Most advances in desktop computers have come from games. This is hard to believe but true. The popularity of the original Apple, called the Apple II (there was no Apple I), was because it contained a game called “Little Brick Out.” Steve Wozniak liked it so much that he programmed it into the onboard software. In Little Brick Out you use a paddle to try and keep a ball bouncing against some colored bricks to knock them out. That meant the Apple II had to have color. You don’t need color to do word processing or use a spreadsheet, but you need it to play Little Brick Out. Because the Apple II had color, it forced IBM to put color in their first computers as well.

Increased speed, more memory and bigger hard drives were also in large part driven by the need for more processing power and disk storage to play games, which kept getting bigger and more complex. Office programs don’t need much processing power. Only programs using graphics and motion need speed and memory. All of which brings us to the subject of this little digression, the new “Ikari” mouse from, designed for gamers.

The Ikari mouse has its own LCD display and transmits clicks and movements five times faster than conventional mice. This response time can be tuned by the user to match their reflexes and reaction patterns. It can track, as the say, up to 3,200 movements per inch. That means, of course, that getting that creature with a single shot when he sticks just a bit of his head around the corner might require a very precise movement with the mouse, and you can do it. Does this have any reference at all beyond shooting the bad guys in creature features? Well yes, actually. People who use CAD programs, like AutoCAD (Computer Aided Design), and art and illustration, need precise control over lines and dimensions. In the early days, precision mice and joysticks were big ticket items. (Bob had a joystick that cost $1,500.) We found the new Ikari mouse for $70 at Users have raved about it.

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