Charles Moore's Mailbag

More Mighty Mouse Alternatives, Wireless Safety, Switching to ClipMenu, and More

Charles Moore - 2009.11.11 - Tip Jar

More Good Mouse Options

From André:

Hi,

I've seen your article about wireless alternatives for Mac (2 Wireless Alternatives to Apple's Magic Mouse). In my opinion there are some important alternatives missing :)

Wireless

  • Logitech VX Nano - Although not white, it is one of the best RF mice out there, very good for people like me who doesn't get used to the shape of the Mighty Mouse/other Apple mice. The bad about it, the price - although it is turning cheaper.
  • If you aren't concerned about size, you can get the VX Revolution instead.
  • iRocks RF-7550A - This is one low-end mouse :) It costs about 20eur (Editor's note: Available from MacMall as the "PcUSA 2.4GHz FHSS RF Wireless 5 Button Optical Mouse" for $24.99); it makes sense for people with low budget. It is an excellent mouse for the price. The bad about it, the side keys only can be assigned for Exposé or you must buy a 3rd party application like SteerMouse.

Bluetooth

  • Logitech V-470 - A "little" mouse with great OS X support, very clean lines, with everything needed. It was my choice after putting down the iRocks for my other PC :)
  • RadTech BT600 - It seems a good mouse, and I heard it is very well supported in Windows and OS X. The down, never see it in a store. (Editor's note: Available from Power Max for $56.99.)

Wired

  • Intellimouse 1,1A - The king of old school Windows mouse. It turns out to be a good Mac mouse too! OS X support, very ergonomic, and, best of all, cheap! The 3,0A may have all the hype about it, but it is much worse in construction and it is only good for people who have big hands.

You have lots of Logitech and Microsoft mice with support for OS X, but I don't know it well, but they are worth a check. I only mentioned these 2 brands because I know they offer OS X support and they make very good mice.

Hope it helps :)

Thanks for the good articles

André,

Hi André,

Thanks for the report and the mouse profiles.

My wife uses an iRocks mouse (wired), which she is very fond of. I have a RadTech BT600, and it is a good Bluetooth mouse, although with more Bluetooth latency than some of the newer Bluetooth models I've tested like the Targus for Mac Bluetooth Mouse and the Razer Orochi.

Personally, my current favorites remain the Logitech V550, the Targus For Mac Wireless (RF) and Bluetooth mice, and the Razer Orochi gaming mouse (even though I'm not much of a gamer).

Charles

In Defense of Wireless Safety

From Stephen in response to Wireless Paranoia:

Dear Low End Mac,

I think it's absolutely up to any particular person whether or not they expose themselves to anything in the environment - I think it's perfectly reasonable to avoid seafood if you're worried about heavy metals or other things for hazards. I think the issue to bear in mind is magnitude, really the amount of energy involved. Electromagnetic radiation can and does cause severe harm to people the world over, just as heavy metal poisoning for seafood affects people the world over. I don't think that should then lead to fearing your AirPort base station.

The question has to be what causes the damage. The whole EMR spectrum does not react with matter in the same way - for example, all a radio wave has the energy to do is make charge carriers oscillate (which is how antennas receive transmissions), whereas high energy gamma radiation can react with matter to form particle/antiparticle pairs. The main distinction between the bands is the effect they have on matter, so I think that people should take home the point that, for example, although UV is a type of EMR and UV is linked to skin cancers in sunbathers, this does not mean that sitting beside an FM radio will have the same effect, despite radio waves also being a form of EMR.

It also depends on how much energy is being directed at any particular target - for example, commercial radio transmitters often operate in the megawatt range, and standing too close to one of these is probably unwise, despite radio waves being quite low energy in themselves. I doubt you'd suffer DNA damage, because it's not ionising radiation, but I do think getting in the path of a megawatt beam would hurt for other reasons. There are reports of people being cooked by standing between high power line-of-sight microwave dishes. That's simply what large amounts of energy does to the human body.

Nothing you can buy from the Apple Store or PC World comes close to that in terms of power output. The AirPort, for example, is limited by EU law to 100 milliwatts, enough to let you share your Internet connection around the house, but not nearly enough to cook your cat. The limit exists to prevent unlicensed operators causing interference for other people using their own equipment rather than for health reasons.

