The Enchanted Rodent

матрациToys! Shiny new toys!  I’ve just taken delivery of a new iMac at work, with Fusion 3 and Windows 7.  (This is so I can use and trial software across both platforms, but I’ve also noticed my workflow speed up – though partly because I can now use iWork)  Which of these new toys to play with first? Well, obviously the iMac  – since evertyhing else runs on that – and it’s as lovely as expected.  I forget how long its memory is now, how many acres of hard drive space it has or exactly what capacity its throbbing  engine boasts, but with the little strain I place on it ticks along at a fair old speed running both operating systems with no lag.  (If I try running 3DS Max virtualised, we may start to find its limits…?)

So what about Fusion and Windows 7?  I’m very pleased with Fusion: it’s elegant and intuitive with all the features of Parallels 3 (the last version I used) plus access to the start menu for multiple VMs in the menu bar.  And Windows 7 itself?  Meh, not exciting.  I’m sure there’s some good stuff in there, but I haven’t been motivated to look for it yet.  Mostly, so far it just works.

No, the star of this little ensemble is: the Magic Mouse.  This is an evolution from the extraordinarily elegant and beautiful but limited single button mouse.  The next incarnation, the Mighty Mouse, which used touch technology to allow you to right click with its single button and a scroll ball for whizzing around large documents, impressed me enough that I bought one, but not so much that it stopped me losing faith in the mouse altogether and relying instead on a graphics tablet.

The Magic Mouse is starting to win me back.  It’s a multi-touch mouse: the fiddly scroll ball has gone, and instead everything is controlled by gestures.  This means left and right swiping but it’s actually a single touch action that’s the winner: draw your finger up or down the surface of the mouse and you can scroll with momentum just like on the iPhone screen.  This is so incredibly usable, you immediately forget you’re doing it.  It’s going to be like two finger scrolling on the MacBook: I automatically try to scroll with two fingers on any other machine I use.

Every other mouse on any machine I borrow I am now going to draw my finger across and then wonder whey the computer’s frozen.

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See for more...

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