Eat a balanced diet

A few years back, we took delivery of a batch of new mice for the computer labs. These Microsoft mice have 18 pages of English language instructions. 18 PAGES. For a mouse. I saved one at the time as a memento of this farce, and recently, I came across that forgotten relic at the bottom of a desk drawer.

Let’s get started, shall we?


After the innocuous front cover comes a whole page of instructions on plugging the mouse in, followed by many more pages of rubbish on good computer posture. Then it starts to go seriously off-topic around page 10:

Are you kidding me, Microsoft? You devote an entire page of a manual for a mouse on telling me how I should eat healthily and get some exercise? This has absolutely nothing to do with your product. Nothing. You even put a conclusion in, as if this somehow justifies the pages of effluence that precedes it. What kind of crack are you guys smoking in Redmond anyway?

Better yet, the front page – yes, the front page – of the manual has this diagram on it.

OK Microsoft, take a look carefully at step 1 in your diagram here. That’s right, it’s a diagram showing you how to plug the damned mouse in. Anyone with a mental age above 4 needs nothing more than this diagram, and yet here I am holding 109 pages (20ish pages in 5 different languages) of manual. If verbosity were a physical substance, this document would be 100% pure.

Microsoft make decent mice, but I’m not sure whether the manual makes me want to laugh incessantly or give up all hope for mankind.

About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

4 responses to “Eat a balanced diet”

  1. hazymatt says :

    This is amazing. I remember laughing about the mouse manual that tells you to “eat a balanced diet”, I think I even blogged about it once. Hilarious.

    Never thought Microsoft could be even more of a nag than my own mother…

  2. Daniel Beardsmore says :

    Wow, that’s brilliant. That beats having backslashes in a URL printed on the box: http://telcontar.net/Misc/reviews/MSIntelliMouseOptical11/IntelliPoint.jpg (that’s from a MS Comfort Mouse 4500, not an IMO).

    I beg to differ on MS mice though — they suck big time. The IMO 1.1 has two bugs (at least, the batch that mine came from): a) the cursor tends to jump 1 or 2 px after pressing and releasing any button, and b) it generates random wheel events quite often.

    My old IntelliMouse optomechanical also had a wheel bug so prominent that Firefox’s bugzilla had a bug devoted to it (similar issue: in this case, clicking would often fire a spurious wheel event), whereas I seem to be the only person who’s noticed how bad the IMO 1.1 is.

    Cheap, ropey garbage — I only stick with the IMO as I like the side button placement. (The Comfort Mouse 4500 also has the nice side buttons, but it has an essentially unclickable notchless wheel, which goes unnoticed as so many people still don’t get that the wheel is button no. 3!)

    Never found any bugs in Dell mice …..

    Doug Engelbart doesn’t get to spin in his grave yet, though.

  3. mavhc says :

    Also MS mice want to install some software, that needs admin rights, and does nothing, yet automatically tries to open on every machine.

  4. Claudio Kuenzler says :

    Actually the front page is one huge mistake. If only point 2 tells you to open the manual, how can you know point 1? So its actually not even possible to fulfill that easy task of two steps according to the manual.