Leave the balls to the kids and let an optical sensor do the surfing.
Too often, standard PC mice seem more like dazed turtles: slow, inefficient and prone to missteps. Microsoft's Intellimouse ($34.95 street) is the smarter cousin of the lineage, using an optical sensor to detect motion rather than a rubber ball. That means no moving parts to clean, no sticking and no skipping. Plus, a special zoom wheel enables you to bypass menus and toolbars while you're on the Internet or working in many of your favorite programs. Bottom line: You probably paid a lot for a fast computer. For a few more shekels, you can be sure you're maximizing that speed. System requirements include 16MB RAM, 30MB hard-drive space, and a round mouse port (PS/2-compatible) or USB port.
J.W. Dysart, a software analyst and Internet business consultant, has written for more than 40 publications, including The New York Times and The Financial Times of London. He is also a columnist for our sister publication, Business Start-Ups.
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