Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Computer Mouse!

Where would librarians be without the computer mouse? Where would I be without that dagger-like pain that shoots up the back of my hand and across the top of my wrist from hours of mouse dragging? I think I've been using a mouse for computer work for the past 22 years, with a brief break in 1992 when I went to library school when we had no computers at all... because who needs to learn to use those?

But December 9 marks the 40th birthday of the computer mouse. The very first computer mouse weighed in at a whopping 417 pounds and was over 6 feet long. The "mouse technician" actually sat inside (see photo) of the mouse and operated it with foot pedals which propelled the mouse around on the floor. Moving the cursor a distance of three inches on the computer monitor required the technician to peddle a distance of 20 feet.

The top image shows the mouse and mouse driver. The middle image shows the undercarriage of the mouse with forward/backward and left/right turning wheels. The bottom image shows the 30,000 watt power supply. The first mouse consumed as much electricity as all of downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Which in 1968 was only one Dairy Queen and the movie theater that played Planet of the Apes, but still...

Accurate information can be found at MouseSite. Because, yes, I made all this up. Except for the birthday which is real.