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25 Days of Gadgets - Day 6

December 9, 2008 - Dave Hecei
When Apple switched to the Intel processor, it was the beginning of a new era for the Macintosh. When the first Intel based Macs were released, Apple also added a new feature and software called Front Row. With the Front Row software and a new infrared remote, the Apple Remote, the Mac was transformed into a Media Center.

The Apple Remote is small with a minimal amount of buttons, an obvious design decision by Steve Jobs. It is now used to control Macs, iPods (you also need the optional iPod Dock), and the Apple TV.

The Apple Remote is included with new iMacs and Mac minis but not with new Apple notebooks. The reason for the missing remote is a mystery. For those who like to watch movies, play slide shows, or use there Mac as an iTunes jukebox, then the Apple Remote is an inexpensive, about $20, gift.

For those who want to do more with a remote, there is an answer. Keyspan makes a versatile remote called the Express Remote. The Express is small and sleek with 17 buttons. The Keyspan Remote works with practically any USB Mac, OS 8.6 or better, and even with Windows PCs.

The Express Remote is a two-piece unit, the remote and a USB IR receiver base. This base can also hold the remote when not in use. The Keyspan Remote is a must for anyone who uses an Airport Express wireless router to stream iTunes music. The Keyspan Remote connects to the USB port of the Airport Express allowing you to locally control iTunes.

When the Keyspan Remote is connected directly to a Mac, you can control more than just iTunes. The included software allows the user to control other programs. It works great for MS PowerPoint or Apple Keynote presentations. The Keyspan Express is price around $50.

The Apple Remote and Keyspan Express is available at Apple retailers and the Apple Store. The Keyspan Express is also found where most PC accessories are sold.


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