Talk:Computer mouse/Archive 1

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How does a wireless mouse work and what do you need to support it? How long do the batteries last and how are they replenished?

Depends which one it is :)

"...involving a small object..."

A mouse is a handheld pointing device for computers, involving a small object fitted with one or more buttons and shaped to sit naturally under the hand.

Do we really need the "involving a small object" part?

Brianjd 05:46, 2004 Nov 13 (UTC)

I have a mouse that weighs about a kilogram and is almost a litre in size. Its very confortable :-) 23:28, 31 May 2006 (UTC)


Later mice - optical or inertial mechanisms

"Later mice used optical or inertial mechanisms to detect movement."

Optical mice I have seen. What mice used inertia mechanisms to detect movement? It seems far too difficult to make an inertial mechanism smooth and precise enough. --drj

I am unable to locate that sentence elsewhere. Brianjd 06:53, 2004 Nov 15 (UTC)

The only mouse to use anything remotely resembling inertial sensors are the Gyration products that use accellerometers to detect the device's vertical orientation. You move the cursor by tilting the device, in use the responsiveness is similar to a joystick since it's a rate device instead of a relative motion device.

Swedish inventor Håkan Lans

Swedish inventor Håkan Lans is also mentioned as "inventor" of the mouse in some contexts, maybe this should be mentioned?

Could well be another case of an American reinventing something, commercialising it, and getting the recognition because of it. If you've got some details on this, by all means add them. Be bold in updating pages! --Robert Merkel

Believe me, it's not. Engelbart never commercialized the mouse, and essentially has made zero money off of it. He's barely gotten any recognition for his accomplishments, of which the mouse is only an indicative part.--TheCunctator

What Håkan Lans did was to invent the first mass produced pointing device, a digitization tablet (the HI Pad, made by Houston Instruments). It workes with electrical wires and magnetic fields and uses a fix system. A mouse uses mechanical wheels and relative movements. // Liftarn 13:25 Jan 14, 2003 (UTC)


unless ECMAScript code on a particular page attempts to enforce weak security by disabling the right-click button (this practice heavily annoys most users, and none of the 100 most popular web sites do this).

Not sure this ECMAScript stuff is relevant here: this is a bit UI-specific. -- The Anome

Cursor or Mouse Pointer

Might be good not to use the word cursor -- stick with "mouse pointer". To a lot of folks, the "cursor" is the text insertion point; the "pointer" is the arrow- or hand-shaped thing the mouse moves around. Google suggests "mouse pointer" is more prevalent than "mouse cursor" by about 50%. Pedantic, yes. --FOo

I don't think that's overly perdantic & I agree with you on the terms. -- Tarquin 12:59 Oct 21, 2002 (UTC)
Well, if we're being pedantic, some GUI systems (at least MS-Windows) refer to the text insertion point as the "caret" and the mouse pointer as the "cursor" in technical documentation. Suggest:
  • mention that it's called either a "cursor" or a "pointer"
  • use "mouse pointer" consistently throughout text
  • define what a cursor is ("a small picture that represents the active position of the mouse"), somewhere perhaps late in the article
Also, somewhere we need a more detailed writeup on GUI interaction styles in general. k.lee 08:01 Oct 25, 2002 (UTC)

On another point, could someone explain how the cursor on the screen is "mouse-like"? In what sense? What does that even mean? I assert that it is more dragster-like. But we don't call it that.. Maybe we could just find an interview with the inventors of the mouse wherein they state why they named it such? That would be better than speculating. BeakerK44 18:51, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It's the motion of the pointer that's mouselike. In any case, the "cord=tail" origin is definitely primary in why the name "mouse" stuck, regardless of what the inventors might have been thinking. Tverbeek 19:24, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Who are the critics of single-button mice?

  • Critics of single-button mice point to these facts as evidence that mice should have more than one button.