So - take home lesson is just this: avoid high energy, high frequency electromagnetic radiation like the plague, because it really is bad for you - but the sort of deliberately low power, relatively low frequency radios people can buy for walkie talkies, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. are a different beast and, as far as anyone knows since Marconi and Morse started to work with them, are quite safe. That doesn't stop anyone avoiding them for their own peace of mind, but I think it's worth reassuring those who are trapped with their Blackberry that they're probably going to be okay.

Regards,
Stephen

Hi Stephen,

Thank you for that well-reasoned, thoughtful, and very plausible analysis. I suspect that you're probably right, at least for most of us. There are some people who appear to be hypersensitive to EMR, just as there are a few, including myself, who have extreme sensitivity to certain common chemical substances at environmental levels hundreds or even thousands of times lower than what is conventionally deemed to be toxic. However, that's another movie, except for the analogical thought that the same sort of dynamic may apply in the case of EMR.

In general, though, I think your argument is plausible and well-reasoned, and while I still wouldn't want to live near a cell tower and will not keep my wireless router too near my office, bedroom, or anywhere I spend a lot of time, I may be being hyper-cautious. I hope I am.

Charles

Addressing Pismo WiFi Problems

From Scott in response to Buffalo WiFi Problem with Pismo:

Have you considered installing an internal Apple AirPort card? I've had several of them, and they've all worked perfectly, except one I bought from eBay that died after an hour of use. I got a refund on that one though. AirPort cards were very expensive for a while, but nowadays they're affordable. Anyway, that's what I did with my Pismo, and it works great wirelessly with OS X 10.4.11.

Scott

Hi Scott,

I would definitely consider it, and an internal AirPort card would probably be the ideal solution, if I can find one at a reasonable price.

Charles

Switching to ClipMenu

From Brett, following up on Using Jumpcut on Snow Leopard:

Actually, I read one of your other readers' recommendations for ClipMenu and decided to switch to it instead of Jumpcut. Once I figured out how to create a snippet (the documentation is pretty poor), I liked having that option, which Jumpcut doesn't offer. Another benefit of reading your column!

Brett

Hi Brett,

Delighted to be of service, and thanks for the ClipMenu report. I must get around to checking out this application.

Charles

Color It 4.5 Now Working with Snow Leopard

From Jim, following up on Color It 4.5 Won't Work with My Intel Mac:

Hello Charles,

Thank you for your reply.

Just to be fair, I completely erased a drive. I installed OS X 10.6 and Color It!. Nothing else.

It is working, although it crashes occasionally. It's not a deal breaker.

I had written to Digimage Arts asking if we could expect an upgrade to Color It!, since it's been over 3 years since the last one.

I received a reply saying that they were working on a new version.

Regards
Jim

Hi Jim,

Glad to hear that Color It! still works with 10.6, and lets hope that they get that new version out soon.

Charles

Thoughts on Apple's Magic Mouse

From Jacub, following up on Magic Mouse Is Clickable:

Charles

I have not tried the mouse myself either, as they are hard to get in my country. I worry about the ergonomy, as it seems to be pretty flat, and I am used also to Logitech mouse.

But the real gain will be if Apple implements the pinch-to-zoom gesture and 3-finger swipe for Exposé (or just more personal settings for each gesture).

It will be nice to stop thinking about these in every Adobe app different key shortcuts for zoom. :-)

Have a nice day

Jakub Wagner

Later Revision OS X Install Discs

From Chris, following up on Leopard 10.5.4 Install Discs Exist:

Hey Charles,

I am not surprised that you didn't know - I only found out as I do tech support for elderly relatives, who I generally move to the latest ones at a later date (i.e. 10.3.5, 10.4.4, and 10.5.2). It seems to be that they are revised 2-3 months after launch, so you may be wise to hold off for either a 10.6.2 or 10.6.3 disc to appear (even though you have broadband now - it's still a pain to update, isn't it!)

Chris

Hi Chris,

Thanks. I'll take it under advisement. I see on MacFixIt that version 10.6.2 has apparently induced some problems with POP3 email for some users, which would be bad news for me.

My general observation is that the last three versions of OS X have finally settled down and become solidly reliable (or facsimile thereof) somewhere around the fourth or fifth revision. For Panther, in my recollection, it was version 10.3.7; for Tiger, 10.4.6, and for Leopard, 10.4.4, so I'm not in any big rush to upgrade to Snow Leopard. My general point of view is that early adopters of software (and indeed many other things) are essentially late beta testers. ;-)

Charles

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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