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SetPoint 6 and the discrimination of the ambidextrous

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:44

Plagued by constant trouble with my Logitech mice I recently decided to check for a new version of the infamous SetPoint (infamousness is inheritable). Having been using SetPoint 4.8 I was pleasantly surprised at the double major version jump - despite longstanding experience that new versions hardly ever deliver a net benefit. Maybe it's the profession of software engineering where "this bug is fixed in the latest version" is not only an illusion but the safeguard of your paycheck. But I digress ... Let's just say I was enthusiastically optimistic.

Both my enthusiasm and my optimism were reinforced when my Cordless Optical TrackMan, for which I was already applying for a South European citizenship (you know, because of how often they strike ...), suddenly started working again. The setup program promising to do away with the annoying-to-death and premature battery warnings, and the user interface looking cleaner and feeling less sluggish was just the icing on the cake.

Understandably enthusiastic (and optimistic) I started redoing my settings and soon started noticed that an elementary feature had died the feared death through ominous marketing decisions; the little check box to switch the left and right mouse buttons on a device-by-device basis. The only way to swap the buttons now was Windows' own control panel dialog, which, just as ominously, affects all the mice connected to the system.

"What's the big deal? How many mice do you need for one computer?" you say? The answer is at least two if you're ambidextrous or suffer from mouse overuse syndrome (and at least three if you count the one on the sofa for when you hook up your PC to the TV).

Slightly less enthusiastic (but still optimistic) I decided to e-mail Logitech customer support. I had heard lots of good things about them, plus it's educational to use your own company's customer support, so you can see it the way ordinary customers do.

It only took a few hours to get a response. The friendly support guy told me that he had also failed to accomplish what I was trying to do and that the only solution was to downgrade to SetPoint 4.8; not exactly what I had in mind.

I don't give up easily though. I was already contemplating writing an HID filter driver when I thought of uberOptions, a very dedicated and inspiring project that is the rescue of all people who feel that after buying an expensive input device they deserve to do with its buttons what they want.

Even though SetPoint 6 is not officially supported yet it worked great. After a quick installation I finally got my 'Swap buttons' check box back:

Set Point 6 settings dialog with uberOptions

And I clicked happily ever after ...

There's a side story to this one, which is that my MX Revolution mouse recently started refusing to charge, which seems to be a common problem. Luckily, for now, I haven't had to use the soldering iron. Instead, cleaning all the charging contacts and taking out and replacing the very same battery (easy to do; the four screws are under the little rubber pads) seems to have helped.

So, in just a few days I went from having two expensive designer paper weights on my desk back to my proven "2 Logitech mice + 1 Microsoft keyboard" sandwich.

PS: I was trying to find some statistics to confirm my conviction that the French, Italian, Spain, and Greek without a doubt must lead the strike statistics only to be heavily disappointed by the real numbers. But, as one of my friends likes to say, don't let the truth get in the way of a good story. :-)

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