Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tech Column: I Heart Mice

Photo by Steve Berger (Creative Comons)
by Bill Adler

I have tried. I really have. I thought I could learn to like the trackpad on my laptop. But just like room temperature beer, it’s a taste that I can tolerate, but never fully enjoy.

I need a mouse. I understand and accept that about myself now. Even if transporting a mouse adds one more gizmo to the bag that’s now devoted to cables, batteries, covers, chargers, memory cards and other technological accessories. (I should take a trip to French Polynesia, far, far away from the Internet. Or maybe to a tropical rainforest, far away from the Internet and the temptation of solar power.)

Some people can work magic with their laptop’s trackpad, but I find the trackpad awkward to use. I agree that a trackpad should be easier to use than manipulating a mouse because you don’t have to take your hands off the keyboard. But for me it’s harder. And judging from the proliferation of magic, portable wireless mice, I’m not alone.

If you’re one of us, then let me suggest the Microsoft wireless mouse, which you can find on Amazon for under $20, http://tinyurl.com/nog4mvx. Not only is it cheap, but it’s simple to use, with no weird buttons dedicated to music playback or anything like that. Think Microsoft Windows operating system, and then the total opposite. The mouse comes with a small, wireless USB connector to attach it to your PC. The connector lives inside the mouse when you’re not using it, so that when you grab the mouse at the last minute for a trip, you don’t say bad words when you arrive at your destination and realize that you forgot the thumbnail sized wireless adapter. You can select a mouse from among 26 different colors and designs, too.

As for those of you who happy to blaze along with a trackpad, how do you feel about warm beer?


Bill Adler is a writer. He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets," http://amzn.to/rspOft, "Outwitting Squirrels," http://amzn.to/VXuLBh, and a mess of other books. He tweets at @billadler. His tech column is published on Tuesdays.

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