Yesterday's Help File looked into the difficulties involved in replacing the little USB receivers that most cordless mice use require to connect to computers. It concluded with this suggestion:
One way to avoid this entire issue is to buy a computer with Bluetooth wireless built-in. With one of those machines, you don't need a proprietary, easily misplaced USB add-on to add a wireless mouse; you can use any Bluetooth mouse.
That is true--plus, using a Bluetooth mouse means you don't have to tie up a USB port with a wireless receiver. But I would be remiss if I did not note the inconveniences imposed by awkward Bluetooth software.
On a Toshiba Satellite U305 laptop, for example, one attempt to set up a Bluetooth mouse ran around with an "Unable to detect remote device" error. The problem wasn't that the mouse was too far away--it was sitting on the laptop's palm rest--but that it had already been set up with another computer.
After guessing that I needed to reset this rodent, I had to step through Toshiba's annoying "wizard" interface, which featured this outbreak of both jargon and redundancy: "Registering a HID device to this system." ("HID" stands for "human interface device"--so the software really said it was registering a "human interface device device." As a writer, I let these things bother me way too much.)
A Samsung Q1 Ultra "Ultra Mobile PC" had a simpler setup, thanks to Samsung refraining from sticking its own front end on top of Windows Vista's Bluetooth software. Pairing a Bluetooth mouse with this machine proceeded smoothly (aside from some confusing instructions about how I should enter the mouse's numerical passkey to confirm the pairing), right up to the end of the process--when Windows directed me to restart the computer. Huh? I ignored that advice (you should never need to restart after such a simple change) and had no problem using the mouse.
The easiest, fastest setup experience came with an Apple iMac desktop. But this, too, stumbled when presented with a mouse that had already been paired with another computer; like the Toshiba, it failed to suggest resetting the device.
The biggest problem with Bluetooth on personal computers, however, is that it remains an extra-cost option on most laptops; on many desktops, it's not available at any price.
Does your current machine come with Bluetooth? If not, did you think about paying extra for that option?
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