Salling Clicker 3, by Salling Software
Posted: 22-Jan-2006

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Salling Software Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Mario Hendricks Class: UTILITY

Overview
Salling Clicker is remote control utility that provides two-way remote control of your Mac from your mobile telephone or PDA. The software allows you to easily control your digital life applications (such as iTunes, DVD player, etc), presentations, and much more from across the room and throughout your house. The software installs a small application on your mobile device that communicates with your computer using Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity. Once connected to your computer, you can send commands to popular applications and view that status of the application on the screen of your mobile device.

Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later
  • A supported mobile device (over 100 models are supported, check the web site http://www.salling.com/Clicker/mac/ for the current list)
  • Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity on both your mobile device and computer


Price

$23.95


Setup
Installation of the software on the Mac is very straightforward. You simply download a disk image from salling.com, run the installer, and within a minute or two you have a new preferences pane named "Salling Clicker". The software must also be installed on your mobile device. The Salling Clicker preference pane provides a Device Setup Assistant that allows you to specify the Brand and Model of your mobile device so that the software appropriate for your mobile device can be installed. Several methods are available to transfer the application to your device:

  • Bluetooth File Exchange (used for most devices)
  • WAP (for some mobile phones)
  • Missing Sync (for Windows Mobile devices, available separately)
  • Copy to Desktop (allows an alternative method, such as Palm Desktop)


Running the Device Setup Assistant with my Audiovox SMT5600 (a Windows Mobile Smartphone) provided two options for installing the application on my device: use Bluetooth File Exchange or Copy the application to the desktop (I didn't have a copy of Missing Sync). Unfortunately, my carrier feels that Bluetooth File Exchange is not secure, so it is disabled on my phone. As a result, I was left to copy the application to the desktop and fend for myself.


Installing Salling Clicker on my Mobile Device


If I had purchased a copy of Missing Sync ($40, from
http://www.markspace.com/), I could likely have been up and running quickly and easily. Instead, I copied the mobile application to a PC and transferred it to my phone via a USB cable using free software from Microsoft. Once the application had been copied to my phone, I ran the installer program on the phone to finish device setup. Due to the variability of mobile devices and configurations specific for each carrier, your luck may vary. Salling allows the application to be downloaded, installed and used for "30 clicks" before a license must be purchased. It is strongly recommended that you verify that the application can be installed on your specific mobile device before purchasing a license. Once you are certain that it works, you can purchase a license online, enter the key in the Salling Clicker preferences pane and be ready to go in about 15 minutes.

In Use
The first step of using the remote application to control your Mac is to connect to the Mac. You can connect from either your phone or from the computer; either way the device you are connecting to must have Bluetooth set as "Discoverable" for the initial connection. If Bluetooth security is enabled, you may have to enter a pass phrase on both your Mac and your phone. It doesn't matter what you use as a pass phrase, as long as you enter the same phrase on both the phone and the computer. It took me several tries to figure out exactly what to do to get connected, but once I followed the right steps, it was easy. Once connected, you select the application to control from the main window of the Clicker application on your mobile device. The most popular uses for Salling Clicker are to control "digital hub" applications, such as Apple iTunes or the Apple DVD player, or to control presentations using software such as PowerPoint or Keynote.

iTunes Remote
The clicker interface for iTunes is quite advanced. The main screen shows the currently playing track and allows the user to adjust the volume, skip to the next track or skip backwards. Album artwork, if available, is also displayed on the mobile display. A menu allows for browsing play lists, searching for music, turning the visuals on or off, and other commands. Overall, the iTunes remote interface is well laid-out, contains all of the necessary features, and is quite responsive. I used the iTunes remote to control iTunes 6.0 running on my iBook G4 during a recent holiday party. The remote worked well throughout the house and was a great companion for a party. If iTunes selected a song that didn't fit the mood of the moment, I could simply skip to the next one by taking out my phone and pressing a couple of keys. There was no need to interrupt my conversation, walk over to the laptop, and fiddle with the track pad. In addition, having a remote control on your phone has lots of "sex appeal."


Running iTunes on my mobile phone using Salling Clicker


Presentation Remote
For use in the office, the presentation control contains all of the basic features that you would expect, along with a few extras. Remote control is available for both PowerPoint and Keynote applications; I tested using PowerPoint. The basic controls allow you to start a presentation, move forward or backwards through the presentation, and blank the screen. You can also set a timer for the overall presentation, and a count-up (elapsed duration) and countdown (time remaining) timer will be displayed on the screen of your mobile device. The mobile device also displays the name of the current slide, the slide number out of the total number of slides, and any presenter notes on the display of the mobile device. Using Salling Clicker during your presentation allows you to walk around the stage (or the room), and doesn't force you to stand by the monitor or ask an associate to switch slides. You also have a handy little cheat to help you remember any points that you write in the notes section.

Other Applications
Salling Clicker also comes with controls for Apple‚s DVD player, QuickTime player, iPhoto slideshows, as well as controls for third-party software, such as EyeTV and SlimServer. Controls are simply AppleScripts, and you can edit and create new scripts yourself or download scripts written by others from the Internet. Salling has a link to their web site where they maintain a collection of several dozen third party scripts. Some are free, and other are available for a small fee. You can customize the menu of commands displayed on the mobile device even without any scripting by using the interface provided in the preferences pane.


Salling Clicker Preferences Pane


Phone Events
Finally, Salling Clicker supports "Phone Events" (only with certain devices, see the Salling web site for exact device information). Phone events trigger an action on your computer when an event occurs on the phone, such as receiving a telephone call. For example, you can reduce the computer's system volume and set your iChat status to "Away" when you receive a call. When the call ends, the volume returns to normal and iChat status is set to "Available". Other events trigger actions when the phone goes out of range (you walk away from your computer), or when you return. Here too, the user can edit the existing scripts in Apple's Script Editor or download additional scripts. The only drawback of all this fun is that your phone needs to remain connected to your computer. Bluetooth requires a significant amount of battery power, so if you sit at your desk with your phone connected for long periods of time, you would be advised to have a power adapter handy.


Choosing Phone Events in Salling Clicker


Summary
Salling Clicker is versatile and useful remote control utility that gives you excellent remote control of your Mac from your mobile telephone or PDA. If you have a mobile device that supports Salling Clicker and have any need to control your Mac remotely, this is definitely the application for you. Setup is a multi-step process that may require some patience and technical savvy, depending on the model of your device. However, once installed and connected, the application works like a gem. Remote controls are available for Apple iTunes, iPhoto slide shows, DVD Player, QuickTime player, PowerPoint, Keynote and a number of other applications. These controls will be sufficient for most users, more are available online, and, if you are willing to write Apple scripts, you can even create your own custom controls. Salling Clicker provides quick response, works with a wide rane of devices, and gives your mobile device a beautiful interface. I highly recommend it.

Pros

  • Beautiful interface on the mobile device
  • Quick response to commands
  • Support for numerous applications
  • Works with a wide range of devices

Cons

  • Setup is complex (varies with the mobile device)
  • Continued use drains battery on mobile device


Overall Rating:

4 out of 5 Mice