September 18, 2008 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Glass desk from Staples; Microsoft Intellimouse; Horrible mouse tracking -- how to fix?

I have big hands. Its not a ZOMG STUPID BIG HANDS embarrassing feature, but its a fact. I love my (3rd gen?) Microsoft Intellimice (the one Microsoft recalled due to the shitty cable). I wont admit it -- but there may or may not be a small horde of them in my closet. Seriously -- it fits my hand like a dream, its decently professional looking, and functionally complete.

Mouse aside - I have a glass surfaced desk that I purchased from Staples (it has a blue/green solid surface under it -- its not translucent, but its still glass).

The two do not get along. At all. I have been taping paper to the mousing area for years.. but I have been killed enough times in Counterstrike because of it -- made enough errors in photoshop because of it, and generally feel like it mistracks enough that I need some help with this setup.

I am not adverse to a mousepad -- but I want it no thicker than a piece of paper -- and smooth on the edges. There should be no way to accidentally slit my wrists on my desk like some mousepads do.

Looks are nearly irrelevant -- but I wouldnt mind it looking nice.

My ideal solution would be something that sticks to the glass (so it cant move), is amazingly tactile so the mouse doesnt mistrack, but isnt overly resistant to mouse movement (I hate mousepads in general).

I am about 15 minutes away from ducttape and 1500 grit sandpaper.

Thoughts? Is there a laser mouse thats "big", a slim, 8x11 mousepad with edges that will not slit my wrists (ie, arent as high as the mousepad itself) .. or a howto on sanding your glass desk?
posted by SirStan to Computers & Internet (26 answers total)
Could you not print out something like a 20% grey and tape that to the desk?
posted by Artw at 7:53 PM on September 18, 2008

Artw: I have a HP Laserjet 4050 next to me.. but lets pretend I would need to unbrick a Linksys WRT54G to bring it online. Convince me a 20% grey card would make my optical mouse track right. Remember -- innocent lives are on the line. I have nixed numerous ho stances on accident because of my current setup -- and would like to limit future bloodshed.
posted by SirStan at 7:56 PM on September 18, 2008

Or, if you want to get really clever, maybe you could transfer some letratone onto the desk?

Caution: Unlike the printing on paper solution I have no idea if this will work.
posted by Artw at 7:57 PM on September 18, 2008

odinsdream: Currently I have a piece of paper with a grid printed out of EXCEL and pen circles all over it. THIS DOES NOT WORK. It tracks well enough.. but hostages STILL die due to mis-aim. Photoshops of Sarah Palin still are a bit off as I cant mask around her head well enough.
posted by SirStan at 7:58 PM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Your short term solution would be a magazine, hopefully one with not too glossy a surface. WIRED works.
posted by Artw at 7:58 PM on September 18, 2008

The grid probably isn't quite fine enough a texture.
posted by Artw at 7:59 PM on September 18, 2008

What the hell do people who play FPS shooters do who have glass desks -- but hate the height/resistance of mouse pads do?!
posted by SirStan at 8:00 PM on September 18, 2008

I'd guess that most people just use normal mouse pads. I'm not sure I get exactly what you don't like about them--surely they're smoother/less resistant than paper, which you say you're using? What's this "wrist slitting" issue?
posted by dixie flatline at 8:05 PM on September 18, 2008

The edges of most common mouse pads -- the macbooks, etc, have nasty edges. I am morally adverse to my mousing surface having a sharp, or not-flat-to-the-surface-it-sits-on edge. If ducttape would act as a good .... oh shit ..... wheres my ducttape.
posted by SirStan at 8:11 PM on September 18, 2008

I have this, in black. Though I don't think its anywhere near .13 inches deep as it says on that link. Mine is near as flat as a sheet of paper, maybe two. It also has a nice grippy back.
posted by miscbuff at 8:17 PM on September 18, 2008

Googling "adhesive mouse pads" returns pagesful of things that sound like what you're looking for.
posted by hattifattener at 8:18 PM on September 18, 2008

Sun workstations of the early 1990's had optical mice before they were commonplace for PC's. They required a special mousepad (kind of like this) which I always enjoyed using because it was very slim and had a relatively slick surface. They're probably pretty cheap on eBay these days.
posted by tomwheeler at 8:35 PM on September 18, 2008

The piece of grey cardboard from the back of a tablet will work fine. And it isn't very thick, and it won't rip.
posted by Class Goat at 8:38 PM on September 18, 2008

I have a glass top on my wood desk, drives my mouse crazy. I think it is the reflective qualities of the glass.

