Mice should always have worked like this

 Apple Macs use mice and Apple don't give you too many options for configuring them.

System Preferences / Mouse

That does give some control and of course it's optimised for Apple mice (which are really trackpads nowadays as they don't have wheels on anymore). 3rd party mice may well have their own software / system preferences pane to allow some adjustments.

3D Connexion Preference Pane

In their wisdom Apple make scrolling accelerate as it's used continuously, so scroll down a page and suddenly it can jump to the end because the scrolling has sped up (especially noticeable scrolling long pages).

Now there's a helping hand (well a little utility that lives in the menu bar) called LinearMouse and it'a free. It can be directly downloaded from the site (.dmg) or installed via Homebrew

#brew install --cask linearmouse

The source code is also available on Github so it's possible to build the app yourself (more importantly ensure it's not doing anything suspicious in the background).

Once installed a mouse looking icon appears in the menu bar and clicking it brings a dropdown menu showing the mouse options and click on LinearMouse Properties.

LieanMouse Preferences

Reverse scrolling does just that and the scrolling direction will be reversed, but the magic is enabling linear scrolling as this stops the scrolling speeding up. Once you enable it, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it, it's a game changer.

One of the best utilities you'll find for your Mac (now of course Apple will integrate the functionality into a future version of macOS).


Working from home, be Shure to use a MV5C microphone

Shure is known for its professional in-earphones, headphones, microphones and wireless systems and have been around for a long time (since 1925). The in-earphones can produce very high quality audio as they isolate the sound form the outside world and musicians have custom earpieces made so they fit completely into and on to the ear canal (this also allows the audio to play much more quietly which is better for the ear drums and reduces damage).

More recently conferencing systems have also become part of the portfolio very much aimed at businesses.

Now with everyone working from home, Shure has moved into the home office space and produced a microphone to suit video and voice calls, the MV5C microphone.

Shure MV5C box

There is some assembly required (screw the large sphere ended screw through the base into the microphone ball).

Parts from box

The microphone connects to the computer via micro-USB (why not USB-C in this day and age?). There's also a headphone socket at the back for connecting wired (jack) earphones or headphones so it's possible to monitor the raw input.

Back of microphone

The completed unit looks quite professional, though the ball of the microphone is made of plastic.

Microphone with Shure logo on front

The microphone should be placed as close to face of the user as possible (in front of the keyboard, the base can slide under some keyboards and still allow the keyboard to be used effectively). The voice quality is very good.

The main problem is it's very easy to pickup background noise, especially hum from hard disks (i.e. older computers with hard disks inside or backup external disks) and fans. Newer solid state disk (SSD) based systems will sound much better. It would also be possible to mount the microphone on some sound abosrbant material as the hum comes mainly via the base.

The following are 3 recordings made using the MV5C and Audacity (44KHz sampling with 32bit floats) and and images grabbed of the capture - the base line waveform amplitude shows the hum/background noise.


The background hum can be heard, but still great quality.

Off desktop was recorded using some sound absorbing material. The hum is slightly lower.

The final version was recording while holding the microphone so isolated from the desktop (which the computer and backup disk is on) and a screen behind the microphone between it and the computer.

With each capture the background noise is reduced and placing the microphone where it won't pickup extraneous noise will make a huge difference to the audio quality - though if offline editing, then noise removal would help.

As a desktop microphone and set-up correctly (and near to the person using it), it is a very good quality mic and can make a big difference compared to poor quality mics in headphones or other devices when using video conferencing or telephony applications.

The MV5C also works with the ShurePlus MOTIV mobile recording software (free download for iOS or Android) though it will require the correct cable (i..e device to micro-USB). The software gives tools to chop audio into clips, fade in and out and save in various formats.

It retails for £115 direct from Shure though it can be found online considerably cheaper.