitech Flow yet.
Now, you can enjoy the wonders of your Logitech M585 / M590 with Logitech Flow.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

My Logitech M590 multi-device silent and flow wireless mouse

One of my wireless mouse started to have the common mouse problem of single click becomes double click. Therefore, I have recently bought a new Logitech M590 multi-device silent and flow wireless mouse.

Despite this Logitech M590 mouse has some advanced features that distinguish it from ordinary mouse, its packaging is not impressive at all. Its price is higher than ordinary mouse too, cost me RM99 to get it.

This Logitech M590 mouse is very identical to its sibling Logitech M585. The main different between them is that, M585 left and right buttons produce loud clicking sound just like other ordinary mice, while M590 left and right buttons product almost silent clicking sound. This is ideal for night owls who share the same room with roommate(s). Now you can use your computer silently at night without disturbing the sleep of your  roommate(s), provided you use this silent mouse together with a silent keyboard.

This mouse operates with a single AA battery, and comes together with a GP alkaline battery. Logitech claims that its battery life can last as long as 24 months (2 years), which is pretty impressive.

Beside the battery compartment, you can find its USB Unifying receiver after opening its back cover. It has an on/off switch at its back for you to lengthen its battery life by switching it off when not in use.

At the back of its packaging paper card, there is instruction on low to setup to link it with 2 computers using Logitech Flow, which I find is not very useful because it is very difficult to understand. It is only a 7 steps diagram without any explanation words!

Anyhow, I managed to figure out how Logitech Flow works and how to switch the mouse between 2 computers and use its feature to copy-and-paste clipboard content and files from one computer to another, which I will explain in detail in my next posting.

This mouse comes with 1 year warranty, and you can register it in this webpage.

After registration, you can proceed to download Logitech Options, the software for you to configure this Logitech M590 mouse. The Logitech Flow function is inside this Logitech Options.

In fact, after you plugged its Unifying receiver into your computer's USB port, switch on the mouse and turn on your computer, after you successfully logged in Windows, the system will automatically prompt you to download and install Logitech Options.

However, the installation of Logitech Options was not smooth. I have tried in more than one computers. The installation process of Logitech Options will take a very long time, and I only managed to get it successfully installed after I terminated its installation after 10 minutes, and run the installation program again. The installation will magically complete within 2 minutes during the second attempt.

Therefore, you need to download the installer from the above Logitech webpage, for you to perform the second attempt of installation, or you will need to spend unnecessary time and effort to locate the installer file used by the automatic installation process, which stays somewhere deep inside your hard disk.

This Logitech M590 mouse has altogether 6 buttons, as shown in the Logitech Options screen below. The middle button is used to switch between Computer 1 and Computer 2, which you cannot configure for other function. The other 5 buttons which are circled in the Logitech Options screen can be configured to have function according to your personal preference.

You just need to click on the circle, and after that select your preferred function from the menu.

In the Point & Scroll screen, you can set the mouse pointer speed, enable/disable smooth scrolling, and set the scroll wheel direction.

The Flow screen is where you configure the Logitech Flow function. There are 2 rectangles on the screen, the left one is your Computer 1, and the right one is your Computer 2. Once Logitech Flow is up and running, the mouse can seamlessly flow from the screen of one computer to another.

I will explain how to setup Logitech Flow in my next posting.

Beside pairing with its Unifying receiver, this Logitech M590 mouse can also paired with the Bluetooth receiver of your computer or tablet that supports low energy technology. Supported operating system for Bluetooth pairing includes:
  • Windows 8 or Windows 10 or later
  • Mac OS X 10.10 or later
  • Chrome OS
  • Android 5.0 or later
This is useful if you want to use Logitech Flow with 2 computers, but you only have 1 Unifying receiver that comes with the mouse.

If you have another Logitech mouse with Unifying receiver, you can use the Logitech Unifying Software to link this Logitech M590 with the Unifying receiver of the other mouse, as the Unifying receiver can support up to 6 Logitech devices. I will explain how to link Logitech M590 with another Unifying receiver in my next posting.

If your Unifying receiver is linked with more than one mouse, both the mice can control your mouse cursor on the screen at the same time.

