My mouse days go back to before the Mac, back to various and sundry MS-DOS PCs, back to the days of Ashton-Tate (cut my teeth on dBase II and a CP/M PC), back to a rollerball mouse. We’ve come a long, long way since then, but for desktop Mac users it’s still a mouse, still point and click, albeit with Bluetooth keyboards and mice.
Goodbye, Bluetooth and batteries. Hello USB.
Consider this change in my daily workflow something of a test, partly because nothing improves without change, and partly because I’m tired of Bluetooth devices and rechargeable batteries. This week I’m using a Bluetooth-less keyboard and a Bluetooth-less mouse. Clitter clatter and click, right?
Why? Batteries are not cheap. Rechargeable batteries are not cheap. Swapping out batteries seems to be tied to the laws of the universe where the exercise is at the most inconvenient time. I like Apple’s older, battery-powered Bluetooth keyboard, but it doesn’t clatter quite enough for me. I like Apple’s mouse, too, but why can’t Apple build in a way to turn off the mouse– thereby saving some battery power– when not in use?
Wait. Doesn’t Apple have a new lithium powered keyboard and a new lithium powered mouse? Both Bluetooth for convenience. Yes. And both the most expensive devices in their respective categories. Worse, they both require yet another open USB port or USB charger, and the mouse cannot be used while charging (the keyboard can; what’s with that?).
I like Apple-designed gadgets, but, come on; it’s a keyboard; it’s a mouse.
So, thanks to Amazon Prime I found an inexpensive USB Bluetooth-less keyboard with a bit more clatter, and an inexpensive old-fashioned USB Bluetooth-less mouse with a scroll wheel. Both took a couple of days to get used to. Both work just fine.
No more dropped Bluetooth connections. No more rechargeable batteries.
The advanced Bluetooth wireless technology and modern batteries have their place, but both come with a price. Rather regular inconvenience. Both have been replaced by older, wired technology with less inconvenience but perform exactly the same way (it took more time to get used to the scroll wheel on the USB mouse vs. the trackpad-like surface on Apple’s own mouse).
Back to the future, right?
In recent years I’ve had good success with products from Anker. Think of them as an Apple-like Costco-like accessory maker. Well designed products that are priced less but the end result and user experience is better than expected. I have Anker chargers here and there, and now an Anker Bluetooth keyboard.
Wait. What? Yet another Bluetooth keyboard? Yep. This is a test, too. It has more clatter and firmness than Apple’s own Bluetooth keyboard, and it’s lithium powered, and it can connect to up to three Bluetooth devices (think Mac, iPad, and another iPad), and switch between them with a few keystrokes. Even better, after a few minutes of use, it powers down to save battery, and starts up again with a keystroke combo.
There is nothing not to like. The Bluetooth keyboard was $20. The USB mouse was $11. The USB keyboard was $14. Zero complaints.
Sometimes high tech isn’t as high as we think it is.