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MS Introduces Optical Mouse

justin++ posted more than 15 years ago | from the where-was-sun-5-years-ago? dept.

Hardware 282

Unknwn writes "Microsoft announced today their new optical mouse, the Intellimouse Explorer. For some reason, they think that optical mice or something new. I have some Sun 3s and Sun 4s lying around which make that a joke... =) " I happen to have an optical mouse at my feet right now. Looks nice, but is it worth $75? I have had the worst luck with MS peripherals (they were gifts!), but I have friends who swear by them...Update: 04/20 03:16 by J : A "concerned" reader wrote us to say that the mouse will not require a special pad like the older opitcal mice. He also said he had a chance to play with it, and that it was quite nice. Anyone else care to share?

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Not invented by Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925819)

At the AAAI conference in 1983, Xerox was showing off one of these. They had a printed mouse pad you could use with it, but unlike the Mouse Systems mouse used by Sun, there wasn't anything special about the pad. The mouse worked just as well on a linen tablecloth or on a fake-woodgrain tabletop.

I was there, I used it. It is new, and works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925820)

Justin and y'all need to watch what you blabber. The mouse is not old technology and does not require the transparent-with-wire-mesh mousepad. You can slide it across your leg, your chair, your desktop - anything. It tracks *perfectly*.

Woo and it has FOUR buttons (and a wheel)

tail lights! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925821)

There has to be a light source anyway for the optical sensors. They obviously thought it would be cool to shine some of the surplus illumination out the back.

MS Mouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925822)

Here at CNN we have had that mouse for 2 weeks now and I can say that I will never use another mouse untill they come out with a better one. I could not think of anyway it could be better. The only problem ( and that's not one for me ) is that it only works fully under windows. i.e. the 4th mouse button does not work and you can't use any special features of the mouse to do certain operations on web pages and documents etc...

what is it with MS and their prefixes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925823)

Everything is Intelli, Active, or Direct something. Am I the only one getting sick of all this? I can understand marketing, but it gets kind of old, especially since most of it isn't really innovative.

MS mouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925824)

MS mouses are the only way. I have been useing thier mice for 2 years now and they are outstanding. Very smooth with a sleek design. A friend of mine that works for zdtv said they got one of those mice about 2 weeks ago as a promo, and he said that they are fixing to purchase 1500 of them. I suspect that only windows will be able to use all the features of the mouse ( like the last mouse they made )

I'll wait for Logitech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925825)

A mouse with on board DSP and image processing software? You gotta be kiddin me...I'm sure it is very nice and all, but this is what, a 1000% cost increase for 25% performance improvement? I'll keep my $5 PS/2 mouse thank you very much!

I swear by my Logitech trackball (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925826)

I've got a Logitech Trackman Marble which works on optical technology and it is sweet (And was out months prior to this announcement.) Even with trackballs I have problems with junk getting in the rollers. This is the first device where it can't really accumulate much and even if it does you just pop the ball out and wipe out the inside -- no moving parts for it to get stuck in.

The only couple of problems I have with it is it has trouble detecting very high spin rates (Requiring a slight adjustment to my style of quake playing) and the fourth button doesn't work.

Optical mice are not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925827)

I used tohave a Xerox optical mouse back in the 70s and now since our company was given one of these mice about a week or two ago, I've used this one and it's like nothing I have everused before. You can sit this mouse on a pice of 20 grade sand papper and it will work just as well as if it were on a metal mouse pad. Very smooth. I didn't know the pointer could be so smooth. I've also used SUN's and SGI's optical mice and they don't even come close to stacking up to this one.

I'm sorry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925828)

You mean the 4th button does not work in Linux right?
The new MS mouse rox

Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925829)

Microsoft makes wonderful hardware. There I said it, happy?
However, in the old Microsoft tradition, they pretend that this little mouse is something completely new and revolutionary. Of course I know it's not, and that's why I rip Microsoft for it.
I personally have an Intellimouse and love it.

Hardware or Software Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925830)

Uhh I really doubt it will require special drivers to move the cursor around and left/right click.

MS Actually....exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925831)

I fully agree. BTW Im the CNN guy and the mouse works really well. Go out and buy it as soon as it hits your local store :)

Web site's contradicts itself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925832)

One of the things that the website boasts is that there are no moving parts on the mouse, thus one doesn't need to clean the mouse, etc...

The next paragraph it talks about the scroll wheel... Am I missing something?

Jonathan Cowherd (

Intellimice do fully work in Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925833)

Thanks, but I do not believe I will have my IMouse any longer after my local Best Buy gets this new optical mouse in.

Hardware vs software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925834)

Oh god, you liked those smooth whitey MS mice? That material is an incredible gunk magnet. You practically have to scrub and polish it daily to keep it presentable. Nothing like a little exfoliation build up to kill the appetite. *shudder*

Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925835)

:However, in the old Microsoft tradition,

Ofcourse, MS didn't invent marketing hype either.

