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Intel

Wireless mouse+keyboard+gamepad 137

A reader wrote to us about a press release from Intel regarding wireless mouse/keyboards/gamepad stuff that they are doing -- I've been trying out wireless keyboard/mice/gamepads for a number of years now, and haven't been all that impressed by them. These new releases look better, but has anyone used anything out there they've been /really/ impressed by?
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Wireless mouse+keyboard+gamepad

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  • I own one of the Logitech keyboard and mice combos and love it. I don't even use a chair for my computing... I lay on the ground on a little mat with the monitor on a little stand. It's nice to not get tangled up in wires and all. And I mean it's been 3 or 4 months since I changed batteries and I'm typing this with it so they do last a long time : ).
  • Funny, no one has come up with the 'Porn' key. It could be on the web keyboards that are out there. Just like when you want to retrieve your mail you hit the mail key, well, when you want to see porn, you hit the porn key. Now that is doing something that the consumers want!

    www.buymeaferrari.com [buymeaferrari.com]
  • Make sure you are not trying to run showkey under X (your X server grabs the console) or it won't work. My Logitech cordless pro keyboard's little blue keys all show up under showkey as long as I'm not in X.

    I've been way too busy to get very deep into it, but I suspect you can get the keys working in the console by following the instructions in the Keyboard-and-Console-HOWTO [linux.org]. It includes information on how to set up custom keyboards, how X uses it's own keymap, etc.

    Good luck!

  • Ok it's been a while since looked at this so take it with a gain of salt. Under the console setkeycodes(8) can be used to map the scancodes to key codes. Key codes are what the kernel uses to interpret keys. showkey(8) can be used to get the scan code for a key. In X (as of XFree 3.3.6) everything is fine accept that XFree86 (selectively) ignors the key code tables provided by the kernel so the key code event can never get generated and thus X never sees the key. It might be different in XFree 4.
  • I'm using VB with directx to write a couple of games...
  • I have been using the logitech wireless keyboard and trackball for a few months. Although the radio system is proprietary it works with everything I have tried. Most importantly the keyboard and trackball are fast enough to play games with which I have been told some of the ir systems are not. db
  • I have a Logitech cordless keyboard+mouse (iTouch Pro), and I had a similar problem. However, in my case the fix was easy: The receiver was located on the floor amongst a bunch of cables (power cords, speaker cables, etc.), and this was apparently not a good idea. After moving the receiver somewhere where there's no cables it has worked perfectly.


    After using a cordless mouse for a while I find it a pain to use a standard one. The mouse that comes with the iTouch pro package is also very comfortable, and the extra buttons on the keyboard are great for controlling xmms and launching apps.

    / Zeb
    "Learning is not compulsory. Neither is survival"

  • Yep, I picked up a Logitech wireless keyboard and wireless Mouseman Wheel about a month ago. $79. Very nice. Still on the first set of batteries (wonder how long they'll last?). So far, it works great. I'm not a fan of ergonomic keyboards, but the center wedge isn't NEARLY as wide as those from M$, and it's actually not hard to adjust to. The mouse works flawlessly.


  • I got my Cordless dektop pro for like $50 at compgeeks.com. refurbed...good deal...works beautifully...the mouse take a good deal of batteries but I don't use the mouse as much as a windows user.

    I'd suggest this to ANYONE
  • I've got a Mouseman serial mouse that I bought years ago. It still works great but I hate the cord... at work I have a MS mouse and I keep knocking it off the mousepad when my foot hits the cord. Each time that happens I really want a cordless mouse. I was checking out the latest logitech mice and I hit a small problem. For $90 Cdn I can get either a cordless or an optical mouse... what I'd rather have is a cordless optical mouse and when that happens my old faithful will get retired(unless I can find a way to use both of them). For me a cordless mouse is the only reason I'd switch since I've had my current mouse for well over 5 years(and the computers have come and gone yet the mouse lives on). As far as that MS mouse goes... I plan on replacing it with a real mouse once it falls one time to many. Which means I'll go cordless as well.
  • What other uses are there for wireless keyboards and such?

    I use a Logitech set (mouse+kbd) on my work PC. Believe it or not, it's actually pretty comfortable to have no cables on you (physical) desk top. It would be even better if I cleaned it up once in a while ;-)
  • If you're going to be sitting at a desk to use the keyboard, then what's the big benefit of having the keyboard wireless?

    I use a Logitech wireless at home, and love it. I don't do huge amounts of typing on that machine at a stretch, so the ergonomics aren't a big problem. For smallish amounts a keyboard on one's lap is fine. The big plus is the lack of cables; I can move the keyboard well off to the side and then pull out the (wired) steering wheel for a li'l "Porsche Unleashed."
  • how can this be a serious news story? Logitech and other companies have been doing this sort of thing for years - Cordless keyboard / mice etc.

    Logitech keyboards are suberb. I've had a cordless keyboard and mouse for over a year and only changed the batteries once.

    Intel is just another company doing these products amongst many...

  • As weird as it might sound, reading the article (!) put me In The Know(TM). It's USB [usb.org]. I have no experience with USB myself, but from what I've read, handling of human-interface stuff like keyboards and mice is pretty much standard. If Intel do this right, their wireless stuff should just show up as standard peripherals, then. Let's hope. ;^) On a related but different note, doesn't anyone worry about how these wireless things should be powered? Having to worry about batteries and/or charge levels in my mouse and keyboard doesn't sound like a lot of fun...
  • i personally prefer the microsoft intellimouse to any other mouse i've used, although there was one logitech mouse that felt comfortable, but the curvature of the intellimouse is the most comfortable mouse i've used, the only problem i have now is that the wheel on it is messed up, so i'm looking into getting a new optical intellimouse... it's not wireless, but i just used some duct tape and taped a little slack to the back of my desk so that i have room to move but not tons of extra cable, it's nice...
  • I've never experienced a cordless keyboard but at one point I had a keyboard extension cable so that I could sit on my bed in my dorm room and use the PC. I had a textbook/mousepad for the mouse and I could put my feetup and type to my hearts content. As far as ergonomics go I was much more comfortable with the keyboard on my lap and my feet up than I ever was sitting at my desk. Even now typing with a keyboard tray holding my keyboard(which that desk didn't have) I still find the keyboard too high for comfort(and lowering it means I bang my knees a lot. So the big benefit of cordless is freedom to adjust your keyboard to what suits you best...
  • Is this a troll? or just ignorance? those are the questions.

