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-- by Joel T. Patz
Cirque's latest GlidePoint product, the Power Cat, literally pushes touchpad technology to the edge: You can use the edges of the product's surface to easily and conveniently navigate through your applications.
The Power Cat works with any application that supports a mouse. Glide your finger, or the included metal pointing stick, along the top edge of the touchpad's surface, and you can surf forward and backward through Web pages in Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. Glide vertically along the right border or horizontally along the lower border to scroll through a document instead of using your mouse. The Power Cat and your mouse have no problem sharing pointing duties: The touchpad comes with a device driver that lets both devices work together.
As a bonus, the Power Cat adds extra functionality with Office 97 applications. Glide along the left edge of the touchpad's surface and zoom in and out of the application. We tested our unit with Excel 97 and found it remarkably quick and easy to zoom in and out of a spreadsheet.
The new touchpad also lets you add a signature or sketch to your application. Cirque includes an applet called Signature Capture, included when you install the unit's device driver. Using the pointing stick-about the size of a ballpoint pen and sporting a rotating flat top-launch Signature Capture and you'll see a gray drawing area representing the touchpad's surface. Writing your name between the lines takes practice, and your initial attempts will probably look shaky, but quality improves with time. Dragging the pen lightly moves the cursor; apply more pressure to create digital ink. We used Word and its Paste command to easily add a signature to a business letter.
The Power Cat will appeal to notebook users, desktop users with limited space and those seeking an alternative to the traditional mouse. For increased functionality or for capturing digital ink, the Power Cat is a welcome development.
Windows Magazine, October 1997, page 180.