Gadget Lust: An 18-Button Mouse Optimized for OpenOffice

Last Updated Nov 9, 2009 10:51 AM EST

Well, "lust" might be too strong a word; I'm trying to decide whether this is something I'd like to try, or if my eyes are permanently damaged from just having looked at it.

I've seen input devices in the past which were optimized for specific applications -- like drawing tablets for photo editing programs -- but the OpenOfficeMouse might be the most extreme example I've ever see. Come on... let's look at it together.

As the name implies, the OpenOfficeMouse is designed specifically for OpenOffice. It has 18 programmable buttons, each of which can be single- or double-clicked. That's unique 36 functions accessible via buttons. Plus, it has a scroll wheel and 512MB of RAM (the system requirements for Windows XP recommended 128MB). And macros.

The mouse comes with button customizations for OpenOffice because "the usage tracking feature of 3.1 permitted the assignment of application commands to mouse buttons based on the data gathered from more than 600 million actual mouse and keystroke commands enacted by users."

But in addition to OpenOffice, the OpenOfficeMouse is compatible with a dozen applications including Office 2007, Photoshop, AutoCAD, and Firefox. You might imagine that it would come in handy with games as well, and indeed, it comes with profiles for World of Warcraft, Unreal Tournament, The Sims 3, and a half-dozen others.

The manufacturer, Warmouse, claims that you can get used to using the mouse and its keyboard-like button array in just two days. And the company is working to release additional profiles for "everything from major mainstream applications to obscure DOS abandonware."

I'm dying to know -- would you consider using a mouse like this, or is the complexity level/ugly factor way too high? Sound off in the comments.