Well, who would have thought that installing a keyboard and mouse could be so difficult. After my first few words, and using the mouse just long enough to start to really like it, everything has crashed and burned. One of the questions burning in my mind was if I could use the keyboard a,nd mouse with my existing Bluetooth dongle, partly because I don’t want to have to carry anything extra around and mostly because the “laptop adapter” for the Microsoft Bluetooth receiver sticks out from the laptop at least 4 inches. I plugged my old dongle in, and nothing special happened. Not surprisingly, the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse stopped working. I went into the Bluetooth software that came with the dongle to see if I could “discover” them and pair them somehow so they would work. The good news is that it was able to detect both the keyboard and the mouse. The bad news is it had no idea what to do with them. Any attempt to discover their services turned up blank.
I should have known that the operative word when dealing with Microsoft is “proprietary.” I wasn’t entirely dismayed though, I was ready to stomach carrying around the ridiculously long MS Bluetooth dongle just to be able to use the very cool Explorer Mouse; I like buttons and this mouse had them in buckets. But being able to dial up to the internet through my cell phone (T68) using Bluetooth is even more of a must, so I decided to try that with the ugly Microsoft Bluetooth adapter. It worked, beautifully. Many times when dealing with the current Bluetooth software implementations I’ve felt like it was back to the old Windows 3 days, when the interfaces were clunky, buggy, unresponsive, and ugly. The wizard that set the phone up was elegant and felt like a real part of the operating system. In fact it was apparently, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Anyway the phone works just fine with the MS adapter, however I couldn’t get it to talk to either the mouse or keyboard now. I thought maybe this is just a software glitch, so I went through all the regular motions. Reboot, retry, un-install, reboot, reinstall, reboot, try again, uninstall other Bluetooth software, reboot, try again, reinstall, smash mouse to smithereens against head. Okay, I made that last one up, but I did all of the others, perhaps more than listed. At this point I was thinking it must be a simple hardware issue, so I changed the batteries in both devices to fresh ones that I was sure worked, and tried again. Still no go, it simply wouldn’t detect either of the devices.
Having isolated nearly every variable I could think of, I decided to try it all out on my desktop. So I went through the first step of installing the software, and it tells me that for it to work it has to have Windows XP Service Pack 1 installed. Life is too short.
As a last ditch attempt, I decided to try and pair either of the devices with my phone. I think the keyboard might have paired, even though it probably wouldn’t have worked anyway, but I’ll never know because of the proprietary and non-standard way which the keyboard and mouse pair works only with the Microsoft software. Which only works on Windows. The latest version. With the latest Service Pack. (Did I mention it un-installed the special software for my touchpad on the laptop?)
What I suspect happened is something about the way the old non-Microsoft Bluetooth adapter tried to interface with the devices messed something up, and that is what’s causing them to not work. But at this point I really don’t care.
Maybe Logitech will come out with something nice to counter this, and maybe then I’ll try it, but right now I can only think of disadvantages to using Bluetooth HIDs, such as no current BIOS supports it, it tricky, it takes up two of your seven possible Bluetooth devices, doesn’t offer anything extra, the range isn’t worth it. Also on the range note with my Logitech Cordless mouse (the original model) I was able to walk all the way across the house into the garage, and it would still move the mouse on the screen, but I think that may have been an anomaly. Still, how far do you need to go?
So I have packed everything up from the batteries to the cruddy documentation, and tomorrow I will attempt to get store credit and buy something that actually works. Oh joy.