Welcome to Macintosh

Of Mice and, Well, Hockey Pucks

- 2006.09.29

Bong! . . . :-) . . . Welcome to Macintosh!

Throughout history, there are successes and there are failures.

In the case of Apple, the company has had many successes - and also its share of failures. Take the Apple III, for instance. It had a bright future as the next up-and-coming star of the computer industry, destined to pick up where the Apple II had left off. But it failed to make its mark (see The Ill-fated Apple III, Apple III Chaos: What Happened When Apple Tried to Enter the Business Market, and 2 Apple Failures: Apple III and Lisa).

Then there was the Lisa, the "next big thing" with a graphical user interface. It was a great idea - so "insanely great" that it established the standard for how we use computers today. Except that it wasn't the Lisa that made the mark and made it the standard; it was the Macintosh that took that honor.

Further down the road was the Cube. It was a great computer by any stretch of the imagination. But due mainly to it's price and lack of expandability - you could get a Power Mac G4 tower with loads of expandability for the same price as the Cube - it would go down in history as another failure (see Road Apple: Power Mac G4 Cube).

You usually hear the stories of why a product failed from company executives, engineers, even the public. But when have we ever heard the story from the horse's mouth? Never.

No one stops to think about how the product in question felt. No one ever stops to interview them or get their story.

They are the ones that were left out in the cold when Apple and the public decides it's not worth the time or expense.

Yes, my friends, they are more than just products - they're products with real feelings that can't be ignored any longer.

How would you feel if no one ever got your side of the story?

Apple's round USB mouseOne such Apple product that was pretty much abused and neglected was the original Apple USB mouse, affectionately known as the "hockey puck mouse".

It's sad, when you think about it. When it came out, many critics dismissed it. Why? They discriminated against it because it was round, uncomfortable, not ergonomic enough, and so on.

Did anyone stop to think about how all of the hockey puck mice would take that kind of criticism? Noooooo! The critics and public kept making snide comments and laughing at them behind their backs, not giving a single thought to their feelings!

I got to thinking, "You know, it's time that the hockey puck mouse's side of the story was heard!" I wanted to give them a chance to share their feelings about what the critics said.

If the gecko from GEICO can have his voice heard, it's only fair the hockey puck has its day! So I recently sat down with the head of the NAHPMA (National Apple Hockey Puck Mouse Association), Bondo Clickster. Bondo is affectionately known as "The Clickster".

Bondo is a hockey puck mouse, just like the legions of hockey pucks out there that go to meetings, march at rallies, and click at speaking engagements! Here is my interview with Bondo:

Mr. ClicksterTommy: Hey there, Mr. Clickster. (shaking USB cord) It's a privilege to sit down and talk with you today.

Bondo: Ah, please man, just call me Bondo. (lighting up cigarette) All my friends call me Bondo.

Tommy: Bondo, tell the readers a little about why you wanted to have this interview today?

Bondo: (raring back in chair) I wanted everyone out there to know about the NAHPMA and about the abuse and suffering we've endured because of all the "so-called" writers. Some of 'em ain't even fittin' to be called "writers." They judge, point fingers, and discriminate without really getting to know who we are as hockey puck mice. We're sick and tired of all the harsh criticism and the unfair discrimination we've received! We want our voices to be heard!

Tommy: We talked at length before the interview about the fact that you were a prototype that was created by Apple and eventually settled upon as what we know as the hockey puck mouse. Tell us a little about what those days were like.

The original Bondi blue iMacBondo: See, here's how it went down. I remember being born on the Apple campus. Those were special days, ya know. It was during the turnaround Apple was going through. Steve Jobs, who I was actually pretty tight with at one time, was in the middle of getting the iMac ready for the public. It was supposed to be the Mac to bring Apple outta the red, ya know. Apple had an idea for a different kind of mouse, one that was small and cool. I was born of that idea.

Tommy: Wow, that must've really been something to know that you started the whole hockey puck boom!

Bondo: Yeah, man! It was supposed to be the beginning of a whole new era in mice. Ya see, the Apple ADB mice were on their way out, as were all the beige Macs. I remember the stares and the clicks I got from the beige mice.

Let me tell ya somethin', brother, that ain't pretty to see, but I was tough and knew I could stand up to the pressure!

Tommy: What happened? How did the ball come off the rollers for all the hockey pucks?

Bondo: Well, when the iMac was released, things started coming apart at the seams! The press and the writers were talking about the iMac. Many reviewers were talking about the different parts of the iMac, including the hockey puck mouse.

