Tech Nous The Mouse that Wouldn’t Morph

Technology never ceases to amaze me – just when you think one particular technology is on its way out, it ‘morphs’ into several new ones, which quickly gain new footholds in the market. I used to feel sorry for video rental shop owners who were experiencing declining sales because the novelty of VHS had well and truly worn off. Then along came PlayStation and Nintendo games, and in more recent times, the DVD. Now, at your local video shop most of the faded video tapes have been relegated to the scrap heap, and DVDs are revitalising the market. I even had to invest in DVD player myself recently (and was pleasantly surprised to pay just over $200 for top brand). And DVD technology is vastly superior to analogue VHS – makes you wonder how we managed all those years!
Look how the PC has morphed in recent times too – once we just had desktops and laptops – today there are many variations of mini-PCs, handhelds, and smart devices with phone and computing functions.
While there was much talk of ‘converged’ devices until recently – ‘converged’ often led to being ‘confused’ – too many functions, not enough brain power!
Now designers and engineers are opting to make devices simpler and easier to use. My teenage son had our DVD player plugged-and-playing in just few short minutes!
Technology marches relentlessly on, and so today we have number of analogue technologies morphing into digital ones – for example, dictation devices, music recording devices (tape cassettes to CDs), digital cameras, and document archiving.
However, while some technologies morph very quickly, others stick around for many years, and in the case of the computer mouse – many, many years!
It was interesting to read that Logitech, the world’s biggest mouse manufacturer, recently sold its 500 millionth mouse – yes, that’s half billion of the little critters – since it began in 1982. From the ‘that’s incredible’ files come these statistics: stretched end to end the mice would circle the earth 1.6 times, or stacked up they would fill 48 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Every single day, on average, Logitech turns out 270,000 mice, that’s six million per month – and we haven’t even counted the mice that other manufacturers such as Microsoft are building.
The mouse is essentially the same device today as it was way back in the ’80s – maybe little more ergonomic and functional, and often without the ball or cord attached – but still performing the same function (point and click).
Is it about to be replaced? There are other technologies in the wings, but nobody’s taking them seriously yet. Besides, we still love our mice – survey of 1000 internet users by Greenfield Online in the United States found that 63 percent of the respondents spent more time holding their mouse than any other commonly held object, including cellphones, remote controls, steering wheels or PDAs – you could probably also include coffee cups! Many respondents also said that the mouse was one of the most important devices in the computing experience, second only to the monitor.
I don’t know about you, but in my household the computer is now the number-one appliance – every member of the family wants to get on it, and inevitably all at the same time. That mouse gets hammered!
I’m looking forward to the day my PC morphs into several new devices to allow all the household computing tasks to be done simultaneously. It may not happen overnight, but I’m hopeful! M

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