Monday, August 16, 2010

All I want for Christmas is my two bluetooth devices - Magic TrackPad and Bluetooth iPhone Headset

I just received my Magic Trackpad this week and bravely ventured to connect it to my desktop Mac and give it a try. Of course, setting up a bluetooth device on a Mac is fairly straight forward. You turn on the device, turn on bluetooth in your system preferences and then click on a setting to have the Mac discover the device. It a matter of seconds, the device will show up as an option, ‘connect to device’. Shortly, you will be prompted to download the driver for the Magic Trackpad, quit all applications and install with a reboot.

Once connected you will want to open the ‘TrackPad’ hardware icon in your System Preferences and proceed to set up your TrackPad according to your preferences:

Basically, the entire process of settings is based on one, two, three and four finger movements.  One finger to click and to point or hover over icons, files and such on your desktop.  Two fingers to use to scroll left and right and up and down, to pinch open and closed and to zoom.   Three fingers is best used for me to drag icons, files, and things on my desktop.  Three fingers will select and will move things basically.  Four fingers can be set to use with Expose and to use across your desktop from left or right or up and down on the desktop.

For instance, if I swipe to the right or left on my TrackPad with four fingers, the cute dock of apps I am currently running magically appears in the middle of my desktop, allowing me to use the one finger click to select between these open applications.   If I swipe with four fingers in the up direction on my TrackPad my desktop is magically cleared of all open windows cluttering it.  If I swipe with four fingers in the downward direction on my TrackPad - all the apps reappear in a neat organized grid pattern on my desktop.

It takes a little practice to get used to using the trackpad, but the learning curve, even for someone in her 60’s was only about a half hour.   I only lost two files that I picked up with the three finger gesture and dropped somewhere.  Spotlight said they were on my desktop, but I wasn’t able to see them, so suspect that I dropped them outside the viewing desktop.  I just searched for the two files and used the spotlight search window to select them with one finger, move them with three fingers into a temp folder on my desktop.

I would have to say that my wireless mouse is now feeling a little neglected as this Magic TrackPad is replacing him.   I have also found that the battery in the trackpad has lasted much longer than the one in the mousepad.   It is said that blue-tooth devices are good for short distances and also use less energy.  We tested the use of the TrackPad from a larger distance from my real desktop and it did seem to lack the ability to communicate efficiently.

Now this may sound strange, but I have my desktop computer hooked via cable to my Home Theater setup in my office (which is also our theater room).   We like to watch Instant Movies from Netflix that run on the Mac computer.  We put the Mac computer into ‘Mirror Screens’ mode, and the movies play on the desktop computer, while simultaneously appearing on the Home Theater Screen.   We have to set everything up via the computer, but with the TrackPad and sitting in a chair facing the Home Theater Screen, rather than sitting at the Mac computer - we were hoping to operate the movie controls using the TrackPad as a remote so to speak.  We may have to test this out more and also determine the actual distance that the Trackpad still functions from the computer.

So wish me luck in getting this TrackPad to Magically control my Netflix movies with my Home Theater.

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