doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Whatever happened to …

… mice with balls, Part II.

This is a continuation of last week’s post.  It just started to get too unwieldy.

When we left that post, I had shared my thoughts about the first computer mice which came with a nice rolling ball and a button or two to perform actions.  There were some great responses from folks sharing their experiences.

As I look over my desktop, I can see a bit of the mouse history story myself.  My original mouse was wedge shaped with sharp corners.  But, I had to upgrade.

Many of the upgrades involved a device that looked like a bar of Dove soap.  Roundish corners and a hump in the centre.  The device glides now over the desktop (no mouse pad required).

  • one is a Logitech wireless mouse.  It connects itself to the computer and I can use it up to about 3 metres.  It also served as a remote for doing presentations
  • until I bought this no-name presentation mouse.  In its day, and with rough gestures, I could click or also draw things on the screen by drawing in the air
  • the HP corded mouse which is my default favourite now.  It’s nicely sculpted but its biggest feature is a scroller between the two mouse buttons and it also has a third button that sends a “go back” command to my web browser.  I’m amazed at the number of times I use that feature
  • my Apple Magic Mouse.  This was a Christmas gift from my son once and pairs nicely with a Macbook Pro.  It doesn’t have a mouse button on it at all.  Instead, the whole device actually depresses for a click.  The surface is also amazing and you can scroll around just by running your finger over the top of it
  • my Wacom tablet.  If you’ve ever tried to be an artist with a mouse, you know that can be a challenge.  With a tablet and a stylus, I’m not an artist but I can draw a reasonable circle!
  • For the most part, with laptops, I’ve dropped the external mouse and just go ahead and use the touch pad.  It’s very convenient and your fingers and hand don’t have to move far from the home row on the keyboard.  This was a prelude to
  • the best tool of all.  My finger.  For all the money that’s been spent in development and acquisition, you can’t beat the accuracy of just reaching out and touching the screen to move things around.

We’ve come a long way since that original mouse with the ball in the centre.  Every vendor has tried to build a better mouse trap (I can’t believe I just wrote that).  The nice thing is that we get better and better with the right tool for the deed.  Who knew that it would ultimately be your index finger?  But does it have to stop there?

Your thoughts for a Sunday morning please and thanks in the comments below.

  • what is your all time best computer pointing device?
  • between last week’s post, its replies, and my list above, have I missed anything?
  • think of your computer or phone or tablet and your use of a finger – how do you handle things when the screen gets dirty from use?  How often?
  • computers these days have a camera staring you in the face.  Is the best solution already looking at us?  Could a left eye blink translate into a left mouse button?  Admit it, you just blinked your left eye to try it out.

Check out the entire collection of Sunday morning memories here. And, if you’re so inclined, through a suggestion in the Padlet.


Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.

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