Tag Archives: remote-control

How to Control a PC or Game Console with a Single Remote

This is a Sponsored guest post written by Matt Ryan on behalf of Lenovo for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% the writer’s own.

Lenovo is known the world over as one of the leading PC manufacturers out there. From nettop systems to high-end servers, Lenovo has a firm grasp on the PC market. But did you know that Lenovo also makes some of the most innovative accessories on the market?

A couple of years ago, I was working in a studio where multiple smaller systems were needed to power various screens located on set. These systems needed to be extremely quiet, small, and powerful enough to play video at 1080p. We decided on the Lenovo Q150, a handy little Atom-powered system capable of handling just about anything we threw at it. We were even able to use one as a backup live video streaming solution.

Despite being great little systems, one accessory in particular caught my attention. The Lenovo Enhanced Multimedia Remote with keyboard allowed us to control various systems in an adjoining room from a device that weighed practically nothing and fit in one hand. These remotes allowed us the capability of solving issues in the studio without breaching the sound-proofed room or distracting the host to do so. In short, they were probably one of the most appreciated gadgets we’d come across, and they came with the computer.

Fast forward a couple of years. Lenovo has taken into consideration all the feedback it received from its users and created something even better. The N5902 is the next generation, and it has a number of remarkable improvements on what was already a useful device.

What is the Lenovo N5902 Multimedia Remote with Keyboard?


Simply put, the N5902 is a second-generation all-in one remote that extends your ability to control your PC or arcade game console without having to rely on a flat surface, bulky keyboard, or clutter-inducing cables to do so. Your keyboard and mouse are both infused in a single handheld controller that can be used from 30 feet away. A small (very small) USB receiver plugs into your PC, PS3, Xbox, or Wii, and starts working as soon as you turn it in.

In fact, this little device works natively on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. I even got it to work on my wife’s Mac mini, though keep in mind that it’s a Windows keyboard natively, so some key bindings may be different.

The mouse component of the N5902 is a combination of a ribbed scroll bar and a tiny optical touch pad that you move your finger across to control the cursor. A left and right button set is placed under the keyboard component to allow you more functionality.

How Well Does it Work, Really?

First, this is not intended to replace your keyboard and mouse on a primary machine. You’re not going to enjoy this product if you use it to browse the Web all day or attempt to accomplish a day’s worth of tasks. The Lenovo N5902 shines most when using on a media center PC or game console. It’s intended to give you a quick and easy keyboard with full functionality (including a dedicated Ctrl+Alt+Del key) to allow you to check the Web, navigate Windows, and get those quick and dirty functions done without having to reach for a bulky keyboard and mouse combination.

Using the Lenovo 5902 is fairly natural. My wife, who is a much pickier user than I am, was able to pick up on it and start using it almost immediately. It took a moment to adjust to the way the cursor control worked, though after a minute or two, it’s a fairly natural control mechanism. You can opt to click the touch button or the dedicated left-click button to select an on-screen window or option.

The backlit keys are a big help in a dark media room. With the lights totally out, navigating the Lenovo N5902 was easy and intuitive. For any multimedia PC controller to be worth the price of admission these days, backlit keys are a must. This begs the question of why so many manufacturers that deal in multimedia controllers and remotes don’t add this feature on their hardware.

What Can I Use it With?

The drivers the N5902 uses are native to Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. You can also use it on the PS3, Wii, and Xbox without having to deal with any setup hassle. While it isn’t built for the Mac, it worked just fine after I set it up through the setup process in OS X.

The entire time of setup on Windows is literally a few seconds. All it needs to do is identify the keyboard (which can be pretty instant on most machines) and activate it. Once that’s done, you’re ready to start controlling your PC from across the room.

Final Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of this little gadget, and not just for its multimedia applications. The media keys available along the top of the built-in keyboard make it easy to control media players from across the room. When I’m cleaning the hoboken apartment, this little device can go around the house with me, making switching between songs or pausing a movie as easy as hitting a single key.

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Between you and me, I’ve even used it to play a practical joke on the missus from the other room. This is a fun little gadget, and one that can be used in a variety of settings from professional to casual and all points in-between. Professionals will love the sleek look and seamless integration, home users will appreciate its space-saving profile, and geeks will love its ability to connect you with your PC from across the room. In my mind, that’s a win-win.

You can find the N5902 at your favorite electronics retailer at a suggested retail price of $79.99.

Want One?

We’re giving away one of Lenovo’s Enhanced Multimedia Remotes! The only qualification is that you must leave a comment on this blog post sharing why you want it. Pretty simple, eh? You know what to do. We’ll be selecting the recipient at random within a few weeks.

What is a Remote Control Extender?

Geek!This is Robert Engelbardt’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Geeks are usually interested in clever gadgets even when they don’t involve computers. Recently, I purchased a really slick device called a Remote Control Extender. This product eliminates the nuisance of having to point a remote control directly toward a TV, DVD player, cable box or other entertainment equipment for actuation and functioning.

Almost all standard remote controls utilize an infrared (IR) signal that requires a direct line-of-sight to the items being controlled. Any obstructions or excessive distance between remotes and the equipment will result in total failure or, very commonly, inconsistent operation.

