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Bluetooth Bombs 106

Carey sent in this story that shows Bluetooth still has a few kinks to work out. Bluetooth's universal standard instead seems to be about 10 different standards, and if these companies think they are going get people to buy devices that only work with other devices from the same manufacturer, I think they're in for a rude awakening.
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Bluetooth Bombs

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  • Average Joe Consumer doesn't know and doesn't care what Bluetooth is. The big manufacturers will still sell those devices. As usualy, whoever gets the market share first will win out and become the defacto standard.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    somebody set up bluetooth the bomb!

    we get signal!

    ...

    I said, WE GET SIGNAL!

    ...

    god damn bluetooth! we're going back to USB!
  • Hopefully the technology is young enough that a standardization can be implemented without too much pain being felt at the idea of burning down an existing codebase. I hope they don't try to make everything backwards compatible at the expense of a hobbled proto...
  • I still think that Bluetooth has a chance as a technology. Even though the first "complete" iteration of the technology doesn't live up to the hype doesn't mean that it's no good.

    The fact that "Average Joe Consumer" doesn't know what Bluetooth is doesn't mean that it's "done for". People will be excited about it if it's useful to them, regardless of the name. IEEE-1394 is a perfect example. i-Link (Sony's name for it) and Firewire (Apple, duh) are successful in their niches.

    The name doesn't mean anything. The technology will evolve and become useful and people will use it. Even if it's not called "Bluetooth" when that happens...

  • by dotaubob ( 228272 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @10:04PM (#340238)
    The challenge, however, is making sure all Bluetooth products can communicate with each other

    This speaks for itself!!

    Lets make a network that won't work, then show everyone how it doesn't work......

  • by kristan ( 53139 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @10:05PM (#340239)
    I work in the mobile industry (where Bluetooth is heralded as a great technology), but I honestly don't see a need for Bluetooth in a world where we already have a great short distance wireless technology - 802.11
    I think the delays involved in launching Bluetooth (we've been hearing about it for a few years now) have caused it to become a great technology looking for a problem to solve. It is a nice technology - low power, inexpensive chipsets, etc. But, I don't believe it is a long term viable technology.
    Having said that, I still predict that lots of first adopters will buy Bluetooth enabled pens, phones, laptops, etc.
  • In regards to getting people to buy things that only work with other things by the same manufacturer... well, I hate to beat a dead horse but...it worked for Microsoft, right? ;)
  • by SClitheroe ( 132403 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @10:07PM (#340241) Homepage
    Every new technology has its teething problems.

    Does anybody remember the bad old days of CR-R's? Some drives could read CDR's, other's couldn't. Some machines could read stuff burnt at 4x, other's couldn't. Nowadays, there isn't a drive out there that can't handle CDR's.

    For that matter, does anybody remember the bad old days of BIOS'es? Certain OS's like OS/2 required you to have a particular revision, or higher (the AMI BIOSs were particularly bad with OS/2).

    How about bi-directional printers. Do any of you remember the heartache when your first inkjet didn't work correctly because you only had a uni-directional printer port?

    How about DVD's? There was a time (and there may still be) when certain players couldn't handle certain discs.

    How about BIOS support for large IDE devices? Do any of you remember the disappointment when your onboard controller couldn't handle a drive larger than 8 gigs?

    How about 5 1/4 floppy drives? Remember not being able to read 360kb formated floppies in certain high density drives?

    The list goes on and on...

    Bluetooth is at least as complex, and probably more so, than any of these technologies. The manufacturers will get this sorted out in time.

    The bleeding edge is exactly that - bloody. And as they say, you can tell who the pioneers are by the arrows in their backs. Don't slag a technology when it's in its infancy, just because things aren't working perfectly yet.
  • But instead, the ``Bluetooth'' demonstration at the world's biggest computer and electronics show turned into an embarrassing flop when 100 transmitters equipped with the short-range radio technology failed to transform a convention hall into a wireless data network for visitors with palmtop computers.
    <sarcasm>
    Must be a Windows thing first Windows bluescreens now this ;)
    </sarcasm>

    Bluetooth is seriously hobbled by a lack of standardized code, which means that devices of different brands often can't communicate with each other - a big flaw for a technology hailed as the next step in computer interconnectivity.
    Ponder this idea, maybe some of the vendors, in an effort to seem like team players, are not neccessarily tweaking their devices (hardware, software) to work properly with Bluetooth based devices (hw/sw). By attempting to seem as if they're trying to break into the Bluetooth scene, or be "team players", they're using that status to build around Bluetooth, in an attempt to capture on "the next big thing" (could happen).

    Major people are banking mega bucks into this technology which in my opinion will be something like firewire, useless to the typical person. The add on (provided your pc isn't bluetoothed already) is a slight bit pricey, provided I could get a used 400mhz for about $200, so why would should I spend on this when technology as I know it changes so fast, by the time I did get it, I'd be looking at something else.

    So far, consumer demand for Bluetooth has been anemic due to the technical problems and the high prices
    case
    rest my
    esac

    Privacy info [antioffline.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 25, 2001 @10:19PM (#340243)
    Hmm, $5 per device for Bluetooth enabling (in quantity)... how much is it for 802.11 ? If 802.11 is good enough then pray tell why is it not being embedded in everything from cell phones to laptops to network appliances.

    Bluetooth has a market (wire replacement), it's cheap, it's low power, it can become ubiquitous. The problem has been there for years, get rid of wires. 802.11 does not fix this problem. Bluetooth can for just about everything but your video and landline network connection.

    The incompatibilities are because of the usual crap between countries and companies. Part of the same reason that we have competing incompatible regional cellular networks. Hopefully it'll get fixed to the point where it's "good enough".
  • I think that it's funny to see this story on a site that is so heavily populated by people that use and love Linux. Anybody that used Linux a few years ago spent the first month doing nothing but sweating over this configuration file or that, this libc version or that, why the hell won't X initialize, why can't I get LILO working, what is wrong with this broken operating system...

    Now the same people point to a problem with a very complex new technology and start jumping up and down about how it will never work because it has problems?

    -Keslin [keslin.com], the naked nerd girl

  • NEW technologies? Doesn't have to be NEW not to work. Folks have had plenty of time to implement decent support for standards like HTML (2.0, 3.2, 4.0), CSS (1,2), Posix, etc. Plenty of broken cruft floating around there - and as much as I loathe M$, they by no means have a monopoly on broken cruft in _those_ departments. (Just in ones like, let's see, Java support, Kerberos... I'm sure I missed a few. ;)

    --
  • assuming the companies developed their bluetooth products in a vacuum, this network test can give them tons of valuable input to improve the products so they better work with other products.

    either way, it shows there are definately a few problems in the current stages of development, but for a first trial of a large scale network, failure isn't a bad thing

  • Major people are banking mega bucks into this technology which in my opinion will be something like firewire, useless to the typical person.

