Is there any way to use the Infrared port on my 1999 G3 PowerBook to control my TV, Cable Box, VCR, Etc... ?
Nope, not with the built in port.
You can use a PDA like a Palm though..
But if a palm can control a TV, and a palm can talk to my IR port on ly 'book, why cant i use the IR port on my 'book to control my TV? :?
They prob. used two different protocols when making the palm. They might have had the idea around that one day, they will incorporate the feature. My friends Cli'e, which runs on a special version of the Palm OS, came with a Remote Control Program.
Palm also could have tied the IRDA port directly w/ the OS. Kinda like how Apple tied the Sound to the OS and used software to emulate the hardware. The palm OS might decide what can be done, and by a little 'Tweaking' can be made to do different stuff.
Remember how hard it was for HandSpring to use different Hardware with the Palm OS, because the OS required that the feature was built-in to the Operating System? The IR Port could be the same way. The "talking protocol" may be incorporated into the system and could be access instead of through hardware, but by software allowing changes to be made that allowed certain stuff to be added, as well as fix bugs in the hardware by "working around" the problem and compensating with software differences. Thus, there are little revisions to be to the hardware if something doesn't work. They just tweak the OS
Yes, the IrDA port was jsut a serial device. If you can get the proper codes and speeds to transmit, you can send any data out that port you want.
Among other possible issues is transmit power. If the PB IR port was only spec'd for < 1 meter, it might not put out enough power to reach your equipment from 6-20 feet.
BTW: FWIW, Handspring was started by the man who started Palm, so he basically knew everything there was to know about the hardware when he left Palm to pursue projects that they didn't like with the hardware.