Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I've had it with Apple Bluetooth products

Given that the Apple Mighty Mouse's scroll ball has a nasty habit of not functioning properly after just limited usage, it has gotten a well deserved bad reputation. Even the cheap throwaway mice I get at the hole-in-the-wall PC shop in the $5 surplus bin never suffer this problem, yet Apple's pricey Bluetooth mouse does.

But that's not the worst of it. What's even worse is when the batteries in the mouse (or keyboard) die. Put in new batteries, and... nothing. Half the time the computer refuses to recognizes the mouse (or keyboard). Turning it off and on again helps once in a while, but the only really consistent ways to get the computer to re-recognize the mouse (or keyboard) is to reboot, or to manually set it up again from the Bluetooth preference pane. Very, very irritating. What about not letting the batteries die? Doesn't help. If you swap out the battery it's the same effect. Reboot may be necessary.

So lately I've just taken to putting my Bluetooth keyboard in the cupboard, and using a wired keyboard. As for the mouse, I've still been struggling with the Mighty Mouse, but won't get another one with my next iMac. Even if they introduce a brand new multi-touch mouse, they'll have to do some serious marketing to win me over if it's Bluetooth. The proof is in the pudding, and so far Apple's Bluetooth pudding is pretty rotten.

However, if they offered a wired multi-touch mouse, maybe I'd get that instead. Or perhaps a Microsoft RF mouse. Wireless, without all the Bluetooth headaches.


Kris said...

To get the trackball working again - take a couple of blank pieces of paper and set them on your desk. Flip the mouse upside down and roll the ball against the paper in wide circular or figure 8 motions for about 8-10 seconds.

If you replace the batteries and the mouse doesn't come back in a minute or so, shut the mouse off with the switch on the bottom for a moment then turn it back on. Sometimes this takes a time or two but it's always worked for me.

Eug said...

For the trackball, that could work, and I have had other methods that sort of work too. However, the point is I shouldn't have to do this every couple of weeks (or even every couple of days).

For the mouse recognition, I do what you recommend, but sometimes it just doesn't work. I can leave it for 5 minutes after shutting it off and turning it back on again and it sometimes it still doesn't work. OTOH, with the RF mice I've tried, I do not encounter these issues.

bc said...

The cleaning method Kris mentions definitely DOES work - the trick is roll the ball vigorously on a stack of paper, ie on a kind of padded stack or surface, make sure the top sheet is clean. Whatever gunk clogging the ball will eventually come out and stick to the paper.

This method doesn't seem well known and is far superior to using compressed air - the normally suggested fix.

As for you wireless problems perhaps you have a lemon or BT problem in your Mac? FWIW I have 2 separate BT Mighty Mice, one for my iMac and other for my MBP at work. Both have worked perfectly for 3 years. The one at work I just leave on the desk powered on, and when I come back to the office and wake my MBP the mouse just works - it just takes a single click to wake the mouse.