Battery power

To work at Macworld is to live with the realization that even the most innocent conversation about technology can spawn an argument that puts the Lincoln-Douglas debates seem like a minor dispute over semantics. That happened to me Tuesday when we were discussing the news that Apple released a wireless version of its multi-button Mighty Mouse. The topic of this battle for the ages? What’s better: a battery-powered Bluetooth mouse or one with a docking station? Discretion prevents me from revealing the names of which colleagues, but several editors seemed to argue that docking stations were more efficient than battery-power.

To which I respond: As if .

Their argument centered around the battery usage, and I will admit that older Bluetooth mice were a tad rough on batteries. But that’s not the case anymore. I go a long time between battery changes and I use my mouse all day long.

Besides, what happens when your docking mouse dies? Are you just supposed to stop working until it recharges? Even if I do have to change the batteries in my Bluetooth mouse, I can just keep on going after swapping in new batteries.

Yes, I know there is the problem of having a constant supply of batteries, but with two kids in the house having enough batteries around isn’t much of a concern.

And the new Bluetooth Mighty Mouse makes this even more of a moot point, thanks to a clever approach to power consumption. If you look at Apple’s Mighty Mouse page, you might notice that the company says the input device draws “power from one or two AA batteries.” I called Apple to find out the reason for that inexact number. It turns out the Mighty Mouse will run just fine with only one battery. However, if you put two batteries in, the mouse will use one until it drops below the power level of the second battery; then, the mouse switches over to the second battery and will continue to run until both batteries are dead.

I currently use Apple’s single-button Bluetooth mouse with a Mac mini connected to my television. I don’t often need a mouse, but every once in a while I need to install an update, download some music, or mount a drive—trivial stuff that nevertheless requires the use of a mouse.

I have my Bluetooth mouse and keyboard tucked away beside my favorite chair and pull them out when needed—it’s very convenient. Since I am more likely to just drop the mouse beside my chair than put it away, I can’t imagine I would remember—or care to—get up and park it in my docking station. (Not to mention how ugly that would look in my home theatre set up).

Worse yet, even if I do remember to put it in the dock, I guarantee you there is no way my kids would ever remember to do it—you could stand there and turn red in the face and they still wouldn’t do it.

I’m really looking forward to getting my Bluetooth Mighty Mouse. I plan to use it in my living room with my Mac mini for now, but I suspect it will be hooked up to my computer in no time—having the multiple buttons will be too much for me to resist.

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