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WiebeTech Mouse Jiggler Review

on December 5, 2010 2:30 pm

Up until a few weeks ago I could not fathom the need for a little device whose sole purpose is to move your mouse.  Then my company forced the active directory screensaver and password resume on my PC.  Even though that isn’t my primary work computer, it was starting to drive me crazy having to log back in every few minutes when I wanted to use it.  Suddenly, the Mouse Jiggler was looking pretty darn good to me!  In just a few short days of use, the Mouse Jiggler from WiebeTech has become my most valued office accessory!

The Mouse Jiggler is manufactured by WiebeTech, a company specializing in desktop storage solutions as well devices for forensic analysis (one of their tools even made it into the last season of “24″).   There are downloadable programs floating around the Internet that pretty much do the same thing, but this little guy has the advantage of being on a USB drive.  It requires no administrative rights to use and doesn’t install on your computer; it’s completely plug and play.

There are two versions of the Jiggler available, Fast and Slow, with the only difference being the speed of the mouse cursor movement.  The fast version moves the mouse quickly and constantly around the screen, making it good for practical jokes on a co-worker, but not really for work since you’ll be battling the runaway cursor.  Luckily, I was sent the Slow version to review.  It moves the mouse so slowly in fact that for an hour or so after I first plugged it in, I was convinced it was defective.  It was only when the thought suddenly occurred  that it had been an hour and my screensaver had yet to go off that I realized it was working just fine.

On the manufacturer’s product page the slow version steadily ticks a few pixels back and forth like a heartbeat.  However, in use the movement is much more subtle.  I stared at a still cursor for several minutes only to see a quick nudge in one direction, followed by another nudge back about a minute later.  I found no problems with taking control of the mouse and going about my work with the drive still plugged in.

Once inserted into a USB port, the green LED light comes on, then flashes in accordance to the number of minutes it has been active.  It registers as a Human Interface Device (HID) on your computer and goes to work immediately.

I’ve tested it out on an iMac and Powerbook (both running OS X 10.6), a desktop PC running Windows XP, and a netbook running Windows 7 and the Jiggler performs flawlessly on each.  I pretty much just leave it plugged into my PC desktop all day long and have seen no ill effect (i.e. computer lock ups, Jiggler overheating, computer slow down, etc).  As a test, I left it in over this past long holiday weekend and when I showed up Monday morning the computer was still “awake”and the Mouse Jiggler was blinking happily away

I’m hard pressed to find any negative about this little guy.  To those who scoff about coughing up $17 when there are the free versions of the same gadget–WiebeTech agrees with you!  They’re not telling you to hurry up and buy twelve, but to use what works for you.  The Mouse Jiggler won’t be for everyone–but for those who don’t have administrative access and need to prevent any computer from going idle for any reason, the Jiggler could be exactly what you’re looking for.

The Mouse Jiggler is available in both Fast and Slow versions for $17 through WiebeTech.

 

Product Information

Price:$17
Manufacturer:WiebeTech
Requirements:
  • PC or Mac
Pros:
  • PC & Mac compatible, does not require admin rights on computer, portable, works flawlessly
Cons:
  • None

Comments

  1. 1
    Ronald says:

    Why not change the settings of your screensaver and save the money?
    And if this isn’t possible at work, what will happen to the employee who left her/his workingspace unattended and without a screenlock?
    At my work you could get in trouble e.g. if patient information was still readable on the screen or other privilege information was shown.

  2. 2
    Morgan Bornstein says:

    @Ronald– there are definitely workplaces where it would be a standards and practices violation (as well as completely irresponsible) to use a device like this
    However, it’s been of great use to me. I’m at my desk all day anyway using multiple computers and I’m able to switch back and forth throughout the day without having the annoyance of logging in everytime one machines goes idle. I’m sure IT probably wouldn’t be thrilled I’m bypassing their system, but there’s no confidentiality breach for what I do.
    But, like I said, it won’t be for everyone :)

  3. 3
    James Ross says:

    I know it isn’t pertinent to your review, but there’s no way your PowerBook runs 10.6.

  4. 4
    crawdad62 says:

    That’s prety slick. I don’t think I’d use it at work because of the potential of misuse/policy but it’s still neat. I’ve been using a free program on my Mac for years. Jiggler…… Works great.

  5. 5
    rowan says:

    Question: Would this work for websites that time you out? Some banking websites are especially aggressive this way. Or do sites that time you out depend on actual clicks to confirm you’re still there (so just having the mouse jiggle wouldn’t help)?

  6. 6
    Dennis says:

    I can have multiple sessions open that will lock up if I just turn away briefly – and then I’m constantly logging back in. This helps prevent some of that activity. My office is locked – and I’m very practiced at locking my screen as I leave.

    The giggler is also great for those making presentations from a corporate laptop that has screen saver policy restrictions in place. A large company like IBM makes a presentation to our department – and after a certain period the screen saver locks them out. I/T policy is often a cookie cutter approach and pushed out the same way to everyone – including those that need something more in tune with their needs.

    The only downside I’ve seen while using device – is when playing video from a web source. Some web based video players will bring up a tool bar when the mouse moves – so you have the video player’s tool bar coming up every so often in those cases.

  7. 7
    Dennis K says:

    Oh…I forgot to mention…..according to their website – the mouse jiggler was originally designed for use in computer forensics to prevent a seized computer’s screen saver from being activated.
    That is why it needed to be in an external USB form that didn’t require installing software. Wiebetech has other forensic products. There is one that insures read/only access to hard drives for forensic purposes, and a product that assists in moving a desktop computer without powering it down. The latter is used in conjunction with the mouse jiggler.

    More interesting details….
    http://www.wiebetech.com/products/MouseJiggler.php

  8. 8
    Valcon says:

    If you’re somewhat of a software programmer, you can write something like this in less than 5 lines of code in .NET, PowerShell, VBScript etc.

    A quasi VB.NET example:
    Dim oldPos = Windows.Forms.Cursor.Position
    Dim newPos = New Point(oldPos.X + 2, oldPos.Y + 2)
    Windows.Forms.Cursor.Position = newPos
    Windows.Forms.Cursor.Position = oldPos
    (just put this code in the Timer event of a Timer control)

    Instead of using the mouse, one would even better use a simulated keypress, preferably a non-intrusive key like the Scroll Lock.

    I wrote something similar for Windows Mobile several years ago (I got agitated by the PIN-code popup every 10 minutes, even while using TomTom). Works like a charm.

  9. 9
    BaldSpot says:

    Where I work, we cannot have USB drives. They even installed a USB drive blocker. We also are forbidden from writing code of any kind. What I’ve wanted to do is install some tiny motor with a weighted offset shaft, maybe a capacitor/resistor set-up inside the mouse so that it periodically jumps enough to prevent the screensaver from activating.

  10. 10
    Dennis says:

    The Jiggler is a mouse to the system – an “HID” (Human Interface Device). There is no concern of it being rejected as a USB drive. It just looks like a USB drive. Your I/T department policy would have to reject HID’s (mice) from connecting to your PC – and that’s not going to happen across the board. I suspect there is a way to detect the vendor, or device type more specifically so it’s always possible that I/T will disable the device some day.

  11. 11
    Andy Chen says:

    I just bought this for my work computer, which locked down against changing the screen/sleep settings. Totally does the trick!

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