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Ooohh… Darlene

April 11, 2014

I work from home and have nearly a decade. My setup consists of

  • 15-inch MacBook Pro
  • 24-inch external HD display
  • Apple Bluetooth keyboard – the smaller one, without the numerical keypad
  • Kensington Slimblade Trackball Mouse
  • Plantronics Savi W740 DECT Headset.
  • Logitech C910 WebCam
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPad 2 (I will upgrade to an iPad mini when it comes with TouchID)
  • Parrot Zik Bluetooth Noise Canceling Headset (love ’em)

With all of these devices, many wireless, there are periodic odd behaviors I can’t resolve. For example, over the past year – seemingly at random – my Bluetooth Keyboard would just stop working. I’d try all the usual fixes… change the batteries, reset the keyboard, delete it from the MacBook settings, re-pair the two devices, etc. Nothing would work – until it magically would be fine. That’s where I was this morning. My MacBook could not see my keyboard no matter what I did. I was so frustrated I tested the batteries with a voltmeter to validate that the battery tester was working.

Then it happened. The kids are at school, my wife was out and yet, out of the blue, Led Zeppelin’s ‘Darlene’ starts coming from the family room. What the hell? Turns out the music was coming from my original iPad, which my wife uses. After checking that this wasn’t an alarm sounding, it hit me.

I had, for the first time in forever, decided to clean the keyboard. Just before the music started, I had been rubbing a Clorox wipe back and forth over the keys. The Apple Bluetooth Keyboard has keys specifically to control iTunes … or the music on an iOS device. And once, literally once on a business trip, I had paired this keyboard with that iPad. The random connection failures weren’t random. My keyboard was pairing with my wife’s iPad every time she got within 30 feet of my office… a situation that only became possible when we moved into our new house… about a year ago.

I haven’t figured out why the keyboard prioritized the iPad (20 feet away through a wall) instead of my laptop (18 inches away). But it doesn”t matter because the the fix was easy… just tell her iPad to forget my keyboard. Entertainingly, when I relayed this to my wife… she noted that this explained why her iPad would randomly start playing music on her, too.

Always loved Darlene.



From → Electronics, Life

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