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Thu 4 Dec 2008 03:43 PM

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Biting Mice Dust

Logitech recently announced that it has shipped its billionth computer mouse. While Gareth van Zyl muses that this is a great achievement, he also asks why an estimated five billion people inhabiting this earth don’t have access to such a marvel…

Every now and then one gets subtle reminders about how technology is beginning to dominate some peoples’ lives while failing to reach most people. One such reminder has come with Logitech announcing that it has shipped its billionth computer mouse.

According to Logitech’s press release regarding the billionth mouse, more than a billion people worldwide are using computers with another billion expected to begin using computers by 2014.

This is a commendable accomplishment for Logitech and obviously a great way for the company to attract attention, but simple maths will tell us that there are more than six billion people on the planet; so, that obviously means that only about one out of six people have access to a computer mouse and subsequently a computer.

It seems almost paradoxical. On the one hand, one billion people is a lot of people, but on the other hand it means that five out of six people on the planet do not have access to what is regarded as an essential basic tool in the 21st century.

While anybody reading this piece will be lucky enough to either have access to a computer or even have their own computer with an internet connection, the fact is that computer access for all across the globe still has some way to go.

And what makes this situation even more divided is that many of us who are lucky enough to have a computer and a computer mouse are predicting the end of the computer mouse altogether.

“At the dawn of the new era of user interfaces that is bound to end the reign of the mighty computer mouse, Logitech is celebrating the production of its one billionth mouse,” one blogger has been quoted as saying on the popular Wired website (www.wired.com).“The increasing quality and accuracy of interactive UIs (user interfaces) and motion detectors are poised to kick out the mouse out of the mainstream and into the Senior House of Gadgets over the next decade.

“Among the other technologies that will emerge as viable computer input devices, we expect to see eye-tracking software, realistic force-feedback technology, voice commands, and everyone's favorite, Minority Report-style gesture recognition,” the blogger says.

Technology is progressing at such a pace that it is as though the billion odd computer mice out there are leaving most people on this planet biting their dust. One needs to pose the question then of when the day will arrive when a company out there comes out with a press release stating, “Every man, woman and child now has access to a computer.”

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