The search for a laptop for my wife ended Saturday with a trip to the local Apple store. We left with a 12" iBook.

The price was good (especially with an educator's discount), the size is good, the style is good, and Sue originally used a Mac before the PC anyway. For the record, we are not going to casemod it, though it is cool that we could.

We're having some difficulty with the trackpad. Are there any secret tips out there for making it behave a little less flaky? We've tried the different settings, and it still seems prone to accidental movement while typing.

tagged: , » 8 reactions

Comments

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Volker Weber 8:03 AM on 27 Apr 2004

I had difficulties until I disabled the feature which lets you click by tapping on the mousepad. But that should not be on by default.

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Greg Hines 8:14 AM on 27 Apr 2004

I had similar problems when I first bought my PowerBook. I found I was hitting the trackpad frequently when typing, putting characters all over the place, bringing other windows into the fore, and so on.

There are two things I can recommend: one, disable clicking with the trackpad; two, just learn to live with it.

If she prefers the former, go to the System Preferences dialog, choose Keyboard & Mouse, click on the Trackpad tab, and uncheck the Clicking checkbox. If you do this, tapping on the trackpad will no longer function as mouse-clicking. (The button below the trackpad will work the same as always, however.) This is, by far, the easiest way to deal with the problem.

I personally went with the latter option. I know a lot of people find the tap-as-mouse-click function irritating but I find it much nicer than clicking the button. It took a couple of frustrating weeks to get used to typing on the keyboard without accidentally tapping the trackpad, but I managed to train myself to do it. Sure, I still tap the trackpad on occasion and interrupt my typing, but it's a rare occurrence (perhaps once every other week).

If your wife likes the tap-as-mouse-click function, she should take some time and adjust to typing on the new keyboard. Eventually she'll get used to it and stop hitting the trackpad on accident. Otherwise, I recommend just disabling the function.

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Ben Poole 8:37 AM on 27 Apr 2004

Congrats on the purchase! I don't have one, so can't vouch for this software, but anyway, SideTrack may be of use.

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Simon Willison 8:42 AM on 27 Apr 2004

I found that the problem of accidental trackback activation vanished after a few days as I learnt not to knock it. Alternatively, get a proper keyboard and mouse and set the trackpad to turn off when the mouse is plugged in (I find real keyboards much more usable than laptop ones).

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Phil 4:09 AM on 28 Apr 2004

Have you tried enabling:

"System Preferences" > "Mouse" > "Use trackpad for" > "Ignore trackpad when typing"

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Ned Batchelder 6:48 AM on 28 Apr 2004

Yeah, we tried that setting. Actually, the help recommended that setting, but there is no checkbox labelled that. Now (in 10.3?) it is called "Ignore accidental trackpad input", but I assume it's the same setting.

What we actually did was attach a mouse, and all is well.

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freddyMac 3:12 PM on 28 Apr 2004

trackpads bite the big one - i just bought a new Thinkpad, and the keyboard controller is amazing.

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Bob 7:12 PM on 28 Apr 2004

freddyMac with a Thinkpad? Wow.

I like the Thinkpad trackpoint better than trackpads too. But then again, I still like mice better than either of them, especially wireless mice. My Thinkpad has built-in BT support so when Bluetooth mice get cheaper I plan to get one.

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