Title text: Bluetooth is actually named for the tenth-century Viking king Harald "Bluetooth" Gormsson, but the protocol developed by Harald was a wireless charging standard unrelated to the modern Bluetooth except by name.
Bluetooth is a technology invented in the mid 1990s and intended for devices to connect wirelessly over a relatively short range for the purpose of transmitting information and/or audio. For example, a headset that connects via Bluetooth could be connected to a computer that's also Bluetooth-enabled, and then whatever would normally come out of the computer's speakers would come out the headset's ear pieces instead, and whatever was spoken into the headset's microphone would be transmitted to the computer's audio input system as if coming in through the computer's microphone. For this to work, the two devices need to be paired, which means they need to know the unique identification number of the other device and have been given permission to communicate with it, as well as knowing what kind of data exchanges are both possible and allowed. Pairing is not always a smooth process, especially given the somewhat limited methods some of these devices have for user interaction. For example, headsets typically don't have screens and user interfaces that make it easy to select what computer or other device you want them to connect to, so you're often confronted by blinking lights and/or sounds to make it through the pairing process, with each device having its own method for initiating or accepting a pairing request.
Cueball is talking to White Hat about Bluetooth and wireless connectivity. He asks if it has become easier to stream audio via Bluetooth since he last used it. White Hat then jests that it has become an easy-to-use and streamlined service, where connecting devices is easy, and he gives some examples of how easy it is to use. Cueball is excited about this, until White Hat reveals that he was lying and that Bluetooth is still as hard to use as ever. Cueball then invokes the name of "Josiah Bluetooth", a fictitious person implied to have invented the eponymous Bluetooth. "Josiah" is an old-timey name and suggests the amusing idea that in the 1700s or 1800s a hardy inventor named Josiah Bluetooth came up with the idea for wireless audio. (Note that while there is no "Josiah Bluetooth" person, there is a "Josiah" Bluetooth ceramic speaker.)
This comic also references the common problem of audio playing through the wrong device when Bluetooth is activated.
The title text is another misdirection joke because while the first part of the sentence is true (Bluetooth was indeed named after a tenth-century Viking king), it goes on to make the silly claim that King Harald himself developed a wireless charging standard. This is a reference to the Qi wireless power transfer standard that, like Bluetooth, is a well-branded industry standard with a catchy name and wide adoption that also does not work quite as well as promised even 10 years after its first release. (It could also be a reference to Medieval Vikings charging into battle, which is, by most accounts, usually a fairly wireless affair (assuming one discounts chainmail armor). In this case, the standard could be a pun as a standard also denotes a royal or military flag.)
Specifically, the Viking king referenced in the title text, Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson, usually called Harald Bluetooth, was a ruler of Denmark and Norway who died in 985 or 986. Jim Kardach of Intel named the Bluetooth protocol after him, apparently as he united the various Norse tribes of Denmark into a single kingdom just as Bluetooth unites communication protocols. The Bluetooth logo unites the two Norse runes corresponding to "H" and "B" for Harald Bluetooth.
- [Cueball and White Hat are talking, Cueball is holding a cell phone and wireless headphones.]
- Cueball: I haven’t used a wireless/bluetooth thingy in like ten years. Is audio stuff still a nightmare?
- White Hat: Nah, it’s great now.
- [Zoom in on White Hat, Cueball is off-screen.]
- White Hat: You tap devices together twice to link them and they flash in sync. (It pairs using accelerometer timing and sound.) Tap them three times to disconnect.
- White Hat: You can pair multiple inputs and outputs and it handles it smoothly.
- Cueball (off screen): Nice!
- White Hat: It just works. Sound comes from where you expect.
- Cueball (off screen): Wonderful.
- [Zoom out to White Hat and Cueball facing each other.]
- White Hat: Haha, just kidding, it’s a nightmare.
- Cueball: Noooooo!
- White Hat: When I connect to my car, music starts blasting from my headphones while the car repeatedly plays a “New connection!” chime.
- Cueball: This is not what Josiah Bluetooth intended!
Though it has been around since 2001, Bluetooth is a well known subject since 2016 when Apple announced the removal of the 3.5 mm headphone jack in their latest smartphone, the iPhone 7. Apple believes the future of audio lies in Bluetooth earphones, but others argue that the technology is not advanced enough to replace wired earphones. The debate continues as other companies have followed suit in removing headphone jacks.
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