Dexter, our cat has been chasing a mouse around the house for the last few winter days. When he does he gets Beulah our sixty pound basset hound all excited and involved in the chase. It is funny to see Beulah with her tail wagging a mile a minute sitting next to Dexter staring at the bottom of the refrigerator where a mouse is currently hiding. When I started this post that picture came to mind but that is really not the topic at hand. Instead it is about giving up my computer mouse.
I started out my computer life with a Radio Shack TRS-80 computer in the 1980s. It had no mouse or graphical user interface (GUI for all you techies). Everything had to be typed in on a keyboard and I spent hundreds of hours on doing just that. I was hooked from the very beginning.
I was one of the first engineers that convinced my boss that I could do more and better work if he would allow me to buy an Apple Macintosh computer. Of course when my boss heard the words “more” and “better” he quickly agreed and my first Mac was soon proudly on my desktop. Before long my entire departments was filled with Macs and their associated mice. And then, of course, Microsoft soon copied Apple and came out with their own mouse driven GUI.
So a mouse has been an integral part of my life for 30+ years. That is until they were replaced with another Apple innovation and that is the Magic Track Pad. Up until now my use of the mouse has been a love/hate relationship. I loved the method of interfacing with a computer but after hours and hours of using it my right arm and shoulders would become almost numb. That is especially true as I have gotten older.
When I returned to being a Mac owner a little over a year ago after forcibly being divorced from it for two decades due to a corporate edict I decided to switch to the magic trackpad. Not only did my numbness go away but I can now even more efficiently manage with this new interface. The palm of my hand can rest on the desktop while my fingers do the work and I mean all my fingers. One finger moves the cursor, two scroll in different modes and sometime four move between screens and open and close apps. In the past year I have come to love my magic pad even more than a mouse.
When I moved back to a Mac I soon remembered why I loved it so. When I got my new Macbook Air with a magic trackpad, wireless keypad and a 27 inch high-resolution screen I remembered that a Mac is all about what you need to do and not about the computer itself needs you to do. So here I am celebrating giving up the mouse and saying hello Magic Trackpad. I hope we have a long and fruitful relationship.