OPEN THREAD 20200308

Basically, all legal free speech is allowed. We will assist the authorities in dealing with illegal speech. You are each other’s moderators. Have fun. And don’t forget to MAGA at nuclear levels.

After going through the elements, we now enjoy a sequence of RANDOM somewhat pseudo-random topics that will be thrown out for investigation and commentary on each open thread. At some point, in a way something like composite numbers, I will accidentally hit a second occurrence of one of them – that’s just normal.

Have fun!

Citizen U

(a.k.a. W on the OTHER site)

Day 123 – the computer mouse

19 thoughts on “OPEN THREAD 20200308

  1. Back in the day when Silicon Valley really made things, rather than trans-shipping them from Malaysia — or, later, handling sales and marketing when Malaysia directly shipped to suppliers……the Valley actually made mice. This was before they were all USB and before they were all optical, they actually had little rollers inside to count the revolutions of a physical sphere captured within the mouse.

    Soon enough, the dimensions and rubber coating of the sphere were stanardized so that a mouse company could buy in bulk and build whatever sort of mice were in vogue at the time. They didn’t really need packing, so incredible numbers would be shipped-in in regular cardboard boxes — and every time you opened a box, a bunch went everywhere.

    These were, of course, referred to as “mouse balls” — and they were ubiquitous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. According to , mice actually came AFTER trackballs. They are generally held to have been conceived by Douglas Engelbart of SRI (Stanford Research Institute) and prototypes were made under his direction. It then migrated down the street to the Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) campus who built the first mouse-centric computer, the 1973 Alto.

    The Alto was the inspiration for the Apple Lisa, a project that soon became the Macintosh in 1984 — back in the day when Apple gleefully flew the Jolly Roger over its headquarters.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember trackballs. Actually used them for years – I had a keyboard with a trackball built-in on the far right beside the ten-key and three buttons below the left meta keys. Using the trackball was a two-handed operation, which sounds awkward but it made dragging control points in Micrografx Designer a breeze.

      I had a Logtitech bus-mouse trackball but it was horribly awkward. The trackball was right-handed first of all – a big design no-no IMO! – and was oriented so you used your fingers to press the buttons and your THUMB to manipulate the wheel. It was painful and I’m glad that design died away. The biggest advantage of this device was that I could use it and free up my COM ports and an IRQ I desperately needed.

      For many years, my modem was on COM1/3 and my mouse was on COM2/4. The modem software was in the AUTOEXEC.BAT to configure the device on every boot. But if wanted to use the mouse I’d run MOUSE.COM only when I needed it.

      Sadly, IMO trackballs became too impractical as Quake became popular, Micrografx Designer became a forgotten relic, and scroll-wheels made web browsers a far sight more tolerable to use. Sadly web browsers are still garbage.

      The first gen optical Logitech sealed the deal for me, no more cleaning mice. I found my original gen 1 a couple of years ago and fired it up. Still worked, but it was amazing how heavy, sluggish, and clunky it is compared to my newer nothing-to-write-home-about optical mice.

      I think Kensington still has trackballs but I’m not planning to buy any. They are still great for drafting, as you can take your hand completely off the pointing ball and press the mouse buttons without moving the pointer. Very good for drag operations.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I was never much into trackballs, the little nubby in the center of the keyboard on lenovos, laptop trackpads, gamer mice with a zillion keys, or other variations. It took me a while to get used to the scrollwheel mouse. I’ve seen so many variations of so much hardware with so many applications programs over so many operating systems that I just want things to do what I expect them to.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. “Do it in DOS”
          One of my favorite sayings.
          No hidden crap in a “registry” etc.
          I do like the GUI (Graphic User Interface) in newer operating systems.
          I used to use a “Digitizer” for input….
          I had Icons (pictures) on it for different operations before “Icons” were a thing 🙂


  3. They say that if you have an infinite number of monkeys typing at an infinite number of keyboards for an infinite period of time, you will get the collected works of Shakespeare.

    If you get the source code to Microsoft Windows, you need to add more monkeys.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Jesus and the devil were arguing over which one of them was the better computer programmer.

    “I am!” Jesus shouted.

    “No, I am!” the devil countered.

    “I am!”

    “I am!”


    “No, me!”

    “EEEEEEENOUGH!” God bellowed, and the whole universe disappeared into darkness. When the lights came back on, two computers were sitting in front of them. God said “Now, whoever makes the best computer program in twenty minutes wins.”

    Jesus and the devil both sat down, typing and clicking furiously. This went on for about 15 minutes, but then there was a power failure, and everything went dark. When everything came back up again, the computer screens were both blank.

    The devil tried in vain to get back everything he had lost. He came up empty-handed.

    Jesus pressed one key and it all came back.

    The devil looked at Him in astonishment. “No way! How did you do that?!”

    Jesus turned to him and smiled, and said, “Everybody knows that Jesus saves.”

    Liked by 4 people

  5. A psychiatrist had no patients in his office and he was bored. Suddenly , the door opened slowly and a man crept into the room on four legs. His mouth was full with pieces of colored plastic. He was holding strange objects in his hands. He was dragging cables along behind himself. The doctor was glad because of the visit and exclaimed, “And what do we have here, a little snake? Come to Uncle Doctor, my snake….”

    The man shook his head.

    “Oh, sorry, I didn’t notice your legs. You’re a dragon, right?”

    The man shook his head again angrily.

    “Sorry….a worm?”

    The visitor spit out the plastic pieces and exclaimed. “Go to hell, you idiot! I’m the system administrator and I came to rewire your LAN setup!”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I know someone who tried, but it didn’t work. Maybe the glass was too full or too empty or too big. Or something or whatever — the experiment turned out generally disappointing.

      Similarly, it has been noted that polar bears are rectangular bears after a coordinate transform. But again, who has ever encountered a rectangular bear? Apparently the transform doesn’t operate in the other direction.


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