Who are these critics? Inquiring minds want to know! Is there an Anti-Single-Button-Mouse-Society or did someone just make up some phantom critics in the name of half-hearted NPOV? Pete 18:54, 21 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Hello! I do not know about the "critics" but I know that when I started my research work on user interfaces some years ago I ran into one scientific study after another explaining how certain aspects of the single button mouse, such as the need for double clicks, made it a nightmare to use for several classes of users. I was overjoyed to hear that I was not the only individual in the world who was suffering endless frustration with the double click system. Even after years of mouse use I was still periodically clicking too fast or too slow, and swearing mightily each time or getting even more frustrated by holding it down. But my continued readings made me discover that a solution was sitting right under my nose. It turned out that MS Windows had, since a certain release, an option by which nearly all the double click functions (such as opening a file) could be converted to single click mode. I now live in bliss, being able to open folders, and do quite a lot of other things with a single click. I have never owned a Mac because of the price difference and other details, but I keep reading up on it because of my interest for some of its unique ways of permitting fast graphical markings such as color labels (removed in OS X but reinstated in the latest release in a slightly different and very interesting form) and the incredible ease by which any icon can be changed (or had been, since I have not yet checked if this is still possible with OS X) with any possible image. Because of these readings on the Mac user interface and the market of add-ons around it, I am certain that there must be a hidden function somewhere or a special software product made by a third party developer which makes it possible for those who have coordination problems or who are sometimes rythm-impaired like me to use a Mac with single clicking 99% of the time. So, please do not take my current state of bliss with one particular aspect of the MS Windows user interface to be a general endorsment of this user interface to the detriment of other user interfaces such as the OS X one, the AmigaDOs one, the Motif one, the JAVA one, and so on. AlainV, 20th of December 2003.


As you seem to know, a long time ago, mice had many buttons, and each one had a function. One button to select objects. Another button to open objects. Another button to move objects. And so on. With the invention of double-clicking, click-and-drag, and the like, those functions were increasingly assigned to the a single mouse button. (The reason this was done, ironically, is because user studies found that many people had trouble remembering which button did what. So they would move when they meant to open, etc.)
This, in turn, left a lot of people with multiple-button mice who had no use for the extra buttons. So those buttons were used for things like contextual menus. (Right-clicking.) This is now the case with Windows in its default state.
Now, of course, there is no reason why you cannot use a single-click interface with a single-button mouse. It's a function of the interface software, not the input device. Indeed, the Apple Mac OS has had a single-click option since version 8, which works just fine with the standard Apple one-button mouse.
In contrast, many important Windows functions are not available without the contextual menus, and hence, the second button. Which makes Windows difficult to use for people with limited finger dexterity, unless special hardware is purchased, or workarounds are implemented through the software.
-- Exia

I have a certain type of limited dexterity which makes double clicking nearly impossible in a predictable manner, constantly. I am delighted to know that the Mac now permits operations without double clicking. For years I would tell my friends who are Mac owners that their computer was very nice, but that each time I had to use a Mac (I do research on the nature of human-computer interaction, from the human side, but I do have to take a good look at different kinds of computers, sometimes) I found the double clicking rather hard. Then they would give me a sermon on the superiority of the Mac and the inferiority of anything else, and how I should abandon Windoze and get used to double clicking. Obviously, they did not know about that single click feature on the Mac. Just where do you turn it on? And what are those important Windows functions which "are not available without the contextual menus"? AlainV 23:25, 2004 May 24 (UTC)

In Mac System 9, single-click mode is activated by chosing View>As Buttons. (I think this was the way it was done in OS 8 as well, but don't remember perfectly.) There was also a "kiddie" interface that used this mode as far back as System 7, but this was just a shell, not a complete interface.
As far as Windows goes, there's no way (that I have found) to, for example, show properties or make shortcuts of objects on the desktop without right-clicking. (And I can't remember if there's a menu bar item to eject CD's.) You have to open a Windows Explorer window and navigate to the desktop to get a menu bar to perform these operations. Some applications also depend on right-clicking to access certain functions. There are, of course, ways to get around this, depending on your hardware and software configuration.
In my experience, Linux/Unix window managers tend to have the most options for configuring mouse actions.

Thanks! Now, the trick will be to integrate this in articles. AlainV 02:43, 2004 May 25 (UTC)

Why is a mouse called a mouse?

Why is a mouse called a mouse ? Until recently I was totally conviced it was because the wire makes think to a mouse tail, but I recently discovered that the moving device in jet fighter air intake is also called a mouse and has a somewhat similar shape. Ericd 02:59, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

"Mouse" is an old acronym for .. Manually Operated Universal Serial Equipment (a clever use of words) - user: skmskm

That's silly. It's called a mouse because of the tail. Every source I have (and I have seen all of them, including Engelbart's personal papers on file at Stanford) all say that.

