[AG-TECH] FYI: Bluetooth wireless keyboard

Andrew Daviel advax at triumf.ca
Wed Jan 21 18:21:26 CST 2004


We have a conference room for AccessGrid with a table in the middle and
computers in the corner (wired up to the projectors, echo canceller etc.).
Since it's useful to be able to drive a Web browser or other apps while
sitting at the table, we installed a wireless keyboard and a
Logitech "cordless presenter" bluetooth mouse.

The Bluetooth mouse worked fine anywhere in the room (maybe 30 foot
diagonal, but ate batteries - I think it draws 20ma when switched on, and
everyone forgot to switch it off. The regular wireless keyboard was rated
for 6 foot range but in that environment (interference from 802.11,
projectors ??) was lucky to get 4 foot and was sensitive to orientation,
people sitting near the receiver, etc.

I complained to LogiTech support and said "I wish you had a Bluetooth
keyboard like the mouse" and they basically said "We do now; the DiNovo
Media Desktop". So we bought one, and it works very nicely anywhere in
the room.

It comes in 4 parts - a wireless keyboard, a wireless keypad, a wireless
mouse, and a Bluetooth base station with integrated charger for the mouse,
which is fitted with swappable rechargeable batteries.

As the name implies, it is being marketed to kids who want to sit on the
couch and select MP3s using the wireless keypad. The keypad has an LCD
display which will display song titles, and both keyboard and pad have a
shuttle control to stop/pause/play media. The pad also functions as a
cheap calculator.

We are using it under Linux on the AG display/audio computer (1 machine
since we wanted to easily run VRVS as well as AG). Under RedHat 9.0
it was detected as a USB device and  works fine in parallel with the
PS/2 mouse and keyboard. The keypad works in numeric mode but in standard
XFree86 only the media buttons on the keyboard send key events, not the
ones on the keypad. Not a concern for us.

If the device is to be the only keyboard, it includes a PS/2 cable so you
can access the BIOS etc. before the operating system boots - neat.

I did install the device under Windows 2000 to play with it first, and
the installation procedure included a step where the base station
registered the Bluetooth addresses of the mobile units. I'm not sure
whether this step would have been required before it would work under
Linux, or whether it just makes it more secure by rejecting traffic from
unknown devices - it did work under Windows before the registration step.
(I played with some of the media tools and was not impressed; probably
works better under XP on a 2GHz machine than on a 400MHz laptop)

It's featured on http://www.logitech.com at the moment. It cost us about
$340 Canadian.

The recipe to get two mice to work in XFree86 was:

Section "ServerLayout"
        InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
        InputDevice    "Mouse1" "AlwaysCore"
Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier  "Mouse1"
        Driver      "mouse"
        Option      "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
        Option      "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
        Option      "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"

(cc. to VanLUG as I bought it in Vancouver and it works under Linux..)
Andrew Daviel, TRIUMF, Canada
Tel. +1 (604) 222-7376
security at triumf.ca

More information about the ag-tech mailing list