    I don't see it as either. Perl is a scripting language, but that doesn't make it any less powerful.
    Just because it's not compiled, doesn't necessarily mean it sucks.

    Speed, as you said, is the critical difference.

    --K
    ObMyCoolestVBHack: High school senior project - A data acquisition program. (Which drove the homebuilt A/D converter hardware!)
    ---
  • I completely agree. This has to be the best IR keyboard on the market.

    The most outstanding feature is that the IR receiver plugs directly into your ps2 keyboard & mouse port. Also it incluses the type converter for the keyboard and ps2 mouse to 9 pin serial.

    You just plug it in and you're done!
  • logitec mouse is great the kb however has a probley with latency. its rather slight, but if i switch back to a regular kb its like, WOW, that wireless one is lagged! wtf. it also seems to have a problem with dropping keys. when i get going fast i end up with letters missing in my words, lke tis.
  • Do you guys think that they'll be using Bluetooth for this type of stuff in the future? I'd much rather wait for that.

    I guess I could wait for a brain/computer interface, too ... but wouldn't it be cooler if all your desktop peripherals were wireless ... and running on the same standard?

    -Christian

  • I use laptops exclusively for my personal machines, so I've become acclimated to the short-throw keyboard. In fact, the lovely long-throw, *click* IBM PC-AT 101 key tank that was my standard for years is now actually painfull to type on. My touch used to be sort of like typing with ball-peen hammers (or so my friends would say); today my touch is much lighter.

    Because of my adaptation to the laptop-style keyboards, I've been continually disappointed by the desktop keyboards I've been given at work. So about a year ago I went out on lunch into that big, scarey blue room and bought a wireless keyboard at Office Depot or some such place. It is branded "PC Concepts" and it was $50 or so. I've seen the same keyboard online for $10 more with another brand name on it.

    Bottom line is that, except for the "rubber nipple" pointing device on the right side of the keyboard, I love it. The feel is almost identical to my new Sony Z505LS, and was very close to my previous main machine, a Toshiba Sattelite 2545XCDT.

    The battery life (it's IR remote) is good (haven't change them yet) and I like the "lock" indicators on the receiver. The range is good (30+ feet by my reconing) and the angles are good as well. I usually use it just like a normal keyboard, though.

    Only downsides are so far are: (1) silly multi-media buttons at the top edge that I haven't taken the time to figure out how to support in Linux/BSD yet, (2) the "rubber nipple" I mentioned and (3) the increase in size due to (1) and (2).

    I use a Logitec Trackman Marble Wheel for my pointer, which has saved my right wrist (and my coding career). I'll probably buy a cordless one when I replace it, if for no other reason than to give myself more flexibility.

    So, if I could just chop off the "hand grips" on the left and right (about 2" on each side) and lop off the inch or so at the top where the buttons are, I'd be *really* happy. It would be the same size as my Happy Hacking kbd (now unused), but cordless and with the right feel and with arrow keys (another wrist killer for me when I used the HHK).
    --
    If your map and the terrain differ,
    trust the terrain.


  • I think a cool idea would be to actually use the energy from the keystrokes themselves to charge a cell

    Have a look at this story [newscientist.com], on just such a design by Adrian Crisan of Compaq (Houston headquarters).
    It carries patent 5 911 529 which was filed well before you posted the idea, sorry 8o/

  • Actually, logitech has a nice full sized, full featcured wireless (RF, not IR so no line of sight probs) keyboard that I use at home. Just like a "real" keybord, only no cord.


    ----
    Remove the rocks from my head to send email
  • by Emil Brink ( 69213 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @05:15AM (#677102) Homepage
    ...is this stuff done using BlueTooth [bluetooth.com]. It feels like Yet Another Wireless Solution, but specialized for mice and keyboards and (I'm guessing) proprietary to Intel, isn't a very cool thing. On the other hand, my knowledge of BlueTooth isn't (yet) in-depth enough to know if it would be suitable to handle real-time stuff like mouse movements. You don't want to get the guys over at FiringSquad [gamers.com] to b*tch over latency in your mouse tech. ;^)
  • Within 4 years, according to a BBC broadcast and to the Blue Tooth business plan, there should be more than 1 billion Blue Tooth chips for sale in the world. With the whole load of Java Embedded Softwares coming using Jini, wireless applications are the next big thing so you'd better get used to it even though you might think wireless components are a bit awkward for now. It's getting there...
  • Here's what I want in a wireless keyboard:

    • Ergo split-board/halfmoon design
    • Arrow keys in a T-shape, not a cross
    • Mouse button (not a touchpad) in that space where the keys split

    But nowdays, it seems hard just to find these features in a non-wireless keyboard, especially since Adesso [adessoinc.com] discontinued their NU-Form PC keyboard with mouse button.

    Has anyone found something similar to this, wired or not?

  • I don't really see the point ... whats wrong with wires? They are messy, long, and fun to trip over.
  • I just happen to have been working on a project using interactive digital television with set top boxes. The boxes have wireless keyboards (using IR). The signal between the keyboard and the STB is not encrypted. The signal can be picked up from 50 feet away. Since the application requires authentication, this has created quite a headache...
  • Are these wireless keyboards secure??? It see no mention of it if they are.
  • Well, USB is supposed to be a powered bus, and considering this is a cordless mouse and all, eh, eh, wireless?
  • The best part of wireless mice: the batteries. Why? batteries are HEAVY. Now you've got this mouse that has actual mass. Trust me, it's really cool. I'm not quite sure why, but heavy mice just feel better.

