December 18, 2004

The Great Mouse Hunt of 2004

Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth

O Apple, why is it that you insist in your stubborn ways? Is the two-button mouse really such an impediment to insanely greatness that it can’t even be sold-separately? Is there something about right-clicking that goes against the fundamental precepts of Macishness?

Earlier this year I tried to go As Wireless As Humanly Possible. It didn’t work out. Networking-wise, the Linksys 802.11b do-whacky worked out great. Secure, fast, nice. The Apple Wireless Keyboard was a bit more of a problem. It would occasionally un-pair itself from the computer and frequently decide that what it was going to do was repeat my last key stroke ad infinitum rather than, you know, working properly. That was fun to deal with. I went through two keyboards before deciding that the USB cable was preferential to crying myself to sleep at night.

But the keyboard was a picnic next to the mouse. First there was finding the right one. I wish Apple would get over the two-button mouse thing but they haven’t so they’re out. Logitech swallowed Connectix and stopped supporting the original USB QuickCam Pro so they won’t be getting any more of my money. Nick owned a Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer (say that five-times-fast) which was actually quite impressive but used RF technology rather than Bluetooth and while that’s fine when you’re using a desktop machine and thus won’t be regularly unplugging it, it doesn’t make sense for the PowerBook crowd. Microsoft did have a Bluetooth mouse but it wasn’t at the bells and whistles Intelli-brand level of the RF-model.

Then there was Kensington. I like Kensington. I liked the original Mouse-In-A-Box philosophy (“it’s a mouse, a mouse that works, a mouse that works for thirty bucks”). I liked my Optical Pro. I liked their warranty policy. So I felt certain when I discovered the Bluetooth Pilot Mouse I would like that too. I did not. It un-paired itself, it was sluggish and jumpy, it was nigh unusable. It went back along with the keyboards. (Which reminds me, I like Kensington’s return policy too.)

Now my trusty old Kensington mouse is starting to lose its marbles. The left index clicker requires some serious pressure these days. So I’m forced to shop for mice again. Despite all the warning signs around it, I’m going to give the new Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth a try. While it doesn’t explicitly work with Mac OS X, rumor is that there is still good in that mouse. I can sense it.

It’s on order from Amazon, more soon.