I picked up a new mouse to use at work yesterday, mainly because I wanted a scroll wheel that actually turned. (The old one was jammed.) I figured I’d go optical as well, since I much prefer optical mice. I ended up getting a basic $15 Microsoft mouse, though I would have gone for a more expensive Logitech if I were getting one for home.

When I plugged it in this morning, I was surprised to find that it skipped all over the place. Not constantly, as if the KVM had gotten its signal mixed up, but enough that it would be a real pain to use. (Oddly, it worked more smoothly on my Linux box than the Windows box. I have no idea why.)

So I pulled out the manual, looking for a troubleshooting section. Something like “If your mouse skips, it may be caused by XYZ.” Nothing. The contents were:

  • One page on how to plug it in
  • One page on which button does what.
  • One page on cleaning instructions (half of which was for ball mice).
  • Five pages on ergonomics and how to arrange your chair, desk, monitor, keyboard and mouse to avoid eyestrain, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.
  • One page titled “Be Healthy,” advising you to eat a balanced diet, get plenty of rest and exercise, see your doctor on a regular basis, etc.
  • The usual radio interference and legal information. And another health warning about RSI.

Useful information to be sure, but not quite what I was looking for.

As it turns out, I just tossed away my mouse pad and tried the mouse directly on the desk. It works like a charm now. I guess the pad was too reflective or something.