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Tech Tips

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    PlanetQuake | Features | Tech Tips | 2-19-2000
   

Tech Tips Mailbag

This is where your gaming and hardware needs are met. Be all that you can be or get out of the game! This won't be a forum for techno-geeks to find more ways to impress their non-technical friends, it's for plain folk who need help to better their gaming experience. But don't blame us if you blow your machine sky high; we're offering tips, not the Bible on computers. The mailbag is alive and well - send in those questions to TechTips. !

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A message to Yahoo Mail users: I have replied to many of you but because of the recent problems that Yahoo and other sites had with hackers, your mail was returned to me. If you are still in need of TechTips help, I suggest using your real mail account.


Tips from Readers

From: Spoon

Subject: Ratpad Mousing surface!

This generous TechTips fan wrote a review of the Ratpadz mousing surface that was beyond reproach! Not to worry! the MailBag is to follow - read on!

 
Livin' large! Ratpad!

Ok, Iíll admit it. I never really thought that a mousepad could make much of a difference in gaming. Even though I would call myself a serious gamer, I figured that products like the 3M Precise Mousing Surface, and the Everglide pad were really more hype then actuality, catering to the truly competitive person who just HAD to have that little extra edge. I was wrong. I look back now and see the grave error of my wicked ways, and I repent! I humbly ask the gaming gods for forgiveness as I raise my arms in cheer of: The Ratpad!

It all started after Beatdown 2000, when I noticed that my old 99 cent cloth mousepad was just plain thrashed. I had gotten it only a month or so before and already the surface was coming off, it was constantly grimy, and slid around the desk like butter in a hot frying pan. So, I needed a new mousepad and finally decided to take the plunge and invest the cash in a REAL pad, one that would cater to my needs and last a long time. But which one? There are several options out there for those looking for a gaming mousepad. I had briefly tried a 3M pad, and although accuracy was much improved it had several drawbacks. Namely, it was tiny, it didn't wear well at all, and it slid around the desk like crazy. Therefore I concluded that the 3M was definately out. Then there was the Everglide....although I have never used one personally, simply looking at it reveals that it too shares the 3M pad's small stature. UPDATE: I've just learned of Everglide's new pad, the Giganta, which is about as large surface area wise as the Ratpad, and offers a very similar surface. I've never used the Giganta so I won't comment on how good it is, although it has been very favorably reviewed as far as I've seen, however I CAN say in all honesty that I think the Ratpad looks cooler. :> The Ratpad was invented by Kyle of HardOCP.com, one of the most popular and overall kickass computer overclocking sites out there. After visiting the Ratpad site, and reading some reviews of it on the net, I was hooked. THIS was the pad for me! At $18.95 plus $5.60 for shipping and handling, it was competitively priced with the other available options, and hey, it was endorsed by Kyle so it had to be good!

The Ratpadz are all shipped by Priority Mail, and I recieved mine precisely three days after placing the order. After gleefully ripping it out of the package I was left to stare at it's graceful form in awe. First impressions are always inciteful and mine proved to be as well. This thing is HARD. Not flimsy-yet-firm like other "hard" mousepads, this thing is a hunk of molded plastic that has the density, elasticity, and weight of a dinner plate. The second major feature I noticed was it's size, this mofo is < bad scottish accent > FRIGGIN HUGE! < /bad scottish accent>. Seriously, at 9.5 inches tall by 11.5 inches wide, this thing has an impressive wingspan, totally dwarfing the 3M and original Everglide pads. It's edges are beveled down so as not to incur any infamous "handcuff marks", and it's surface is texured. The texuring is interesting because it applies a great amount of friction against the mouseball, but not against the mouse feet or your hand. The end result is that you're mouse glides along the surface. The lack of friction took a bit of getting used to for me, being as how I was used to cloth pads that took about 20 pounds of force to move the mouse across. Complete with it's jet black color and silver Ratpadz.com logo this thing looks positively bitchin. I could almost feel my keyboard's fear as I placed this bad boy beside it. Now came the fun part, the tests!

When it comes to games I'm pretty fanatical about my favorites. Right now I'm a committed Tribes junkie, and Quake 3 addict, and these were the games I tested the pad on. I will break this down into sections for your easy digestion.

Durability:
While I haven't had the Ratpad long enough to really give a definite answer, I would bet my boot drive that the Ratpad will outlast your mouse, your computer, and probably even you. It's plastic is very hard, and even bending this thing at all takes a great deal of effort, and breaking it is practically out of the question. It's textured surface also doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Although the logo on top will fade (as with any writing on this kind of surface), the texturing should last pretty much indefinately (unlike the 3M pads, which are notorious for wearing out quickly). I'd count on the Ratpad being alive and kicking for years.

Cleanliness:
For me at least, this was a big issue. My previous mousepads were like unwashed armpits, they got grungy and nasty. This grime they collected was then transferred to the mouseball resulting in my having to clean my standard Intellimouse (which gets dirty easily anyway) every couple days. But I'm happy to say that if cleanliness really is next to godliness, then the Ratpad is an angel. Even after many hours of intense gaming, one look inside the mouse reveals no dirt buildup, and the Ratpad itself is as clean as a President's urinal (or whatever). And if you do manage to gunk the pad up, a simple wipe of a cloth or shirt tail or what not usually does the trick. For those of you who are a bit more obsessive (or plan to eat off of it) you can clean it with soapy water. I even heard a rumor somewhere that you can toss these things in the dishwasher although I wouldn't try it. So even for those of you with sweaty palms should find the Ratpad stays quite clean.

 




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