Gathan Beaga

Optical Mouse

One of the things that is better now about the Mac compared to a few years ago is the way many cheap PC peripherals, components and accessories can be made to work with the Mac.

Recently my ADB mouse has been playing up – false clicks, stuttering, gummed up rollers. I went looking for a cheap replacement, and found a butt-ugly A4 Tech 5-button 2-wheel optical USB mouse, at Dick Smith’s, for $47 (about USD25). The box (which looked suspiciously like a Microsoft Intellimouse box) didn’t mention Mac support, and certainly didn’t offer the usual bland marketing-speak:

We’ve gained a lot of prizes for many years until now. Therefore, we supply many products with good quality; and good products are produced from a very well factory which is located in mainland China for over 16,000 square meters. The stuff in our company are very well, strict-control. We sell over 1,800,000 pieces of mice per month over the worldwide.

I plugged it into a spare USB port (the USB card itself is a cheap no name job – only NZ$30) and it just worked immediately, although only the left button was functional.

Later I found some Mac drivers on the manufacturers’ website which enabled all the functions, including the somewhat redundant fourth and fifth buttons and the intriguing but useless second wheel (for horizontal scrolling).

So far it works brilliantly – no crashes, and having the extra button to take care of the Mac Ctrl-Click action, as well as a vertical scroller, are great. Once I get used to the shape it’ll be perfect.