Category: "Technology"

Apple Mighty Mouse goes wireless... but how far away?

Wireless Mighty Mouse
Wireless Mighty Mouse

Until now, Apple had a cool mouse called the Mighty Mouse with all the advanced features you'd expect from a mouse (right click, scroll weel... even better: multidirectional scrolling ball)... it just wasn't wireless.

Apple also had a Wireless mouse... but it had only one button! :(

Today, you can finally get the best of both worlds! The mighty mouse with all it's buttons becomes wireless! Apple has even improved the pointing technology which is now a laser instead of an LED. This should allow for smoother movement on more surfaces...

...except this one little detail: the problem with the Apple wireless mice is not the pointing technology... it is the bluetooth technology! Apple bluetooth is just not reliable any more if you get more than 2 meters away from your Mac. (Home entertainement use... Of course you have less issues on a desktop... but do you really need a wireless mouse on a desktop?)

It seems that the mouse can operate on either one or two batteries. So you might expect it to have more power and greater operating range when you insert a second battery. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that will be the case. The "old" wireless mouse had 2 batteries already... :-/

Ironically... I think I'll buy it anyway... yeah, even at 69 €... I just want that thing in my living room! :P

About Apple Bluetooth

One of my biggest frustrations with the Mac Mini has been using the mouse... the Bluetooth Wireless Mouse actually...

The pointer movement just wasn't smooth enough... just not as responsive as it is on Windows...

I first blamed it on using PowerPC applications with Rosetta being so processor intensive that the mouse driver had problems actually tracking the mouse movement. But no, that's an explanation I have to keep for poor video playback on exotic formats. Mouse movement also skips when the Mac is idle.

I also blamed it on some background task like a file indexing daemon. But again, that's a poor explanation. (I still have to figure out how to ps -aux on the Mac though ;))

I finally blamed it on the Bluetooth... and I wonder why it took me so long to fgure that out. When the mouse starts skipping, all I have to do is get closer to the Mac and the mouse will instantly work smoothly again.

The sad thing here is that I'm not so far away with my mouse! I'm only using it from accross my living room... which means 2-3 meters away from the Mac. With a straight line of sight!

I thought Bluetooth was supposed to have a 10 meter operating range! Well it seems the Apple Mouse only has a 2 meters operating range. Such a shame!

I occasionally get Bluetooth disconnects of the wireless keyboard also, but those have never bothered me that much. Maybe I just don't realize each keypress has to be retransmitted 4 or 5 times! ?

Now I have 2 options: either I move the couch closer to the TV (should have bought a smaller one! :-/) or I find a way to improve the Bluetooth... I wonder if you can boost it someway! Sure you can't connect an external Bluetooth antenna to the Mac Mini... but I wonder if putting some metallic object at a very specific spot on the Mini could actually act as an amplifying antenna... :roll:

Follow up on all kinds of stuff (move, WiFi, Sendo, etc.)

Done with the moving. Done with the painting. Almost done with the unpacking.

And it’s already mid August… 2004 :!: (Last time I remember time going by slowly was summer 03… when it was so hot there was nothing you could do but wait for it to end XX( )

Still no DSL access in the new appartment. Why does this have to take so long!? There is no single other procedure in moving that takes that long! Not even the whole organizing, sorting, packing and labelling extravaganza! :crazy:

My new appartment is quite near to my parents’ house actually. When positionning the elements carefully, it’s close enough to use a DECT phone from one place to the other… and of course you would expect that what works for DECT also works for WiFi! Don’t they share the same frequency range anyway?

Oddly enough, 802.11b only works in a slighly shorter range than DECT. No way for me to squat my parent’s DSL from my appartment! Their computer is too far away… and moving it closer to the right side of their house will not only make them kinda angry at my interference, it will probably also unplug the DSL cable from the wall socket, which would defeat the purpose. :-/

I’m using an ad hoc network here. So I came up with this – crazy? – idea of placing my laptop in the middle of the distance to act as a WiFi ad hoc relay! :>> I checked: the laptop can see both other computers: the one that I want to use as an Internet router, and the one I want to work on in my appartment. Somehow I had imagined that the ad hoc protocols of 802.11b would relay Ethernet packets accross all nodes in the wireless networks… but apparently that was too optimistic! There is no way for me to ping from one end to the other!

The solution would probably be to split the network into two distinct IP networks and setup the laptop as a router between both IP networks. The only problem is that it takes quite a few trips from one house to the other to change parameters and run the tests. After a couple of back and forths I found myself in the desert street, feeling bored and realizing I would not even have time to use that setup before I leave for Germany on Sunday. And when I’ll be back, the DSL should finally be activated too.

I started walking through the streets, just too see if I could still recognize the places I grew up in and left nearly 15 years ago. Attempting that in the dark of night doesn’t really help… but still, it was a nice walk… especially when I pulled out my much anticipated but finally available (and promptly aquired) Sendo X and used the mp3 player to put a soundtrack on my memories. “Moments in Love” by Art of Noise made it just perfect (It lasts 10 minutes!) I gotta remember to get “Lili was here” by Dave Stewart & Candy Dulfer onto that SD card for next time. :D

That kind of reminded me that offline technology can still be very enjoyable too! :>>

Video conferencing: future is now!

Okay now, sometimes I really feel stuck in south of France when I need to be working with people in Paris! Phone + email was cool until my phone bills rocketed in the past few months... :-/

Recently, I decided, with a couple of business partners, to give internet video conferencing a shot! Guess what my biggest surprise was?

It actually works! And pretty well!

Not only could we see each other while talking but it was even better than the real thing: sound quality outstrips mobile phones! Especially when compared to SFR (the crappiest - but very common - network we have in France).

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