Why I still need infrared
Last night as a marketing lecture I was delivering finally came to an end, the students approached me for the usual mingling and trading of contact information. Since I didn't have calling cards available and the students were fairly mobile creatures, we decided to swap data electronically instead. "Bluetooth?," one asked as he pulled out his Sony Ericsson P900. I said why not, and everybody ooh'ed and aah'ed around this high tech exchange. Except that it wasn't all that simple. My Tungsten T3 was detecting his device, but the P900 simply didn't detect anything at all. He fiddled with his controls, puzzled. Frustrated, I pointed my T3 to someone else's Sony Clie PDA and beamed via infrared. And, just like that, my contact info was in his hands. "That was fast!," the guy said, genuinely surprised. I then pointed at the P900 and beamed via infrared as well. And, just like that, he got my info in a split second. Compared to Bluetooth, infrared may seem like an archaic technology. But it still beats Bluetooth in one respect: it's as simple as point and shoot. No settings required, no device IDs, no security protocols, and no laborious search processes. Sometimes, something as simple as point and shoot is all we need. Especially if all you really want to do is to beam your contact info to a waiting device. So personally I am hoping that, despite Bluetooth's increasing presence, IrDA will still be here to stay.