The Computer Mouse – Today and Yesterday

The Computer Mouse

This article has been written by Affordable Computer Repairs and Service based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  The purpose of this article on The Computer Mouse is to provide you with all you need to know about the mouse –  the history up to today.

The Computer Mouse History

As most people know the mouse has been around since Apple included it in the Apple Lisa in 1984 and is now generally used with any computer on the market.  It is generally accepted as being “invented by Bill English and Douglas Engelbart in 1964 where they christened the device a mouse as it had a tail, which was of course the cord attaching it to the computer.  It was first demonstrated in 1968.

It was at Xerox PARC in 1979s that the modern mouse was first seen by Steve Jobs “the mouse” and from here went on to be used by the aforementioned Apple Lisa and soon afterwards by Bill Gates at Microsoft.

The early mice used a serial DB9 (RS-232C standard) connection to the computer but in  the mid 1980’s IBM introduced the PS/2 technology which is still used today 30 years later.  Both Microsoft and Apple have continued to use the mouse for their Graphical User Interface (GUI) and today every standard computer has some device to move the cursor around be it a mouse, a trackball or a Trackpad.

The original mouse had a metal rubber cover ball in the base which rolled left, right, up and down thereby moving the pointer.  IBM even brought out a document on “How to Clean Your Mice Balls” in the 1990’s.  Important advice on how to keep your balls clean as they used to pick up dust and dirt from the surface of the desk or table therefore impeding the cursor movement.

The Mouse Today

The computer mouse of today are USB connected via a cable or by Wireless with a USB dongle.  The other variety is Bluetooth mice used in Windows, Linux and with Apple.

The general mouse of today is ergonomically shaped for the hand generally with a left and right button and often a central wheel for scrolling.  Apple mice are generally flatter and have one click only with no wheel.  Using the buttons for single or double clicking provides different results as well as being able to drag and drop and the Apple Magic Mouse works in a similar method as a trackpad with multi-touch.

The various Operating Systems all allow mouse customisation whereby the user can change from right to left operation (to suit left handed people) as well as slow the click rate down for people who cannot click quickly.  Also the wheel on some Operating Systems can be customised as well.

Optical and Laser Mice

Today’s mice are optical or laser based.  Optical mice rely entirely on one or more light-emitting diodes (LED’s) and an imaging array of photodiodes to detect movement relative to the underlying surface.

A laser mouse is an optical mouse that uses coherent (laser) light.  The earliest optical mouse detected movement on pre-printed mouse-pads, whereas the modern optical mouse will work on most surfaces in the office or home.  However there are certain surfaces which the optical mouse will not work on such as glass and polished stone benches.  Laser mice tend to be better for more precision work and have better performance on opaque surfaces.

Power for The Computer Mouse

Mice are powered by USB (corded varieties) or by battery in the cordless mice using infrared radiation or radio and the Bluetooth mice which uses radio.  Which type suites the user depends on the preference of not having a cord, good for more distance applications such as TV and projectors or because the unsightly cable crossing the desk looks “wrong”.

There are as many “ergonomic” designs of mice as there are people who think they have produced a better mousetrap.  The one that suits one person will not necessarily suite everyone.  There are different mouse themes such as cars, bugs, futuristic designs and colours to match your decor or your computer.  They can be very small in size or rather large depending on your taste and need. The “gaming” mouse tends to have multiple buttons including the left and right buttons and the wheel all designed to do “something” and are usually programmable as well.

the computer mouse

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