HOME ARCHIVE 2018

Some things should not be small

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

I am always amazed with how quickly technology is progressing. Things that used to be big are now small. Some of them, though, are too small.

Like the Bluetooth I bought a while back.

At first I thought it was great that they make a Bluetooth that fits entirely into the ear, much like a hearing aid. I ordered one because I have to try out whatever technological advances come our way.

What is a Bluetooth? It’s like a hearing aid but bigger (except the one I ordered) and it lets you talk on your cell phone without holding the phone up to your ear or getting tangled in a wired device.

It’s a weird name for a product, but that’s what the company where it was invented decided. Here is why.

Dr. Jaap Haartsen invented Bluetooth while working at Ericsson in the 1990s.

Ericsson originally called their technology ‘Bluetooth’ after Harald Bluetooth, who was king of Denmark between 940 and 981. During his rule, Denmark and Norway were Christianised and united, so Ericsson used the analogy that he “allowed greater communication between people” when naming its wireless communication protocol.

The king was also known for his dead tooth, which had a very dark blue-grey shade. It was so prominent that his nickname was Blatand, which literally translates from Danish to “Bluetooth.”
That’s how the Bluetooth got its name, and then it started shrinking and getting more affordable and better.

That’s a good thing in electronics, except for the Bluetooth, and maybe television. You don’t want to shrink TV sets. If anything, you want to keep making them bigger.

So, I bought this tiny Bluetooth and paired it with my phone. A magnificent find. Good sound, and the whole thing fit inside my ear.

A few days later, it was gone. Nowhere to be found. It was so little that I was surprised it lasted that long. I got another one. Gone, too.

Before I lost them, though, I went through a cafeteria line with one of them in my ear, and one of the servers tried to communicate with me in sign language.

“I can hear. It’s a Bluetooth,” I said as I took it out of my ear and showed her.’
“Wow, that’s small,” she said.

“What?” I replied, as I put my right hand up to my ear. It was a joke. I thought it was funny. Maybe not.
I bought an AM/FM fancy new radio that fit in the palm of my hand and had very good sound. Gone. I still have a much larger transistor radio I bought decades ago.

Then there are those tiny sim cards that make my phone and tablet get a 4G signal. I slipped one into my tablet, and it ate it. The card fell in there somewhere, and I saw no way to retrieve it.

There may be a way, but it was easier to leave the card in there and buy another one.

I turned to the Internet and researched for a few seconds how technology is making things smaller. We live in a complicated technological world, dear reader, and in wonderful times.