Fun without wires

Archive for the ‘keyboard’ tag

Using a Bluetooth Keyboard on the iPhone 3GS

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In case you didn’t know, portable bluetooth keyboards have been available for a variety of PDAs for a long time. Like, a really long time. The iPhone, for some reason, has always had a crippled implementation of Bluetooth which meant that it didn’t support the profiles necessary for an external keyboard. That changed recently thanks to the work of some enterprising hackers, armed with jailbroken iPhones and a desire to type with more than their thumbs.

I can confirm that I’ve installed the BTStack Keyboard driver (via Cydia) and am able to use my Apple Wireless Keyboard on my jailbroken iPhone 3GS, and it rocks. Here are some observations:

  • Full version (not the demo) works in all applications. You launch the app, connect to the keyboard, then go back to your Home Screen and go to another app. From there, pretty much anything that brings up a keyboard panel should also be accessible via your external keyboard.
  • After installation, I had to connect my keyboard, then restart my iPhone once to get things to run smoothly.
  • If your keyboard is also paired with a laptop or some other device, make sure you either unpair it from there, or turn Bluetooth off (or get out of range) before trying to pair with your iPhone, otherwise they’ll conflict with each other.
  • Modifier keys don’t work yet (so you can’t hold Shift and use an arrow to make a selection for example)
  • Copy/Paste not supported via Apple-C/Apple-V, which would be nice 🙂
  • There is no pause or lag between hitting a key and the letter appearing. It’s really slick.
  • Auto-correct on the iPhone seems overly aggressive when using the keyboard and gets kind of annoying. I’d like to see the developer perhaps suppress it somehow while input is being received from the keyboard?
  • Not being able to navigate around on the iPhone from the keyboard makes it feel a little weird, but it’s definitely workable. It would be awesome if there could be some rudimentary support for Tab to jump between controls, and perhaps something like Apple-Esc to jump to the home screen.
  • It seems that the keyboard disconnects automatically after 15 minutes. I thought this was only supposed to happen once the iPhone was off, but it seems to happen while you’re still using it as well. I believe this is a battery-conservation measure.
  • Speaking of which, using a keyboard doesn’t seem to drain the battery any moreso than just having the iPhone actively turned on.

In general, I love this. Totally worth the $5. I tried it out by drafting an entire post within the WordPress.org iPhone app, and it worked really nicely.

Written by Beau Lebens

January 5th, 2010 at 11:22 am

Posted in Bluetooth

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Stowaway Bluetooth Keyboard… Maybe

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On June 10th, I pre-ordered a Stowaway Bluetooth Keyboard, from ThinkOutside, the guys who came up with the cool, accordian-style fold-up keyboard, and the single-fold keyboards now around the place.

This model, being bluetooth, was intended mainly for use with my iPAQ, and would have made email and document work easier and more effecient. I was also hoping to be able to try it out on my Nokia, but that was more for nerd-factor than anything else. So what’s happened?

ThinkOutside's Stowaway Bluetooth Keyboard

Nothing. And a lot of it.

When I ordered it, I was under the impression that the keyboard was supposed to be released in about a week. It wasn’t. I emailed, they said it would be out by the end of June. It wasn’t. I emailed again, they said middle of July. It wasn’t. I emailed again, they said end of July for sure. Guess what? It wasn’t.

Apparently there’s a problem with the packaging or something at their factory, so they can’t ship them yet. I don’t really care. I wanted to be able to use it on the business trip I’m going on this week, so it’s not going to get to me in time. I’ve emailed them now and requested that they cancel my order and don’t bother sending me one. I’ll get one later if I can justify it to myself.

Pity – I was looking forward to trying it out.

Written by Beau Lebens

August 7th, 2004 at 4:00 pm

It Finally Arrived!

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Well, believe it or not, I finally received my Logitech diNovo Media Desktop (keyboard and mouse)!!! I have to say, it’s pretty darned cool – looks totally awesome and works a treat.

On the suggestion of a couple of reviews I’d read around the place, I didn’t bother installing the Logitech Media Desktop, which looked like a bit of a joke, and I skipped using MusicMatch Jukebox because I’d rather use WinAmp, but I suppose I can live with Windows Media Player (so that I can use the Media Pad to control playback etc).

So – the installation you ask? Well, it wasn’t too bad, but I did get a bit frustrated because at the end of the process (I actually did install MusicMatch, but then removed it again), the installation of MusicMatch, which is supposed to be completely integrated… crashed. Nothing nasty like a BSOD, it just sat there for an inordinate amount of time, until I called in the friendly neighbourhood Task Manager and politely asked the installer to leave. On top of that, it doesn’t currently appear to want to uninstall cleanly, so I might actually have to run the install again, just so that I can get it to install properly… so that I can uninstall it. The irony.

Apart from that – it’s a very cool combination, and so far I’m liking it. I think the control of Media Player from both the Media Pad and keyboard (they both have the media wheel thing) is awesome, and the display of current playing details on the Media Pad is a very nice touch. It’s also pretty cool that you can hit a button and turn it into a navigation pad (Windows key, arrows etc) or a stand-alone calculator, but they are just extras given the package you’re getting already.

Now I just have to wonder if there’s anyone out there snooping every letter I type?…

Written by Beau Lebens

March 30th, 2004 at 4:00 pm

Bluetooth Logitech diNovo Coming Soon

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Logitech's diNovo Bluetooth Keyboard (+ MediPad) [Picture stolen from OverClockers Review!]
Looks like next week some time, I should have one of these bad-boys to go along with a new PC. This keyboard is a pretty cool-looking thing, and it’s bluetooth to boot 🙂 It comes with a mouse (also bluetooth), to provide a complete wireless desktop.

The best review I have found of it is this one at OverClockers.com.au. Sounds pretty impressive, even if it does mean that I’ll probably have to use Windows Media Player to control all my audio files etc – oh well.

One of the coolest things that I’m looking forward to using is the MediaPad, which acts like a remote for your computer, allowing you to control media playback, get email alerts and even MSN Messenger notifications. That should be interesting to try out.

I wonder how ‘stumble-able’ the signals between the keyboard, MediaPad, mouse and base-station are?… security problem?

Written by Beau Lebens

February 11th, 2004 at 4:00 pm