2005-08-21

A NETGEAR and a Mighty Mouse

A made a trip to Fry's this afternoon. Networking kit, for some reason, is over past resistors and capacitors, in with the low-noise fans and motherboards and other assemble-it-yourself stuff. Weird. I thought home networks were totally mainstream now. Their placement in Fry's would suggest otherwise.

I was quite set on getting a NETGEAR wireless router, after good experiences with the one I got my parents. I was disappointed to see that Fry's stock a whole aisle's worth, many with identical model numbers (but different prices), and more disappointed to find that there's no combined wireless router and gigabit switch. 10/100? How 1990s is that? (Seems 100 Mib/s is still referred to as "Fast Ethernet". Even at the time, that name seemed short-sighted. And superfluous given the perfect "100 Mib/s" name.)

Next time I'm banging on about how NETGEAR's products have the best web interfaces, remind me that most of my experience had been with a Win32 version of MSIE. They don't get on with Camino (my default) all that well, though Safari saved me a trip to Fry's returns desk. My networking worries are now over. My PowerMac and PowerBook are both connected, and the only evidence is a pile of server-room clutter on the opposite side of the room.

Anyway, I'd gravitated as always to the Mac aisle, and was hoping they'd have a "Mighty Mouse". (That name really is one in the eye for anyone who complained about the likes of "AirPort Extreme" — can it get any worse? Thank goodness Apple didn't get to dub GigE "Extreme Ethernet".)

I'd been waiting for a nice-looking mouse with a scroll wheel for my Mac, but I was embarrassed to hear that they'd gone for a two-button mouse in a one-button shell. I'd no idea how having to lift your left finger to right-click would work for me. As it happens, right-clicking is fine. It turns out that I use the mouse with no fingers resting on top, and only bring fingers down to click.

What isn't so fine, though, is left-clicking. What I didn't realize is that I've developed a habit of clicking with two fingers, roughly in the middle of the mouse (just behind the new mouse's nipple). This has a habit of registering as a right click. Hopefully I'll stop, but I'm not convinced: clicking with two fingers is so much more comfortable. I wish they'd made most of the surface a left button, and had a separate little-toe-style right button. If anyone wants to build a mouse that would suit my personal clicking style perfectly, that's what it would be like!

Strangely, I don't think I ever knew before that you could right-click Dock icons. It had always annoyed me that it was so slow to get iTunes' menu, holding down the mouse button over the Dock icon and waiting. The first time I used iTunes after plugging in the new mouse, I right-clicked, and was viscerally pleased to have the menu appear instantly. I wonder if I've always been subconsciously holding down the right side of the one-button mouse to get that menu? Weird.

Speaking of weird, the scroll nipple is pretty damn strange. It feels almost like it's vibrating as you manipulate it. You know those little toy cars where you wind a wheel, and they race off when you let go? It feels like that, only with less resistance.

I like the solid look. I wasn't joking when I said one of the dual G5's noticeable improvements over the dual G4 was a keyboard without the clear plastic; the new machine was otherwise fairly underwhelming. Anyway, now my PowerMac has an almost matching keyboard & mouse. They don't quite match because the mouse is shiny where the keyboard is matt, and the mouse is shaped like an enormous pessary where the keyboard is more like an enormous LEGO block.

Anyway, I'm fairly pleased with today's purchases so far. Time for steak and eggs...

[Note: I wasn't sure whether the correct term is "mouse nipple" or "mouse teat"; PubMed lightly favors the former.]