The Basics of Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth TechnologyBluetooth technology is nothing new, but in many respects it still seems to be more of a buzz word rather than a well understood, commonly accepted technology. You see advertisements for Bluetooth enabled cell phones, PDAs, laptops, and all sorts of different devices taking advantage of this wireless standard. But, what is it?

History

The term is far less high tech than you might imagine, and finds its roots in European history. The King of Denmark from 940 to 981 was renowned for his ability to help people communicate, his name (in English)… Harald Bluetooth. Perhaps a bit obscure, but the reference is appropriate for a wireless communications standard.

Another item worth investigating is the Bluetooth logo. Based on characters from the runic alphabet (used in ancient Denmark), it was chosen as it appears to be the combination of the English letter B and an asterisk.

Capabilities

Bluetooth wireless technology is a worldwide specification for a small-form factor, low-cost radio solution that provides links between mobile computers, mobile phones, other portable handheld devices, and connectivity to the Internet.

Just like 802.11 b/g wireless networking systems and many cordless telephones, Bluetooth devices operate on 2.4 GHz radio signals. That band seems to be getting a bit crowded, and interference between devices may be difficult to avoid.

Telephones are now being offered on the 5.8 GHz band to help remedy this, and Bluetooth has taken its own steps to reduce interference and improve transmission quality. Version 1.1 of the Bluetooth standard greatly reduces interference issues, but requires completely different hardware from the original 1.0C standard, thus eliminating any chance of backwards compatibility.

The typical specifications of Bluetooth indicate a maximum transfer rate of 723 kbps and a range of 20-100 meters (65 to 328 feet – depending on the class of the device). This speed is a fraction of that offered by 802.11 b or g wireless standards, so it is obvious that Bluetooth doesn’t pose a threat to replace your wireless network. Although it is very similar to 802.11 in many ways, Bluetooth was never intended to be a networking standard, but does have many practical applications.

Practical applications

There are a variety of electronics and computing products that take advantage of Bluetooth’s capabilities, from computer, PC laptops, PDAs, cellphone, to headphones and input devices, and even wireless printer adapters.

As today, many Laptops include an onboard Bluetooth adaptor to allow the system to connect to any Bluetooth device right out of the box. For laptop or desktop systems that do not have an adaptor built in, there are many USB Bluetooth adaptors available.

Bluetooth enabled cellphone and PDAs allow for convenient wireless synchronization and data transfer.

Headphones can take advantage of Bluetooth for two purposes, audio playback and mobile phone communications. Using something a mobile headset with a Bluetooth enabled mobile phone allows anyone to go hands free, as well as wire free.

Logitech, and other manufacturers, also produce input devices that eliminate wires thanks to Bluetooth. You can add a Bluetooth mouse to your system or both a mouse and keyboard. One advantage that Bluetooth wireless keyboard/mouse combinations have over the standard RF wireless keyboard/mouse combinations is range. Where most standard RF keyboard/mouse combinations have a range up to 6 feet; a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse combination will usually have a range of up to 30 feet.

Bluetooth printer adapters make sharing a printer extremely convenient by eliminating the need for any wires or special configurations on a typical network. Printing to any compatible HP printer from a PC, PDA or mobile phone can now be done easily from anywhere in the office.

Final words

At this point the popularity of Bluetooth might not be as large as some proponents would have hoped, but many devices are available for those interested. The cost and competition from other standards have hindered the widespread acceptance, but Bluetooth does offer a viable solution to many devices that might not have wireless connectivity without it.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Tablet PCs

Tablet PCsTablet PCs are great mobile computing device. If you are a mobile person, and you have never considered getting a tablet PC in the past, now is as good a time as any to start checking them out – the technology is cutting-edge, the usability is superb, and prices are starting to drop.

There are two main types of tablet PCs: convertible and slate. Convertible tablets look a lot like normal laptops except the screen can be rotated all the way around and laid down flat across the keyboard. You then input information through the screen using a stylus. Slate tablet PCs include only the screen interface – though they are fully integrateable with peripherals like keyboards and mouse, the computer itself does not have them. Both types are viable options, depending on your personal preferences and what you’ll be using it for.

As with any technology, tablet PCs have advantages and disadvantages. Thanks to the last few years of development and enhancement, the disadvantages are shrinking in number, and the perks are becoming more and more enticing.

Advantages of Tablet PCs

Far and away, the best thing about tablet PCs is their mobility. You can take and use them anywhere you go, the same way you would take notebook and pen. That means that when your boss bumps into you in the hallway and gives you a number of assignments, you can write them down.

In meetings you don’t have to hide your face behind the monitor of your laptop because you can lay the tablet PC flat on the table. For students, this mobility is great – you can study your notes while you’re waiting in lines or even in the car.

Tablet PCs let you use digital ink to store handwritten notes, graphs, charts, and pictures. You don’t have to worry about taking your laptop and a notepad and pen to meetings or classes. Using the stylus, tablet PCs record your handwriting and drawings. They can convert your handwriting to text if you need to turn in an assignment typewritten.

All of the money you have been spending on pens, pencils, highlighters, notepads, papers, binders, folders, staples, and paperclips stays in your pocket. Because of the digital ink option on tablet PCs, much of the need for paper supplies and writing utensils is eliminated. You can keep all your notes on your computer.

Finally, one of the advantages of tablet PCs over regular laptops is that you don’t lose any functionality from your computer. Tablets operate on similar platforms and run many of the same programs. In fact, many programs integrate all of their normal functions with digital ink, so you can add notes to documents and even email your handwritten notes to someone.

