The Mouse Needs a New Name

November 18, 2007

I have always hated the term "mouse" used for the computer mouse. I think we should call it something else instead.

A while back, a friend and I were chatting about what other possible names the device could have. One we came up with was "Keyboard-less access Interface (KAI)". We had a few good ideas, as I remember, but none so great as what the original name of the device was as in the patent for it, from 1970. In the patent it is called the "X-Y Position Indicator"

We should all call it that instead, the XYPI. Pronounce it "zippy". Please, please, please, let us all stop calling it the mouse, now. Let's get back to its roots!

Due to good luck, and chat logs, my friend I mentioned above was able to find our conversation we had on the topic, and here is an exhaustive list of all the ideas we brainstormed that day, 2 years ago...

  • Hand interface
  • Palm interface
  • Pointer controller
  • Pointer controller interface
  • Pointer interface controller (PIC)
  • Pointer interface control (PIC)
  • Pointer Interface Control Keyboardless (PICK)
  • Graphical Input Device
  • Coordinate Coordinator (core-core)
  • Mouselike Outboard Pointing Edifice Device
  • Mouselike Outboard Pointer (MOP)
  • Simple digit interface
  • Point and click pointer interface control (PACPIC, PACer)
  • Klik Device
  • Clicker/Double-Clicker (CDC)
  • Cursor Mover
  • Cursor Moving Device
  • Graphical Cursor Moving Device
  • Cursor Outboard Moving Beacon (COMB)
  • Mouselike Outboard User Sorting Ediface (MOUSE)
  • Lazy User Mover Pointer (LUMP)
  • Pathetic Ugly Non-Keyboard
  • Limited Input Device
  • Limited User Mover/Pointer
  • Minimum Input Mindless Operating Tool (MIMOT)
  • Minimum Operation Unfortunate Stupid Ediface
  • Keyboardless Access Interface
  • Mice Operate Unfortunately Somewhere Everywhere
  • Additional Argument Aggregator
  • Cartesian Input Controller

This is an image of the patent for the xypi, by Doug Engelbart, it turns out, he was quite an amazing guy with a lot of dang good ideas back in the 1960's that seem to be exactly what modern computing has turned out to be.