Friday, September 21, 2012

North Coast Blogshoot - Postponed :-(

Hi all, I hate to do this but we have to call off / postpone NC III due to a family conflict.  It's nothing serious but completely buggers our ability to host a shoot the weekend of the 6th. Seeing as Ohio's weather is unpredictable in October / November, we aren't planning to reschedule it for this year - the car & tannerite will just have to wait :-(

For everyone who RSVP'd - my apologies, I wish it could have worked out a different way.

Monday, September 3, 2012

New Gaming Set-Up

About a month ago, I broke down and bought improvements for my laptop / World of Warcraft set-up.  I was eking along with a cooling pad and using whatever was handy for a mouse pad.  It really wasn't working out, my laptop kept over heating and the ambidextrous mouse was a pain to use left-handed.  See, I'm a little odd-ball in that I'm right-handed but mouse like I shoot: left-handed.  Hey, maybe I was meant to be a southpaw!?  Anyhow, after a week of searching, reading reviews, and driving my darling husband nuts with my dithering, I bought Razer's left-handed DeathAdder and an Aidata cooling pad with a mouse tray attachment for the left hand.  I've been testing them out over the last month and finally got through few good gaming sessions (3ish hrs each session).  My goodness do they make a difference!

Razer's DeathAdder:

In looking for an ergonomic, left-handed mouse there's either Razer's DeathAdder or Logitech's VerticalMouse.  For price and familiarity I went with Razer - honestly, Logitech's freaked me out.  In reading the reviews prior to purchase, I came across some consistent gripes / concerns about the DeathAdder and I was worried that it would be a disappointment.  I'm so glad I didn't listen to them! Based on my experiences over the last month, I can honestly say that I'm very happy with the mouse and it has enhanced my gaming experience.

It was easy to set-up, I had the drivers downloaded and the mouse customized within minutes.  There were no issues changing the settings for the buttons and the glow features.  Razer does have the mouse buttons reversed, the right- and left-click are set 'backward' as a default but, hey, it's a left handed mouse.  This was a major gripe on the Amazon reviews, however, the feature can be changed from the Razer control panel (something all the reviewers said couldn't be done?!).  Out of curiosity, I kept the buttons reversed.  It took about a day to retrain myself for standard computer / internet navigation and one aggravating WoW raid to get it burned in my head what side does what.  It wasn't painful, I didn't die and no mice were flung across the room in rage. 

The DeathAdder mated up with WOW and all my addons without difficulty and I had a lot of fun binding the extra buttons.  Incidentally, I found that I can double bind the buttons.  Once to the Bartender addon for clicking on the screen in general and a second time to Vuhdo (my raiding framework) for clicking on raid icons.  So freaking fantastic!  So, instead of having a ho-hum 5-button mouse, it's more like having a 9 button mouse (one standard button has to be left on "target" or I can't switch targets by clicking their raid frames).  It has made healing raids and gaming in general much smoother.

As for comfort?  It was like shooting with a left-handed rifle for the first time - finally everything's where it's supposed to be and it's comfortable.  The extra thumb buttons are easy to reach without being pushed by accident, the scroll wheel is smooth & easy to click, and the pointer glides / tracks well for everyday use and gaming on the default settings.

Its appearance is tame for a gaming mouse - no outrageous color schemes or overly obnoxious decals proclaiming, "I'm a gamer!" (though they did add some in the box if you have a burning desire to do so).  I did turn off the glowing icon on the heel, it's never visible during use anyhow.  Otherwise, the matte top with the shiny 'piano' sides is esthetically pleasing and functional.  Thus far, it has resisted grime and my palm hasn't sweated up while gaming.

TL;DR: if any left-handed gamer happens to find my humble blog, get the Razer DeathAdder. 

Aidata's ld007p Cooling Pad:

Finding this was actually harder than finding the mouse!  Not one of the stock images shows that the mousing surface can go on the left side.  I passed it over a few times because while it said it was left handed, all the images were of the mouse on the right.  $!%# marketing.  Anyhow!  For what's available for southpaws (or righties pretending to be such) this is about the most economical option for laptop support with cooling fan and a mousing surface.  I was sorely tempted by the LapDawg Pug but all reviews pointed to it not accommodating a 17" computer, which was absolutely necessary. 

The Aidata does everything the company claims.  It is light weight, self contained, ambidextrous, adjustable, cools, and accommodates laptops +/- 17".  My computer is no longer overheating during raids and actually cycles between high and low fan speed during normal questing, which was a pleasant surprise.  The mousing surface is sufficient in size and support.  It does bend a little bit if you rest your palm on the outer edge, but it doesn't feel like it's about to break, etc.

I do have two criticisms.  First, when using the fan there's a notable vibration in the mouse surface.  It's not enough to make me look for a better option but it is a bit of a distraction.  The vibrations can be reduced by using one of the raised positions.  Second, it's rather awkward to hide the mouse tray.  As designed, you open the clam-shell, push a release button, pull the tray out away from the computer then place it inside the unit.  This may be necessary for stability, but it is a bit of a bother if you intend to break it down consistently. 

TL;DR: The Aidata ld007p is optimal for a left-handed, laptop gamer who prefers sitting on the couch versus at a desk that doesn't mind a little fan vibration.

**Both products reviewed were purchased by me for my expressed use and I am not receiving any benefit for these reviews**