A New Mouse

I’ve heard studies claiming vastly increased productivity from dual-monitor setups and arguing that companies are being penny wise and pound foolish by refusing to buy extra monitors for their programmers. That may well be true, though I mostly work with one large monitor myself. However in my experience many companies and individuals are being even more foolish by limping along with old, grody keyboards and mice.

Possibly this has a lot to do with the slow deterioration of most of these components. Keyboards and mice rarely suddenly fail. Mostly they just get a little gunkier, a little slower, and a little stickier from day to day. It’s such a gradual process you don’t even realize it’s happening; but it is, and it can have very real, physically painful effects over the long term.

This morning I dripped a little too much grapefruit juice on my mouse, and the left button finally started sticking enough that I couldn’t put up with it any longer. Thus off I trundled to my local OfficeMax to buy a new mouse. This time I grabbed a Microosft Wireless Optical Mouse 5000. I may not be fond of Microsoft’s software or business practices, but I’ll give them this: they make a hell of a mouse. Over the years I’ve used mice from Apple, Kensington, Logitech, Dell, Gyration, and a host of brand X manufacturers; but Microsoft mice always feel demonstrably more comfortable.

I thought about trying an Apple Mighty Mouse instead, but for a little less money I could get a wireless Microsoft model. Plus I wasn’t sure about the Mighty Mouse’s ergonomics. The 5000 is essentially a wireless model of the Intellimouse Explorer I’m replacing so I knew I’d be comfortable with it. I do wish it used Bluetooth instead of a custom receiver connected to USB (I now have seven occupied USB ports on my main desktop machine) but it seems to work without a hitch, which is more than I can say for the Apple wireless mouse, or my old wireless Logitech mouse, both of which had frequent connection problems.

6 Responses to “A New Mouse”

  1. Andy B Says:

    I can’t stand wireless mice because the batteries add too much weight to the mouse. It was only until I tried wireless that I realized my hand will occasionally lift my mouse when moving side to side.

    My absolute favorite right now is the Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse 3000.

  2. DolanH Says:

    The mighty mouse definitely takes some getting used to (not sure I am yet, after a few months of using it). I definitely agree that MS makes the best mouse in town, despite their other failings. However, every experience i’ve ever had with wireless mice has been positive until the batteries inevitably die, and I have to make sure there’s another recharged set on hand. Has this been rectified?

  3. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    Batteries are definitely an issue. Microsoft claims this mouse gets “more than six months of battery life.” Not even close. Not even within the same order of magnitude. My first pair of Energizer Alkaline batteries lasted just under a week in this mouse before I had to replace them. Time to start using rechargeables.

  4. Richard Conway Says:

    Logitech has a great wireless mouse that solves the battery problem by using rechargable batteries and providing a recharging station. It’s still USB, and as with other wireless mice is on the heavy side, but I can deal with a little more heft if I can get rid of the mouse cord which is always moving around or getting snagged on something. There’s less of an incentive to go wireless with a keyboard, since it’s stationary most of the time.

  5. Daniel E. Markle Says:

    The killer feature of the Mighty Mouse for me is the ability to side scroll. I do quite a bit of image editing, and that feature becomes addictive very quickly while working with images.

    I also find it handy when working in the finder in icon or column mode, scrolling the timeline in Final Cut, and browsing XML files with long lines. If you do anything needing frequent side scrolling you will soon miss the feature in mice without it.

  6. Daniel E. Markle Says:

    An addendum to my earlier comment:

    I know some of the newer mice have that tilt thing. I find it falls flat compared to the mighty mouse for horizontal scrolling as the action doesn’t give any feedback relative to motion. There is a good reason the scroll wheel succeeded where IBM’s attempt to just use a nub with no feedback (which also moved in two axes) failed.

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