His friends call him "I.G.," but those aren't the only initials used by Indrajit Ghosh, founder of Atlas Communications, a network-engineering consultancy based in Brooklyn, N.Y. He uses the acronym PITA -- for "pain in the ass" -- for the tiny red rotating ball that substitutes for a mouse on his laptop, an IBM ThinkPad.
Specifically, Ghosh struggled with scrolling, pointing, and clicking when he used his laptop for PowerPoint presentations. The PITA often caused him to "fumble around," he says, during the shows, especially when his audience requested that he return to diagrams he'd already shown.
Ghosh tried plugging a regular mouse into his laptop, but the lack of big-enough surfaces on the road and during presentations made it cumbersome to use. Then last fall, on a train ride to see a customer in New Jersey, he spotted a commuter whose laptop was hooked up to a mouse that was about half the size of others he'd seen. An armrest served as a mouse pad. Ghosh learned that the device was called, appropriately, the Mini Mouse (from Targus; 800-998-8020; $21.99). He bought one online as soon as he got home.
"It's made my life so much easier," he says, adding that he too now works on armrests with ease. Best of all, Ghosh thinks the mouse has upped the value of his presentations -- and by extension of his company. "I have a lot more control over the screen," he says. "It makes us look a lot more professional."