    Kind of like 1 Gigahertz processors? And USB?

    Bluetooth, as a goal, is a noble idea. The implementation, thus far, sucks. Microsoft has proven time and time again that pouring millions of dollars into bad technology can eventually produce usable technology.

    Stranger things have happened.

  • ``If it didn't have problems at the beginning, it wouldn't be great technology,'' insisted Ulrich Woessner of German Bluetooth company Lesswire AG, one of the event's organizers.

    Um yeah, maybe I missed something but the logic in this statement doesn't seem to be there for me...

    Even the developers of Bluetooth devices are having trouble communicating with others!

  • by MrShiny ( 171918 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @10:35PM (#340249) Homepage
    So because the computer industry has fucked up on standards many times before, it's ok for them to do it again? I love this quote from the article:

    "Right now, the standard is defined, but companies are using different specifications"

    Translation: Right now, the standard is defined, but companies are so busy madly rushing products out the door that they don't bother following the specs or doing any compatibility testing.

    I'm sick and tired of buying a shiny new upgrade and then finding out it doesn't work with my computer because:

    1. the person who made the component didn't follow the spec
    2. the person who made the thing it plugs into didn't follow the spec
    3. the spec is not complete
    I was really excited when I bought my TNT2 until I plugged it into my LX mobo and found out the AGP slot didn't provide enough voltage to drive the card. If this were any other kind of product, it would be considered defective.
  • Interesting... At I type this, I am using an Intel bluetooth pcmcia card in my laptop (purchased because they are proud to say they have a linux driver) and it is transmitting to my DLink WAP (purchased because it was cheap). No problems.

    I've also ready *many* user reviews of various WAPs and a lot of people make it a point that they are using different brands of pcmcia cards with no problems. (And yes, I've seen at least a half dozen brands mentioned.) This would seem to indicate that if there are problems they are not widespread and may be limited to a few (possibly smaller) manufacturers.

    Meanwhile I love being untethered and would never go back. It was a great investment and my wife agrees.
  • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Sunday March 25, 2001 @11:11PM (#340251) Homepage
    The first bluebooth implementations are only going to be sold as cable replacements. So it won't really matter that J. Random combinations of bluebooth devices don't work -- because they don't work if you have a cable either.
    -russ
  • Well, yes, but if I said that Linux is a pain in the neck to deal with right now, and that it has a lot of glitches that people still deal with right now, then I would get 20 different Linux zealots jumping all over me for blaspheming the holy operating system.

    I figured that I would be diplomatic by referring to problems from few years ago, which only the most deluded zealots will deny.

    -Keslin [keslin.com], the naked nerd girl

  • How about BIOS support for large IDE devices? Do any of you remember the disappointment when your onboard controller couldn't handle a drive larger than 8 gigs?
    Let's distinguish BIOS and controllers. I have had problems with BIOS many times, not only on the 8 Gb, but also on the 512 Mb boundary. But I have never had any problems with the controllers - the drive works just fine as long as you don't want to boot from it.
  • How about BIOS support for large IDE devices? Do any of you remember the disappointment when your onboard controller couldn't handle a drive larger than 8 gigs?

    <cheap anti-MS shot>

    Just create a small partition, small enough to fit on the recognized portion of the drive. Put your root filesystem there. 128 megs is plenty for a root fs. Put /usr, /var, /tmp etc. on the rest of the disk (one /usr partition with /var and /tmp on it is fine for a home box; servers should have more separation). The BIOS can access the small root partition well enough for the boot blocks to load the kernel from it, then the kernel can take over and mount the rest of the disk.

    I've never had a problem with BIOS limitations since switching to a decent operating system.

    </cheap anti-MS shot>

  • When you say that this isn't a long-term viable technology, what excactly do you mean?
    If this thing can give my palm fast internet access, of course it's a viable technology (once the kinks have been sorted out that is). On the other hand, depending on what you mean by it you could say that GSM wasn't viable technology. The encryption was insufficient and it didn't have packet switching, in other words it was merely second-generation technology. Now we get UMTS. Will it be replaced someday? Certainly, but it might take time. Remember the tv-standards we use: NTSC and PAL. Anachronisms both! But it is certainly viable technology, if you're talking economically viable.

    There are plenty of bad standards out there, that are still perfectly "viable".
  • The Apple Newton never recovered from the over hyped negative journalism of the initial units. The negativity was founded, for the first units, but further journalism and public opinion for the mature product was completely ignorant.

    It developed into a fantastic technology that barely got a second look past the teething problems.

    So I hope bluetooth quickly gets beyond the teething problems before people form an opinion on something that is apparently not be complete yet.

  • Sigh, another victim of the de-obfuscatah!
    toast@ruka.org [mailto]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ditto for your too cockeye.
    tcp@mac.com [mailto] Ohh, Mac.com huh, this should be a juicy one for countless direct marketers. Enjoy the spam.
  • Would it bother you if you were wrong?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Cram that post up your ass. You thought you were all slick with that little dot instead of a period in your email address huh? Well I'm your worst nightmare bitch. Its the De-Obfuscatah! Here to regulate.
    shanep@penguinpowered.com [mailto]
  • by macpeep ( 36699 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @11:37PM (#340261)
    I don't agree... Think about what happened to WAP. I was involved very early in making WAP stuff - even before the term WAP was announced. At first, I was very excited at the thought of being able to use "the web" over a cellular phone but after realizing what it was all about (reinventing the whe.. uh, web) but especially after seeing the poor interoperability between various handset makers' browsers, I quickly changed my view. Now, I own a phone that has a WAP browser but I've only used WAP once - to test my data connection.

    Today, WAP is a complete flop. Nobody cares to do any content for it because the technology screams "proprietary". Nobody cares about using WAP because there's no content and the little content that there is will most likely not work properly with your handset.