If you plan to buy this Logitech M590 wireless mouse, here are some "catches" that you need to consider before making your decision:
  • This mouse can work in Windows 7, but it cannot be connected with Bluetooth to Windows 7 computer. In addition, Windows 7 might have problem recognizing the Logitech Unifying receiver that comes together with the Logitech M590 mouse. Anyhow, it can still function as a mouse in Windows 7 with its Unifying receiver,  despite with these imperfectness. Therefore, it is more advisable to use this mouse in Windows 8 or above. I haven't tested this mouse in Linux or Mac computer though. It should be able to work with Linux Kernel 2.6+, Chrome OS, and Mac OS X 10.10 or later.
  • This mouse does not come with Logitech Darkfield technology and will have difficulty working on glass surface. If you need this feature, can consider the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S mouse, which price is more than double to this Logitech M590.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Automate Flow: Auto enable Bluetooth to connect to car hands-free when you are driving, else disable Bluetooth

This is an example of Automate flow. To learn more about Automate for Android phones, click here.

It is always a good idea to disable the Bluetooth function of your Android phone until you want to pair it with another Bluetooth device, such as hands-free system, GPS, audio speaker, input device (keyboard, mouse, gamepad, ...), etc. This will help to conserve some battery usage of your phone.

However, if you are always wearing a Bluetooth smartwatch that paired with your smartphone, you will need to let the Bluetooth function of your phone to always stay on. In that case, this Automate flow might not be so relevant for your need.

Nowadays, driving laws in many places in the world prohibit holding your phone in your hand while driving. If you are caught with that, you could be imposed with penalty and fine. Therefore, you need a hands-free system to answer to phone calls while driving. Many modern cars already have built-in hands-free function in their audio system. Certain automotive GPS device such as Garmin DriveAssist, Garmin DriveSmart, etc. is also able to link with your smartphone through Bluetooth to provide hands-free and some other additional functions.

Well, if you always disable Bluetooth of your Android phone and manually enable it whenever you want to pair it with a Bluetooth device, it would be very tedious if you are a frequent driver. You will need to enable Bluetooth whenever you sit in your vehicle and started its engine, and disable Blueooth whenever you parked your vehicle and stopped its engine, otherwise you will not be able to use the hands-free function. This Automate flow will help you to automatically perform those action.

In addition, normally when we are in a vehicle on the road, there is no WiFi available. This flow will also help you to disable WiFi when it detected you are travelling in a vehicle. You can edit the flow and remove the "Disable WiFi" block in it if your vehicle does provide WiFi connection that you want to use.

The flow begins with a block to stay and wait until it detected your Android phone carried along with you is travelling in a vehicle. This is a very interesting Automate block. Beside "in vehicle", it can also detect whether you or your phone is:
  • On bicycle
  • On foot
  • Running
  • Still
  • Tilting
  • Walking
  • Unknown
It makes use of sensors of your phone to perform the guessing, and report back with a confidence level. The "in vehicle" block setting of the above flow is as below:

The flow will continue its further actions when it is at least 85% sure that you are in a vehicle. The detection interval is set at 2 minutes. If you want the flow to react faster, you can shorten this detection interval, but it might drain more battery at the same time.

Once it detected you are in a vehicle, it will disable WiFi function of your phone (Block 3).

It will then detect whether the battery level of your phone is above 30%. If it is below, whether your phone is plugged to a power source for charging. If both conditions are negative, it will disable Bluetooth and do nothing. I put 30% battery level as this should be sufficient to keep your phone on with Bluetooth paired for quite a long journey. You can adjust this minimum battery level requirement in Block 14 according to your situation. If your driving distance is most of the time pretty short, probably 15% minimum is good enough for you.

If battery level is OK, it will proceed to enable Bluetooth, wait for 10 seconds for your phone to pair with the Bluetooth device in the vehicle (which as a prerequisite, they must be successfully paired before), such as your car audio system hands-free, or your GPS. If the pairing is successful, it will keep the Bluetooth connection until it is disconnected. Disconnection will happen when your car audio system is switched off (when car engine turned off), or when you manually disable your phone Bluetooth function (in case you do not intend to use hands-free during that journey. For example, you are a passenger in your own car which one of your family member is driving for that trip).

It will wait for 3 minutes before going back to detect whether you are in a vehicle again. 3 minutes is a reasonable minimum time interval for you to leave your car and then to drive it again. That will be the estimated time to stop the car engine, pump the petrol, and resume driving. For other occasions, probably the interval is much longer. You can edit Block 13 to change this interval shorter or longer to suit your need too.

In the event Bluetooth pairing failed after the Bluetooth is enabled, you are very likely to be not in your own car, but in another vehicle either as passenger or driver. Since the hands-free function is not available to you in that vehicle, the flow will proceed to disable Bluetooth and wait for a longer 30 minutes (which you can edit Block 20 to change it to be shorter or longer). 30 minutes is an estimation that you will probably won't drive in your own car, since you are travelling in another vehicle at that moment.

In fact, you can remove both Block 13 and Block 20 and immediately go back to activity checking if you want. The 2 delay blocks are merely for the flow to take a break (and save some battery).

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.