Over my working life, I have used my fair share of mice (I even used to keep pet mice, before computer mice were common...but that's another story). I have used single button mice (back in my Mac days), double button, single scroll, ball and optical mice. As it happens, though, I am not a mouse aficionado. Yes, I do like optical mice, as they have no ball to get clagged up, and I really do like the scroll wheel. However, I prefer using the keyboard whenever I can (as I can touch type), and so have never actually gone out to buy a mouse (I just tend to use whatever comes with the computer). Here at work, however, we are in the dark ages. I am typing this out on a (horrors of horrors) Windows 95 machine. Many folks here don't have little scroll wheels on their mice. However, when I had computer problems, I got the opportunity to smile sweetly at the IT lad, and ask for a curvy keyboard and a scroll mouse. Many scroll mice aren't compatible with Windows 95 (apparently), however, this little baby came with a disk and an instruction booklet, confirming that it would indeed scroll. So, installing the disk, I rocked and rolled... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Appearance ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My mouse is beige (needs a clean at the moment) at the top, black on the sides and bottom, with a little purple wheel. It has the Trust logo on it. Turning it over, the ball (which needs cleaning from time to time) is purple. Clearly, we have a bit of a theme going on here. The packaging contains the mouse, a floppy disk, and an unfeasibly large instruction manual (which informs you that the packaging contains the above, and, "if anything is missing or damaged, please contact one of the Trust Care Centers. You can find more information at the back of this instruction manual." What happens if it's the instruction manual that's missing??) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Starting up ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The system requirements are very basic - 486 processor, PS/2 port, 16mb RAM, floppy drive, Windows 95, and, of course, a computer. As mentioned above, a 3.5 inch floppy comes with the mouse. This contains the driver and software (on Windows 95, the scroll button won't work without the software, though the mouse itself will). This takes just seconds to load, and is all very self explanatory – it more or less loads itself. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Using ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Obviously, you can use this mouse as you would any other. It scrolls, it rolls, the buttons (left and right) work as you'd expect them to. For the record, the mouse rolls smoothly, the cord is of a sufficient length (this is important, as my computer is under my desk), it is sufficiently robust (I have dropped it once or twice). In other words, it is as good as any other mouse of similar price, function and quality. It is slightly shaped to the hand (I am right handed), so whilst it claims to be right and left-handed, I would think it would be less comfortable for lefties. What's different about the Trust mouse is not so much the mouse itself, but the software that comes with it. With most mice, if you press the scroll wheel (the little wheel between the left and right mouse buttons), you get the autoscroll function - your cursor turns into little arrows, and you can whizz up and down your document or website or whatnot without pressing any buttons. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Nifty Bits ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ With THIS mouse, you can program how you want that wheel pressing to work. In fact, when you press the wheel (if you are using the 'lucky jump' option), you get a little menu with fourteen little icons (and a bigger bit at the top with www.trust.com on it). These buttons allow you to do all sorts of things - and you can choose from lots of functions. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Once you've set up the mouse, you can access the Trust mouse menu either from the little icon that appears in the taskbar, or from the Control Panel. Here, you get the usual mouse options (left or right handed use, speed of double click, speed of scrolling and so forth). You also get a settings tab. Here you can set what icons appear on the 'Lucky Jump' menu. The functions include the aforementioned autoscrolling - but you can also have buttons to take you to the My Documents folder, to open the Internet Explorer, to run a DOS program - pretty much anything you can do from your Start menu (and you can have a button to take you to your Start menu). It is quite straightforward to set up, as on the Set-up menu each icon has a description that does actually describe what it does (i.e. Control Panel), and the icon is the usual Windows icon for that task. I use the 'Lucky Jump' feature a lot (though mostly to launch IE). It saves me (especially as I'm using Windows 95) from going to the Start menu or minimising all open windows each time I want to open a new window. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Good and the Bad ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I have been using the Trust Ami Mouse for some time now (around 4 months), and have had almost no problems with it. The software has crashed on me once or twice, but then, my computer crashes on an alarmingly regular basis, so I am willing to give Trust the benefit of the doubt here. The instruction booklet seems enormous (it's playing card size, but is quite thick), but in fact that's only because it comes in 14 languages. The English section is nine pages long, and includes set up instructions, technical specifications, maintenance (cleaning the ball), and trouble shooting. It also includes safety instructions. Being unfamiliar with mouse-caused accident, I paid especial attention to these. It is just as well I didn’t invest in that floating mouse mat. The booklet helpfully tells me not to 'use the devise in a damp environment, such as a bathroom, a damp basement, a swimming pool, etc.' All I can say is Trust clearly doesn't trust its customers! Trust also thank me for using their product, and say: "We wish you hours of fun with it"...but not in the swimming pool. Obviously. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Prices, availability and recommendation ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Trust advertise the Trust Ami Pro Single Scroll Mouse on their website at 4.95 euros. Elsewhere on the web, they seem to go for as little as just under £2.00 - although you may find the postage a killer. PC World don't seem to carry these (at least according to their website). (As an aside - just doing my research here, goodness, I didn't realise you could pay £50.00 + for mice!) All in all, hardware-wise, it is an inexpensive, bog standard wheeled (not optical) three button mouse. The software, however, gives it an extra edge over many similar devices. I'd recommend it if your usual mouse broke, or you wanted a second mouse, though I wouldn't necessarily search far and wide for it. Oh - and remember, mice and water don't mix.
Guess what I'm holding in my hand, yes - it’s a scrolling - mouse ! I recently purchased this wee ‘scrolling’ mouse and I think so much of it, I decided to do an opinion on it ! If you have already got a ‘scrolling’ mouse then - still read on, as you may not be aware of all of its capabilities. Recently, the college I attend installed scrolling mice as standard on all computers, and they proved to be very popular. So popular, in fact, that a few of the mice grew 'legs' and ‘walked’ out of the building ! Anyway, to get to the point - I started using the scrolling wheel more and more while in college, and found myself trying to scroll up and down pages while using my non scrolling mouse at home ! It was then I decided to buy my own 'scroll' mouse. I subsequently did many comparisons on price and functions and quality of many scrolling mice, and the ‘winner’ was the Amimouse Mono Scroll, made by the reputable ‘Trust’ Company. Ok, so what’s the big deal, I hear you cry - what’s so special about a scrolling mouse ? Right, - with the scroll mouse you can turn the wheel situated between the mouse buttons and scroll up and down your net pages easily, but- that’s not all. You might not be aware of the function, whereby, if you place the cursor on a ‘blank’ part of your screen, then click the scroll wheel down - once on the screen, you will see a wee circle appear, on the page, which has an ‘up’ and a ‘down’ arrow inside the circle ! Then, all you do is drag the mouse towards you, and the page will slowly scroll automatically, allowing you to have both hands free ! I recently read a very long, and may I say, excellent opinion by the trusted friend ‘kenjohn’ titled ‘ To Hell and Back’ ! This opinion took a solid thirty minute s to read ! but, as I had set my mouse to ‘automatic’ scroll, using the above described method, - I was able to read the opinion and have both hands free to have my dinner as well ! Right - this is probably going to cost us a fortune, I hear you shout. Wrong - This wee treasure only costs £6.99 and is readily available from the ‘Index’ Catalogue and all of the ‘Index’ shops. The mouse itself is fitted with a PS2 connection, but there is an adapter supplied with the mouse which you simply plug into, thereby making it into a ‘serial’ connection which is Microsoft and Mouse Systems compatible. The mouse is also covered by a 2 years direct ‘in store’ replacement warranty, and comes with a software installation floppy disk and user manual. In addition, you can also obtain any updated mouse drivers from the Trust website at : http://www.trust.com It only leaves one wee problem - my ‘old’ non scrolling mouse is now redundant, and sits quietly forlorn and unwanted on the shelf - no doubt wondering why it is abandoned and ignored, after so many years of loyal and trusted service . I am sure I can hear it squeaking quietly during the night, or - maybe we have got some wee unwanted intruders :-) auldmac