  • Under Bush, Texas' recidivism rate has increased by 25 percent - (Nobody knows what has happened to the recidivism rate under Bush because those figures haven't been published, due to extensive lag times in reporting. The most recent numbers are from 1994, according to the Texas Criminal Justice Policy Council.)

    I think the fact that it takes Bush's Texas administration more than five years to determine the where abouts of known criminals is NOT something to brag about, especially since its been shown that some of them have been issued concealed carry permits.

    "I live on a farm today. I have my heart in my own farm." (Gore lives in the vice-presidential mansion at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. After making this farm claim, Gore said: "Yes, I live in Washington, D.C., when I'm working there")

    George Herbert Walker Bush conveniently lived in Texas (which has no state income tax) in a Houston apartment throughout his entire Presidency, at least that's what he reported on his tax return, so he didn't have to pay DC taxes. Are you saying that President Bush is guilty of tax fraud?

  • I think you want to do a showkey -k. I can see the expected key codes for my keyboard but haven't got them wired up yet.
  • It's here. Visit the Cross Pen website and check out the cyber pen. It that isn't enough, check out Paper Click, and the Symbol SC 2000 scanner.
  • I've figured out this much:

    showkey -s shows you the scan codes. I can see the scan codes for the extended keys such as 0xe0 0x24 for one of them. I believe that I should be able to assign keycodes to these keys using setkeycodes. eg, 'setkeycodes e024 123' should set the key code for that key, unfortunately after I do this and do a showkey -k, I don't see any key code reported for the key that I set. :)
  • I've been using the Logitech Cordless Desktop Pro, both at home and at work, for months now. I love it! I typically work leaning back in my chair and my legs proped up on the nearest horizontal surface, keyboard in lap... and I no longer trip over the cord. I also don't always keep the cleanest desk, but now I don't have to worry about keeping a clear path for my mouse cord. I've been going for about three months without a battery change. I wish the extra buttons would work with Linux, but oh well.

    My wife is using the standard Logitech Cordless Desktop. She doesn't work the same way that I do. She actually leaves the keyboard on the desk. But since she isn't the geek that I am, she actually uses the desktop for non-computer work. Now she can just pick up the keyboard and leave a clear desktop whenever the need arises.

    Both systems work smoothly. My only wish is that I could get an optical cordless mouse. I suppose that would use too much power.

  • They work of FM radio waves

    ...making the job of the people in the unmarked van across the street just that much easier.

    Seriously, though, do they have any type of encryption/authentication? Not to be a paranoid freak or anything, but the thought of broadcasting everything I type (and possibly even accepting "typing" broadcast from elsewhere) makes me cringe.

  • The only thing the article says is it utilizes 'a sophisticated radio frequency technology'.
  • Well, you can try using 'showkey' on the console. It'll give you the keycode of whatever key you press. For instance, running 'showkey' and then pressing Enter gives:

    keycode 28 press
    keycode 28 release

    Now, I don't know how useful that information will be, but if your extended keys don't show up under 'showkey' you're probably snookered. However, you can check out 'xmodmap' and the console equivalent(don't know what it is) for a start.

    Dave

    'Round the firewall,
    Out the modem,
    Through the router,
    Down the wire,
  • I decided to splurge a few months ago and sprung for the logitech cordless keyboard and the cordless trackman wheel. outpost.com items# 79397 and 52739, ran about $125 total.

    Anyways, they don't really leave the desk much, but it's nice to not have those cables to worry about. They both work fine in linux, and don't need USB or any "crap" like that. So far, it's been about 3 months, and the batteries are still going strong. They seem to have quite a range too -- about 3 meters +, without needing a direct line of sight for FM transmission.

    I don't really see why this is news, cordless mice and keyboards as well as other input devices have been around for years!
  • Not to mention the fact that they prevent the cat from hiding your expensive mouse forever. There is a reason they put that wire there. The only reason it's used for a signal and for power is because, well, there was this cable anyway.

    In other words, this is a device for cat-haters.
  • I find it's the asthetics of it that make it very apealing. The lack of wires running across your desk. No more worrying if you move your computer to a more out of sight area if your keyboard or mouse cable will reach. I'm a techie from way back and I remember the time when none of that mattered. My box sat on my desk with the case off and wires running everywhere like spagheti. I find myself in the past few years becomming more and more concerned with how it looks when I'm not using it. I like it to look neat and organized because I feel better when it is. I no longer just close off my computer room when people come to visit. So while I can see why they are not for everyone I also see their usefullness. My only concern with them is when will they run encryption so I can set a private key for the computer and keyboard and have encrypted communications between the two. Otherwise someone could setup a device to record my computing to be played back at anytime including possible bank transactions and online purchases.
  • I've got a logitech wireless wheel mouse thing. It communicates through radio frequencies and you just drop a little box somewhere (I've got it on top of my computer) that actually has the wire that goes to the computer. It works beautifully, has about a 10 foot range from the little box, and doesn't need any special support in linux. It's recognized as a regular mouse.
  • I've been using the iTouch desktop set for several months now and just love it. I even bought a second one to use at work.

    The wireless mouse is a god send, not stupid cord to get in the way or hold you back. My only difficulty is that some of the people in my office find it amusing to hide the mouse because it isn't attached to anything and is easy to walk away with. Also someone decided that it would be a great idea to tape down the buttons one day after I left, the batteries were dead by the time I came into work the next day (since then I've delt with the individual responsible and their polished skull resides on a stick outside my area).

    The keyboard isn't as usefull, but it is nice to be able to prop my feet up on a stool and set the keyboard in my lap without making sure I have enough cord. It's also handy to just hand the keyboard off to someone when they want to show you something, instead of playing musical chairs. It's also usefull for skipping through mp3's since it has the multimedia buttons built in. I can be in the kitched with the keyboard and still be able skip through tracks without running to the computer.

