Thursday, June 15, 2006

Erratic Mouse Behavior

For the past few days, I've been having trouble with the mouse on my new Mac G5. From time to time the cursor would start moving erratically around the screen on its own. There seemed to be no pattern to this behavior. I searched the Apple support site and Google newsgroups but couldn't find anyone else with this problem. One of our tech guys printed a posting from an OSX newsgroup that recommended checking the system preferences to see if one of the mouse buttons was set to Expose, the Mac feature that shrinks all open windows. Indeed, I had set the right mouse button to Expose so that I didn't have to reach aaaaaaall the way to the F9 key. This was handy and I was reluctant to change the setting. So I resigned myself to the wayward mouse. Then he found another posting. It said that Apple was experimenting with voice recognition software and had installed a small microphone next to the LED on the bottom of the mouse. The solution was to turn the mouse over and speak loudly into it, "Mouse, mouse.....reset Expose!!!" If it didn't work the first time, the process should be repeated. OK, this is not my first rodeo. I gave the tech guy a long look and he then suggested that there might be an extra USB cable installed on my computer. Well, what do you know!!!!! Since the connectors are on the back of the monitor, I couldn't see the extra cable, which was part of a chain that snaked to his computer. He, and others, would move his computer's mouse, triggering the strange behavior on my screen. This prank was installed last week while I was away for a couple of days.

This was very imaginative and the execution was flawless. Our computer support department practices the philosophy described in the book "Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results" by Stephen Lundin. He visited Seattle's Pike Place Fish Market and saw the employees tossing fish back and forth and generally having a great time. He figured that if a fish market can be a fun workplace, so can any other. To make our workplace fun and to help morale, we're reminded to find ways to play and to make each day a great day. So, in addition to the wind-up toys, rubber chickens, games, and outings at the local coffeehouse, we also play wacky pranks on each other. This one will be tough to beat.


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