Linux Community (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925836)

I wonder why most people in the Linux community are so down on MS's hardware. I don't see any of them developing new optical mice for the Linux OS.
MS has already made several mice for thier windows platform. Don't get me wrong I use Linux every day but when I reboot to Linux I got to change mice. And that sucks. Is there a Linux project that develops a optical mouse that can out perform this new MS optical mouse?

I'll wait for Logitech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925837)

Logitech makes some nice symmetrical trackballs, the one I have is (though I'm not a lefty)

sun5 many years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925838)

i think you misparsed that sentence. it wasn't i used an optical mouse on a sun five years ago ("five years ago, i used an optical mouse on a sun"). it was "i used an optical mouse on a sun5 years ago" ("years ago, i used an optical mouse on a sun5").

by sun5, he probably meant a SparcStation 5.

Quantum Leap???LOGITECH sux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925839)

LOGITECH blows. I just threw one away. It was uncomfortable and was not smooth enough for my graphics work. This new mouse from MS will make my graphics editing much cleanner with less jerk to the pointer on screen.

Mice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925840)

What is a j-mouse?

sun5 many years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925841)

i may be wrong, but my knowledge of sparc hardware
tells me that Sun5 is a machine to itself, one of the older models which still had a motorola 68* processor. sparcstation 5's can use them too.
as can the newer sparcs with the tolerable keyboards.

New Mouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925842)

I played with one here at Comdex. It's very nice, very accurate and tracks nicely, even better than a standard mouse, much less an optical mouse. I've always found optical mice lacking, but this was nice.

Part of the reason is it doesn't use a laser to track, it uses a camera. The red light underneath is to shine on the area where the camera tracks, and red has the best range for illumination (I forget the physics behind all of this).

I had two complaints: it feels too light, since there's nothing inside it but a chip. To me, light = flimsy. Second, the two extra buttons are programmable, but they are not programmable for individual applications. For example, you can't make it go forward and back in the browser, but then do page up and page down in Word. I'm sure someone will come up with a work around for that. :)

10 yrs and counting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925843)

I've been using a Microsoft InPort mouse on my main machine for about ten years straight. Mice on my other machines have long since bitten the dust (heh heh), but this one refuses to die. Both the mouse and the ISA interface card are working perfectly fine.

If only Windows was this good. [mailto]

They should have made it cordless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925844)

"Part of the reason is it doesn't use a laser to track, it uses a camera. The red light underneath is to shine on the area where the camera tracks, and red has the best range for illumination"

Uhh you were saying....
you could set this on your harry butt and it would track perfectly with the built in camera.

I have done well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925845)

I have seen some MS mice die in months, while others last pretty well. However, my Logitech MouseMan, at 6 years, is by far the oldest component in my system, and will be around long after everything else has been recycled. MS mice are nice, but not as good as Logitech.

Bill has no balls? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925904)

(Sorry, couldn't resist. ;)

Since dirty rollers - even with a spotless mouse pad - really annoys me, I'll probably get one of these mice. I bet it wouldn't work on a featureless surface like a first-surface optically flat mirror, but for regular surfaces with some texture (cloth, formica etc.) it should work well. Previous generation optical mice suffered from being tied to the fixed geometry of the grid - if this system approximates the marketing hype, it should work nicely.

As much as I hate Microsoft, their mice and Sidewinder joysticks and pretty good. Now if they would just get out of the software business and stick to what they are good at...

Correct (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925905)

It much better than the Sun Sparc mouse that 'works' on some surfaces... this mouse works a lot better (I know, used and tried every type including the new IntelliMouse/Eye).

If this mouse came out by any other company than MS, I am sure no one would rip it apart so. It kind of makes me sick seeing all this childish MS bashing no matter what they do (right or wrong).


MS Actually Makes Good Hardware (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1925906)

Agreed here too. The MS bashing is getting plain silly, it's a fad almost. 'Your l337 if ya ba$h the evil empire.. whoo' good grief. They could come out with anything right about now, and you'd have someone there gripping it up, just because.

If anyone has ever worked in end user support, imagine those people moving to the Unix world. Their lives as well as the lives of support techs become quite misserable. A great insight into this is #linux on EfNet, someone asks a question, and it's "Oh, god RTFM" or if your lucky you get a cryptic answer (from their stand point). I don't mind delving into something to learn it, but you must remember not everyone is a geek at heart. There are those types that see a machine as nothing other than a tool.

Unix stronghold is servers, I wish more servers were run on Unix, Unix provides VERY nice features in that arena. However I do NOT wish more clients ran Unix, it just complicates their lives everytime I see it.

It somewhat reminds me of the ameatuer radio (HAM) radio style crowd in a way. Why does EVERYTHING need to be one size fits all? Why can't we have Unix take over servers, Windows take over desktops, PDAs for the business folks, Mac's for the people that fall outside of business nor the want to learn computers too much but still do some stuff.

