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Using Your Bluetooth Phone as a Remote Control

by Wei-Meng Lee
08/22/2003

If you are a critic of Bluetooth who believes that the technology is a solution looking for problems, be sure to give the Salling Clicker a look. It recently won two Apple Design awards at WWDC 2003 -- Best Mac OS X Product (Best of Show) and Most Innovative Mac OS X Product.

In a nutshell, the Salling Clicker is an application that transforms your Sony Ericsson Bluetooth-enabled phone into a remote control. I was skeptical about its use at first, but after downloading the demo, I was so impressed that I went ahead and paid for it (it costs $9.95; worth every cent, in my opinion). The Salling Clicker was created by Jonas Salling, the same guy who wrote the Ericsson Client application for synchronizing Ericsson mobile phones with your Mac (which I featured in my earlier article "Bluetooth on Mac OS X").

To use the Salling Clicker, you need the following:

  • A Bluetooth-enabled Mac.
  • A Bluetooth-enabled Sony Ericsson mobile phone (such as the T68i).

Using the Salling Clicker

After installation, you can locate the Salling Clicker in the System Preferences window (see Figure 1):

Figure 1. Locating the Salling Clicker in System Preferences
Figure 1. Locating the Salling Clicker in System Preferences

The user interface of the Salling Clicker may seem a little overwhelming at first, but after a while, you'll feel right at home.

There are four main tabs: Phone Menu, Proximity Sensor, Action Editor, and About. I will explain what the first three tabs do; the fourth simply displays information about the application.

Phone Menu

This tab allows you to configure the list of items that will be displayed on your phone. In this tab, there are two list windows -- one to display the menu item list and the other to display the list of actions available. For example, Figure 2 shows that I can control my iTunes, DVD Player, PowerPoint, Keynote, and System applications using my mobile phone.

Figure 2. The Phone Menu
Figure 2. The Phone Menu

To display the menu item list on your phone, first pair up your Mac with your Bluetooth-enabled phone, and then click on the Select Device... button. The Select Bluetooth Device dialog will be displayed (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. Selecting the T68i to be used by Salling Clicker
Figure 3. Selecting the T68i to be used by Salling Clicker

Choose the phone that you want to use. Note that you can also search for new devices in this dialog. In my case, I have selected my T68i. Click on the Select button to return to the main dialog.

Next, you need to click on the Publish Menu button to publish the menu item list to the T68i (see Figure 4).

Figure 4. Publishing the menu items to the T68i
Figure 4. Publishing the menu items to the T68i

You can view the menu item list on your phone by going to the Connect menu and selecting the Accessories item (see Figure 5):

Figure 5. The Accessories item within the Connect menu
Figure 5. The Accessories item within the Connect menu

Select Accessories, and you will see the name of your Mac ("eMac," in my case) as shown in Figure 6:

Figure 6. The name of the Mac
Figure 6. The name of the Mac

Select the machine name (eMac) and you should see the menu item list, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7. The menu items published to the phone
Figure 7. The menu items published to the phone

If you select iTunes, you would see the list of actions for iTunes. The actions list corresponds to the list you see in the Phone Menu tab (see Figure 8). Note that you need to expand on the iTunes menu item in the Phone menu tab.

Figure 8. Viewing the menu item list on the T68i and the Mac
Figure 8. Viewing the menu item list on the T68i and the Mac

In the iTunes menu item, I can use my T68i to activate iTunes, search for a song by name, play/pause a song, stop a song, etc. I can even control the volume!

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