Even though my title here at Sympatico.ca is Tech Editor, I sometimes get these brutal reminders that my computing habits have not kept pace with the times.
Mostly it comes in the form of thinly-veiled contempt: “You still use an email client? Why not just use Gmail?” or “Of course I upload all of my photos to Facebook… why? Where do you put yours? … Flickr???”
My usual response is to sigh and hang my head a little lower while I perform a gesture with my arms that is half way between an admission of guilt and a defensive “How was I supposed to know?”
Today however, I was shocked to realize – as I wandered from one end of our offices to the other – that very few of my colleagues use mouse pads.
“Well, DUH” you might be thinking. Or, as I thought to myself, “Really? How is that possible? Can they really be satisfied using their regular working surface?”
I have always thought of a mouse pad as an essential item for comfy computing. Mind you, that’s an attitude I developed over 20 years ago when I rolled the mouse of my Macintosh II for the first time. You know, back when all mice used little balls and rollers that would need to be cleaned weekly with alcohol and Q-Tips. Back then, a mouse pad was the only way to ensure that the ball would have enough grip to roll reliably. Optical mice, which have all but forced their ball-encumbered brethren into extinction, aren’t nearly as fussy about what kind of surface you plant them on, so long as there is an absence of colour uniformity (optical mice need to be able to “see” where they are by comparing their current position to their prior positions – a calculation they can’t perform if the two positions look visibly identical).
And even though I haven’t used a ball-mouse in over 5 years, I can’t bring myself to part with my mouse pad (see above).
But my curiosity had been piqued so naturally it was time to conduct a scientific survey. Out went the poll to my co-workers (yes, via an email client): “Do you use a mouse pad?”
The verdict: Out of 24 respondents, only 6 people said yes. Or in other words, roughly 76% are not mouse pad users. Yup, once again, I seem to have fallen behind.
But is our little office microcosm representative of the internet world at large?
Glad you asked! Take our poll below to see which camp you belong to. Are you a devil-may-care pad-less mouser? Or a fastidious type who likes a clearly defined area for your cursor clicking?