boot camp

| 27 Comments

Dual boot for Macs might finally be enough to get me to move from my trusty ThinkPad over to one of these shiny new Apple laptops. I think the only thing that might hold me back is that darned single mouse button on the laptop. I realize that Macs support the second button on extermal mice, but it's the built-in one that really annoys me.

Does anyone out there know of any cases of hardware hacking to cut that titanium mouse button in half and put a second sensor under it?

27 Comments

Why don't you just get a regular mouse?

answer: not enough room on those darn small tables in airplanes for a regular laptop mouse.

Install SideTrack - it's really good. It lets u assign any corner of the trackpad to any mouse click, including right-click. It's much better than using the keyboard modifier.

It's available here. However, a small piece of text on the page states that it doesn't work with the MacBook Pro, yet.

Yeah, I'd consider one, myself. But no scrolling area and no right mouse button is really a deal killer.

No scrolling area?

If you want to scroll, you simply use two fingers on the track pad ;-)

When switching from Windows, I recognized the single-button mouse as a possible issue. But, within a couple of days, muscle memory made using ctrl+click in place of right-click — in addition to a two-button scrolling mouse at home — a non-issue.

I thought I'd expand on the two-finger scrolling trackpad. It's such an intuitive method of scrolling around (left, right, up, down, in fact in all directions) that when I use another laptop it seems ridiculous that I have to move the cursor to the scroll bar, or even use a seperate area of the trackpad to scroll.

Add that to an Intel Core Duo processor, and the best operating system in the world, and the new Macs are certainly more appealing for those thinking of making a switch.

And launching Firefox for the first time on OS X brings a touch of familiarity for the new user too!

I'm not sure how using the single button mouse will affect the Windows XP usage, but Mac OS X definately works great with a single button.

Applications are designed to have things available without needing to rely on the right mouse click. But when you do need to use it, it's just a ctrl-click away.

On the topic of the ctrl key.. because the cmd key is used for keyboard commands, ctrl is left available for "normal" ctrl keys. For example, in Terminal, you can move to the beginning of the line with ctrl-a then hit cmd-v to paste. There isn't the conflict in shortcuts like there is on Windows.


The comment about no scrolling area is quite funny actually because the whole pad is a scrolling area. It's very intuitive and many times I wished I could use it on my desktop machine. The main reason for that is scrolling sideways is super easy. It's the same as scrolling up/down or diagonally. Put two fingers on the pad and move in the direction you want. Great for viewing large pictures or zoomed in documents.

I worried about the single mouse button before getting my Powerbook, too. But as others have said, using ctrl+click becomes second nature pretty quickly (when I'm not using a USB mouse, anyway); I was actually surprised that it turned out to be as much of a non-issue for me as it's been. I'm loving this machine.

I totally agree with you. I'm also moving to a nice MacBook pro!!

Seriously, I never use the touch pad unless I use the laptop during travelling (which never seems to happen). However, another thing that annoyed me when considering a mac was the fact that the Ctrl button is not in the standard position. This makes it cumbersome to use the old shortcuts like Ctrl+C for copy. I would probably find this difference harder to adapt to than the single-button mouse.

I've checked on my keyboard and the CTRL key is in the same position as any other keyboard.

You may be referring to the Cmd (Command) key, which is used with letter keys for shortcuts (e.g. Cmd+C for copy, Cmd+V for paste etc.) This is next to the space bar, so yes, it is in a slightly different position.

Bearing in mind all Mac's come with Bluetooth built-in as standard, anyone whose after a decent wireless mouse should take a peek at the Logitec V270 (it can be found on Amazon). I've been using one for a few weeks now and it's great, with no need for a USB receiver.

But of course, any USB mouse will work ;-)

As others have mentioned, the whole "single button mouse" complaint that PC users have been trained to regurgitate hasn't been an issue for years on Mac - you can plug any multi-button PC mouse into a Mac and it just works. Apple even ships a sweet multi-button mouse with all their desktop systems now, the Mighty Mouse, which looks like a single button mouse but can be configured in System Preferences for multi-button use.

