March 2006

Mar 03 | Mar 03 | Mar 09 | Mar 10 | Mar 11 | Mar 12 | Mar 14

mini mouses14 Mar 2006 09:00 am

Here's the full mini mouse review, roughly from newest to oldest.
At last, a nod to the tiniest mouse of the lot—Thumbelina.

The final lineup roughly from newest to oldest miniature mouse + full sized HP Premium wireless mouse

Left to right: Xerox Mini Mouse | Targus Ultra Mini Retractable Optical Mouse | Mini Optical Mouse | Packard Bell & Disney Pock mini mouse | black Targus Mobile Mini Mouse | Tri-colored Child Sized Mouse | Gulliver Mouse | Thumbelina | QuickShot MiniMouse | HP Wireless Premium Mouse

This might be the tiniest mouse alive and the earliest mini as well. It is merely 1.7 inches square. Of course, it's actually a trackball, but that is only a mouse on its back. My diminuative pointing device came packaged as a Pro Mini Input Device, aka Pro MiniMouse, with no other recognizable package branding. But its own label says Thumbelina. Thumbelina was made by Appoint, released in 1991 at $99. Later Fellowes marketed it. When I peeled off the crude additional white label on its back, "by Fellowes [800 phone number]" was revealed. So, this Thumbelina was labeled after Fellowes aquired it from Appoint around 1993. Then Fellowes sold it to the unidentified business.
The tiny Thumbelina trackball

Like the Gulliver mouse, the Thumbelina's 3 foot long PS2 cord designed for mobile computing may not accommodate desktop computer use. The Pro Mini comes with an adhesived square of velcro to mount it but I'm not sure where you'd stick that if you compute with a laptop at various locations. Not on the desk. Maybe right on the notebook's keyboard. Alternatively, other Thumbelinas come with a 6 or 9 foot cord so you can use it from a distance for presentations.

Roll the centered pea sized ball on top to move the cursor and use the two round buttons like standard mouse buttons. The square button is for locking while dragging, signaled by a light, since you don't move the trackball like you do a mouse. Using the Velcro mount would stabilize it.

This Thumbelina came with a floppy driver for DOS and Windows, a reminder of its early beginnings 15 years ago. [Does anyone have a working driver to share?] Windows did not automatically detect and install the necessary driver in those days. It also came with an ADB connector for Macs. Some models had the NEC mini-din 9 pin connector and a combo version went either PS2 or serial.

The bottom of the Thumbelina with its velcro attacher

FCC ID: IDHTH300691

Linda Rohrbough reviewed the DOS version of Thumbelina for Newsbytes September 1991. She had trouble with its drag button.

Trevor Meers' review for Mobile Computing March 1993 didn't mentioned any functional problems. He found it easy to cradle Thumbelina between the thumb and other fingers, true, but manipulating the tiny buttons is certainly not for clumsy fingers.

Last is least, in size but not in innovation of this micro mouse for micro computers.

Thumbelina reborn as he Pro Mini Thumbelina reborn as he Pro Mini
Thumbelina was reborn as the Pro Mini, complete with a driver on floppy, apparently for Windows 95. Windows XP recognized the mouse and ran it without the driver, but it seemed sketchy. I did not try installing the driver.

mini mouses12 Mar 2006 04:47 pm

Click to see the complete Miniature Mouse Review photo

Left to right: Xerox Mini Mouse | Targus Ultra Mini Retractable Optical Mouse | Mini Optical Mouse | Packard Bell & Disney Pock mini mouse | black Targus Mobile Mini Mouse | Tri-colored Child Sized Mouse | Gulliver Mouse | QuickShot MiniMouse | HP Wireless Premium Mouse

The little flat black mouse on the right dwarfed by the HP Wireless mouse acknowledges only its FCC ID on its label. Fortunately, this is one of the few mouses that reveals its manufacturer inside its case. Behold, the QuickShot MiniMouse for the PC.

