turbo scrolling

the first day of the rest of my life

First, a word from Tim Tebow:


Moving on: The New York Times this week:

Seven months of shattered plans, lockdowns and rapidly improvised new normals have converted jaded consumers around the world into frantic gadget freaks, each grasping for items that, in their chaotic disparity, tell the story of a strange, dark year: pulse oximeters, the iPhone 12, HEPA air filters, infrared thermometers, bare-minimum tablets and laptops for schooling, the PlayStation 5 (pre-order), ring lights, miniature freezers, home networking equipment, and noise canceling headphones.

I’m glad everyone is a gadget freak now because, I spent a considerable amount of time this morning searching for an essential gadget I just had to have. I’ve thought about it for years, and I’ve made a few helf-hearted attempts to track it down but I really hunkered down today and tried to get the task done.

More than any other social network I have an account on, Tumblr is the one most committed to recycling posts. This is by design, but additionally, in practice, it means every once in a while you’ll see an immortal post. Immortal posts pop back up every 8 months or so (I’m spitballing) and they have no new additions, someone just wanted to share again because the post is consistently amusing. This is a long way of saying I saw the mouse with two wheels again today.

#hmm... from Hmm...

This sucker is incredible. I consider myself pretty good at surfing the net expeditiously, but apparently I could surf it even faster with two wheels. “Cruise the Net faster with 2 Wheels.” Okay! I’m in.

Just like the Goncharov boots, I desperately need this thing. This is the “Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades” of computer accessories. Once I plug this mouse into my computer, I will become the guy in The Matrix that can read the green cascade. I will ascend to a higher plane.

There are all sorts of gaming mice with too many butons on the sides, but none that have multiple scroll wheels. Finding a mouse from the Clinton Years is, unfortunately, easier said than done. I went to the website for Roline, the Swiss company that produced this mouse. The site’s copy states that “computer accessories and network products from our suppliers have been scrutinized regularly in our in-house test laboratory,” which made me envision a guy sitting in a basement in Switzerland with two extremely strong index and middle fingers.

Alas, I don’t think Roline even makes mice anymore. Frustrating. So I googled around a bit and stumbled up on an uncropped picture of the mouse’s full packaging on Reddit. This thing’s even more advanced than I could possibly imagine.

Dynamic 4D Scrollware included? I was already sold but now I’m extremely sold. Apparently I’m now on the hunt for a WinBest 4D+ computer mouse. Every single part of that name sounds great. “Win” — great. “Win Best” — even better. “4D+” — in addition to the X, Y, and Z axes this mouse can traverse space-time and has a streaming service.

eBay turned up no hits for the Roline WinBest 4D+, but the nice thing about a string like “WinBest 4D+” (and corresponding model number “WWW-11”) is that it’s unique enough that Google will turn up highly specific search results. So I did that.

A website called ReviewStream, which has a design that somehow makes me feel like I am looking at a website from the back, had this to say about the WinBest 4D+:

Virtually indestructible (provided that you clean it regularly) and good for ordinary tasks. I have owned one for some time and generally I am very pleased. Sure, sometimes it needs cleaning but other than that - a good, solid, dirt-cheap product.

It also contains crucial additional information about the two scrollwheels.

The WWW-11’s double scrolls can be in some situations extremely useful. The reason is that the right one (responsible for left-right movement) can be controlled with exactly the same precision as the left one (working as an ordinary scroll in the up-down direction).

Like an absolute goober, I had assumed that both wheels were tied to the up-down axis. What a fool I was. I know better now. This way actually makes more sense.

The review also contained an additional clue: the two-wheel mouse is apparently made by A4Tech, not Roline (I’m guessing Roline licensed it). I found a few more mentions of the WinBest 4D+ with this added search term. On a thread on hardforum.com, a user mentioned it during a discussion on where users place their fingers on a mouse.

I am shocked to see that there are people that right mouse click with ring finger.
I can only do that if I could use 3 real buttons on the top of the mouse.
I was actually playing like that on my old A4Tech Winbest 4D which had 3 buttons on the top, all 3 same shape/size, and inbetween them I had 2 scroll wheels.

On another message board, a user named Merdalor posting in March 2000 laments being able to use it in Quake 3 but not Half-Life.