I've heard other PC people complain that the Powerbook and MacBook Pro only has one button for the trackpad. I've been using Powerbooks for years now, and I can honestly say that I've NEVER needed or wished that there was another button there. I suppose what most PC users fail to realize is that, when the OS has been designed properly for a single mouse button, you don't NEED more than one. That being said, as someone else suggested you can always use Sidetrack if you insist on a right-click button. Its not quite the same, but trust me, you'll realize that you don't need it anyway. ;-)

I agree with all of you that you don't really need a second mouse button in Mac OS X, since the OS was kind of designed with only one mouse button in mind (although a second mouse button is certainly handy to have around even in OS X). However, if you buy a MacBook Pro with the intent of running Windows on it some of the time... Running Windows without a second mouse button would be a little more annoying, especially since the Ctrl+click functionality is not present (without using a third-party app or something).

However, I imagine that a nice solution for MacBook Pro owners running Windows will pop up rather quickly, if there is not one around already.

Use this utility and Ctrl-click for right click.
http://www.geocities.com/pronto4u/applemouse.html

Those of you recommending an external mouse, I explicitely said that I understand that's available (note that I've been using Macs since the mid-80s and I've had a mac at both my desk at work and at home for the last 6 years, I'm not unfamiliar with Macs). My complaint is that the _laptop_ does not have a second button on its built in mouse/touchpad. I know I can plug a mouse into the laptop, that's what I've done with my Mac desktops for the better part of the last decade, but that's not always an option (think airplane or lap usage).

- A

I like those mouses (mice?) that looks like a pin, now those are cool.

Hey Asa,

It too had the same dilemma that you do. And I went down the ctrl-click path (in windows) for my right clicks. The first day or so had me cursing (why couldn't damn apple just give us two damn buttons) but after a while it actually becomes second nature. I know it sounds stupid, but after a few days it seems just as easy to ctrl-click (though it does require two hands) as the traditional right click.

I am glad to know that Mozilla organization is preparing to make universal version of Firefox for both PowerPC and Intel.

http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/qa/archives/2006/04/help_us_test_mac_univeral_bina.html

I used to be a Mac user, but have been using PC (IBM ThinkPad) since PowerPC failed to keep pace with Interl chips. Beacuse of Boot Camp and your binaries, the time has come for me to go back to the Mac world :-)

When I had a laptop running on Windows at work I found myself using the track pad itself as my left-click and the right-hand button as exactly that - therefore just using one button.

This can be exactly replicated on a Mac and you can even scroll using the track pad edges now. You can do all you need with the pad and the one button - two just seems rather unnecessary these days.

I'm primarily a Windows guy but I've always loved Macs too. I recently purchased a MacBook Pro and installed Windows XP on it using Boot Camp. Like Asa, I'm also a ThinkPad user. And I have to agree with Asa and others. I love the MacBook Pro. But the ThinkPad's eraser-head pointer + trackpad dual pointing device with its three-buttons (and esp. the middle button's ability to ingeniously scroll north and south) are far superior to the MacBook Pro's trackpad with one mouse button. Anyone who actually uses both systems for any length of time is apt to agree. (Those of you who are vehemently disagreeing with me already, I'll come back to this point in a moment.)

I find the MacBook Pro's trackpad to be imprecise, and the two-button scroll feature, while ingenious, is similarly imprecise. I have always had trouble with Apple's trackpads in making the mouse pointer pause and hold directly over radio buttons and check boxes, for example. The same with the tiny buttons in OS X for Close, Minimize, Maximize, etc. When I reach for the mouse button with my thumb, that tends to slightly pull my finger off the trackpad. Holding it in place causes me to tense my hand, which results in fatigue. With an external mouse, of course, none of this is a problem. But when you're using your MacBook Pro on your lap while sitting on the couch in the family room or in any coach airplane seat, an external mouse isn't practical.

