Logitech’s Mouse Software Now Includes ChatGPT Support, Adds Janky ‘ai_overlay_tmp’ Directory to Users’ Home Folders

Stephen Hackett, writing at 512 Pixels:

I know AI is all the rage right now and having a deal to bring ChatGPT into your software is trendy, but including a tool like this in what is basically a mouse driver is ridiculous. I’m not opposed to using AI in software. I’m just opposed to when it shows up as an unexpected, poorly-implemented feature in software that doesn’t need it.

At least Logitech’s Mac developers did such a bad job with it, that it was easy to spot.

Logitech committed a bunch of sins with this mouse driver. First, it just seems ridiculous to add an AI prompt feature to a mouse driver. Second, no matter what the feature, it’s wrong to add a top-level folder to a user’s home directory — and it’s especially wrong to give such a folder a dumb name like “ai_overlay_tmp”.

It’s more common for poorly-programmed Mac software to create such folders with a leading dot in their names, an age-old Unix convention that tells the Finder to treat them as “invisible”. But that’s poor form on MacOS too. Support folders should be organized in standard sub-folders inside the user’s Library folder. Open Terminal and type ls -a at the root of your home folder and you’ll probably see a lot of detritus that ought to be inside your Library folder.

Hackett has switched from Logitech’s mouse software to the excellent SteerMouse, an excellent $20 mouse driver that supports just about every mouse in the world. I’ve been using and wholeheartedly recommending SteerMouse for nearly 20 years.

It’s also the case that even with a third-party mouse, you might not want any third-party driver software at all. MacOS’s built-in mouse software recognizes most mice. I rely on SteerMouse not because my mouse has lots of buttons (it doesn’t), but to get fine-grained control over the speed and acceleration of the pointer. SteerMouse lets me set my mouse to go way, way faster than the built-in Mouse panel in Settings does — something I’ve done for decades to reduce wrist fatigue and pain. I can move my pointer from corner to corner across my Studio Display by moving my mouse just a few centimeters.

The problem is, many people — perhaps especially people whose computing experience was forged on Windows — wrongly assume that if you buy a Brand X mouse, you need to install Brand X’s software to use it. For Logitech mouse users, that means AI software they neither want nor need running in the background, and an ugly cryptically-named temp folder stinking up their home directory like a squatter.

Monday, 6 May 2024