    I'd like to note that I did try both sets together and was pleased to find that they didn't interfer with each other. I'm not sure why other people are having problems with this. I even tried to force the mouse to work with the other set, it wouldn't take it no matter what I did. Mine are relativly new, less than six months old, maybe they fixed the problem.

    I haven't seen a gamepad version yet, but I'm not too sure I'd get one anyway. I'd rather use a good force feedback joystick and to keep one of those powered would take a few pounds of D batteries. At that point what use would it be, yes it's portable, but its too heavy to use.
  • Two things:
    • When I'm typing something, like a school report, I like to have the keyboard in my lap, so I can put my notebook/binder on my desk. Sometimes, my cable doesn't stretch far enough, so I have to reach behind the computer and pull it all the way. A wireless keyboard would eliminate this problem, with no cord to get tangled.
    • A wireless mouse would also be tremendously useful. Occasionally, the mouse cable gets caught on the back of my desk, limiting the usable range of my mouse to a few inches on the mouse pad, instead of the whole thing.
  • cordless desktop pro with the ergo keyboard and scrolly mouse, been using it for 3 months now same batteries(always keep a spare pair around anyway) play tribes and q3 with no noticeable lag in controls. I love it so much i took it to work and ordered another for home. I've tried some of the older solutions (the old IR stuff) the lag was horrible, and made me feel like i was disconnected from what i was doing, this keyboard just sits on my lap and keeps pluggin away. *****
  • That's what I wanted too (except mouse button) - and I found it - look at the Logitech iTouch Pro (Mouse and keyboard).

    T-shaped cursor keys and everything.

    BUT: don't buy one - I bought one for work, only to find that Logitech suffer from the same "it must fit in a keyboard drawer" disease that led MS to cripple the Natural keyboard for about a year (before the "Natural Keyboard Pro" came out).

    Check this:

    * NO num lock/caps lock lights - you get a lame bit of software in the Windows systray that has numlock and capslock icons (what if you don't have Windows? Tough).
    * The bunch of six keys Insert/Home/End/PgUp etc have been transformed from 3x2 into a 2x3 block (to fit in a kbd drawer I presume - it's much shorter than my MS NatKbdPro).
    * The keys in the middle that are bigger on split keyboards (e.g. T ang G on this MS kbd) have been given big keycaps (imagine the same as MS kbds, but the top of the keycap is much wider).

    The first is annoying, the second and third kill my typing.

    The third one is bad because *every* time I go to hit one of these keys, my brain thinks "Er...big keycap...must not be a letter!" and I have to check, or my brain auto adjusts and uses the next key along.

    I'm a habitual Insert/Delete key user for copy/paste - I don't use Ctrl-C/V - that's just the way I learnt it at the time; go figure. I also use shift-cursor keys to select text under windows, and shift-home, shift-end etc to select to start/end of line, and ctrl-home/ctrl-end to go to the start/end of a file.

    With the braindead Logitech layout, I also hit the wrong key every time I go for Insert/Delete/Home/End.

    In short, don't buy the Logitech one if you expect a standard layout (or lights! I can't see why the lights aren't there - there's plenty of room).

    All I wanted was a ergo keyboard with a standard non-fucked about with layout that was wireless.

    Can someone PLEASE just make one?! :-)

    I wanted wireless kbd and mouse so when I'm designing I can just lift my kbd/mouse off the desk and put them somewhere else and get a pad and paper out to sketch designs out etc. And it was wonderfully liberating to be able to do that...but then I had to go back to typing on that lame layout.

    I stuck it two days before literally shouting "Oh, for *FUCK'S* sake" in the middle of some heavy code rearrangement, unplugged the Logitech kbd, plugged my old MS one back in and haven't looked back since.

    Tim

  • Check www.compgeeks.com [compgeeks.com]. I bought the keyboard a few weeks ago for $22. They had the mouse for about that price also, but I already had a nice Logitech corded mouse.
  • I've been using Logitech cordless desktop for quite some time now.

    While RF is nice, I do have two issues with them.

    1. The mouse (Cordless MouseMan Pro)'s pointer position is paused for a short while when you click a button - i.e., when you click while moving the mouse, the pointer stops moving and suddenly "jumps" to its new location when I release the button.

    2. The keyboard sometimes thinks I haven't released a key while I have.

    Both are very annoying issues especially for online games.
  • I have the Logtech cordless desktop, it's great, perfectly reliable for normal use. Where it trips up is for games, particularly Quake 3. The reason for this is the refresh rate of only 50Hz on the mouse, not quite good enough for that elusive rail gun shot or fast shotgun skirmish. Alex
  • It's the technology behind that is patented, not the concept of using keys to charge up the batteries? If so it could be easy to circumvent in some way.
  • I've got a wheelmouse myself for about 1 1/2 year now and it's a joy. It has consumed about 3-4 couples of AAA batteries so far, if you want power consumption statistics. (it has to have batteries to transmit data to the "base").

    I've just bought myself the Logitech cordless keyboard too (not the Pro though, I hate split kbds) and I just *love* it. Fast keys, very good quality and finish, rather quiet and, most important, no wires cluttering my desk anymore!

    Lower the resolution to 1154x? or 1024x768 (I have a 19" monitor), sit back at my couch and watch dvds w/o having to go all the way back there to press a couple of buttons whenever... :-)

    In short: if you want to treat yourself, I do recommend the Logitech cordless wheelmouse & the cordless keyboard (split or not). I'm very happy with them.

    Trian

  • Sorry, I forgot:

    as for cleaning, it's quite easy. The ball sits inside a plastic dome sort-of-thing and there isn't that huge cavity you see inside some mice.

    One neat thing it's useful for, is when you connect another mouse to the serial port. I connected my "corded" mouse to the serial port and took my cordless out of sight... (plugged to the PS2 port, tho)

    Then came a friend of mine and asked me if he could use my PC.

    I said "sure, sit down..." and I sat somewhere behind him, pretending I was reading some book...

    I don't know how, but he soon left swearing that the mouse would jump every now and then and it'd move away from buttons and things...

