on the edge

computers & technology, books & writing, civilisation & society, cars & stuff

Greg Black

gjb at gbch dot net
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If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.

FQE30 at speed


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Worthy organisations

Amnesty International Australia — global defenders of human rights

global defenders of human rights

Médecins Sans Frontières — help us save lives around the world

Médecins Sans Frontières - help us save lives around the world

Electronic Frontiers Australia — protecting and promoting on-line civil liberties in Australia

Electronic Frontiers Australia


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)

Software resources

GNU Emacs


The FreeBSD Project

Tue, 31 Aug 2004

USB mouse dramas

I don’t know if the problem is flaky USB hardware on my relatively new motherboard, flaky USB support in FreeBSD-4.10, or something else entirely, but I have been having some real dramas with the mouse on my workstation lately. Since I get the same symptoms with various mice that continue to work as expected on other machines, I’m inclined to think the problem is not the actual mouse hardware.

Since it takes some days for the problem to manifest and since it has coincided once with a power outage, it’s been difficult to nail down all the details. However, it seems to be the case that, at some random time after a reboot, the little red light in the (optical) mouse goes out. From then on, the pointer does not respond to mouse movements. I think bad things happen if you click the mouse, but did not verify that today. On previous occasions, after discovering the mouse was playing up, I’ve tried various things with both the mouse and the keyboard and ended up wedging the machine so that—although it responded to pings—it refused to respond to anything else and had to be rebooted with a power cycle and consequent grief.

This morning, once I noted that it had failed again, I used ssh from another box to login. Then I changed the system default to look for a PS/2 mouse and halted it normally; plugged in a PS/2 adapter; and rebooted. It now remains to see if the problem recurs, but it will be days before I can be reasonably confident about that. If anybody happens to have any experience that might shed further light on this, I’d be happy to hear from you. In the meantime, I’ll just keep my fingers crossed.