    I'm very excited about Bluetooth but at the same time I'm already worried when I hear reports like this. I've seen marketdroids talk about how "Bluetooth uses a frequency that is available in every country in the world!". The truth is that in several countries, the frequency is already used by something else. In France, for instance, it's a military frequency and it remains to be seen if Bluetooth will work reliably there at all. Microwaves and energy saving light bulbs will also cause problems for Bluetooth... From what I understand, the bandwidth is also not too great. It's enough to connect to the net to check your email and surf and it's enough to remove cables between your mouse, keyboard and computer. It's not, however, enough for wireless LAN's, printers, scanners and a shitload of other stuff. It seems like, before Bluetooth even has arrived, it's already facing a wall of problems. Not very encouraging...
  • Are you sure you're not thinking of wireless ethernet, a.k.a IEEE 802.11b? I can't seem to find any bluetooh products on intel's site. Could you provide a link?
  • by Rix ( 54095 ) on Sunday March 25, 2001 @11:40PM (#340263)
    802.11 is overkill for the niche Bluetooth is aimed at. You don't need a fullblown NIC in your cell phone, but it might be nice if it could communicate with your PDA.

    One of IBM's Bluetooth guys spoke at VanLUG [vanlug.bc.ca] last week, and according to him IBM is aiming at 50 cents/chip for bluetooth. This will never happen with 802.11.
    Cheers,

    Rick Kirkland
  • It isn't viable because it does not work!

    Even worse there is another proper standards based technoligy 802.1 which does work.

    The only real effect Bluetooth has had is to delay the uptake of the 802.1 wireless standards, as, "industry commentators" (people who take press realeases from large companys and reprint them as articles in magazines) have been saying how the marketing muscle of Itel et al. will make Bluetooth the defacto standard.

    This could have possably happended, but, just think about it. An organsisation as secretive and paranoid as Intel trying to lead an "open" standards consortium.

  • Is this going to stop any of us (Slashdot readers) from buying Bluetooth devices? Personally, I'm waiting until they get it "right", but this is like making a body net - my phone's on my belt, my Palm's in my pocket, my pen's behind my ear, all happily chatting away. Not to mention them tapping into my desktop/laptop when they're in range. It's... like a wearable computer!

    Kurdt
  • Is the Nokia Bluetooth Battery [nokia.com] that will allow the lowly 6200 series phones to be connected... We can only sit and wait...

  • It really doesn't look that bad. It's not working now, but that doesn't mean it'll never work. This sort of interop party is one of the few ways to figure out just what need to be done to get things working.

    Because it's to the various companies' advantage to be able to interoperate with each others' equipment, I'm expecting that we'll ultimately see these things working together.

    From the sounds of the article, the problem seems to be mostly in the software, not the hardware. For units with upgradable software (eeproms, etc), this can be handled with a simpls software upgrade. For items like the pen, it's going to mean you're throwing the thing out unless the manufacturer is able to make their software dual mode (old protocol + new protocol).

    Although I'm not going to buy a bluetooth system tomorrow, I'm definitely not going to write it off, yet.
    --

  • It's not just networking.

    I drag my PC around town a fair bit to LANs and whatnot and I would love it if i could just plug the box into power and switch on without having to connect cables for monitor, sound, mouse, keyboard, network, etc., worry about someone kicking them out then go to the same trouble packing it all up.

    There's gotta be open standards though - it's no good if my new Bluetooth-enabled Viewsonic monitor won't talk to my 3com Bluetooth station.
  • Yes, but in this case the problem isn't whether or not Average Joe knows what it is, but if it will work for him (or her). People WILL be excited about it... if it's useful for them.

    At the moment, competing standards make it pretty close to useless. Want to buy ten different devices that all do the same thing just so you can be guaranteed connectivity at any given place? (And then hope that your message actually gets SENT somewhere, and not eaten by a server that doesn't like to play with the other children)


    -Mad Dreamer
  • Oh good, does that mean that my laptop won't inadvertantly connect to the flight director computer on the airplane?

    And how do I make sure that my permanently wireless-enabled Bluetooth laptop/pen/Palm doesn't indeed become a Pilot? When the crew tell us to switch off our cellphones, will we be able to do the same with these devices yet still use them normally during the flight?
  • Ok, I'll bite.

    IEEE 802.1 [ieee.org] describes standards for maintence and internetworking of IEEE 802 networks, i.e. spanning tree, VLAN tagging, access control, etc.

    IEEE 802.11 [ieee802.org] describes Wireless LAN standards.

    IEEE 802.15 [ieee802.org] defines Wireless Personal Area Networks based on Bluetooth v1.1. There is a coexistence task group (TG2) that is defining Collaborative and Non-collaborative mechanisms for information interchange between the WPANs and WLANs.

    So now the questions is "why do we need both?" The answer is that WPANs and WLANs solve different problems. WPANs need to be cheap, easy to configure, and very short range. WLANs, on the other hand, should be comparable in range and complexity to a traditional wired LAN.

    There is room for both approachs, just as there is room for both ethernet (802.3) and token-ring (802.5) LAN technologies.

  • So what's wrong with 802.11? My academic institution has had it running for several years (!) now. It's not scary fast, but 3Mbps (and now 11Mbps) seems quite adequate for most tasks even when shared among many users. The interoperability is great, and the increased range means fewer base stations and more redundancy.

    Is there something I'm missing, or is Bluetooth just a poor substitute for what I have already?

  • by Ace905 ( 163071 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @01:09AM (#340273) Homepage
    When I first heard of Bluetooth, I thought to myself, "I don't really care about checking the status of my fridge while watching tv". After time however, I came to realize, "I don't really care about checking the status of my fridge while watching tv".

    For those companies that are desperately seeking to make this all-american dream a reality, I have some advice;

    4 layered transmissions

    Layers:

    1) Identify yourself uniquely, negotiate unique identities with devices conflicting with your identify. (IPv6 using your SN as a mac address, problem solved).

    2) Negotiate Public Key Encryption if required -- using IEEE standard encryption algorithm located on chip mentioned at end of this rant.

    3) Identify the number of variables people will be working with, ie: "I am a light. I go on or off. My variable is Boolean"; "I am a fridge, I have 3 variables. On/oFF ; Fridge Temperature (range 0 to -20) ; Freezer Temperature (range 0 to -20).

    4) Identify how your interface will be displayed to the user. ie; send a pixilated ICON of your device, with the text to go underneath such as "Fridge #56". Identify Whether your variables are straight-listed, or listed in relation to each other such as a linked-tree.

    If the device communicating with you has only text ability, then only text will be displayed. It is up to the individual device to decide exactly how the layout goes, so end-users can say, "I don't like the palm pilot Bluetooth interface". This is probably where the problem occurs, everyone wants their product to have scrolling advertisements and look better than someone elses. Yo, you're designing remote controls; get over yourselves.

