The Brunching Shuttlecocks Ratings

Input Devices

Many a cartoonist otherwise out of ideas has gotten yards of ostensible hilarity out of sticking a slice of Swiss cheese next to a computer mouse. Supposedly this sort of juxtaposition of linked, yet disparate elements is the essence of humor, but it just makes me think of what it would be like to spend eight hours a day pressing on a mouse's buttocks. Not great, is my guess. B-

Yeah! Missile Command! I can't imagine why nobody has come up with a Missile Command-themed operating system, or at least an office suite, for those with trackballs. Protect your spreadsheets from incoming nuclear destruction plus smart bombs! Lay down a protective layer of virus-thwarting explosions! Something like that. Marble Madness could be fun, too. A-

Laptop Nipples
You know what I mean, the little blue nub on some laptops that you poke around with a finger. I don't know what the official name is, probably "trackpointer" or something equally lame, but the vernacular term is immediately evocative, so let's go with it. I haven't used these much, but I'm against them mainly on the principle that if the same cartoonists who put cheese next to computer mice get these ensconced in their collective semi-conscious, we're going to see some really bad cartoons. D+

This is easily the most natural form of input for people who grew up writing on paper that has to be precisely aligned along lines of magnetic force, using a pen that actually leaves marks on an entirely different piece of paper a couple feet away. For everyone else, though, there's a period of adjustment to the fact that a tablet works just enough like a pen and paper to fuck you up. B

Most modern input devices, and trackpads in particular, suffer from the same limitation: people on Star Trek would look really stupid using them. Imagine: The Enterprise (Real Star Trek shows have an Enterprise. It's that simple.) is being attacked by the Corinthians or the Calgons or whatever, and everyone -- helm, science officer, chief engineer -- is twirling their pointer fingers around on trackpads like a class full of kindergarteners trying to fingerpaint on Post-It notes. Bad scene. C-

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