The Humble Computer Mouse

The choice of computer mouse is a very individual thing and depends on many factors:

  • How many hours a day you work at your computer?
  • Is your primary computer a desktop, a laptop or notebook or even a tablet; but you won’t be needing a mouse if it is a tablet, will you?
  • How big your hands are.
  • Do you want/need to use wired, wireless or bluetooth?
  • Whether you use the scroll function or not.
  • Do you suffer from wrist pain?

In some of these instances, the cheaper type mouse that comes with your computer will serve your needs adequately, but if you, like me work for about eight hours every day, the comfort and functions of your mouse are particularly important.
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On the left below is a photo of the first mouse I paid in excess of $60 for and never regretted it at all. It was comfortable in my largish hands and I didn’t ever suffer any wrist pain even though I worked at my PC sometimes up to 12 hours in a day. The day I dropped it on the tiled floor and broke it was a very sad day for me.
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Luckily I was able to buy another different model  but with the same profile within a couple of days. That one too has died lately so I’m looking for a new one, the Kensington mouse on the right below might well be the one since I have had a word in Santa’s ear!
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The logitech 2nd from left has served as my laptop mouse for a couple of years – it does look a bit battered, doesn’t it? Very similar profile and quite comfortable. The third photo shows my big hands – imagine my right hand wrapped around one of these tiny mobile models! However, I do carry a retractable one around in my laptop bag, as a backup and the occasions when an extra mouse is needed to test someone’s computer.

 History of the computer mouse

Tracking Technology

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Did you know that the name mouse is derived from “Manually Operated User Select Equipment”? This makes the argument about whether more than one computer mouse should be called computer mouses or computer mice (as we do for the rodent variety). It seems there has been no absolute ruling and generally computer companies avoid the issue by calling them mouse devices. Probably mouses is technically correct, but it sounds awkward and people tend to use mice for the plural form.
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The original design for a mouse was mechanical; the mouse had a ball in a compartment underneath and embedded around the edge were some little rollers. These would clog up from the dust and dirt from the user’s desk and needed cleaning to keep the mouse running smoothly (I did this countless times when clients or friends complained that their mouse wasn’t working properly). There were also four sliding type feet that clogged up as well, but these devices were a boon when the alternative was just keyboard shortcuts.
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Along came optical technology and made our lives so much easier. A small LED on the bottom of the mouse translates the movement of your hand into movement of the mouse pointer. Laser mouse devices work the same way, but using a laser instead af the LED. Laser mice have a higher dpi (dots per inch) which means they are more sensitive. For general users this extra sensitivity is not really needed, but graphic designers and gamers often appreciate the difference and make a laser mouse their choice.

Wired Connectors

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The early mice (see above) had a serial connector plug, see picture below. Serial ports were the original standard for interfacing any device with any other device on a computer. Later, a smaller 6 pin Mini Din was introduced by IBM on their PS/2 personal computer and this led to the connector type being called PS/2. For many years PC’s had PS/2 connectors for both keyboard and mouse.
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Some computers still come with two PS/2 ports, but more commonly they just have one, the USB (Universal Serial Bus) being the most common type of interface on all computers, whether PC or Mac. All USB ports look the same, but there is the original USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 which allows much faster (almost 40x as fast) or increased delivery capabilities. The ports are backwards compatible, so you can plug an old USB 1.1 device into a 2.2 port and it will still go.

Wireless

Originally the mouse device was connected to the computer by a cable using one of the technologies above, but nowadays you have the choice (an increasingly common one), to go with wireless. The early hassles of wireless connections seem to have been ironed out and wireless usually works very easily on any platform. Yay! So much more freedom.

