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mouse

The primary pointing device on a desktop computer. Laptops have the equivalent function in a built-in trackpad, although many users prefer the handheld mouse.

Decades ago, it was called a "mouse" because the cord resembled a mouse's tail, and wired mice plug into the USB or PS/2 port. Today, most mice are cordless, using Bluetooth (if in the computer) or by plugging the transceiver that comes with the mouse into the USB port. See USB and PS/2 port.

Although CAD and drawing programs, as well as every graphical interface, are designed to be used with a pointing device, many key commands in the OS and business applications are also available.

Relative Vs. Absolute
Mouse movement is relative. For example, a mouse could be moved along your arm or across your stomach, and the screen cursor would move from its existing location the same angle and distance. In contrast, the mouse-like object on a graphics tablet, which is correctly called a "tablet cursor" or "puck," is often not relative. It contacts the tablet with absolute reference, which means if you place the stylus on the upper left part of the tablet, the screen cursor appears on the upper left side of the screen. See pointing device, scroll mouse, mechanical mouse, optical mouse, Magic Mouse and mickey.

Mice Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
It is now well known that hours of clicking can strain the wrist (see carpal tunnel syndrome).




First Public Mouse Demonstration
Invented by Doug Engelbart in the 1960s at Stanford Research Institute (SRI), it used two moving wheels 90 degrees apart. Subsequent mechanical mice were similar but with rubberized trackballs moving internal wheels. (Image courtesy of The Bootstrap Institute.)






One Size Does Not Fit All
Contour Design makes mice that come in many sizes for a perfect fit. They also put less strain on the "clicking finger." (Image courtesy of Contour Design, Inc., www.contourdesign.com)






A Variety of Critters
All kinds of mouse designs have come and gone over the years. (Image courtesy of Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Brian Tramontana, Photographer.)






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Motorola Blurmouse elbow
Motorola X phonemouse emulator
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mountmouse over
Mount Rainiermouse pad
Mount Raniermouse pointer
Mountain Lionmouse port
MOUSmouse potato

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