Simon Willison’s Weblog

What are the ideal laser pointers for conference presentations?

My answer to What are the ideal laser pointers for conference presentations? on Quora

I’ll swear by the Logitech Cordless Presenter:—it’s very popular amongst friends of mine who speak frequently as well.

It’s got a built in laser pointer, a timer (which I’ll be honest I’ve never actually used) but most importantly it doesn’t have any software at all—there’s a USB dongle embedded in it which you take out and plug in to a computer, at which point it imitates the left/right keyboard buttons and can hence drive any popular piece of presentation software.

It also feels very pleasant in the hand—it has that strange kind of plastic shell which feels slightly warm and a tiny bit fuzzy, no idea what that’s called.

It looks like they don’t sell that particular model any more—the latest version is the R400 which looks like it has the same abilities (I can’t say I like the new shape though).

I’ll repeat though: in my opinion, the most important feature of any of these things is that they imitate a regular keyboard and you don’t have to install software or do anything more complicated than plug a dongle in. Often you’ll find yourself presenting on someone else’s machine at short notice so anything with a setup step is an additional risk that you don’t need.