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For the love of a mouse


syntax01010
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I've been watching the progression of computer technology for some time now. The recent addition of using an integrated computer to control and server your digital media through devices in the home via Media Center edition of XP, is quite interesting to me.

However, despite all the security fixes, bug patches, enhanced graphics and menus.....I always see one thing left out of the conversation...

What about the friggin mouse? Or the keyboard for that matter...

Sure you can use a remote control to choose between movies or mp3s stored on your computer and listen to them in the awesome 5.1/6.1/7.1 surround sound of your home theatre........but

What if you want to surf the internet? What if you want to chat with some friends over AIM? What if you need to make a Powerpoint presentation, or burn a CD or print a Word document?

I've looked around, and i've yet to find any wireless keyboards for sale anywhere that have any sort of mouse built into them. Despite the fact this would seem logical, NO company WHATSOEVER seems to have tried the idea of a wireless keyboard with a built in mousepad like you find on laptop keyboards. I've found a few "new age" style computer mice that move around based on how you hold the mouse itself, but most are far from ergonomic and difficult at best to learn to use.

So what does this mean? Is Microsoft's new solution that everyone needs TWO computers in their home now? One for running all your media with your TV and home theatre and a second PC for doing everything else? Isn't that a bit rediculous and wasteful?

So what then, if anything, is a solution? Most video card svideo outs are poorly functional at best. Almost no sound cards include any sort of optical or coaxle digital out for sound, and VGA to TV converters cost enough to make a downpayment on a new car.

So then, it seems the possible idea is keep your computer desk, monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc and then spend a near fortune on a wireless home setup or cabling long enough to run from your PC to your TV and reciever to make it all work together....Doesn't sound like much of a solution to me. The last time I checked, people used their computers for more than just watching movies. What about playing games? Creating music? Designing web pages? Doing desktop publishing? None of these things are even close to possible if all you have is a small, and I might add cheaply made, remote control to use.

Also, the issue of the poor resolution of most home TV sets has yet to be addressed. Even families who invest in getting a Media Center PC setup often won't be able to afford spending $3,000 on a new HDTV. So that leaves the only option of making the fonts ENORMOUS in size. This adds to their on TV readability, but much like was found out by users of WebTV, creates a whole new problem. It then takes 10 times as long to scroll up or down any given page your reading, and becomes extremely easy to get lost going from one page to the next.

So what then is the solution? Is there one? Does anyone know a good workaround to actually use a PC for home theatre media and still be able to use its extra functions, i.e. games, web surfing, chatting, spreadsheets, etc WITHOUT having to spend a fortune or buy a 2nd PC to do it?

I for one, don't have any answers....and believe me, I looked. I read through dozens of forums, checked help guides at Cnet, even attempted to contact Microsoft directly, and so far....no dice......no response and no solution...

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There are plenty of wireless keyboards out there with mouse functions on the touch pad. You have to understand that deploying a full blown Media Center in your living room is cutting edge (viz. expensive).

Give it time. High end displays, video cards, and sound boards all exist today, but they will be less expensive in the future. This is how it always is with newer technology.

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