Author Topic: Making life with pointing rodents easier  (Read 3613 times)

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Offline keyb_gr

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Making life with pointing rodents easier
« on: Thu, 16 April 2009, 07:41:34 »
Even if you don't have a fancy ergonomic mouse, there are some things you can try to improve the user experience:

1. Set mouse speed / acceleration as high as possible without degrading accuracy (or losing your mouse pointer too often). Saves you from having to move your hands a mile just to get from one end of the screen to another. (I actually got this tip from someone else, tried it and soon found that my old setting had been sloooow.)

2. Experiment with holding techniques. I like to rotate the mouse about 30 to the left (right-handed operation), so that the scrolling wheel is operated with the thumb (as well as the left mouse button). I'd guess this works best with rather flat/low mice and/or large hands.

3. If you have difficulty aiming for buttons and such (and/or tend to lose the mouse pointer, which is the case for me), try using the keyboard instead.

4. If you tend to lose the mouse pointer, try another set of cursors. (That would seem like obvious advice, but one never knows.) The (larger) inverting ones in Windows have been working pretty well for me.

If you have some more ideas, feel free to add them.
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Offline bhtooefr

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Making life with pointing rodents easier
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 16 April 2009, 07:58:08 »
Old versions of the IntelliMouse drivers used to give an option so you could hit Ctrl and concentric rings would display around the pointer. The option was there for the dreadful low contrast laptop screens of the early 90s, but it may still be in there.

Offline itlnstln

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« Reply #2 on: Thu, 16 April 2009, 08:00:11 »
It still is.


Offline Eclairz

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« Reply #3 on: Thu, 16 April 2009, 08:29:19 »
For precision work such as graphical drawings using such a high sensitivity can be worse in ergonomics as it will more difficult to zero in or make slight adjustments.

Other tips

Clear the space around your mouse so nothing gets in the way
windows sometimes hides the cursor if you stay inactive, Disable this

if you still have problems locating the cursor put your cursor in a conspicuous place, e.g. white space, flat coloured

if your tracking jumps around your mouse needs a better surface to track on (e.g. use a blank sheet of plain paper) or just get a decent mousemat

remove any acceleration to do with a mouse (unfortunately not do-able in os-x unless you have a deathadder like me) this will make it easier to accurately use your mouse if you use it often with less random acceleration pushing a mouse beyond where your aiming (happens a lot if you often move you mouse quickly and slowly).
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Offline rdjack21

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« Reply #4 on: Thu, 16 April 2009, 08:36:00 »
The number one rule for making your mousing life easer.......
1) Get rid of the Mouse and Get a good Trackball.
Keyboards
Topre Capacitive: Realforce 87U, Realforce 86U, HHKB Pro 2, Topre MD01B0, Topre HE0100, Sun Short Type, OEM NEO CS (x2), NISSHO Electronics KB106DE
Buckling Spring: IBM Model M Space Saver (1291472), Unicomp Customizer x 2
Cherry Brown: Filco FKBN87M/EB, Compaq MX11800
Black Alps: ABS M1
Not so great boards Rare Spring over dome OKI, Sun rack keyboard

Trackballs - Trackman Wheel (3), Trackman marble (2)
Keyboards I still want to get - Happy Hacking Keyboard Pro 2 the White version, Realforce 23U number pad in black and maybe white, μTRON ergo board with Topre switches.
Previously owned - [size=0]SiiG MiniTouch (White Alps), Scorpius M10 (Blue Cherry), IBM Model M13[/size]

Offline bhtooefr

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« Reply #5 on: Thu, 16 April 2009, 08:51:12 »
Oh, and if you have a 2-5 year old Dell, and are using the OEM mousepad with an optical mouse, throw it away. The pattern on it is utterly useless for an optical, causing it to track very erratically.

Offline keyb_gr

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« Reply #6 on: Thu, 16 April 2009, 15:53:36 »
Quote from: rdjack21;85931
The number one rule for making your mousing life easer.......
1) Get rid of the Mouse and Get a good Trackball.

That may not work when using some other than your own computer though... (Which currently is frequently the case for yours truly.)

