The Microsoft Touch Mouse

The time came yesterday for a new mouse. The cordless mouse that I’ve been using, while faithful for some time, has been getting increasingly dicky. The rubber tyre on the mouse-wheel had stretched and scrolling and middle-clicking often yielded unexpected results and directions.

I eyeballed the digital rodentia at the local JB-HiFi store without the intent to purchase anything right away, but ended up walking out with a brand new Microsoft Touch Mouse ($100AUD). It was the largest mouse on the shelves, and my hands are large with long, slender fingers. Most of the rodentia on offer weren’t as long as my index finger, let alone comfortably large enough to rest a hand on.

Here’s the short version: Don’t buy this mouse. Do not be seduced by its apparent features and sleek curves, for it has a wicked design flaw.

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A desert tortoise with the caption "I used to race Achilles, then I took an arrow to the knee"The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax’s upcoming MMOG take on the Elder Scrolls universe is going to have nowhere near the sort of graphical fidelity that you’re used to from, say, Skyrim. And there’s good reasons for that. Reasons that are applicable to pretty much every graphical title you’re likely to encounter, from IMVU and Second Life to … well, Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Online.

Leaving aside the individual hardware for just a moment, perhaps the single most important factors in graphical performance, is control.

The customer has 3D hardware, and your software contains a tuned and optimised 3D rendering engine and pipeline. That’s great.

However, the best 3D engine on the best 3D hardware can still run about as well as a wounded tortoise if you don’t exercise proper control.

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This month, we lost one of the greatest technologists in generations. From humbling beginnings (and working with two other great men) he helped push the boundaries of computing possibility. His contributions ultimately helped breath life back into an ailing Apple Computer, brought us more powerful devices, better software, converted the Internet from a clunky hobbyist’s toy to the communications platform we know today, and reworked the infrastructure of telephone, television and even filmmaking.

Hands up anyone who thought I was talking about business magnate Steve Jobs.

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Remember Google’s Labs initiative? It’s all those odd little products and projects and prototypes that Google allows people time to work on for the sake of innovation. If it weren’t for Google Labs you wouldn’t have Google Reader, or Google Maps, or Google Groups, Google Desktop or Gmail.

Those were all products that just didn’t fit with Google’s product line-up at the time. Gmail? Maps? Who would want them provided by Google, right?

Well, now you probably can’t imagine things without them. Google, however, is pulling the plug on this innovative incubator, that has yielded some of its top products in an effort to “streamline” the product portfolio and its development efforts.

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