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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
More questions!

I'm looking for a wireless keyboard/mouse system. I noticed that *sorry* Microsoft has a new combo out called the "wireless optical desktop for bluetooth". I haven't seen any other companies with this type of advertising. What is the advantage of the "bluetooth" vs just plain wireless? (my yet to come 17" G4 alPB has the technology as well as the new extreme base station if it matters). I am looking for the best/prettiest brand to work on OS X 10.2 (and would also prefer the "natural keyboard that kinda splits and spays out in the middle...easier to type..but I havn't seen any wireless options of this style so I'd probably have to do without and get the normal type)

Thanks!
 

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Pamela,

First off, welcome to ehMac! (didn't have time to say that on your first post). Now, about the keyboard.

There are a couple of different types of wireless: RF (radio frequency - it uses radio waves to transmit information), IR (infrared radiation - it uses beams of energy similar to light to do the same), and Bluetooth (I'm not versed in it, so someone else please fill us both in?).

They all have their pros and cons: RF can sometimes (though very rarely in my experience) get interference from stuff like microwaves, you have to have line-of-sight for IR, and bluetooth doesn't have a huge range (decent enough, though, or so I've read).

The bottom line: if you ordered your 17" (lucky you) with the bluetooth module already installed, then it would be in your best interests to use a bluetooth-enabled keyboard. With RF, you are forced to use a (usually) bulky receiver plugged into the USB port. And, I haven't seen any keyboards/mice in the last few years use IR, if ever.

A note: I myself bought the Microsoft Wireles Optical Desktop Pro keyboard, and have unfortunately had some very bad experiences with it. Though it may be just my particular unit (which I doubt; come on, it's M$!), I have had the hot keys at the top quit working completely, necessitating a complete reinstall of the software, some buttons have just quit working completely for no apparent reason, and it has had a few other quirks. Personally I suspect it is entirely the software's fault, because reinstalling the software, and re-establishing the link between base and 'board have both kicked the bugs - temporarily. It is my advice to anyone examining a Microsoft keyboard to -- at the very least -- wait a little while, and look into any problems other people have with them.

Also, it is my firm belief that Microsoft Corp. will not, however hard they try, churn out a decent piece of code until at *least* 3 minutes after the universe is destroyed.

And yes, the Xbox "OS" is a fluke.

I hope this rambling in some way helps, Pamela.

P.S. Since this is going to be one of your main computers (I assume; that's why you're interested in a separate keyboard, right?) you should probably look into getting one of these puppies, or something like it; using a laptop on a desk isn't exactly ergonomically sound. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Podboy for your thourough response!

I plan on having a monitor, keyboard and mouse set up permanantly at home so all I'll have to do is plug in my laptop when I get home....but thanks for that nifty device link!

I have this feeling that I should avoid Microsoft products as much as possible with my mac? Is this a legitimate feeling? They have that new bluetooth wireless desktop pacakage but they haven't said whether it's compatible with Mac or not yet. I was wondering if anyone had any experience with any of the other brands (logitech, kensington..etc)? I've never really like the other brands but it's more important that the product is a good, reliable one that is compatible with mac.
 

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I am not pro microsoft but I purchased a wireless Desktop pro setup at christmas and I have to say I love it. The hot keys work perfectly, the mouse is snappy and has little to no drag and the 'base station' plugs neatly into my USB hub so I only have one USB wire to plug into my laptop when I dock him at home.

The ONLY thing I have an issue with is that it eats batteries quickly, two AA in the keyboard and two AA in the mouse both have needed to be replaced since January 5th.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
hhmmm...I didn't even think about the battery thing...guess I thought it ran on air?? LOL

good to hear good feedback on it though.

you said "I only have one USB wire to plug into my laptop when I dock him at home" ...what did you mean by "wire"? I thought it was like a little usb plug type thing....
 

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I think he means just one little USB cable. I have a similar set up, except with more devices. I have an Apple Pro Keyboard, a Logitech Cordless MouseMan Optical, a Griffin PowerMate, a Wacom Graphire, a Handspring Visor Edge Cradle and a cradle for my Fuji FinePix Digital Camera. To simplify my desk setup I plugged eveything into a USB Hub and then when I sit down I only plug in the Hub and my power adapter and am good to go.

On BlueTooth:

BlueTooth is a cable replacement technology. it will probably be built into a great many things in the future that have cables now (like Mice, HandHeld Computers, Digital Cameras, etc.
The advantages of it are that it is fairly easy to configure, the range is far greater than RF or IR (33 feet is the standard transmitter, but it does come in 66 and 100 foot flavours as well(the PowerBooks 12" and 17" are 33 foot transmitters)) and the bandwidth is high compared to RF or IR.

It is probably not going to effect you now, but in short while when it really starts to take off count on it being a big part ofyour digital lifestyle.

As to MS products, the MS Wireless Optical Desktop Pro is one of the better keyboard/mouse combinations out there, but I find that while MS Mice feel more comfortable overall, Logitech has keyboards down pat.

Check out the MS Intellimouse Explorer (or Wireless Intellimouse Explorer) and the Logitech Elite Keyboard (or Cordles Elite Duo if you want a keyboard/mouse combination).

--PB

ps Apple.com/BlueTooth
 

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i have an wireless intellimouse explorer (another MicroShaft product) and it works freaking awesome. there is a little cable/transmitter plugged in to one of the usb ports, if that answers that cable plug thing, pamela. and yes, batteries run quicky on these things.

as for bluetooth (named after a viking king that liked eating blueberries), it's running at the 2.4 GHz frequency, mostly populated by cellphones and cordless phones. the packets of information (ie moving the mouse, or typing a report, etc..) travels along the 79 different sub-frequencies within 2.4, at a rate of about 1 600 times per second. it still uses a radio frequency.

it uses a technique called "spread spectrum" and basically means that it sends a burst of information on one frequency, then sends another one at another frequency, in a seemingly random sequence.

what this means for you? well, it means that since it's running at the 2.4 GHz range, you'll get less interference (like what IR would give you) and you don't have to be line of sight with the transmitter. for example, if you have a bluetooth enabled phone in your purse, located in your bedroom, you can sync up the phone numbers stored in your mac with your phone without going out to get it. you can also use your cellphone to connect to the internet while sitting under a tree in the park, etc...

i think bluetooth is kinda useless if you're using it in terms of a keyboard/mouse combo. mine uses radio frequency, but not bluetooth, and nothing interferes with it. bluetooth is a waste of money on such a device.

i think MicroShaft has drivers for its natural keyboard to work with your mac (that's the one with the split keys). get that, even though you gotta plug it in. as for mice, my wireless intellimouse explorer works great.. although it doesn't match the colours of my g4 imac..
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
great...thanks for your comments everyone. Clears everything right up ;)

(as you can tell I'm trying to get as wireless as possible...I can't stand wires anymore...so I might as well do it all right while I'm getting the new machine)

:D
 
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