Quite agree, skmskm is talking nonsense. Where is my US$10. wsw

Well I disagree people. Original devices that we now call a Mouse didn't even look like a mouse and as I said the name was not based on its looks anyway. You will note that Engelbart states "I don't know why we call it a mouse. It started that way and we never changed it.". So to refer to that article to argue that a Mouse is called a mouse because it has a wire (as all devices did then) is flawed.. or are you just trying to get $10. I'm certainly not. - skmskm

One button or two?

The whole "One button or two?" section seems really awkward. It also seems completely out of proportion (too long) with how important the issue is. If you're really that interested, there are HCI references you can read. I think 2 paragraphs, or maybe 3, should be plenty: reasons for using a 1-button mouse, reasons for using a 2/3-button mouse, and possibly a paragraph for workarounds.

For example, there's a sizable chunk of text (the entire second paragraph) dealing with the issue of single/double-clicking an icon to open it. Then it goes on to admit that even 2-button systems typically require double-clicking, and even 1-button systems can be set up to open things by single-clicking. (So what was the point of that paragraph?)

One, two, or three buttons?

In the article about Apple's Might Mouse it is stated that the mouse has multiple buttons. This article, however, has a picture of the mouse in the "One, two, or three buttons?" section stating that the Might Mouse is, in fact, a one button mouse. The Mighty Mouse article indicates that the mouse is designed similar to a single button mouse, but has four button "action"; this may not necessarily mean that there are four buttons, but it can easily be shown that the mouse does in fact have at least TWO buttons (that is, the top clicking surface of the mouse, and the side squeeze buttons). Perhaps the "One, two, or three buttons?" section of this article should be edited to properly reflect single button mice? 09:12, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

"Mechanical" mice

The earliest mice were, in fact, mechanical, using electrical contacts to detect the motion of the axes. These proved to be less reliable than desired, so the electrical rotation sensors were replaced with optical ones. All the mice made in the last 20 years use optical rotation sensors, and are correctly called optomechanical mice, not mechanical ones. tooki 02:36, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Mirror-image photos

The two photos of Engelbart's original mouse currently included in the article are mirror-images of one another. The positions of the red button and the broken wood are reversed between the the two photos. In order to decide which one is correct, we need to know: is Engelbart right- or left-handed? --Arteitle 07:43, Nov 17, 2004 (UTC)

This image agrees with the right-handed mouse, since the vertical wheel is on the thumb side. --Doradus 17:08, Nov 17, 2004 (UTC)

Moved from article

The following section is not directly related to the computer mouse article, but more to user interfaces or something like that. It sounds very un-professional. — David Remahl 14:27, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Right-clicking and copyright/security issues

In most web browsers and many GUI operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, the right-click action is used to activate context-sensitive menus and control many aspects of the system's, objects', and applications' properties. In particular, it usually offers menu items for saving links and images from Web pages, starting downloads and so on.

Because of this, schemes to prevent its usage were devised for use in public/shared computers, like those found in informational kiosks or internet cafes, to prevent intentional or accidental abuse of the machine.

Also, web developers devised methods to disable right-clicking on their sites, to discourage saving images or downloading/copying other copyright-protected objects. The methods used to implement this range from simple JavaScript (which could be easily defeated by turning JavaScript support off) down to proprietary browser-specific plugins, ActiveX content, and perhaps even proprietary semi-secret features in Microsoft's Internet Explorer. In most of these cases, merely using another web browser, or disabling plug-ins and active content in general, is enough to circumvent these schemes.

On the other hand, some creators of images published online have complained about the default behavior of Internet Explorer which, when the mouse hovers over an image (without clicking or any other action by the user), volunteers a button panel which facilitates saving the file to the visitor's computer. They argue that it encourages unauthorized copying of their work. This button panel can be disabled for a given page by the web developer.