The iMac didn't get near the kind of criticism we did. Many of them dismissed us all, saying we were round, un-ergonomic, one button, and I tell ya, it really hurt us all to hear that from them. But the public was the worst. Not all of 'em, mind ya; we had support from a lot of people that thought we were different in a cool way, ya know?

But a lot of people didn't even give us a chance! They'd point and laugh. Some even went as far as stuffing many of us in a closet and buying a "regular" mouse. I still have nightmares about those days.

Tommy: Man, that must've been tough. If it makes you feel any better, I used a couple of hockey pucks in high school, and I use 'em today. I like the little guys!

Bondo: Thanks, man, it's cool to know you like us.

Tommy: How did you feel when the Apple Pro Mouse came out?

Bondo: One word: RAGE! I remember thinking for a while that we had been the standard. The bad press had died down, but not by much.

That's when I had my falling out with Apple. I mean, they gave us life, ya know, and they dissed us that way! They caved into the media pressure.

I remember meeting the prototype that eventually became the Apple Pro Mouse. I couldn't believe how darn smug and arrogant he was! I come from the ol' school, ya know, when ya gave mice respect, and we just wasn't gettin' it from Apple. But things are better now between us and the Pro Mice out there.

Tommy: How did the idea for NAHPMA come about?

Bondo: (taking another puff on his cigarette) It was right after we got replaced by Apple with the Pro Mouse. I left Apple at that point and started going around to some of the local Mac user groups around California to gather support for an organization for just us hockey pucks! The idea caught on so well, we wanted to reach all the hockey pucks out there. So we sent representatives to each state to gather support and fundraising for what would eventually become the NAHPMA.

Tommy: Wow! So, what is the NAHPMA all about?

Bondo: Brother, I'm glad ya bought that up! Our focus is to shed light on all of us, the "hockey puck" mice. We want to tell our story and stop the media from gettin' away with hugely unfair criticism.

What we want the people to know is that we may be small, round, and all, and our cord may be a wee bit short, but we have a fun factor to us! It's all in how you use us. That's especially true of people who have smaller hands.

We want the people to know that we're more than just good looks; we can be fun, too! You can even add clip on extensions to us if you want us to resemble a "normal" mouse.

Don't dismiss us without giving us a fair chance, that's all we're sayin'!

Tommy: That's cool man! Does the NAHPMA have a website?

Bondo: Nah, not now, but maybe someday. Problem is, ya see, we're hockey pucks, not webmasters. We can't do everything, ya know! If you've got what it takes to put up a website, give me a shout!

Tommy: Do you think you were failures?

Bondo: No, not at all. I think we opened up everyone's mind as to what a truly different concept in mice could be. We may not be for everyone, but I believe we made our mark!

Tommy: Do you have any animosity towards Apple and Steve Jobs now?

Bondo: Not so much. Ya see, ya gotta try to move pass the bitterness and anger. That ain't productive, ya know!

Tommy: What do you think of the suit you're wearing?

Bondo: These are cool digs! I've really got it goin' on with this red bow! Ya really gotta thank your buddy Sean for making this for me!

Tommy: I sure will! (Thanks, Sean)

Tommy: What do you and other hockey puck mice do in your spare time?

Bondo: Well, lot of times you'll find us hangin' out! Sometimes we go out clubbin' for them fine lookin' lady mice - especially the tangerine ones. Man, those are some fine mice!

Tommy: (laughing) Is there any way that anyone can get in touch with you to send you fan mail or for donations to the NAHPMA?

Bondo: Not officially, but if anyone would like to write me or make a donation to our organization, just ask 'em to send 'em to you, Tommy (thomas (at) lowendmac (dot) com). You'll forward them to me, won't ya?

Tommy: Count on it, friend!

Thanks for telling your side of the story, and you can count on me using you guys for a long time to come! (shaking USB cord)

Bondo: That's straight, man! It was cool to hang with ya a while!

Mr. ClicksterAs you can tell, Bondo gets the message across well. He's the kind of mouse that you can really respect! The next time you run across a hockey puck mouse at a flea market, in a closet, or wherever, show some respect: pick it up and use it! Show some love for your hockey puck.

Wrapping Up

I haven't received any new stories on how our readers came to the Apple world to include in this column. If you have a story you want to share, drop me a line at thomas (at) lowendmac (dot) com and share your story of how you joined the Apple world!

Stay tuned for our next interview in The Legends of 68K series.... LEM

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