I recently was needing to "pair" my apple remote with my macbook...they became upaired after i installed the new leopard operating system on my computer (or is it jaguar??). I need my apple remote when I watch dvds on my computer. What's significant about this is the fact that, while laying in bed watching a movie, my computer is usually on my lap and at arm's length and yet I still feel the need to use a remote. When trying to determine how to "pair" them up again, I found a note on apple's website saying that you can check to see if your remote is is working by taking a picture of your remote while holding down one of the buttons. This way, you can see if the infrared sensor is functioning, which you can't see with the naked (slut!) eye.
I don't know why this is so exciting to me. Maybe because my dad is a physics geek? Once I found out this was possible, I couldn't stop doing it! If I know my sister, she's going to do the exact same thing with her remote as soon as she reads this, and she will probably be equally overjoyed.