American in Spain

Bluetooth Wireless Desktop

January 18, 2011

thumbI have recently converted my office desktop (the actual desk top, not the computer) to all bluetooth. Over Thanksgiving, I bought the Apple Wireless Keyboard and Apple Magic Trackpad. My previous keyboard, the Apple Aluminum Wired Keyboard, was Spanish, and thus had the keys labeled the way Spain labels their keyboards. I use the US key mapping, and my touch typing is good enough for just about everything so that it never mattered what letters were on the keys, but I do sometimes look at the keyboard when performing shift+number operations, and the fact that Spaniards have the open parenthesis on the seven and the close parenthesis on the eight (shifted one to the left of the US keyboard) caused me ceaseless annoyance and confusion. It's nice to have an American keyboard again. I've been using the Apple Magic Trackpad for over a month now, based solely on the recommendation of a trusted colleague, and I'm quite happy with it. The only pointer input action that is more difficult with the trackpad is dragging, but to be honest, I don't drag all that much. Scrolling, clicking, and motion are all simpler. The only time I switch back to a mouse is for Photoshop, which requires quite a bit of dragging, and even then, it feels ridiculous to be lugging a big object around the desktop instead of just moving my hand. I like the trackpad a lot.

Where I most notice my lack of wires is with replacing my Plantronics DSP400 Headset with a Sennheiser MM100 Bluetooth Headset. The Sennheiser headset works flawlessly with my iPhone, too. At first it was a little uncomfortable, since I'm not used to the "wrap around the back of the head" headphone design, but once I got used to the minuscule weight of the headphones resting on my ears, I really love it. It's nice to walk down the street with music flowing from my pocket to my ears with no wires. They're also very comfortable for long hours at my desk at night when I can't use my Bose speakers.

I did run into one unexpected problem, which was that my internet connection (over wifi) got really slow whenever I was listening to music with my bluetooth headphones. Eventually I figured out that the wireless signals were interfering. My wifi card in my computer was unable to use my Linksys E3000 dual-band wifi router to its fullest extent, so I decided to purchase a Linksys Dual-Band Wireless-N USB Network Adapter, which did enable me to use the higher 5 GHz band that the 802.11N specification provides. Since switching to only 5 GHz, I've had no problems whatsoever with radio interference between bluetooth and wifi.

Also...because my bluetooth adapter has a range of 100 meters, I don't even have to pause the music to walk to the bathroom. It doesn't get much more wireless than that!