by The Fox
This is intended to be an occasional column, from the perspective of a mostly non-technical user. The premise is that items discussed may not be "new" in any objective sense, but they were new to me at the time. Maybe they are new to you also, and hopefully worthy of your discovery.
My desk is usually a paper-strewn mess, my office bordering on chaos. (Aren't neat freaks more than a little bit suspect . . . ?) Be that as it may, I've long wanted to lose the mouse cord which, despite extender cables, always seemed to be involved in a tug-of-war, always very much in the way. This is now possible for Warp users, if being untethered is worth 60 bucks to you. It certainly was for me, and a better mail-order deal might knock a few dollars off that figure.
So far, I like the Logitech Cordless Optical Trackball Mouse a lot. I favored trackball-type mice anyway, and this one is a good size and shape for my hand. It has a small thumb-operated trackball to the left, a small rubber scroll-wheel at front-center, flanked by two mouse buttons. This is apparently a radio frequency device, with a small, unobtrusive transmitter "base station" that plugs into your PS/2 port via an adaptor. Without the adaptor (included), it would connect to the USB port, but that may not be supported for the OS/2 driver.
A clear advantage of this breed of rodent is that it is much better sealed against dust and grit, and so should not require periodic cleaning. The biggest problem I've found is that you have to initially get the mouse in signal contact with its transmitter, by pushing a small button underneath each. Don't mess with either of these after that! If they get out of "synch," mouse function will disappear and you'll have to reboot, then get the two units back on speaking terms again, which can take trial and error plus additional reboots. This is also likely to happen when the AA battery in the mouse finally crumps.
In regard to the OS/2 driver, SCROLLMS.EXE, forget about looking among the included software. (What, were you surprised to hear this?!) You will need to get it from the
IBM Online DDPak. The archive should be version 2.10 or 2.11. Installation is pretty simple. It mainly just renames your existing MOUSE.SYS and places a new one in Warp's \OS2\BOOT directory, while making some subtle changes to your existing Mouse Object in the Hardware portion of System Setup. The mouse object will now say "ScrollPoint Mouse," and I guess some of the settings options are updated accordingly.
This new mouse driver is more than satisfactory for the tasks at hand, though maybe not completely polished in its present incarnation. On my system, it inspires one longish BEEP during bootup, which does not seem to have any consequences. You do need to be clear about which window or part of a window has focus at any given time, or risk the scroll wheel's function not working as expected. For example, you can find yourself flipping through titlebar URLs in Netscape, rather than scrolling a longer web page. One curious thing is that twirling the trackball does not wake the system up from a running screen saver in Warp, but it does so in NT. This suggests something driver-specific, rather than an issue of signal relay via a base station.
Want to read about last month's discovery, SeaHaven Towers?
The author welcomes your suggestions for future discoveries. Email the cunning fellow at
The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA
Copyright 2001 the Southern California OS/2 User Group. ALL RIGHTS
SCOUG, Warp Expo West, and Warpfest are trademarks of the Southern California OS/2 User Group.
OS/2, Workplace Shell, and IBM are registered trademarks of International
Business Machines Corporation.
All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.