|MICRO CENTER: COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS|
|In The Lab
What is Bluetooth?
Windows Bluetooth Support
Once the driver and utilities have been installed, you should see a Bluetooth icon in the system tray and one called "My Bluetooth Places" on the desktop. The system tray icon will display the status of your connections. If you remove the dongle or it has been disabled, the icon "B" will appear red; with the dongle installed but no connection, the "B" is white; and when you have an active Bluetooth connection with another device, the "B" changes green. Under Windows XP with Service Pack 2 installed, Windows installs its own Bluetooth icon in the system tray.
Click on the Bluetooth Places icon to start the initial configuration. You can come back to this later if you want to make changes or lock down certain services. After installing shortcuts everywhere and naming your computer for the Bluetooth network, you should get a list of services that the computer will offer. The Zoom install includes: PIM Item Transfer, PIM Synchronization, File Transfer, Network Access, Dial-up Networking, Bluetooth Serial Port, Fax, and Audio Gateway.
How these services relate to a specific device is not always immediately apparent. Sometimes they correspond directly to a network or wired service, but the functionality may be limited by the type of device, or how it uses the device. Just having a service available does not mean that your phone, PDA or computer can connect to a Bluetooth device: sometimes the device must do the connecting.
The other thing you will discover is that as you enable certain services, Bluetooth versions of the device will appear in your device manager or control window. For example, adding Bluetooth Network Access creates a Bluetooth Network adapter in the network connections folder (and in Device Manager.) On my test system, I do not have a modem, so neither the fax or dial-up networking services were automatically selected for installation.Discover Bluetooth
Once you have your Bluetooth radio link configured you can search for ("discover") nearby Bluetooth devices and detect what services they provide. I use my HP 6315 PDA/Phone for all sorts of things, including as an MP3 player. One thing that I found really annoying was how you manage to snag headphone wires on chairs when you sit down or get up, and with branches, rakes, and other outdoor implements when working in the yard. Since the HP6315 has built in Bluetooth, I bought one of the Anycom BSH-100 Blue Stereo-Headsets. I already use one of those tiny over-the-ear Jabra headsets for hands-free phone calls, but they don't do all that well for music playback and are not stereo; not that that matters on the PDA - it doesn't appear to broadcast stereo over Bluetooth anyway. The Anycom headset configures on the PDA much the same as my other headsets did:
To use the headset on the PDA, I found you can go through the Bluetooth Manager screen to connect to the Headset shortcut that was created during the initial connection process, or just turn on the headset, and click one of the feature buttons. To have the headset connect to the PDA, the Hands Free service must be configured from the Bluetooth Settings menus, and Accessibility must be set to allow other devices to connect; choose "All devices" (bad) or "Paired devices only" (good). On the PC, turn on the headset, and then connect to your Headset device from Bluetooth Places.
Another Bluetooth device I recently picked up was a Blue Mini Mouse, also from Anycom. Although this can be "discovered" by my PDA, it does not detect any useable services from the device. To add the mouse to the devices on the PC:
Under Windows XP, audio headsets should automatically switch your default playback device from your sound card or integrated audio to the Bluetooth device. If you were running a game or Media Player, you will probably have to stop and restart the program before you will hear the output. The Bluetooth mouse will coexist with your regular wired mouse and keyboard, or even other wireless mice and keyboards. If you haven't discovered this feature yet, try it out - you can have multiple keyboards and mice all active and functional at the same time on the same computer. You can have PS/2, USB, Wireless, and Bluetooth all connected and functional; I will leave the question as to why you would do this up to you...
Another device I found works really well is a Bluetooth GPS receiver. With a dongle attached to my notebook I can use it with Microsoft Streets or other navigation software that support GPS, or more frequently, I use it with my PDA. Pocket Streets has a GPS feature that will display your position. Pharos GPS does this and also has navigation and voice prompting turning directions. There are several other navigation packages out there, some that even bundle Bluetooth GPS receivers with them. (Guys - just think, with enough gadgets like this, you will never have to ask directions again!)
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