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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
drunk mouse syndrome
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(Also "mouse on drugs") A malady exhibited by the mouse
pointing device of some computers. The typical symptom is for
the mouse cursor on the screen to move in random directions
and not in sync with the motion of the actual mouse. Can
usually be corrected by unplugging the mouse and plugging it
back again. Another recommended fix for optical mice is to
rotate your mouse mat 90 degrees.
At Xerox PARC in the 1970s, most people kept a can of copier
cleaner (isopropyl alcohol) at their desks. When the steel
ball on the mouse had picked up enough cruft to be unreliable,
the mouse was doused in cleaner, which restored it for a
while. However, this operation left a fine residue that
accelerated the accumulation of cruft, so the dousings became
more and more frequent. Finally, the mouse was declared
"alcoholic" and sent to the clinic to be dried out in a CFC
ultrasonic bath.