WarMouse pushes gamers' buttons with OOMouse
Retains 'burning hatred' for Microsoft, not Apple
WarMouse plans to ship a multi-button office application mouse by February next year.
The outfit said it would start taking orders for the pointing device, which comes loaded with 18 chunky programmable buttons and is intended for use by OpenOffice.org fans and gamers, next month.
OOMouse features a shedload of inputs. The 18 programmable buttons can all be double-clicked, and the mouse comes with an obligatory scroll-wheel, 512k of flash memory and support for over 60 separate configs.
Unsurprisingly OOMouse incorporates default profiles for the five core OpenOffice.org apps based on 662 million datapoints hoovered up from the so-called "usage tracking facility" loaded into OpenOffice.org 3.1, which is free desktop software that competes with Microsoft's Office suite.
Users can customise the profiles using OOMouse setup software, an app that will be released early next year as an OSS project under the GNU Lesser General Public Licence version 3.
The mouse supports up to 63 profiles to be stored simultaneously in the device's memory. It's also one of the first computer mice to incorporate an analog joystick and first to permit the use of the joystick as a keyboard, claimed WarMouse.
"In the three joystick-as-keyboard modes, the user can assign up to sixteen different keys or macros to the joystick, which provides for easy movement regardless of whether the user is flying through the cells of a large spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or on the back of an epic flying mount in World of Warcraft."
So why did WarMouse slot so many buttons into its corded OOMouse?
"That’s as many as we’ve determined one can effectively use without having to look at the mouse," explained the organisation.
"The mouse buttons really aren’t that small. If you can use a larger digit - the thumb - on a smartphone button less than one-half the size, you’re not likely to have any problem using your index, middle and ring fingers on the mouse buttons."
The firm said it would provide "the most efficient finger-to-button map" at some point soon, for anyone confused about how they might go about using the mouse.
Over the weekend some tech sites pointed out that OOMouse could rival Apple's recent release of Magic Mouse, which comes with one sleek seamless multi-touch surface. Some suggested that OOo was also taking a catty swipe at the Jobsian firm with its own mouse.
"A difference in design philosophy isn’t personal, it’s just a difference in design philosophy," said a defensive WarMouse. "To be honest, we simply don’t care that much about Apple. Our furiously burning hatred is already far too occupied with Microsoft."
Anyone interested in getting their hands on the Windows, Linux and Mac-compatible device will first need to shell out $74.99, which is five bucks more than Apple's Magic Mouse. ®
Correction: This story was updated because it had wrongly attributed OpenOffice.org as the maker of the mouse. WarMouse, which is a private company, produced the product and designed it specifically for use with OpenOffice.org.
How would you hold that? They said something like how the buttons were the same size as the buttons on a phone, but those work from your thumb, not your index, middle, and ring finger.
I thought it would have been fine if they moved the buttons all around, like pushing your palm down will set off one button, but even that seems sketchy.
conservative reg readers
Amazing how conservative you folks are.
Yes, it looks ugly, but the way I see it, there should be at least as many buttons on a mouse as you have fingers. Any less is missing a trick.
Nobody is forcing anyone to buy this device, and let's face it, the scroll wheel is the first innovation in mouse design since Engelbart's 1968 original. (Why has nobody thought of making the ubiquitous office swivel chair into an input device?) Engelbart also devised several other 'no-brainers' including the ancestor of Endfield's Microwriter which have not caught on. Users were able to achieve extremely high typing speeds on those 'finger-chord' keyboards' ridiculed by 'Poor Coco' above, who clearly has no idea that they used a mnemonic finger pattern system, rather like sign-language, and not ascii codes. Once there was a good excuse why such innovations did not catch on (expense and lack of standards), but now we have USB.
BTW did anyone try the Oberon operating system? (Circa 1987). It used an ingenious 'chording' system with its three mouse buttons: Hold down one button while clicking another and you 'copy' the selection to the clipboard, for example. They also used up to four cursors. One for 'source parameter' one for 'target object', one for 'selecting' and one for 'execute'. It might not be the best design, but at least Wirth and co were thinking out of the box.
The mouse and the keyboard are the computer's primary 'sensory organs'. Should innovators not work to increase the bandwidth of their inputs? Increasing resolution of the motion sensors is one thing, but why not have pressure sensitive or velocity sensitive buttons? (256 levels of force? Dynamic Photoshop brush sizes? Wacom do this already and it's very, very cool). Imagine a keyboard where you could press harder for bold text etc.
There are many possibilities, but little real innovation. It doesn't help to have a gaggle of IT 'experts' who dismiss any attempt to design something new without actually trying it in their hands - which is what input devices ultimately stand or fall on.
If the OO mouse were the first of many design iterations, I think we would soon arrive at a really good input device. Yes, it looks absurd, but you have to start somewhere - and I think we are seeing the old cliché: innovators are invariably ridiculed until everyone realises the idea was always brilliant.
(How many here will admit to ridiculing the iPod because it lacked a radio? Well, I remember a vast clamour of voices with exactly that opinion. Yeah, I know... It was a long time ago, I never saw any Jews being mistreated... We didn't know what was going on... I can't really remember.... etc.)
I definitely use the 'home', 'page down' and 'page up' keys at least as much as I use the scroll wheel, probably more. Perhaps some of you minimalist/conservatives would rather have the scroll wheel on the keyboard too? Beside the page down' and 'page up' keys would be an 'obvious' place, no?
The real issue is the driver configuration software. Many logitech mice have 5 or more buttons, but the opportunities for configuring those buttons are ridiculously limited. Kensington mice have superb drivers, with finely tuned acceleration control and a proper macro editor but they seem to be going in Apple's direction of 'less is more' in their hardware designs.
So... why not TRY the device before leaping to any 'brilliant' and 'witty' conclusions.
don't knock it on looks
Why are the same poeple who have a go at firefox for being form over function saying so much about how this looks.
Also give me a wired mouse anyday, no batteries to go, no waste of spectrum or random times when it can't be bothered to move.