Mighty Mouse cleaning again

When the new touch-sensitive Magic Mouse came out a week or two ago, the guys at Macbreak Weekly talked about it skeptically, noting Apple’s history of unpopular mice. There was the famous hockey puck mouse that came with the candy-colored iMacs and didn’t fit in your hand, and there was (is) the no-button Mighty Mouse that no one can right-click with. Now, I was a Linux user in the days of the hockey puck mouse, so I have no opinion about it, but I actually like the Mighty Mouse. It took a few days to get used to the lack of buttons, but once I got over that hump I had no problems with right-clicking. I made plans to write a short post defending the Mighty Mouse.

Then, as I was preparing for an online meeting for work in which there’d be some screen sharing among the participants, my Mighty Mouse’s trackball got clogged and wouldn’t scroll. I knew how to clean it, but didn’t have time before the meeting. As I searched the office for a substitute mouse, I began to wonder if maybe everyone who hated the Mighty Mouse was right. Here it was, just seven months after a complete teardown and cleaning, and the trackball was clogged again. I knew the cleaning would take at least half an hour—why should I keep subjecting myself to that when there were plenty of good scrollwheel mice on the market?

I found a substitute mouse, a Logitech that I had really liked during my Linux days, and used it during the meeting. It was horrible. I couldn’t set a scrolling speed that worked well, the click-click-click of the detents in the scroll wheel drove me crazy, and, of course, I couldn’t scroll horizontally at all. Also, the button placement seemed weird and confining, and the cord, designed to reach a tower computer sitting below the desk, was way too long and kept getting in the way. When the meeting was over, the first thing I did was take apart the Mighty Mouse and clean it. The Logitech has gone back in storage, to be used in dire emergencies only.

As in April, I took several photos of the disassembly to remind myself of how to do it the next time. This set, here on Flickr, is more detailed than the April set

and there are more written notes with each photo so the steps should be easier to follow.

I really wish this long process weren’t necessary just to clean the ball, but at least the effort gives me a mouse that’s a pleasure to use.