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The Coal Face: Bluetake Bluetooth Mouse

by Stan Millar

Bluetake Bluetooth Mouse Welcome to a new column that I have decided to write for the Apple Bug. The Editor is always desperate for members to send him articles to include in the magazine, and I have been trying to come up with an idea that will fulfil his needs and also give me the excuse to not have to write a column every month. I did that when I was President for three years, and let me tell you, it becomes quite a drag to sit in front of a blank page every month trying to think of something intelligent and meaningful to say. So don't expect to see this column every month. It is intended to be an occasional column written to review pieces of software or hardware that I use as I buy or update them. I will be trying to give an everyday user's perspective of the item under review, from the coal face as it were, hence the name of the column. Also, by not writing every month, it will give you the chance to write an article of your own to include in the Bug. Just write it in Word or AppleWorks and email it to the Editor. I am sure he will be glad to hear from you.

Down to business. This time I am reviewing a Bluetooth mouse supplied by a company called Bluetake.

First impressions when picking up the package are good. The mouse comes presented in a bubble pack with the mouse in the centre large bubble. One of the first things you notice is that the mouse is cordless (obviously) and optical with a scroll wheel and two buttons. I have been using a two-button scroll wheel mouse for a year or more now, and after you have used one you wonder how you ever managed without one.

The second button is like using the Control key with the single button on a standard Apple mouse and the scroll wheel scrolls windows as if you are clicking on the scroll bar. Some even can be set up to scroll left to right by pushing the wheel in the direction you want to scroll but I have found this to be more of a nuisance than it is worth because it is too easy to push sideways at the same time as you are scrolling up or down.

To use the Bluetake mouse, you need to be running OS X 10.2.6 or higher. The mouse is small because it is intended to be used with a PowerBook or iBook. It measures just 8.5 cm long, 4.9 cm wide at the back where it is widest and 3.5cm high. Mine is white, to go with my iBook, but you can also get it in blue. It is a sort of peanut shape, narrowing in the middle and widening again at the back and front. It doesn't fit into the hand like a normal sized mouse does, but is held more with the fingers. This feels strange at first but after a little while, comes quite naturally. My Microsoft mouse is 12.3cm long, 6.8cm wide and 4cm high.

How easy is it to set up? Dead easy. Insert the batteries and, provided you have built in Bluetooth or a Bluetooth adapter, it works. I tried it on my iBook with built in Bluetooth, my 1Ghz G4 with a D-Link Bluetooth adapter through a powered USB hub, and my 400Mhz G4 with a Bluetake adapter plugged in to one of the USB ports. It worked immediately on each of them once it had been paired. All I had to do to pair the mouse was press a button on the bottom and then open the Bluetooth setup panel on the Mac. The Mac found it and then set it up.

I have been using it with the iBook for several weeks now to give it a good run and have had no problems. And, yes, it does have an on-off switch. This is great. I wish my USB cordless had one.

It does have a few quirks. If your Mac goes to sleep or low power mode, don't necessarily expect the mouse to wake it up. Better to hit a key on the keyboard and then wait around five seconds for the Mac and the mouse to resume talking to each other. It is quite funny to watch the cursor if you are used to wriggling your mouse to get your Mac going again, as I am. The system has a buffer to store key presses and mouse movements, so if you shake the mouse and the Mac doesn't wake up, when you get it awake, the curser flies all over the screen like a mad thing as the buffer feeds the mouse movements to the screen.

In all, I am very pleased with this mouse. It is small enough to take with you when you pack the iBook. There are no cords in the way. It works well. What else could you want?

Where do you get it, and how much? Mac One at New Farm sells them for $99.00.

Product:Bluetake Bluetooth Mouse (BT500)
Web Address:http://www.bluetake.com/products/BT500.htm
Price:$99.00
Available from:Mac One New Farm