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Wireless-mouse problems traced to steel desk pad

I’m the de facto tech support guy for my wife Maretta’s arbitration practice. She was getting frustrated with her wireless mouse, which worked only intermittently — it would do OK when she was working elsewhere with her laptop, but not when it was on her desk.

I tried using my two wireless mice (one for my desk, a miniature for my briefcase). They seemed to work OK — sometimes.

I tried unplugging all the peripherals on Maretta’s desk, thinking that something might be producing interference. No change.

I picked up her laptop and mouse and moved them away — the mouse worked!

We finally traced the problem to Maretta’s big IKEA desk pad. Whenever she, or I, happened to put the mouse and mouse pad on the desk pad, the mouse froze up.

I removed the desk pad. It was heavy; it felt like it was made of steel, with a plastic top. I put the desk pad into the garage, but Maretta missed it.

So, we put the desk pad back and made sure the mouse and mouse pad were on the wooden part of her desk. Problem solved.

Ironically, the IKEA Web page for the desk pad says, “Cordless keyboard and mouse can not be used together with KNÖS desk pad” — not that we’d ever have thought to look there ….

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