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Top 10 Epic Phail PC Technologies: Bluetooth

Updated on May 25, 2009

To apply the vernacular of the modern online PC enthusiast: Bluetooth is an Epic Phail. Why?

To this day if you ask the majority of PC users about Bluetooth, they'll imagine some backwoods Redneck hick with one rotten blue tooth sticking out from behind his chapped lips. They won't necessarily equate that term with wireless communications, and that is only the tip of the iceberg behind Bluetooth's Epic Phaildom.

The basic idea on paper sounds good: Our technological lives are damned by wires. Wires, wires, everywhere. At one point, I had my main PC, a laptop, and a small server box on my desk, along with my cell phone charger, a camera, a printer, a scanner, and a couple of other tech-y wonders.

The back of my desk looked like an elongated buffet plate of spaghetti, as all it needed was some meatballs, tomato sauce and parmesan cheese for the dinner bell. There must have been thirty wires all jumbled up back there, steadfastly resisting any efforts to order them with twist ties or vinyl straps. Bluetooth was supposed to free us from the tyranny of spaghetti junction cabling and wiring. The communication interface would be wireless so presto pronto poof and you can see your desk again.

Technology is a stern mistress and there have been many promising young technologies which end up on the boulevard of broken tech dreams. Sometimes it is the fault of the standard itself, which is either too esoteric, too arcane, outright doesn't work, or is a great solution for a problem that doesn't exist.

In Bluetooth's case, it was the fault of the individual manufacturers. No sooner did they get their nasty little paws on the specification that they started stacking on all sorts of customization which was specific to their own particular set of devices.

They justified that by stating that it would make their own products superior and effective, but it turned out that they failed to consider that the consumer is not just a lamb being led to the tech slaughter: We like to consider a wide range of brand names when purchasing new equipment, and with all the Bluetooth customization it turned out that a device from Brand A would not talk to a device from Brand B.

So while Bluetooth was supposed to bring a universally compatible standard it turned out to create a galaxy of niche incompatibilities: a Balkanization of wireless communication, rendering the overall experience very close to useless.

Bluetooth has now been limited basically to a bunch of annoying yuppies chattering nonstop into their silly Star Trek TOS earpieces about how their latest bravado exploits on the stock market, at the BMW dealership, or at the Chlamydia test lab while you're trying to enjoy your Venti Coffee Frappuccino with whipped cream and trying real hard not to hork into your plastic cup.

That's not what Bluetooth was supposed to be. It was originally intended to be a replacement for aforesaid spaghetti junction. It was imagined to be the first step towards the truly wireless desktop: All we needed to do was to reinvent Nikola Tesla's technology which transmitted electricity through the air without any wires or connections, and then we could just walk into a room, unpack a PC case, monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, speakers, etc., plunk them on the table and start working sans connections of any kind.

It seems that it was going to be easier to incorporate Tesla electric wireless transmission tech than Bluetooth wireless communications tech into our everyday PCing lives. Thanks for nothing, Bluetooth. Next time, try naming yourself something that even remotely makes sense!

Continued in:

Top 10 Epic Phail PC Technologies: Firewire


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