Friday, July 04, 2008

Mousemats Revisited: An interesting Discovery.

After 9 months of heavy gaming my beloved apple shaped mouse mat is showing its age. The top surface has developed some stains which refuse to wash off while the grippy bottom surface has started to peel. Luckily I have managed to find a replacement which is even better but in the process I made an interesting discovery.

My new mat is a Sweex Laser Mouse Pad. The Sweex pad has a more conventional design than the Fellows circular disk. It has two layers: a rubberised high friction bottom layer which grips the desk like glue and a plastic top surface. I suspect the top surface is made from PTFE (Teflon) because my mouse literally glides over the surface under its own momentum. It is coloured a neutral grey and has a fine surface pattern that seems to be just right for my laser mouse.

After using the Sweex for a couple of days I noticed that occasionally my mouse would behave erratically, sometimes sticking in place and sometimes moving of its own accord. I was on the point of abandoning it when a niggling doubt prompted me to try moving the mouse from an old PS/2 input port to a USB2 port on the back of my computer. Bingo. All erratic behaviour stopped. I don't fully understand what happened but it seems as if the PS2 port could not handle the high data rate from a precision laser mouse.

I then tried the mouse on the wooden table surface and found that with a USB2 connection it gave much smoother less jerky movement than with the PS/2 port. I still don't like the friction of the desk surface though so I am now using my new mouse mat. It gives silky smooth movement and precision mouse positioning. All in all a bargain for less than €6.

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