This article is more than 1 year old

Appley mice infest letters bag

As do virtual virii, moongazing and black choppers, for drama

Letters Who knew that there was so much to say about mice? Oh, wait, it was a mouse from Apple. Obviously everyone has an opinion:

Apple finally releases the multibutton mouse... First they start using Intel processors, and now ANOTHER BUTTON? What will the Mac fanatics have to say about this one?

The overwhelming sound of a million Mac users plunking down $50 and throwing away their Ctrl key ban be heard across the land.


A small amount of research might be a good idea before submitting articles to a tech news website. Two giant flaws in your Apple MightyMouse article:

- OSX has allowed the use of two-button mice for a very, very long time. Nobody is forced to use a "kludgey solution" like pressing the modifier key. Plug a two button mouse into any Mac and what do you know - right-click works. The point is that GUIs are better designed by virtue of developers not being able to throw anything and everything into a "context menu" without thinking.

- The new mouse has mechanical switches. As with other Apple mice, the entire casing moves down to make the click. The difference here is that the touch sensors detect whether the click is initiated from the right or left "button".


David Bridge

I've actually had an experience with a non-Cube computer that turns on by itself. It was a custom-built job with a MSI mobo and an Antec power supply. Every time I turned it off, it'd turn itself back on within an hour. Got bloody annoying. No touch-sensitive power switch though. So maybe the Cubes turning on has less to do with faulty touch-sensitive switches and more with some sort of other internal design error.

Besides, I don't have an iPod myself, but I haven't heard a lot of complaints about the scroll wheels going bonkers...


Maybe Apple could also find a time machine and drag themselves into the 70's and supply a proper UK keyboard instead of an American one with a pound sign printed on it? And where's the bloody hash???'Alt-3' - it takes the piss.

regards R. (a hacked-off and somewhat disappointed new Mac user)

You wrote:

"Then there's the price: "just" $49/£35 seems a little steep for a mouse - particularly one that isn't wireless. A decent Logitech or - dare we say it? - Microsoft optical job can be had for less than half that."

Being an old timer in the Apple world, I expected it to be more like US $150. At $50, with all the ostensibly beloved Apple design aesthetic built in to it, I think the price will be no barrier. ( I'm curious if you can interface one with an iPod, actually.)

Cheers, Jason

£35 is a bit steep for a mouse, but let's face it, the apple faithful will buy it whatever the price, so long as it's translucent white and got an 'i' in front of it, they'll pay whatever Apple asks.


Bored hacker develops theoretical virus for operating system that hasn't been released yet:

"the command line interface and scripting language, in a virus writing magazine"

I think a more interesting article might be entitled "There are Virus Writing Magazines"


your article doesn't really point out that it'd be a pretty useless shell if you couldn't do bad things with it- it's as if you wrote a story saying that someone had written some EXE's for Vista that did bad things..


So If FSF builds something similar, will it be named Gonad?


If we may sum up a story in three words: Cisco, passwords, oops. Have a look here for the original story:

You suggest that compromise of a CCO password would also compromise a user's other passwords. Perhaps, but I would hope that anybody with a reason to have a CCO password would be aware that one simply does not use a single password for multiple administrative domains.

Yes, I know that many large companies (including two I have worked for) provide handy "password synchronization" facilities to facilitate that sort of silliness, but aren't CCO users supposed to be smarter than that?


There is a place where theory and practice diverge...

The Office of National Statistics is planning to digitise its records. Part of the work will be done in India. No matter how much we'd like to, we probably don't all need to panic about our identities being nicked. We can worry about being misspelled instead:

Interesting to hear about the births, marriages and deaths data going to India. In fact, the ONS has pulled a similar stunt before, with census records. (I only know this because my wife happens to do a lot of genealogy!) While everyone's understandably concerned about the spectre of identity theft, there is a bigger and more basic worry - will the identities that come back in the digitized database actually be correct?

In the case of the aforementioned census records, the data transcribed by our friends in Bangalore was so full of typos, mixups and bizarre mistakes that in places it's completely misleading, if not downright worthless. Of course, it's not entirely their fault, but without a basic knowledge of British place names and surnames, and coupled with poor handwriting on the original documents... you get the general idea.

