Strictly Commercial

August 16, 2008

Of Mice And Menus

Filed under: Commercial, Technology — castlewriter @ 10:26 pm

Today, children, I?m going to tell you a story about two very, very good mice and two very, very bad mice.


I bought the Logitech VX Nano back in March of 2008 for use under Windows XP. It?s a fantastic mouse, with crisp, precise tracking, solid build, excellent tactile response from every button and comfortable handling despite its small size.


*The notchless scroll feature makes whizzing through pages and documents a breeze. It works exactly as advertised, and that?s all too rare with any product.
*The One Touch Search button, like all the buttons on this mouse, is programmable. Don?t have much use for one touch searching? Set it to activate Flip3D in Windows Vista, Alt+Tab in Windows XP or Spaces in OS X Leopard.

The down side? A few things — switching the scroll wheel from notched to notchless scrolling is accomplished by ?clicking? the wheel into or out of the notched (traditional) scrolling mechanism. What that means is that you have no ?middle mouse button.? True — as just mentioned, you can assign that function to the One Touch Search — but that would eliminate a feature that would otherwise raise this mouse above the pack.

Then we get to the major downside of this mouse, and the reason I switched: Not a problem with the hardware, but with Logitech?s ?LCC? or Logitech Control Center, the Macintosh counterpart to the excellent SetPoint control platform on Windows. To keep it short: LCC sucks. It sucks balls. For me, the shameless ball-sucking took the form of a glitch in which a single left click was interpreted — when it was interpreted at all — as multiple clicks. With toggled menu items, this was infuriating. I had to reassign the left click function to a different button, the closest being the ?Navigate Forward? button several degrees to the left and far forward of my right index finger?s normal position, which made the VX Nano literally painful to use.

After awhile, it was simply time to switch.


But where are the buttons?!

Obviously, anyone who?s seen the advertising knows this — but a lot of people haven?t seen the advertising. The entire shell of the Mighty Mouse is the button(s), with the exception of two buttons on the sides which, when squeezed together, form a third/fourth button. ?But Mr. Commercial!? you exclaim, ?What do you mean by ?third/fourth??! Golly!? Watch your fucking language.

What I mean by ?third/fourth button? is very simple — Apple?s been mucking about with touch-sensitive technology for quite awhile; the iPhone, iPod Touch and multi-touch trackpads of the MacBooks Air and Pro have received quite a bit of limelight, but the Mighty Mouse benefits from touch-sensing (though not multi-touch sensing) technology as well. There are actually two ?buttons? — touch sensitive areas — on the Mighty Mouse, with the ?right mouse button? area configurable to duplicate the left. Thus, Windows-to-Mac converts like myself can have our familiar right-clicks while Mac purists can stick with their single-button mousing habits.

The bonusus: Beyond the elegant and easy-to-customize touch-sensing mouse surface, this baby just feels good in the hand. It?s got the right size for the large hands of us manly men, but is smooooooooooooth like a 19 year old cheerleader?s bottom (What?! ?like a baby?s bottom? is somehow LESS disturbing?!) for the ladies. (And then it got even more disturbing, dinnit?!)

It also features, rather than a scroll wheel, a scroll ball, enabling not merely vertical, not merely vertical and horizontal, but 360 degree scrolling — nifty for things such as the PicLens extension for Firefox 3 (and we?ll talk more about those in upcoming entries, ladies and kids) and the Second Life metaverse.

The Downside: A few here, too. Whereas the Mighty Mouse?s smooth shape sans physical buttons is friendly, it isn?t nearly as ergonomic as the Logitech?s textured and sculpted form, with a comfy resting places for thumb as well as palm and fingers. And that scroll ball — as amazing as it is — is also amazingly easy to gunk up with the natural oils produced by human skin, eventually resulting in a scroll wheel that, well, just don?t wanna scroll. For an inexperienced user unaccustomed to scroll wheels, that means Panic Time(tm). But not to worry, because friendly Mr. Commercial has:

The Fix: Anyone who?s owned one of the later models of BlackBerry has experienced this headache — your teeny-weenie, itsy-cutesy little scroll wheel has surrendered to the vagaries of the human thumb and its daily outpouring of sweaty, oily lurve. Now it don?t wanna play no mo?. Aw… Well, here?s the solution we all figured out, and it?ll work just as sweetly with your Mighty Mouse, too: Rather than go out and buy yourself a new mouse and then go home and sit in the dark and cry like a teenaged girl, go out and buy yourself a spray bottle of non-alcohol-based LCD cleaner instead. This handy solution usually comes packaged with a soft cleaning cloth, but that won?t do for your problem, you need traction. Get a fresh, never-been-used sponge and spray it down with the LCD cleaner. Then turn your Mighty Mouse upside-down and scrollllllll that stubborn little scroll ball all over that sucker for a good 5 minutes — 2 1/2 minutes just going balls to the wall crazy in all directions to dislodge the gunk, then another 2 1/2 minutes scrolling just in the direction it stopped working in before you finally got your lazy butt up from the computer and went out to the store to fix it.

There ya go, good as new! And for my next trick, I?ll tell you what women are really thinking!

Um… okay, that one?s gonna take awhile. Howzabout we talk about Firefox 3 next. ?kay, then.


Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: