The Universe of Discourse

Sat, 29 Jul 2023

Tiny life hack: paint your mouse dongles

I got a small but easy win last month. I have many wireless mice, and many of them are nearly impossible to tell apart.

Formerly, I would take my laptop somewhere, leaving the mouse behind, but accidentally take the dongle with me. Then I had a mouse with no dongle, but no way to match the dongle with all the other mice that had no dongle.

At best I could remember to put the dongles on a shelf at home, the mice on an adjacent shelf, and periodically attempt to match them up. This is a little more troublesome than it sounds at first, because a mouse that seems not to match any of the dongles might just be out of power. So I have to change the batteries in all the mice also.

Anyway, this month I borrowed Toph's paint markers and color-coded each mouse and dongle pair. Each mouse has a different color scribbled on its underside, and each dongle has a matching scribble. Now when I find a mystery dongle in one of my laptops, it's easy to figure out which mouse it belongs with.

Logitech mouse, lying on its
back, and its dongle.  The head of the dongle and the underside of
the mouse have been scribbled on with sky-blue

The blue paint is coming off the dongle here, but there's still enough to recognize it by. I can repaint it before the color goes completely.

I had previously tried Sharpie marker, which was too hard to see and wore off to quickly. I had also tried scribing a pattern of scratches into each mouse and its dongle, but this was too hard to see, and there isn't enough space on a mouse dongle to legibly scribe very much. The paint markers worked better.

I used Uni Posca markers. You can get a set of eight fat-tipped markers for $20 and probably find more uses for them. Metallic colors might be more visible than the ones I used.

[ Addendum 20230730: A reader reports good results using nail polish, saying “It's cheap, lots of colors available and if you don't use gel variants it's pretty durable.”. Thanks nup! ]

[Other articles in category /tech] permanent link