Fly Your Linux Box by Gyromouse

Reclaim your desktop space and explore new possibilities with a Gyromouse/compact keyboard suite.
Performance/Range

Performance has been excellent with the mouse and keyboard. The cursor response is practically instantaneous. The adjustments I mentioned earlier should help with any changes you might want to make.

As for range, my daughter thought it was funny when I told her to watch the screen while I went to the other end of the house and typed in a message. The mouse seemed to move the cursor pretty well, too. That's about 40 feet, through normal residential walls.

I did an OOo Impress presentation recently for the Melbourne Linux User Group. The meeting was held in a warehouse-type room, and I think the steel/sheet rock walls caused some reflections of the radio waves. The cursor started acting funny when I was about 30 feet away from the laptop, so I just moved a little closer.

I've also tested the range in a large room at the local library, and the best I could get was about 100 feet. I received a few strange looks, too, as I peered at the laptop screen through binoculars while I waved the mouse around.

As for battery life, never fear, the mouse has a NiMH battery and a charger. I've used my mouse for eight hours on a full charge. If you can get in the habit of putting the mouse in its charger during lunch or dinner, it always is ready. You can buy a spare battery, too, if you feel as though you'll forget to charge before a presentation. The compact keyboard uses four AAA-sized batteries, and it's been running strong for almost a month.

Take Your Own Test Flight

I'd recommend the Gyromouse and compact keyboard suite to any desktop or laptop Linux user. Put it with an LCD monitor and a small form factor desktop box, and you can have your workspace back. Give it a try, I think you'll wonder why you didn't get one sooner.

Rob Reilly (robreilly@earthlink.net) is a technology writer and speaker whose articles appear in LinuxToday.com, NewsForge.com and PC Update magazine. He offers professional writing and seminar services on Linux desktop applications, portable computing and presentation technology. Visit his Web site at home.earthlink.net/~robreilly.

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The CTRL key is in the WRONG place

Anonymous's picture

This keyboard will drive you crazy.
It has the seldom used function key where the ctrl key should be.
Alt is confused with a useless windows key.

Totally worhless

Re:[Don't] Fly Your Linux Box by Gyromouse

Anonymous's picture

Purchased the keyboard and mouse for a MythTV based home theatre PC. While mostly acceptable for use in low duty cycle applications (such as a home theatre PC), it certainly is unacceptable for regular use.

I find the mouse problematic on Mandrake 10 (it sometimes simply does not report movements unless the base unit is power cycled by unplugging it and plugging it back in, then reloading the USB module stack and restarting X). What's most strange is that the keyboard still works just fine with the same receiver when the mouse is non-functional. The mouse issue may be related to the 2.4.25 kernel I'm running or some X configuration issue because it did seem to work reliably when I used it on another box running SuSE 9.0. I find the keyboard is too cramped for serious typing when compared to a standard desktop keyboard. The keyboard is also difficult to use with games (it's basically the same style keyboard you would find on a typical laptop). I suspect, based on experimentation and prior experience with RF (I'm an EE and have designed RF receivers) that the receiver is regenerative and is thus very prone to interference. To get any range (even say 10'), expect to be looking to find ways to place the receiver a good distance away from your monitor, TV, etc. To make mine work in my living room reliably, sitting 6' away from the TV (and where I would have liked to have placed the receiver), I had to add a USB extension cable to get the receiver far enough away from the HTPC and TV to make it work. The receiver now sits on top of a speaker in the corner of the room about 8' away from the TV.

If I had to make the decision to buy this product again for a similar application, I would not.

also own and am a fan of the fly mouse

Anonymous's picture

After a week of fiddling with this usb keyboard and mouse combo I can say its a pretty well done deal. Sadly support under linux is a little sketchy (works fine on a knoppix livecd tho)--I need to have another usb mouse plugged in at boot to have the gyromouse detect--though the keyboard picks up quite nicely. The transmitter is tiny--fraction of a pound--and gyration just opened a recall for some defective transmitters (an RMA I applied for and got because the first transmitter didn't do jack).

