Whatever happened to …

… mousepads?

Looking down at my workspace, I see this.

The glare from the overhead lights actually make it look a little nicer than it is. But, you can see that much of the finish on this desk has been worn off from me moving my mouse back and forth and around and whatever I do with a mouse.

Years ago, that wouldn’t have happened.

We all had mousepads and the mouse was put on top of the pad instead of directly on the table. Of course, mouses were different back then too. They had hard balls inside them that actually rolled as you moved it. They’ve been replaced with LED technology to give a better response.

Of course, even further back, there was no such thing as a mouse since everything was keyboard driven. Or even further and we were programming with cards but here I am dating myself.

As I type this, I reflect on many of the mousepads that I’ve had over the years. Probably the best functional ones were little soft foamy ones. But, I can recall one from the Post-it company that was just a piece of plastic with small grooves to grab the ball. I tried a drafting mouse once and it was a clear plastic pad with a grid of wires in it that caught the attention of the mouse.

I had to smile when I think of the first bulk purchase that I made for the classrooms. It was something like 1500-2000 PCs and I worked on our fulfiller to provide mousepads for each of them. It seemed like I was breaking their bank but I eventually got them thrown in.

“You can give us ones that are branded and every student will see your company name when they sit down at the computer.”

Of course, kids did other things to them. These were the cheap spongey ones and you could stick a pencil or pen in them as a holder. There were also intriguing somehow to use as a drawing space. Evenually, the cover would peel off or chunks would come from the mousepad making them unusable. For a while, I added a line to the budget for mousepads.

There was a time when going to a technology conference meant that you could come home with a new supply of mousepads. They were often conference gifts and you could pick up a few by touring the exhibit hall.

Eventually, I gave up on a mousepad as I seemed to roll the mouse off the side and had to pick it up and move it back to the mousepad which often meant seeing the cursor jump around on the screen.

I just took a look in the cupboard and drawers and I can report that I don’t seem to have one around here anymore. It’s a sad day.

I’ll just continue to ruin the top of this desk.

Your thoughts for a Sunday.

  • Do you still use a mousepad?
  • Actually, do you still even use a mouse or have you moved to a Trackpad or something else?
  • What’s the plural of a computer mouse? Mouses or Mice?
  • Is there a practical solution for using mousepads with students and keeping them looking and functioning well?
  • Can you think of a better technology advertising than a branded mousepad?
  • When was the last time that you saw a mousepad at a conference? or for sale? The Source has a bunch and I’ve never noticed them in our local store. Of course, I can’t remember the last time I went specifically looking for one.
  • How embarrassing! As I finished off this post, I realize that I had written about this before. Oh well, maybe you missed the other one. From that post, you can see that I’ve upgraded both my keyboard and mouse. And, you can read Aviva and Sheila’s comments from three years ago on this topic.

I look forward to your thoughts. Please enter them in the comments below.

This is a regular Sunday morning post around here. You can check out the past posts at this link.

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  1. For my MacBook I use the track pad only. On my Surface Pro I still use a mouse from MS and yes, I have an older mousepad that my wife gave me as a stocking stuff years ago. If the Surface had a trackpad equal to the MacBook, I would dump the mouse and mousepad in a heart beat. I find the mouse to be clunky in comparison to the trackpad. Looking at my old mousepad, it’s really worn now so I can only imagine what the table top would look like if I didn’t have it.


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