It’s rare I’m not at home without being somewhere close to an internet connection. Typically I’m working on the couch with my trusty IBM R52 on my lap.

A friend of mine came over and wanted to check his mail and needed a network connection. His Dell was easily configured for my wireless and he was online. But after a few moments he took out a mouse and plugged it into his laptop and started mousing on the arm of the chair.

Is the track pad broke? Nah – I just hate dragging my fingers around…

So I showed him the UltraNav setup I have on my ThinkPad (graciously provided by my employer) and he was hooked. It’s really hard to describe, but even harder to use a laptop without one.

I don’t think there have been many hardware breakthroughs in the last decade that I would consider on par with the effect the UltraNav has brought. Sure chips have gotten faster, batteries more powerful, and pixels smaller and more populace – but to reinvent the human interface of a portable computer so successfully, well… it’s up on the top of my list.

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