I bought this mouse some time ago and, though it’s cheap and comfortable, the wheel(s) only work(s) in Quake 3, not in Half-Life or any other game. Does anybody have a suggestion?

Nobody responded.

I also came across a thread circa 2001 on the A4Tech brand on the Turkish website Ekşi Sözlük, and though I am very smart and worldly, I do not know how to read Turkish. So I threw it into Google Translate, which is generally a bad journalistic practice but who’s going to stop me? Some egghead from Poynter?

Of the WinBest4D+, one poster had this to say:

Besides double scroll, there are zoom and auto scroll features. I never thought I could love too much stuff in Mouse.

As expected, the thread on computer gaming peripherals immediately became heated as users defended the honor of Logitech and Razer.

So, I guess opinion on A4 is split over in Turkey.

In a 1999 review of Microsoft’s IntelliMouse Explorer — which I’m pretty sure I had a version of and was translucent and cool, and was the first optical mouse I’d ever used and it seemed like magic — on the Hardware Zone, a reviewer lamens the mouse’s lack of scroll wheel.

“How about a second scroller for that left-to-right scrolling like the A4Tech WinBest 4D+ mouse?

This is a common theme in the few materials I was able to dig up on the WinBest 4D+ — many people were deciding between it and Microsoft’s Intellimouse Explorer, which was very popular but very expensive. On a New Zealand listserv, however, a guy named Craig heartily endorsed the WinBest 4D+.

Another user said it “looks nice,” while another chimed in that Craig should under no circumstances settle for anything less than the best: “Yes but its still a crappy Ball type mouse go play with a MS Intellimouse and see what you are missing..”

Jerry, on the other hand, seems to be working out some stuff via mouse critique.

Okay!

(There’s also a recent teardown of the mouse here, if you are interested.)

just let me buy the damn thing

All of this info was very helpful, though none of the critiques made me think for even a split-second that I should not buy this mouse. Unfortunately, A4Tech no longer sells it, which is quite frankly absolute bullshit, no offense. I found a listing on AliBaba with a single thumbnail image the size of a Cheerio from a seller in the United Arab Emirates but before I sent them a message inquiring about the price, I figured I’d give eBay another shot, searching “A4Tech” instead of “Roline.” I had a lot more success this time.

It’s not an exact match, but I found a listing for a “Wireless Radio 4D Mouse a4tech Brand New in Box PS/2 Version A4TECH RFW-25 NIB” that looks like this. It’s absolutely perfect.

“Finally, a smooth wireless mouse!” is what I said as soon as I saw it. This baby’s got:

  • No cord to clutter your desk

  • Multichannel digital radio technology

  • 255 ID codes, no more radio frequency interference

  • Valued iWheelWorks program included

  • Scrolling in Windows 95/98/2000/NT4.0 and zooming in Office 97/2000

But wait! There’s more!!

Yes, the rumors are true. This wireless mouse works up to five feet away from its receiver.

To alleviate any further doubts in my mind, it was nice to learn that this mouse was also named a “Best Thing” by .net Magazine in the U.K. and the Hungarian version of CHIP Magazine named it a Best of 1999. (Obviously, I’m being a little facetious right now but I bet this was genuinely cool at the time! I spent a significant amount of time trying to find any archives of either magazine and came up short. Also, I do not speak Hungarian.)

Anyway:

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Damn, I can’t believe Brian (very smart and attractive) just bought the last cool mouse in existence.” I have some good news: I did not buy that last cool mouse in existence. I bought the second-coolest mouse in existence.

I discovered the first-coolest mouse in existence while searching eBay, and it’s this one.

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/joMAAOSwmyZfX43p/s-l1600.jpg

Two scroll wheels and a track ball? That’s unimaginable power. Unfortunately, the budget of personal funds I am willing to commit to “stupid bits” right now currently hovers around $25 and this mouse would’ve cost me $49.99. I hope it finds a good home one day.

I have no idea if my mouse will work with Windows 10. I assumed my gaming PC’s motherboard did not have a PS/2 connection and I’d need to get a USB adapter but I guess motherboards still have PS/2 ports? You learn something new every day.


Elsewhere…


Thank you for reading BNet. As soon as the mouse gets here, my new life begins.