The full sized HP wireless mouse will remain as our standard comparison size to earn its keep since it does not have a cord to muscle around for photos and is otherwise worthless to use. Worthless? Not exactly, it works fine, constantly flashing its pretty red light, which explains it voracious appetite for AA batteries, but not its intolerance for the rechargeable variety. Furthermore, it is rather man sized, too big for my comfort.

QuickShot has been around since 1983 producing more game controllers and other electronics than pointing devices.

QuickShot2753.jpg

The company must be proud of this no longer available mini, however outdated it is, since it keeps a page for its white sibling, the Minimouse (GS-6169).

The specs are 200 DPI resolution at 500mm/second tracking speed.

I think I tried this out when I got it a few years ago and found it didn't track well with its opto-mechanically driven tiny hard ball. Of course it's a slow old mouse by contemporary standards, but that wasn't the issue.

Its width makes it solid to hold for being a such a small mini and the raised dot on the left button and raised bar on the right button contribute to usability. The buttons are a bit firm with a loud click. And the cord is about four feet long.

The QuickShot MiniMouse must not have taken off since I can't find any specs anywhere else on the Web.
Underside of the QuickShot mouse

The label says:
FCC ID: HE9QS167
QS for QuickShot, of course.

The date on this mini is hard to guess. I'd think it quite early, judging by its archaic 9-pin RS-232 COM port serial connector. But a detail on its motherboard makes me wonder if it's actually an anachronistic 2001 model.

The motherboard says:
QuickShot
QS169
200169001 VER.2.0

innards of the Quick miniature mouse

For you voyeurs, here is the inside view.

mini mouses11 Mar 2006 06:32 pm

Mini mouse review

Left to right: Xerox Mini Mouse | Targus Ultra Mini Retractable Optical Mouse | Mini Optical Mouse | Packard Bell & Disney Pock mini mouse | black Targus Mobile Mini Mouse | Tri-colored Child Sized Mouse | Gulliver Mouse

Gulliver is an inverted reference to this mouse's Lilliputian size, a daring innovation in 1993, complete with short cord for laptop convenience. Check it out on the right in the mini mouse review lineup.

The Gulliver mouse next to a ruler

Gulliver was designed by Appoint, founded in 1989 and known for its "mice that don't look like mice," as observed in a long gone post by Aida Zakaria, a student of the American University in Cairo. Gulliver's other Web references as the Fellowes Gulliver Mouse suggests Appoint was absorbed by Fellowes, the 1917 family business now into its 4th generation and gone global. There, got the family tree out of the way.

The buttons are curved across the cord edge, like none I've ever seen. It looks more like a sawed off sportscar with legs or a model space ship than a computer mouse, but it's perhaps better described by J. Blake Lambert,
"The far edge slopes away like a sports car hood with the primary button across the front edge, a secondary one just behind it, and a small turbo button father back (it's a gain button that toggles the mouse's speed)." [COMPUTE! Issue 162 March 1994 ]

Gulliver mouse underside

The underside reveals that this baby had a tough life. One glider in it's rear leg is gone, another injured, apparently due to an attempt to access the innards, but a teensy star screwdriver would be needed. The tiny ball [< 3/8 " d.] is pocked and brittle. Thirteen years old would be 91 years for a human—or is that for dogs?

gulliverguts.jpg

The lock ring turns easily to open the ball housing that's hardly over 1/2" wide. Miniscule stainless rollers and ball bearings—no mere plastic here—must account for reviews which did not complain of the poor tracking I've otherwise found with such a tiny ball.

the legs elevate the mouse bottom to give the ball more play, I guess

Perhaps the elevated legs which allow the ball to drop well out of the housing account for its apparently normal action. Trevor Meers at pcnovice.com in March 1993 claimed that "Gulliver does not need a mouse pad and will operate on most surfaces. The mini-mouse features two mouse buttons and a special 'ballistic' switch that controls on-screen cursor speed."

Besides as a PS2 interface for the PC in computer greige and tan at $99, the Gulliver was also available in Macintosh platinum [ADB plug], reviewed in the October Macworld of 1993. Its list price was $119, with OS 9 and earlier compatibilty.