    Last requirement for Bluetooth to work: IEEE implements a Bluetooth RFC database and refuses to IEEE-BT certify non-compliant devices.

    In addition to this, all devices wishing to become BlueTooth certified must have a flashable chip in the event of backwards incompatability. If you need to update your bluetooth protocol, you just broadcast the new protocol from any device to all surrounding devices.

    I realize this sounds like security risk, since people could flash their own protocols with backdoors or cause major problems amongst the utilities in your house. However when you think about it logically you'll realize this really isn't such a big problem in light of the fact that your Stove, Cell Phone and Maybe even your furnace will all one day be connected to a worldwide WAN known as the internet.

    I hope this dream becomes a reality soon, and I wish all you over-funded capitalist pigs luck when Z3ro-c00li0 shuts off your pilot-light and turns on your stove.
  • But then they have had a monopoly from the start, no-one has a Bluetooth monopoly.
  • Linux has never been created to make profit of it. All these firms creating bluetooth 'compatible' (according to their claims) equipment are doing it to gain profit. As a consumer, when you buy something it MUST work. (Where I live that is even a law, making Windows illegal I presume :-)

    Nobody ever bought Linux, only distribution media (and maybe some service). So Linix had (and still has) the right to _not_ "work" right away.

    In the process of creating Linux there never were "specs". It was simply created brick by brick. Some of those bricks (or modules or whatever you like to call them) were created by volunteers to _implement_ some (specified) standards. But still it never was sold saying "Linux applies to these and those standards" (even when it actually did (and does) most of the time).

    For bluetooth there _is_ a standard. And if you want to make a bluetooth device it shoold apply to this standard. If not you can't call it bluetooth. The "effects" noticed at CeBit clearly show that not all of the devices are according to the specs. (Unless those specs really allow that some devices can not interoperate :-) I gues that interoperability was the main goal (I never read the standard of course)

  • If you are in france 802.11 is illigal because of the freq. it uses. Those are government and mil bands. So if you want to use 802.11 there is at least one major country that it wont hit it off it.


    Fight censors!
  • Humm, if this is illegal then how come you can buy 802.11 stuff like [materiel.net] in France ?

    802.11 is not illegal in France - the army has agreed to let individual use these frequencies.
  • 802.11 will never approach che low price of bluetooth; also, bluetooth uses far less power than does 802.11. It is great for wireless networking, but would be way overkill for just connecting your printer and computer, your phone and handset, for wireless mice and keyboards and so on. You would in effect have a $60 cable, and the mouse/keyboard/whatever would have to be connected to a power outlet or be recharged every two or three hours.

    /Janne
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I personaly think the writer of the article had a bad field day at CeBit, because I saw lots of Bluetooth applications working better than expected (I work in the communication industry, and also work with the technology).

    This next friday will also be the next scheduled unplug fest, so there is work actively being done on interoperability, failing a test means back to the drawing board.

    Another fact remains that most of the 'new' gizmos will be sold in pairs anyway, you need two chips to connect the sprocket to the widget, and that will give you full functionality for the 'new' gizmo you bought.

    Didn't the first IEEE 802.11 cards that came on the market have the same problem ? I sure had problems connecting my set to cards of different vendors. A new eeprom flash that came out 1 year after I bought it solved that. Most Bluetooth gizmos also have flash capabilities (heck, some of them even run the stack using a Linux kernel).

    The question remaining to be answered is: is WLAN a superior technology ? My personal experience is that everytime my fridge starts my WLAN is down, I have no such problem using Bluetooth.
  • Microsoft is a dead horse?

    Er... Well, y'know. You can't make an omelette without um... destroying a forest. Or something.

  • I just wish HP JetSend had seen some wider adoption. It was a staggeringly clever protocol that solved many of these "surface based computing" problems you mention. Despite the limited scope of the few use cases we did see, it wasn't just a protocol for printing over IR from handhelds.

  • Bluetooth is NOT for LAN's. I seriously doubt that you will ever see networkcards and monitorcables replaced by it. It simply doesn't have the capacity.
  • I don't understand BlueTooth. I see how it works as a protocol for un-wiring the various devices I own personally. If I want my fridge to talk to my phone, so that it can order more milk on demand, then I can see how to do it. If I want a cellphone that makes me look like Lt. Uhura, and can play MP3's from my PDA over the same earpiece, then I can see how to do that.

    What I don't understand is how I use it to do the things I currently do with a Palm and IR. How do I walk into a First Tuesday (sic) meet and beam my business card to one person, in such a way that they trust to receive it, and I don't simultaneously broadcast it to the entire room ? Despite some searching, I can't find a way to do this securely and reliably with BlueTooth, in a manner that allows ad hoc communication between devices who interact only once and fleetingly.

    Is BlueTooth really so limited that it can only be useful for "my stuff" that I have previously spent time giving personal introductions to each other ? This seems like they've missed the big picture on usability in a big, big way.

  • If you are in france 802.11 is illigal because of the freq. it uses.

    Fine. We'll use it for all the eBay nazi regalia listings.



  • I was involved very early in making WAP stuff - even before the term WAP was announced. At first, I was very excited at the thought of being able to use "the web" over a cellular phone but after realizing what it was all about (reinventing the whe.. uh, web)



    *sigh*Another dimbulb web luser. Listen up son, WAP != WWW. WAP may use HTTP for part of its process, but that is as close as it gets. You've been mis-sold WAP as being related to the Internet, it is not.

    WAP is a mechansim for adding services to your mobile phone after the phone has been sold, without re-flashing the firmware.

    It is contaminated in peoples minds now becase it got sold by clueless marketeers as "internet on phone".



    Today, WAP is a complete flop. Nobody cares to do any content for it because the technology screams "proprietary". Nobody cares about using WAP because there's no content and the little content that there is will most likely not work properly with your handset.



    That is an excessively negative outlook. I can name one WAP site which get in excess of 1M hits a day and several others which get 1M hits a week. Thats hardly a flop.

    The stupid thing about WAP is that people time and time again assume they are getting "internet on phone" and when they don't get it they blame the protocol. Get over it, FFS. Its here, it's evolving and it really is a one-horse race.
  • here we go again. a typical ignorant hardware-oriented question from a slashdot software geek. why don't you try reading about the differences between these two protocols before you go spouting off that one shouldn't exist? you're probably the same kind of guy who loves to put x86 in absolutely every device too.

