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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes Pick of the Week
Salling Clicker The macosxhints Rating:
10 of 10
[Score: 10 out of 10]
This week's Pick of the Week is somewhat delayed, due to my travels this week. It's also directly related to what I did this week, so I don't feel too badly about the delay. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I gave a "Living with OS X" presentation to a couple of Oregon Mac user groups. The presentation was made in Keynote, and I was looking for a good way to control it remotely so that I could move about the room a bit. At the suggestion of a friend, I tried out Salling Clicker, which I had last looked at shortly after it had come out. Needless to say, much had changed in the year or so since I last looked at it -- and changed in a very good way. Read on for some details on just what you can do with Salling Clicker and a compatible Bluetooth device.

Note: Due to the late finish in Eugene, followed by the 100+ mile drive home, this is today's only hint. Late night arrivals and early morning starts don't seem to work very well for me!

Salling Clicker is a combination of a system extension and a package that gets installed on certain Bluetooth-capable handheld devices. It works with a number of phones and certain Bluetooth-enabled Palm Pilots, with varying features on each. My Palm (Tungsten T) has Bluetooth, so it looked like I was set. Salling Clicker then turns those devices into powerful remote control units for your Mac and certain applications, such as Keynote.

Download and installation couldn't be easier; run a package installer on your Mac to install the preferences panel and a background monitoring app, then install an application on your phone or Palm. Assuming you've previously paired your devices, running the app on the handheld will quickly initiate a connection with your Mac, and that's about all it takes. When I first tried to run it, though, I had an error on my Palm that read "Error: Invalid service record handle." After some digging, I found the cause was SUB -- as in Stupid User Behavior. I had installed the pref panel on OS X, but hadn't actually launched it, hence Salling wasn't running on my Mac! Once I opened the prefs panel, everything worked as expected. Unfortunately, my little screw-up meant I only had the chance to test Salling Clicker in Eugene, not Corvallis.

Once Salling has connected the two devices, you now have a very powerful remote control unit in your hands. I can't speak for the phone functionality (which looks very cool), but as a Bluetooth remote, it worked amazingly well. It comes with a number of predefined control scripts, including iTunes, PowerPoint, Keynote, various media devices such as DVD players, SlimServer, EyeTV, etc., Mail.app, iPhoto, and a few System utilities. You pick a "controller" to use, and that activates a set of commands. For instance, in the iTunes Remote mode, the Palm displays the current track and a list of upcoming tracks. A set of onscreen buttons, along with the physical buttons on the Palm, can then be used to send iTunes commands to your Mac. You can play, pause, skip, resume, etc.

In my case, the Keynote mode is basic but functional (due mainly to Keynote's limited AppleScriptability, I believe). If you're a PowerPoint user, especially the 2004 version, you get even more features -- you'll see the name of the current and upcoming slides on the display, along with your speaker's notes.

I was able to remotely start the presentation, black out the screen, and move forward/back through the presentation, all with great range provided by the Bluetooth connection. While testing before the presentation, I was able to use the Palm from about 50' away from the PowerBook, which was quite impressive. During the actual presentation, Salling Clicker and the Palm worked flawlessly, allowing me to move about the floor a bit while talking. If you do a lot of presentations, I highly recommend Salling Clicker -- or something similar to free you from the physical location of the machine.

The other modes in Salling Clicker are also very well done, though I don't have quite as much real-world need for them. Reading Mail, viewing iPhoto albums, and controlling your mouse via the Palm's screen and stylus are all amazingly cool tech demos ... and since you can write your own AppleScripts to integrate with Salling Clicker, the possibilities are endless. Clicker has a "30 click" free trial mode, but if you want more than that, you'll have to pay the $19.95 registration fee.
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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: rgray on Sep 16, '04 12:20:17PM
I use a Keyspan Presentation Remote for the same purpose. Good range and cheaper. It has a built in laser pointer too.

