Fly Your Linux Box by Gyromouse
Product: Ultra GT Gyromouse
Price: $119.95 US (retail)
"In-Air" or desktop capability
NiMH battery with good life
Radio link, not infra red
Plug and play with Linux
Pick it up off the table. Squeeze the trigger on the bottom and tilt your wrist slightly. The cursor instantly follows your every movement. It's accurate, wireless and projects the ultimate in techno appeal. It's an Ultra GT Gyromouse.
The Gyromouse, by Gyration, is an ultra high-tech pointing device, and it's the best thing to happen to mice since wireless. In fact, it is a wireless (proprietary RF) optical mouse with little gyroscopes that sense your hand motion. You hold the trigger button on the bottom and wave the Gyromouse around to move the cursor. Sit it on the desktop, and it magically becomes an optical desktop mouse.
My in-air mousing started several weeks ago, when the Gyromouse/Compact Keyboard suite appeared in a retailer's Sunday newspaper insert. The price, $119.95 US or about $88 US after rebates, was a little steep perhaps. But because I'm a Linux-only kind of guy who lugs around a 5-year-old 300MHz PII laptop and recycles ancient Pentiums for my Linux Lab, I thought I could splurge a little. The package came with the mouse, compact keyboard, RF receiver (USB), charger and software (for Windows). Naturally, I had no need for the software.
Several models of the mouse/keyboard suite are available in retail land. A quick call to Gyration confirmed that the 30-foot version (average distance the mouse can be used) was the latest consumer model. The early model is distinguished by its 25-foot range. Mega-dollar presentation pros might opt for the Gyromouse professional model with its 100-foot wireless capability and $180 price tag.
Installing the mouse and keyboard couldn't be easier. They both worked out of the box on one of my ancient Pentium desktops with SuSE 8.0 Linux Pro. I did have to edit several lines in my /etc/X11/XF86Config file so the Gyromouse would work with my 300MHz PII laptop, however. Specifically, I added an InputDevice section for the USB mouse.
Section "InputDevice" Driver "mouse" Identifier "USB mouse" Option "ButtonNumber" "5" Option "Device" "/dev/input/mouse0" Option "Name" "AutoDetected" Option "Protocol" "imps/2" Option "Vendor" "AutoDetected" Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5" Option "resolution" "250" EndSection
The imps/2 line makes the wheel on the Gyromouse work.
I also commented out the PS/2 line and added a USB line in the ServerLayout section.
# InputDevice "PS/2 mouse" "CorePointer" InputDevice "USB mouse" "CorePointer"
This setup lets me plug in my wired PS/2 mouse and simply switch the # character on the two lines, in case I run out of mouse battery power or something.
You should be aware that if you've turned on your machine and forgotten to plug in the USB receiver, you occasionally have to restart X. Linux recognizes the device, but X doesn't respond to the mouse movements and your cursor just sits there. In this case, simply CTL-ALT-Backspace to crash out of X and restart. Usually, though, I can turn on the mouse and keyboard, start the laptop and it works fine. It doesn't happen often enough for me to bother making it 100% predictable.
You might want to tweak some desktop and XF86Config file settings to get the most comfortable response from the Gyromouse. Start by going into your XF86Config file and playing around with the InputDevice resolution value, under the USB mouse. Mine is set to 250. Larger values tend to make the mouse more sensitive to movement, making it hard to control the cursor when using the mouse in the air.
Next, in KDE go to the Preferences -> Peripherals -> Mouse menu and select the Advanced tab. The important values I use are 1X for the pointer acceleration and 1 pixel for the pointer threshold. High values in the pointer acceleration make the mouse almost totally uncontrollable on my machine. You may have to juggle these values to get the best feel.