December 3, 2012

Microsoft Mouse 1.0

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

A few weeks ago, I posted a news article about the demise of the computer mouse. That got me to thinking about my first computer mouse.

I bought my first IBM PC — used, from my employer — around about 1985 or 1986. Probably 1986. One of the first toys I bought it was a 20MB (yes, megabyte) hard drive. I also bought it a computer mouse. A Microsoft mouse. The old two-button mouse.

For some stupid reason, I hung onto the manual that came with the mouse. I still have it! I kept the Mouse floppy disk as well, but apparently I tossed it out recently. (That’s okay as I don’t really have a 5 1/4-inch floppy drive anymore.)

I probably hung onto the mouse manual because it was chocked full of good programming information. That’s the way computer manuals were in the 1980s: The manufacturer figured that anyone buying something like a mouse wasn’t after an easy-to-use computer interface. Nope, they were a programmer hobbyist. That’s what I was.

The Microsoft Mouse came one of two ways: Serial or Bus.

The Serial Mouse plugged into the PC’s serial (RS-232) port. The problem there was that you couldn’t use a modem and the mouse at the same time — unless you carefully configured the PC’s hardware. That was a pain.

The Bus mouse also required configuration, but because it plugged into an expansion card. That hardware was more flexible than the serial mouse, so I purchased a Bus Mouse.

Oh, there was also a Universal Mouse, which is basically the same mouse port connector used on today’s PCs. My original IBM PC lacked that hardware.

The Microsoft Mouse came with a host of software. There was a text editor called Notepad, which predated the DOS version of Microsoft Word and looks now like a precursor to that program. There was a Mouse Menu program, which provided a pop-up mouse interface to other programs, but it was way too clunky to be useful. I thought there was a paint program, but apparently there wasn’t. There was also a music program called Piano and the Game of Life, which is always entertaining.

The gallery below shows some highlights from the mouse manual. It’s all copyrighted Microsoft material, so I hope that they don’t sue the crap out of me for reproducing it here.

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