Lasers allow mouse to make its point

Microsoft: The feature-packed IntelliMouse does away with the rubber ball.

October 18, 1999|By James Coates | James Coates,Chicago Tribune

I don't much like mice because using them for years while slouched in front of a computer monitor set at the wrong angle has proven hazardous to my health. I call them rats, a reminder to avoid bad posture while computing.

We have here a rat with a red taillight, perhaps the best personal computer input device to ever appear on a desktop anywhere. Gone are the tangle of springs, plastic latches and that little rubber mouse ball that picks up lint and goes awry.

IntelliMouse uses laser lights to record mouse movements and thus moves the cursor about the screen. You no longer need a mouse pad. You don't even need to keep a patch of desktop free for mouse use. Simply run the thing over any papers, books or what-nots on your desk and the cursor moves as though you were using the best mouse and pad setup.

You can use your leg or even your tummy as a mouse surface, so the laser mouse is a dream come true for computing on an airplane. There are three user-definable buttons to call up programs such as a calculator, note pad or spreadsheet. There is a front scrolling wheel to simplify moving up and down a Web page.

Mac users must plug into the universal serial bus port, but an included converter lets Windows users plug into USB or the regular PS/2 mouse port, both ports included in all Windows machines.

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