In defence of mouse pads

mouse pad

Are mouse pads on the way to become obsolete? Judging by the mouse pad-less desks in most offices and homes (including mine), the answer is a resounding yes.

Computer mice have been around for about half a century, and for most of that time they have been paired with mouse pads. The rubbery rectangles provided the grip that the rubber balls of old mechanical mice needed in order to move and send directives to the computer.

Modern optical and laser mice dart happily across most surfaces. Consequently, computer users en masse ditched the squishy rectangle. Including myself.

Years later, I noticed a faint, but distinctly different patch on my beautiful oak desk. Right in the area regularly patrolled by the little feet of my optical mouse. Could it be…?

A short but feverish research confirmed my initial suspicions. My optical mouse was indeed responsible for the unsightly discoloured patch! During the course of my research I learned some additional benefits of using a mouse pad. Here they are in a nutshell:

  • The repeated motions of the rubber or plastic feet of the mouse will eventually wear away the finish on most desks. To avoid this, use a mouse pad to act as a sort of coaster.
  • Mouse pads may be necessary if the top of your desk is made of glass or has a reflective surface.
    The dirt from your desk will be transferred to the feet of your mouse as it moves around. A mouse pad won’t completely do away with this issue, but it will keep those feet fresh for longer.
  • Mouse pads provide a consistent tracking experience. (Gamers and graphic designers say so.)
  • The mouse pads with wrist rest are perfect for… resting your wrist.
  • If the sound of a mouse sliding directly on a wooden desk makes your teeth hurt… you know what to do.
  • Mouse pads come in a variety of designs and offer an inexpensive way to customise your desk.
  • A good mouse pad never hurts.

All in all, you don’t really need a mouse pad… but you should probably use one. Both your desk and your mouse will thank you! In other words, don’t be like me. Don’t wait until a splotch appears on your desk and you have to get a mouse pad to mask it.

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