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Apple's USB Mouse Is Not an Ergonomic Dud

- 1999.12.21

The Apple USB Mouse has been criticized for its diminutive size and hockey-puck shape. Numerous reviewers have rated the pointing device unfavorably stating to the tune of: "it is too small to be comfortable" or "it's too easy to unknowingly turn it sideways." However, I believe that the AppleDesign team did an excellent job, and here's why:

The Apple USB mouse fits superbly in the palm if you pick it up and hold it like a baseball, holding it bottoms-up. The convex top follows the concave shape of your hand. It is very inconvenient to use the mouse this way, as it is a mouse, not a trackball, and it would be easy to accidentally push the button. Flip it over, holding it just like you were, and put the mouse cable between your index finger and your middle finger. Holding the mouse like this not only puts little load on your carpal tunnel, but it makes it very hard for you to turn the mouse sideways, even if you have the old mouse without the dimple.

The baseball method doesn't work for all hands, or if you don't have much desk space, but neither do ordinary mouses. If the baseball method isn't comfortable for you, and you have the newer mouse (this is the one with the banana-shaped dimple on the mouse button), you can start off in the baseball method and slide your hand back towards you, until your index finger is centered on the dimple and your thumb and ring finger grasp the two colored sides.

I hope I've helped you improve the comfort of your mousing, but if you still aren't satisfied with it, there are ergonomic adapters available that snap onto your mouse. They are much cheaper and less wasteful than buying a replacement mouse, and just as comfortable. One easy to find one is the Contour Designs UniTrap, which costs about $15. Another, called the iCatch, which is simpler and cheaper ($10) than the UniTrap, was recently discontinued.

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