Saturday, December 20, 2008

Apple Mighty Mouse goes ABSOLUTELY BERZERK!

OK, so it's 2:11 AM and I finally figured out why my Apple Mighty Mouse is going berserk.

First, some background. The might mouse is touch sensitive, meaning the top shell can sense where your fingers are and produce the correct type of click, according to where your fingers are. For example, both fingers down will default to a left click, while lifting your index finger (if you're right handed) will produce a left click because it can sense that your left finger is off the top of the shell.

So this evening, I had a little work to do on the company laptop. I pushed my mac keyboard and mouse out of the way to make room for the laptop, did my work, then closed the lid (left the laptop on), and then proceeded to use my mac with the keyboard and mouse.

I noticed some peculiar things happening with my mouse. See, the Mighty Mouse has two side buttons--one on either side--when you squeeze them, it makes a little clicking sound and activates exposé. What was happening this evening was that ANY time I touched my mouse, I'd hear the clicking sound and exposé would activate. It seemed to get worse, then better, then worse again, seemingly at random. Sometimes, it got so bad that it would literally toggle back and forth between activated and deactivated, many times per second--while my hand was simply resting on the damned thing. I could hear the clicks. It was insane.

But it only did it seemingly at random, which pissed me off. So, I sought out a solution.

At first, I tried to take the mouse apart... but in fear of breaking the damn thing, I chose to find other alternatives. Scouring the web left me with nothing--apparently the only major problem people have with the Mighty Mouse has to do with the scroll ball. Alas, I was about to give up and bring it to the Apple Store when I woke up.

But then it hit me: maybe this isn't a mechanical problem, but an electrical problem. Could the Mighty Mouse be short circuiting? Impossible; I bought my Mac over the summer of 2008, and Apple makes some pretty high quality products so I doubt I'd see my poor little mouse go belly up in only a few short months.

Nevertheless, I began to test things. Systematically. Starting with the cord, I jiggled it. After a while of going up and down the length of the cord, I discovered that the problems stopped once I hit the base of the cord where it connects to the keyboard. Could this be it? No, but there's a reason, which I'll detail below.

See, the point where the cord connects to the keyboard is the point at which my hand and arm was completely off of my LAPTOP that was sitting on my desk! Once I put my hand/arm back on the laptop and touched my mouse, crazy shit began to happen again. This was it!

Upon my enlightenment, I smiled with delight--for a couple reasons. One, I fixed my problem myself (yay me!) but two, I don't have to waste time at the Apple Store looking like a total loser because my symptoms would never have shown up. Imagine: "Hi, my mouse is going crazy." Apple tech: "Looks fine to me." Me: "Fuck. Never fails; you go to the doctor for medicine, but magically, by the time you arrive, you feel much better than you did 30 minutes ago."

So I got all excited to write this post to share with the world my discovery, and moved my laptop from the desk to my lap, so I could access my keyboard. As soon as I touched my mouse, what do you think happened? Well I'll be damned: same problem. Mouse went haywire again.

I then put the damn thing on the floor (avoiding contact with it) and what do you know? Mouse is perfectly normal.

So the bottom line is this: this damned Mighty Mouse is sensitive to electrical impulses, such that if an electrical current flows through the top shell that's more than a human's, it throws the whole damn thing out of whack.

2.5 hours of my life wasted, but at least now I know, and so do you.