Not Made by Microsoft! Same as Indigo! (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925909)

The old, "dove bar" MS mice had two steel rollers for X and Y axes inside, where 'modern" mice have little plastic wheels (these were very easy to clean.)

This was the exact same internal mechanism on the original mechanical mouse for the Indigo from SGI. I'm sure that the SGI mice were made by Mouse Systems, not by SGI.

Mouse Systems may not still be the input device OEM supplier for Microsoft, but somebody is!

They don't make this stuff, they just ask their OEM partner to show 'em "cool stuff', and some of it gets a Seattle marketing job... --Jeremiah

Dear god those were ugly! (1)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925911)

They tracked *really* well... but, my God... that was some seriously nasty looking hardware. It was like sliding around a big Scooter Pie.

- A.P.

"One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

where-was-sun-5-years-ago? (1)

Bill Currie (487) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925914)

5 years?!? How about 15 years! I distincly remember seeing an optical mouse (with that funky mouse pad) back in 83-84 in Computerland (Medicine Hat, Alta). Can't remember what it was attached to, though.

Overengineered? (1)

Peter Amstutz (501) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925915)

Am I the only one who thinks that incorperating what amounts to a small camera and microprocessor into a mudane device like the mouse a bit of overengineering? A bit of fuzz on the rollers aside, current SIMPLER mechanical systems work just fine. Actually, a hybrid like the Logitech visually trackballs that track movement using dots on the ball seems still to be a cleaner solution.

I guess it's a sort of cool idea, but the Microsoft corperate mindset seems to be "added complexity=innovation" with little regard to the implications of this "innovation" (=added complexity). Go figure.

they actually look kinda cool... (1)

daywalker (538) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925916)

I wonder when their "Butt Hinge" product will come to market. If you check out the IBM patent server, Microsoft has a patent of Butt Hinges!

Microsoft Hardware and the Mouse (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925917)

First of all, there have been optical mice around, but this is one that you can get for $50 (or $75 for the version with scroll wheels and extra buttons) and you'll be able to find at most major computer stores. At the moment, it's nearly impossible to find optical mice anywhere. I'll probably get one, since I'm sick of all the dirt getting in my wheeled mouse and making it hard to move the pointer precisely, and I don't see anybody else selling optical mice at my local Best Buy.

Anyway, Microsoft hardware in general is pretty nice. I've had no problems with the Sidewinder gamepad, and the joystick is nice as well.

tail lights! (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925919)

Posted by Assmodeus:

what in the hell would anyone need a tail light on a mouse for?? geee! im going backwards, better watch where im going. i mean how many of us actually look at the mouse as we are moving it??

Web site's contradicts itself... (1)

pod (1103) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925924)

It's the horribly innovative, terribly useful middle mouse butt^H^H^H^Hwheel.

Hardware or Software Translation (1)

pod (1103) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925925)

I wonder if the mouse is running Windows CE? :) It would be pretty funny if my mouse crashed.

Well, even though it's a fast rate of sampling, would it not be possible to create a situation where the DSP gets confused? Could the mouse suddenly think it's being poved in a different direction?

It would be really cool if they could minaturize the same systems the new cars have, that funky new traction control setup which detects driving/handling anomalities via momentum sensors or whatever those are called. Now your mouse would go exactly where you want it to. Just what I need for team fortress!

Or rather, Microsoft "acquired" the optical mouse (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925929)

And when they're done shelving it, there will be no optical mouse. Where once there was a private entrepreneur who thought he could invent something without Microsoft acquiring it for shelving purposes, there is now one less competitor against Microsoft. The same went for clear type fonts.

Replace the ball! (2)

red_dragon (1761) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925930)

The way I imagine an optical mouse might work without the funky silvery mouse pad is by using a printed ball, similar to what Logitech does with the TrackMan Marble. In this setup, the light sensors would track the movement of dots printed on the surface of the ball. The rollers would be optional (and not needed).

In an orthogonal subject: Microsoft Intelligence Exploder... :op

TrackMan Marble>>buy one now! (1)

longspur (1853) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925931)

I have one of the first marbles that Logitech produced and I still love it. It's much easier to keep clean than traditional mice, and the optical action of the ball is smoooooooth.

_any_ surface? (1)

luminiferous (2096) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925933)

Or how about a surface with a moving image?
Like a flatscreen tv or something.

If it works exactly the way they say it does, one could write a program on a palmpilot or something to move the mouse for you. Just move a patterned image around on the screen to trick the mouse.

Though why would someonewant to do that? :)

MS Actually Makes Good Hardware (1)

Hrunting (2191) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925934)

I dunno. I see a lot of people bashing MS hardware here and there and what they call new and where it was developed from. Guess what, the mouse is pretty basic. All of the designs for it essentially come from the same basic idea.

