Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lessons from a Mouse

For weeks, I have been plagued by mouse problems with my computer. Whenever I used the mouse to highlight and select text, the text that I had selected would often deselect itself. I couldn't just pick a sentence or a phrase and select it for operation. It didn't matter what web browser or text editor I was using.

I had reached my limit today and began Googling for a solution. Since I'm running Vista, and I have an Logitech bluetooth cordless mouse, I tried various permutations around those words.

It was surprising that I had found so many potential hits. A great many of them seemed to revolve around specific issues with Microsoft Word, but Word was not really the issue for me, although text selection with Word was just as bad as any other application.

Following some ideas that I'd gotten from a few applicable postings, I:

  • installed new mouse drivers, specifically for Logitech. My old driver was an out-of-the-box Microsoft driver;
  • experimented with enabling and disabling the Vista Aero theme in the mouse styles;
  • replaced the batteries in the wireless mouse;
  • swapped mice.
It was only when I had swapped back to an old cord-based laser mouse that I was able to perform text selection normally.

There are some lessons here. The first thing that I learned is that some search word choices turn out to be irrelevant: this wasn't a Vista problem. The biggest lesson was in my reluctance to consider this to be a hardware problem.

Interestingly, I had given up on using a different Logitech cordless mouse within the past year because of pointing problems that I was having. It was another Logitech bluetooth mouse (I just found it, sitting on a shelf).

I think I'm through with Logitech cordless mice. They've always ended up giving me grief, especially with regard to battery life and my not being able to easily tell when crappy performance was the direct result of dying batteries. Now that mouse balls are more or less a thing of the past, it seems that the failure point of a mouse might be in that wireless connectivity. I'm going back to a chord -- and I don't think it's going to be a Logitech this time.

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