If brevity is the soul of wit and a picture is worth a thousand words, then I am a dimwit, indeed. Who else would be so well amused by a has-been pointing device?

mini mouses09 Mar 2006 09:06 am

Here's a Targus mini that seems ideal. Of course, I am amused by the Xerox branding on the retractor mechanism since Xerox was a mouse pioneer.

Targus mini with Xerox brand

For your critique, the size of the above image of the Targus mini is 400 pixels wide. Let me know what size is best for your viewing.
Targus mini on a ruler

Notice the black medallion on the retractor. In this instance it is even Xerox branded in red, unlike the plain silver round on the larger Xerox laptop mouse. Here's the bottom of this optical mouse in a 500 pixels wide image.

Bottom of the Targus mini showing the optical sensor

Its optical workings are probably more reliable than the earlier black Targus ball mouse which no longer tracks. Its promo materials mention the red LED, so that means it's an optical mouse, not one of the newer laser mouses.

Enlarge this thumbnail to look closer at the size comparison

One more size reference, this time with a thumbnail image [click for an enlargement ] 800 pixels wide. I aligned this left in the image editing function. Next to it is my recent HP wireless mouse.

Targus PAUM01 mouse labelTargus is proud enough of this baby to print its name on the label.

I find the curves and tapers of this mouse, along with the relatively large flat buttons and indispensible scroll wheel, inviting to the touch and eye. I just wish its short cord did not limit it to laptop use.

mini mouses08 Mar 2006 10:30 pm

I wish I knew the manufacturer of this primary colored child sized mouse. Bright red blue and yellow ought to appeal to the Fisher Price crowd. Compare the beauty on the right to some other minis for size. It's not so tiny that it's unmanageable. I wish I had a little kid to try it out.

four little mouses all in a row

Left to right: | Packard Bell & Disney Pock mini mouse | Mini Optical Mouse | black Targus Mobile Mini Mouse | Tri-colored Child Sized Mouse

Look at the hand conforming shape. The two red buttons are scooped and the sides curve in at the waist for a comfy finger grip.

red and blue top of the tri-colored child's mouse

The pear shaped bottom reveals its modest sized ball with enough tracking surface to work. Four round white gliders contribute to the smooth tracking.

yellow bottom of the tri-colored mouse

Two buttons and a PS2 connector make this an efficient mouse for a youth and pleasant for an adult to use as well.

Sad to say, Model #80152 and Made in China are all we know about this winner's creator. Even looking inside gives no clues, but the bright green motherboar—the missing primary color—and elegant simplicity of design deserve the parting shot.
The four colored insides of the tri-colored mouse

mini mouses03 Mar 2006 08:42 am

I was pretty pleased when I received this curvacous black mouse for a laptop from my son, Ashley. Its oval concave buttons feel nice and the kidney shaped curve fit my right hand thumb nicely. It's only about 3-1/2 " long and has a USB connector. But mother always told me that pretty is as pretty does.
black Targus Mobile Mini Mouse

The reason this mouse was freely given is because of its flakiness. It was a cast off from a large computer driven firm. Its malfunction is no real surprise due its too tiny ball. I haven't found a tiny ball that tracks well. But this one has other tracking failures as well so is basically nonfunctional.
bottom of PAUM001 Targus black mini mouse

The label says:

Model No. PAUM001
Made in Taiwan
TARGUS
www.targus.com

Tiger Direct's promo says, "The Targus Mobile Mini Mouse offers the ease and comfort of an external mouse in a compact and lightweight design. With the notebook user in mind Targus compressed the features of a full-size mouse into a smaller form factor while adding state-of-the-art USB 'Plug-and-Play' capability. The Targus USB Mobile Mini Mouse is small enough to use almost anywhere, while still being comfortable enough to use everyday!"

Even if it lasted thru its 12 month warranty, it should have lasted longer than it did. oldmouse.com is the only haven I know for mouses dead or alive. All comers welcome with cute and tactile traits earning points for an honorable mention.

Last Internet prices were around $24 before it became unavailable. If you plan to USE your laptop mouse, however, maybe you shouldn't consider a second hand aquisition of this touchable but touchy mouse.