I've never had a problem with a Microsoft mouse, and it's comfort is unbeat (Logitech and Kensingtons just don't fit into the palm of my hand like the MS mouse does). I have a computer that's four years old that's still using the same MS mouse that it came with. I have another computer with one of the newer wheelie deals and it works fine, too (I don't really use the wheel much, but it's still a great idea, IMHO). Of course, I treat my hardware with respect. The only trauma my mice undergo is the three day trip between school and home every summer. I do find that they have problems running over some surfaces, but all mice have these problems. A good $1 mouse pad tends to take care of this (one with that funky grain to its fabric).

As for their other hardware, their keyboards work great. I've used other ergonomic keyboards and none matches up to the comfort of the MS one. I find it rather large and klunky (I have one of the older, non-Elite versions), but I don't care cause I don't move it a whole lot. My Linux system has a standard Dell keyboard which I use constantly, but I'm much more relaxed typing in my MS keyboard.

A lot of people replying to these messages tend to take MS-bashing to new heights. Chiding a company that you hate for putting a tail light on a mouse is ridiculous. It was a design decision meant to appeal to the mass consumer. MS isn't targeting stuff at you and I. They're targeting it at the 70% of the world's home computer population that is clueless and likes to look cool. It's an excellent marketing decision. Flashing lights and bells have always appealed to consumer society.

And of the 30 or so comments I saw, only two of the people had actually used the mouse. They had good things to say. One might criticize MS for their product, but at least look at it first. Otherwise, you look like a ranting/raving buffoon.


sheldon (2322) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925935)

I never saw a Honeywell.

But the design is the same as the good ole DECstation 3 button puck mouse.

Two little offset wheels on the bottom. These things tracked better than anything else in the world.

The only downside was the buttons and size were kind of bad for ergonomics.

Comdex.... (1)

doobie (2546) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925936)

They showed it off at Comdex...they even had a 9 or 10 foot tall model.....I missed Linus' speech, but I saw him on the floor, I did a double take when I realized it was him, and it was too late to say hi :(

Info from the inside... (1)

Fogie (4006) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925944)

I was just talking about this to a guy I know who just recently joined the Dark Side and was going through assimilation-- err, orientation. From what he told me, this mouse will work on almost any surface, besides glass and polished marble. Interesting idea... I wonder how they managed to pull that off? Optical mice of old usually had some kind of reflective grid mousepad or something similar... surely they'd encounter problems on the variety of surfaces we work on. Anyways, that's the skinny from inside... hope this provides the teeniest bit of info.

That's not all (1)

lich (4985) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925948)

Don't forget visual. If it has anything at all to do with programming, it's visual.

Hardware or Software Translation (1)

Booker (6173) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925956)

Uhhh unless it's using a DSP to correlate changes in the underlying image which requires FFTs and such, in which case, yeah, it'd take quite a special driver to move the cursor around. Unless the DSP is in the mouse. Which I doubt. I think it's a WinMouse. :-)

Mice should have feet not taillights!!! (2)

Baggio (8432) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925960)

Obviously not for a green PC then... think about it. If even as much as 40% of the light is reflected back to the optical sensors, then that other 60% is wasted.
The ability of the mouse to track over any surface is a plus to loptop users. If I had a laptop, redirecting the light so as to "capture" most of it on the sensor would be in my favor. Wasted light is wasted power is shorter batter life. Reducing the expended light, and improving the reflected content saves me money in the long run. The taillight is a waste.

I still think that mice should have feet!!! (Honeywell circa 1992)

Time flies like an arrow;

Hardware vs software (1)

Sethb (9355) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925966)

You can still get one of the old MS Natural keyboards, if you wanna do a little digging. Due to an unfortunate combination of my girlfriend and a glass of water, mine was ruined last week, but I bid on a new one on eBay, got it for 52.02 (a buck less than mine cost me originally) it's brand new, and on it's way to me now.

Windows only (1)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925967)

You can bet that this MS mouse will be USB and drivers will be available for Windows only.

Introduce New Junk Every Quarter (1)

Cassius (9481) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925968)

That's why Microsoft is one of the most profitable companies in history - they have very well defined "upgrade" paths - even though they really aren't upgrades.

Its a free country - you're free to be as stupid as you want. If people want to buy, who am I to stop them?

Track Balls...are better (1)

ashiant (9671) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925972)

My track ball is optical, its awesome, it glides and it needs cleaning... once every few meals with greasy finger foods... (like the MS super mouse wouldn't need to be cleaned then?)

I don't understand the innovation... (should I spray paint my trackball silver to learn more?)

I like not having to even move my arm... only my thumb...


PS i do acknowledge the interesting idea of not having to use a patterned mouse pad...(wonder how it's done)

they actually look kinda cool... (1)

prijks (9686) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925973)

They claim that these mice will work on any surface, not just the weird silvery optical mice pad the old optical mice required... plus they look sorta neat and have extra buttons... and extra buttonses is good.