Another, maybe "meta", tip:
If you're tired of keyboard / mouse switching, try mouse gestures. They're commonly supported in web browsers (stock in Opera, addon in Seamonkey & Firefox), Windows-wide you can get 'em with StrokeIt, although that doesn't do rocker gestures unfortunately (which I happen to use a lot). Other OSes I dunno. IMO it doesn't make much sense to apply them for exotic tasks, but for frequently-used stuff like forward, backward, reload and such they may be very handy.
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Offline FKSSR

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« Reply #7 on: Thu, 16 April 2009, 15:57:53 »
Thanks for the reminder to set my mouse speed faster.  I never think to do that for some reason, but I just did. :)
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Offline huha

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« Reply #8 on: Thu, 16 April 2009, 15:58:38 »
Another "meta" tip:
If you're tired of keyboard/mouse switching, try keyboard navigation. It's commonly supported in Gecko-based web browsers (Firefox, Seamonkey, K-Meleon etc.--'Type ahead find' is especially useful--just type the text of a link and it gets selected; I read forums like this almost exclusively). IMO it doesn't make much sense to apply them for exotic tasks, but for frequently-used stuff like forward, backward, reload, opening links and such this may be very handy.

-huha
Unicomp Endurapro 105 (blank keycaps, BS) // Cherry G80-3000LSCDE-2 (blues, modded to green MX) // Cherry G80-3000LAMDE-0 (blacks, 2x) // Cherry G80-11900LTMDE-0 (blacks, 2x) // Compaq G80-11801 (browns) // Epson Q203A (Fujitsu Peerless) // IBM Model M2 (BS) // Boscom AS400 Terminal Emulator (OEM\'d Unicomp, BS, 2x) // Dell AT102DW (black Alps) // Mechanical Touch (chinese BS) Acer 6312-KW (Acer mechanics on membrane) // Cherry G84-4100 (ML) // Cherry G80-1000HAD (NKRO, blacks)

Offline keyb_gr

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« Reply #9 on: Thu, 16 April 2009, 16:16:09 »
Ah yes, the good ol' type ahead find... I recently reenabled it here @home as I found how useful it can be to find specific things on long pages (like, say, Cherry product listings, or eBay category listings).
Something that I just discovered recently: At least Mozilla-based browsers also support Shift-Space for "page up". Handy if you don't want to reach for PgUp/PgDn, and easy to do with the left hand only...
Not that much of a fan of Alt-"->" and Alt-"<-" for forward and back though... takes both hands for us AltGr-burdened folks. Since I commonly use scrolling (of less than a page at a time, so I don't miss anything) anyway, the mouse is the more practical place for basic navigation.
Switching to a media player with customizable keyboard shortcuts (Foobar2000 in this case) was a big relief for me though. No more aiming for stupid buttons, just [P]lay/Pause and top (Audacity-style), plus some hotkeys that are supported anyway. I even defined Shift-"<-" and Shift-"->" for back and forward, but mostly use these indirectly by triggering them through gestures assigned in StrokeIt.

EDIT: Hmm, methinks the server's got a little chronology problem -- -1 min, -10 min, -4 min, -5 min, -9 min for the last posts...

EDIT^2: Oh, and you folks are funny :D
« Last Edit: Thu, 16 April 2009, 16:54:02 by keyb_gr »
Hardware in signatures clutters Google search results. There should be a field in the profile for that (again).

This message was probably typed on a vintage G80-3000 with blues. Double-shots, baby. :D

Offline rdjack21

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« Reply #10 on: Thu, 16 April 2009, 17:00:17 »
Quote from: keyb_gr;86012
That may not work when using some other than your own computer though... (Which currently is frequently the case for yours truly.)


I normally have a spare with me and unplug the mouse and plug in the trackball :biggrin1: On those occasions when I'm showing someone something I just let them drive and I tell them what to do.

Quote from: ripster;86016
Show Image


Ya gotta watch these Trackball guys....