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Radio Frequency – this is the most common type of wireless interface. A generic mouse operates on th 27MHz frequency and the mouse is powered by batteries. More expensive models can come with rechargeable batteries or charging docks for the mouse. They may use higher frequencies and have a longer range.
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bluetooth.
Bluetooth was useful for lower speed devices like a mouse and was common on early laptops. They are also battery powered and use the 2.4GHz radio frequency to communicate with a receiver/charger supplied with the package or some other Bluetooth adapter...
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RFIDRFID (Rapid Frequency Identification) technology uses radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data to automatically identify and track tags, which for a mouse is movement. Developed by a company called A4Tech, the mouse must be used in conjunction with the included mose pad, but the advantage is that it is wireless and no batteries are needed.
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Wheels and Buttons

Nearly all mouse devices nowadays have three buttons, with the middle button also being a scroll-wheel. This scroll wheel is essential in my opinion to navigate up and down your screen and on web pages. Any other buttons, typically on the left hand side for a right handed mouse or on the RHS for a left handed mouse, can be programmed by the user to carry out different functions.

 

Buying a computer mouse

A quick search on eBay will show just what a variety of choice there for buying a new mouse – some are fun, some are fancy, some for serious gamers and some ergonomic models for users like me. So how do you choose?

Narrow down the options with these requirements:

  • Do you want wired or wireless?
  • Do you need laser or will Optical suit your needs?
  • What size – full-sized, medium or small (also called compact,  mini, mobile, laptop etc)
  • PS/2 or USB? USB is more common but if your computer does not have many USB ports, but does have PS/2 ports, using a PS/2 mouse (or keyboard) will leave an extra USB port available for other peripherals.
  • Scrolling – do you need left and right as well as up and down?
  • Buttons – does your work (or play) require advanced features?

A great place to see what is available is on eBay, even when you want to shop locally. The wide variety of mouse devices listed there will give you a good idea of all the functions and help you narrow down your choice.
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I have a mouse collection on eBay, just for the fun of it – see some of my pics

See my Collection here http://www.ebay.com/cln/plfbus/Fun-Fancy-Mouse-Collection/66866785015

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Achieving Financial Freedom

Nowadays, the concepts of time and money are being redefined and”Financial Freedom”, is one such Financial-Independence-smlterm that has gained much importance in the changing financial scenario.

A popular definition of “Financial Freedom” is that an individual has the freedom from continuous financial responsibilities through a planned management and allocation of assets. In other words, a person is free from back-breaking work by giving him or herself a steady source of income for life.

To really understand the concept of ”financial freedom” you need to look outside the traditional ideas of income and expenses.

We’ve been taught that time spent on hard work generates money. ”Financial freedom” opposes this concept of time-for-money swap and lets the money work for the individual instead. However, in spite of this advantage many professionals find it difficult to work without a fixed routine.

Thus, to achieve financial freedom we need to change our old mindsets and develop a new attitude towards earning money. We must realize that money is simply the means to achieve ends.

We must also remember that a person cannot be judged by the money he or she possesses. Unless these misconceptions are cleared the entire purpose of financial freedom is defeated since satisfaction is the keyword to financial freedom.

Financial Freedom is Time Freedom – get your copy of “How to Achieve Your Own Financial Freedom” FREE from this link.

Financial Independence

Keeping your Brain Active

Free Gift Membership to “Learning to Earn” see below.

If you’re approaching retirement age and wondering what you can do to enjoy a long and healthy life in your golden years then consider adopting the attitude of a lifelong learner. Most people think of lifelong learning as being confined to academic endeavors however the lifelong learning approach covers all areas of life including spiritual, social, academic and physical.

Lifelong learning is based on an attitude of constantly growing and evolving in various areas of your life. The old saying that whenever anything is not growing it is decaying could be just as true for us as humans. No matter what a person’s age there are great benefits to be gained by challenging yourself in the different areas of your life, physical, mental and self-deveopment.

Physical challenges must be appropriate for your level of fitness, but regular exercise of some kind will leep your body healthier and your brain healthier too. Mental challenges do not have to be academic study, they can be a new hobby or interest, a new caring or chrity venture, more involvement with family. The most growth in personal development will come when you take on something that is currently outside your comfort zone (nasty words those, aren’t they? How we love to stay in our comfort zone, even when it isn’t all that comfortable really).

Lifelong learners live by the motto “you’re never too old to learn” and this attitude is a big part of the reason that people who approach life with this mindset are seen to perhaps live longer but definitely enjoy a better quality of life – is the so-called law of nature known as the “use it or lose it” true?