I dunno, i hate m$ as a software company, but i have to admit the hardware of theirs that i have used is decent...

course, i'm a cheap bastard and am happy enough with my current mouse that i wouldn't actually buy one of them thingums...

Logitech Trak Ball Mouse (1)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925974)

After dealing with limited space in my apartment, I decided that my regular mouse wasn't going to cut it and bought a trackball mouse. I love this thing! It uses a little black and red ball, tracked optically, so there's no risk of mechanical clean it I just pop the ball out of the socket, blow out the dust, and pop the ball back in. The buttons on either side (this is a two button model) make it pretty easy to emulate middle button action...just click with my third finger and thumb simultaneously. The only problem that I have is if I drop the mouse, the ball sometimes falls out and rolls away...hard to find with my paper-strewn floors...other than that I have no complaints about it.

(NB- Logitech didn't pay me for this endorsement, but I'll gladly take money from them :))

Honeywell mouse (1)

biomesh (9887) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925975)

Does anyone remember the Honeywell mouse? I have had one of these mice for six years without any type of cleaning. From what I remember it is mechano-optical (two-disks on the bottom replace the ball). This mouse is great because it can be used on almost any surface; it can even be used upside down :)
Too bad no one bought them... eventually the design was sold to another company(kensington, I think).

Like Logitech? (1)

Enucite (10192) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925977)

The Logitech TrackMan Marble series has been doing that for quite a while now.
I have the original TrackMan Marble sitting on my desk right now, the best mouse device I've ever used! :-)))
I think M$ has done something new (maybe... there IS some chance that they might have) and the way they are marketing it, it sounds like it just takes a picture of the surface it's on and compares it to the last shot taken.
The only problem I see with that is... what happens when you run out of deskspace and have to pick the mouse up to get more room to move?
If it takes 1500 pics/s then it'll be able to tell you're moving it... hmm.. maybe they *did* steal logitech's technology.


_any_ surface? (1)

Wayfarer (10793) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925978)

Why? It's the "because I can" factor at work. :)

Seriously, though... That's an interesting idea. I've got a Palmpilot Pro, I can dig up one of those old Xerox optical mice, and I can prob'ly learn the SDK for Palmpilot...

Maybe it can be a summer project. :)

MS Actually Makes Good Hardware (1)

positive (12069) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925983)

I have yet to find a keyboard/mouse combination as good as my MS Natural Keyboard/IntelliMouse Pro. I had the original IntelliMouse for two years and I never had a problem with it. The IntelliMouse Pro is even better, I love the design of it.. it is quite a bit higher than the original IntelliMouse and seems to be more comfortable. However, it looks like the Explorer might replace the IM Pro as my mouse of choice.

Bashing simply doesn't make sense (1)

Mr. Objectivity (12265) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925986)

Bashing MS because they took the concept of optical mice and improved upon it is senseless. Sure, Sun has been using optical mice for years. I used one back in college, and my company recently aquired a new Sun E250 server. The newer mice tracks on a desktop, the older one required a metallic pad like others in this thread have commented on (it did not track well on the desk). But the Sun mice are horribly uncomfortable, do not have a wheel, and do not have 5 buttons. Bashing MS in this case is like bashing Ford or Honda because they improved the fuel efficiency of the gasoline engine. The general concept, a gasoline engine, is nothing new. But they made it more efficient, which is better for the consumer. As for style, take a look at this picture [] for a jpeg of the new mouse. All opinions on physical beauty are subjective, but this rates pretty highly with me. Is the Intellimouse Explorer worth $75? Tough to say without trying it. I wouldn't have thought I would have paid for the original Intellimouse, but the time saved and comfort of using the wheel in nearly anything convinced me.

Mice... (1)

shermon (12704) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925987)

Well, thier price of 50$ for a 'regular' mouse is pretty darn good considering some ball mouses M$ makes cost 70$.

Quantum Leap??? (1)

t1deman (13047) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925988)

Since when was reintroducing technology a quantum leap??? Improvement yes. I think I'll give a quantum leap to airplanes, a new fangled thing called the BiWing, two wings for more lift...
And this whole no mouse pad, lets see you keep it clean.
LOGITECH is the only way to go.

Logitec (1)

specht (13174) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925989)

... And they announced to support Linux ... Now if they would just create a driver for the touchpad on their natural keyboard.

It's not that simple... (2)

specht (13174) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925990)

The mousepad was not really necessary. When I was working with the old Motorola powered Sun3 and the SPARCstation1/2 I had some PostScript files which would produce the grids for the optical mice. You just printed out a page and used it as a very thin mouse pad when the original one got lost.

And it was even possible to use the LCD display of a wrist watch as a mouse pad. We had one customer where we removed the mouse pad so that they were not able to do any damage to the software that was running. So one of the guys working new the workstation figured out that he could move the mouse by using his watch as a very small mouse pad. So we got rid of the mouse completely :-)

Less and less lefty-friendly (1)

Wastrel (13322) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925991)

Too bad, though it does look cool, I can't help but hope it doesn't catch on. Stick the optical technology in an ambidexterous mouse and I'm sold.