- Ripster


:laugh:
Keyboards
Topre Capacitive: Realforce 87U, Realforce 86U, HHKB Pro 2, Topre MD01B0, Topre HE0100, Sun Short Type, OEM NEO CS (x2), NISSHO Electronics KB106DE
Buckling Spring: IBM Model M Space Saver (1291472), Unicomp Customizer x 2
Cherry Brown: Filco FKBN87M/EB, Compaq MX11800
Black Alps: ABS M1
Not so great boards Rare Spring over dome OKI, Sun rack keyboard

Trackballs - Trackman Wheel (3), Trackman marble (2)
Keyboards I still want to get - Happy Hacking Keyboard Pro 2 the White version, Realforce 23U number pad in black and maybe white, μTRON ergo board with Topre switches.
Previously owned - [size=0]SiiG MiniTouch (White Alps), Scorpius M10 (Blue Cherry), IBM Model M13[/size]

Offline lal

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« Reply #11 on: Fri, 17 April 2009, 05:42:05 »
Quote from: keyb_gr;86021

Not that much of a fan of Alt-"->" and Alt-"<-" for forward and back though... takes both hands for us AltGr-burdened folks.


One of the reasons I prefer US-layout keyboards (as a German).
BS: Customizer, Model Ms; Alps: CSK-2101, FK-2002, AT-101 (SGI & Dell), MCK-860, FKBN87Z/EB; Cherry: Poker X, FKBN87MC/EB, WY60, G80-3000, G84-4100, TDV 5010

Offline IBI

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« Reply #12 on: Wed, 22 April 2009, 10:47:45 »
Quote from: Eclairz;85928
For precision work such as graphical drawings using such a high sensitivity can be worse in ergonomics as it will more difficult to zero in or make slight adjustments.


The usual advice is to leave the sensitivity in the O/S at the default and upping it on your mouse if it allows. Increasing it in the o/s from it's default setting will cause it to jump over pixels since it has no other way to increase it. If you don't want to use that then there's always mouse acceleration.

Quote from: huha;86014
Another "meta" tip:
If you're tired of keyboard/mouse switching, try keyboard navigation. It's commonly supported in Gecko-based web browsers (Firefox, Seamonkey, K-Meleon etc.--'Type ahead find' is especially useful--just type the text of a link and it gets selected; I read forums like this almost exclusively).


I use opera's 'Fast Forward' a lot which makes a guess as to what the most obvious next link is so it can take you to the next page of a review or forum thread at the press of a button (or the flick of your mouse if using gestures).

Quote from: keyb_gr;86021
Not that much of a fan of Alt-"->" and Alt-"<-" for forward and back though... takes both hands for us AltGr-burdened folks.


Yes, one of the design blunders in firefox, have they implemented the standard backspace/enter combination that all the other browsers support yet?


One thing nobody has mentioned yet is mousing surfaces. I've got a Microsoft Sidewinder (original) and it comes with three sets of feet (teflon, plastic and mixed). Reading this thread reminded me that I needed to switch back to the white ones after having tried the black for a while and there is a huge difference. It feels like the sensitivity has at least doubled and it's now whizzing around.

Obviously, not many people have the luxury of interchangable mouse feet, but if you do experience a mouse you like then take notice of the surface you're trying it on!
Owned: Raptor-Gaming K1 (linear MX)(Broken), IBM Model M UK, Dell AT102W, Left-handed keyboard with Type 1 Simplified Alps.

Offline FKSSR

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« Reply #13 on: Wed, 22 April 2009, 10:55:46 »
Quote from: IBI;86801
The usual advice is to leave the sensitivity in the O/S at the default and upping it on your mouse if it allows. Increasing it in the o/s from it's default setting will cause it to jump over pixels since it has no other way to increase it. If you don't want to use that then there's always mouse acceleration.


I'm intrigued by this.  So, are you saying that switching the "Pointer Speed" in the Control Panel/Mouse settings actually just causes it to jump pixels?  I haven't noticed any decrease in precision since I upped mine to the max, but I may just not be noticing it for whatever reason.

What other mouse acceleration are you referring to?

Thanks!
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Offline keyb_gr

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« Reply #14 on: Wed, 22 April 2009, 11:21:36 »
Quote from: IBI;86801

Yes, one of the design blunders in firefox, have they implemented the standard backspace/enter combination that all the other browsers support yet?

