OpenOffice to release mouse with 18 buttons
By siliconindia | Monday, 09 November 2009, 09:41 Hrs
Bangalore: Open Source office suite provider OpenOffice has partnered with a company named WarMouse to release a mouse with 18 programmable buttons with double-click functionality. The mouse was developed by a game designer who was annoyed with the paltry number of buttons available on high-end gaming mice. Gaming mice have historically been designed primarily for First Person Shooter (FPS) games, not Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) and Real Time Strategy (RTS) games, they do not possess sufficient buttons for the dozens of commands, actions and spells that are required in games that make heavy use of icon bars and pull-down menus. After much experimentation, it was determined that 16 buttons divided into two 8-button halves were the maximum number of buttons that could be efficiently used by feel alone. In the process of design and development, it quickly became apparent that many non-gaming applications would also benefit from having dozens of commands accessible directly from the mouse, especially applications with nested pull-down menus and hotkey combinations. There are many benefits of this mouse. It has the ability to assign application functions to both clicks and double-clicks, combined with the ability to use the joystick as an analog joystick or as the equivalent of 4,8, or 16 additional mouse buttons. For example, users can use the joystick as arrow keys to move around the spreadsheet cells in Calc or Excel, then use it as a joystick to rotate three dimensional (3D) objects in 3D Studio Max. In Writer or other word processing programs, users can click a button once to copy, double-click the same button to cut, and click another button to paste. In Adobe Reader, users can turn the page, switch between views and zoom levels, or search for text with single button clicks. In AutoCAD, users can assign a function that is nested four menus deep to a single button click. In Adobe Photoshop, users can rapidly switch between layers without ever taking the hand off the mouse or moving the pointer away from the pixels that users are painting. Macros can be recorded and assigned to button clicks, double-clicks, joystick movements, or scroll wheel positions. Users can even use it as a number pad for fast data entry. OpenOffice.org was selected as the ideal application suite around which to design this application mouse because the usage tracking feature of OpenOffice.org 3.1 permitted the assignment of application commands to mouse buttons based on the data gathered from more than 600 million actual mouse and keystroke commands enacted by users. This device is available at a price of $74.99.