Back on the button train

I have been enjoying my Logitech pointing devices for a while now. I stand by everything I wrote, especially how the T631 makes a lot of mousing feel more fun.

But - perhaps inevitably - I have also rediscovered limitations. They are the same ones that made me seriously annoyed at Apple's inabilities as an accessory maker.

Yes, I am back at the instances of style going before utility - the bad connotations of the word design if you will. Back to bemoaning the lack of separated physical buttons and the lack of precision that comes with the process.

All it took was an hour of good old original Command & conquer.

(Or many hours, it is so hard to keep track of time when playing.)

Command & conquer is a very early realtime strategy game, and the controls are extremely simple. After a while I even put away the keyboard, realizing I only needed it when saving. Virtually everything is done by pointing and clicking with the left mouse button.


The one thing you do regularly with the right mouse button is deselect your currently selected units. Strictly speaking, this is not even a necessary action. You can always click to select something else, or hold down the left button briefly to get a drag-selection which covers no units.

Still, in the heat of battle, it is pretty darn convenient to be able to right-click anywhere and be sure you do not accidentally send all your tanks to the wrong side of the map with your next click.

This one action becomes frustratingly unreliable with a touch-surface, one-button mouse. Not only do you need to make sure the left side of the mouse is clear for a right-click to register, if you get it wrong your mouse will helpfully left-click for you instead. So yes, now my tanks halted their attack and turned around.

I was still having fun and all, but it took such a small thing to realize just how much touch mice still put form over function.

Soon, I found myself digging out my Microsoft comfort 3000 something-or-other mouse along with a long USB extension cable. What a difference! Suddenly, the thing I want happens All the TimeTM!

So, when will we get either touch-mouse software which makes right-clicking reliable, or a touch-mouse with several truly physical and separate buttons?

Multiple buttons were not a broken thing so please, fix this.

(And to Apple in particular: please make a truly great mouse some day. Please?)