Left, Right, Left, Right, Left

Using the mouse for the first time, I quickly became frustrated with how rarely my right clicks were registering.  Apple said just to click the right side of it and it'd work, but it didn't, or so I thought.  I kept on repositioning my middle finger further and further right of the scroll ball until I would get the right click to register, which usually ended up being on the very far right of the mouse.  Something had to be wrong - no company would release such a blunder of a mouse. And of course, something was wrong - my pesky index finger.

As I mentioned earlier, when I first started my Mac experiment over a year ago, I refused to use the Apple mouse.  As such, I've developed a small collection of the mice that do nothing but sit in their original wrapping.  I needed my second mouse button and I wasn't going to be able to give the platform its fair chance with that mouse. I tried to be as open-minded about the platform as possible, but I would not budge on the mouse issue.  Since I rarely used Apple's mouse, I had no reason to grow accustomed to what is, in my opinion, the biggest difference between it and normal mice. 

Apple's mice have no button on their surface. Instead, when you "click", you push the entire surface of the mouse down, which works as your primary click.  With a single button mouse, it's not that big of a deal, but once you get into a 2-button mouse situation, things get a bit more complicated. 

Hold mouse over image to see the mouse being clicked

On my Logitech MX1000, when I'd right click, I'd have my index finger resting on the left mouse button.  There was no reason to lift my index finger because my middle finger was doing all of the work at that point, clicking the right mouse button.  And when I needed to left click, my middle finger remained idle while the index finger did its duty.  This is the way most mice work, and most importantly, it doesn't confuse the user; right clicking feels like right clicking because your index finger is on the left mouse button and you can tell that it isn't moving when you right click. 

Doing the same on Apple's Mighty Mouse not only feels weird, but it isn't exactly possible to do without producing a very different outcome.  The Mighty Mouse is no different than Apple's regular mouse from a mechanical standpoint, so regardless of what side of the mouse on which you're pushing down, the whole surface of the mouse clicks.  So, if you happen to have both fingers on the mouse and attempt to right click, it tends to bring about a bit of confusion (you're trying to right-click, but the finger with the job of left clicking moves down as well.  It's an uncomfortable and momentarily confusing feeling, but at the same time, if you're feeling it, then you're using the mouse incorrectly.

Since there aren't two physical buttons on the mouse, left and right clicks are determined by the side of the mouse that you are touching.  So, if your index finger is slightly touching the left side of the mouse when you go to "right click", the click won't register as a right click; instead, it will default to a left click.  That fact alone was what took the most getting used to for me.  At first, I blamed the mouse, but then I quickly realized that all of the times when the right mouse clicks weren't registering, my index finger was resting peacefully on the left side of the mouse - even when I didn't think it was. 

The solution is simple, although a bit annoying for conventional 2-button mouse users: whenever you go to "right click", just lift your index finger off the surface of the mouse.  You have to completely remove your index finger from the surface of the mouse in order to guarantee a right click; otherwise, you'll get a left click.  Of course, if you already do this, then it doesn't take any adjusting. But for me, it was the steepest part of the Mighty Mouse learning curve.

Once you have that down, right clicking seems natural, mainly because your index finger isn't around to feel that it isn't exactly natural.  If you remember to keep your index finger out of the way, you can right click anywhere to the right of the mouse ball.  You can actually click below and to the right of the scroll ball and still generate a right click. 

Index Small Balls and Touchy Sensors


View All Comments

  • LincTX - Saturday, August 06, 2005 - link

    I don't think the mouse is the only one with small balls. There is a difference between Professional and just being plain tame. This is a horrible, horrible product that is sure to annoy more than just gamers and PC-switch users.

    I say pass the Apple product reviews on to a reviewer which hasn't been recently bitten with the Apple worm. It's only fair I think.
  • cryptonomicon - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    Logitech or microsoft are not perfectly ergonomic and do not fit many people's hands, however they are infinately more ergonomic than this attempt by apple.

    Why can't apple just put two buttons on the top of their mouse??? The bottom-clicking mechanism is an overly complicated way for a mouse to work and causes alot more accidental clicks in my experience.
  • Vitaboy - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    By the content of most of the comments here, it seems you have a lot of people who feel very threatened by the Mighty Mouse.

    It seems Anand's review was very objective. He pointed out the mouse's good features as well as the bad features. In the end, he basically stated the mouse is certainly appropriate for some people (like Apple Pro Mouse users) but not so great for others (gamers and hardcore multi-button mousers). Yet, a lot of people seem to be very threatened by this seemingly sensible language with comments like, "This proves the mouse sucks!" or "Apple is all style, no function!" when it's clear most of the people posting have not used the mouse, do not have an open mind, and do not even care to have an open mind about it.

