Weekend before last, I got to hang with my extended family: Garland; his cousins, who I just met; my friend Gigi (Garland's first wife), her gentleman friend; Addai (Garland's oldest) and his wife, Egem. We'd gotten together in Chicago the night before to see stepdaughter Shani's Broadway debut in The Color Purple.
She was amazing.
Anyway, before I start waxing braggadocios about that girl, let me get back to the piece that's critically important: Addai's OQO US Model 02 (and yes, I've got issues!). As it turns out, Egem, his wife of less than a year, had ordered one for him and he wanted to show it to me. As I held it in my hands and looked at it with shining eyes, he explained how he had it set up to "talk" to his desktop computer at his SOHO...How it was easier to carry and that it was a dream to use...How he'd upgraded the hardware to better serve his needs.
I could hear angels singing. That is, until I tried using the mouse. It was waaay over on the right hand side. No matter what I did, I couldn't easily get my left thumb over there. Forget using my right thumb. I just didn't have the fine motor control (you try using your other hand to mouse over to something before you scratch your noggin and mutter at your screen). Other than the fact that they'd set up the form factor for a right-handed populace, it was perfection itself.
Of, of course, I wrote to the people who'd created the object of my lustful tech affection. Here's what I wrote (with shaking fingers) to the good people at OQO:
Now, I don't expect to hear from these good people beyond the automated response and I don't think for a moment that they'll change the button placement after hearing from little ole me. But I can hope.
I was so excited I was almost giddy when a family member showed me his OQO model 2. I'd been following the OQO's for months and was convinced that I would replace my company laptop with one when it came time.
You can't imagine my surprise and disappointment when I learned that the mouse was on the right hand side. I am one of the estimated 8.4 million left-handers on planet Earth (14% in the general population...more when you consider Asian populations or creative professionals which tend to have higher instances of left-handedness than in the general population). Using the trackball mouse was torture. Try switching the mouse buttons on your computer and then putting your mouse on the left. It will take about 30 seconds to see what I mean and, more than likely, you'll use your right hand to use the mouse on the left side. This is what I ended up doing: putting the machine down and using my left hand to use the mouse button. Frustrating and unnecessary.
Nick Merz, your VP of Design should have known better than to design a product that so obviously excludes roughly 14% of the possible market share for this subnotebook market. Please centrally locate the mouseball on the keyboard. I will purchase one immediately.
What's interesting is how we approach offerings like this. They don't come out and say that this product is for right-handed people only. They don't even offer an easy workaround (not even for more money). This kind of thing leaves me wondering: What are we thinking with respect to who our customers are. I don't reckon that OQO decided to make a product that's hard for leftys to use. I think it didn't cross their radar. Also, looking at the people who were doing the product reviews, I noted that they were all right-handed men.
What's this all mean? Heck if I know. I just want one.