The Griffin PowerMate and Brian Eno

Griffin Powermate

Do you know what I hate about computers? The problem with computers is that there is not enough Africa in them.
– Brian Eno, May 1995

This quotation is from an article in Wired Magazine that Oyvind pointed me to back in ’95. I have never forgotten it.

What’s pissing me off is that it uses so little of my body. You’re just sitting there, and it’s quite boring. You’ve got this stupid little mouse that requires one hand, and your eyes. That’s it. What about the rest of you? No African would stand for a computer like that. It’s imprisoning.
…still Brian Eno.

Yes. That’s May 1995. More than 10 years ago. And what has happened? The scroll wheel.

The scroll wheel is an excellent invention and I can’t think of using a computer without one. Still it’s just you and that mouse. Maybe you keep your other hand at the keyboard.

The Griffin Powermate has a name, a look and a description that suggest that you should use it to adjust the volume on your computer.

I love this incredibly well built, good looking, solid and very useful knob. I have never used it to adjust the volume on my computer.

I use it to scroll in my browser. To zoom in Photoshop. To shuttle in my video editing software. To scroll in my photo archive. Right hand on the mouse. Left hand switching between the keyboard and the Powermate.

It has completely removed quite a bit of strain on my right hand.

There is a very reliable rule that says that a company that makes hardware can never make good software (look at the software that follows ATI’s graphics cards or Creative’s MP3 players etc…*) Griffin has done an exception with the Powermate. The latest version of the software for this device is actually quite useful. And if you don’t like it you always have Girder and the Girder Powermate Plugin.

I haven’t tested the Girder Plugin yet. The original Griffin software does what I want at this point.

The Powermate puts a tiny, tiny bit of Africa back into my computer.

* Yes, Apple is an exception

The Griffin PowerMate and Brian Eno

7 thoughts on “The Griffin PowerMate and Brian Eno

  1. […] I also considered a box from Belkin running on four AA batteries giving more power, but went for the small Griffin box after reading some reviews. Of course I can’t give you a proper description of my experience yet. You’ll have to wait until I have done the hard test: 3 + 8 hours on a plane on my way back from Florida to Oslo… Coming up soon on eirikso.com: – My experience in converting DVD and video to iPod files – The Griffin PowerMate – why I love this little wheel – Sleeptracker – does it work? …and other stuff that I for some reason want to share. […]

  2. […] Eirik posted about a Wired article from 1995, that we talked about a loooooong time ago. Brian Eno says: “What’s pissing me off is that it uses so little of my body. You’re just sitting there, and it’s quite boring. You’ve got this stupid little mouse that requires one hand, and your eyes. That’s it. What about the rest of you? No African would stand for a computer like that. It’s imprisoning.” […]

  3. anonym says:

    (look at the software that follows ATI’s graphics cards or Creative’s MP3 players etc…)

    I’d mention NVIDIA for their driver and software a way bit before I’d mention ATI. They stink!

  4. Yes, NVidia have had their bit of really nasty software and drivers. Still I think their lates screen card drivers and audio drivers work quite well…

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