Blog entries from December, 2020

The middle mouse button

Sunday, December 27th, 2020 at 3:19 pm

My computer mouse of choice is the Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical 1.1A:

I don’t recall when I first started using this mouse, but it was a long long time ago with a white version in 2006 and then black versions from 2008 on. I have tried some other mice, but kept returning to this one. I prefer it so much that at some point I picked up a few of them (new old stock) as spares.

Over the years these have been very reliable for me, typically the fault being with the scroll wheel which is rectified by disassembling the mouse and giving the whole thing a clean. Having the spares meant that I could swap out the mouse immediately, then clean it later.

There has been one fault that a clean doesn’t resolve: when the middle button stops working.

Some people I know don’t think this is a problem, but I use the middle button a lot (second only to the left button) so for me it is a big deal. For example in a web browser to open a link in a new tab do I ctrl/command-click or do I right click and select “open in new tab”? No, I simply middle click on the link…

Good thing I have those spare mice as my first action was to grab one of those from the cupboard. Still doesn’t work. It it is software issue with Windows? Reboot, still doesn’t work. Grab my work Macbook, still doesn’t work. How about Linux? Doesn’t work there either. What about a different spare mouse? Ah…

I then tested the other spare mice and found that it was only those two (the one I had been using and the first spare I tried) that didn’t have a working middle button. Time to open one of them up to see if I could see anything obvious like dirt wedged in the button, nope it all looked good. Having two mice out of action would mean I would be down to one spare and replacements at this time are quite expensive.

While I had the mouse apart I noticed that the switch for the middle button appeared to be the same as the switches for the side buttons, the side buttons that I never use, so what if I unsoldered the switches and swapped them around? It took longer to get the soldering iron set up and find my solder wick, but I was able to restore middle button functionality.

Repeating the procedure on the other broken mouse meant that these two mice are now in the cupboard as spares, not being thrown away.

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Ten years of possession

Monday, December 7th, 2020 at 10:58 pm

Ten years ago was the day that I picked up a set of keys, I predicted that settling in would take up a lot of my time, and it did. While I have done a number of things to make this place my own, there are also some things that are still on my todo list.

In rough order of outside to in, these are the bigger things that I have done over the ten years:

  • concrete edging between the lawn and garden beds, giving a nice clean line that is easy to maintain
  • removed large trees/shrubs that closed in the front yard and entry, the replacements will never get as big
  • weeded and mulched the garden, this is really an ongoing task, weeding always needs doing and I need to re-mulch
  • replaced locks and added an entrance set to the front door, having all the locks keyed alike makes it so much easier
  • replaced gutters/downspouts and had tiles repointed, the old gutters were rusting through so needed replacing
  • replaced the flimsy screen doors with more substantial security ones, on hot nights can have doors open for airflow but still be secure with the screen doors
  • added a garage door opener, without this I kept my car outside and had to use the side door and gate to get my bicycle in and out
  • cleaned and oiled the deck, though this is well overdue to be done again
  • ethernet from my study to the TV and additional TV aerial in my study, though there are only a couple of shows that I record from free-to-air TV and wireless has improved a lot
  • control the central heating from my home automation
  • replaced side counter top in the kitchen with a piece that matches the other counters
  • replaced oven and stovetop, the original oven thermostat failed and I got my parents ceramic cooktop when they upgraded
  • put images up on the walls, mostly my own photos but also some posters, everything framed in a consistent style

But what about the things that where intended but are not yet done?

  • paint the hallway to have off-white instead of white to match all the other rooms
  • redo the laundry to have a broom cupboard and a benchtop over the washing machine
  • paint under the eaves to match the gutters and screen doors (from white to a cream, should have been done when I did the gutters)
  • planter boxes to go on the deck, also some outdoor furniture

I really should get moving on these tasks, but as there is no urgency I hope they are not still pending after another ten years. I do have a todo list from seven years ago, some of the items have been done, but some have not…

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