When I read a description of a gadget that could modify almost any remote control to permit reliable operation without having to direct it towards the equipment, I had to determine how this device actually works. I found that it’s quite different from a typical IR extender.

This remote control extender consists of a small, clamshell-shaped base unit that looks like a miniature “flying saucer” powered by 117 VAC. Additional parts include two half-sized AAA batteries. One serves as a spare and another is inserted into a cylinder that’s shaped like a standard AA battery. Both batteries are rechargeable and the spare is maintained in a socket on the bottom of the clamshell where it’s under continuous charge. A tiny detector and RF transmitter is located in one end of the cylinder.

The designers of this device somehow determined that most IR remotes produce a signal that can be detected in their battery compartments – something I would never have thought possible!

The IR signal emitted by the remote control is converted to a radio frequency (RF) signal transmitting over a distance up to 100 feet. The user simply substitutes one of the two standard AA batteries in the remote with the half-size rechargeable battery and the detector/transmitter that’s placed in the AA sized cylinder. If the remote uses AAA batteries, the detector/transmitter and half-size AAA battery (already in an AAA-sized cylinder) is similarly inserted in the remote replacing one of the standard batteries..

The clamshell base unit has a small telescopic antenna to receive the RF signal from the modified remote where it’s converted back to an IR signal. This signal is used by the equipment to be controlled as is normally done with an unmodified remote control.

An extender cable with a small IR “eye emitter” on the other end is also provided. This cable plugs into the base unit and the emitter end is placed close to the IR detector in the equipment being controlled. The basic package includes a single emitter IR extender cable; however, optional cables can be obtained with multiple IR emitters for controlling more than one piece of equipment.

The Remote Control Extender permits controlling equipment with a remote from any location within 100 feet. No longer is it necessary to point the remote directly towards the equipment and, of course, the device obviates the difficulty of controlling items that are inside closed cabinets. In some cases, reliable controlling is even possible from another room!

Besides enjoying the convenience provided by the Remote Control Extender, my “geekiness” was heightened by the clever design of this device. Some very brilliant engineers created a low-cost solution to common remote control problems. Now if the device could also help the user find a “lost” remote, its benefits would be incalculable.

Is This the World's Smallest Remote Control Helicopter?

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The MX-1 Remote Control Helicopter from ThinkGeek really does fit in the palm of my hand. It is so much fun to fly around the office and house. I just have to be careful to not let Ponzi catch me tormenting the dogs with it.

Our ravenous lust for tinier and tinier flying R/C toys has been temporarily satiated by these miniscule MX-1 copters from Silverlit. We thought we had seen small R/C copters until we were flabbergasted by a helicopter so small it actually fits inside its own remote. The MX-1 is a sharp looking little copter and it has a redesigned remote with smooth slider like controls. Dock the copter in the clear bay at the bottom and charge it up at the same time. Take to the air with confidence knowing that you’re piloting the smallest manmade flying device commercially available.

Important Note:
The MX-1 is a 2 channel copter so it is always moving forward slowly. You control up/down and right/left turns. Due to the dynamics of the helicopter right turns are wider than left turns. If you want the MX-1 to move forward faster you can add a bit of weight to the front of the nose. Of course careful use of the trim buttons at the beginning of each flight is pretty much a necessity. Practice up on your flying skills if you hope to challenge the expert pilots at the ThinkGeek world headquarters of doom.

It’s definitely an inside toy. It’s very lightweight, and I have a feeling you’d ruin it outside. It takes 20-30 minutes to charge, and will run for over five minutes straight. Make sure you duck when you’re playing with this chopper. We don’t want anyone to get hurt! Oh, and watch out for the dogs.


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Remote Control Robot: Dalek from Doctor Who

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My friend Willie over at ThinkGeek sent me the new Dalek Robot to play with. If you know much about Dr. Who, you’ll know what a Dalek is. It’s remote control, and fun to play with!

Doctor Who is a guilty pleasure in the US and an obsession in the UK. Amazingly the show is still being produced today with the tenth successive Doctor now in play. Of course we all know the Daleks are the real stars of Doctor Who. With a toilet plunger in one hand and a elongated egg beater in the other, Daleks are some of the deadliest cyborgs in the galaxy. Bitter from being mutated by radiation and stuffed inside an inferior robot body, the Kaled people hate the Doctor (and staircases) and are bent on universal domination… and who can blame them really? Finally you too can act out your Dalek fantasies with these detailed R/C replicas. Each R/C Dalek stands 12 inches high and is happiest when gliding around your home shouting “EX-TER-MIN-ATE!” and hunting for the Doctor. Complete with tank-like controls and digitized grating dalek voices you’ll feel just like you’re in your own low-budget BBC telly show.

Dalek features include:

  • Authentic Detailed R/C Dalek Stands 12″ High
  • Powered Rotating Head
  • Moving Laser Turret
  • Flashing “Eye” Lights and Gun Turret
  • Two Channel R/C with Tank like Controls
  • 8 Dalek sound samples including speech and exterminator gun sound
  • Directly control sound effects from buttons on the remote

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