VOGONS


First post, by jarreboum

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Before the wheel replaced it and wheel-click became a thing, there were mice with a third button in the middle. I can't remember any use for it, but my experience is pretty limited. AFAIK Windows 3.11 doesn't use it nor the wheel.

Was there some software in which you just couldn't do without the middle button (be it mandatory or simply too useful a function to do without)? Or do you believe it was just a gimmick that was only able to catch on after the wheel was invented?

Reply 1 of 13, by Jorpho

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I think the big problem was that the Microsoft Mouse standard only supported two buttons, and three buttons required a mouse that supported Mouse Systems Mode. Software that required three buttons would have locked out the two-button userbase.

There was some discussion of this a little while ago over at Re: How do you get a serial mouse working . (I never did find that copy of Cool Mouse.)

Foone was just tweeting about how one of the earliest scroll wheels was principally for use in Autocad.
https://twitter.com/Foone/status/1375214175329296384

Reply 4 of 13, by jarreboum

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I got into a rabbit hole reading Wikipedia, I'm now imagining a time in which three button mice are standard, with the left being action, middle being select, and right being contextual. No more double clicking (which I found one of the more difficult task when learning to use a mouse as an adult), and no more holding a key to select multiple objects, no accidental launch when meaning to select files...

Reply 7 of 13, by bofh.fromhell

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jarreboum wrote on 2021-03-25, 23:56:

Before the wheel replaced it and wheel-click became a thing, there were mice with a third button in the middle. I can't remember any use for it, but my experience is pretty limited. AFAIK Windows 3.11 doesn't use it nor the wheel.

Was there some software in which you just couldn't do without the middle button (be it mandatory or simply too useful a function to do without)? Or do you believe it was just a gimmick that was only able to catch on after the wheel was invented?

Heck yea!
You bound it to double click to destroy everyone else in Solitaire!
I still hold the record at my old job, 49 seconds with "pick one card" selected.
On NT 3.51 IIRC, but that should be about the same Solitaire as wfw 3.11

Reply 8 of 13, by Jasin Natael

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I used it quite a bit in games....as others stated, opening doors, or jumping. Things like that.

I'm sure there were third party programs that people mapped functions to it as well. I don't recall ever doing that though.

Reply 9 of 13, by megatron-uk

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As has been mentioned previously, the middle button is used extensively in RISC OS. It was also traditionally used on most X Window System interfaces as the default 'paste' action; left select, middle paste, right menu.

My collection database and technical wiki:
https://www.target-earth.net

Reply 11 of 13, by Big Pink

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I love my IBM ScrollPoint II with separate middle button and trackpoint. Infinite scrolling has never been so effortless.

I thought IBM was born with the world

Reply 12 of 13, by yawetaG

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Jorpho wrote on 2021-03-26, 00:13:

I think the big problem was that the Microsoft Mouse standard only supported two buttons, and three buttons required a mouse that supported Mouse Systems Mode. Software that required three buttons would have locked out the two-button userbase.

Software that required a three-button mouse either used a modifier key to work with two-button mice, or allowed users to click both buttons at once.

Reply 13 of 13, by Joseph_Joestar

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Fun fact: Stonekeep supported a 3 button mouse. It also used WASD for movement (default bindings) in addition to the arrow keys.

For reference, that's a 1995 DOS game.

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