Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Wireless Mighty Mouse thoughts

This morning, I woke up to find a nice little package waiting for me - the Wireless Mighty Mouse that I had ordered. I've been using it all day now, and there are some things about it that I absolutely love, and others...not so much.

Out of the box
On opening the box, I found 3 small packages: one containing the manual, warranty and Software Install disc; the mouse itself, and finally, much to my surprise and delight, two Energizer batteries.

I skipped the manual-reading step (it's a mouse for heaven's sake!) and immediately popped the Software Install disc into my iBook G4 and installed the Mighty Mouse software. After it installed, I had to restart my computer. I then popped the batteries into the mouse, moved the slider into the 'on' position and paired it with my computer via Bluetooth - all of this worked seamlessly.

Once I got the mouse working, I headed to System Prefences to configure it. In case you don't know already, the Mighty Mouse has a left click, a right click, a 360 degree scroll wheel (which can also be clicked) and it can be squeezed for one extra 'button'. The default settings are set so that clicking the scroll wheel launches Dashboard, and squeezing the sides invokes Exposé for all windows. I went right ahead and switched these round - tweaking the settings is incredibly simple.

Overall very nice out of the box, the Mighty Mouse was up and working in a few minutes.

Certain elements of the Mighty Mouse's performance are amazing, others less so.

The decision to replace the optical sensor with a laser one was definitely a great move. The Mighty Mouse's ability to track on various surfaces amazed me. I first used it on my wooden desk, no problems there. I then moved it onto my leg, it still worked flawlessly. But what impressed me the most by far was the final test I did. I took a transparent plastic DVD case and placed the mouse on top of it. It still tracked just as well as it did on the wooden surface. The thing works seamlessly on see-through plastic and glass!

The ability to run on one battery is a huge plus as well; it makes the mouse much lighter, which makes it easier to use for things such as gaming. Another cool feature that I applaud Apple for. The mouse's energy saving ability seems to be very advanced as well, and it manages to maintain flawless Bluetooth connectivity without draining the batteries.

Unfortunately, the Mighty Mouse is not without its problems.

First of all, I haven't been able to find a tracking and scrolling speed that feels both 100% accurate or comfortable; sometimes scrolling seems erratic, but most of the time tracking and scrolling is not really a problem. However, the right and left clicks need changing. The problem is, because there's only really one button, it is physically impossible to right click with your middle finger whilst keeping your index finger on the mouse. You can only have one finger on the mouse in order to right click, which feels very unnatural and it means that a large proportion of my right clicks end up being left clicks.

On top of that, the side buttons take an extraordinary amount of effort to activate. I have to squeeze the mouse quite hard in order to get the side buttons to work, and there isn't any way of increasing this sensitivity. I've also found the on/off slider very difficult to operate, it takes loads of effort to turn the mouse on or off. This might get easier with time as the slider loosens up a bit, but I'm not a huge fan of the slider switch on Apple's wireless mice.

Overall, whilst it has its problems, the Wireless Mighty Mouse is a purchase I'm happy with. The ability to track on almost any surface and to operate with only a single battery make the mouse incredibly versatile, and since I travel quite frequently, this is a huge plus for me. The ability to launch Dashboard, invoke Exposé or launch applications definitely increases productivity.

One thing I am trying to do is to use the Mighty Mouse to make drag-and-drop even more seamless than it already is. I want to use the scroll button to invoke Exposé for all windows, and the side squeezing buttons to invoke Exposé for the desktop, so I can use the mouse to drag things from my desktop to other open windows. This however is proving difficult, as it's impossible to click on more than one button at once! If anybody can teach me how to do this, or if anybody knows how to get a kind of drag-lock feature on the Mighty Mouse, I would be most appreciative! One thing I love doing is using Exposé to drag files between loads of different windows, but I want to be able to do this with my new mouse!


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