Wednesday, December 23, 2009

a mouse mechanic in Linuxville

Hi folks and welcome to the Linuxville garage. Every now and then I don the PC mechanics jumpsuit and tinker under the hood. Today, I stumbled on a web page that talked about fixing the scroll-wheel on a mouse. I have two mice that I put aside because they did not scroll anymore. Going from a mouse with scroll-wheel to one without is a BIG back step.

Flip the thing over and use two fingers to turn the donut and remove the ball. Usually when you look inside there is all kinds of personal forensic evidence caked on the ball rollers. Most time you can clean these with a knife, tweezers and a little air (your own is fine, don't spit!). Keep q-tips, lint-free towels, rubber gloves, a new mouse still in the bubble pak or the phone number of the nearest PC shop handy.

Mice have one screw on the bottom at the stern (back end), the front is held by body clips. You got to slide the top part back gingerly but with controlled force. Inside are plastic gears, the roller assembly, tiny switches and, Oh-My-Gosh! Tiny Dust Bunnies!!!

I cleaned the bunnies the best I could and even removed the scroll wheel don't try this at home carefully. The scroll wheel sits on a hub, not very tightly, it slides a little. I clean the wheel, the hub and put them back together. One web site recommends a little spray glue to keep it from sliding around the hub.

I put the whole thing back together in the reverse order of disassembly. I did this with both mice, one fully recovered as new, the other is a cripple (still doesn't scroll).

The crippled mouse is the wireless one that came with my Wacom Graphire 2 graphics tablet. And it works great while using Synergy, I can move the cursor from screen to screen, it just doesn't scroll. No, no, it's part failure, not PC mechanic error.

I still have my dream, an artist's sketching PC. There are none on the low end (pros have all the fun) and all the laptop modders are painting lids, not tinkering with laptop insides. I want to kill the last visage of the "typewriter cult". First by building a panel to cover/replace the whole laptop palmrest. This new panel will have a Wacom pen/touch embedded in it. Then if I need to type I will have two external keyboards, a regular size one for desk typing and an ultra trim mini travel size for portable finger poking (what I do). Depending on the laptop I will have to modify the hinge assembly so the lid/display will close properly. And lastly, the customary gray/green tarp that looks like a 57 Chevy is under it. The technology exists, it's mostly a repackaging job and a new tee shirt that reads, "back away from the cutting edge, please!". Come on, try this at home. Put your Graphire 2 tablet over the laptop keyboard and let it melt into place, see, and it's cheaper too! No, it's not a professional graphics workstation, it's not meant to be.

Part of my job is to egg you on to use Linux, Open Source Software and to divide that pile of used junk into two smaller piles. Computing is fun/work, but you have to work at it and have fun with it. Next project gene splicing an elephant with a chameleon.

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