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My newest mousey toy!

  1. Apr 17, 2008 #1

    Moonbear

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    I got myself a new toy for my computer. This air mouse:
    http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/mice_pointers/mice/devices/3443&cl=us,en

    (I found it cheaper than that site though, just picked that one because it's logitech's site and a logitech mouse...I'm not promoting any particular seller.)

    After sitting in the back of a lecture hall for about 2/3 of a course watching other lecturers struggle with the challenge of being tethered to a mouse and computer, I went on a quest to see if there was something that could untether me when it's time for me to give lectures (we record all of our lectures using something called Camtasia, and that requires using the mouse pointer rather than a laser pointer for the recording to show what we point to on the slides). I CANNOT stand being confined to the range of a mouse cord (the lecture halls don't even have wireless mice) while giving lectures, and I really like the feel of actually pointing at my slides...I think for teaching purposes, it helps direct the students' attention to the right place to follow an arm pointed in the right general direction to find where the arrow or dot on the other end is.

    I compared reviews on a couple of similar products, and opted for this one. I have been playing with it tonight, expecting it to take a lot of practice to get used to it. It's surprisingly simple and comfortable to use! I haven't even gotten around to installing the software yet (that adds some features, but I'm not sure if I really need those).

    The most fun I'm having so far is with the scroll "wheel" feature...there's no actual scroll wheel, but optical sensors...and sound effects. :rofl: A quick swipe of the thumb over the center of the mouse lets me fly down the page with a sound effect something like cards in the spokes of bicycle wheels, or the ticking of one of those wheels they spin at carnival games. :biggrin: (You can turn the sound off, but I don't want to.) A gentler stroke or sliding and tapping will get you more control over scrolling.

    Anyway, I thought I'd share my find, because this might be useful for other people giving presentations. When I get to test it out on a full screen presentation, I'll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, others might have experience with this or other similar products who can give more feedback that will help others decide if this would be useful and which one(s) to try.

    And, it's just plain fun holding a mouse like a remote control while leaving my laptop sitting by my feet on the couch rather than in my lap. I tend to get a sore thumb using the trackpad, but hate sitting at a table with the laptop to use a regular mouse, so this also is seeming like a good solution for that.

    Have these been around a long time and this is the first I've discovered them, or am I actually one of the first kids on the block with a new toy for a change? :biggrin:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 18, 2008 #2
    Good find Moonbear! I never looked into them though since I don't really have a need for one. A good friend of mine bought an Interlink model almost a year ago, but it doesn't look nearly as ergonomic as the one you got.

    Does the gesture controls work well?
     
  4. Apr 18, 2008 #3

    Moonbear

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    I never have known how to do the gestures thing I hear people talk about, so am not sure.

    In my whole few hours of playing so far, it's easier if you're very deliberate with your movements...quickly aiming at something you want to click...than if you're hesitant and try to slowly point on something very precise.

    It is pretty quick about picking up if I move around and start pointing in another direction away from the computer (i.e., if I were to be pointing to a projector screen...I've just been pointing at walls to test it). I thought it might confuse it. But, if it does get somewhat misaligned, there's a very simple way to freeze the cursor by holding down a button for two seconds, then point at where the cursor is, and then click any button to unfreeze it and tell it that's the right position.

    The ergonomics aren't perfect. I have small hands (though long fingers) and trying to reach the left click button with my thumb is a bit awkward, but not impossible (I suppose if they made it too easy, I'd be clicking it by mistake a lot too). I have yet to install the software to see what that adds and if that's worth it. I really just needed something for basic mouse functions when giving lectures.

    So far, I've tested on my PC. I'll test it on the mac over the weekend. It makes no promises to be Mac compatible, but sometimes that just relates to the added features in the software, not basic functions of mice.
     
  5. Apr 18, 2008 #4

    Kurdt

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    Does that mean everyone will be sitting at the back of your lectures for fear of a mouse to the head, and does it come with a holster for your belt?

    I've never even heard of one before but I guess it should be useful for those giving presentations. I'm sure you'll give us the verdict once you've tried it for that purpose Moonbear. :smile:
     
  6. Apr 18, 2008 #5
    Yeah, install the software for it and see what happens. With some input devices i've noticed that they seem to perform a bit more accurately with the given software control. It also might have other fine tuning elements with it like sensitivity, resolution and acceleration control. Have you played with the range at all? My friends model still had accurate control quite a bit past the rated distance... though they probably do that just so they don't get a lot of complaints.:biggrin:
     
  7. Apr 18, 2008 #6

    Moonbear

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    :rofl: I still prefer erasers or good, old fashioned chalk for that purpose. This mouse is a bit expensive to be throwing at unruly students. No holster, though that would be nice (they'd probably never stay put in a lecture hall if people could forget they were wearing them though). It does have a charging base, which was something that helped me choose it over models that required batteries (some came with reviews that cautioned to always turn it off when not in use because it would just suck batteries dry, which would cost a small fortune in batteries I suppose or require always carrying around spared). I'm seeing how long the battery life is today at work, using it and leaving it on all day.

    I hadn't heard of it before I went hunting either...didn't even know what to call it when trying to search google. The generic term seems to be "air mouse" as far as I can tell, but there seem to be so few so far that I'm not sure if that's really a generic term or something branded already.

    It works like a regular wireless mouse if you set it on the desk too, but a bit pricey if you just want a regular mouse (though it is sleek looking). I also just realized I don't have to use the touch feature for scrolling, there's an actual button there too that you can press on the top or bottom to scroll. That might be more useful if someone had a mobility issue and couldn't get the right touch to scroll with just the optical sensor.

    I'll install the software tonight or over the weekend. My PC sometimes gets cranky when I install new things and I need to go back and fix other stuff that won't get along with newer software, so I do that when I can spend half a day troubleshooting. I also wanted to test it a while without any installation to make sure I'll be able to use it on computers where I'm not allowed to install software (like in the lecture halls). If I can get it to work well enough, and show it off to other people, we might be able to convince our IT people to provide them in the classrooms, at least the larger lecture halls where the fancier equipment is located and more people use the software for recording lectures. That's another good thing about it recharging in a docking station rather than eating batteries; there are enough things in those lecture halls that run out of juice and need new batteries every few lectures that they'd probably balk at one more thing (and nobody would use it if it's always got a dead battery...this way, it could sit in the dock and charge between lectures or overnight and run all day).

    I haven't tested the limits of the range yet. So far, I've only gotten about 5 feet away from the receiver (my office isn't that big :frown:). Again, I'll try that out tonight when I can wander away from the computer further.

    I can't wait to show off my toy to our IT guy (but I want to learn more about what else I can do with it before I do, just so I can REALLY make him drool).

    Another limitation I'm finding though is that the laser sensor thing is located just about where I want to keep putting my index finger on the bottom of the mouse. But, when it starts to seem a bit unresponsive, I just need to remember to move my finger out of the way again.
     
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