Microsoft IntelliMouse Family
of new bundles of joy have been added to my favorite family of rodents.
Microsoft's IntelliMouse line has
been augmented by the fabulous IntelliMouse Explorer, which promises
clog free pointing device performance, and the Cordless Wheel Mouse
which, like its three blind siblings, has had its tail cut off.
of the two - at least for my home office environment - is the IntelliMouse
Explorer. This little gem gets rid of that ball on the bottom panel that
rolls the mouse across your desktop or mouse pad. This is the chief moving
part of the device, and over time it's sure to get clogged up with dust
or lint or, in my case, cat hair from a pair of critters who think my
desktop is some kind of playground when I'm not around.
bills the IntelliMouse Explorer as the first major advance in mouse technology
since the 1960s. I don't know about that, but it's sure a nice thing to
does the "rodent voyager" eschew a trackball, it also adds a couple of
new buttons to its left hand side. These "thumb buttons" are configured
to default to "forward" and "backward" commands for your Web Browser (well,
Microsoft's Browser anyway), and it's always nice to have more choices
and more flexibility.
I didn't really care about this aspect of the product, though - but over
time I really grew to appreciate the "no foulups" aspect of the mouse
around the need for the ball, the IntelliMouse Explorer uses an optical
sensor Microsoft calls "IntelliEye," which scans the surface below the
mouse 1500 times per second. It doesn't require a mouse pad, which is
nice - and in fact Microsoft claims it works on any surface.
try it on every surface known to Man, but it worked as advertised in my
home office - including a trip across my pant leg (just because it said
that you'll notice is the eerie red glow that emanates from the mouse,
and if you pick it up from its resting place it bathes its surrounding
area in this glow.
no idea how long the light source will last in the IntelliMouse Explorer,
but it'll probably stick around longer than conventional mice have lived
through my feline friends' frolicking.
Explorer isn't as comfortable in the hand as the original MS Mouse, IntelliMouse,
or IntelliMouse Pro, but it's close enough. It does have a couple of rubberized
areas on its sides to grip your hand better, though.
doesn't seem as sturdily constructed as the other mice, but this is just
an impression; I haven't dropped any of them on the floor to see which
one breaks first- and I'm not planning to, either!.
Naturally, you still get the wheel
between the two main buttons, and that's great.
use, the IntelliMouse Explorer seemed a bit more prone to friction than
its freely rolling brethren, not surprisingly, but it didn't take long
for me to get used to it and I've since grown to really appreciate the
Cordless Wheel Mouse also works very well and can be an ideal solution
if your PC's located such that it's a tight stretch for a corded mouse.
tangle either, naturally, which can be a bonus.
comes in two modules. The pointing device itself is, indeed, cordless,
and is a self contained rodent without a tail. The second module does
have a cord; one end plugs into your mouse port and the other ends with
the radio transmitter unit.
radio signals don't require line of sight, so you can leave the transmitter
with the PC - even if it's under the desk or in a closet.
Microsoft says the mouse will operate
up to five feet from the transmitter, which should be fine for most installations.
If you find that's a stretch, there's actually a few feet of cord connecting
the transmitter to the PC, so you can stretch it out if necessary to move
it closer to the mouse.
whole system works well and I enjoyed the freedom of having the umbilical
itself isn't quite as comfortable in the hand as Microsoft's original
mouse/IntelliMouse, but it's okay.
we need is a cordless IntelliMouse Explorer
The rest of Microsofts
IntelliMouse family is a wonderful bunch of pointing devices, and all
because of the little wheel/button theyve stuck between the main
buttons - and of course the software that runs it.
The IntelliMouse Pro
is a heavy plastic creature that isn't as comfortable on the hand as the
regular IntelliMouse (or even the generic MS Mouse), but which you can
easily set to minimize the amount you have to move it across your mouse
pad. Then comes the original IntelliMouse, and the entry level MS Wheel
All these lovable
little rodents are configurable in a number of ways, probably more than
you need. I quickly found my favorite settings and have stayed with them
through the other models as well - and you wont convince me to change.
A Wheely big Deal...
It's the wheel that
sits between the two conventional mouse buttons that makes the IntelliFamily
such a boon - and it must work because other companies are copying this
marvelous wrinkle now.
Why is the wheel so
great? Because, by rolling the wheel with my finger, I can scroll up or
down through my document (or Browser window) without having to move the
cursor off the page. Now, this may not sound like a big deal (and in the
Grand Scheme of Things it probably isnt), but its faster because
I dont have to grab onto and hold - that silly little scroll
bar handle on the right side of the window.
Not only that, but
pressing down on the wheel acts as a double click of the left button -
so I can double click with a single click.
Both features are
much appreciated little conveniences - and isnt that what computers
are supposed to be about?
Microsoft has upgraded
the IntelliPoint software that comes with the mice, too, so that now it
works on almost every piece of software I've tried with it (and that's
quite a bit). Earlier versions required the software to be compatible
for the wheel to work, and I'm glad to see Microsoft has fixed this with
the updated drivers.
The IntelliPoint software
does lots of other stuff, too, like let you zoom in, automatically snap
to default buttons, disappear from the screen when youre working
with the keyboard, pan across the screen, etc. I found most of these features
mildly interesting, though you may prefer them to my personal pet settings.
Talk about building
a better Mouse trap!
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think