Lefty rant:

The curvy mice are bad enough, and then you make the left button bigger, and now the buttons on the side! Too much.

And don't tell me I can get lefty version. I and many others work in a shared environment. And I'm not going to start carrying around my own personal mouse.


Any surface? (1)

choo (14599) | more than 15 years ago | (#1925996)

I don't see how it'll work in these cases either. A surface with sufficiently high optical variance is probably required.
But I guess it should be possible to work with most real surfaces, like paper, which are actually quite rough on a microscopic level -- which means that the camera on the mouse must be of quite high resolution.

Any surface? (1)

JamesHenstridge (14875) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926003)

I wonder how well it works if I use a mirror (or maybe even a smooth single colour surface) as the mouse pad?

_any_ surface? (1)

krb (15012) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926004)

The press release says :

"An optical sensor captures images of the work
surface at a rate of 1,500 images per second, and a digital signal processor (DSP) translates changes between the images into on-screen movements."

I wonder how this works on a flat single colored surface? Like drafting tables and such...

I'll believe it when I see it... though since it'll only run with Windows and is overpriced I guess that's not too likely.

I'll wait for Logitech (1)

takshaka (15297) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926005)

I think Logitech does a better job with ergonomics (if you're right-handed, that is). After using my new MouseMan Wheel for a day, all other mice felt like those iMac pills. And speaking of iMacs, MS is apparently going to market to the "Look, it's colored!" crowd. That's what passes for "radical" design these days.

That said, it's nice to see a significant improvement in optical mouse technology. Now that MS has opened the door, I imagine other companies, like Logitech, will flood the market with clones.

Hardware vs software (1)

Hanzie (16075) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926009)

It's really a pity that Microsoft can't bring it's software build quality on par with it's hardware ability.

I really like the intellimouse, and the keyboard. Yeah, neither of them are really innovative, but still, they are well made. (I know the mouse was designed with SolidWorks, and it shows)

And with their "only sold with hardware" deals to computer stores, you can really pick them up on the cheap. That is, if you know folks who need a new HDD, or MOBO.

I'll wait for Logitech (1)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926010)

Logitech DID used to make leftie-versions of most of their more ergonomically shaped products (such as the good old MouseMan 96), but I haven't seen a Logitech leftie version in years now...

Not like that's a problem for me.

Apple Microsofts R&D department! (1)

VmprHntrD (16696) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926023)

Hehe New technology my ass... I remeber using an optical mouse on a mac back in 1985. and the design??? can we say iMac like? Oh well it seems that Microsoft has to jump on the bandwagon with everything ..

Hardware or Software Translation (2)

tcp (16961) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926024)

> a digital signal processor (DSP) translates changes between the images into on-screen movements

Question is, where is the processing done? If in the mouse, that may help explain the price. But my guess is that some processing will be done by the computer its attached to. After all, what if a service pack^H^Hbugfix is needed for it?

This may be the first mouse to require a pentium to use.


TrackMan Marble; Evolutionary idea. (1)

Tekmage (17375) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926028)

Funny, but I was under the impression that was exactly how my Logitech TrackMan Marble worked. Same principal at least.

The ball is patterned (default is a spotted ball), and the sensor tracks the shifting pattern as it moves. Best trackball I've ever used; can't stand mice for long-term activity.

They both still need a surface though; should have used accelerometers [] instead.

It's not that simple... (2)

Kaa (21510) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926036)

Sun optical mice needed a special cross-hatched mousepad to work. The new MS mouse claims to be able to use any surface at all, your knee included.


what? (1)

valdemar (21900) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926037)

I wish this was a joke. it seems like a major waste of hardware. I really like the roller on the top of the mouse that MS gave us, but I dont think this mouse was a good idea. Plus, it seems they are trying to play off the iMac style, not my personal favorite.

I have done well (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926040)

I have only used microsoft mice on my primary machines, and nothing but flawless performance from them, although the mice and software tend to get dirty over time.

Bill has no balls? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926041)

At least it is possible to get the old version with the optical sensor for aobut $55. I won't pay $75 for some stupid looking contraption.

Hardware vs software (1)

Squirrel Killer (23450) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926043)

I also have to admit a secret affinity for MS hardware, except for nagging inconsistency. They get you hooked, and then they start cutting costs.

I love my MS Natural Keyboard (tm), but if I want a new one, I can forget about it. The only one now is the MSNK "Elite", which is a downsized version with maddeningly small arrows and F-keys.

Remember when MS mice first came out? The nice, solid, smooth, white plastic? After a while, they switch to this light, fraile, bumpy, greyish plastic. Then they do it with the next generation of mouse. They did it with the Intellimouse wheel just a couple of months ago.

