You know that stack of infrared (IR) remotes that's always spilling onto the floor? Your Palm can take the place of all of them.
You need software to convert your Palm into an infrared (IR) remote. Two choices are OmniRemote (http://www.pacificneotek.com) and NoviiRemote (http://www.novii.tv). You should look at the home theater devices that these two programs support and pick the one that is compatible with your gear.
If neither program covers all of your devices, then you have a couple of choices. If you have the remotes for your devices, and you are looking at simplifying down to just your PDA, then you can switch the applications into learning mode. Line up the remote and your Palm device on a flat surface with the IR end of the remote pointed at the IR port on your PDA and run through all of the important buttons on the remote. Save the buttons for each device under a unique name.
If you are missing some of the remotes, then you can try to find an IR code library on the Web. One good source is RemoteCentral (http://www.remotecentral.com), which has IR files under the Files tab on the home page. The files for the Philips Pronto can be used with OmniRemote by using a converter from the OmniRemote web site. If you can't find your specific device, then try to find a similar device by the same manufacturer.
Once you have all the codes for the devices you want to control, it is time to create button layouts. There are a variety of interesting button layouts on the Web. The web sites for the IR software have some button layouts, as does RemoteCentral. You can look at these for inspiration.
You should keep in mind what you want to do with each button layout that you create. For example, a common layout is watching DVDs. To do this, you may need to turn on the TV, DVD, and home theater systems. You could combine these actions into a macro, then have a single Power button that turns everything on. You might also need volume, play, pause, stop, fast forward, rewind, menu, and arrow keys. A button layout for watching TV might include a number pad, and channel-up and channel-down buttons.
One of the big problems with using a Palm as an IR remote is the limited range of the Palm's IR port.
Fortunately both companies also provide hardware versions of their products. Pacific Neo-Tek (http://www.pacificneotek.com) sells a Springboard module for the Handspring Visor and Handspring Prism. You will need to find a used Visor. The Visors have a Springboard slot in the top that can take plug-in modules. All you have to do is stick the OmniRemote module into the Visor. The software is pre-loaded on the module.
NoviiRemote makes a product called the NoviiRemote Blaster. This is an SD card that functions similarly to the OmniRemote product, except that it works with SD-compatible devices such as recent Palm-branded devices.
At the time of this writing, I was unable to locate a similar product for the Sony Clié.
1.17.2. Detailed Instructions
The first part of these instructions apply to using both OmniRemote and NoviiRemote:
188.8.131.52. Using NoviiRemote.
NoviiRemote provides standard button layouts for a number of different devices, such as TVs, VCRs, etc. You can easily switch between different devices, as shown in Figure 1-49.
Figure 1-49. NoviiRemote
Here are some tips for using NoviiRemote:
184.108.40.206. Using OmniRemote.
OmniRemote, shown in Figure 1-50, provides macros in addition to the standard buttons. A macro can combine multiple actions (e.g., turn on the TV and turn on the VCR). OmniRemote supports a different set of devices natively than NoviiRemote.
Figure 1-50. OmniRemote Pro
Here are some tips for getting the most out of OmniRemote:
When you find the appropriate device in CCF Converter:
Figure 1-51. CCF Converter
Either of these devices can simplify your remote controls. You will end up with a single Palm device instead of a stack of remotes. You also have the ability to create sophisticated macros to handle multiple common chores at once. You can see an example of creating a macro to turn on the TV, increase the volume, and switch to channel 25 in Figure 1-52.
Macros can give you a lot of power in a single button. With a few macro buttons on a single page, you can easily perform a number of functions.
Figure 1-52. TV macro in OmniRemote
Bluetooth, Mobile Phones, and GPS
Network Discovery and Monitoring
Wireless Network Design
Appendix A. Wireless Standards
Appendix B. Wireless Hardware Guide