Exactly why does it sound unprofessional (maybe you mean POV)? Please explain. EpiVictor 14:55, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
It has very little to do with the computer mouse, it has to do with functions for saving images. I think that the people that suggest that having a contextual menu for saving images "encourages unauthorized copying of their work" are unprofessional, but that's besides the point. It is not appropriate to include it in this article, except possibly as a "see also". I would also like to see actual references for the claims, in whatever article it is brought up again.
Just because the mouse is used to perform most activities on a modern desktop computer, we can't include them all here. — David Remahl 15:10, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I can agree on removing the part about the "contextual menu" (which was not written by me,I must say), but as for the rest I think the section can be put back in the article. Right clicking and the associated powers/handicaps that derive from its use or its denial are confirmed and verifiable beyond reasonable doubt by ANY web surfer or anyone having used an "interactive kiosk" as well by any user of a modern GUI (Windows 95 and newer, Linux shells etc.) EpiVictor 12:01, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Linux shells aren't GUI's. The Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines specify explicitly that no functionality should be accessible _only_ from a contextual ("right click") menu. Furthermore, contextual menus are not only accessed by right clicks, but some systems offer keyboard keys or a combination of keyboard modifiers and mouse buttons for bringing them up. I'm still trying to understand what point the passage was intended to convey to the reader. — David Remahl 12:12, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Should mention similar device "cat". -- 20:34, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Claiming this the fact that in the beginning computer mice were also called bugs cannot be ignored. See Douglas Engelbart for more. / McB

Main image

This seems like a good place to include a non-stereotypical image. The product photos would be OK here, but... Well, I'm just obviously fond of this cutaway image. I understand if someone feels strongly about the product overview photos for a main image. Your call. And yours.. and yours...

Category:First-person shooters

Mice are important to playing FPS games. A good mouse can give you an added advantage. Many fps gamers have good optical mice on top of their desk. The genre is one of the few that is meant to be played with a mouse and keyboard, not a joystick or gamepass. I think that putting this in the FPS category makes perfect sense. Reub2000 21:21, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

That may well be, but mouses aren't something which are specifically FPS-based. Also, who says that FPSs are "meant to be played with a mouse and keyboard"? You may feel that way, but one assumes that it's meant to be played on whatever the developer chooses to release it on, and that includes platforms which don't have mouse or keyboard support. Anyway, if we start categorizing things into the applications which use them, we'll have long unweildly lists, because lots of things use mice, keyboards, gamepads, etc. - Vague | Rant 02:02, Mar 5, 2005 (UTC)
But so many mice and mouse accessories are made for gamers. Sure you could use a Logitech MX518 on a Func Surface 1030 for editing spreadsheets, but both of those products are meant for gamers. When is the last time you saw a mouse pad made specifically for use is in a word processor? Or what about teflon mouse feet covers for doing your income tax? Sure there are console fps games, and with stuff like xbox live, some of them are competitively played on the Internet. But purists almost universal consider deathmatches are only properly played on computers using a mouse and keyboard. Reub2000 03:48, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)


The first paragraph that discusses Apple is especially ... weird.

"Due to an early design decision by designer Jef Raskin, the Apple Macintosh has always shipped with a single-button mouse" -- er, huh? Due to his design decision, it *initially* shipped with a 1-button mouse. He's dead now, so I suspect that if they wanted to ship a 2- or 3-button mouse, Jef would not be able to stop them. (More likely, they use a 1-button mouse because there are good reasons for doing so.)

"Despite the fact that Mac OS X has supported multi-button mice for years, Apple ships all of its new computers with single-button mice, despite the controversy." -- Despite, despite?

"This is defended by the company as an decision meant to simplify and maintain control over the overall "look-and-feel" of the user interface." -- er, it is? I've never heard that. (How does having a 1-button mouse "maintain control"?) Can we get a reference for this? It sounds like somebody putting words in Apple's mouth.

I don't think the Apple rant belongs in this article at all, least of all in the Additional buttons section when it's preceded by the more general and appropriate Buttons. I removed it, but I'll put it here as it was in case someone finds it needful to include it:
Due to an early design decision by designer Jef Raskin, the Apple Macintosh has always shipped with a single-button mouse, requiring users to "chord" mouse gestures by pressing a keyboard button. Despite the fact that Mac OS X has supported multi-button mice for years, Apple ships all of its new computers with single-button mice, despite the controversy. This is defended by the company as an decision meant to simplify and maintain control over the overall "look-and-feel" of the user interface.
-- 16:15, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)