Mouse Gesture Drawings
Friday, August 18, 2006

Sometimes at work there is absolutely nothing for me to do. I read the books on Oracle Databases until I start drowsing off, then to keep awake, I most likely check my e-mail, check to see if I've been assigned a task, then, eventually, I'll check out my sites, or Wikipedia to keep myself occupied. There is an extension for FireFox that lets you use mouse gestures to control your browsing. (Check it out here.) What that means is that by performing certain maneuvers with your mouse, you can make the browser do certain things. The gestures are initialized by clicking and holding the right mouse button; the gesture is then made, and is finalized with the release of the button. For example, by pressing, sweeping the mouse to the left, and releasing, the browser will go back as if you've pressed the back button. Or by moving upwards, a new tab will be opened. There is an option in this extension to also have it draw the gestures that are made.

The reason I tell you all this is that for a few weeks I've taken to making crude drawings with this feature. It's more difficult that one would first assume. First, the mouse must be in constant motion, or the drawing will disappear. It is set so that if you're in the middle of drawing a gesture, but the cursor remains unmoved for more than a second, the gesture will be canceled, and the line drawn on screen will be erased. Actually, I believe the mouse must be moved a minimum of 15 pixels per second, any less than that, and the gestures is canceled. Second, only one, unbroken line may be drawn. It's kind of like Etcha-Scetch. Third, the drawing will be erased if the left mouse button is inadvertently clicked, or the right mouse button unclicked.

Sometimes I did them on a blank page, in which case I cropped the screen capture to make them smaller. Others were done on top of a webpage. In those cases (except one), I left the screen capture whole, so you see everything on the screen. These pictures are much bigger, but more interesting, I think. They resemble gesture drawings, (See some here) so it's a punny coinsidence that they are drawn by way of mouse "gestures." They are crude, no doubt, but as the founder of this particular medium, and as one with no visual arts skill to speak of, what more can you ask?

The reason I started this post off with a description of my work? All of these were done during lunch, breaks, and downtime while I was at work.


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