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Remote Control

The Apple Remote is designed primarily as a remote control for the Mac-as-media center, but it’s a useful device for mobile professionals as well. Right out of the box the Apple Remote supports Keynote 2, allowing you to advance and reverse slides by using the Forwards and Backwards buttons on the device. To get it to work with the original version of Keynote and any version of PowerPoint, you’ll need to download shareware applications such as Remote Buddy and iRed Lite. These programs allow you to assign commands to the Remote’s buttons specifically for your presentation application of choice, as well as a variety of other applications as well.

You can also use the remote to put your portable Mac to sleep when you’re done. Click and hold down the Play button for a couple for a couple of seconds and a strange icon appears that looks like the Apple Remote snoring. Continue holding down the button and a moment later your computer will go to sleep. You can also wake up your Mac by clicking on any button on the remote.

Not sure if your remote is working? Fire up Photo Booth and aim the remote at the built-in iSight camera at the top of the display. While invisible to the naked eye, the infrared light of the Apple Remote shows up in the image captured by the iSight camera as a pale white light. If the battery’s dead, you won’t see this flash of light. Switching out the old battery sometimes stumps people, but it isn’t hard. Press a blunt instrument like an unfolded paperclip into dimple on the back of the remote. A compartment will pop out which holds the battery. It’s a standard CR 2032 battery you can purchase at any electronics or hardware store.

The easily-overlooked but deceptively useful Apple Remote is a good place to finish our quick look at some of the hidden features of the MacBook and MacBook Pro notebook computers. There’s little doubt that both are awesome machines, and for most professionals there is little differentiation except for price. Either way, they’re great investments and with a little love and attention, will provide years of superior service.

Figure 7

Figure 7 Use shareware tools to beef up the utility of the Apple Remote by turning it into a device for controlling PowerPoint presentations.

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