Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3 Configuration in Ubuntu 9.10

On popping Ubuntu 9.10 onto a newly built PC, I noticed that the button mappings weren’t as I had expected them to be. The button just below the wheel no longer acted like a right mouse button on a conventional mouse and it really was throwing me. The cause was found to be in a file name evoluent-verticalmouse3.fdi that is found either in /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/20thirdparty/ or /etc/hal/fdi/policy/.

So, to get things back as I wanted, I changed the following line:

<merge key=”input.x11_options.ButtonMapping” type=”string”>1 2 2 4 5 6 7 3 8</merge>

to:

<merge key=”input.x11_options.ButtonMapping” type=”string”>1 2 3 4 5 6 7 3 8</merge>

If there is no sign of the file on your system, then create one named evoluent-verticalmouse3.fdi in /etc/hal/fdi/policy/ with the following content and you should be away. All that’s need to set things to rights is to disconnect the mouse and reconnect it again in both cases.

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”ISO-8859-1″?>
<deviceinfo version=”0.2″>
<device>
<match key=”info.capabilities” contains=”input.mouse”>
<match key=”input.product” string=”Kingsis Peripherals  Evoluent VerticalMouse 3″>
<merge key=”input.x11_driver” type=”string”>evdev</merge>
<merge key=”input.x11_options.Emulate3Buttons” type=”string”>no</merge>
<merge key=”input.x11_options.EmulateWheelButton” type=”string”>0</merge>
<merge key=”input.x11_options.ZAxisMapping” type=”string”>4 5</merge>
<merge key=”input.x11_options.ButtonMapping” type=”string”>1 2 3 4 5 6 7 3 8</merge>
</match>
</match>
</device>
</deviceinfo>

While I may not have appreciated the sudden change, it does show how you remap buttons on these mice and that can be no bad thing. Saying that, hardware settings can be personal things so it’s best not to go changing defaults based one person’s preferences. It just goes to show how valuable discussions like that on Launchpad about this matter can be. For one, I am glad to know what happened and how to make things the way that I want them to be though I realise that it may not suit everyone; that makes me reticent about asking for such things to be made the standard settings.

Evaluating an ergonomic mouse

Recent hectic mouse work has left my right hand feeling the worse for wear so a recent opportunity to try out a work colleague’s Evoluent VerticalMouse 3 was one that I took up. I gave it a go for a day and it left me impressed enough to go out and order one for myself. It’s not a cheap item with some selling for a smidgen less than £60 and others selling for significantly more than this. Also, it is a handed item with the latest version being available to right handers like myself and an earlier one for lefties. It will work with Windows 2000 but the supplied software is for XP and later.

The idea behind the gadget is an intriguing one: rather than having your hand held parallel to your desk as with a conventional mouse, you have it almost perpendicular to it. The claim is that when you have your arm this way, it is less likely to get tired. The arrangment sounds as if it might not work but it does in practice: your thumb is the anchor for the hand and the little finger (lúidín in Irish) rests on a little ledge that stops it getting dragged along either the mouse mat or the surface of the desk. This arrangement does allow you to relax your hand on the mouse. You get the usual mouse functions plus extra buttons that you can use to go back and forward through web pages; even without installing the included software, you get these. However, I have observed drift of the mouse cursor across the screen of my home PC when the unit is not being moved around. At first, I wasn’t sure what is causing this but it now appears to be the mouse mat that I was using. I’ll continue to give it a go.

Update: a mouse such as this really needs you to rest your arm on the desk for it to be at its most helpful. That’s fine for work but my home set up had me stretching my arm and that leads to a lot of discomfort. That isn’t the fault of the mouse: it is actually telling me something useful. The primary cause is a pull out keyboard drawer that I have to use due to lack space on the desk itself. So, I raised up my full tower computer case a little from the floor and now use that as a platform for the mouse. I know that it’s an unconventional approach but it seems to be working so far and I can make further adjustments if needs be…