Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wireless Multimedia Presenters (and Presenter Mice)

When I started doing presentations with PowerPoint I quickly found a hurdle to get over. Being “chained to the laptop” just to advance slides was limiting my style. Having a remote controller that let me walk around would be a major improvement.

I wound up buying this little Targus wireless multimedia presenter (or presentation remote). A very small receiver plugs into a USB port (and thus needs no other power). The pocket-size remote transmitter runs on a single AAA battery and has a range of 30 feet. Two <> buttons let me go back or forward through my presentation. The bottom button lets me blank the screen or show the images. A round red center button turns on a built-in laser pointer. You can find a review of this product in PC World. Best Buy, OfficeMax, and Staples sell it.

It is not perfect, but it is simple and does what I really need. I always carry a spare battery because the transmitter does not shut off automatically. The on-off slide switch on the side is black, so I painted White-Out on it to remind myself to turn it off before I pack it away. The laser pointer is OK for a reflective screen. It is not powerful enough for a wall whiteboard.

There are other bigger, fancier presenters. Some have automatic shutoff, or longer range, or built in presentation timers, or cursor control, etc. If you look on you will find about a dozen different flavors.

Last month the Manage Smarter web site posted a brief article on Tools of the Trade: Mouse in the House.The four presenter mice they describe combine a wireless mouse with a wireless multimedia presenter (and laser pointer). If you use a laptop a lot, then you may prefer having a presenter mouse. My guess was that the Microsoft one would be like a flying car; it would do a mediocre job at both roles.

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