    Terrible things, these computers... >:-)

    Trian
  • by kennyj449 ( 151268 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @05:36AM (#677132)
    Got a Logitech Cordless Desktop Pro, a single-reciever keyboard and mouse combo. Both are wireless via RF, I stuck the reciver behind my printer out of the way (close to the monitor, in fact, and I have a 22" monitor!) and the keyboard and mouse work perfectly. Responsive, great feel. Both are ergonomic (basically what the pro is for, the plain cordless desktop is not ergonomic) and the keyboard has Internet keys (which I barely use) and CD/volume controls (which I use constantly). The CD player controls are compatible with most popular players, just get the newest drivers every so often to improve compatibiliy with more and more apps. No linux yet though :( I seriously wouldn't know this was wireless if I hadn't checked for the cable. :) No problems at all. You DO have to replace the batteries every so often, but changes are few and far between an the software alerts you when the batteries are on their last legs. I think I've replaced the mouse batteries 5 or 6 times in the last year, and I use the mouse A LOT. I think I've only replaced the keyboard 2 or 3 times. Use renewable alkaline batteries (the best batteries for a PDA anyway) and you spend about $10 a year on power. Range is good, fresh batteries can get as much as 15 feet from the reciever (but that's pushing it.) Weak batteries can still pull 5 feet with no problems. Cool mouse software, depending on your preferences. Thumb button, mouse wheel acts as a third button. Excellent feel with the buttons, unlike the M$ laser mouse you don't hit the thumb button by simply holding the mouse :) The keyboard's feel is PERFECT. Doesn't have the flimsy feel of the MS Natural keyboards (or the rest of their hardware, for that matter) the keys have just the right amount of resistance, feedback, and they don't feel squishy at the end of a stroke the way some do. Quiet, yet you still here a nice click. It took me about an hour to make the transition from an old generic Compaq keyboard and I can't stand to use most other keyboards now. I recommend this to anyone who can afford it (cost me $110, but I haven't looked back.) I tend to splurge on stuff that I know wil last a long time, and this product sure as hell will.
  • I've never liked wireless devices on the account of battery wearouts. Yes, it doesn't happen that quickly, but it's a hassle if you're in the middle of typing something, then suddenly, you're pouding the board, wondering why there's no chars appearing.

    Then you pop out the cells and stick them in your charger. Hopefully you've got more on hand.

    That is just plain annoying... plus I like to use the LED's on my board as indicators for certain things...

    What's the solution? I think a cool idea would be to actually use the energy from the keystrokes themselves to charge a cell. Think about it... how much total force is made with each keypress? What if you could some how use the impact to generate a small charge? You know those sold-state speakers used in handheld devices (they consist of a copper and zinc plate - I think :). If you strike them with a hammer, watch your multimeter read out as much as 12VC with decent current. If they were perfected to produce even a fraction of that ... after two thousand keystrokes, you'd have saved up a considerable amount of energy.

    Probably not at all viable, but just a cool idea. It'd be akin I think to pushing the lever on an old sewing machine... but it'd be neat. Human powered keyboards. :-)

  • Bluetooth has (at the very least) enough bandwidth to transfer voice (one of the uses is for headphones, remember?), so that would not be the problem. I expect that latency does not depend on the bleutooth device but on the hard/software around it. It will probably be the same as common serial protocols... If i remember correctly it has a 1 Mb/s capacity. The actual speed that you will reach depends on the activity in the cell, much like the bandwidth on an ethernet.
  • I've also been using a Logitech wireless for a couple of years. I originally got it when I was living in a dorm and space was tight, so it was nice to be able to tuck it into my desk drawer when I wasn't using it.

    Later, when I moved to a bigger apartment and got a computer desk, it worked great for the pull-out keyboard/mouse platform. No wires getting tangled or in the way, just kinda sat there.

    Now it's hooked up to my mp3 player which is connected to my TV & stereo. It's really nice to be able to turn on the computer and bring the KB to wherever I decide to crash and not have to pull the cables around.

    The range on it is supposed to be 6 ft, but I've been up to 10 ft away with very little loss of performance.

    I'd really recommend a wireless, especially if you're tight on space or just don't want to mess with cords.
  • It uses radio waves so no line of sight is needed (this is why IR devices SUCK IMO). When I used to use my 21 inch monitor as a TV I used it as a remote. :) I gotta tell you - WebTV for Windows + 21 inch monitor + cable modem + cable TV = GOLD.

    There is only one caveat with the product: there is no feedback on the keyboard for caps or numlock. The feedback comes from a tray icon in windows - so you are SOL if you are running linux in this respect. I understand why they did it (battery life) but it still annoying as hell.

    -Shieldwolf
  • Logitech makes a product called "Cordless Desktop" that's awesome. It isn't IR like most of the rest of the crap - it's radio frequency. So you can bury the receiver behind your desk and type from across the room.

    It's all done in hardware, so there's no special windows drivers needed and works great with Linux. They sell the cordless mouse separately, but IMNSHO the best part is the keyboard.

    Other niceties: the mouse is 3 button, the keyboard has a nice feel, and the batteries last about 4 - 5 months for me.

    Next to the 25W amp and equalizer that fits in a 5.25" bay, it's the coolest hardware I have.

  • Waaaay back when, in the early days, the IBM PCjr had a IR keyboard as a standard feature. This worked perfectly, and ran for years with no problems (or even battery changes, for that matter). It had great range, no keystroke was ever missed, there was no delay, and best of all, it was all hardware based, so there were zero software issues. Why can't any major manufacturers today repeat something that was done (well) almost 20 years ago?

  • Now that's my definition of science fiction. Someone beam that down.
  • Gyration's Gyromouse [gyration.com] was my favorite at my job 3+ years ago. When I build my next home system the Gyromouse will be there and the logitech or microsoft mouse will be in a box in the closet.

    Gyromice use piezo-gyros, no moving parts. click with your thumb, which eliminates the strain on finger tendons. They're pretty damn nice, IMHO.


