Whatever happened to …

… mouse pads?

This might have fallen in nicely with a couple of previous questions about mice with balls. here and here but hey …

I don’t know about you but, with all the isolation stuff going on, I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and tidying. The worst offender is my computer area. It’s always a pain to clean since you actually have to move things around, get out the compressed air, figure out how the brush attachment works on the vacuum cleaner, get under and behind a heavy desk, etc.

I have a number of shelves that contain treasures. To be honest, I haven’t used some of them in years but I just can’t force myself to throw them away. Don’t judge me; look at your computer area.

As I was cleaning, I fully expected to find a mouse pad or two. There were times that they were worth their weight in gold. I guess it’s testament to a previous cleaning that I was unable to find one.

Exhibitors always had stacks of them on their tables as giveaways for visitors at conferences or at the registration desk to make sure that people took just one. Each pad was glitzier than the next to catch your eye. The only problem when I’d be in Michigan or wherever ISTE or CSTA was held, I’d feel a bit embarrassed declaring them at the border. “Just how many computers do you have, sir?” Upon my return to work, my secretary always had first dibs on one to outshine the others that she worked with.

Of course, this goes back to a time when our computer mice actually had roller balls in them. The design of the mouse pad was rubber on the bottom so that it didn’t slide and then typically some sort of surface on top to make the ball roll smoothly for effective computer use.

And, I have mouse pad memories!

  • When we were buying IBM computers, the installers came from MicroAge and while IBM didn’t provide mouse pads, MicroAge did. One for each computer. They were bright red and had MicroAge embossed on the top. Talk about product placement
  • I’ve always been a note taker and, in the early days, quick notes on your computer weren’t a thing. Sure, you could open a Word Processor but for the quick and easy note – nothing. But, I found that 3M which makes Post-it notes sold an electronic version of the Post-it. I bought a copy for myself and it came with a cool mouse pad. Instead of a thick rubber pad, it was absolutely flat with rubber on one side and a grippy surface on the other. Loved it
  • There was a time when I was going to get into architectural drafting to teach it to the technology teachers. The software that they used required very precise drawing and it came with its own glassy mouse pad and a special mouse with a cross-hair viewable through the top
  • But, the worse thing about mouse pads came when you and your mouse got to the edge of it without knowing. Your mouse would fall off the edge and the cursor jumps all over the place. It made student workspace a challenge since they needed extra room just for the mouse pad. Social distancing challenges at their finest

For a Sunday morning, I hope that you’re old enough experienced enough to remember the days where this was a critical accessory and can share some stories.

  • what was your first computer with a mouse that required a mouse pad?
  • did you hit the exhibitor tables grabbing every mouse pad that you could?
  • do you have a favourite mouse pad?
  • did your students use the mouse pad as a place to send messages to other classes because they knew that teachers couldn’t get rid of them?
  • is your computer area all scratched up like mine is because you don’t use a mousepad any more?

Please share your padding experiences in the comments below.

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

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Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

5 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. Oh mouse pads! I always remember how exciting it was to get a new one. My favourite is a dog one that reminds me of one of my childhood pets. They look almost the same! Now I just use a laptop with no external mouse, so no need for a pad. Thanks for the trip down memory lane! Wonder what other stories people will share.



  2. It just doesn’t feel or sound right without one 😀
    I used to have one with a wrist support. I have nice landscape designs on the ones we have at each computer. They are like a coaster but for a mouse haha.
    I could do a better job of cleaning and de-cluttering my computer area too. On the list!
    Have a good Sunday, Doug!


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