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Cloud Input Devices Games Hardware

Why Would a Mouse Need To Connect To the Internet? 249

jbrodkin writes "In this hyper-connected, networked world, many more of our devices are getting linked to the cloud, whether we want them to or not. That's sometimes good, and sometimes bad, so when a basic device like a mouse requires a user to go online and set up an account to activate all of its functionality, people are understandably going to ask why? The latest entry in the saga of 'Why the hell does this thing need to connect to the Internet?' comes from Razer, which has caused an uproar by asking users to register gaming mice on the Internet. While it's mainly for syncing settings across devices, gamers are complaining that certain functionality might not be available unless you create an online account for your mouse. Razer has responded to the controversy, but its answers aren't entirely satisfactory."
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Why Would a Mouse Need To Connect To the Internet?

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  • And the next step? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crazy-San ( 2746941 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:43PM (#41927369)
    So at the current trend of technology am I going to have to start paying a monthly fee to use my mouse, or at least the more advanced features of it. All it would take is a Firmware update, which they can force if the mouse is connected to the internet. I can see it now, a little popup inviting me to take advantage of all the great features available with RAZER Plus.
  • Re:razer synapse (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cyko_01 ( 1092499 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:48PM (#41927405) Homepage
    why not just add an sdcard to the mouse and store the settings ON the device.
  • Re:razer synapse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Formalin ( 1945560 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:53PM (#41927437)

    Or 10 cents worth of EEPROM.

  • by humanrev ( 2606607 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:53PM (#41927439)

    I recently purchased a Logitech Harmony 700 programmable remote to use on my HTPC (it's a highly recommended remote by XBMC users). The problem however is that there are only two ways to configure it:

    (1) The official way is that you go to [] and register an account. Once done, you log into the site and it opens up a Silverlight interface (that's right, Silverlight - not HTML/HTML5, not even Flash, but a rarely used Microsoft plugin who's Linux equivalent, Moonlight, doesn't work properly anyway) that allows some coarse configuration but not much in the way of fine grained options.

    (2) The less official way is to download the Logitech control application (Windows only, of course), which still requires an account. It also feels very much like a web application in a native window since it's still slow as it loads up various pages from the Internet anyway. But at least you get full control using it.

    Point is that in both scenarios, you MUST have an account to program the remote. Now of course having this data available in the "cloud" means that should you reformat or otherwise need to reconfigure your remote after a reinstall of the software, you can still obtain your carefully-configured settings. The other idea is that Logitech have a database of pre-configured devices that can be uploaded to the remote which is continaully updated with newer models, but it's not like the native application couldn't just obtain that info without requiring an account.

    Logitech deliberately made it so that they must know how your remote is being used. Not that they'll work out anything interesting with it, except perhaps what devices I use and how I use them. But fuck me, this is not a good direction to go with - requiring registration over one's hardware before it can be used fully.

  • Hmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:55PM (#41927453) Journal

    I, for one, can't think of any reason why having a driver that enjoys unfettered(and low level) access to one or more of my computer's human input devices also being internet connnected at all times could possibly pose a problem...

    In fact, I'm fairly sure that the Razer Synapse2 system will make Bonzibuddy 83% more fun to be with, and any future updates that allow me to log my keystrokes to the cloud will be a lifesaver when I forget the password to my AOL account!

  • Re:razer synapse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:56PM (#41927465) Journal

    Adding a gigabyte of flash might increase the BOM cost by a dollar! Also, we won't be able to track all your keyboard and mouse activity and monetize your little consumer ass. One of those...

  • by klingers48 ( 968406 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @10:20PM (#41927669)
    ...On some of the extra functionality, but this is one reason why I will never, as a blanket-rule, install any peripheral device's shitware on my PC if I can get away with it. I'll either settle for the functionality provided by Windows built-in drivers or if that's not feasible then I'll trawl around support sites and community forums looking for a link to the most cut-drown driver package I can get my hands on. I say this as someone with a Razer DeathAdder and BlackWidow that I use every day and love as devices.

    Every printer suite, every Adobe extention, every gamepad, mouse and keyboard driver package, every pile of crapware, even iTunes agents, Bonjour, Java, all of it that we load onto our PC is just one more thing to slow down our user experience, waste bandwidth and throw annoying popups in our faces. Not to mention all the new potential infection vectors and opportunities to have our use-habits aggregated and sent off god-knows-where into the ether.

    It's much, much easier to just forgo some macro buttons on the side of a keyboard that is very nice unto itself as a piece of hardware.
  • Take it back. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @10:42PM (#41927849)

    Vote with your wallet. Take it back to the store because it's non-functional.

  • by z0idberg ( 888892 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @10:49PM (#41927887)

    So you only gave a LITTLE more money rather than a LOT more money.

