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October 6, 1997

Pointix offers ways to whip your mouse clicks into shape

Those of us who use windows on a daily basis develop quite a relationship with our little mechanical helper -- our mouse. Although the typical mouse is handy enough for pointing and clicking, sometimes it would be nice if it did just a little bit more. Fortunately for Windows users, the little bit more is available for a small price.

Pointix has recently released a simple but addictive utility called Pointix Scroll 1.0. Priced at $9.95, this software is an ingenious addition to the graphical user interface that you may not want to do without once you try it.

Pointix Scroll adds five new powers to your mouse. Perhaps the most important is an "auto-scroll" feature. Microsoft is selling a special $80 mouse called IntelliMouse with a third scroll button designed to let you auto-scroll up and down Web pages without sliding your mouse over to the vertical scroll bar. Pointix Scroll, however, gives any mouse the capability to do the same thing.

You already know how to click your left mouse button on objects and how to hold down your left mouse button to drag objects. Now, Pointix Scroll adds a "drag" function to your right mouse button. But what is dragged around is the entire contents inside a Web browser or any other window.

This is a lot more fun to do than it is to describe. But the feeling is completely intuitive the first time you try it. With Scroll installed, clicking your right mouse button works as expected: A context menu pops up. Holding down the right mouse button and moving your mouse a little bit, though, makes the contents of the window start scrolling in the direction of your move. It's easy to control the action. Sliding up and down in long Web pages couldn't be easier. Navigating documents and spreadsheets is a breeze. When you reach the point in the window that you want, just let up on the mouse button and the movement stops. (If your mouse has a middle button, you can use that for scrolling instead of the right button, if you prefer.)

The four other powers Scroll adds to your mouse bring up various Windows functions or utilities. These functions appear when you slide your mouse rapidly in one of these ways: side to side, up and down, clockwise, or counterclockwise.

With the Pointix Engine 2.6, a set of utilities that work with Scroll, these four functions display a floating action bar, a menu of tools, a window of your favorite shortcuts, or the last application you used. Pointix Engine costs $24.95 (including Scroll) or $16.95 as an upgrade from a registered copy of Scroll.

The four unique motions, which Pointix calls "glicks" (for "slide clicks," or actions that are executed by a certain kind of glide), are patented technology known as Ergopoint. It seems that these same tricks would work well as integrated features of some browsers and other applications that require a lot of scrolling around.

Pointix Scroll and Engine are available in a 15-day free trial version from the company's Web site. Set your browser to and click the Desktop Utilities button. The Pointix Engine, when zipped, is a 1.7MB download; Scroll is only 900KB. Running the setup program from the unzipped Engine files added about 3MB of files to my hard disk.

For ordering information, contact Pointix Corp., in Miami, at (888) 764-6849 (toll-free) or (305) 285-1838.

Brian Livingston is the co-author of several best-selling Windows books, including the most recent Windows 95 Secrets (IDG Books). Send comments to Unfortunately, he cannot answer individual questions.

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