Do I need an RF mouse?
January 11, 2008 12:26 PM   Subscribe

I want to be able to click through some Powerpoint slides in a really large room when my computer is at the other end of it (about 100 ft away). There are no physical boundaries in the way (it's in direct sight). Do I need an RF mouse for this? If so, does anyone have recommendations of good ones to buy? and where? It doesn't need to be overly fancy, probably a click and maybe a RMB click would be sufficient...
posted by royalchinook to Technology (8 answers total)
Just a note to be pretty careful here and picky on what you buy. Wireless mice typically have a range measured in the 1 - 10 feet range.

The standard effective range of Bluetooth, on the other hand, is about 10 metres (30 feet) and by choosing the right piece of software, you might even be able to use your mobile phone's keypad to control the presentation! At the worst, there are plenty of Bluetooth mice and "presentation remotes" out there (Google for "presentation remote" brings up too many to count). There are many ways to extend Bluetooth range significantly beyond 10 metres/30 feet but a lot of it comes down to testing and luck.

Another possibility is an infrared controller, which can do 50 - 100 feet without significant issues, but the main drawback is that you can't just swan around the stage with the remote tucked in your hand.. you've actually gotta be pointing it at the receiver (to some degree) :)

Hopefully someone with experience of a specific product they can recommend will be along soon, but I just wanted to highlight some of the options and potential pitfalls.
posted by wackybrit at 12:41 PM on January 11, 2008

A quick Google search turned up a lot of RF presentation clickers, but most of them have a range of less than 100 ft. The Gyration Air Mouse is advertised as having a 100 ft range, but YMMV.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:46 PM on January 11, 2008

And if budget was not an issue.... I would go with the Perfect Cue!

I used to do corporate AV and these would never let us down, even in huge rooms. It's simple, and it always works.

posted by ddaavviidd at 1:00 PM on January 11, 2008

I think you're looking for a Presentation remotes. I have a small one off the shelf from an electronics store and it works great. I've never tested it over 20 feet or so, but it's RF, and in theory, they should carry pretty well. The amazon reviews may be helpful.
posted by chrisamiller at 1:30 PM on January 11, 2008

It's ugly and cheap, but I've found the ATI Remote Wonder USB RF remote to have a huge range. They are a bit hard to find as a standalone unit, but mine (which may have an exceptional range; YMMV) works across even large halls.

It has a ton of programmable keys, and there's a really great OS X driver too.
posted by scruss at 2:43 PM on January 11, 2008

D'San Perfect Cues are indeed the way to go.

You can rent them from most AV supply companies.

If you are in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, I have a source for rental of them.

The Interlink/Kensington ones work well enough, but I've had them get sketchy anywhere past about 80 feet.

Another possibility is to run VGA the length of the room. 100 feet is no problem for VGA from most laptops, as long as the cable is of good quality.
posted by tomierna at 5:07 PM on January 11, 2008

RF mice aren't known for their range, and Bluetooth is better but not better enough. Wifi would do the trick but nobody makes a wifi mouse.

However, there are USB device servers which let you use USB devices across a network. One of those (Makers include Silex, Keyspan, and Belkin.) coupled with a wireless AP that your laptop would link to, could allow you to plug a USB mouse into the device server and the laptop would think it was locally attached. Eww.

On the other hand, while I was on Keyspan's site digging that up, I spotted their Presentation Remote Pro which adverses a 100-foot range.

Of course, knowing how these ranges are figured, I'd be surprised if it worked much past 20 feet. Try one and return it if it sucks!
posted by Myself at 11:40 PM on January 11, 2008

Two points that I wish someone had told me: if you're using the latest version of Powerpoint, then they've now finally fixed it so that the Microsoft presentation clickers will work properly when you use dual monitor "presentation mode". I haven't tested with other presentation clickers, but I cannot tell you how irritating it is when this doesn't work. The only fix to make them work with older versions of Powerpoint is to go back and use clone monitor instead of presentation mode.

Also, be careful with bluetooth if there are likely to be other devices around. A friend of mine set up a major launch event, only for the translation equipment to cancel out all of his presentation clickers because they were using the same frequency.
posted by unless I'm very much mistaken at 6:36 AM on January 14, 2008

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