Monday, 22 November 2010

Go, go gadgets.....! I love 'em more than pizza

For the last year or so, I really haven't watched that much TV. There are a number of reasons for this and none of them are virtuous (obviously). Firstly, I live in the middle of nowhere, so my TV aerial only has a patchy reception meaning that most channels (coincidentally all the ones I want to watch) have a fuzzy screen. Secondly, I live in a listed building, so building regulations wouldn't allow me to put up a satellite dish that would provide me with a clear reception for all channels.

I had to come up with a solution and bloody quickly, otherwise those drawn out winter nights were going to last for an eternity. And then I had a brainwave! Why don't I watch TV programmes online on the internet using those new fangled 'iPlayers' that all the channels seem to have these days? Huzzar!

There were only two downsides to this idea; (1) I didn't want to watch the programmes on my laptop screen because it was small and had poor sound; and (2) I wouldn't be able to watch programmes 'live', but given that I am not really a fan of just sitting down and watching what's on (I have a set list of programmes I like), it was rendered inconsequential. 

So, after much research, I came up with a plan. I hooked up a spare laptop to my Denon Surround Sound System, and also to the TV screen. I waited with bated breath. And would you believe it? It bloody worked. Who's the mummy?!

I know that picture below is a bit dark, but you can see the TV on the top displaying what is on the screen of the laptop. Underneath is the shelf with the surround sound, and in the cupboard below, you can make out the laptop itself - the nerve centre of my entertainment 'system'. 

Pic.No.1. Blimey, it is like a bloody NASA launch pad round at my house

So, all was working well except for one thing which was a bit of a pain in the arse: Everytime I wanted to watch a different programme, I had to get on my knees and use the laptop's touchpad to navigate around the screen. In fact it was way more than a pain in the arse, it was a ballache.

Steve, Izzy's Dad, popped round for a coffee today, and whilst he was relaxing in my kitchen, I was ruminating about what I could do to solve the problem of remotely controlling my laptop (so I didn't have to keep getting up from the sofa and scrubbing around in a TV cabinet), when he came up with a bloody brilliant solution.

"There's an App for that," he said, almost as an aside.

"For controlling my laptop remotely?" I asked suspiciously.

"Yep, I'll get you set up now," he said.

First of all, I had to download the 'Air Mouse' App (free from iTunes) onto my iPhone. Then I had to go to the Air Mouse website and download the controller software onto my laptop.

Pic.No.2. The website from which I obtained the truly excellent Air Mouse

Once that was done, I launched the App on my iPhone and Voila! I have to admit that I was actually more than quite impressed.


Pic.No.3. I could control my laptop screen using just my iPhone (mouse is top half of the screen, and the keyboard is the bottom half)

Normally to gain this kind of functionality, you would have to purchase a wireless mouse and keyboard. But this app meant you could do all that by using your iPhone. How cool is that? Yeh I know I am banging on, but I love sharing stuff that is cool (and I'm not paid to do it godammit!).

So next time you want to plug your laptop into your TV after downloading a film, take note (taps nose) of the Air Mouse.

17 comments:

  1. very cool in deed. oh my the technology. what will we all think of next? i have to snicker at the sentence, "there's an app for that" because it seems it has taken over that old "do you want fries with that?" quote.

    happy monday to ya!!

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  2. That is so cool. I am going to download that app. Even though already have remote controls coming out of my ears.

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  3. What she doesn't tell is that she cant use that App 'cause she has no reception through 6 foot walls!

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  4. when you want me to put that to shame as me for a pic of my home setup ;) (dave)

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  5. Ok, well I don't want to be redundant by spelling out the obvious, but, you my dear, are awesometastically brilliant (and Steve has his good points too I guess *snicker) =)

    When and if I should ever decide to grow up...can I grow up to be just like you? =) xo

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  6. The beauty is that it works from your wi-fi so you don't need phone reception! Sweet!

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  7. I totally bow to your awesomeness! Seriously, that is genius. I'm over the moon impressed. No way any of that would have dawned on my tech-challenged brain.

    And I soooo love that you beat the system! You are my kinda gal, my friend.

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  8. I bow to you of Queen of Techiedom.

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  9. Brahm - I had a sneaky feeling you might like the one being a bit of a gadget freak yourself! Let me know what you think of it!

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  10. Poet - you are soooo right... and some of the apps are so bloody cool it is unbelievable.

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  11. Yeh, Dave... if you have a picture which out-gadgets me, I would love to see (with a narrative of course!!)

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  12. Nah, don't go growing up Jewell - it's not as much fun!

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  13. Why thank you BB and Jayne.... I was pretty pleased with the end result too!

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  14. Masher / Bren... you called me a geek! I am so NOT a geek! If you want to see a real geek - pop round Bren's house and ask to see the kit for his podcast... Now THAT is geek!

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  15. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a prime resource for free. I truly loved reading your post. Thanks!

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