Now if you're researching your family history, this just adds to the fun (!), but if the government are going to rely on this database to verify people's identities, then I'm just a little scared...



Perhaps everyone needs a gentle reminder that every certificate issued by ONS includes words to the effect that "possession of this certificate does not constitute proof of identity", which is just as well since I have certificates at home for a quite ridiculous number of dead relatives.

On the other hand, I'm not actually sure I have my *own* birth certificate. I suspect another member of my family has it.


In passing, we feel we should cover the definition of a planet and clear up some misunderstandings about the lunar atmosphere. This follow's letters earlier this week in response to the discovery of a planet-sized body out in the Kuiper belt:

Your letters page featured a letter from 'Pascal' concerning planets. He said:

"I have a suggestion : when the rock has enough mass to retain an atmosphere, it is a planet. I think that having an atmosphere is a defining quality."

This won't work. The ability of a large object to retain an atmosphere depends on more than its size. Notably, the molecular weight of the atmosphere and its temperature are key factors. Mercury has no atmosphere, and can't retain one because it would boil away, but take it to the orbit of Saturn and it would be cool enough to retain one.

Pascal then goes on to say:

"Pluto does not have one"

Yes it does. It mostly freezes out during the depths of winter, but it definitely has one.

Best wishes


"The moon would have to be considered a planet too."

We just need some sort of minimum limit for the atmosphere -- Titan's atmosphere is considerably denser than Luna's. I don't think Luna's is sufficiently dense to warrant calling it a planet.

Though having said that, its relative size compared to the Earth is pretty large -- maybe it does deserve being called a planet because of its proximity...


"...That would classify our moon as a planet, though..." WHAT!? Did you even read Pascal's comment? Exactly how does our moon "have an atmosphere"? Sure, the moon may help to create an atmosphere on warm starry nights with a light breeze, but it has never had an atmosphere of its own. Ever.

Doofus [We swear, he called himself this...]

May we refer you, self-styled Doofus, to a body of scientific research on the subject? Why not start here, and then have a read of this. The atmosphere might be tenuous, but it is there.

Hotter seas make for stronger hurricanes according to some MIT research:

I read this book [Chaos: Making a New Science, by James Gleick] some time ago so my memory may be somewhat hazy.

There is an illustrated example to suggest that once sufficient energy is present in the atmosphere then a hurricane storm could become extremely stable, similar to The Great Red Spot on Jupiter.

Just thought you might find that interesting as a sort of "where it might go" thing.


Well, duh!

The weather is the atmosphere's way of getting the heat energy from the warm equator to the cold poles.

As the differences get bigger, the weather has more to move and wants to get it there quicker. So things like rain and wind gets more violent.

It isn't rocket science.


No. It is atmospheric science...Boom Boom! (Sorry)...

Microsoft learns how to delete information from documents. We suggest the dramatic new technology will be used by those working on Alien corpses and the like out at Area 51:

Re: Microsoft developing alien technology - surely there's no surprise about this? They're just trying to compete with Apple's better-publicised attempts. Or has everybody so quickly forgotten the notorious historical incident of aliens coming down to earth and blowing up the White House one Independence Day?

As I recall, it was a virus created on an Apple computer that was used to turn off the inpenetrable shields of the evil alien mothership. Of course, on that occasion, Apple didn't save the day completely - millions of people died. But the cute puppy survived so it was all okay really. And no doubt Apple'll get the right patch out within a few hours the next time those evil motherf---ing aliens come knocking. God Bless America! And God Bless the Apple Corporation.


PS - Microsoft - ten years late, as usual. Now if it'd been up to THAT lot to release the alien-shield-turn-offing virus, we'd still be waiting for it after the aliens had killed everyone, moved on, and taken out all life on Mars as well...

And finally, after reading that his printer could be spying on him, a reader is concerned about black helicopters, but not for the usual reasons:

I would like to see once, just once, someone write an article about government surveillance and not use the phrase "black helicopters". I dare you.


Ah, but they are watching us to make sure that we always do...

Enjoy the weekend. ®

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like