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I'm Feeling Mousy
Revieiw of the Logitech iFeel USB Optical Mouse

Not long ago, the mouse was the poor, forgotten piece of computer equipment. It performed its job with little fanfare as the peripherals around it (and the PC itself) got all the attention. But if you think about it, other than your monitor, what peripheral gets more use? Well someone at Logitech thought about it and christened an era of mouse revolution. Mouse innovations came fast and furious: the formfitting mouse (good), the multi-button mouse (good) the ball/marble mouse (bad), the wheel mouse (very good), the cordless mouse (so-so) the optical mouse (very good), and now the iFeel mouse (jury out).

I recall reading a while back that someone was working on a way to allow users to "feel" the web - all the bumps, bevels, and broken links. I imagined the mouse would be outfitted with some sort of suspension system that raised and lowered as your cursor ran across the edges of a window or over a button. Sounded kind of cool. Thoroughly unnecessary, but cool. Well the other day I found myself at one of our branch offices without a mouse and rather than using the horrible pointer embedded in my laptop (don't get me started) I decided to go get a mouse. I ended up getting the Logitech Optical iFeel USB mouse, figuring "what the heck."

As far as looks go, it's sharp. The metallic blue shell is complemented by the always neat-looking red glow of the optics underneath. The software installation is straightforward and gives you the option of installing the iFeel software or using it like a regular mouse. I'd say the iFeel software is worth installing just to try it. Whether or not you'll derive any benefit from it is a different matter.

Once installed, the iFeel software reads the beveled edges of onscreen windows, as well as any buttons or links and responds with a variety of "feels," including Metallic, Rubbery, Steel Drum, Sonic Vibe, and Spongy. You can also create your own, which is more a matter of trial and error than science. As far as my hopes for some kind of "suspension" system that raised and lowered the mouse slightly, I was quite disappointed. The "feel" is the result of a mechanism inside the mouse that vibrates slightly inside the mouse (less slightly if you prefer).

The result is more of an alert then a feel and, ultimately an annoyance. I experimented with the various settings and ultimately decided that I wasn't going to find one that actually made it feel like I was running over a bevel or button as much as giving my palm a slight massage.

Hey, we all can use a change of pace in our daily computer lives. That's why screensavers, desktop photos, cartoon icons, and the like proliferate, they're novel. Unfortunately, so far the idea of "feeling" your desktop is still just that, a novelty.

Logitech iFeel™ Mouse
Technogeekboy Tech Scores scores (1-5):
iFeel nothing for it
Good idea, poor execution
Sounds better than it is


Mouseware® Software

Internet Explorer® 5.0 or higher installed required (provided with product).*
Or Netscape® 4.5, 4.6 or 4.7

System Requirements
IBM®-Compatible PC
Windows® 98, Windows® 2000 or higher
Available USB port
CD-ROM drive
*Internet Explorer® 5.0 or higher (provided with product).*
*User does not need to use IE 5.0 web browser but file installation is required for TouchSense™ support.


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