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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: robg on Sep 16, '04 12:27:41PM

Good range I'll give you -- we use the Media Remote at home on an iTunes iBook, and it does have good range. However, it's not cheaper unless you're including the cost of purchasing a Bluetooth device -- the Presentation Remote is around $50, and Clicker is $19.95. I'm assuming that people will not purchase a Bluetooth device just to use Clicker, of course :)

I was very impressed by the Bluetooth range on my Palm; I didn't expect to be able to go nearly 60' away without any problems...

-rob.



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: rgray on Sep 16, '04 12:54:52PM
Point taken, but I was including the cost.... I never cottonned on to the Palm thing - there is a IIIc sitting around here someplace that I bought, loaded, carried once and lost interest - considering my PB is always around the Palm seemed redundant. My cellular provider updates my phone every 2 years for free.... Besides, the Keyspan includes a laser pointer.. ;-}

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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: Fofer on Sep 16, '04 03:19:41PM

True but the Keyspan doesn't have onscreen VISUAL FEEDBACK like Salling Clicker does. The minute I was able to browse through all of iTunes playlists on a Zire 72, search for songs, start playing music as well as keep tabs on the upcoming songs...

...not to mention control a iPhoto slideshow (and see thumbnails of the displayed pic on the Zire screen!) I knew I had to register this damn fine application.

Comparing it to a simple laser pointer/remote control that happens to connect via Bluetooth is (ahem) selling Salling Clicker short. One is an impressive hack job, the other is brilliant technology convergence.



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: gourls on Sep 16, '04 08:38:18PM
I would do anything to have a remote for my computer. I don't believe my iMac has the ability. I never would have guessed there were so many possibilities. They all sound really good. Rob, great idea to go to Oregon. You never know what you could discover. :) cheers (like everyone else), brita (gourls)

---
Why must you try me?

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Use infrared devices as Mac remotes and vice versa
Authored by: tinb on Sep 17, '04 10:30:50AM
Please have a look at iRed if you are looking for a decent infrared solution. Compared to Keyspan it can not only receive but also send infrared codes. So controlling your audio/video devices is a snap.

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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: Viagra on Sep 16, '04 02:52:29PM

I had a similar reaction to my bluetooth device. I didn't think it would work as far as it did, but I kept walking backwards until I hit a wall!

BRV



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: BulbVivid on Sep 16, '04 12:58:37PM

I use Salling Clicker with an Ericsson T616. I more or less got the phone for the bluetooth capabilities (though the phone part has come in handy, I don't use it as much as the bluetooth). Salling Clicker makes a big splash with my non-Mac friends.

At first, I didn't think I'd have a whole lot of use for Clicker, but the app has proved me wrong. My Playstation, which I used for a DVD player, died, so I used my laptop, controlled by Clicker, to watch DVDs on the TV, which also comes in handy in hotel rooms. I also use it to control iTunes when my laptop is hooked up to my stereo. It also comes in handy for showing groups of friends all those funny videos I've culled from the Web—just hook up the laptop to the TV, use the mouse mode in Clicker, and away you go.

My favorite feature of Clicker, however, is the proximity control. I use it to set my iChat status and pause/play iTunes when I go to and from my office.
And because it's Applescript friendly, every time I come back to my desk, Victoria tells me, "Welcome back, Jason. You rock so hard. Super sweet."

I like the primary function of my cell phone, but with Clicker and my Mac, the phone is propelled out of the mundane and into the fascinating. Fun stuff, indeed.

Jason



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Sep 16, '04 01:38:17PM

I use clicker for the same settings as noted above, with the same phone even. however, the proximity sensor doesn't seem to work right - the phone never repairs with the mac unless i power it off and back on :\

oh well...

(BTW, Jason in Santa Rosa? I might know you!)

---
vacuums do not suck. they merely provide an absence that allows other objects to take the place of what becomes absent.



