Archie Maskill
A software development blog

Mog

I don’t have RSI but, in the past, I’ve been well on the way to developing it thanks to applications that pretty much make the mouse a requirement (oh, and poor posture).

About 6 months ago, I saw Mouser by Adam Pash, over at LifeHacker, and liked it quite a bit.

You navigate in Mouser by effectively throwing away large sections of screen and navigating around the area that remains. For example, if you move the mouse pointer left, the area that was to the right of the cursor is marked as off-limits and the mouse pointer is placed in the centre of the remaining area. It’s like the navigational equivalent of the binary search method.

As cool as it was, it wasn’t quite a replacement for the mouse. So: I reimplemented it, fixed some unresponsiveness and dodgy behaviour, made it more customizable and released it.

I’ve called it mog, and it’s available for download here: http://code.google.com/p/moggie/ (mog was already taken, sadly, and it’s Windows-only for extra sadness).

It’s _still_ not an effective replacement for the mouse… but I believe it qualifies as an acceptable-for-the-time-being alternative. The problem is the number of key presses required to navigate to a 20×20 pixel area (we rarely require pixel precision). If you have two fairly high resolution monitors, the worst case scenario is about 12-14 key presses. I’d guess that about 8 key presses is the average. Unfortunately, it’s easy to make a mistake and, without an undo feature, this will add another 8 key presses. So I’d say the average number of key presses is more like 12. Not very effective.

Fortunately, I have plans to incorporate other navigation methods into mog. Once I’ve run out of ideas, I intend to look at ways of bringing the best of those ideas to other platforms (AutoHotKey is only available for Windows).

Please do let me know what you think, criticisms and praise both accepted.

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