    Bluetooth and 802.11 solve two totally different problems. engineering is always about trade-offs, and bluetooth has had to make a variety of trade-offs to be cheap, extremely low-power and extremely small to fit in devices like cell phones. the delays in rolling out Bluetooth are because of the inherent difficulties in wireless hardware, and collaboration between companies, not because it's an inviable technology. try taking a few antenna design and wireless hardware courses sometime.

    - j

  • 802.11 is basically wireless Ethernet. Bluetooth is supposed to be wireless USB: lower power, lower bandwidth, lower range, etc.

    There's certainly a place in the world for a wireless approach to eliminating keyboard and mouse cables, and 802.11 is really overkill for that purpose.

    -jcr

  • I think the article synopsis is very misleading. Especially to someone who knows absolutely nothing about Bluetooth. The author of the synopsis seems to be upset about something the article said about devices not being compatible with each other. I can't find anything in the article other than the fact that Bluetooth is not ready for consumer release and large scale manufacturing yet.
  • Rix, do you (or anybody else) have a link for any information presented by this IBM guy? I'm putting together a web page of information on Bluetooth being used with Linux [matlock.com], and would be curious as to what IBM has to say. So far, the only information I have from them is a Bluetooth PC Card (PCMCIA) adapter that costs way too much.
  • Personally, I think the Newton never recovered from Steve Jobs. Apple was ready to spin Newton off into it's own company when Jobs came back, pulled Newton back in, and then killed it. He had a bug up his backside for a long time against that product.
  • Oddly, Intel took their main Bluetooth page down. The nearest thing I could find was their Personal Area Connectivity [intel.com] page, which mentions Bluetooth. I found this last week while researching links to build a page about Bluetooth with Linux [matlock.com] implementations.
  • by Chang ( 2714 )
    I just bought a VAIO SR laptop (Japanese version) that has Bluetooth. It must be one of these pre-standard type deals.

    The laptop is pretty sweet anyway so I don't mind as much.
  • ... But I have never had any problems with the controllers - the drive works just fine as long as you don't want to boot from it.

    You don't read Kernel Traffic [zork.net] much, do you? :)

    Just off hand, I remember that there are bad WD IDEs, IDE controllers (various companies), let alone odd BIOS and software interactions between the different parts. It can definately be the hardware sometimes! (Remembers problems with an old laptop.)

  • *sigh* Another dimbulb web luser. Listen up son, WAP != WWW. WAP may use HTTP for part of its process, but that is as close as it gets. You've been mis-sold WAP as being related to the Internet, it is not.

    That was a clear flaimbait but I'll bait.. I've been giving WAP training to Nokia personell and I've been involved in coding demos used by Nokia to display what WAP is. I did these things a year before you had ever even HEARD the abbreviation "WAP". Nokia's idea of WAP was EXACTLY to get the Internet to the phone. I can't speak about other cell phone manufacturers. In fact, I'm not speaking for Nokia either, but this is the view I got from talking and working with them. And btw, WAP 2.0 will be XHTML.. Oh.. and btw.. WAP was even marketed as WWW/MMM (World Wide Web, Mobile Media Mode) right after the initial launch. This was supported by several cell phone manufacturers.

    Also, in addition to Nokia, I've worked closely with Siemens and their WAP stuff and they too sure seem to think that WAP is the web on your cell phone, though they have a much more "it's applications"-view of it.

    Calling me a "dimbulb" when it comes to WAP is not exactly accurate.

    That is an excessively negative outlook. I can name one WAP site which get in excess of 1M hits a day.

    Well, whoopee. I rest my case. You can name ONE site. And even so, you didn't even name it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    if these companies think they are going get people to buy devices that only work with other devices from the same manufacturer, I think they're in for a rude awakening.

    For a perfect example of why this "rude awakening" won't happen, I refer you to practically anything made by Sony in the past few years. In addition to using crap components and producing generally poor-quality equipment, they are hell-bent on pimping proprietary hardware and data protocols. Yet somehow (marketing, anyone?) they enjoy a reputation roughly on par with manufacturers of significantly higher quality equipment. In fact, the first time I heard about these kinds of Bluetooth problems (roughly this time last year), the name "Sony" automatically popped into my head.

    Maybe we should generically refer to this as "The Sony Effect".

    My personal nags about Sony aside, basically I think the wide array of proprietary stuff already in the marketplace should tell us that if Bluetooth fragments into incompatible Blueteeth, the last person on Earth to "send a message" will be Joe Public, who learns all he knows from 30-second TV ads.

  • how about jini then?

    http://www.sun.com/jini/ [sun.com]

    as for the 'pixelated icon' suggestion, really, if you're going to criticize a standard, at least try to push the boundaries a smidge. vector graphics at least. even better, a token identifying both type and data of a visual.

  • It took a few years for the 'U' of USB to mean something other than "Useless". It seems safe to predict that these Bluetooth compatibility issues will get worked out. Wether there really will be the golden $5 all-in-one-chip bluetooth solution remains to be seen. Until it becomes almost as cheap as the wire, it's hard to imagine it'll really get widespread adoption.
  • I have as many remote controls as I have component boxes in my living room.

    Come up with an exhaustive list of living room gadget functions. Make a universal remote that (a) doesn't require configuration, (b) actually works across vendors.

    There is a pile of money under that idea.

  • What frequency is 802.11? 2.4GHz
    What frequency is bluetoooth? 2.4GHz

    hmm... enough said...

    JOhn
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @06:20AM (#340300) Homepage Journal

    Every new technology has its teething problems.

    In the proprietary world, they are much much worse. The more profit the players anticipate, the worse the problem gets.

    The various internet protocols haven't be plagued with nearly that much trouble. At a time when it was so cutting edge that it wasn't even on the corperate radar, it managed to reconcile entirely different character sets and notions of how numbers were stored so that machines that were never intended to interoperate routinely did so. If in doubt, the RFC was the final authority. If the RFC was unclear, this was discussed, and a clarifying RFC was issued to settle the matter.

    In the world of proprietary specs, a bunch of companies all haggle and fight over the spec from day 1. Most of the arguements center on "We think it should be this way, and since we're the bestest and the most deserving, you will bow down to our greatness and like it". The result tends to be an ill defined 'standard' with miles of wiggle room and dozens of companies that convince themselves that their ideas were adopted as the cannonical standard.

    Rather than holding a quiet bake off where early prototypes are brought out and tested for compatability with a 'lets make this work' attitude, prototypes are jealously guarded secrets.

