Thursday, December 23, 2004


Mouse situation

I’ve really come to appreciate my laptop, because I feel it gives me a sustainable basis to justify coffee days. If I have my laptop I can work in the coffeehouse, or at least have work in front of me. I derive great legitimacy from that.

What I don’t love about my laptop is the mouse situation. I find the touchpad awkward, and that little button thingy unusable and vaguely obscene. My solution is to carry a big honkin’ microsoft optical mouse which I hook into the USB port.

What do I use for a mousepad, you must be wondering? An optical mouse is supposed to require no mousepad, but as we all know, that’s not exactly true, is it? Most surfaces create just enough friction to annoy, to distract you from your work on the computer by making sure you know you’re using the mouse. It’s a slight resistance, almost a truculence. “Okay,” the mouse seems to say, “I’ll point there if you really want me too.”

When law professors have articles published, they order “reprints,” an excerpt of the law review containing only that article and attractively bound in the cover stock particular to that law journal, with the law journal’s logo and the title of your article.. A colleague of mine recently published an article in a leading law review and I like it so much that I carry the article reprint with me everywhere I go, and keep it next to me. You see, it’s my mousepad.

For some reason, this law review uses paper for its cover stock that is perfect for an optical mouse. Textured just enough to prevent willy-nilly accidental movements, but smooth enough for the mouse to glide over it effortlessly, like a pat of butter on a warm skillet. Mmmmm.

Here’s something else I’d like to share with you about optical mice. I turned on my laptop today in slightly gloomy coffeehouse light, when suddenly my eye was hit by a bright, piercing red beam that kind of reminded me of a glaucoma exam. Owie! The moral: Never start your computer with your optical mouse plugged in but flipped over on its back.

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