Gadgets

I’VE SACRIFICED MY DESKTOP PC in the home office on the altar of cable management. There were just too many damned wires attached to the damned thing. A cordless mouse and keyboard probably wouldn’t have made a significant difference, but every little bit helps, right?

Enter Microsoft’s Wireless

Intellimouse Explorer, a cordless, optical mouse that runs off the USB port of your laptop or desktop. As tested, the right-handed model has a nice ergonomic fit (there’s also a symmetrical, preference-agnostic model) and a “”tilt-wheel”” — a scrolling device that incorporated both up-down and left-right screen scrolling.

It’s remarkably intuitive and very effective for spreadsheet jockeys — when it actually works. Not all applications benefit from the tilt-wheel action: If you have the temerity to run StarOffice, for example, it won’t scroll left and right. Even the IE browser I use — customized by the ISP, bien sur — didn’t support the left-right action.

That’s more than just a quibble. And quibbles there are. The wireless receiver plugs into the USB port through a three-foot cable, and is about the size of a cell phone charger — a bud that plugs into the USB port, a là Logitech’s mini-receiver, would be more in order. There’s no on-off switch for the battery-powered mouse, though Microsoft says it shuts itself down to preserve battery life. And the street price of about $80 is a bit much when there are perfectly serviceable wireless keyboard-mouse combos for less.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a technology journalist with more than 15 years' experience. He has edited numerous technology publications including Network World Canada, ComputerWorld Canada, Computing Canada and eBusiness Journal. He now runs content development shop Dweeb Media.

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