Disadvantages of Tablet PCs

Despite my obvious zeal for tablet PCs, I recognize that there are still some disadvantages. First is the price. The prices for tablet PCs are coming down quite a bit from when they were first released, but on average, you can expect to spend more for a tablet PC than for its equivalent laptop. Depending on the bells and whistles you’re looking for, expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 on up.

The handwriting-to-text conversion does not always work the way you wish it would. Just like speech-to-text systems require a trained style of speech to work properly, tablet PCs recognize a trained penmanship easier than the way you may write naturally. A lot of the kinks in these conversion systems have been worked out – but don’t plan on handwriting your next novel expecting to be able to convert into a print-ready copy with no problems.

Finally, their smaller size is both an advantage and disadvantage. They are much more mobile than their laptop counterparts, but the viewing area is also smaller. Likewise, the keyboard also shrinks down to accommodate the smaller size, so if you feel like your fingers are already cramped on a laptop-sized keyboard, you’ll want to make sure you’re going to be able to use the tablet PCs before you buy one.

Getting to Know About Used, Refurbished, Remarketed and Rebuilt Electronics Equipment

For over 50 years, companies and governments have procured used electronics instruments such as computer, PC, laptop, printer, or server, in order to realize a number of benefits including the need to:

Reduce equipment acquisition costs,

Replace discontinued testing instruments,

Circumvent lengthy new product delivery times, and

Conform to legacy standards and specifications.

Although there are many considerations when purchasing used electronics devices, the quality of the instrument and reliability of the vendor should be at the top of the list. Used test equipment vendors deploy a number of bywords that represent the equipment they sell, including “refurbished”, “remarketed”, “reconditioned”, “rebuilt” and, the obvious, “used”. These marketing adjectives typically imply various quality processes and buyers of used test equipment should execute their due diligence prior to purchasing.

“Used” or “Remarketed” equipment often describes products sold with an “as-is” supposition. You might purchase used equipment from an end-user organization or auction company that is selling surplus assets. Products sold as “used” should be priced at the lower scale of the market spectrum and it is not uncommon for quality issues to arise with “used” equipment.

It is likely that the instruments have not been tested and have an uncertain history. It is only prudent to purchase “Used” equipment if you have the in-house repair and calibration facilities/expertise and are able to procure the item at a cost low enough that the added expense of repair and calibration remains to be a positive, economical outcome.

“Refurbished and Reconditioned” are akin and are the most common presentment of used equipment from equipment dealers. Refurbished equipment is fully tested and calibrated to NIST standards to assure that they meet the original manufacturers’ specifications. Refurbished equipment should come with all standard accessories and operating manuals.

Malfunctioning internal components will have been replaced or repaired and the product will have been cosmetically cared for including painting and the replacing of face plates, button and knobs. Refurbished equipment is typically sold with a 30-90 day parts/labor warranty and is priced in the middle to high-end of the market spectrum.

Finally, some vendors advertised “Rebuilt” test equipment. Many instrument options are field-installable and can be built-to-order according to the customer’s requirements. Some products can even be converted from one generation or version to the next by adding various components.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with purchasing rebuilt equipment and, in fact, if you cannot find the exact product configuration you are sourcing, you should ask qualified vendors about the possibility adding those options. As with used and refurbished equipment, always exercise caution in choosing a vendor. Assure that the vendor is qualified or uses a qualified electronics laboratory to repair, calibrate and rebuild the products you seek.

Purchasing used, refurbished or rebuilt electronic test equipment is a great way for organizations to save 30-70% on their asset acquisition costs. Warranties and guarantees from used test equipment vendors are formidable. In select product groups, the original equipment manufacturers offer extended warranties in partnership with the vendors that are the selling those products.

Exercise caution and perform due diligence on your vendors. It is most effective to first identify a qualified used equipment vendor and begin a supplier relationship, as opposed to sourcing each instrument you need individually.

If your qualified vendor does not have what you are looking for in inventory, it is likely that they will be able to locate it within 24 hours. By first identifying and working with a select few vendors, you will assure consistent quality and economical pricing with every used test equipment purchase.

Intel’s First 4 GHz Processor

Intel’s First 4 GHz ProcessorWhile waiting for the presence of the Fifth Generation of Core i processors (Broadwell), Intel introduced a new desktop processor model called Core i7-4790K. The processor that has the code “Devil’s Canyon” was formally introduced by the President of Intel Corporate Renee James at Computex 2014 keynote session in Taiwan.

The top feature from the Intel Core i7-4790K is its performance that reached up to 4 GHz in the standard conditions that is set by the factory. Previously, such speed can only be achieved by the current Intel processors are in “Turbo” mode or when it is being overclocked.

This is the first processor with four cores running at a speed of 4 GHz. The Core i7-4790K frequency can still be boosted further by overclocking techniques. According to the design, the Core i7-4790K is actually no different from his predecessors, which is still on the “Haswell” basis as found in the Intel Core i family of the Fourth Generation.

It is just that, Intel has modify some of the processor aspects, such as the heat conductor (thermal interface) which is claimed to lower the operating temperature and power regulator to prevent voltage fluctuations or “droop”.

The Core i7-4790K use the LGA 1150 packaging socket and it is compatible with the 9 chipset series based motherboard or a Z87. Intel had said that the processor is intended as a replacement for previous generation chips, the Core i7-4770K and will have the same price.