Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to set up wireless mice.

Here is what I have found. Mice with the side buttons are not as good for this project as if children press these side buttons, they can change websites. Mouse Mischief isn’t affected by this though as it is not web-based. As I use other multi-mice applications that are web-based I need this feature. Children can’t help it and accidently click these buttons and the web page changes. The 3 button mice are the go. I have, in fact pulled apart the mice with side buttons and removed or disabled the side buttons to stop them working.

Following is a few pictures of the packaging of the mice that I found to work the best, have the best battery life, the best dpi – up to 1600. Many wireless mice only offer 1000dpi. It also had the best range of 15 metres – 5 metres more than most other brands. It uses 2 aaa batteries. I found that it generally out-performed the other mice. I haven’t experienced any issues with interference. When mice become unresponsive, or behave erratically, it is due to the software you are running.

Sometimes, a child may complain that their mouse isn’t working. Mostly it is fine but sometimes I move the student closer to the front of the room, closer to the box of hubs and receivers and this “smooths” out their mouse again. I believe that this is a battery issue as a fresh set of batteries fixes the problem. This problem is more evident with the mice that have a single aa battery .

All mice are specifically coded to work with only the receiver they are packaged with. I guess it is possible that 2 mice could use the same frequency, but these mice have the capability to “frequency Hop” between 16 channels. Apparently, there are also 64000 codes that can be used so chances are you should not experience any crosstalk. There are claims that 10000 units could be used in the same room without issues. I don’t think you could even fit 10000 mice in one room! Haha

They also had a blue-ray optical light as opposed to most mice which emit a red light.

The battery specifications are also listed and this appeared to be better than other mice I checked out. They use less power but have 2 batteries = 3 volt in comparison to mice that use a single aa battery = 1.5 volt. Maybe less output power equals less range equals less battery life as there is only one battery. (Just a thought.)

Here’s the pictures. Zoom in to read the details.

The button configuration also works brilliantly for MouseMischief. When voting, A=left click, B=right click, C=middle click and D=left/right click. They can do all this with a single finger. To vote “D” one finger is used to press both buttons simultaneously by pressing the tip of the buttons together. This isn’t achievable with some other mice that have the left and right click buttons separated within the casing.

In the photo below, you can see that the mouse on the right has buttons which are not as suitable. The middle mouse has the side buttons. The left mouse proved to be the best. Sadly, I can no longer find them. I can find heaps of similar types but not this exact mouse. Maybe you can.

I also use a mouse pen to retain control of the platform from anywhere in the room. It is excellent as it works directly on clothing. You can freely move about the room and control the program.

I have the model VM-223

It has an inbuilt laser pointer too. They appear to be on sale for $80. I paid about $130 for mine nearly 3 years ago and it is still going strong. I use it a lot!!

I also have purchased this wireless touchpad with full qwerty keyboard for less than $50. This is pure genius as it gives you full control of all features and functions of both the mouse and the computer from anywhere in the room in the palm of your hand. It is a must have for this program. This is also passed around the room for children to use to individually answer questions with any interactive lesson in any application. A very quick way of engaging students as they don't need to leave their seat to go to the front to select their answer. They love the fact that they can participate from the comfort oftheir seat. Also, the added advantage is that no one blocks the board when answering questions. I just LOVE it too!
These are the 7 port hubs. They are powered by ac adapters. They are simply the cheapest ones I could find at a local department store. They are branded “Zipp”. They are good as each hub contains 7 green led’s to indicate if the receiver is connected to each mouse. This has been handy as at first, some didn’t connect. You could tell at a glace which one. Simply unplug it, then plug it back in and this usually fixes it. Hubs that don’t contain the led may prove more troublesome. These hubs cost AUS$20 each. You can get them much cheaper off ebay. About $5 each!!
It is important to label each mouse and its receiver so as to avoid confusion if you disconnect the hubs and mice. I simply used liquid paper and wrote a number on each mouse and corresponding receiver. I used stickers on the hubs and AC adapters so that I could label each of these too and write on each hub as to what was plugged in to what and where. I now use 5 of these hubs. At first, it can look like a tangled mess. They do get very warm so I like to be able to keep the box lid open when they are all plugged in to the laptop. I’m not sure if I have experienced any problems when they are stacked directly on top of each other – in regards to decreasing wireless reception as the receivers are then very close to each other. I leave them separated mainly due to the heat they give out. I have thought of binding them all together to “tidy” it up but I don’t want to fry anything. I have thought of constructing a skinny plywood box about half a metre long only just wide enough for the hubs and power board to fit in and mounting them in this. This would keep the units separate, and all cables could be routed neatly. But as this works and time is precious it will have to wait. Also, sometimes the simplest ideas are often the best.

