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    SubjectRe: Linux stifles innovation...
    On Sun, Feb 18, 2001 at 12:00:03PM -0600, Gregory S. Youngblood wrote:
    > On Sun, 18 Feb 2001, Michael H. Warfield wrote:

    > > On Sat, Feb 17, 2001 at 09:15:08PM -0800, Ben Ford wrote:
    > > > >
    > > > > On the other hand, they make excellent mice. The mouse wheel and
    > > > > the new optical mice are truly innovative and Microsoft should be
    > > > > commended for them.
    > > > >
    > > > The wheel was a nifty idea, but I've seen workstations 15 years old with
    > > > optical mice. It wasn't MS's idea.

    > > I think their "innovation" was not requiring the optical cross
    > > grid mouse pad common on Sun workstations over the years. The Microsoft
    > > optical mouse uses variations in the surface characteristics of whatever
    > > it's on to perform it's function. The old optical mice just used two
    > > different colors of LED's (red and IR) and a special pad. This would
    > > actually have to scan and track the surface below it. Don't know that
    > > I've seen anyone do that before.

    > I remember being at a computer show in Minneapolis where a small company
    > was showing off this mouse that worked on a variety of surfaces without a
    > ball. I'm trying to remember if the mouse was optical or used yet another
    > method of functioning -- I think it was optical, though I could be
    > mistaken. This was in 1992/1993.

    I think you are correct here. I seem to recall mention of some
    of those earlier devices at the time of the Microsoft announcement. I
    seem to also recall some of the reliability problem they had. I believe
    they were extremely fussy about the surface they were on.

    > The point is, I really do not believe Microsoft made the "leap" to provide
    > opitcal mice without the need of the mousepad grid. Their "innovation" was
    > in marketing it on a wide scale though.

    I would agree there. They did something to improve the reliability
    on a wider variety of surface textures, though. Is that innovation or
    merely getting a good idea, that's been around, to finally work? Don't
    know. I didn't find the idea itself particularly innovative. The fact
    that they did get it to work reliable is something to be said.

    The marketing is a given, of course. Particularly in the face
    of the preception in some camps that this style of optical mouse was

    > I could be mistaken - if so then let's give them their credit - but I have
    > a hard time believing it was their idea without some serious proof.


    Michael H. Warfield | (770) 985-6132 |
    (The Mad Wizard) | (678) 463-0932 |
    NIC whois: MHW9 | An optimist believes we live in the best of all
    PGP Key: 0xDF1DD471 | possible worlds. A pessimist is sure of it!

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