Magic Mouse Musings…

Typical, I start off my new daily bog posting regime and state that I’m not going to do long essays and look what happens!

So I’ll keep this one brief.

I used to be a big fan of the Mighty Mouse, except for the constant jamming up of the ball and those ridiculous buttons on the side. What a strange place to put buttons? I switched them off after a days use. However, after seeing rave reviews for the Logitech MX Revolution mouse, I decided to jump ship and go with a non Apple mouse.

I’ve been using the Logitech MX Revolution for quite a while and I’ve been very pleased with it. It’s sculptured to fit the hand, has a brilliant “weighted” scroll wheel and is bristling with buttons. I particularly liked the scroll wheel as it enabled you to move quickly through a long document just by spinning the wheel. It also has a tilt function which I used extensively when scrolling horizontal timelines, especially in Final Cut Pro. Even so, although the tilting scroll wheel my extremely useful, it was the most awkward part of the MX in use, as it seemed to require a considerable amount of effort.  Confession time – I hardly used any of the buttons. I set them up several times and each time I’f forget what I’d set up. I did use the middle mouse button occasionally when I remembered I’d setup up Deja Menu.

Even without taking advantage of all the buttons, I was pretty happy with the MX, probably my best mouse to date.

Then along came the Magic Mouse with it’s sleek lines and multitouch. As a service to my viewers and readers, I was duty bound to get one!

After reading about its capabilities, I was a little concerned at how well I’d be able to get by without the “weighted” scroll wheel and the much needed tilt function. The absence of extra buttons wasn’t really a deal breaker for me as you might imagine.

As soon as the new iMacs were available, I nipped into my local Apple store and tried one out.


The scrolling via touch is effortless and very smooth. What’s even better, is that you can set up scrolling with momentum that mimics exactly the behaviour of the “weighted” scroll wheel of my MX. It’s almost like Apple went out and examined the features of the best mouse on the market and emulated it via multitouch :-)

Both vertical and horizontal scrolling are supported, in fact full 360 scrolling is available.

Unfortunately, the Magic Mouse was not on sale at this time but as soon as it was, I returned and bought one. The acid test was using it with Final Cut Pro and how well it enabled scrolling when navigating the horizontal timeline.

Well, I have to say, it works a treat!

Much, much better than horizontal scrolling with the MX. The timeline flies left and right with a feather touch on the surface of the Magic Mouse. Superb! After a weeks use, there is no danger of me returning to the MX

Some other points of note:

  • The two finger swipe works but I don’t really use it that much, don’t really need it.
  • Scrolling can be one or two finger – useful if your swapping between a laptop and desktop.
  • The travel and noise of the mouse click buttons is a bit excessive at first but you soon get used to it.
  • The absence of extra buttons really hasn’t been a problem for me. I use a combination of the new Expose in the Dock feature of Snow Leopard a lot and have just set up some hot corners. No big deal.
  • The low profile of the mouse seems to match the Alu keyboard exceptionally well. I was a bit concerned about the low profile of the mouse after the sculptured feel of the MX but in use it’s been fine.
  • Seen a few posts about battery life. After full week of constant use – baring in mind I’m a heavy full time Mac user – my mouse is showing 79% battery life.

On reflection, the Magic Mouse has been a pleasure to use. I’m still in awe of just how well the touch surface feels and operates. 

Well recommended!

PS OK, so I’ll keep the next blog post brief…sheesh!

Happy Snow Leopard Day!

CC7A12F8-E602-4F89-B992-D278CAB2C0BE.jpg Well, on Monday Apple announced the release date of Snow Leopard as Friday 28th August 2009 – ScreenCastsOnline publication date!

Despite several people suggesting that Apple scheduled it on a friday to coincide with ScreenCastsOnline, that wasn’t the case, really!

However, the issue was… do I do an install show using the developers build in my possession and hope that the final retail build had no surprises? Or do I wait until I get the final version of the build and leave it a week before doing a Snow Leopard install show? I figured that they Apple wouldn’t change that much, at least not in the install so I opted for the first.

So the results of my labours are published in this week’s show – SCO0213 -Snow Leopard Prep & Install. This is a full free show and the links to download the show or stram it are on the webpage.

As I write this on the release day, it transpires that the build I used to record the show, is actually the final build released on DVD to developers, so I had no last minute changes to cope with. Just as well really as the show took twice as long to put together as normal as I had to resort to using some live video footage to capture parts of the install process – I hate doing that!

Anyhow, I hope you find the show informative and helps when you do your own Snow Leopard installation.

As an aside, after seeing all the buzz surrounding the release, plus Snow Leopard updates being available for Mail-Act On, DropBox, 1Password3 and SuperDuper, I threw caution to the wind and installed Snow Leopard on my main production Mac Pro (having several backups and a spare machine of course).

The install seemed to go fine except for a rather worrying kernel panic at the end. All seems well following a reboot and I have to say that everything does feel a lot snappier. I’ll probably take some time off over the Bank Holiday (yeah, Don, sure…) so may not be able to give it a full workout until next week but I’ll keep you posted.

I hope your upgrade goes swimmingly!

Yes, I know you’re excited but…

Now as you know, I’m as big a fan of Apple and OSX as most of the readers of my blog, but I just want to try and set expectations a bit with the upcoming launch of Snow Leopard on Friday.

Leopard is a stellar operating system and Snow Leopard will make it even more stellar, but it’s a bit like an iceberg, in that most of the changes are below the waterline. We’ll all benefit significantly from these new changes over time as more and more developers re-engineer their applications to take advantage of the new core features.

But it’s going to take time.

The cosmetic changes you’ll see on Friday will be relatively low key but the intention always was evolutionary not revolutionary.

So what I’m saying is don’t expect to be initially blown away on Friday when you boot into Snow Leopard, it will all seem very familiar. However, As you explore, you’ll discover lots of really neat but very subtle changes throughout the OS, some not very obvious, some you’d probably not realise unless you had them pointed out to you.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll do a couple of ScreenCastsOnline shows covering Snow Leopard, starting this week with a run through of the installation options and possibly some of the more obvious features. I’ll follow up next week with a look at some of the subtle changes in Snow Leopard and how to get the most of it.

Just don’t expect to have your socks blown off on Friday, Snow Leopard will remove them gently and carefully over the next few weeks!