Wireless sucks

I'm sick of all this wireless hype.

First, let me preface this rant with a confession: I'm totally a wireless guy. Like most people, I'm completely reliant on my mobile phone. And when I get an e-mail, my Blackberry immediately beeps its joyful signal of love, and I also routinely take advantage of both EDGE and EVDO for fast data access while on the road. But *everything* is going wireless now. Every time I read up on the latest technology, I see wireless input devices, wireless media streamers, wireless hard drives, etc. etc. etc.

All you have to do is turn on any Bluetooth device to realize that the shit isn't going to work.

I remember going to the Macworld where Apple was touting its new wireless mouse. I walked up to one of the machines and moved the mouse, and it took about 5 seconds for the cursor to catch up. All of these devices operate more or less in the same spectrum, and from what I've read, protocols like Bluetooth just blindly spray information all over it. If there are more than a couple of devices operating in the same space, it's game over, man.

For example, I've recently been trying to use a Bluetooth headset. I bought the best one I could find (I tested a bunch of them), and it's basically useless unless I'm in my car or away from any other devices that operate in the 2.4Ghz range -- nearly impossible, since I live in an urban environment.

I also have a couple of wireless keyboards and mice, and the things are really finicky. Typing on a (RF) wireless keyboard is frustrating, at best. I type fast, and cannot stomach any delay between my finger hitting a key and something happening. Wireless devices are also sensitive to their environment. I have a metal coffee table, and you can forget trying to get things to talk to each other if they're near it.

And now, with wireless USB and USB-to-wireless hubs around the corner, you can imagine what would happen if you (for example) started a huge transfer to a wireless hard disk, answered a wireless phone, received a call on a Bluetooth headset, stuck leftovers into the microwave, and tried to move a mouse. You think it would all work -- in a building with a bunch of neighbors? Yeah, right.

To be fair, being wireless is really convenient. I find infrared input devices to be responsive (line of sight is cool!), my RF mouse works well for some reason (different frequency range, I'm sure), and I routinely sync up my Blackberry via Bluetooth. But given that many consumer devices will require high quality-of-service in order to function well (e.g. any form of media), I'm extremely skeptical that things are going to work well.

Really, this jump to wireless is just another swing at quality, in general. The MP3 revolution destroyed high-fidelity audio, DivX is thrashing video, and soon, we'll be approximating just about everything because we're trying to beam it through the air.

Hmmm. Suddenly, I'm reminded of when I said "the Web" was stupid, back in 1993.