    --
  • I've been using a Logitech cordless mouse man for years, and think it's fantastic. Especially with my laptop, I already have more than enough cables snaking around on my desk. Ergonomically it's wicked phat as well. Lamp77
  • *Warning the below is taken from ancedotal accounts which may be false so I may be wrong*

    I heard that VB is supposedly the major means of writing applications for windows and much of the current crop of windows applications utilize VB in some manner (I really don't absolutely know). So how exactly is VB related to the windows world and is it recommended to learn it in some manner if I have the chance?
  • I've been using my Logitech Cordless Wheel Mouse 8 hours a day (at work) for about three months now on one pair of AAA's. YMMV, but 10 hours is ridiculous. How old is that thing anyway?

    I know you said keyboard and mine is a mouse, but I can't imagine that making much difference if any.
  • I just tried showkey for all the blue extra keys on my Microsoft keyboard. Not one of them showed up. So I guess that means I am screwed. I don't see why this is such a big production to get this working.
  • On the subject of keyboards, does anyone know of a switchbox that switches between two sets of keyboard and mouse, and not the monitor? My monitor already has a switch for two inputs, so all I really need is a switchbox for the kbs and mice (and I don't want the pay for the extra expense for the boxes with monitor switchers as well....).
  • We have a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse in each conference room. Great for meetings...

    "Give me the mouse and keyboard and I'll show you what I mean"

    We can just throw the mouse and keyboard around and nobody has to switch seats.

    ---
  • I have a 64" HDTV with a vga-to-component video converter, so computer images look pretty darn good. This has encouraged me to find a way to opperate the machine from a decent distance away. For keyboard I am using your basic IR keyboard w/IR-RF transmitter. This has two advantages: 1) the keyboard is designed to be used in your lap, not a desk. 2) The Infrared Remote Extender [smarthome.com] from smarthome.com, allows the keyboard to be held at any angle, which is really nice in a recliner. You can also order extra transmitters to attach to your remotes. I have one attached to my Pronto as well.

    As for Joysticks, I just haven't found any IR or RF versions worth a damn. I have a 15ft analog joystick cable and a 15ft USB extention cable runnig into a hub which allows for a whole bucketload of high quality game devices. I also use Joystick-to-mouse translation software so that I can use a joystick to control the cursor. This is much slower but it is easy on the RSI :)

  • My guess is it's YAWS specialised for mice and keyboards. The reson will be economic, it's obviously much cheaper to hack together a quick and easy wireless "standard" for mice and keyboards than implement the entire bluetooth standard.
  • I disagree. Many of the "innovations" from the Microsoft hardware group are also in the "embrace and extend" mold. Microsoft see's what look like good product ideas, brings them into their labs to study, then creates their own version by and by, happily rewriting history in the process.

    A couple of cases:
    - Mouse-wheel for scrolling: Mouse Systems
    - MS Mouse Pro (ergo lumpy-shaped): GoldTouch Technologies

    In both cases, lawsuits were filed against Microsoft, to little avail. Actually, Mouse Systems did "win" in the sense that Microsoft has to license the scrolling wheel technology. However, Mouse Systems is now defunct and the holding company, KYE in Taiwan, is on its last legs.

    Also, regarding the MS Optical mouse:
    - HP is the originator of the sensor.
    - Xerox's Richard Lyon created the original optical mouse sensor.
    - Mouse Systems' Steve Kirsch invented the first Optical PC Mouse in 1982 ($300 !!) And optical models are still sold by KYE today.

    I get so tired of MS tactics. The scary thing is that MS is teaching an entire generation of developers and marketeers that copying is not only cool, but essential! Insidious.

    -WebRat
  • That's a great idea! What about a scroll wheel in the middle, too?
  • I swear by it... The joys of a cordless keyboard and such are not that one can sit ten feet away and still compute, rather that things dont get all tangled up. The wireless products also are very useful when working with another person at a single computer- passing is effortless. The logitech mouse is a bit odd though. A little too large I think. Overall very good. John
  • i've been using the logitech wireless keyboard and cordless mouseman wheel (the funny shaped one that logitech seems to only make for us righties, unfort. for some).

    in the year i've had them i've only had the replace the batteries for each once (two AA for the kb and two AAA for the mouse) and have been very pleased with their performance.

    _however_... several months ago one of the other people at the office got the same setup and was using it about 6 feet from mine. the interference would actually get so bad sometimes that i couldn't type and when he'd hold down the backspace key to remove a chunk of text, it'd actually delete stuff on my active terminal/program as well. we could never see what each other typed, though. it only seemed to be the backspace, delete and space keys that would show up on each other's machines.

    once we moved our receivers as far away as possible (about 12 feet), the interference dropped significantly, but was still an annoyance every once in a while. he eventually gave up and went back to a wired keyboard. the mice never seemed to mind each other.

    the main thing i appreciate about these is that they're radio, not infrared, so i have the receivers taped to the bottom of my desk (off to the side so my knees don't hit them). there's no line-of-sight problems, and they work fine up to about 8 feet away (spec says 6 feet).
  • and was somewhat disappointed in it. The mouse ATE batteries like (insert analogy here). The keyboard was great for the first few months... then the wasd keys would stick because I played quake and stuff fairly often.. I'd have to repress them to get it to stop moving.

    After 2 years all hell broke loose. My keyboard would not recognize certain keys unless I pressed another key right before or along with it. Then a couple weeks later it would double or triple press them on the rare occasions that it did recognize it.

    So... it's still under a 3 year warranty, so I check buy.com for their return policy.. over 30 days you contact manufacturer. Ok sounds good, I call up Logitech and they ask me for the serial number on the bottom of the keyboard. I turn it over and look.. it was never printed there. SOO Logitech tells me to get lost, they can't replace the keyboard w/out a serial number... they say because they can't verify that its under warranty.. but when I explain that they only started making them 2 years ago and the warranty is for 3.. they guy tells me they can't verify that they even made it! I had the original packaging and everything, but they wouldnt replace it. They said I had to call buy.com because it was their fault it wasn't on there (even though it was in unopened retail packaging when I received it).