    That should teach them. Go you!

  • easy answer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @10:49PM (#41927891) Homepage

    because customers rarely care about this sort of thing and generally just click "yes."

    if youre a religious economist youll grant the invisible hand time to offer an alternative market of "unlocked" mice, much like cellphones. they will probably still be tracked by your operating system (microsoft or apple, possibly ubuntu these days under crazy shuttleworth) but youll get to use them as you wish on any OS of your choice or against the original constructs of the walled garden it seems this peripheral maker is trying to grow.

    theyll be called developer mice, or IDE mice, or some other wretched name implying only the nerdiest would ever want such a thing. youll pay a premium for it, it wont be supported by the game you want to play when its registered during startup and the OS will probably require hefty drivers or partially functioning ones for it to work.

    the bottom line is there is very little money in peripherals. there is a fucking boat-load of cash in services because as we evolve through the 21st century our technology has increasingly grown to coddle us as though we were children. give up your freedom and the corporation will relieve the burden on your weary mind of having to think about computers or networks or any of that nonsense youve been heralding about the latest iDevice but loathe to discuss on a deeply technical level greater than a few buzzwords picked up at the bus stop billboard.

    and nerds geeks and slashdotters will grumble as dogs will bark. we will adapt as we always have technology to suit our needs. windows keys will be co-opted into our operating systems as a pivotal extension of our will through tools like AwesomeWM, to never again be considered anything more than a simple stroke or clack on the way to greatness. ACPI will kneel to our demands as our resources are governed by our inherent lust for knowledge and achievement. and this "device" that so rudely begged a pittance of our precious bandwidth in the service of its master will its back have been broken, its mighty spirit crushed under the inexorable weight of our technological expertise as we have so pulverized most any attempt by a salesman with a greasegun to convince us otherwise that the PC is not personal. It will kneel, as VRRP, DVD, Blu-Ray, SCSI RAID, wireless cards, and a sea of countless E and I prefixed devices have in the service of their true master, the Nerd.

  • Re:razer synapse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @11:02PM (#41928011) Journal
    My Logitech G700 stores settings on the mouse itself. I can hop from win to mac to linux and all the mappings are the same.
  • by humanrev ( 2606607 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @11:18PM (#41928129)

    You really think I want to go to that effort? Just because it's technically possible with a lot of work, doesn't mean it should be necessary in the first place. Your criticism is exactly the same reason why people avoid Linux like the plague - not everyone wants to have to be a fucking geek to get things done. And it shouldn't be necessary for them to do so. It's a fucking consumer product.

  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @11:19PM (#41928133)
    Oh, I'm trolling because companies write crappy quicky drivers that don't fully work for Linux? Yeah, whatever. Keep living in your little bubble where the world is perfect and everything in Linux runs flawlessly.
  • by plover ( 150551 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:03AM (#41928865) Homepage Journal

    When I first bought a Harmony, I thought as you did. Online? Why not a CD-ROM full of codes? I don't want to be online for this.

    But having used and programmed a half dozen of them now, I'd say they produced a very good answer to an ancient technology issue. IR codes are awful ways to control devices, they're non-standard, non-portable, and change continually as new products are introduced. There are no standards for publishing IR codes. There is often no way to get an IR code for a lost remote, especially on a 20 year old receiver.

    What Harmony did was to crowd-source the discovery of IR codes. By getting enough people buying the remotes, and having them continually programming and updating them, they can offer those now to every customer. Having the software be online-only ensures that not only does everyone contribute, but everyone benefits. When I went to configure the 20 year old receiver that was missing a remote, Logitech's database had no trouble delivering.

    Another time I needed a specific Levitron remote in order to teach 4 IR codes to a LIRC client. Rather than spend a ridiculous $100 list for a five button remote I would never use a second time, I told my Harmony's configuration that it was controlling a Levitron switch, then blinked it at the learning device. Instant success, no cost.

    I've come to the conclusion that sometimes, a vendor's server is not the worst answer. But only sometimes. I'd still ditch the Harmony software in an instant for an Open Source programmer that accessed a public database of blinky codes.

  • by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @09:20AM (#41930993)

    Better question... who in their right mind would spend $189 on a mouse, and then, having been burned on it, spend *more* money on another mouse from the same fucking company?

    Is Razer the Apple of input devices or something? I mean, yes, I spent $60 on my Logitech M570, but nobody else makes trackballs in that form factor (almost nobody else makes trackballs at all), and if you prefer a trackball, it's worth the investment. My last trackball was also a Logitech (original TrackMan Wheel), and also cost $60, but I was using it for more than a decade, so I'd call that pretty good value for money.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser