As my readership knows, I am disabled, and I deal with that, daily. My use of technology and computers to augment this set of limitations takes me to various places and the discovery of various software titles. In my virtual travels on the web, I ran across WDPS Software, and their flagship product, IRCommand2. This software (which is adaptable to use with IR emitters from several manufactures) allows you to control programs, and computer hardware on your PC, wirelessly. This software has learning capabilities that you can program various functions, so you can be away from your system, and use a remote. I have a TV tuner card, inside my machine, so watching and recording programming, live or time-shifted, by my DVR recording capabilities it something I love to partake in. Watching disc-based media though lacks a viable way for me to control this “from the couch” setting, until now. So, now I can use my TV Tuner remote to control my Blu-ray playback software, and enjoy the movie, with nominal hassle.
You may be asking, that is nice for you, but would I get any value out of this program. The answer is a resounding yes. No matter, whether or not you have a disability, being able to sit back and manipulate the functions of your PC, with the press of a button makes such convenience something you will not want to live without. This is just a drop in the bucket, as this software also supports select home automation and home theater systems, as well.
The first order of business is to select a compatible IR emitter hardware, from manufactures, such as Snapstream, My.TV, Actisys, and others (many of these are listed on the WDPS, with links to their distributors, too). These hardware platforms are reasonable priced, versatile, and made to fit various needs. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, and really come down to price point and personal preference for the brands. Once you have done this, you can then begin the setup process for IRCommand2.
Once you have the hardware installed, start up IRCommand2, and proceed to the Learn Mode, where you can program whatever functions you need. The process is straightforward, fairly intuitive, and systematic in its approach. If you have any problems in getting this setup, you can watch tutorial videos, that go slowly, in nice detail, and very repeatable, if needs be. One problem that I ran into with this process, was trying to use my internal IR emitters for the learning process. On further study, it was recommended that I move over to a dedicated IR emitter, from the above list of makers. I have been told that will alleviate my progress with this feature. However, once you can establish communication, you can set the appearance, text, function, and programs that run, per button activation or press. No matter what you want to accomplish with this piece of software, it is scalable to meet the needs you require.
That scalability, that I mentioned is available in the Full Registration
version, which has unlimited buttons, unlimited panels, and numerous features that are unavailable in both the Demo version and the Lite Registration. It is worth the cost of $34.95 USD, as you add devices, with complex button layouts, linked actions, and the potentiality of home automation becoming a reality. If that is not in your price range, the Lite Registration version, which offers a single panel and a maximum forty buttons, can be had for $9.95 USD. If that is still too much to pay, you can cover the cost of the Lite Registration version with a tweet, for a limited time. As always, if you are not certain that either version is for you, they offer a 60-day trial version to get a feel for your potential needs.
Take my word for it, once you discover the power of IRCommand2, you will want to jump in with both feet. A clean, configurable interface, with numerous ways to control your digital life cannot be had for a better price. Just try it out, and I know that you will be a believer. Check back soon for my next article, same channel, same time!