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: joestalin on Sep 16, '04 06:02:01PM

I've got a t610; occasionally I need to power-cycle it to get Clicker to re-recognize it when coming into range, but usually it works.

I also really like the passive features--the way it pauses iTunes when the phone rings, the way it sets my Proteus chat status when I'm out of range. For me, these are the real killer features. I'd love it if there were a chat conduit that allowed me to see new messages coming in (and perhaps respond to them).



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: BulbVivid on Sep 16, '04 06:08:57PM

Naw, I'm the Jason in Johnson City (Tenn.).

I haven't had any trouble with my T616 and Salling Clicker. Occasionally, Clicker will not search for the phone when I come back, and I have to manually reconnect, but it doesn't happen very often. Once or twice, I've had to power cycle the phone, but for the most part, everything works well.
You may want to join Clicker's support group on Yahoo. I had a question that was promptly answered when I posted there. The developer or some of the other patrons of the forum may be able to help you troubleshoot the problem.

Jason



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: salling on Sep 16, '04 06:27:44PM

Jason (and others),

If Clicker doesn't connect to the phone, this is most likely due to firmware issues in the phone (since a restart will help). There's not much we can do about this; keeping the firmware up-to-date should help.

Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to mention that we've moved from the Yahoo-group you mentioned to a phpBB2-based forum. A link to it is available from www.salling.com.

You're all most welcome to ask questions more there!

Cheers.
--
Jonas Salling
Salling Software AB

---
Cheers,
Jonas

*****
Author of Ericsson Client and MobileSync
http://www.salling.com/
*****



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v600 Support
Authored by: Sarek on Sep 17, '04 12:37:09AM

I don't think the clicker supports the Motorola v600 though and neither does iSync, but it will pair with your mac. I really want the v600, but I think I have to get the Z600 from Ericsson. :(

Jonas, please do consider attempting to get the v600 working with your clicker one way or another. :P

---
-Sarek



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v600 Support
Authored by: salling on Sep 17, '04 01:44:47AM

I'm afraid it's not going to be possible to support the V600. Sorry.

Best.
--
Jonas Salling
Salling Software AB

---
Cheers,
Jonas

*****
Author of Ericsson Client and MobileSync
http://www.salling.com/
*****



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OT: Victoria says ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Sep 16, '04 04:16:31PM
And because it's Applescript friendly, every time I come back to my desk, Victoria tells me, "Welcome back, Jason. You rock so hard. Super sweet."

That's not what Victoria has been telling me.

For the humour impaired: ;-)



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OT: Victoria says ...
Authored by: BulbVivid on Sep 16, '04 06:03:29PM

I kept telling everyone that monkeys can be clever, but nobody believed me.

Now I have proof.

Jason



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: raga on Sep 16, '04 06:52:36PM
Another software for controlling your Mac via BlueTooth is Romeo. It is free (as in beer and speech!) and it's Sourceforge page can be found here.

Perhaps someone could do a review of Romeo as well and compare it to Salling Clicker?

No, I haven't tried either (I do have a BT PB but my current phone doesn't have BT.

cheers- raga

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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: robg on Sep 17, '04 09:42:38AM

I had looked at this one, too, but there's no Palm support, just BlueTooth phones. Since I have a non Bluetooth phone, I needed a Palm solution.

-rob.



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: BulbVivid on Sep 17, '04 12:34:41PM

I had downloaded Romeo a while back and had given it a cursory glance, but since I had Clicker, I didn't really try it out.

Last night I fired up both Romeo and Salling Clicker (both can connect to the same phone at the same time) and kinda ran through their features side by side.

The main differences between the two apps are similar to the differences between most free apps and quality shareware or commercial products—the free ones usually lack the polish of the shareware and commercial products.

I was going to give a feature to feature report, but that was going to take a long time, so I'll just give you the gist of my observations (by no means scientific).

