Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Apple needs to get their bluetooth act together

For the past few weeks, I've been trying to figure out how to get my powerbook to hop online via my T-mobile Dash. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. One of the reasons I bought a Mac is it "just works." However, this is not one of those cases. Apparently Microsoft's newest version of Windows Mobile: AKU3, has done away with the Dial-Up Networking (DUN) bluetooth profile and replaced it with a much more (subjectively) versatile profile called Personal Area Network (PAN).

Personal Area Networking Profile (PAN)
PAN describes how two or more Bluetooth enabled devices can form an ad-hoc network and how the same mechanism can be used to access a remote network through a network access point. The profile roles include the network access point, group ad-hoc network, and PAN user. Network access points can be a traditional LAN data access point while group ad-hoc networks represent a set of devices that are only attached to one another. PAN is intended to allow the use of BNEP on Layer 3 protocols for transport over a Bluetooth wireless technology link.

The main problem? Apple OSX Tiger doesn't support the "Personal Access Network" bluetooth profile. What's funny is that Apple loves touting the fact that they love bluetooth, yet why are they dragging their feet on keeping current with bluetooth technologies? Why hasn't this been implemented in one of their 10.4.x patches? I've spent more than a few hours trying to track down a solution from editing the /etc/ppp/options file, to poking around the command line on Terminal, to setting up different serial connections via bluetooth. Then it hit me, why am I doing so much legwork? I used to do this with Windows. Getting something to work on Microsoft was like pulling teeth half the time, and yet, the irony is all I have to do is right click on the bluetooth icon in the system tray in XP and select "Join Personal Area Network." It just works!

Oh Apple, why have you forsaken me? You used to be an innovator and now you can't even keep current. You used to be the guy that paid attention to the little details and now, in this instance, Microsoft has beat you to the punch.

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