Friday, May 24, 2013

Still Bummed from Abusing the Mouse

I haven't exactly been able to indulge in much writing lately, and that can be chalked up to several factors: complications around my various part-time jobs, playing online video games, and just being lazy in general.

But the main contributing factor was my mouse which tended to double-click at odd intervals all the time.

This may not sound like much, but for the past several months, this seemingly annoying feature kept playing against me.  Every time I would click it once, it would sometimes immediately double-click, causing unwanted files to be opened or going back two pages at once.  Furthermore, going to the options menu and changing the double-clicking speed did nothing to assauge this glitch.

Until you've had your reliable navigation device act against your orders, you can't understand the world of frustration I'm coming from.  Choosing an Internet browser on the taskbar causes two windows to open.  Renaming a file makes it open by accident.  Moreover, moving multiple files causes ALL of them to open at once.  Trying to move a sentence around becomes an editing nightmare where you have no idea whether your words are going to betray you or not.  Compounding to the madness was that the mouse would sometimes UNCLICK while I was dragging, leaving multiple instances where I would find myself moving a different object from my intended one.  Cropping images would result in either zooming in the picture or editing a smaller piece than I intended.  That lack of certainty made me constantly wary.

And every time these unintended actions took place, I would get invariably mad and actively bite the little tool, convinced that if I pressed down on it hard enough, it would work properly.  This school of thought comes from the same place as kicking machines in order to make them work properly.  Of all the bad influences comics are considered a menace for, this one squarely falls in their realm.

After some online research, I found out that there was probably some dust that was interfering with the controls, which would explain why it was so wonky all the time.  I attempted to clean the sides out with some scrap paper and an air blower I normally used to pump my hearing aids of moisture.  For awhile, it seemed to work, but then things would go back to double clicking again, and I'd be back to my old standby of doing a robotic feral cat impression.  Eventually, I got so frustrated that I actually popped up the underlying clicker cover.  I was sure that having uncorked the surface of the problem area and cleaning out the underlying area I'd been unable to reach would solve the annoying double-clicking.  It didn't.

Experiments made with an alternate mouse confirmed that it wasn't a technical issue, since it worked perfectly fine whenever I clicked once.  I could've simply switched back to the old model, but I'd grown used to the laser guided mouse, compared to the old ball mouse model, and needed the fast movement and ease of progress.  I'm always afraid of trying out new things because I worry that I'll enjoy the new thing TOO MUCH and it'll take over my life, and I won't be able to return to the old ways.  I resisted using the internet and email for years because I'd heard horror stories about people suffering from social addiction.  After fighting an uphill struggle involving having to complete my college dossier, I joined the club of online addicts along with millions of other sufferers.  (Well, it wasn't so much of a struggle, as bowing to the inevitable)  I'm amazed at people who purchase the latest technological marvels in their Beta form even before they've gotten all the kinks out, and are willing to plop down hundreds of dollars on the latest device that for all intents and purposes, may not even work that well, and become obsolete within the span of a month.

This is another common feature of new technologies introduced in comics - outright resistance to the unintended disaster the device causes,
until it proves its worth during an emergency.  So yeah, you can blame comics for that too.
I'm very finicky when it comes to tactile stimulation.  I've worn jackets with their zippers missing because they have non-detachable hoods on the lining.  My shoes' arch support area have to be FLAT - no elevated cushions allowed.  Not an easy feat when everybody wants "pump" platforms in theirs. Trying to find new clothes that suit my requirements is always an uphill struggle, because changing fashions demands that I comply with the majority, when I'm more comfortable with what I'm used to, even if I'm a lone voice in the wilderness no longer being adhered to.  I've kept my old toothpaste cap for years, because the later models feel uncomfortable when I twist them off.  I can only drink Apple Juice from a plastic container, because I can taste the "rust" from a metal can.  (Strangely enough, I have no problem eating pineapple tidbits from the can, because I find the acidic factor works in its favor)  I can't even keep my supply of Apple Juice in a fridge that's different from another manufacturer because it tastes "off", even though the temperature is the same in both models.

