Why gadget hounds are sadists

I’m a bit of a gadget hound. I like to try out new things as long as I can justify them somehow in day to day life and use. I also shop a lot at Woot. This means I often find good deals on things like mice, headphones, keyboards, and other such computer accessories. Which I buy, on occasion.

A few months back I purchased the Logitech MX-5000 wireless laser desk set from Woot. I liked a lot of things about it, but the keyboard didn’t sit my hands right, and just “felt wierd.” On top of that, it had issues with Linux compatibility, and since I dual-boot Ubuntu, that was a big problem. So, I tried just the mouse for a bit, but the Bluetooth reception was spotty at best, and I went back to my old Microsoft Wireless Desk Set For Less, which despite its low cost has been extremely durable. I just have always wanted a nicer mouse, and the gaming keyboard features of the MX-5000 prompted me to buy it.

Anyway, that was a bust. Then not long ago, they had the Logitech MX Revolution mouse for sale, which I have heard people I trust swear by. The price was reasonable, so I bought that. I used it for a while but then it, too, had the same Bluetooth reception issues. I switched back to the Microsoft mouse but missed the ergonomic feel of the Revolution, as well as the extra buttons (handy for gaming, web surfing, and coding too!), and decided to figure out what was wrong with it in order to fix it.

Let me start by saying that Bluetooth is a horrible, evil technology. Its existence is proof of the existence Satan, much as the existence of Claim Jumper is proof of the existence of a kind and loving God. I did not want to work with it. For one, it operates on the same 2.4GHz band as, well, everything else that anyone has ever made to be wireless. This makes interference a real pain. Also, it has really screwed up functionality in Windows – more on that later. Third, it’s much more finicky than most wireless setups – note that my Microsoft keyboard and mouse were also wireless, and never had a problem at all.

I set out to eliminate as much possible interference as possible. Living in an apartment complex means I will have it no matter what, but I can reduce it at the very least. First I disabled the wireless broadcast on my router from firmware.  Next, I made sure that the mouse was only a few feet from the computer – this required me to move the computer from where it currently was. Last, I took care to move the power strip as far out of the way of the wireless as I could. I plugged everything back in, and while it said I was getting good reception, the mouse was “sticky” and unresponsive.

So I looked at the software. I uninstalled all Logitech and Microsoft wireless software and drivers and then made a fresh install of the latest version of SetPoint from Logitech’s web site. No improvement. This is where Google came to my aid. I discovered that the Microsoft implementation of Bluetooth pretty much sucks on a level roughly on par with Lawrence Tynes’ performance on Sunday, so my best bet was going to be finding a new Bluetooth manager. Logitech seemed the easy and obvious solution, so off I went. After installation, reboot, and configuration – the mouse works great. (Knock on wood.) So, while Logitech’s keyboard still sucks, their Revolution mouse is currently emanating awesome from my desk, and I’m back to being happy with my setup.

That is, until I start looking at widescreen monitors. Sigh…