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Jewish World Review
Nov. 13, 2009
/ 26 Mar-Cheshvan 5770
Oh, ho, ho, it's Magic (Mouse)
Even though a computer mouse can be rightly thought of as one of the more peripheral
of peripherals, a new one just arrived which can honestly claim the adjective
Apple Inc.'s $69 Magic Mouse truly is change this reviewer can believe in.
Until now, a "mouse" had, more or less, a singular purpose: to move a cursor, or
pointer, around the screen in a graphical environment such as Microsoft Windows or
Apple's Macintosh operating systems. A "click" function would let you select
from various menu options, or open, close or move a program "window" or an
on-screen "folder" of data. Stuff like that.
As computer environments became more graphical, however, other needs arose.
Wouldn't it be nice, for example, to be able to enlarge part of a computer screen
to more easily read the type or appreciate the detail in a photograph? What about
scrolling up and down or from side-to-side in an application window? And wouldn't
it be nice to have the functionality of left- and right-click buttons, without some
of the mechanics that could break or jam?
Enter the Magic Mouse, announced a few weeks back. Although it is a "normal"
computer mouse in the sense of being able to move the cursor around, it's
clicking, scrolling and even "sweeping" actions are more like the latest
notebook touchpads than they are the older mice this new device has rendered
The firm calls it "the world's first Multi-Touch mouse" and is including
it with the new iMac computers also introduced recently. The rest of us would have
to shell out the Simoleans to buy one. Believe me, it's really, really worth
Within minutes of installing the hardware and updating my copy of Mac OS X 10.6, I
was computing with the same ease that users of those latest notebook touchpads had.
Clicking was a simple press of the mouse; once on the left side for a left-click,
once on the right for a right-click. Scrolling is now super-easy and very fast: the
software controls for the Magic Mouse let you control the scroll rate.
But it's the very act of scrolling with the Magic Mouse that is, well, magical.
Unlike the scroll wheels on many (most?) of today's mice, the simple move of
gliding one's fingers up and down the mouse feels more natural than I can describe
in words. It just works better.
I would submit, though, that while such simple things as easier scrolling and
clicking may seem beyond improvement, the changes the Magic Mouse brings to these
operations will mean easier and better computing for me, which means some amount of
time savings, which means happier computing. You can't really put a price tag on
this, but if Apple wants to say it's worth $69, I won't fight them here.
This is the place where it's good to note that Apple says the Magic Mouse will
work only on a Mac-based computer with a Bluetooth connection, and the latest
Wireless Mouse Software, which an Internet-connected Mac will seek out once the
mouse has been "paired" with the device. It's powered by two "AA"
batteries, and, no, I don't have an estimate on how long said batteries will last.
Apple says the device can work for southpaws as well as for right-handers, and the
very comprehensive software lets you switch left- and right-click buttons to make a
left-hander feel more comfortable.
Until a user spends a few minutes with the Magic Mouse, I fear that any description,
no matter how enthusiastic, won't properly convey how good a product this is.
After decades of using computer input devices, I do believe this is the finest mouse
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2009, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com