Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bluetooth Blueprints

There was one day when I visited my friend’s house when he showing off his newly arrived Bluetooth Stereo Headset. He asked me to try it on but I was indifferent towards it saying “A headphone is a headphone, how different can it be from all the others that I’ve tried on?” and declined his offer.

It was later, much later that I realised, when another friend of mine forced me to try it on, that THIS is indeed something different. It wasn’t just different. The difference was mind-blowing. The reception was crystal-clear over Bluetooth and the best part was that with Windows 7, it just works out of the box. It was this way right from Windows 7’s beta days. My friend and I fancy things that do not require drivers to be installed manually. We would readily confess to the fact that we have an obsession for collecting products that either has drivers on Windows built-in or gets it from Windows update. Our collection of product right from the AMD Motherboard & Processor to the Hauppauge Win TV PVR 150 – MCE TV Tuner card, the Xbox 360 controller for PC, to our Microsoft Keyboards and mice and HP fingerprint reader would all stand to prove this.

Both of us recommend to our friends & family and to anyone to buy products that would work out of the box. There might be other products out there, better products than the ones we recommend but  without integrated drivers, not only on Windows, but essentially any OS, the products loses its value and many of the features that it may be capable of which just get lost on installing the drivers that came with it manually.Also, the ones that have these drivers on the OS by default, have a better integration with the OS and with the software that comes with the OS which gives a seamless, intuitive, no non-sense experience with the device.

The other irritating part that we both hate while installing drivers manually is the whole load of bull crap software that get installed which I don’t need. For example, when I install my webcam, all I need is for it to work with my IM client software that I’ve already got installed. I don’t want a whole lot of crap to get installed enabling me to view myself and record video. These software are usually crippled with very basic options. If you are from a company that makes these drivers+software packages – listen carefully: We don’t need it! Just give the “.inf” files with the relevant “dlls” and be done with it. Perhaps for the non-geeky audience an installer to install the drivers. If you still want to give your software (which mostly is anyways third-party) give a choice to install it or not while installing the drivers.

Now back to my initial topic of the Bluetooth stereo headset.

After upgrading to Windows 7 RTM, for some reason, my Bluetooth headset has stopped getting the drivers from Windows update. I thought may be, my ultra-low-cost Bluetooth dongle (that I got for Rs.120, hehehe) had some problem with it. So, i tried with the other dongle (Yeah, I have two dongles, don’t get J already), it still didn’t work. So, finally I decided to take it to my friend’s house to test it with his setup. It still didn’t work. It didn’t work with my two cheap dongles and neither did it with his X-Micro ultra-costly (Rs.1800, no, you read it right that is eighteen hundred) dongle. He asked me to leave it with him for a while for him to try again and also try his headset (exact same model The Dell BH200) with my dongles and I did.

Yesterday, I went back to collect it and asked him for the result of his experiments and guess what, all combinations of setups worked just fine and neither he nor I have any idea what the problem is. Now, I’ve brought back my hardware to carry out the same testing experiments at my house once again before I re-install the OS (Yes, I screwed it up while installing Office 2010 yesterday and it now needs a re-install damn it). Let’s see how it goes.

Now off to become the mad scientist and on with my experiments. See you all later with the results.

P.S. Wow, I just realised that this is one of my longest posts.