laptop IR doesn't work the same way as IRman if you check out the IRman page they explain this like 5 times in the FAQ. Both use different protocals and speeds. IRman is a 9600 Baud serial device. While laptop IR are usually use a faster interface.
Not sure if you can get software that will allow your laptop's IR to receive remote control signals or not. I would assume you could due to the fact the Palm Pilots have a remote control program that works with any remote.