Their software stinks, but the hardware is pretty nice when it first comes out.

This one is designed for the kiddies (1)

ClarkBar (24397) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926045)

only one thought came to mind:

Anyone want a nightlight for 75$

ClarkBar :)

Honeywell mouse (1)

bside (27913) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926051)

Ah, still have mine, haven't EVER cleaned the underside of it, it's about 6 years old at this point. Great mouse. Wish they'd make more ergo ones with the same technology underneath now!

Using optical a long time ago... (1)

Tyriphobe (28459) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926052)

LED, not laser, AFAIK. Lasers, especially in the 80s, would be too expensive and big. So you can continue staring into the little red light as long as you want. Although, maybe tricking M$ users into blindness wouldn't be a bad idea...

re: Logitech Trak Ball Mouse (1)

LocalH (28506) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926053)

Is this the one called "Marble Mouse"? I bought one of those for about $25, and it works great (although running UAE under Linux with Emulate3Buttons makes it hard to bring up the boot menu under Kickstart 2.0+ :) As far as the maintenance, I remove the ball, take a small tissue, and rub the dirt off of the 'ball supports' (the three little things around the ball holder). It works great, and feels smoother than a regular trackball (even when it's dirty, which is much less often). If it just had a third button, I would be happy :) I guess you can consider it an optical trackball, since it doesn't use rollers but rather an IR beam. However, if you lose the ball, you're screwed (I tried a regular ball just for the hell of it, of course it didn't work). It's the third trackball I've owned (the first two worked fine for about 3 months then went to shit) and I'm very happy with it. I would recommend it (though this isn't on request of Logitech, paid or otherwise - I just think it's a great trackball).
Scott Jones
Newscast Director / WKPT-TV 19
Game Show Fan / C64 Coder

Microsoft Intellimouse (1)

Wonko42 (29194) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926055)

Overall, I've been very pleased with Microsoft's hardware quality, however I had an interesting problem when I got an IntelliMouse a year ago. My girlfriend bought it for me, and as soon as I got it I ripped the package open, ready to install it (I just love that wheel). Strangely, I couldn't get the friggin' thing to work on my computer. At the time, I attributed it to my computer's lameness (it really is pretty lame, and I wasn't sure if the PS/2 port was working right).

On a whim, I tried installing it on my mom's computer. Same thing: no luck. The next day I took the mouse to work with me. Once again, no luck. By this time, I was getting a little annoyed. I stole another IntelliMouse from off one of my fellow employees' desks, plugged it into my computer, and it worked perfectly the first time. Well, this had gone too far. I pulled out my trusty Leatherman, opened up my IntelliMouse, and lo and behold...

On the inside of the casing there's a small circuit board with a tiny female connector on it. There's a bundle of wires coming from the front part of the mouse with a male connector on the end. It was disconnected. I plugged the thing in, put the mouse back together, and it worked. Now why in the world couldn't they just solder the silly wires to the circuit board? I have no clue.

Ever since then, however, the mouse has been great, and I couldn't be more pleased.

Wonko the Sane

Mouse Systems much cheaper (1)

bjorng (29276) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926056)

Mouse Systems has a PS/2 compatible optical mouse [] that's only US $30. Sure it needs the special mouse pad, but that's included. It appears that they also have one coming soon that has a `scroll wheel' with no moving parts AND a third button. I'd say that this is a much better alternative if you're looking for a mouse for the really long term.

I'll wait for Logitech (1)

Melbert (31564) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926067)

I'm waiting (maybe I shouldn't wait, maybe I should just ACT) for some group of left-handed people to take action against these companies that claim their mouse is "ergonomic" yet only produce a right-handed version. That sounds to me like the opposite of ergonomic. It would be okay to say "Ergonomic if you are right handed, otherwise profoundly NON ergonomic" but that isn't a very slick sales slogan.

Probably a big reason why I like my Kensington Mouse-In-A-Box is that it's perfectly symmetrical (and Kensington always has seemed to make a good product- their trackball is awesome). The Mouse-In-A-Box (skip the new "wheel version" of course) has the buttons close enough to permit nice third-button chording for those important third-button actions (i.e. essential when using Xfig) I'm tired of those ugly mice that look like a foot with the buttons right-hand-only. I distinctly remember some sort of a brain-shift occuring when I first started mousing only with the left hand.

Then again, I've never, ever heard a left handed person who felt s/he felt it was a disability so maybe we don't need "protection." Sure would be fun to take down a few companies with false claims of "ergonomic" though.

Mice... (1)

schon (31600) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926069)

Their "j-mouse" is OK - probably the only MS product I've ever
had that worked properly :o)

I've had optical mice before that worked OK - a bitch to
use without the pad though :o) (and it was around the same price as
listed above - $99 Cdn - so I guess they're not too expensive..)