    I've tried the mouse. The mouse isn't perfect, but it's perfectly good enough for most Mac users and probably a lot of less experienced Windows users. It feels comfortable to my hands and is thus "ergonomic" for my needs. Considering most companies slap the term "ergonomic" as nothing more than a marketing label to make consumers think they are getting "ergonomic" without really explaining why their product is so "ergonomic" (like the marketing guy that Dilbert needles by explaining what he means by "paradigm"), it seems to me the only definition of ergonomic is something that doesn't cause you discomfort or pain after use. And that, it seems, is a very personal thing rather than Microsoft, Logitech, or Apple telling me that their mouse is "ergonomic."

    That being said, for every comment of "It's amazing how much Apple can get people to pay for useless style", you can always find someone who feels threatened by the idea that there are many people out there who find that Apple products work for them just fine.

    The bottom line? Some users will love Might Mouse because it works well for them. Many other will not like it one bit. But everyone would benefit from the discontinuation of inane and childish mentality of "I think the mouse sucks and you are getting ripped off if you buy because I hate it and I know better than you and you should use what I think is better because Apple sucks." Nuff said.
  • IKeelU - Saturday, August 06, 2005 - link

    I don't feel threatened by apple's products. It just seems arrogant to me that a company would forsake ergonomics and functionality just to be "different". Granted, I don't actually know why apple chose this design, but from Anand's reactions to the product, I can't see any other reason why someone would want to buy it. Reply
  • MCSim - Saturday, August 06, 2005 - link

    Mighty Mouse is one way to say "we don't want to expand to gaming". If it only works in simple use, there's no way it would become popural outside of Apple fanatics or "we don't know anything else".

    My MX700 is ergonomic, can use it anyway i want, doesn't have same kind of limitations as MM, can use it with Mac's and PC's.

    MM is just bling bling. There's no way telling what it causes in long periods of time to your hand. Only Apple can deliver this kind of "limited" usage products, because it's "cool".

    As you said, most Mac users are a lot less experienced than the Windows users. My friend once told me a joke, simple computers for the simple users. He was just being sarcastic. :)
  • kmmatney - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    Well, I think this mouse sucks. I also thought the "hockey puck" mouse sucked on the old imacs. I don't think they make the old hockey puck mouse, because, well, it sucked. This one seems way to easy to miss the clicks. The market will show how long this mouse lasts in its current form. I bet it won't go over all that well. Reply
  • Ocaid - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    Amen. Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    " This is a case where I really think Apple has sacrificed usability in order to achieve aesthetic elegance."

    Yep. This mouse sucks. I feel sorry for the people who are going to use it.
  • SMOGZINN - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    It seems to me that this mouse was created for the type of people that move the mouse over the icon and then pick up their hand and click with one finger. You know the same people that type with one finger, probably the same finger that they click the mouse with. I often think that Apple does not take their customers seriously, and makes systems designed for the lest common denominator. This is a shame because they often have really interesting ideas, and I would like to be able to get a system that does not look like it was designed for a 14 year old's room like the all plastic 'ninja' cases or a warehouse (flat metal case, beige case.) Reply
  • Houdani - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    Mind you, I'm not bellyaching for the sake of bellyaching. This is a case where I really think Apple has sacrificed usability in order to achieve aesthetic elegance.

    I totally wouldn't be surprised if prolonged use of this mouse didn't cause significant musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) due to the unnatural way you have to manipulate your hand in order to use the mouse. Quite seriously, I expect users of this mouse to enjoy the pleasures of Tennis Elbow -- and they probably won't even realize it's the mouse which is causing it.

    This mouse is a failure in the sense that in order to use it, you have to do unnatural things with your hand. Yes, you can "get used to it" but that's hardly any reason to excuse it's flawed implementation.

    >> You should not have to physically lift one finger in order to click with another.
    >> You should not have to pinch with your thumb and pinky in order to use the side buttons. Hello thumb button!
    >> Moreover, you should not have to reposition your entire hand in order to use the side buttons.
    >> You should not have to apply pressure to the trackball in order to use it. That's just unnecessary strain.
    >> When using the trackball, you should not have to repeatedly move your fingers in a contorted manner (while exerting a slight amount of downward pressure) just to get to the other side of the document. Anand has me thinking the "high scroll rate" isn't all that high a rate.

    On a side note, what happens when you click the trackball when either of your fingers is resting on the mouse? Do you have to physically remove your fingers from the left and right "buttons" in order to get a trackball click?

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