It does seem to be the case that those who are considerably inactive develop mobility problems as they age, whereas those who are quite active do not develop these mobility problems. A similar effect takes place with anyone who takes no part in any mentally challenging activity or pursuit. After years of mental inactivity

Read more

Send your free Earth Day ecard now!

Frederikke and Timothy from ojolie.com have added a new card called “Blue Planet” to their selection of  animated ecards just in time for Earth Day on 22nd April.  The wildlife in the card, especially the dolphins, our intelligent counterparts below water, have an important message to deliver.

Earth Day, held on April 22 each year, marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970 and is  now celebrated around the world.

Earth Day 2009 will herald the beginning of the “Green Generation Campaign”; a two-year project culminating with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in 2010. The Green Generation’s core principles are:

1.  A carbon-free future based on renewable energy that will end dependency on fossil fuels, including coal.

2.  A commitment to responsible, sustainable consumption on an individual level

3.  Creation of a new green economy that addresses poverty by creating millions of quality green jobs and sees the global education system transform into a green one.

For those of you who missed helping to save energy during Earth Hour on March 28th, here is another chance to spread the word about helping our environment by sending Frederikke’s delightful card to your friends.

Best wishes
Trish

Computer Use by Seniors May Help Their Mental Health

Seniors who become adept at and use a computer appear to have fewer depressive symptoms than those older adults who aren’t so technologically connected.

That’s the finding of a research study, Depression and Social Support Among Older Adult Computer Users, presented August 18 at the 113th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.
The data regarding computer use and depressive symptoms was collected as part of the latest wave of an ongoing longitudinal study that is designed to determine the changes over time in physical health, mental health and social activity of older adults living in lower Manhattan.

Called VOICES (Villagers Over 65 Independent Living Challenges and Expectations), the research is being sponsored by Village Care of New York, a not-for-profit long-term care provider. “Villagers” refers to persons living in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and environs, representing the core group of individuals being followed over the course of the study, which began in 1998.

The computer use study was conducted by Edward Cisek, PhD, and Kathleen Triche, DSW, CSW.

Triche, who presented the study’s findings at the conference in Washington, D.C., said that the researchers decided to look into the impact of the growing use of computers by seniors on the hypothesis that those using computers would report fewer depressive symptoms than non-users.

Through observations at one of Village Care’s senior information centers in New York City, which Triche directs, computer use there seemed to give older adults a greater connection with the world around them.

“Given the social and informational nature of older adults’ computer practices – e-mail, chat rooms and health information gathering, for example, it seemed likely that this would be beneficial to an individual’s overall mental health,” Triche said.

In the computer study, it was determined, after controlling for a number of background characteristics, that seniors who were computer users reported significantly fewer depressive symptoms than their counterparts who do not use the computer.

Researchers also found that computer users tended to be among the younger members of the study group and have higher annual household incomes, while also reporting higher functioning in activities of daily living than the rest of the seniors in the study group.

“Clearly, those older adults in this study who use computers report fewer depressive symptoms, regardless of how many hours per week they use the computers,” Triche said, cautioning, however that these findings are among a generally highly educated group residing in a limited geographic area.

Future research in this area should include more diverse populations and use other measures of social connectiveness.

Participants in the survey included an urban community sample of 206 adults over the age of 65 (with a mean age of 80) that was randomly selected from three zip codes in lower Manhattan.

Reprinted from “Medical News Today” Article Date: 22 Aug 2005
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/29466.php
VILLAGE CARE OF NEW YORK

New Blog for Senior Computer Users

Hi everyone, welcome to the new blog.

The purpose of this blog is to create a community where folk of senior years and other beginner computer users can all learn from each other and support each other in our journey towards making more use of our computers and finding ways to earn extra income from them and from the internet.

For those unfamiliar with the word ‘blog’, it is derived from the term ‘web log’ and is basically a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. These entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order.

Blogs are a great way to involve people because they give everyone a chance to make comments on any material posted or to send in helpful answers to problems other members have written in about, so this blog will be replacing the newsletter that some of you were receiving.