This Princess & the Pea syndrome keeps holding me back because there are certain sensations that makes it impossible for me to function without constant distractions.  For instance, I can't talk to somebody if they're facing an open window, because the bright light makes it impossible to read their lips.  That's a biggie, but there are other minor details that I find annoying that keep me off my game and prevent me from operating at full capacity.  The mouse issue is one of them.

I heard that mouses (mice?) were relatively cheap at $10 each, so I was shocked to find out that the average computer mouse would sell for about $30+ nowadays.  And these are high-tech mice (mouses?) mainly used for playing online role-playing games, with multiple added buttons on the side.  But I didn't want any of that - I wanted a simple functional mouse that had a reliable scrolling wheel.

Sadly, the model that I coveted didn't seem to be in stock anywhere I looked.  I'd always been surrounded with similar old models in my household, so it never occurred to me that there might be updated models that operated differently from what I was used to.  I found a few mouses that looked fine upon first sight, but they didn't meet my requirements because they felt different scrolling down than when scrolling up.  I want my mouse wheel clicking to be CONSISTENT.  I found another mouse that was laser-guided, and scrolled comfortably, but it was too small for my hand.  Later, I found a mouse that seemingly matched all my qualifications: it was laser-guided, it fit comfortably in my hand, and it made a satisfying clicking sound when I scrolled.  But the ridges on the wheel annoyed me.

Being unable to find a working mouse to my liking, I asked a computer friend of mine if he happened to have any old models lying around.  He did, but they were all the kinds used for playing online games.  However, he helped me out by telling me that I could open up my mouse, which I never knew I could do because the screws were hidden by the sticky pads underneath.  Once I opened up the thing, I was amazed at the amount of hair and dust that'd accumulated inside.  You know how a corner of your keyboard tends to get dirty without your knowing?  Take a small piece of paper and drag it through the F-number boxes, and you'll get a fair idea of how much crap was in there.  No wonder the thing wasn't working properly!

However, there was a slight complication.  Upon opening up the mouse, some pieces fell out, and I hadn't taken the time to take notes on which part went where.  However, because I'm notoriously stubborn when it comes to accepting outside help, I resolved to solve the dilemma myself.  I won't bore you with the details of how I managed to put Humpty Dumpy together again, but when I was done, I found some pieces of plastic with no idea what they were for.  But the mouse seemed to work fine without them, so I didn't press it any further.  But then the double-clicking started happening again, necessitating opening up the patient again.  After various matching, I eventually determined that the plastic pieces were actually broken off support material that had broken off during my earnest abuse on the mouse.  In short, it's internal organs were a mess, and it was my fault.

I tried to do some transplant surgery with other spare mouses I had lying around, but found out their plastic skeleton designs were significantly different from mine.  Upon further exploratory surgery with different models, I found that later mouse designs had the scroll wheel attached to the cover, which were different from my preferred model with the wheel at the bottom.  I could've taken the easy route and removed the offending plastic obstacles, but my lack of confidence and experience in handling plastic surgery prevented me from doing so.  Besides, I had no way of knowing if removing the offending part would work, and the cover would be ruined if I tried to put it back in the original mouse.  Of the four spare mouses I had, I only managed to switch between two fairly similar models.  That goes to show how rival companies stick close to their competitors.

Finally, in a dilapidated place next to an abandoned library, I found a computer store that sold the kind of mouse with the following qualifications I wanted.  So far, there's just one small glitch - I don't like how the stickers underneath feel when I move it about.  There's just no pleasing some people.
On the left is my preferred model.  On the right is the latest model.
Note where the scroll wheel is attached.
At times like these, I'm reminded of a Wayne & Shuster solo skit where a man was talking about his failed dates:

"I went out with a woman.  She liked me, but her parents didn't like me.  I went out with another woman.  Her parents liked me, but she didn't like me.  I went out with a third woman.  She liked me, and her parents liked me.  

"But her husband hated me."

It's such a relief to be able to move things around and not worry about when the computer's going to turn against me.  I'm hoping the scratchy underside will be resolved in the next few days.  As for the name of this post, it comes from the title of a Dilbert collection when it was still about amusing things other than office humour:

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