Romeo is a capable application, and seemed to work well with my phone. Proximity controls connected and reconnected with ease, though the auto-reconnect has to be disabled in the app's preferences. The interface is a little cramped for my taste, and the windows are brushed metal (good or bad, I don't really care, though I know some don't like it). Though Romeo supports Applescript, the scripts must be entered in a small box in the app's preferences, with no way to test or run the scripts. Also little quirks marred the experience, like having to push the joystick up twice in mouse mode to get the mouse to move up. And as Rob pointed out, Romeo does not support as many devices as Clicker. Despite its detriments, Romeo is a good app, mostly because it's free. If it were shareware, I wouldn't even consider it with Clicker around.

Clicker has a cleaner interface, and though the app is accessed through a pref pane, the developer has done a good job keeping things easy in a small space. Clicker has integrated Script Editor support, which is a major plus for me. Clicker also stays out of the way better (I had a hard time getting Romeo's dock icon to go away) and has more features than Romeo.

So, without going into excessive detail, Romeo works well, but Clicker works better and sets a high standard for others to follow.

Jason



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: raga on Sep 18, '04 06:01:04AM

Thanks for the impressions. I hope Romeo and Clicker both drive each other to further improvements by the time I get my BT phone next year.

cheers- raga



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: egon12 on Sep 19, '04 11:47:49AM

I have tested Romeo, well I use it quite everyday. It's extremely good, works fine and it's quite stable.
I use my SonyEricsson as a remote control for iTunes and VLC, and sometimes MPlayer. It worked without any problem. Compared to Saliing Clicker is less sofisticated (i.e. no search for Artist or Album in iTunes), but it's free and I do not need the "advanced" option in Salling Clicker.
Romeo has the "proximity mode" like Clicker, the creation of the Plugin is really simple if you know a little bit of applescript.
I used it once with Keynote, it worked fine, and the audience was impressed.

I would give 8/10 to Romeo, in my humble opinion.

Francesco.



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: azraq27 on Sep 16, '04 09:47:55PM

I've been using Salling Clicker with my T616 for a while now. The remote feature is cool, but I get a lot more use out of the proximity/in-call features. I love being able to script what my computer does when I'm there or on the phone. Now all I need is programmable lights... and the tv... I could have the whole house turn on when I get home. :)

My question: maybe off topic, but kind of related: I'm going to be giving a big presentation pretty soon, and I wanted to try out my phone as a Keynote remote, but I hate the light on the phone. The backlight is just bright enough to be annoying in a dark presentation room (at least, to me). Anyone have any idea on how to turn the backlight off on the T616 short of taping something over it?



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This might work
Authored by: BulbVivid on Sep 16, '04 10:58:27PM

I found this on a phone forum (esato.com):

"do you know how i can get into the settings file on my T616, i used to do it, now i've forgotten how

>*<<*<* "

if you do this sequence with the joystick and number pad, you get a hidden menu with Service Info, Service Settings, Service Tests, and Text Labels. You can go into the service settings and turn the contrast down to zero, which effectively dims the light. It's just not a real quick process, so if you have to get back to a functional screen quickly, it might not work for you.

Jason



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: JKT on Sep 17, '04 08:20:38AM

Don't your Profiles have settings for the Light/Backlight? On my SE T68i (the forebear of the T616, IIRC) , one of the options when editing or setting up a new profile is to have the Light turned off/on/automatic.

---
PB G4, 1.5 GHz, 2x512MB RAM, 128MB VRAM, 80 GB 5400rpm HD, SuperDrive, MacOS X 10.3.5



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Salling Clicker - Use handheld devices as Mac remotes
Authored by: BulbVivid on Sep 17, '04 09:23:51AM

Mine doesn't have off, just on and automatic.

Jason



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battery issues ??
Authored by: cynikal on Sep 17, '04 12:27:30PM

I found using sailing clicker (or romeo) that my phone's (t68i) battery gets quickly depleted.