Many of you don’t know me, so I’d like to introduce myself. I am a baby boomer, living in Queensland, Australia at present, but thanks to the internet, am in frequent contact with people all over the world. I have two daughters and three grandchildren living on the other side of Australia and the rest of my family living in New Zealand or scattered all over the globe. Naturally I am a frequent user of email & Skype to keep in contact with them. (For those who don’t know about, or use skype, it uses the internet to make long distance phone calls that are free to other skype users or allow you to ring someone’s regular phone very cheaply. We will be doing an article about skype and other similar systems – so stay tuned. If you register to receive email notification of new posts, you’ll get the news immediately this topic is posted.)

I have been a computer buff for twenty years or so after buying my first home computer. Believe it or not, it didn’t have a hard drive at all, just 2 single sided 5.25″ floppy disks and just a little amber screen about 150 x 100mm!

While not an expert in any area, over the years I have helped many, many people to learn how to use their computer better and about eight years ago I started giving structured, one-on-one computer lessons, mainly for seniors.

During this time, I came across a great number of people who had acquired a computer by various means, some by being given an outgrown desktop model from family members who had upgraded, or buying a cheaper PC (personal computer), new or second-hand for themselves or even, as my own mother has done, buying a laptop for the convenience of being able to use it anywhere (like in a warm room in winter!).

One of the things that saddened me was to find that many of these owners would like to get more use from their PC, but were scared to do much in case they damaged something; they didn’t know how to do more than just some of the basic tasks and in many cases, ended up only using these marvellous tools for email and playing patience (or solitaire, if that is how you know it). If this is you, don’t worry – playing solitaire is a great way to become proficient with your mouse!

Now that’s fine if you are happy to be just using your computer for email because it certainly allows you take keep in touch with distant relatives and friends almost instantly. However, for those who would like to take advantage of other functions and features, I’m hoping that the information in this blog, and the comments from others, will inspire you and bring you information and tools to assist you as you learn to make your computer work for you.

Learning can be great fun or it can be a drag, it all depends on how you approach it and what you want to get out of it. Naturally the reasons for people wanting to learn more will be many and varied so the plan is to present some projects/information for beginners and some in varying levels for more advanced users. I won’t be re-inventing the wheel, but will be bringing together ideas, games and projects devised by others into this blog, so that you have a base to work outwards from.

Working along alone is sometimes hard and we lose momentum and hope. I’ve found from personal experience that by belonging to a community of like-minded people, there’s nearly always someone ‘out there’ who can help with something you’re stuck on, or just to say ‘hey, I know what it’s like. I nearly gave up, but hang in there, try this and you’ll soon have the hang of it’.

Do you know that studies have shown that the point where most of us give up is when we are nearly there? I’m sure this resonates with some of you, it certainly did for me when I first heard it. So, hang in there, ask a question, make a post – just don’t feel isolated as there are thousands of people our age out there getting a great deal in so many ways from our PCs.

There will be articles from other senior clubs and forums, ‘how to’ articles, reviews of products and also a special area devoted to using your computer and the internet to earn money. I doubt that there is anyone, not matter what age, who would not find it useful to have another stream of residual income, so there will also be links to information, programs and products that could be helpful on your journey.

I would love to hear suggestions from readers on topics they’d like to learn about so please write your ideas in the ‘Suggest Ideas’ area. You also have the opportunity to make comments after any post. Perhaps add extra ideas or methods that have worked for you and would help others. If you think what is written is rubbish, you are free to say that also, but please abide by the rules, no spamming, no personal attacks and no offensive language.

It is my hope that by coming here often to check out what is on offer we can become a community that shares and grows together.

If you would like to be sent an email whenever there is a new post, enter you name and email address in the form on the home page.

Please be assured, this site is not primarily to push you to buy anything. I would be happy for you to join in, contribute your ideas and never buy a single thing, but please respect the position of others who may want to do so, especially if they are building an on-line business. I would not be where I am today without buying products and mentoring along the way so there will be space for featured & recommended products as well as helpful hints, ideas and general information here on the site. If any readers wish to contribute original articles, please email me.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes, Trish