The truly magical 18 button OpenOffice Mouse

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Do anything. Go anywhere. Play it all, and have a button for every function – sounds like a great tagline for the new OpenOffice Mouse which though reminiscent of a Nausicaa Ohmu (toward the bottom), isn’t a joke, nor fuelled to murder by its extermination. Actually, a double-take also reveals a bit of the Atari Jaguar controller – a real beast which sported 25 buttons. To their defence, Atari were marketing a device which was way ahead of its time and in an era which loved every little mathematical bump. It stands to reason that a game system which arrived at 64 bits by counting 32+16+16, needed a few extra buttons to sweeten the deal when facing off against its fastidious 16-bit competitors from Nintendo and Sega.

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OpenOffice, too, faces a well-funded competitor: Microsoft, a company whose market strides have left it in the throws of more than one anti-trust lawsuit. So, when Microsoft stand second only to Logitech in rodent production, OpenOffice -the good little guy- has to step in and outdo the bully. Well, outdo they have done, and here’s how:

The OOMouse was designed with the goal of being the best and most useful mouse the digital world has seen to date. Initially inspired by the keyboards on the Treo smartphones, it was designed by a game designer who was annoyed with the paltry number of buttons available on high-end gaming mice. Because gaming mice have historically been designed primarily for FPS games, not MMO and 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 discovering that the available World of Warcraft mice were nothing more than regular two-button mice decorated with orcs, dwarves, and Night elves, the idea of the OOMouse was born. 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. 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.

Now, what can you do with 18 buttons, 52 commands, and a joystick? The answer is anything you like. 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, significantly expands your options beyond the mere addition of more buttons. For example, you 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 3D objects in 3D Studio Max. In Writer or other word processing programs, you can click a button once to Copy, double-click the same button to Cut, and click another button to Paste. In Adobe Reader, you can turn the page, switch between views and zoom levels, or search for text with single button clicks. In AutoCAD, you can assign a function that is nested four menus deep to a single button click. In Adobe Photoshop, you can rapidly switch between layers without ever taking your hand off the mouse or moving the pointer away from the pixels that you’re painting. Macros can be recorded and assigned to button clicks, double-clicks, joystick movements, or scroll wheel positions. You can even use it as a number pad for fast data entry! The OOMouse puts 12x more functionality at your fingertips than the generic two-button office mouse and 4x more than the most expensive gaming mouse.

The OpenOffice Mouse: Do the Math!

[via OpenOffice Mouse]
  • JabberWokky

    Yes… except this mouse has nothing at all to do with the people behind Open Office. It is a gamer mouse that some marketing guy at the company figured he could sell more of by slapping the OO.o logo onto it. The very first entry in their FAQ is:

    Is the OOMouse part of OpenOffice.org?

    No, the OOMouse is produced by a private company called WarMouse. OpenOffice.org is a open source software community. The OOMouse comes with profiles designed specifically for use with the five primary OpenOffice.org applications utilizing information gathered by OpenOffice.org’s Usage Tracking group.

  • http://www.touchmyapp.com shigzeo

    Yes, and that is the beautiful thing: just like the unwieldy Jaguar controller which was made for gaming, this mouse is also made for gaming touting among other things, number of buttons. The fact that it is a gaming mouse (or at least designed by a gamer) only makes the OO relation that much more interesting!

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