Back before i used computer apps with my phone, when i don't use my phone much and it's idle, i could get probably like 4-5 days before i need to re-charge it.

When i started using sailing clicker (or romeo), the phone needed to be charged EVERYDAY, even if i didn't use the phone's remote control capabilities at all!

I understand bluetooth usage causes more battery drain, but even if i do NOTHING with sailing clicker the battery still gets drained fast !!?

I mean when I go online with my laptop via my bluetooth phone in the park or whatever, the longer i'm online, the more the battery drains and this is understandable because bluetooth is actually being used to xfer/recv data.. but when i'm not doing anything and the battery still drains somewhat quickly, i ended up no longer using sailing clicker on a regular basis because of this :-\

Anyone else have these battery issue with their bluetooth devices?



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battery issues ??
Authored by: danieleran on Sep 17, '04 01:41:52PM

Bluetooth phones maintain a radio connection as long as they are linked (paired).

My 610, connected via a Dlink USB/BT dongle, seems to lose the link randomly when I connect with the phone in Address Book, but with Salling Clicker, when I publish the menu on the phone, it seems more likely to stay connected, perhaps because Clicker is more aggressive in maintaining a connection.

Even if you aren't transferring files, the phone and the Mac's BT are talking. If BT wasn't in constant communication, it wouldn't know instantly when you leave the area. Actually transferring files probably has little change in how much battery you are using. While BT is designed to use as little power as possible (it uses less power than 802.11b), the tiny battery in small digital phones can't maintain a constant radio link for days on end without recharging.

Having BT switched on makes a minimal difference in battery life; having it on and connected (paired) sucks it dead pretty fast - you can almost watch the battery meter go down!



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battery issues ??
Authored by: kalinh on Sep 28, '04 02:48:44PM

I just got a T616 and also noticed a huge loss in battery power when using bluetooth. However, I did find that turning the phones 'visibility' off after it ahd been registered with my other devices made a noticeable improvement. On the t616 this is under Connect->Bluetooth->Options->Visibility



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Radeon Remote Wonder
Authored by: allanmarcus on Sep 17, '04 03:06:26PM

An alternative is the Radeon Remote Wonder ($32 http://newegg.com + $1 shipping). I just got mine is man, it is cool. Two notes: 1) you have to download the Mac software from atitech.com. 2) it is incompatible with the scheduling helper app used by Quicken 2005 (I just turned off scheduling).

I can now watch a movie on my mac, and control it remotely. Can also remote control iTunes and anything else. Lots of buttons to program, and can use global or application specific commands per button. Very cool for only $33. I plan on using it at my presentation of the Mac OS X Conference.



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Radeon Remote Wonder
Authored by: mattsrinc on Nov 11, '10 01:44:07PM

I've tried Salling Clicker and it really does the work. After spending nearly all day to get other solutions into a mess on my Macbook Pro (remote, mobile access, you name it Python, glib etc) my choice is SC, too.

But just before I entered an order I've read your post about Remote Wonder. Took it out of my old PC and plugged into Mac. Went to:

[url=http://support.amd.com/us/psearch/Pages/psearch.aspx?type=2.5&product=2.10.1.3.1.3.1&contentType=Tech+Doc+GPU&ostype=&keywords=&items=20]AMD Support Search]http://support.amd.com/us/psearch/Pages/psearch.aspx?type=2.5&product=2.10.1.3.1.3.1&contentType=Tech+Doc+GPU&ostype=&keywords=&items=20]AMD Support Search[/url]

installed application and it controls Keynote and other applications! 7 years old brick remote with 5 years old software ... not to mention a hassle I had to get it right on Windows XP (9.15 install onto 9.14 and some X drivers for home automation ...). Real quality counts, don't you think?

At least it will fit my presentation to academic adults this month. Thanks for a tip. I hope admin will fix my url above for Remote Wonder users.

---
Matt S Rinc
Webmaster, sysadmin and enterprenuer.
iPhone & iPad Developer


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