A paper thin sheet of felt would give you the opaqueness and texture you need. While in the craft section, grab some fabric spray adhesive. Spray the back of the felt sheet lightly, place on the glass top desk. The adhesive will be easy to remove from the glass surface.

If you look hard enough you can find the thin felt with peel and stick already on the back. This is the fabric used on the bottom of objects to stop them from scratching the finish of the surface they are placed on.
posted by JujuB at 8:46 PM on September 18, 2008

The mouse laser needs dark to work well. On my desk at work there's a calender just under the glass top, and when I'm surfing around the cursor freaks out if it hits that white patch. This is why God gave us mousepads.
posted by zardoz at 8:50 PM on September 18, 2008

I bought a 3M precise mousing surface a while ago. It's extremely low profile, and his a textured surface that's ideal for optical mice. However, it doesn't come in the size you want.

The Wow pad does, however.
posted by O9scar at 9:08 PM on September 18, 2008

What about one of those giant desk pads? Doesn't fit your criteria exactly, but it would be hard to slit your wrist on the edges, I think, and it would be hard to make it to the edge very often.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 9:12 PM on September 18, 2008

I thought maybe Microsoft's new BlueTrack sensor would do the trick, but it turns out that clear glass & mirror surfaces are pretty much the only surfaces it doesn't work on.

However if you ever run out of IntelliMouses -- and I don't fault you on stockpiling, by the way, I use an IntelliMouse Explorer 2 and just love the hell out of it -- and need a replacement mouse for your giant paw, consider the Microsoft Sidewinder X5. CrunchGear described it as "like I was Jack trying out the Giant’s mouse in his castle at the top of the beanstalk", and "do you have big hands? Then I think I can decisively say that this mouse is your best bet [...]".
posted by The Monkey at 9:17 PM on September 18, 2008

2nd the early 90's Sun mousepads. Also, you might want to look at a Razer anodized aluminum "pad". Very thin, very large, pure awesome, using one right now and you will not catch me buying anything else for my foreseeable lifetime..
posted by doowod at 10:09 PM on September 18, 2008

Hydrofluoric acid will etch glass (make it frosted) very nicely. It must be relatively easily available; stupid dipshit tagger piss-driblet kids can get their hands on it, soak dried-out jiffy markers in it, and bloody etch the glass on public buses and bus stops.

If you were going this route, I'd dribble wax around the area that you want etched then use a razor of some sort to delineate the edges (or if you want a more organic look, forgo the razor) and apply the hydrofluoric acid. Soak up the acid after the etching reaction has gone to the desired point, soak up the acid, then add water (making sure that it doesn't breach the wax seal). Soak up the water, and repeat a few times until you're confident that any remaining HF is diluted away.

Not entirely sure if the surface will be laser-mouse trackable, though. Be sure to try it on a piece of glass (similar to the kind that your tabletop is) first.

Barring that, O9scar's 3M material recommendation is probably the best way to go (if it's not big enough, tape a few pieces together).

... hmm, if you have access to an inkjet printer and a *lot* of ink; perhaps print a 8x11 sheet of injet-printer acetate (it's nuble-y/rough on one side) with a solid colour (or a pattern or whatever) and tape/glue that to the glass (maybe try rough side up and rough side down). Hmm, I suspect that the inkjet acetates might be good enough without colouring them to work. Won't cost very much to find out...
posted by porpoise at 10:27 PM on September 18, 2008

How about affixing a sheet of contact paper to your desk? You can find frosted, patterned, or whatever you're looking for at a hardware or craft store.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:45 PM on September 18, 2008

I'm going to second the contact paper, a former job had an artist that refused to use a mousepad, and the glossy white desktops on their workstations hated optical mice. low-tack cabinet liner paper works too, it's fairly easy to remove/change, but sticks well enough to last a few months at a time.
posted by pupdog at 5:32 AM on September 19, 2008

I use one of those black-and-white composition books for exactly this purpose. Works great for me, and it's about 99 cents.
posted by jbickers at 6:51 AM on September 19, 2008

I got one of these free with a paper shipment years ago, and use it when I need a mouse pad.

I love it because it's paper thin and I can chuck it in my laptop bag without worry.
posted by arcticseal at 7:20 AM on September 19, 2008

Couldn't you just paint the area of glass you want to use as a mousepad?
posted by exphysicist345 at 2:39 PM on September 19, 2008

The closest thing I have seen to what you want is the Wow PAD one of the selling points of which is that it is 0.015 inches thick, which is pretty darn thin.
posted by tcskeptic at 8:38 PM on September 19, 2008

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