Rob Knight

Microsoft can do good things?

December 13, 2005

Most of my lifetime experience with Microsoft products has been limited to software. From blue screens of death to cursing a wireless configuration to printer sharing to that stupid chime when you save a Word document, I’ve been mostly frustrated with Microsoft. And I know I’m not alone.

However, I am now in love with Microsoft…mice. Only the mice. But it is a strong affection.

It started with the wrist issue I had a few weeks back. I know, I know, I’ll stop whining about the sore wrist soon enough. But it scared me into action and I went seeking the ultimate in comfortable mice. After a cruddy mouse from a company that shall remain nameless, I happened upon Microsoft’s Wireless Intellimouse Explorer 2.0 (Hey, I don’t name these things). I have to say I never would have thought a mouse would have led to such a drastic reduction in wrist soreness. But it did, and I was a happy man. It was big, and shaped like a mouse that was meant to fit in your hand. Imagine that.

I decided a week later I wanted something a bit more portable. So, I reluctantly packed up my Intellimouse and returned it for a Wireless Optical Notebook Mouse, also by Microsoft.

I am quite pleased with this mouse and with Microsoft overall. I never ever thought I’d say that. But the ergonomics of their mice just work with my hand. I didn’t know how good a mouse could fit into my hand before this. I was previously using a Logitech MX310, which in retrospect was a bad decision purchased last year and probably helped bring about my wrist issues. I loved it at first, but when you put a well-designed mouse in your hand, you immediately know why the MX310 isn’t a well-designed mouse.

Ergonomics aside, the real star in the Microsoft mouse world is - gulp - the software?!?!

Yes, having used mousing software from Logitech, Kensington, Microsoft and Apple, Microsoft have the clear advantage. They give you great options to customize the mouse movement, scrolling, clicking, and special button preferences. The software has been reliable and - I can’t believe this stuff is coming out of my fingers - well integrated into the Apple operating system.

I wouldn’t normally write a post about a product, especially not this close to Christmas lest you believe I’m pimping something or encouraging more rabid American consumerism. However, it is by bewilderment that I write this, having spent most of my web design career cursing the very existence of a certain web browser made by said mouse experts. If you need a mouse, I think Microsoft is doing a fine job in the mouse department.

If you want a standards-compliant web browser that gets CSS positioning right, get a Mac and use Firefox or Safari. And get a Microsoft mouse to sit next to the Mac.