Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A mouse in the house

After getting the kid's old laptop to play, I needed a real mouse. The usual laptop built in thumb pad is a pain to use, and this one way getting flaky, it occasionally left clicked all by itself with unfortunate consequences, like accidental file deletion. So I grabbed the mouse off the dying desktop. No go, lap top doesn't have a mouse port to plug it into. All it has are USB ports.

USB was supposed to replace the keyboard port, the mouse port, the speaker& mike ports, and the printer port thus saving five electrical connectors on the back of the laptop. One trouble with this plan. USB doesn't work until Windows boots all the way up. If for some reason Windows croaks, your keyboard is dead, making it impossible to boot from a recovery disk, program the BIOS, run diagonostics, and in general try to fix the problem. Lesson learned. Don't buy a desktop that lacks a real keyboard port.

Anyhow, the old standard mouse won't plug into USB, I needed a USB mouse. So ho off to Staples (the only vaguely electronicky place up here) to buy a mouse. Staples had a regular house house with a dozen different mice. I settled for the cheapest $15 mouse from Logitech. I passed on the fancier wireless mice costing as much as $99. Plugged in the new rodent and lo and behold, it works. Windows carries the code to work USB mice as well as standard mice, and Logitech had followed the standards closely enough for it's mouse to work with Microsoft's software.

Next step, read the instructions, printed in English French Spanish and Lower Slobbovian. The instructions promised a mouse powered orgy if only I would download Logitech's mouse driver package. Being somewhat stupid, I Firefoxed out to the Logitech website and looked for the driver. Logitech has been making mice for many years, and the download page offered pictures of about 100 different mice. Just pictures, no part numbers. On the internet all mice look alike. I began to doubt the wisdom of proceeding when I found out the driver (Setpoint 4.72) was a 52 megabyte file. That's bloatware supreme for a mouse driver.
Doubt rose higher as the install took a good 15 minutes. After the install finished the laptop slowed down. A lot. Bad sign. Plus, all that Setpoint 4.72 offered was to switch the left and right mouse buttons, not something anyone in their right mind wants to do. So, bring up "install and remove programs" and try to remove the mouse driver. All that did was cause failure messages saying the driver could not be removed until Windows had been rebooted. Arrgh.
At least, the reboot worked, I was able to blow Setpoint 4.72 into the big bit bucket in the sky.
That's the last mouse driver I'm ever gonna download.

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