Saturday, November 13, 2010

The loathesome Apple Magic Mouse and the MagicPrefs salve

I have only one dysfunctional relationship.

It's with my Apple Magic Mouse. I hate it, but I can't leave it. I don't swear, but today my son heard me drop the F bomb. Thanks to the Magic Mouse from Hell.

There are two parts to the curse of the Magic Mouse. One is that Apple, the company that's never made a decent mouse, was too clever with their latest failure. The other is that Apple, the company that hates its geeks, has steadfastly ignored our screams. All we want is an option to make scrolling require two fingers, but instead we get accidental scrolls that wipe work and lose context.

I have an order for a $35 Logitech Bluetooth mouse in my Amazon cart, but before I pull the trigger I'm trying the last refuge of Magic Mouse users -- the MagicPrefs menubar and preference pane. (Better Touch Tool is a similar product, but seems to have less recent development).

I don't like to install this kind of tool -- they're usually playing in illegal APIs. Indeed, I've seen rumor that MagicPrefs has trouble with 10.6.5. I've done it though, which shows my desperation.

So far all I've created one preset. All I've done is reduce touch sensitivity a bit, and change scrolling behavior:

  • disable one finger scrolling (also disables scroll momentum - I miss it)
  • two finger scrolling: vertical axis only
  • three finger scrolling: horizontal access only
  • four finger scrolling: disabled

I'll see how this works before I add more features or gestures. I have seem some atypical clicking and scrolling behaviors and I want to see if those settle down.

If MagicPrefs saves my Magic Mouse relationship I'll forgive it some minor system glitches.

Now if only Apple would fix its own $##% Magic Mouse Mess.


Anonymous said...

I have absolutely no problem with Magic Mouse while using 10.6.5. However, instead of MagicPrefs I use Better Touch Tool which gives an enormous range of variables. I didn't like MM without BTT. With BTT, Magic Mouse is fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Also have no problem with it... Picnic issue perhaps?

JGF said...

Thanks for the double encouragement about 10.6.5 and BTT/MagicPrefs. I haven't upgraded yet, figure I'll give it another week.

Anonymous said...

Make sure you have no other Bluetooth devices nearby. I am sharing my office now with my wife who's Magic Mouse interferes with mine. The solution is to turn off her machine which clears up the problem. Apple's support web site mentions the same solution.

Anonymous said...

Apple has made decent mice but its been a long time.

Anonymous said...

Mice are wretched things.

The fact that you're using a mouse at all is the real problem.

Get a trackball (Kensington Expert is the best), which faster, more accurate and ergonomically superior to any and every mouse on the planet. OR just get a Wacom tablet. Stylus input is natural and also stress-free.

BTW: The best Apple mouse was the ADB mouse, circa 1990.

Anonymous said...

I like the Magic Mouse. I think its the first decent mouse Apple has made in a long time.

Unknown said...

Absolutely agree - I HATED the Magic Mouse when I first got it, but Magic Prefs has made it quite usable.

Occasionally it has a hissy fit and goes slow for a few moments like someone has dropped molasses over it, but after I bash it a few time on my mouse mat it comes good! I've even got two dents in the battery cover from where the batteries hit the cover in one of my more frenetic bashing moments. Sort of like a duelling scar of old!

Anonymous said...

Best driver to use is Magic Driver, still in beta buut I have had no problems at all.

Alexander Bailey said...

A couple suggestions for using Magic Prefs:

1. You could set the one finger scrolling to horizontal only. This is enough to disable one-finger zooming in Google Maps (my most frequent source of Magic Mouse frustration), while NOT disabling momentum scrolling.

2. Alternately, narrowing the area on the mouse which is sensitive to scrolling can at least keep you from triggering Google Map zooms by merely touching the side edges of the mouse.

I used Magic Driver for a few months when I first got my MM. I think I was pretty happy with it, though something was glitchy. I'm pretty sure that it interfered with OS X being able to detect the mouse's battery charge. I may or may not have had more frequent connect/disconnect spasms. I just started using MagicPrefs now after a few months of nothing. Still, all I really want is for Apple to give us the option of requiring two fingers for scrolling. Why not have the option to use the same gesture as on a trackpad?

Fermion said...

MagicPrefs is brilliant.
I can restrict the scroll area to middle where the scroll wheel is on other mice.
I am no longer scrolling when I'm trying to click.