The Dog Does Dance
Okay, I’m writing this mostly because there was no clear and simple answer to how to turn the Toshiba Satellite laptop mouse pad off (or on) when I entered into a bit of computer laptop confusion last night. My very sweet, at times completely neurotic Blue Heeler Zoa was in her usual you-did-not-exercise-me-enough-today evening mode, and found herself where she usually isn’t: STANDING on my keyboard. I attempted to give her a quick escort immediately somewhat alarmed as she had never been there before. Cattle dogs are a tough stubborn sort – though she doesn’t show it much in the photo above – and she just scrambled around tap dancing all kinds of resistant music on my lifeline keyboard, then giving me a quizzical look of astonishment. Okay, the computer was on the floor, where it shouldn’t be but sometimes finds itself when I’m working a la Descartes, and the floor pretty much is her territory, so it was entirely my fault. She’s a dear, but if any of you have Cattle Dogs, they are a handful breed – I’ve had three – especially if you don’t take the fire out of them on a daily basis.
Well, onto the main, information tidbit part of this. I honestly didn’t know what happened, or even suspect that some kind of crazy combination of key strikes could turn a mouse pad off, but suddenly I was left with a mouseless laptop. And certainly I haven’t navigated a computer with the right arrow and tab keys ever before (ugh). Long story short, hours of Googling around in a second computer in the mess of old forum thread advice that is the internet, trying every sort of reboot, system reset, mouse pad property adjustment, short-cut key toggles, etc.
My wife finally said: What does that button do?
There it is the little devil, just below the space bar and above the mouse pad (but on a decline that makes it nearly imperceptible to a keyboard user). Hey, if I was the type to read the user manual I might know this, but I’m not. It’s a pretty nifty button, once you realize its there. It’s pretty un-niffty that there is no obvious way into this information, or that a dog can undue your internet connection in a second of carefully placed paw-work.
It also taught me something about learning and problem solving. The event (my dog where she shouldn’t have been) had a certain traumatic charge that sent me looking for the worst possible, systemic problems. Had she damaged something beneath the board? Are mouse pads so sensitive to touch that they can be blownout like how a microphone can be? Was the keyboard affected too (I hadn’t figured out the Tab, right key maneuver yet). Was it the coincidence of timing (I didn’t notice that disabled mouse pad for perhaps an hour because the computer wasn’t being used) and actually a powerful virus attack? What I learned was that once you let go of the emotional charge, the answer is often small and local. And, it is always useful to bring a fresh, neutral pair of eyes. My wife, who is pretty sharp and brilliant with all sorts of common sense fixed the problem.
Maybe with Google Caffeine’s new love for blog posts this post will be pulled into someone’s need query.
And the Cattle Dog
For those that don’t know the Queensland Blue Heeler breed of dog, here is a Blue Heeler problem solving youtube that simply cracks me up. It shows different qualities of the problem solver caught on Nanny Cam: patience and resolve – there is a wonderful bit where he gets stuck, he just takes a break and rests:
Click here for Video of a Cattle Dog Breakout (there are a few animal stress moments, but the dude gets it done).