Apple undoubtedly make some of the best keyboards, mice and trackpads that money can buy. Their Magic Trackpad is perhaps more a work of art than it is an input device. For those of us who, for one reason or another, prefer to use devices from companies other than Apple then you may find your options limited due to poor driver support or lack of customisation.
USB Overdrive has been around since the days of Mac OS X Jaguar, over ten years ago, and provides a whole suite of controls for customising your input devices. I spend some time with the app to see just how much we can tame our USB input devices.
Whether you love them or hate them, you can’t deny that Apple’s family of mouses (mice?) have come a long way since the dreaded Hockey Puck, and provide a dramatically different experience than almost any other mouse on the market. The entire line up of peripherals feature multi-touch gesture support, which can be modified (along with tracking behavior) quite extensively from the preference pane built in to OS X.
But why should it stop there? The mouse is the primary medium through which we interact with our computers, so it stands to reason that it should be an implement with almost limitless power. I’ve wrangled up seven great apps that extend the functionality of your mouse, whether you’re using a Magic Mouse, the external Magic Trackpad, or the built in trackpad. Heck, most of these even work with third party mice.
Whether you’re a developer who wants to showcase the functionality of your new software, or you’re just the person in your family to whom all tech questions are brought, being able to clearly demonstrate how to use a program can be important. That can also be a challenge, considering how small a cursor is and the difficulty of keeping up with single clicks, double clicks, keyboard shortcuts, and more.
Boinx Software hopes to solve these problems with its simple tool called Mouseposé that helps make your demos and presentations easier to follow. Does it deserve a place in your menubar?
Since the advent of the App Store for iDevices, there has been an influx of apps that serve a very particular niche and perform a single, basic function. This trend has started to move towards the Mac in a very noticeable way, and the Mac App Store has facilitated the acceleration.
Many of these single-purpose apps serve a specific function, such as Caffeine, which allows you to temporarily deactivate your screensaver, or Boom, which squeezes more power out of your laptop’s wimpy speakers. Others don’t serve any real purpose, and are just for simple entertainment, and Mousterpiece certainly qualifies as frivolous app meant only for your amusement. Is it worth a download? Read on to find out.
The basic concept behind SwitRing isn’t exactly new, mouse-activated gestures have been around for ages. In fact, I used to be quite fond of using the gestures feature in Quicksilver. It’s nice to be able to whirl your mouse around as if it were a magic wand and have that interpreted as a command to carry out a specific action.
Typically though, gesture apps work basically the same way: you draw a basic shape with your mouse, then associate that with an action. The problem of course with this method is that three weeks later you can never remember all those silly shapes that made so much sense when you set them up. The alternative is something like BetterTouchTool, which adds more multitouch features to your Magic Mouse or trackpad.
SwiftRing is an app still in its infancy stages that seeks to rethink how mouse gestures work. Instead of forcing you to memorize various acrobatic cursor actions, all you do is press a hotkey and move your mouse in a given direction. Let’s take a closer look and see how this works.
Once upon a time, the Apple Mouse was just another reason for Windows PC users to hate Macs. Putting aside bizarre physical designs like the hockey puck, Macs seemed stubborn in their insistence on a primitively simple input device. When PC users were enjoying multiple buttons and even scroll wheels, we were still rolling our eyes and wondering why they needed anything more than one universal button.
When the Mighty Mouse came, many Mac users, including myself, realized that the PC folks might have been right about fancy mice. Having multiple clickable controls and a dedicated input for scrolling turned out to be a significant improvement!
Unfortunately, the scroll ball turned out to be the most frequently failing thing Apple had designed since the G4 Cube. Some users suggested rolling it on paper, others literally gave weekly toothbrush treatments to the cursed thing, just about everyone was forced to admit that it was a lousy piece of hardware.
After decades, it seems Apple has finally gotten in right. The Magic Mouse is, hands down, the best mouse I’ve ever used. Though some still complain about the shape being not ergonomic enough, I’ve used it extensively since it was first released with zero issues. Multi-touch scrolling is a dream (no ball!) and the bonus of gestures is far beyond what I could’ve hoped for in a mouse.
However, some still insist that third party tools are the way to go. Still others are content to use a trackpad 100% of the time and have absolutely no need for a mouse. The Magic Trackpad is certainly a fantastic input device and offers desktop Mac owners even more versatility and functionality than the Magic Mouse.
Today we want to know what you use for input on your Mac. Are you a purist, bent on only using Apple products or do you have a third party input device? Do you mostly use a mouse or a trackpad?
For my part, I use my Magic Mouse most of the time and my MacBook’s trackpad when I’m not at my desk. After you vote, leave a comment below telling us about your setup! Which products do you own and use?
OmniDazzle takes a step away from the usual affair of serious, stylish Mac software to solve a unique an interesting problem. It’s different to say the least!
When you think of The Omni Group, serious productivity tools come to mind – often OmniFocus, or one of their diagramming/graphing apps. You don’t necessarily think of software for spicing up your mouse pointer…
OmniDazzle does just that, offering a way to easily add some jazz to your daily pointing. It’s great fun, and has plenty of serious uses after you’ve finished playing around with magical pointer-pixie dust!
Remember Quicksilver? OS X’s ultimate but long-dormant launcher has quietly been updated to work on OS 10.6 and above. I thought I’d take the opportunity to dredge up an old but useful trick to boost your productivity.
Below I’ll show you how to setup Abracdabra with Quicksilver and add magical mouse gestures to activate any standard QS action. It’s a relatively simple trick, but gives your mouse a power you’ve never known before!
Your MacBook trackpad (and the back of that fancy new Magic Mouse) is a blank slate. It’s simple, sleek, and elegant. The functionality of these pieces of gadgetry has gradually improved with every release, and recent “multi touch” capability has made your trackpad far more useful.
In fact, the ability to track multiple touches and swipes isn’t really used to its full potential by default. There are plenty of applications and utilities that can really boost the functionality of your trackpad and Magic Mouse – today we’ll be looking at a selection!
In 2005, Apple released the first Mighty Mouse. A year later a bluetooth version was released. As much as we appreciate Apple’s attempt to creating a good looking mouse, the Mighty Mouse was heavily criticized for its usability – right click was awkward and the scrolling wheel was difficult to keep clean. How many times did we bang our heads because the wheel had stopped working?
The future of Apple’s mouse family is all of a sudden looking brighter with the introduction of the new Magic Mouse. If you are inline with Apple’s design philosophy, you would love the hardware design of the Magic Mouse – it’s simple, and it’s beautiful. The Mighty Mouse was a great piece of design with only a visible scrolling wheel on the top surface, the Magic Mouse takes one step further and presents you with one clean, curved top surface. From purely the appearance perspective, the Magic Mouse is absolutely breathtaking.