Teach your old mouse new tricks
April 19, 1999
by James A. Martin
(IDG) -- Thanks to a new Windows utility, your computer's mouse can do a lot more than just click, double-click, drag, and drop.
Mindmaker, a developer of intelligent personal assistants and speech and gesture recognition tools, this week announced MouseAssist, a utility that helps you train your mouse to perform multistep operations in response to gestures or other commands you specify.
For example, you can teach MouseAssist to automatically open and close programs, insert a signature into a letter, or call up a financial Web site and check your stock portfolio. You do this by assigning a gesture that will activate the sequence of operations. For example, you could train MouseAssist to add your signature to a file whenever you draw an S using your mouse.
And you don't have to trigger operations only with gestures. MouseAssist also lets you select commands from a list, type them into the Keyboard Input dialog box, or issue them verbally using speech recognition. You'll need a microphone to use speech recognition, though. Also, speech recognition programs such as Dragon Systems' NaturallySpeaking typically take complete control of your microphone, so you can't dictate text via NaturallySpeaking and issue voice commands with MouseAssist at the same time.
MouseAssist runs in the background. Whenever you open a Windows-based application or a new window, the utility automatically extracts the necessary menu commands, dialog box buttons, and other controls. Its built-in macro recorder lets you train the program to carry out complicated instructions with a single gesture or command. The utility also maintains separate user profiles, so those who share a computer can create their own commands.
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