To kwkard (“I have searched high and low for a utility that will let me use the infared port on my laptop as a remote control for the tv and such. All i could find is a utility for the palm pilot which ive been using for a while now.”):
- I have also been looking for the same type of application. I had a friend who could have easily written one using 8086 assembler code in single day, but sadly, he passed away in 2005.
To Upp3rd0G (“Look up the specs of your irda-port on your laptop. It will probably show you that the range of the irda-port is something like 1 meter… not really a range usefull as a remote controller.”):
- I have a short-range IR RS232-port dongle for my TimexDatalink. Perhaps someone makes a longer range USB powered IR transmitter that could be used for this purpose?
To Anyone: This really shouldn’t be such a huge project. It only has two requirements: A long-range IR transmitter powered by the USB port, and software to drive it. No doubt some hobbyist has already made and programmed one for him (or her) self and we simply haven’t found mention of it yet because they maybe thought it wasn’t marketable or simply didn’t feel like marketing it. They probably did it just to see if they could. My friend was like that…
The friend I mentioned above, was a retired systems software engineer and avid PC hobbyist dating back to the 70’s. I think he ate bits&bytes for breakfast and I know he could directly read hex code as assembly instructions. Things he’d done for me included writing an X-10 Windows GUI interface way back when X10.com themselves only had a text-based one written in BASIC - in 3 days. On day one, using two PC’s and my RS232-based X10 controller, he connected one of the PC’s as a break-out box to use for analyzing the X10 RS232 signals from their own BASIC program (including writing his own code for the purpose). On day two, he installed VisualBasic 3.0 (brand new at that time) and learned how to use it (rather than trying to do Windows GUIs from assembler directly). On day three, using Visual Basic and the PC rigged as a break-out box, he put together the program that I used as a GUI interface for the X10 RS232 based remote controller. It wasn’t until a few years later that X10 came out with their own ActiveHome GUI software for the X10 interfaces.
In another example, I was an aide for a handicapped boy with cerebral palsy who couldn’t work hand controls, but instead used head-switches he bumped by tilting his head left or right against his wheelchair’s headrest where the switches were fastened. As the switches he used for his CheapTalk4 were connected to the CheapTalk using simple standard 1/8" diameter mono plugs, I modded a cheap optical mouse with earphone jacks connected to the left/right mouse buttons and asked my friend to write a mouse intercept driver that would allow the user to program left/right mouse clicks as an two keys on the keyboard, including choices like PgUp/PgDn, left or right arrows, T or F (for True/False quizzes), or anything else. The next day, my friend had written and emailed me an 84kb exe file and 129kb dll file called MouseTrap that worked in Windows - any version from 95 to XP and which still works in Vista. With the head switches plugged into the mouse, the boy with CP has been able to turn pages in Powerpoint documents and control reading materials at his own pace now. The program MouseTrap is available free from
Even “before IBM PC’s” (pre-1981), my PC hobbyist friend had done me software favors, as when I modded my TRS-80 Model 1 with 96kb of physical RAM and he disassembled Visicalc and patched it for me to make use of the extra RAM. I really miss him.