At JMU, the School of Art, Design and Art History moved into a temporary space while their building was being renovated. One consequence of this temporary space is that the rooms are extremely wide, leading instructors to frequently wonder away from the teaching console in order to interact with their students and the images on screen. This lead us to investigate options for a small handheld remote for controlling a MediaViewer presentation.
After trying out a few different options, we ended up with the SMK-Link RemotePoint Jade Presentation Remote Control (say that three times fast). Our faculty made it abundantly clear that simplicity was of paramount importance, but the Jade remote actually required very few compromises. The Jade comes with the standard Forward, Previous buttons, as well as a green laser point from which it takes its name. It also features four programmable buttons, which we’ve configured as:
- Toggle Catalog Data
- Swap Panes
- Swap Windows
- Reset Zoon
Because of the demand for simplicity, these are the only commands we’re actively promoting to our users, however the remote also has full mouse control via a pointing stick (similar to the TrackPoint nubbin you’ll find on ThinkPad laptops) both mouse buttons.
The remote handles all of this by emulating a keyboard and mouse. This means that the remote will work reliably with just about any computer, and that the four programmable buttons can be mapped to any MediaViewer feature that that has a keyboard command (which you can using reference using this handy document). And since the customization is written to the remote itself, you carry your customized remote and receiver to any computer without having to install any software. The software for programming is almost anticlimactically easy to use (though it does require Windows). It took me roughly five minutes to program five remotes for our classroom.
Finally, we whipped up some reference cards to go in the classrooms where the remotes were pre-installed. Click on the image to get a PDF that will print them four to a sheet.