Skip to content
Swizec Teller - a geek with a

Mouse movements in a day of coding

A few weeks ago I bought a fancy new mouse to replace my fancy old mouse. Sure it's nice and comfy, but how much do I actually use it? When you pay close to a hundred euro for something you want to make sure it's doing its job.

Yesterday I tried.

For the whole day, when the freelancing clock was running, so was IOGraph - a handy tool for recording mouse movements.

A day of coding

I have dual screens, am running Ubuntu and use Emacs to write code. Certainly the sort of environment that favours using your keyboard over your mouse and yet, the mouse gets used quite a lot.

The image above shows paths my mouse has taken through the day, dots show where the mouse has been standing still for a while - the bigger the dot, the longer the time - and I am honestly not certain what the circles around small black dots are. Clicks perhaps?

Other than the fact I use my mouse more than I thought, three patterns emerge.

  1. There is a blank space roughly down the middle where I never place my mouse - the dividing line between two monitors. You can see the left is wider than the right.
  2. Despite being used a lot, the mouse spends most of its time standing still. Most of the image is taken up by relatively few very large black dots. The largest two are right where I had two terminal windows that I often switched between (one running a server instance, the other used for git). The rest are mostly on the far right where I have my browser. Apparently I like to click around, then leave the mouse there when I go back to coding? Or maybe page loads are slow?
  3. Emacs takes up the left half of the screen. I sometimes put my mouse here, but rarely for long because the cursor gets in the way.

You can also notice I spend a lot of time switching the last few tabs in Chrome, possibly opening and closing them as I browse the interwebs for help with Ruby? That's all the lines going to the upper right corner.

Here's a screenshot of the desktop as I left it last night. Most of the tabs already closed because I have to save memory, but you can still see the rough layout of the windows I worked with. Had I some photoshop skill I'd overlay IOgraph output over the screenshot.


Now I wonder if mouse patterns are different for other languages and technology stacks ... I have experimenting to do!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Did you enjoy this article?

Published on May 7th, 2013 in Emacs, Mouse, Ruby, Ubuntu, Uncategorized, Workspace

Learned something new?
Want to become a high value JavaScript expert?

Here's how it works 👇

Leave your email and I'll send you an Interactive Modern JavaScript Cheatsheet 📖right away. After that you'll get thoughtfully written emails every week about React, JavaScript, and your career. Lessons learned over my 20 years in the industry working with companies ranging from tiny startups to Fortune5 behemoths.

Start with an interactive cheatsheet 📖

Then get thoughtful letters 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career.

"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only email I open from marketers and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"

~ Ashish Kumar

Join over 10,000 engineers just like you already improving their JS careers with my letters, workshops, courses, and talks. ✌️

Have a burning question that you think I can answer? I don't have all of the answers, but I have some! Hit me up on twitter or book a 30min ama for in-depth help.

Ready to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own?  Learn how to build scalable dataviz components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization

Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, modern backend for the frontend engineer.

Ready to learn how it all fits together and build a modern webapp from scratch? Learn how to launch a webapp and make your first 💰 on the side with ServerlessReact.Dev

Want to brush up on your modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet:

By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️