Date: February 7th, 2003
Article by: Roger (Hardware
Product was donated by: Tekgems
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The receiver, as I've said, connects to your pc via a 9-pin serial
connector. A lot of motherboards are actually starting the move away
from COM ports, sometimes including only one. A USB connection would
have made a lot more sense, however for the cost, it is hard to raise
too big a fuss. Besides, the serial connection does what it is supposed
to do, and installs very easily.
It is simple to insert the battery into the remote. Just
pop out the sliding tray, slip the battery into it, then slide it back
From there, just pop the CD into your CD-ROM, and if autoplay
is enabled on the drive, an HTML instructional page will automatically
come up. Find the link in the Installation section, and it will install
the software bundle for you. Simply follow the instructions, select
the appropriate COM port, and you are now able to use your new remote.
From the Remote Selector software bundle, you can decide
how you want the application to run (at startup, etc).
You can configure the buttons to do run various commands
in different applications. This is a handy (albeit time consuming) feature.
I found that the program worked great right out of the box though, and
a couple clicks later, I was good to go.
For those who find this application limited, newer open
source programs can be used such as WinLIRC. You are only limited by
your willingness to tinker with these applications to make them do exactly
what you want.
PRODUCT FEATURES & WALKTHROUGH
As I said, the remote is very small, and easy to loose
in the dark. The keypad is not backlit, nor do the buttons glow (which
would have been a nice, inexpensive addition). Each key is beveled out
however, which means that once it's in your hand, it is fairly easy
to quickly find the key you need once you've gotten used to the remote.
The range between the remote and the receiver seems to
work best at 10 - 20 feet. You have to make certain however that the
remote has a direct line of site to the receiver, or you can alternatively
bounce the signal off of a mirror, however it does lose some of its
distance if you do that. The only reason to do this would be to bounce
the signal into another room. I have my main rig hooked up to my TV
in another room, and the serial cable on the receiver isn't quite long
enough for me to point the remote to it from the living room. So I hung
a mirror on the bedroom door and was able to sit on my couch and bounce
the signal into my room.
You can also use the remote to move your mouse and perform
the left and right clicks. Keep in mind however that the mouse movement
is very slow, and if you are at 1024x768, you may want to just get off
your lazy ass and do it with the actual mouse. You can use the remote
in keyboard emulation, but know that it locks your keyboard. You have
to disable keyboard emulation if you plan on sitting at your keyboard.
I have read that this remote unlocks a DVD player's region
code, however I did not have a DVD from a different region to test this.
I also read that it removes Macrovision, allowing you to connect your
video out on your pc to your VCR without having to worry about image
scrambling. Unfortunately, I don't have a standard video cable long
enough to reach from my pc to the VCR (currently using S-Video from
pc to TV, but VCR doesn't have S-Video input). As such, these two points
must remain unconfirmed. I would appreciate any input from the field
however if anyone else has tested these rumors.
Lastly, I read that the remote allows you to skip hard
coded video segments, such as the FBI warning. This one I can confirm.
I even went so far as to insert some Disney DVDs which are horrible
for having long introductions filled with many trailers which you cannot
escape from once they have started. I was able to bounce quickly to
the main menu without any problems. I was able to also skip through
every single FBI warning on the dozen or so DVD which I tested.