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When the Cutting Edge Isn't So Sharp

For those who haven't seen the cluttered study in our lovely NJ home, my home computing setup consists of my 15" MacBook Pro and this lil' PC, sharing a Dell 24" LCD along with a wireless Logitech keyboard and Kensington trackball via a 2-port KVM switch. Now this all worked pretty well for the past year or so but lately I wanted to change things up a bit by switching out the RF keyboard and mouse I've been using to newer ones using Bluetooth. I've already chronicled my disappointment in not being able to find a Bluetooth trackball but I figured I'd forge ahead and test out a Bluetooth keyboard, namely the Apple Wireless Keyboard. So I dutifully picked up one of these tiny Kensington Bluetooth adapters to use with my PC.

Now, the way the RF wireless peripherals worked in my setup was I had the USB RF receiver plugged in to a USB port on my KVM switch. When I switched to the Mac or PC, the machine would detect the keyboard and mouse and things would just work. So I figured, well, Bluetooth is supposed to replace the RF crap so it should work similarly no? Apparently not. There are two problems with Bluetooth that I ran into. One, Bluetooth peripherals need to be "paired" to its host. There's some security involved in this procedure which requires you to enter a random passkey during the pairing process. Problem is, the BT peripheral (the keyboard in this case) apparently only remembers one pairing at a time. So when I pair with my Mac and type in a the passkey, then pair with my PC and type in a different passkey, then switch back to my Mac, the keyboard no longer works with the Mac because the passkey is different. I'm not sure if that's a limitation of the keyboard or of all BT peripherals but man does it suck.

Secondly, on my lil' PC, the keyboard isn't recognized as a keyboard until Window loads up because that's when the Bluetooth drivers kick in. This normally won't be a problem if you're on a single-boot machine but on a dual-booter like my WinXP/Vista machine, you can't switch OS's. And in case anything ever goes wrong or if you need to fiddle with your BIOS, you can't do that either. I'm not sure at this point why my RF wireless keyboard works fine in this regard but the BT doesn't. A bit more investigation will be needed.

So I'm pretty disappointed with Bluetooth at the moment. For a technology that is supposed to be more advanced and easier to use than those that came before it and that it wants to replace, it hasn't been too impressive in my experience yet. Got a cool name though but that doesn't help me with my computing. ;-p But I'm not sure what I want to do right now. I really like Apple's Wireless Keyboard so I'd hate to return it. It's just tiny, tiny and looks pretty fantastic. Makes my already small Logitech diNovo look obese in comparison. One other problem I discovered while using it with a PC though is that I can't page up or down with it. Like the keyboards on the MacBooks and MBPs, there are no dedicated Page Up/Down, Home or End buttons. Instead, those are simulated by holding down the Function key and a corresponding arrow key. Works fine on Apple machines but a no-go with Windows. Maybe I'll lose my PC desktop entirely and replace it with a Mac Pro and do Windows completely via Parallels. Helluva more expensive option though. =p Worse comes to worse I guess it's back to RF I go. *sigh*

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So it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that when it comes to Apple products, photography equipment, and various other gadgetry, I enjoy living on the cutting edge. Equally unsurprising is that in doing so, I expose myself to... [Read More]

Comments (4)

I say drop the desktop altogether, max out your MBP's RAM and get a drobo with 3x750GB drives. Maybe trade up to the new MBP whenever it gets announced.

Yeah!

Ben:

Oh my MBP's already maxed out to the gills. Unfortunately 3GB is all I can get out of it. Plus I already have it hooked up to 2 500GB externals. It's possible I may no longer need the desktop but running Parallels on a MBP definitely ain't as smooth as on a Mac Pro. :)

Really? You gotta get a new MBP! :) They at least go to 4, which is when Parallels starts running reasonbly well on my iMac, which is more or less an MBP. :)

2x500? Come on! You gotta get the drobo. I'm waiting for them to v2 the hardware then I think I'm going to cave.

Ben:

Yeah my MBP was the version before they bumped the max up to 4GB. =p If they come out with a new MBP, I might look into it.

I'm waiting for v2 of the Drobo too. =) We have one at work. Pretty nifty. Kinda sucks though that you lose all that space to redundancy but can't be helped I guess. I have a Drobo baseball cap though that they sent me for filling out their survey. ;-p

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 20, 2008 3:51 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Devon In Another Box.

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