What will I buy next?

This has been the best mouse for the best price that I have found in the last few weeks. I purchased one and it works as well as I need. I does have the side buttons though. I purchased it because it has 2400dpi. This is HUGE when compared to other mice which only have 800-1000dpi. It should provide better tracking especially in the drawing programs. The voting feature shouldn’t be affected as you can actually hold the mouse in mid-air and vote. It does use a single aa battery though and its battery use isn’t as good as THE ONE I wanted.

Anyway, for under $10 delivered, I don’t think you could go too wrong.

This mouse below is probably the closest to what I had before. I will be buying one now to check it out. You have motivated me. It is dearer, about $14 delivered, but it looks like it has all the features I need and want. I’ll let you now how it compares.

The link below is for a wireless mousepad with qwerty keyboard that fits in the palm of your hand. This does provide the ultimate teaching tool and master control for almost every program including MouseMischief. This enhances this platform even further making going back to your desk to access the computer’s keyboard virtually obsolete doing lesson instructions. My first principal gave me the advice, “That a teacher on his feet is worth two in his seat.” Using technology in the classroom is great, but many teachers seem chained to their desks and laptops. I hate sitting down to teach hence the reason for purchasing a wireless mouse pen, tablets, laser pointer etc years ago to instruct my class away from behind the desk. Here’s the link to this awesome device for well under $70. I won mine for less than $50.

My advice is to check out many wireless mice on ebay or other sites you like. Make a comparison on range, dpi, battery life, and check the mouse has an “on/off” switch on the bottom. This will greatly extend battery life. Even if you turn off the mouse with this switch it doesn’t disconnect it from the receiver. You can come back in to the program at any time, as long as it was originally loaded when you started the program.

Anyway, please don’t hold me accountable if the mice I suggested don’t work for you. I have recently contacted my partners at Microsoft who are developing MouseMischief and asked them for their advice regarding their suggestions for their preferred or best brand of mice for this purpose.

Their response was, “PS - We are not yet done with our own mice testing so I don't want to jump the gun and recommend a model of mouse to you too soon. I'll let you know as soon as we've nailed down some models.”

So we are somewhat still in unchartered territory. You need to purchase mice that are within your budget but will still do the job. There are models of wireless mice that sell for over $40 each and I don’t think they would do the job any better than the ones mentioned. My ebay watchlist contains 14 different wireless mice that I have been checking out. It’s a bit of an obsession – weird hey! Please type in wireless mice and check the specs for yourself before you commit to a major purchase. Always buy through ebay using paypal and don’t send money to an email address. (I learnt the hard way.) I have contacted several sellers as to if they can do a better price for multiple units. They reply, that these are already so cheap and they can’t give any further discount. Well I believe they can but it is not going to be significant unless you are buying hundreds of them.

I would love to hear how you get on and what you decide to do. Also, I would love to find out more about what you do and how you enhance the educational learning environments for children using technology. It has been great sharing these ideas with others on all sides of the world who shares this passion. Maybe one day our paths will cross. Until then…. Keep up the awesome work. If there is anything else you need or don't understand, please let me know.

ENJOY the benefits of a true Multi-User Interface and unleash the powers of interactive technologies at a fraction of the price.



  1. Thanks for sharing all this valuable information!
    This is simply great!

  2. I use a 10 ports hub with power adaptor I bought at Dealextreme in Hongkong:

  3. Mind-blowing..... presently I'm running with a local project, I hope it must be help me out.

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  4. Wow what a great post. This is why I read this blog. This is very actionable and something a real business would do! I love it!

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