Friday, July 31, 2009

Sony VAIO: can't receive file via Bluetooth?

Top view of Sony VAIO Z series  Sony VAIO Z, unfolded

This week, I got a chance to play around with my nephew's brand new laptop Sony VAIO VGN-Z47GD. It is featured with 6 GB memory, 320 GB hard disk, NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS graphic adapter, Blue-ray Disc, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth Ver 2.1+EDR, Gigabit Ethernet, among other amenities. It's thin, lightweight, cute, and fancy.

I've tested briefly all its networking hardware: connecting its voice/fax modem to a phone line to get a dial-up Internet connection, plugging a 3.5G modem USB dongle to access Internet using WCDMA/HSDPA network, linking its Wi-Fi to my home wireless router, transferring large files to another computer using its Gigabit Ethernet adapter.

The Microsoft Bluetooth stack is pre-installed along with Broadcom's Widcomm stack to run the Alps Bluetooth radio on a Windows Vista Business 64-bit. Both Microsoft and Widcomm Bluetooth software work side-by-side. For basic profiles (object push, serial port, HID, HCRP, DUN, PAN), I use the Windows' built-in Microsoft software. For other profiles such as headset, audio gateway, FTP, and A2DP, I use the Widcomm software which is integrated seamlessly into Windows Vista's Control Panel and Windows Explorer. A connected Bluetooth device has its own control center which looks like Network and Sharing Center.

Windows Vista Bluetooth File Transfer Wizard: Receive a fileI was confused at my first try to send/receive photos to/from a mobile phone and a Blackberry. I was looking at the Bluetooth taskbar icon and right clicking it to find Send a File and Receive a File to no avail. Finally, I sent an image file from the Pictures folder by right clicking the file name and select Send To Bluetooth device. To receive a file, I opened Bluetooth File Transfer Wizard. It is located under Accessories. Well, I needed about half an hour to find this solution. Why Sony hides Send/Receive a File from the taskbar menu remains a question. As indicated in some Internet discussions, it turns out that many VAIO users were stuck with the same problem, that's being unable to send/receive files from/to VAIO at their first Bluetooth try.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Unable to perform Bluetooth operation!

I had been using my old Nokia 6600 phone only for a few SMS and occasional voice calls for two years. I still keep it because of a bunch of family photos, sound recordings, and short video clips stored in the phone memory that couldn't be uploaded to my computer because the phone's Bluetooth (and its infrared) had failed to operate for more than two years. Every time I switched on the Bluetooth, it said "Unable to perform Bluetooth operation!". I had never found a way to recover its Bluetooth capability even after searching for a fix for this error across the Internet.

One day this week, I just threw away the mobile phone into my bed forcefully without any purpose except for being in haste to catch up with my works. Aha.. to my surprise, after that incident the Bluetooth radio on my old Nokia 6600 performs perfectly. Everything is just fine. When once I met another "Unable to perform Bluetooth operation!" message on that GSM phone, I intentionally gave a few bumps to the phone's back with my hand, then it worked again. Gee, what are the rationales behind this seemingly stupid solution? Did the battery, the Bluetooth radio chip, or other component somehow become loosened so it needed to be hit?

A lot of comments on Internet message boards had suggested firmware update, restoring to factory settings, replacing Bluetooth chips, visiting a Nokia Care, and other serious actions as a possible solution for this symptom that had been causing so much headache. Yet, today I found one comment in a Nokia user forum that said knocking the phone by hand as the only fix. I can't agree more with him. Probably, the commentator shares the same experience with me.