capsule review

MouseTracer Free Tracks Your Mouse's Movements

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder MouseTracer Free

    PCWorld Rating

    Just because I got a flu shot doesn't mean you're allowed to touch my mouse. And MouseTracer will rat you out.

MouseTracer: Use-free or Free use? You decide.
Some people would call this software useless, but not me. Nope. Ashampoo's MouseTracer software only seems useless to people without imagination. You know the type. They drive reliable sedans and have productive day jobs. It’s hard for them to see the brilliance behind an app that tracks, in real time, the speed and distance a mouse travels. They can’t grasp the excitement of an interface that reports results, rally-race style, on a desktop scoreboard, complete with speedometer. It’s a smaller world they live in. They aren't like you and me.

For example, most people never give a thought to how often strangers--or worse yet, co-workers--might be fondling their mouse. Me? I think about it all the time. Now, without either a webcam or motion detection software, I can be sure my mouse remains cootie-free when I am away. Move my li'l buddy so much as an inch and I'll know. Thanks MouseTracer!

While we're on the subject of mouse abuse, this software also happens to be an excellent wrist speed and endurance training tool. How fast can you move your hand back and forth? How many miles can you keep it up? Jokes aside, if your mouse is traveling several miles, so are all the muscles and ligaments in your mousing wrist and arm. When the mouse training starts to hurt, don't push through the pain: Consider making keyboard macros with software like AutoHotkey.

Still, there are some things about MouseTracer that cheese me off. To start, no, I don't want to install your taskbar, Ashampoo. No, I don’t want MouseTracer's URL to be my homepage either. Yes, I am sure. This is freeware installation tomfoolery. I'd like to think it's here for a laugh, but the joke ain't "haha" funny. Neither are the occasional “service messages” that pop up during settings adjustments that amount to little more than Ashampoo advertisements. Tsk. I'd also like to see a breakdown of distance by direction. Do I move my mouse more left than right? Do I move it more up than down? People who collect string want to know.

This aside, I like MouseTracer. Sure, it does nothing of consequence, but the same is true of many elected officials who have less style and cost more. I invent a new use for it every day. Give it a try. You probably will too.

--Jim Norris

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Just because I got a flu shot doesn't mean you're allowed to touch my mouse. And MouseTracer will rat you out.

    Pros

    • Does exactly what it claims
    • Fun and free

    Cons

    • Does this really need to be done?
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