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 Adding Wireless Keyboards and Mice to Your MacBook

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PostSubject: Adding Wireless Keyboards and Mice to Your MacBook   Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:18 pm

The current crop of Mac laptops arrive at your doorstep in a fully wireless configuration - Apple throws in an internal Bluetooth adapter and an internal AirPort Extreme wireless card. Everything's already included for you. Therefore, you can indeed work keyboard and mouse magic from across the room from your laptop, using a wireless keyboard and mouse. (Or perhaps you just want a full-size keyboard and external mouse to use when you're working from your home or office.)

A number of wireless Bluetooth keyboard/mouse packages are on the market, and any of them should work fine with your Mac. In fact, you can buy Apple's wireless Bluetooth keyboard and mouse separately. Other offerings are available from Logitech and Microsoft.

When shopping for a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse desktop, keep these facts in mind:

* Some keyboards are created more than equal. Many of today's third-party keyboards are encrusted with extra function buttons that do everything from opening your email application to searching your kitchen cabinets for another can of spray cheese.

These programmable function keys are neat - they can bring up your favorite applications with a single keystroke while you're relaxing 20 feet away - so look for the keyboard that offers the most programmable keys in your price range.

* Rodents crave energy. Does the wireless mouse come with its own recharging stand? If so, that's a big plus. Depending on how much you use your laptop, a mouse that runs on standard batteries can go through a set in as little as a month's time! (Not surprisingly, many computer owners use rechargeable batteries in their wireless mice.) In fact, some wireless mice include an on/off switch to help conserve battery power.

* Wireless doesn't always mean Bluetooth. Just because a keyboard or mouse is wireless doesn't automatically make it a Bluetooth device. Plenty of wireless RF (radio frequency) devices are out there, too. These toys need their own transmitters, which are usually USB-based as well, so things can get confusing. Therefore, read the box or technical specifications carefully to make sure that you're buying Bluetooth.

* Bluetooth stuff isn't self-cleaning. Sure, your new wireless keyboard and mouse can hang out with you on the sofa, but that doesn't mean they're happy sharing your nacho puffs and grape soda. Look for an optical mouse that doesn't use a ball, and check whether a prospective keyboard can be easily cleaned and maintained before you buy it.

Most Bluetooth devices are controlled through the Bluetooth pane in System Preferences. However, wireless keyboards and mice are a special case because they're monitored through the Bluetooth section of the Keyboard & Mouse pane. (You can even add a new wireless device from this tab.)
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