    Buy.com said Logitech lost their mind, but thankfully they had mercy on me, and sold me the new model keyboard (with fancy lil iTouch buttons), at a vastly reduced price with free overnight shipping. I can tell just by holding it that the keyboard is much higher quality (I stopped using the mouse when the Intellimous Explorer came out btw), and it even has a 5 year warranty (and a serial no.) so if it breaks again.. I will make sure I get it replaced. Ok I'm done rambling ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Its true the Logitech ones do indeed rock. I have used in close proximity to another user with one and I find they are bomb-proof. Huge Thumbs up to Logitech in this one! All I need now is a linux driver for the little rubber buttons on the itouch keyboard. Please!
  • Where can you buy these things and how much do they cost? What is their mean time between failures and such? How do you clean/service them?
  • And for some it could also be used to hide the porn when the boss or girlfriend walks in ;) The way many sites throw the porn in your face, there is no real need for a key to launch the porn, the porn will find you! It always does!
  • Is right here [x10.com]...

    Anyway, it's the coolest damn thing I've ever used.

    It's essentially a universal remote with PC control and a mouse built in, with left and right mouse buttons on the bottom.

    It's an RF device, and I've used it from the lawn to control the PC upstairs. There's software for it to reprogram the buttons to launch anything you want to on your PC -- I have all of the # keys programmed to launch different playlists, and because it's RF I can launch them and control the volume from anywhere in the house.

    This software I've been using is for Windows, but there are Linux projects out there as well.

    I can't recommend this thing highly enough, I use it constantly.
  • I know about the headset, of course; I didn't mention bandwidth. Latency might be a problem if a "connection" is set up often (e.g. for each packet, or so). As I said, I don't know enough about BlueTooth, I'm just pointing at what might could be a problem with it for these purposes... A bit of "devil's advocating" on my own suggestion, really.
  • by Pfhreakaz0id ( 82141 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @04:52AM (#677167)
    Our company was throwing out some old hardware. I fished out something that looked like a remote control with an RF reciever. Found info on the web, but the driver software was really old (flaky in 98, didn't work at all in 2k), but it just went in the com port, so I wrote my own little "driver" in VB. Now my All-inwonder card is much coooler. My app controls three different progs: My tv viewer, my mp3 player, or my DVD player. The buttons do different things (volume control, pause, etc) based on which prog is running. All those things have key shortcuts, so a simple little SENDKEYS api call works just fine (after doing another api call to get the running apps, figuring out if one of my three is running, and getting the handle, of course).

    Oh I forgot, VB is a toy language, so I guess I can't do that. Never mind :)
    ---
  • their MousemanWheel is very nice. Wireless and the super big-n-chunky shape. Extra buttons and all that.

    on the big-n-chunky issue - if you are not using an ergonomic mouse, why not? makes a v.big difference...heresy to say here but I was once shown around the mouse labs at Redmond: very impressive research. Not all at MS is bad.
  • by Mindwarp ( 15738 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @04:53AM (#677169) Homepage Journal
    I've always found wireless keyboards to be horrendous ergonomically. In order to be in the correct position for typing, you need to be sitting at a desk or table. If you're going to be sitting at a desk to use the keyboard, then what's the big benefit of having the keyboard wireless?

    Nah, I'll be sticking to my regular 'fully tethered' input devices for the time being.

    --
  • Personally, I always just run a long Cat5 cable to the sofa/recliner and use my laptop. The next step in this evolution for me is going to be to get a wireless NIC and hub. That would be pretty useful, and until they make a cheap but decent way to use my TV as a monitor, I won't be needing a keyboard/mouse/gamepad only solution for my computer. It is nice to be able to sit in a comfortable chair in the living room and surf the net with my DSL connection. What other uses are there for wireless keyboards and such?
  • Judging from your taste for key location. I know that you also want the CapsLock to the left of "A" and you have no idea what "click" keyboard means.

    Oh yes, obviously. *rolls eyes* Just as I know from your elitist post that you are stubbornly locked to one OS.

    Ctrl by the A is nice, but I'll sacrifice that + clicky in a heartbeat if I can have mouse pointer + ergo.

    As Windows dominate the market, Pointing devices are getting better and better, while keyboards are getting worse.

    Nope, pointing devices are worsening as well. Windows just keeps them from becoming obsolete.

  • I've used the Logitech cordless keyboard + mouse combo set and they've been very good. Very power-efficient too.

    The mouse is one of those slightly tilted deals with a thumb-clicked left mouse button, so if you don't like ergo-stuff, don't get one :-).

    cf. http://www.logitech.com/cf/products/productovervie w.cfm/64 [logitech.com] - a newer model

  • I was just thinking a little about security issues with wireless input devices.

    Is my wireless keyboard going to be broadcasting everything that I type for a 100 yard radius?

    This will effectively make SSH (among other security measuers) useless for preventing plaintext password sniffing since all anyone will need to sniff my passwords (or any other input) is a ~900MHz (or whatever those things run at) receiver...

    It would take a little more effort than simply sniffing packets, but i think its a legitimate concern just the same.

    It would be very interesting (and worthwhile) to see wireless input transmissions encrypted.
  • If each of the devices was wireless IPv6 [nwfusion.com] enabled then you get the added benefits of security (so your neighbors couldn't track your password & credit card numbers when you typed them in, or read your outgoing email) and portability, since complying to a Universal standard should let you use the devices on any IPv6 enabled appliance, such as your digital 'VCR', Game Station, DVD player, MP3 player, Cell Phone, etc. all of which seem to be planning to incorporate the standard.

  • Man, that's expensive.

    $150 for a keyboard, mouse and base station...after rebate?!?

    Hell, I'm still looking for an excuse to buy a Logitech i-touch wireless keyboard and mouse...but they're only ~$45 apiece according to www.pricewatch.com.