Anyhow another interesting point about the device that I think was over looked is its gaming potential. Though overly sensitive at first the gyromouse can change the way that games are played. Immediate issues facing gamers looking to check out a 3d mouse, 1)because of the gyro leaning back is up and forward is down aka airplane controls 2)clicking--the position will kick for each click--real 1st person problems =) 3)finally the mouse pad of no mouse pad. Overall it is a daunting task faced with relearning how to play a game and really how to be accurate with a pointing device.

Best of luck and I do recommend -- though the full size keyboard of course

D

Re: also own and am (NOT) a fan of the fly mouse

Anonymous's picture

I wish I could share everyone's enthusiasm, but I've had nothing but trouble with the full-size version since purchasing it about a year ago. I too got one of the bad receivers, and it took several phone calls to gyration and two mailings by them before I had a replacement. And this was AFTER no one responded to my email to tech support regarding why the device was working so poorly. Shortly thereafter I experienced a marked decrease in battery life. Gyration sent me another battery, no questions asked, but its life is just as poor. For example, I started using a fully-charged battery on Monday and it died Wednesday afternoon; the large majority of that time it was simply idle.

I purchased this suite because of the claimed 25 foot (or is it 30? The box says 30 ft, but the back of the mouse says 25 ft!) sensing range. However, to achieve near 100% reproducibility, I have the receiver about 2 ft from my desk. I'm using the suite on a PC used to control 4 industrial robots, and even this distance is too far when the motor amplifiers are turned on. Changing channels makes little difference.

Finally, I find the keyboard to be a little stiff. I'm sorry I spent so much money for such a frustrating product, just glad it wasn't my $!

Re: Hotpluging Mice

Anonymous's picture

You'll find that you have nicer experiences with swapping mice if you used the following line, then no need to restart X:

InputDevice "PS/2 mouse" "SendCoreEvents"
InputDevice "USB mouse" "CorePointer"

This means you can wack a mouse in any time - I do this for my usb mouse/dock for my laptop.

Re: Fly Your Linux Box by Gyromouse

Anonymous's picture

I own this mouse and keyboard combo myself. While I definitely like the mouse for couch-surfing and presentations, I would not recommend the mini-keyboard for extended periods of typing. As a presentation and web surfing keyboard, the mini serves its purpose. But the tactile feedback is poor (it feels like a laptop keyboard, but flimsier) and the keyboard is very cramped and the keys are in strange places. It's taken me well over three weeks to get fully adjusted to it, and when i go back to regular keyboards I find my hand curling up to hit the Ctrl-Alt keys when I shouldn't have to.

Re: Fly Your Linux Box by Gyromouse

Anonymous's picture

I just did a SuSe 8.2 install on a box that was formerly running windows 2000 and using one of these mice. Sometimes it boots fine but sometimes it hangs when trying to start USB. If you unplug the USB cable it continues to boot but then you have no mouse support. Other then that I love it.

Re: Fly Your Linux Box by Gyromouse

Anonymous's picture

I saw one in the store today, but opted for the logitech wireless optical mouse instead, at much less cost. For presentations, I use a little ACOM Data wireless mouse/laser pointer combination. Very comfortable and effective. But I am intrigued about this Gyromouse...

The real point to this post, though, is you don't have to kill X to get it to recognize a properly configured USB pointer. Just switch to a different virtual X terminal. On my laptop, (Mandrake 9.2) X is on virtual console #7. If you switch to 8 or 9, and then back to 7, it will re-read the devices, and USB pointers start working (as long as the drivers and XConfig is set up for it). Ctrl-Alt-F8, then Ctrl-Alt-F7, and you're all set. In Knoppix, X runs on VC 5, so it's Ctrl-Alt-F6, then Ctrl-Alt-F5.

Hope that saves you a bit of trouble...
Cheers,
John Locke
Open source solutions for small business problems
http://freelock.com

How big is the usb radio receiver?

Anonymous's picture

I'm not happy with any of the regular laptop mouse devices and would consider the gyromouse. But how portable is it? If the USB end of the device is bulky that's a definate downside. The other question would be how much power the device requires for it's USB end. Wouldn't want to run down the batteries instantly.

Re: How big is the usb radio receiver?

Anonymous's picture

The receiver is a little larger than a deck of playing cards, but it's extremely light weight. The cable can actually lift one side of it up if you try to bend it too sharply.

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