Wednesday, July 18. 2012
I finally got fed up with my Cyborg mouse, in particularly (despite it's many great features) with the fact that the laser tracker was forever getting dirty and sticking. That's despite using a good mouse mat. On bad days I would be swearing and spending several minutes cleaning the tracker in a day. The time isn't necessarily an issue, it's the break to the workflow and concentration as the mouse suddenly fails to go up that really spelt its death knell.
So, I stopped to think about track pad (still only wireless and the batteries failing in mid-action is very annoying) and a Magic Mouse and wireless charger from Mobee.
The charger first, perhaps oddly but this is the order in which they appeared. The charger plugs in to a USB port and gives you a little white pad that sits on the desk, in my case under my iMac with a little (red at the moment) LED on it. Apart from that wire, which doesn't bother me, it's incredibly unobtrusive. Also in the box is a replacement pack for the rechargeable batteries that come with the magic mouse as standard. That took seconds to fit into the mouse - less than normal batteries because it's all in one rather than 2 batteries and then a cover to put on. Put the mouse on the pad, the LED turns green and the battery charges. That simple. I drop it on when I go for lunch and overnight and all seems fine. It's one of those items that has learnt from the Apple ethos and is nice to look at and very easy to use.
So, the mouse itself. I know they've been out for a while, but it's new for me. I find myself wondering why I waited so long! First, it's pretty easy to use as a two button mouse despite no buttons. Clicking in most places makes it left click. Clicking in most places along the right edge gives you a right click (if you like your mouse left handed you can choose to switch to the other side). It probably wouldn't do for a game where you'd want to be quickly left, right or left + right clicking but for everything else it's fine. Tracking, even at its fastest, is quite a bit slower than I had on the cyborg, but after a day or two I don't notice that as an issue any more. And, thanks to the "magic" part I actually find I use it as a mouse less than I expected. The whole of the top surface can not only be clicked, it is also a multi-touch surface. You can slide a finger over it to scroll up and down, left and right easily. So, once the cursor is over a web-page say, rather than moving the mouse, it's simply a case of stroking a finger over the surface of the mouse to scroll. Although the mouse does not support the whole range of multi-touch gestures that the trackpad does, there is one-fingered left and right sweeps for moving through pages in a document (or back and forward in your browser window history). I don't use full-screen apps and mission control much really, but there are easily accessible options for that too. It's easy to click and hold and stroke to select large chunks of text too.
Although your mileage will doubtless vary, I find the size of the magic mouse and its smooth, curved surface easy and pleasant to use. I switch, did from the beginning, completely unconsciously between moving the whole thing to move the cursor on the screen and stroking it to move up and down through a document. Precision is high too - I have worked in photoshop for a couple of hours with it completely happily. It would be nice to have extra trackpad-like options there - rotating for one - but there is a two-finger slide up and down to zoom that is nice.
The pair of them together work very nicely. The magic mouse is a pleasure to use. All things considered, a definite keeper.
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