    When the prototypes are finally brought together, it happens at a show with a bunch of crowing marketing people with one or two under-appreciated engineers behind the curtain just in case. The engineers rarely have any authority to make changes, and management's "worst nightmare" is the thought of the lot of them getting drunk together and letting the secrets out of the bag. (That is to say, actually coming to a better understanding of what it will take to be fully interoperable).

    WARNING: tasteless but accurate metaphore follows:

    Inevitably, brand A won't talk to brand B. Does this convince the corperations that their engineers should get together and talk? No, it signals that the pissing contest is about to begin. Whoever covers the most floor space and pisses on the most people wins.

    Once it's all over, everyone drags themselves back to their feet (still dripping), and wonders why all the potential customers went away.

    End of tasteless but accurate metaphore.

    You'll notice that all of the incompatabilities you mention went away at about the same time that the product became a comodity off the shelf part.

    Bluetooth is at least as complex, and probably more so, than any of these technologies. The manufacturers will get this sorted out in time.

    The bleeding edge is exactly that - bloody. And as they say, you can tell who the pioneers are by the arrows in their backs. Don't slag a technology when it's in its infancy, just because things aren't working perfectly yet.

    I'm not slagging the technology itself, just many of the companies 'bringing us' this technology. If they were truly interested in inter-operability, they would have done something about it before embarassing themselves at a public technology show. I imagine they did extensive testing to make sure that THEIR product A talked to THEIR product B, and none to see if either product would talk to someone else's product C.

  • by lizrd ( 69275 ) <{su.pmub} {ta} {mada}> on Monday March 26, 2001 @06:52AM (#340301) Homepage
    Right now, the standard is defined, but companies are so busy madly rushing products out the door that they don't bother following the specs or doing any compatibility testing.

    The problem isn't so much that people are just ignoring the spec and rushing out products that aren't fully compatable, the problem is that the spec can't be followed. The protocol spec for Bluetooth is over 1500 pages and in some places is incompatable with itself. What we have here is a perfect example of design by committee and the problems that it causes everytime it comes up. It's simply impossible to be fully compliant with the entire spec so when designing a device so you have to choose which features you're going to support and which vendors you're going to be compatable with. Right now the leading vendor seems to be Ericsson, so if you're making a Bluetooth you want to have a chance, it'd better be compatable with Ericsson radios and your other products. Beyond that there isn't too much you can do.
    _____________

  • Publications doing reviews of the IBM and Toshiba Bluetooth adapters have run them in close proximity to 802.11 equipment. Much to the reviewer's surprise the two sets of equipment ignored each other with no noticeable interference.

    Neither product is always transmitting, so if both happen to transmit at the exact same time then each will look like RF noise to the other. In theory, if both systems were VERY busy this could be a problem. For the most part, this does not appear so.

    I've bee trying to research these products as they pertain to Linux for the last week. Most the the fruits of this search are available in a web page [matlock.com] of links and comments.

  • by alhaz ( 11039 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @07:06AM (#340303) Homepage
    WE all think it would be great as a wire eliminator, but unfortunately Ericsson doesn't want it to be used for that, won't talk to anyone who does, and it's their baby.

    Ericsson's only application so far is advertisng. That's right, you're walking down the street, you pass a Coke machine, your cell phone goes 'blip blip!' and a text message asks you if you're thirsty. You're walking through the mall, you pass Victoria's Secret, your cell phone goes 'blip blip!' and informs you that thong underwear is half off. You're crusing down the freeway, you pass a billboard and . . . you get the idea. And they literally want it to go "blip blip" - go look at http://www.ericsson.com/blip [ericsson.com].

    Do YOU want your cell phone going "blip blip" and offering you advertisments two thousand times a day?

    And they SAY it only costs $5 per unit in quantity, but since nobody is manufacturing anything in quantity, the cost is right on par with 802.11b at the moment.

  • I've been giving WAP training to Nokia personell and I've been involved in coding demos used by Nokia to display what WAP is
    Whoopee. So have I. Lectures, demos and services. Recent too, as in "Not TTML".
    All my experience of Nokia Mobile Phones, Nokia Networks and Nokia Multimedia tells me that Nokia as a group know that WAP has nothing to do with the WWW. Perhaps back (1yr/2yrs ago?) when you were there they didn't know that. They do now.
    And btw, WAP 2.0 will be XHTML
    Yes? And? XHTML as it will be used in WAP is closer to XML (the basis of WML) than it is to the HTML used in web sites. Was that supposed to imply that WML was wrong? Or that HTML is a good thing?
    Also, in addition to Nokia, I've worked closely with Siemens and their WAP stuff and they too sure seem to think that WAP is the web on your cell phone, though they have a much more "it's applications"-view of it.
    Good. As I said WAP is a mechansim for adding services to your mobile phone after the phone has been sold, without re-flashing the firmware.
    Calling me a "dimbulb" when it comes to WAP is not exactly accurate.
    Well then I apologise. How about "Out of touch" ?
    Well, whoopee. I rest my case. You can name ONE site. And even so, you didn't even name it.
    Kizoom's local rail information system for London.
  • Folk seem to have bought the idea that bluetooth will be cheaper than 802.11B. The only evidence for this that I can find is vague assertions in the trade press about $5 chips.

    If 802.11 is good enough then pray tell why is it not being embedded in everything from cell phones to laptops to network appliances.

    In the first place it is, 802.11b is being integrated into new laptops as standard. Secondly Bluetooth does not meet that test either, in fact bluetooth does not meet any test because it does not yet exist.

    The cost of implementing any electronic gadget is mainly a function of the number of units the development costs are spread over. At the last IETF I went to CISCO were selling 802.11B NICs for $50. I have no doubt that in time the cost will fall the same way the cost of an ethernet nic has plumeted.

    Since most of the Bluetooth devices will be AC powered I don't buy the power saving argument. I don't think the extra watts will matter. My pocket PC/ MP3 player / camera / cell phone will definitely have 802.11B so the only portable device I intend to carry had better solve the power problem.

    If Bluetooth were ready for prime time today it might just have a chance. As it is it looks like it will be another 2 years at least before it is ready for prime time by which time it will be far too late to have any effect.

    Beyond that nobody has yet explained to me why I want to have a conversation with my fridge. I can see why I want my VCR to have a conversation with my Internet connection, but every other incompatibility problem I have could be solved much cheaper by manufacturers agreeing to support a common set of Infra Red remote control commands.

    Adding Bluetooth to my VCR does nothing for me. I still need to bluetooth enable my computer to be able to program the VCR when I am out. Bluetooth does not have the bandwidth to send the content upstairs to my office PC so I can watch the program there.

  • Newton never recovered from Steve Jobs

    Agreed.

    He 'liked' the palm. And the Newton group had a palm-sized Newton with no expandability (just like a palm) at a under-$300 possible price point.

    Rather than say 'we have this technology, we can't get palm, lets work with what we have' (this assumes you believe Apple should have been in the handheld space), Jobs worked to drive away almost all the Newton staff.

    Statements like this at WWDC 1997:
    Jobs - "What does Apple make?"
    Jobs bootlickers - 'computers'
    Jobs - "What do computers have?"
    Jobs bootlickers - 'keyboards'
    Jobs - "Than what is this?" and holds up a Newton.

    Helped create this:

    From the back of the room, MP 130's are turned on, dates is selected and a to-do task of 'find new job' is noted by Newton staff.

    First Jobs fired Sandy over a rather bogus charge of 'releasing company secrets' (Sandy told the Newton staff that the spin-in was going to happen). And when the spin-in happened, 32 of the Newton engineers left in mass for palm. Jobs was then able to say to sockholders etc all that "We had to kill the product. We had no staff to build it". The people who remained were the ones who were the ones who did NCU. The NCU was 1.5 years late, would not work if you have over 2 gigs of free disk space, and only syncs with long-dead PIMs. (AKA Palm got the cream...)

    Had jobs GOTTEN the palm product from 3com, the palm staff would have quit on Jobs again. Thus palm would be dead by now, and the handheld of choice would be Windows for Pen.
  • Hey Chang, Did your laptop come with any API doc?
  • My cell phone (Kyocera) clearly indicates:
    *************
    * WWW *
    * *
    *Web Browser*
    *************
    On screen when using WAP.

    That means some manufaturers *are* sellig WAP as Internet over a cellphone.
  • Devices won't get certified unless they are subject to compability tests with devices of the same type from other manufacturers.
    This is easy today when there are few if any devices to test against, but apart from some 1st generation mishaps which could call for an upgrade, a bluetooth device should work with any other device.
    In reality I share your fears that interoperability is an exponentially growing problem still to be solved. The simple protocols in bluetooth won't reach all the way, and even that will be a tough to get working. In the end Bluetooth will only be a carrier of the compete anarchy of XML content... Lets hope for a better standard than "what M$ do"
  • Wireless 1394! [slashdot.org]

    And you-- yes, YOU! Don't give me any of your criticisms about range, size, price, availability, and other practicalities and trivialities. Let me get away with being wrong. I'm happy here.
  • The top post for our little thread stated that 802.11 is using 2.4GHz spectrum and therefore is illegal in France (I don't know status of this). I was merely trying to point out that by this same logic that Bluetooth would be illegal as well because it also operates on 2.4GHz spectrum. I guess I should have been more verbose (-vv) in my previous post :)

    JOhn
  • >>How about DVD's? There was a time (and there may still be) when certain players couldn't handle certain discs.

    I know what you mean. I've got this busted ass DVD player that will only play discs that say something about 'Region 1' on them.

    What's up with that?

  • I apologize for not having a link for backup, but part of my online wanderings last week ran across mention that issues around Bluetooth in France and Japan had been settled. This is just conjecture, but it might have something to do with the power of the signal as much as the frequency it is operating on.

    A quick online search ran across a number of articles with headlines such as "France legalizes Bluetooth". Here is one link [ebiquity.org] talking about it. Hopefully, that settles the issue. I'm not sure what the current status of 802.11 in France is.

    Just for the hell of it, here is another shameless plug for my Bluetooth on Linux [matlock.com] information page. Our favorite free operating system will be on the front line of new wireless technology.

  • "computers are the only consumer product that actually provides an interface that allows anyone (and I mean "anyone") to make a device that plugs into it"

    Counterexamples:

    • telephones, answering machines, etc.
    • stereo components
    • television and cable, VCR, DVD player, video game consoles, WebTV
    • MIDI devices
    If my Sony Playstation were incompatible with my Magnavox television, I'd consider that a defect.
  • The incompatibilities are because of the usual crap between countries and companies. Part of the same reason that we have competing incompatible regional cellular networks. Hopefully it'll get fixed to the point where it's "good enough".

    America has competing incompatible regional cellular networks. Japan has iMode (arguably the best). The rest of the world has GSM. I can take my phone to anywhere from Albania to Zimbabwe [gsmcoverage.co.uk], and it will work.

  • ...go look at http://www.ericsson.com/blip [ericsson.com].

    Oh, goodie, a standards compliant Web site. On this machine I have:

    • Netscape 4.7 with Shockwave Flash plugin
    • Mozilla M18
    • Konqueror 2.1
    • StarOffice 5.2
    • Lynx
    • w3m

    None of them can render the site properly or allow you to browse it. Only Netscape and Mozilla can see anything at all, and Mozilla can't get past the first page. These are the people we're trusting to develop interoperable technology?

  • "as for the 'pixelated icon' suggestion, really, if you're going to criticize a standard, at least try to push the boundaries a smidge. vector graphics at least. even better, a token identifying both type and data of a visual."

    I believe "pushing the boundaries" is the reason this project isn't working. If I personally felt like having my palm pilot connect to all devices in my house; I wouldn't want to be looking at shiny corporate graphics describing each appliance as being a Maytag, GE and colourful SONY stereo with scrolling graphics. I would want a little box called, "light" that actually controls my light when I click on it.

    Pushing the boundaries in the way you're suggesting is about as exciting and useful as "pushing the boundaries" in the artistic appeal of the buttons on your microwave; in the end - nobody cares.

    And in the end, working on math routines and vector-plotting standards accross all devices would increase the weight of your Bluetooth powered watch to 6 pounds. Anything more than an absolutely simple matrix of on and off pixels isn't going to work with anything.

    Companies themselves, and devlepers; looking to improve the interface to Bluetooth devices can add their own colorful icons to their display, but in the end, if the PROTOCOL isn't simple, nothing will work together.
  • IEEE shouldnt even allow anyone to use the name bluetooth unless it complies 100% with the spec, not 99% and not 101%. No mention of the term in marketing or product materials, nothing.

    And anyone who does do so without being compliant should be sued into the ground and hunted down like rabid dogs. And have their IEEE memberships stripped of course.

    Oh forget it... the very idea of ethics in people who design devices for people that are supposed to work... ha!

  • Ditto for your too cockeye. tcp@mac.com Ohh, Mac.com huh, this should be a juicy one for countless direct marketers. Enjoy the spam.

