More on cleaning the Apple not-so-Mighty Mouse

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Last week I wrote about problems with my Apple Mighty Mickey Mouse. Then, a couple of days back, it completely stopped right-clicking and scrolling down. To say that I was not happy would be an understatement (it’s not inexpensive and none of my other rodents have died after just 6 months of use) – the only reason I didn’t actually get to an Apple Store to replace it was scheduling the time it would take me to make the 100+ mile round trip to Birmingham or London (somehow, I didn’t think the staff at the Tesco “Apple Store” 10 miles down the road would be any help).

After reading various articles on the ‘net (most notably from Kevin Lim and Shirster), I tried Brendan Fenn’s sticky tape cleaning method, following which the right mouse button jumped back into life (not sure what was going on there). Still left without a working scroll ball (left, right, up, but not down) reading the comments on the Shirster article led me to the realisation that late model Mickey Mice could not be reassembled so I resorted to 70% isopropyl alcohol swabs (£0.10 each from the local pharmacy) and after a few seconds cleaning (with no noticeable dirt removed), I plugged the mouse back in to find that the scroll ball was working again. I’m not sure what the long term effects will be, but not being able to scroll down was extremely annoying and if even I have shortened the life of the mouse then that’s still an improvement on yesterday (when it was just about to head for the trash can).

It still seems to me that the design is fundamentally flawed, but until I can find another mouse that looks good alongside an Apple keyboard I guess I’ll be sticking with it.

4 thoughts on “More on cleaning the Apple not-so-Mighty Mouse

  1. Logitech do a very nice wireless keyboard and mouse combo, one of which we’ve just received at work. The keyboard feels nicely responsive and the mouse is described as being pretty good too. Not by me: I prefer my rodents to be symmetrical, but colleagues who are more used to ergonomically-contoured mice say it’s pleasant, with a useful array of Mac-oriented buttons.

  2. I won’t fault the keyboard, despite its retail price. It has a noticeably reponsive feel with every keypress which I have found lacking in cheaper models, even previous offerings from Logitech (my keyboard manufacturer of choice in my bygone Windows years). On the Logitech keyboards, I’ve found a little wear and tear from everyday use (read: surfing and playing Quake) will make some keys — especially the larger ones like enter and backspace — creak when pressed, requiring increased pressure to get the desired effect. No such problems with the Apple keyboard, however. All the keys on my PowerMac G5 at work respond as well as they did when we bought the machine in mid-2005.

    I am also a fan of the minimalist design. It’s hard to find a keyboard with a Windows logo that doesn’t include buttons for home, search, media, browser… email… then you’ve got the wrist rest, a separate panel for lights… scroll lock, for goodness’ sake, like I ever found a use for that button. The Apple keyboard however, is literally no bigger than it needs to be. Compact, without being cramped like a laptop keyboard. The worst part about it IMO is that it shows up the dirt, but I’ve removed the keys and given it a thorough clean several times with no ill effects.

    The mouse is a different story. I use a Logitech Cordless Click! at work, which is a lovely, very comfortable device. Responsive, with four conventiently-positioned buttons. I don’t need to be able to turn the volume up and down, or switch between open applications with a mouse button. I liked it straight away.

    The Mighty Mouse took me a while to get used to. I can’t remember how many times I inadvertently clicked the side buttons, or accidentally left-clicked because my finger wasn’t far enough to the right of the mouse for it to realise what I was doing. I do prefer the little nipply-button thing though. Whilst the Logitech has a nice scroll wheel, the sideways scrolling isn’t that great. It smacks of a last minute feature which hasn’t been well implemented. The Mighty Mouse ball is much more comfortable and intuitive though, and now that I am used to it, I won’t be buying a Logitech for home. But it’s a close-run race.

    Incidentally, I too have suffered from mouse-ball-not-working syndrome, but confusingly it seems to be a software issue. I’ve only ever noticed it in Safari, and then only on certain web pages. I scroll about half way down a page, then the downward scroll stops working, and the quiet ticking of the ball scrolling stops, making it feel broken. However, it can still scroll upwards. Every time this has happened, a quit-and-relaunch of Safari has fixed the problem. Most odd.

  3. Thanks for the lengthy response Alex. For once we seem to agree on a a lot of this stuff (mind you, I was asking for advice… what happened to picking up the phone to talk to my mates?)

    I hate the look of most Windows keyboards and, like you, am a fan of the simple style of my Apple keyboard but I do find I encounter more typos with the Apple keyboard than I do on my PC keyboards (laptop or desktop) as sometimes the keys don’t register my keypress unless I press down really hard (a bit like you described for enter and backspace).

    Scroll lock is a bit of a strange key and of limited use (except in spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel) but it dates back to the earliest IBM PCs. There is a scroll lock on an Apple keyboard too – it’s F15 (whereas the Apple keyboard has 16 function keys labelled F1-F16, PC keyboards only have 12 although they do have additional keys dedicated to functions such as print screen and scroll lock) but it is not used in that manner by Mac OS X (only in Windows via Boot Camp with appropriate drivers).

    Unfortunately it seems that the broken Mighty Mouse scroll ball issue is not uncommon (as can be found with a spot of googling, or even in the comments on the Apple Store). Reboots, physical removal and reconnection were all employed without luck, although the isopropyl alcohol swabs do seem to have done the job (24 hours in and fingers crossed).

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