Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why does Bluetooth insist on sucking so badly?

Every couple of years since I had the grand vision of owning wireless stereo headphones (which I still do not have), I purchase some bluetooth gadget marginally more complicated than a cell phone earbud in order to see if the technology has ceased to suck. So last week I bought a mini Bluetooth wireless mouse to go along with my new Netbook (yum on the netbook BTW: buy one; buy one right now).

So I get it home, unpack it and first thing first download the bluetooth drivers. 77 megs. Yes that's right 77 megabytes of driver. Oi oh well. Push forward.

Awhile and a reboot later up it comes. No findy the bluetooth radio. WTF? Oh wait gotta hotkey that to turn it on. Boink up comes Bluetooth but down goes WIFI. WTF? Hotkey, Hotkey. Bluetooth On; Wifi Off. Bluetooth Off; Wifi Off; Bluetooth off; Wifi On.

See something missing in that sequence? (this we can blame I suppose on the maker of the netbook but I think that the general suckiness of bluetooth forced it upon them)

Oh well I think. I'll come back to that later. Let's see if I can get this thing to recognize the mouse. A few pushes to the sync button on the mouse and "Installing new HID hardware..."

"Yay!" I think "Success!" Until... "Your new hardware installed successfully. Please reboot to complete the installation" Uh-oh. So dutifully I reboot; up comes the bluetooth "Let's find some hardware dialog"; push push push; hotkey hotkey hotkey. Nothing. No mouse. Under no combination of pushing and hotkeying does my netbook believe that there is a wireless mouse a mere centimeter away; crying to be recognized.

So I take the whole thing; dump it back in the bag and return it for one of the 2.4 GHz wireless jobs with the nano transceiver thingy. Pop that puppy in and and up it comes; no software install; recognizes the mouse with no intervention from me. Boop; 30 seconds; mouse.

So bluetooth has been around how long now? And it still sucks this bad? This is what happens when a technology tries to be all things to all people. I'm sure the designers of blueooth saw/see it as the last wireless technology stack ever needed. By anyone. Anywhere.

In truth it's a darn fine wireless earbud solution for your cell phone. That's about it. Perhaps I'll check back in a couple of years. In the meantime, nano-transceiver... yum.

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