Seamonkey at least can do Backspace + Shift-Backspace. Now map Caps Lock to Backspace (as it is in Colemak), and you can do back/forward + up/down with the left hand only. Neat, huh? (Especially if you're a lefty like me.)
Quote
Obviously, not many people have the luxury of interchangable mouse feet, but if you do experience a mouse you like then take notice of the surface you're trying it on!

Not being a fan of mouse pads (the things always used to be too small), I'm quite happy that my venerable Logitech M-BJ85 has teflon feet. (Getting these to stick on permanently was another matter...) My dad got a cheapo one for the notebook with what seem to be fairly thin plastic feet, and that thing limped along pretty badly on the previously used surface. Fortunately there usually is some table cloth there, where it's zipping along nicely.

As far as mouse speed and acceleration are concerned, I only have a single "pointer speed" control here in the respective control panel applet, which seems to control acceleration (iWheelworks 3D software). I guess there may be another for basic speed if one has a resolution-adjustable mouse.
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Offline IBI

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« Reply #15 on: Wed, 22 April 2009, 12:11:51 »
Quote from: FKSSR;86803
I'm intrigued by this.  So, are you saying that switching the "Pointer Speed" in the Control Panel/Mouse settings actually just causes it to jump pixels?  I haven't noticed any decrease in precision since I upped mine to the max, but I may just not be noticing it for whatever reason.

What other mouse acceleration are you referring to?

Thanks!


Assume you've got a basic mouse with no adjustable dpi. It's queried 100 times a second and returns it's current position.

If you move it an inch up/down/left/right then if it's 1600 dpi it'll report it's moved by 1600 dots, while if it's 400 dpi it'll report it's moved by 400 dots.

Now on the default pointer speed setting one dot = one pixel. If you know the dpi of your mouse then moving it an inch should move it that many pixels on the screen.

But there dots are the only unit the mouse can count in. If you want to have the cursor move 3,200 pixels per inch of mouse mousement then you can't move a pixel every half-dot because the mouse isn't reporting half-dots. Instead you have to move two pixels for every dot, and thus the smallest movement you can make is two pixels.

When decreasing the pointer speed the same thing happens, but it's less noticible this time since you're ignoring dots. You may find that some small movements won't register (or in extreme cases all your movements have to be bigger before they'll register) but the pointer will traverse every pixel.

Mouse acceleration is something different. The above 'normal' system only measures the position of the mouse, it doesn't care about the speed.

Mouse acceleration uses that speed data to adjust the sensitivity of the of the mouse so you cover many dots per inch when you're moving fast but only covers a few pixels per inch when you're moving slowly.

While it's a good idea the main issue with it is that it's more difficult to judge the changing mouse behavior quickly so many people who player reaction-based games (including me) prefer to turn it off.

I believe mouse acceleration is now called 'enhance pointer precision' in vista.

Of course, this is just the basics. There are lots of aberrations that can creep in like negative acceleration and the limitations on fast movements for some types of sensor. You'd have to ask on a mouse geek forum for those details though.
Owned: Raptor-Gaming K1 (linear MX)(Broken), IBM Model M UK, Dell AT102W, Left-handed keyboard with Type 1 Simplified Alps.

Offline FKSSR

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« Reply #16 on: Wed, 22 April 2009, 12:21:34 »
I think we should bring some more mice geeks onto GeekHack. :)  It would be great to have this forum be as strong with mice as it is with keyboards.

I may have to do some more research and bring it over to this forum.
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Offline D-EJ915

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« Reply #17 on: Wed, 22 April 2009, 12:36:42 »
The best way to improve your mousing life is to use keybindings, specifically things that would normally cause you to have to move the mouse quite a bit, this makes working MUCH faster.

Offline IBI

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« Reply #18 on: Wed, 22 April 2009, 14:59:01 »
Quote from: FKSSR;86824
I think we should bring some more mice geeks onto GeekHack. :)  It would be great to have this forum be as strong with mice as it is with keyboards.


Razer blueprints looks like a good place to start, although obviously most of the info will be on Razer mice.
Owned: Raptor-Gaming K1 (linear MX)(Broken), IBM Model M UK, Dell AT102W, Left-handed keyboard with Type 1 Simplified Alps.