Thursday, November 19, 2009

This is driving me crazy

Every so often, my trackball's driver's "Snap mouse pointer to default button" option mysteriously re-enables itself. I'll notice it's back on, go and turn it off, then forget about it only to notice it's re-enabled later. This is highly annoying, I wish it'd just stay off like it used to.

For anyone reading this (all maybe two of you), I have a Kensington Expert Mouse (you can even read my review of it on Newegg, though depending on the age of this link you may have to navigate pages to see it) which is a really awesome trackball with a scroll wheel that's allowed the tendonitis in my wrist to almost completely go away. I got said tendonitis from using a mouse improperly.

I think it's an accessibility option or something, but it's hardly intuitive. I don't want my mouse pointer going anywhere unless I manually move it there. I don't automatically want to click the default button on every single dialog that comes up. This includes dialogs like Open File dialogs where I'd need to navigate somewhere, using the mouse, so moving the pointer is pointless because I'm just going to be moving it around to find the file I want.

I'm hoping a reboot will fix the issue. Some very weird things in Windows and Windows applications require restarting either the application or the computer in order to truly take effect. I'm thinking mainly of Foobar2000, where if you change anything on the options dialog, it doesn't actually save it to its preferences file until you close it manually. So if you change a setting, listen to music for a few hours/days/whatever, then turn your computer off or reboot or something and Foobar2000 closes because of the shutdown/reboot, it doesn't fucking save your preferences.

I think the mouse issue might be related to something that happened towards the end of last month. My parents went to the beach for a week and left me to take care of the house and the dog. I figured "hey, while they're gone, I'll move my computer into the other room and use the plasma tv as a second monitor and watch some anime or something!"

So I did. However, when I turned my computer back on after moving it, first off, the mouse didn't work until after I logged in (it's USB, though I could have sworn I enabled Legacy USB Keyboard/Mouse support in my BIOS). Then I had to reconfigure all the buttons to my usual layout. During this I missed the tab of the dialog with the "snap to default" bug/feature. I watched the episode of Darker Than Black 2 that was current at the time, played some Guild Wars (with GuildWiki open on the monitor so I could easily reference stuff I was doing or looking for or whatever), and then my computer promptly shat bricks. I think it was related to the dual monitor setup because I've played GW with Firefox open with all my usual tabs and then some since moving my computer back and it hasn't happened.

Why would you ever want your mouse pointer to snap to the default button of a dialog in the first place?

I wouldn't have this issue using it under Linux, mainly since they don't have their bullshit driver available for Linux. It works anyway (and is fully configurable) using xmodmap, xbindkeys, and the xte program from your distribution's xautomation package. You can use xev to figure out what button sends what event so you can hook it up properly in .xbindkeysrc. The beauty of all of this is that it's independent of whichever window manager you use, since it just modifies how X interprets the events that it receives; and like the rest of Linux, it operates in a "set it and forget it" manner. Maybe in a later post I'll go into greater detail on the finer points of messing around with xbindkeys.

If it weren't for the computer games, I'd migrate my desktop over to ArchLinux already... I really need to get a new gaming computer so I can turn this one into a Linux box.

Oh wow I've drifted topics this much? I guess I should just end this post now.

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