Here's a neat tip I just found at Apple's website:
You can use the built-in iSight camera to see if your Apple Remote is emitting a signal. A digital camera or DV camera with an LCD display will work too. Infrared beams are invisible to the human eye, but most digital camera and video cameras use Charged-Coupled Device (CCD) chips or image sensors that are sensitive to infrared light. [My emphasis - D.]
To use an iSight or digital camera to test your Apple Remote, follow these steps:
- Turn on the iSight by opening the video preview window of iChat. If you are using another camera, turn it on so you see a live picture through the LCD.
- Point your Apple Remote toward the lens of the camera.
- Press and hold the Menu button on the remote while looking at the video preview window or LCD.
- If you see a faint blinking light coming from the Apple Remote in the video preview window or LCD, then the remote is working properly.
- If you don't see any blinking light, replace the battery in your Apple Remote and then test it again with your iPod Hi-Fi.
I was having some trouble that turned out not to be the battery, but an improper pairing of the remote with the iMac, but I sure thought that tip was cool.
Of course, if the remote had something on it that lit up when you pressed a button, this wacky hack would be unnecessary. How very Apple.