Naga Day 1 Impression

So, I’ve played around with my Naga for 4-5 hours now, and I’ve gotten enough out of it to write down a first impression.

First of all, the mouse is a lot smaller than I have imagined for something that’s packed with 12 thumb buttons plus a few more. It’s actually smaller than the Logitech G7 that I used up until now. I don’t know how uncomfortable it would be for folks with bigger hands, but that’s obviously not my problem!

And props the Razer guy for not including an install CD in the package. It’s an MMO mouse. We have internet connections. The driver on the CD is almost never up to date. Finally, someone that put thoughts into the whole driver ordeal. Installation is extremely smooth. The “numpad” keys are actually recognized without the official driver (which is just there to control DPI and backlights).

I’m not sure why, but you’d think for something as forward-thinking as a mouse designed from the ground up, they’d at least include some instructions on how to hold the mouse properly. I’ve mostly figured it out on my own, but it would be nice to know that I’m doing it the right way instead of fumbling around randomly for a few hours until it works.

The numpad buttons are about cell-phone key sized, and currently the tip of my thumb actually rests between 2 and 5. 1-3 are easily reachable without adjustment, and 4-6 requires some effort to move my thumb back ever so slightly. Now comes the weird part: after some experimentation I’ve found that it’s much better to knock on 7-9 with the knuckle of my thumb, and 9-12 with the base of my thumb. That way, my thumb never moves far enough from the neutral position to force me to manually readjust.

Make no mistake: there’s a training period associated with the mouse. 1, 2, 4, 5 are relatively easy to cycle between, but 3 and 6 forces the thumb to curve in and 6 especially makes me lose my positioning at times. 7-9 are the slowest for me to hit, but outside of high pressure situations I can press any single button without fat-fingering into other buttons now.

The second half of the training, of course, is to rebind all the action bars (in WoW) from a left hand oriented layout to use the thumb keypad buttons. The official addon for the mouse is no help (as expected). Way too many icons dumped onto the screen, and ugly to boot. There’s a noticeable drop in my dps currently since I have to keep consciously think about what button to press, then recall how to press it, then press the button. One thing that I *do* notice though is that my attention is strangely detached from the action bar icons – I’m much more situation aware, but I’m not paying as much attention to my cooldowns as I normally am.

I’ve also fired a couple of other games: Team Fortress 2 for the usual FPS romp, and Alien Shooter 2 to get a feel for pointer aiming. I do run into some problems with TF2… the mouse seems to have a unitask design of handling MMOs and MMOs only. Both the left and right buttons are very recessed, which makes continuous weapon firing (i.e. the Heavy’s minigun) very uncomfortable. I’m still getting used to the new mouse contour though, so hopefully my trigger sense will come back in time.

One thing is for sure: there’s no going back once I make the full transition from using my old keybinds to using the Razer buttons. I am kind of worried about being too attached to a specific peripheral, especially since I do run into the occasional emergency sessions on my laptop nowadays. The thought of hauling the mouse around in case I need to log into WoW is a little unsettled, but hopefully I can get used to it.

I’ll probably do one more post for the Naga, around the time when I decide to keep or give up on the mouse. I’ve dumped macro pads into storage before (they’re for sale, by the way!), so this would not be the first time I deep freeze a new shiny peripheral. I have a good feeling about this mouse, though.

Here’s the link between some guitar video game and the issue of abortion

I was listening to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the umpteen time on my way to work today, and I just had an epiphany.

I can see myself in the pro-choice position in the abortion debate. I guess those guys are not crazy people after all.

I know, I have some explaining to do.

So, everything starts with the whole “Kurt Cobain in Guitar Hero 5” controversy. Long story short, apparently after years of negotiation the Guitar Hero guys (well, the guys that picked up the license while Harmonix moved to greener, more “Rock Bandy” pastures) finally got the deal to put the likeness of Kurt Cobain (of Nirvana fame) into Guitar Hero as an unlockable character. Yes, you can make him sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in the game… and so much more. You can pretty much pick him to sing and dance to the tune of any song that’s in the game, like a nice little puppy that follows your every whim.

Of course, if you know anything about who Kurt Cobain is and what he stands for, you can at least understand the context of why this is so horrifying to some people. The torches and pitchforks had been out for awhile now – the most obvious solution, they say? Patch the game so that Kurt Cobain can only sing his own songs. Simple, right? It’s not like you’re adding features. You’re just removing existing ones. I don’t care how complex the code is behind the game, you can put a lid on this explosion of bad press in a week or less if you put your mind to it. So why didn’t they do that, but instead opt to repeat their rhetoric about how they got all the proper paperwork and it’s all legit?

Because, from one point of view, there’s really nothing wrong with the idea. Nobody is forcing you to make Kurt Cobain sing other songs for you. If you want, you can create your custom avatars or use the other stuff that Guitar Hero provides you or whatever. You. You have a choice. If you respect Mr. Cobain’s memories, then just don’t choose him when you’re playing songs that he didn’t sing. Or don’t choose him, ever. Your experience with the game is not going to be affected by some guy 3000 miles away who decides that it’s funny to make the ghost of Kurt Cobain sing a girl band song or something. That guy is certainly not hurting anyone. If he wants to exercise his freedom of speech and piss on the memory of some dead guy who blew his own brains out, that’s his own prerogative, right?

Except that the idea feels so wrong to you that you want nobody to take any part in it at all. You feel so strong about it that you’re going to be the party pooper that says “if I don’t do it then you won’t either.”

And this is where I lead myself to the pro-life versus pro-choice argument, and to completely misquote something from the Matrix movies because it sounds cool anyway, “The problem is choice.”

You see, my internal logic about the debate had always been “two options are always better than one”. If you believe that abortion is wrong, you don’t have to do it. Go ahead, nobody is stopping you. Abortion is not mandatory. If you can convince enough people, it is possible to create a scenario where everyone is given a choice and nobody wants to get an abortion anyway. The same can’t be said for the reverse – an option removed is an option that can’t be taken. How much do you really believe in the concept of freedom when you stand so firm on removing an option in a situation where the result of either option is entirely personal and bears no ill effect on you – You, who somehow think that you are a better judge on what someone else is going through?

Unless, of course, when you believe in something so much that anyone doing it is an affront to your moral belief, that offering a choice equals to an eternal torment in your mind that someone, somewhere would choose to do it, because the option exists.

Mind you, I personally have no beef in either matter – I’ll never have to face the fear of possible pregnancy and I neither own a console that plays Guitar Hero 5 or care enough about Kurt Cobain’s legacy to swing one way or another. Although, I still think that it is important as a human being to be empathic about other people’s points of view, why they think the way that they think, and no matter how wrong the idea seems to you, do the things that they do.