I'm back from a long trip to India. It was a great trip. The weather is perfect in Pune this time of year. I have many updates to my Pune tips page. I'm still working on it and it will be up soon.
It was the first time I gave the presentation using my Apple Remote. Until now, I used the Logitech Cordless Presenter. The Logitech is an incredible device and it left some big shoes to fill. Here's my impressions of the Apple Remote as a presentation device.
- Size & design - it is very small and slick. Feels very good in your hand and fits in the smallest pocket. This is a great plus. You want to pocket the device so you can release your hands to draw on the board. If you have to return to your desk just to get the device and flip the slide, you're missing the point.
- Price - it's included with every MacBook and MacBook Pro (not included with the MacBook Air). Even if you lose it, it's not $19 replace (at the Apple Store). Than less than 25% the price of a Logitech Presenter.
- Simple to use - buttons are placed intuitively so you don't have to look at it when you operate.
- IR. It's just not working well - The freedom of the true wireless presenter was liberating, especially for presenters who roam around the class, like myself. The IR works only with a clear line of sight. Left your white-board marker too close to the IR sensor of your laptop? it won't work. Moreover, you have to take it out of your pocket, point it at your laptop and click. It takes too much attention. Eventually, I lost my confidence in the remote.
- No laser pointer - I miss it. I can walk with two devices in my pockets, but it's a hassle. I got over it, though.
- Missing buttons - the one button I really miss is the 'B' for making the screen go blank. I do that when I want to discuss a topic and have full attention. You can customize the settings with some third-party software. I tried iRed Lite, which is free. Unfortunately, it hung up on me on a daily basis. Leaving me with no remote at all each time it did.
The Logitech has more features, but not all of them were critical for me. The timer is a cool gimmick. I've used it and it's great. The only drawback is that I forgot to set it on many occasions. I use the Keynote Presenter Display to tell how much time passed since the beginning.
My bottom line: I liked the Logitech a lot better. It is close to perfection, in my opinion. The Apple Remote is just not built for presentations. It demands too much attention and disrupts the natural flow of the presentation. However, for me, doing only one training per quarter, the expense of the Logitech is not justified. Besides, training a class of students is different from a short keynote to a "hostile audience". I would go for the Logitech in the later case. In any event, be careful with iRed Lite.
One final thought: the Apple Remote got an unattractive yellowish hue. Reminds me of complaints I heard from white MacBook owners. Maybe I'll use some toothpaste to clean it.