    WTF? "Ditto for your too cockeye"?? Man oh man. Do I really need to say more? Anonymous Idiot. If you've got some point to make, make it, but how about you: a) actually log in b) write something that the rest of us can actually make some sense of. until then, enjoy being pathetic.

  • Note to self: When you want to criticize a technology that you don't have the vision to understand, simply come up with the lamest possible use for that technology, and ask yourself why you would need it!

    Example: When I first heard of Bluetooth, I thought to myself, "I don't really care about checking the status of my fridge while watching tv". After time however, I came to realize, "I don't really care about checking the status of my fridge while watching tv".
  • From what I understand, the bandwidth is also not too great. It's enough to connect to the net to check your email and surf and it's enough to remove cables between your mouse, keyboard and computer. It's not, however, enough for wireless LAN's, printers, scanners and a shitload of other stuff.

    Wireless lans, well duh, you'd also need a bit more range for bluetooth to be useful there (and 802.11b is already going to be king).

    But printers/scanners... hmmm, are you sure there's not enough bandwidth for that?

    HP just announced their first bluetooth printer at CeBIT:

    "The HP Deskjet 995C inkjet printer, the company's first integrated Bluetooth printer, allows users to print without cables from up to 10 meters (approximately 30 feet) away from other devices enabled for Bluetooth printing."

    They've also got several other bluetooth projects going on.
  • USB went exactly nowhere (a number of years) until Apple Computer [apple.com] put it in the iMac [apple.com] with no alternatives (no serial ports, no Apple Desktop Bus for keyboards and mice). Suddenly, Fry's Electronics had USB cables, hubs, mice, keyboards...

    They validated the technology, and made the market big enough for the small equipment players to come in and compete.

  • His post got moderated up, you dork. How does that taste?

    Honestly, in my opinion, it doesn't make me look bad, it makes the moderation process look..well..idiotic. You're right, it is ironic, and I don't really know what to say to all that.

    Regardless of what all you AC's (with heavy emphasis on the coward part) are posting about, I still stand by what I said originally. The statement made by the bluetooth developer doesn't make any sense. That was all I was trying to point out. If you want irony, there's irony in this case of a post about someone not making sense being replied to in such an incomprehensible and nonsensical manner. That's where the first bit of irony is.

  • I double checked just now and there isn't any solid API documentation that I could see.
  • Look the damn artical was written by a buisness reporter with a very apperent agenda. I have been studying the techniques used by journalists to create their "truth" despite the facts for almost 15 years. I've learned the smell of distortion, and this artical smells worse then my dog after he has had too many jalepinios. Okay so one server did'nt get up because it used hardware from an obsoleat (probably beta) specification, big deal. Remember this demo was hastily thrown together with limited resorces at a time when most manufacturers are concentrating on what is making money today and not on what will make money tomorow ( becaus of articals written by techophobic morons like this one.) The other thing to keep in mind is that there is close to zero capacity for manufacturing Bluetooth compliant products as companies are just now starting to ramp up. Finding stuff to use in a demo can be a real challenge when everything is going to filling orders.
  • That dot is OBVIOUSLY to avoid spam. It's obvious to me and every other person that emails me.

    If you are my worst nightmare, then email me.

  • I was chairing the second day of a Bluetooth Conference in Washington, D.C. (USA) last summer when the French military made the decision to allow Bluetooth to operate in the required frequencies. This should also apply to 802.11b, HomeRF, etc. The news was brought to me by Brent Miller from IBM and I announced it from the podium. I believe that the effective date was January, 1, 2001. Delbert, I like your Bluetooth on Linux page, and what a great banner. Maybe if everyone who reads this thread votes for your site on the Top Bluetooth Sites list [topsitelists.com] you will move up in the ranking and get a lot more traffic. Bluetooth on Linux needs a lot more work.
  • That's strange.. I have Netscrape 4.7 and had no problems with it at all at this site.
  • There is room for both approachs, just as there is room for both ethernet (802.3) and token-ring (802.5) LAN technologies.

    Except that there apparently isn't room for both ethernet & token-ring, because token-ring is dying.

    4 years after the High Speed Token Ring Alliance (HSTRA [hstra.com]) was set up, even IBM, the champion of TR, barely support 100Mb TR. Other members, for example 3 Com, don't seem to support it at all, and some, eg Olicom, have got out of the TR business totally.

  • Would you care to elaborate oh harbringer of corporate fortune. Please elucidate us as to the many wonders of Bluetooth technology.

    Is it true our devices will all speak to each other oh corporona,
    Is it true we will gain true freedom through connected devices,
    the freedom to order groceries automatically?
    the freedom to buy stock from a toaster?
    the freedom to type up a report on our computers, while sitting in front of a tv we have to shut off to focus on typing?
    Oh corporona!
    how you elucidate me
    When, when when
    I suffer
    in agony....
    when will your marketing dreams become my reality?
  • Case in point, thank you.
  • The real question is how long have TR & Ethernet been competing? Not too long from my point of view. It used to be that IBM shops used TR, DEC shops used Ethernet, and smaller places used other properiatary technologies such as Arcnet and Applenet.

    Ethernet killed the properiatary technologies, and moved into the TR shops, and as soon as it did that, people started standardizing on one standard, which was Ethernet.

  • > How about bi-directional printers. Do any of you remember the heartache when your first inkjet didn't work correctly because you only had a uni-directional printer port?

    Huh? Why would the inkjet need to send data back to the computer? AFAIK, bidirectionality (in the case of printers) is only used for sending back the name of the printer. Cute, but not vital for operation.

    Now, for other parallell port devices, such as scanners or Zip drives, you would have a point.

    > How about 5 1/4 floppy drives? Remember not being able to read 360kb formated floppies in certain high density drives?

    This actually had more to do with the order in which the disk was written to in the various drives, rather than with the drives themselves. Alternatively writing to a disk in a HD drive and a DD drive was a definite no-no, and would make the disk unreadable in the DD drive. The reason for this was that the R/W heads for the DD drives where twice as large. When writing using the DD drive, you would get rather wide tracks. When then writing using the HD drive, the new data would be superimposed as a narrower track, whereas the sides still had the old data. No problem reading such a disk in a HD drive: indeed, due to its narrower head, it would only pick up the new data. The DD drive, however, picked up a mix of both signals and hence could not make any sense of the data.

    The easy solution: when transporting data between two computers where one had a HD drive and the other a DD drive, keep two disks: one for transfers from the HD drive to DD, and one for the tranfering in the other direction. Both had to be formatted to DD of course.

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