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Controlling Keynote with an iPhone

Posted on Friday, July 31st, 2009 under Life Reviews | No comments

Keynote Remote

If you use Keynote as much as I do and still haven't tried out Apple's Keynote Remote for the iPhone, you're missing out on a pretty decent control interface. Even with the $0.99 price tag (one might think buying a copy of iWork at $79 would be enough to warrant a free companion app), it is worth downloading and giving it a test run. I do have a couple of notes, though.

  • I'm not the biggest fan of the app icon and those are a pretty important part of the application experience for me. Frankly, I tend not to leave apps on my phone that have ugly icons. Apple's kinda skirting the edge with this one.
  • The app is overdue for an update to 1.2. The functionality is reliable, but snappier orientation sensing, more responsive slide switching and the ability to scroll through long Presenter Notes would go a long way.
  • The biggest hurdle with the app is that both the Mac with Keynote running and the iPhone need to be on the same network. In a casual presentation setting this probably isn't an issue, but when working within a corporate (or in my case, higher ed) environment, this may not be the case.

Despite these minor faults, the Keynote Remote is still a gem of an application, so I took the time to trial-and-error out some connection settings and found a successful way to use it in the classrooms on campus. Here's what I turned up:

  1. Since we use a secure 802.1X WEP wireless connection that the iPhone seems incapable of using to connect to Keynote, I had to create an AdHoc "Computer to Computer" network that it could join. I opted to lock it down with a quick password entry.
  2. An annoying "feature" of the iPhone is that it doesn't seem to register a wireless connection outside of the "Settings" application, unless it has a live connection to the Internet. So even though I put it on the newly created network, Keynote control was still a no go.
  3. Plugging an ethernet cable into the Mac and sharing the Internet connection to wireless devices was the only way I could get Keynote Remote to work in this environment.

Clearly, that is quite a few steps, but after a few run-thrus and saving my connection settings, I narrowed it down to just a couple of prep minutes and use this setup quite often during my lectures.

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