Logitec (1)

XtAt (31970) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926070)

I buy logitic, why?... cheap, durable, compatable.
(no I dont work for logitec :)

Intellimice do fully work in Linux (1)

idealego (32141) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926073)

I keep seeing people say how their Intellimouse doesn't work in Linux well mine works fine. Just go grab the software from here it works great.

Re: I have done well. (Me, I've had bad luck). (1)

Claudius (32768) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926076)

The only Microsoft peripheral I have owned was a Microsoft mouse, (the 2-button, non-optical one). I found its performance to be lacking; after only a couple months of use I had difficulty getting the left mouse button to register. Sometimes I would have to click three or four times for it to work. Eventually I gave up and got a MouseSystems optical mouse instead, and I have been very happy with its performance since.

Wrong (1)

midh (33638) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926081)

I have seen Sun Sparc 5 optical mice work with ordinary mouse pads.

Bill Gates - Mystic Computer-Man (1)

Madhatter (33678) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926082)

Bill is acting like he is the herald of new technology here. What is up with his gig? He didn't invent this technology, he only modified what I see on our Sun Sparcs. If what the guy said earlier about Xerox is true, he didn't introduce anything new at all!! I really would like to see what kind of precision you get out of that sucker when you send it across a wooden table.
On his hardware, yeah, he's got some great stuff. On the other hand, I have accounts from people who installed MS joystick drivers on their pcs and their gamepads quit working! One of them broke down and bought a MS gamepad and it worked like a champ. I welcome some input on this.

Linus says we are gonna kick your ass. Bill acts like the computer god of everybody. When do the computer users get software that works? I don't care if Windows sucks, microsoft sucks, or any of that. I hate the idea of one person telling us what the future of the computer industry is. I believe computers are different from any other commodity in the world. No one person should regulate or control it.

Windows only (1)

Madhatter (33678) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926083)

You know it man, you know it. I wonder how long that joker will last too.

I have done well (1)

AaronW (33736) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926085)

I have yet to have a Micro$oft mouse last more than 6 months on me. After 6 months (even with careful cleaning) they always start mistracking. My collegues keep wondering what that swearing and banging is when I start banging the broken mouse against the desk in frustration. I have yet to have an optical mouse die on me either. I use an old Mouse Systems 3-button optical mouse and have never had a problem (except that the pads on the bottom are wearing out).


Using optical a long time ago... (1)

Blackwulf (34848) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926088)

I remember back when I was really young using a mouse on my IBM. My parents kept trying to stop me from looking directly into that red laser cuz I thought it looked pretty neat.

I'd like to say that I had it back in the mid-80's...Might have been closer to the late 80's. But it worked with good ol' MS-DOS and stuff.

We actually still have several optical mice in the sunsparc lab here at school, but what impresses me with the Microsoft one is the need to not need that pad...I have no room on my desk here for a mouse pad, so I just use the desk itself. It'll be nice when, in several years when they drop in price to like $10, I get one and know I'm not destroying it by using it on the desk.

What I'll miss the most are all the pranks I played in high school where I'd steal all of the balls out of the mice. They're just ruining all of our fun!

Optical mice *in general* rule. (1)

edheil (38857) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926093)

I don't care if it needs a special pad or not.

I had an opti mouse on my old Amiga, and I could draw with that thing as well as I can with a Wacom pad. I'll probably buy one of these just out of nostalgia for the glories of optical mousehood.

They should have made it cordless (1)

mharder (38865) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926094)

I recently got a Logitech Cordless Wheel Mouse and I love it. I could never go back to tugging on a mouse cord. Plus, it is a nice conversation piece.

I have a hard time calling a corded mouse "innovative". Cordless is a bigger innovation than optical.

Last, I really doubt it will work on any surface. If the surface has *no* variations I don't see how they can use optical sensors to detect movement.

Optical mice are not new (2)

ellbee (93668) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926099)

Optical mice were developed at Xerox (PARC maybe?) in the dark ages (before TCP/IP, somewhere around the late 70s) and used a set of three LED receivers to determine which axis movement occured on. I use to run them over my jeans, plaid shirts, and fake wood-grained desktops with no problems. We made mouse pads by laminating patterns we'd print on a standard laser printer.

Sun used to ship optical mice (from Mouse House or Mouse Systems) that used two wavelengths of LED for horizontal and vertical movement detection. Those mice required a special mirror-like aluminum pad with stripes that matched the LED's colors.

Sun's mice were shipped long after Xerox had a vastly superior and much simpler product; Xerox could have owned the mouse market along with everything else if they'ed had their act together.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was optical mouse development prior to Xerox; many people were working in the area at the time.

New technology? (1)

Balaam (379946) | more than 15 years ago | (#1926100)

Hmm, M$ makes this out to be some real inovative technology, hmm, just like the one hooked up to my Mac Plus (1986 or so). I dunno, give go a good ole 3 button mouseman any day, for gaming or surfing nothing beats it
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