Simple Solutions

Written by Josh on October 04, 2014

This past Thursday the Steinbrenner Orchestra performed our multicultural-themed concert. Like I did for our Disney concert at the end of last school year, I created a slideshow with pictures to project onto the cyclorama. The pictures, in this case reflecting the cultures each song represents, would be displayed behind the orchestra. Like last time I used my MacBook Pro instead of one of the crappy school computers, partly because it works better and party so I could remote control the slideshow more easily. The slideshow looked great, but when I arrived an hour before the concert to set up the projection, I couldn’t get the remote control to work.

At the Disney concert last year, I set my laptop to advertise a private, password-protected Wi-Fi network. I connected my phone to this network and used BetterTouchTool on the computer and the BTT Remote on my phone to control the presentation. This worked beautifully then, but I could not get it to work this time. For one, I hadn’t properly recorded how I did everything last time. I had to look up how to create a peer-to-peer network, but could not manage to set the password. I use the OS X Yosemite beta at the moment, and the checkbox to use a password seems to be missing.

I tried using the school’s remarkably terrible Wi-Fi, but the firewall blocked the BTT remote protocol. I tried using an unencrypted network, but this would not work either. I eventually gave up; nothing I tried had worked. I told the director of the technical difficulties and turned off the projector.

A while later, during intermission, I realized that there is a much simpler, more reliable solution to the remote control: a Bluetooth keyboard. For our next concert, I will just have a keyboard on my lap or the stand with which I will control the presentation. Thirty feet is not a long range, but it should be sufficient to reach the edge of the stage and the front of the audience, where I would be. Over all, this is a much simpler solution I wish I’d thought of earlier.

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