Adopting Bluetooth

As part of my annual hardware reduction project, I got rid of my desktop. For the past number of years, I've used both a laptop and a desktop. I think this has added a certain amount of disorganization to my life by having files frequently littered between the two machines. The process of cleaning stuff of the desktop was annoying, having to determine sometimes which of the duplicated files were more recent. I'm glad the process is done. One less machine to worry about.

So the other half of this effort is to make my laptop work more like a desktop when I'm at home and that means docking station and full keyboard. I picked up an advanced port replicator for my Inspiron 600m (still waiting on shipment for that). I also picked up a 17“ LCD monitor - a Wintergreen??? Hey, it was cheap ($350) and had good specs. Almost too good. While I like the idea of multi-monitor, I tend to only use the external LCD since by comparison it has much easier on the eyes.

For the keyboard, I decided on the Logitech Bluetooth diNovo Media Desktop. I've seen this keyboard/mouse combination priced up to $499 at FutureShop and BestBuy, but picked it up at TigerDirect. ca for $200. The bluetooth combination includes 4 devices: A bluetooth hub/mouse charger, a rechargeable MX900 mouse, the keyboard, and a separate numeric keypad.

The mouse is great, although I have to get in the habit of putting it in the charger when I'm done. It's more accurate and suffers less noise than both of my other optical mice when on my wood grain desktop. My old optical mice include a Logictech FeelMan and a plain old Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer.

The keyboard is more like a laptop keyboard in it's thin/flat sleek shape. It's a very sexy keyboard and comfortable. I think I still prefer the ergonomic separated keyboards though. I'm not a big fan of keyboards with a ton of extra keys on them that I never remember to use. This keyboard has a limited set which I'm more likely to remember.

The separate keypad is quite a different twist on things. It's nice that they took it off they keyboard, which makes the keyboard more movable around the desk or my lap. The Media pad on its own is cool too. It works like a typical numeric keypad but it also has an LCD display. The pad has 3 modes. Numeric, Navigation (like a NumLock mode) and a calculator mode. When in calculator mode, it works like a standalone desktop calculator. You have the option with the software to keep the last result in the computer clipboard which is interesting. The software will also put email and MSN messenger notices on the LCD and even beep your media pad. It also has a set of media keys for volume, mute, play/pause, stop, back and forward. It will also show track names on the LCD.

Now the thing I wanted to do was use this same mouse when I take my laptop on the road. I had purchase a dlink external usb bluetooth dongle awhile ago, but I opted to buy an internal Dell Trumobile 300 module on ebay for my laptop. I can't believe how small it is, smaller than a stamp. It was a pain to install it - had to remove the keyboard, bezel, display, and palm rest.

The bigger gotcha was on the software side. I installed the dell drivers and software but it didn't detect the device. The bluetooth light was on no problem and device manager showed the device, but the bluetooth software didn't detect it. I figured this was because I now had two bluetooth hubs installed so I uninstalled both the dell and logitech software and then reinstalled the dell only software after disconnecting the logitech hub. Bingo - that worked. I was able to successfully add the keyboard, mouse, media pad, along with my IPAQ 5560 and bluetooth headset.

Without installing any logitech software, I'm still able to use the extra buttons on the keyboard and mouse, except the mouse's application switching button. They keypad works fine too, although I'm not receiving any messages on the LCD, nor is the clipboard support working. I tried to install the full logitech setpoint software, but it wouldn't continue the install without detecting the media hub, and plugging that in is not something I'm going to try. I can live without the features, and the fact I'm not running a bunch of extra software isn't going to bother me either.

Update: I just noticed on the logitech site, the setpoint download for the standalone MX900 says that it's been enhanced to support internal bluetooth modules. I'm downloading that and going to give it a try.