drunk mouse syndrome
(also `mouse on drugs') n. A malady
exhibited by the mouse pointing device of some computers. The
typical symptom is for the mouse cursor on the screen to move in
random directions and not in sync with the motion of the actual
mouse. Can usually be corrected by unplugging the mouse and
plugging it back again. Another recommended fix for optical mice
is to rotate your mouse pad 90 degrees.
At Xerox PARC in the 1970s, most people kept a can of copier
cleaner (isopropyl alcohol) at their desks. When the steel ball on
the mouse had picked up enough cruft
to be unreliable, the
mouse was doused in cleaner, which restored it for a while.
However, this operation left a fine residue that accelerated the
accumulation of cruft, so the dousings became more and more
frequent. Finally, the mouse was declared `alcoholic' and sent
to the clinic to be dried out in a CFC ultrasonic bath.