Friday, December 5, 2008


Not a widespread technology in this part of the world.

On Wednesday it decided to piss down as I exited the house to get into the car to go to work. It was raining cats and dogs as I got out of the car upon arrival at work. As I walked down the corridor to sign the timesheet, colleagues remarked I looked like a wet chicken.

As I walked back across the compound (still raining) to my air-conditioned office, I feared "Oh shit! This is a recipe for a chill..." and then I remembered ...

Several months ago we helped out a scientist from the University of Texas by installing a seismic monitoring station on our worksite. Essentially a probe about a metre into the ground into a complex toy connected to a Sony Clie PDA. Each month we would download the data onto a portable drive, plug the drive into a computer and send him the data. I was amazed that an earthquake in the Philippines could be sensed offshore western central Africa!

Anyway, after supervising the installation of the seismic monitoring station, he upped and left. Just before he left, he walked into my office with a plastic supermarket bag saying "Here's a bunch of old clothes which I'm sure you can find a good home for."

The bag laid, knotted closed, ignored, on a chair in my office for months ... until Wednesday when I decided to see if it had a dry shirt in it - and sure enough, although somewhat dirty, it did.

But to my great surprise, under the pile of dirty clothes, there was a weird ellipsoid device with a separate USB widget made by Logitech. Took it over to our computer centre (rain had become a drizzle) where my IT colleague Danny works.

First we worked out it was a laser pointer and then by plugging in the USB widget and toggling the switch on the back it became a mouse. Plug-and-Play under Windows XP. Took it back to my own work computer and it worked a dream.

As it is not work property, I took it home but worried about Bluetooth mice under Linux. Download numerous libraries? Went to the Logitech site - nothing about Linux. Surfed Bluetooth/Linux/Ubuntu 7.10, found a couple of useful links which I printed out.

Got home - plugged the USB widget into a USB port, fired up Ubuntu 7.10 and it was sensed immediately!

Beats the touchpad!

P.S. This is not a new notebook - Compaq Presario 2100.

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