    Intel's solution is either really damn good, or just too damn expensive (likely the latter - $150 for a fscking keyboard and mouse is too damn expensive) -- and will someone PLEASE tell me why I would ever need a USB keyboard? Its not like I need the PS2 keyboard port for something else...and I'll have one no matter what. No thanks, I'll wait for better USB support under Linux (RH 7, although nice, has lots of issues -- ever try compiling a kernel on it without editing a makefile by hand? No workie).

    Don't get me wrong, I think that the whole wireless thing is cool -- I wish I had something like it -- eliminating all of those cords is great, but this ain't it.

    What I'd really like to see is some sort of standard (like IrDA was supposed to be, but better), so I can buy a generic base station and keyboard, along with a Kensington wireless trackball, and whatever wireless game controller works for my needs...all for less than Intel's outrageous MSRP.

    Not like I'm opinionated or anything. ;)
  • by pauldy ( 100083 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @04:57AM (#677194) Homepage
    The one I fell in love with was the logitech itouch keyboard and mouse. They work of FM radio waves not the IR type which mean line of sigh is not an issue nore how far I choose to locate my computer from my desktop. The only limitation I have found with it is using more than one of them can become a hastle as they can interfear with each other at close range. This is the one issue I have yet to see anyone with a solution for. But as for my use of it I find it to work out great batteries last for months at a time and it is not that difficult to spot when they are going dead.
  • This is pretty old news really, only new part is that Intel is doing it now, yrs ago I had an old Compaq 4/66 painted black and mounted in the entertainment center, playing doom on the TV, (rocket launcher made a great sound over the surround sound system, shook the house), and used a wireless keyboard and gamepad....its been yrs so I dont remember the brands, but both items were infared. As for ergonomics, I just hit the recline button, laid the keyboard on my lap (built in trackball) roughly aimed at the receiver box on top the TV, and played for hours and hours....worked like a charm, no lag but occasionally the wife would walk past and block the signal but it recovered instantly and didnt hinder the game play anymore then the fact that I couldnt see the TV. For everyday office use I dont see a use for them, but for home entertainment, I loved it.
  • I was wondering if there was any linux support for this type of thing and how exactly it communicates with the computer to actually achieve it's aims. Is it a circuit board or some other method that allows it's communication?
  • When I noticed that use of a regular mouse was starting to be a bit uncomfortable, I switched to a trackball. Just an el-cheapo Belkin trackball. And it was okay.

    Then I got my hands on an Aiptek HyperPen and folks, lemme tell you, this thing is sweet. I have no more wrist problems, and HyperPen+Painter=graphics made easy. :)

    The only problem I tend to have with it: out of force of habit, I stick the pen behind my ear and tend to forget about it. I was halfway across the apartment complex on my way to the mailbox one afternoon when I realized I still had the damn thing behind my ear.
  • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @05:01AM (#677201) Homepage
    The benefit is that you can use it for casual use... uses where you don't need to use the keyboard for more than a few keystrokes. (multitasking: good)

    For example:

    • Skipping the current MP3 track
    • Writing a quick ICQ while watching TV
    • Alt-tabbing over to the slashdot homepage and reloading to see if there's a new story
    • Checking to see if your song is downloaded off of napster yet

    --
  • I have an iTouch Pro combo as well, and getting the extra keys to work is possible. Try running 'xev' under X instead of showkey; you should see it reporting the keys being pressed. In the version of XFree86 that came with RH7 there was a ready-made definition file for the standard itouch keyboard. The key codes are almost the same for the pro version; use xev to find the keycodes and then edit the itouch section in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xkb/symbols/inet accordingly. Then set your XkbModel to 'itouch' in XF86Config and xev should now report 'XF86*' as the key symbol. After that you can just use the keys like any other.

    /Zeb
  • My favorite keyboard of all time, the MS Natural Keyboard (the original, not the new "pro" version with a horrifically large footprint) still hasn't come out with a wireless version. I would pay major bucks to see that come out.

    As a piece of hardware, I think the original Natural keyboard stands alone (even better than MS's optical mice). Their original Sidewinder gamepad comes in a close second.

  • I just use my dad's work laptop and a simple X server to export the display over the network. This works great, and I can do almost everythign I could do it I was on the terminal. So if you want to play on your conputer from afar, IMHO this is the best option
  • i'm rather picky about the keyboards i'll use; i can't stand normal "membrane" keyboards, and that's just abut all you'll find in a wireless model. Lately i've become quite enamored of the IBM PS/1 keyboard: it has the excellent clicky feel, but it doesn't weigh 5 pounds. the old IBM Desktop Dominatior keyboards are good too, especially if you get the 10-foot cable like mine. :) Logitech wireless mice are pretty good in my experience though; just wish XF86 3.3.6 supported that 4th button... (no, i don't want to use 4.0.1.)
  • by smartin ( 942 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @05:03AM (#677214)
    I just switched to the Logitech cordless desktop pro and love it, especially the mouse. Not having to drag the cord around is great! Now if I could just get the extened keyboard keys working under Linux and X. I've found some info on how to do this but it is not concise and complete. Pointers anyone?
  • by dizee ( 143832 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @05:03AM (#677215) Homepage
    I've used a wireless keyboard and mouse from logitech. IIRC, it wasn't infrared, but radio, so you didn't have to have line-of-sight to use it. It had a pretty good range, prolly 15-20 feet, but it would skip letters every now and then. It's extremely annoying to be typing and have random letters just not show up, it's like having a sticky key or something.

    The mouse was very cool because you could put it just about anywhere and not worry about the cord. I don't mind keyboard cords as much as I mind mouse cords, they get in the way more because the device has to be moved around, unlike the stationary keyboard.

    Both of the devices would sometimes "loose" their signal or frequency, and you'd have to reset it (re-handshake, i suppose) by pressing a button on the base. All in all, it was pretty neat, but I'd really like to have a wireless radio optical mouse that worked flawlessly.

    Mike

    "I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer."

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