I also agree with the people who say that OS X doesn't absolutely require a second mouse button. However, I think most experienced computer users would prefer that extra functionality. More than the second button, I miss the scrolling functionality. And while third-party mice (personally, I prefer the Microsoft Intellipoint optical 5-button mouse with scroll wheel) work just fine in OS X, I think Apple should wake up to the possibilities of more buttons. I know, I know, they made the Mighty Mouse, but it has not been a perfect product introduction. Apple's own online store is riddled with comments about problems with that product.

Finally, I'd like to point out to Asa and everyone that Boot Camp is an excellent first step. I'm a big fan. But one thing Apple did not do is make the MacBook Pro's trackpad work well under Windows XP. They didn't add a specific Windows driver for their built-in pointing device. As a result, the trackpad is using a generic Windows driver for trackpads. Two-finger scrolling doesn't work. You can't optionally tap the trackpad to select or open. And under XP, you can't Ctrl-Click to get a "right-click" action (but Option-Double-Click works). Finally, there is no combination of the generic Windows mouse pointer acceleration settings that makes the trackpad usable for me. I find that while I'm running Windows XP, the MacBook Pro's trackpad is useless. And that unfortunately limits my use of the MacBook Pro. I hope that Apple will add its own driver for the trackpad under Windows in future versions of Boot Camp.

Sorry for the long diatribe here, but the point I'm trying to make is that Apple is reaching out to the Windows community, and it would be great if the Mac folks would support Windows users by listening to the things they want without assuming they don't know what they're talking about or that they haven't tried it the Mac way. There's no one right way to use a Mac. All work styles and preferences are valid. If Apple succeeds in winning some Windows users to the fold, the feedback Windows people give should be carefully considered.

Asa, in testing the MacBook Pro with Firefox 1.5.0.2, I found that the notebook's two-finger scrolling function doesn't work properly with Firefox. The window-contents scroll hesitates, skips, then goes very quickly to catch up, then hesitates. On very slow scrolling, it moves a pixel or two and then stops dead, even though the two fingers are still moving.

I compared with Safari, both displaying the same Web page, and the difference was profound. After uninstalling all extensions and customizations, to no avail, I found the Preferences > Advanced > General Tab > "Browsing" settings. When I removed the check beside "Use smooth scrolling," most of the problem disappears. (I believe, but am not positive, that "Use smooth scrolling" = ON is the default setting, since I don't recall turning it on, and I've only had this computer for a week.) The Safari scroll clearly has smooth scrolling effect, which is far more pleasing to the eye. Firefox with this setting now does the two-finger MacBook Pro scroll faithfully, but you see a line-by-line jumpiness to it as it moves -- clearly not smooth scrolling.

With an attached mouse, and the Firefox Use Smooth Scrolling on, you get true smooth scrolling. With the option turned off, the mouse takes on the stuttered line-by-line scrolling too. So, you lose something to fix the MacBook Pro Trackpad two-finger scroll feature.

I know this is the the kind of price you pay for multi-platform support. But the Web browser offerings on the Mac are less robust than on Linux or Windows. Even before Microsoft pulled out, its browser was pretty terrible on the Mac. Firefox is the best browser, but not by much. It would be great if Mozilla could focus more on fixing some of these Mac issues.

FF also loads a little slowly on the Mac, though 1.5.0.2 does appear to offer some improvement.

-- Scot

I can't get an external monitor to work with XP under bootcamp on Macbook Pro.

I see the windows flag come up to start, then the computer loses connection with the monitor. I've tried to different monitors.

Works ok on the OS side.

Suggestions?

You guys must be too young to remember the old argument about "WHY dont mac keyboards have FUNCTION keys??"


I wish macbooks had a right mouse button also. I do not use an external mouse. I want to run WinXP (I have to for certain apps). It would be great to buy a mac and use a right mouse button under WinXP-on-mac.


You can use OS-X with a single button, but to say it was 'designed' that was isn't exactly true. The bulk of the OS-X UI (and OS) is a direct decendent of the NeXT environment, NEXTSTEP. NeXT computer had 2 button mice, and essentially introduced the concept of right clicking to acheive alternate functionality. A second button on the laptop would probably be beneficial. And even their 'mighty mouse' product seems to run counter to the whole 'right clicking is important' notion.

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