Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Friday, June 10, 2005

Scrubbing Mouse Balls For Fun And Profit!

Just Be Sure And Wash Your Hands Afterward

One of the perils of owning a long-haired cat is the shed factor. Despite daily brushings that remove enough fur to knit a decent hat, the amount of hair that comes off of Betsy Cat is unbelieveable. Using a wet cloth, I can swipe at her favorite napping spot on the head of my bed daily and come up with a fistful of fur. I wake up most mornings, and immediately have to spit out at least one stray cat hair that's pasted itself to some part of my mouth. I use more sticky lint rollers monthly than most third world countries use in a year.

The electric fans in the room suffer as well. Since the ceiling fan and the oscillating fan run whenever I'm in there, they attract their own amount of lint, and need to be wiped down often. The computer fan is no different. About every two weeks, I lift up the iMac and scrape along the vent holes underneath, and get a good-sized wad. I shudder to think about what the inside of the case looks like.

When my USB mouse started screwing up the other evening, my first thought was "Damn, gotta drop another $15 on a new mouse." The older mice you could open up and clean out, but when an optical mouse quits, you just go get a new one.

Still, it's worth a look under the hood before I shitcan it. So, I grab my handy little multi-bit screwdriver and open 'er up.

When what to my wondering eyes did appear... but a wad of cat hair the size of a deer!

That fuzz was all jammed up around the scrollwheel, and pushing the optical sensors out of alignment. That in turn was causing the main LED to get out of its proper place, and respond erratically. Normally it responds to the movement of the mousepad underneath, but it was getting discombobulated but the waving wads of cat hair and acting like it was moving even when it wasn't.

I ended up taking it completely apart, down to the little springy things that regulate the scrollwheel. It seems that a lot of those little moving parts had been given a coat of white grease. Anyone that's familiar with firearms knows that grease attracts grit and gunk like a magnet. This was no different.

After tweezering out all the greasy matted cat hair, dirt, and other unspeakable filth resulting from simultaneous snacking and computing that had taken up residence inside the mouse, I scraped off the gunk jammed up around the scrollwheel as I vowed to never eat in front of the computer again. That resolution lasted approximately 26 hours, btw.

It took a few tries and a quick perusal of the Redneck Duct Tape & Baling Wire Technical Institute reference manual to get it all back together, but now it's like having a brand new mouse. Using teflon gun oil instead of white grease might keep the gunk factor down, too.

Open up them mice, boys & girls! There's a jungle in there!