My geekiness comes out

Recently, I bought a Kensington 64325 ExpertMouse trackball. The point of it was to help my carpal tunnel and tendonitis by decreasing the stress on my wrists and the twisting required to mouse. (I also bought a vertical mouse, but that’s another story.) I set up the mouse on my macbook and got it all configured the way I wanted. Most notably, I’m using it with my left hand, even though I’m right handed, so it needed to not have the default configuration. (This is due to the fact that if you have the alphabet part of your keyboard centered on your desk, you will have to reach further with your right hand than your left. I did not come up with this, I got it from one of my professors.)

The trackball has 4 buttons, a trackball, and a scrollwheel. Two buttons on top, two on the bottom. I set them up (on my mac) so the top right was the click, top left: right click, bottom right was forward (in a browser) and bottom left was back. Everything was grand and I started getting good at navigating my computer without a normal mouse or my touchpad.
Then I brought the mouse into school. To plug into my Ubuntu desktop. I knew it would work on Ubuntu because that’s the system I’d tested out before I’d bought mine. But the button mappings were all wrong. Combine this with the fact that there wasn’t a special program to redo mappings (aka ExpertMouse?) in Linux and the fact that I have no admin rights on my computer and I was stumped. So I hooked the trackball into my mac and connected them using Synergy. Since the mouse was primarily on my laptop, everything worked on my desktop the way I expected. Until today…when the internet was insanely slow, so I couldn’t move my mouse between computers. Then I decided to fix this, once and forever.
I started searching the interwebs. (These specifics work in tsch, I haven’t tried them in other shells.) I knew I was supposed to be able to fix the problem with something looking like this:
xmodmap -e ‘pointer 3 2 8 1 5 4 7 6’
but I couldn’t figure out what the numbers meant. I did a little more searching and came up with a slightly better mapping. I’ll explain it here because I was so baffled by the online solutions, that I want to have this on hand for me and thought others might find it interesting/useful.
When the mouse is in it’s default position, the numbers would read 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, I believe. A normal two-button mouse is just 1 2. A lefthanded mouse would be 2 1.
  • 1 – normal click
  • 2 – right click
  • 3 – middle click
  • 4 – scroll up?
  • 5 – scroll down?
  • 6 – ?
  • 7 -?
  • 8 – back (in browser)
  • 9 – forward (in browser)
This is the solution that I came up with. The 7 was added because I needed all 9 consecutive numbers otherwise I got an error.
xmodmap -e ‘pointer = 8 3 9 4 5 6 2 1 7’
This works the same as on my macbook. Top right is the click, top left: right click, bottom right is forward (in a browser) and bottom left is back. The scroll wheel hasn’t changed.

Ah, adventures in making simple things more complicated!

To tide you over

I’ve been a bad blogger lately, especially since Firefox 3.0 and my blog are not acting friendly at the moment. Basically when I load my blog in FF, FF freezes which is really not my cup of tea. So instead of blogging I’ve been doing other things, like watching hulu and scramble and trying to get some research done.
I’m also wrapping up my internship. Amazingly, I only have six work days left and there’s a lot that has to get done in that period of time. I’ve had a fantastic summer out here in CA though and I can honestly say that I’ve really enjoyed my job. (Yes, I was slightly surprised by that.) But while I’ll miss my work here, as well as the farmer’s market and great weather, it will be good to head back home to year four of my Ph.D.
I’m in the middle of a painful photo migration. Trying to migrate 41 albums and hundreds of photos from webshots to flickr. I’ve contemplated moving them all to picasaweb, but for now I’ll stick with flickr. That comes up because today’s picture is from back in November 2004.
This picture is relevant to today because of the chairs like the one I am sitting on (far right). You see in September 2004, the Olympics were being held in Athens and for the first time I had both a tv and a group of people to watch with. We were also still enjoying the novelty of having a tv in our lounge. So Rachel and I decided that we would pretend to be Olympic athletes. What sport, you ask yourself? Well, for us it was fairly obvious.


Image from flickr user pingnews.com

Too boring. We wanted a sport with more complication. (No offense to runners.)


Image from flickr user BohPhoto

Obviously I am WAY too tall for this kind of thing. Plus I have no arm strength. At the time we were both 21 as well, putting us in the “ancient” zone for gymnasts.

Image from flickr user flying_tiger

Our dorm was somewhat lacking in equine mammals. Thus we had to pass on the equestrian events.

So I suppose it was obvious and inevitable that we would choose to be






Image from flickr user njhdiver

Yes. Who else but synchronized divers? To achieve the proper effect sans pool, we simply climbed up on the aforementioned chairs, facing either out to the middle of the room or towards the wall. From there we would spin, generally 180 or 360 as we jumped off the chairs and headed towards the floor. We did not, as you might be relieved to know, attempt pikes. That just seemed a little infeasible with only having two feet to execute the move in and all.

That’s the memory of the day with props to Rach for calling me from her new home in the great Northland.