Winter Photography Tip: Get a Heated Mouse Pad

You were shooting madly throughout the year and now, during the dark, cold months of winter, you have settled down to process and post your successes. The problem is that your desk is cold and that your wrist, where so many blood vessels are located, rests directly on that cold desk, radiating the coldness into your hand. When your hand is cold, your entire body feels cold.
My right hand is cold most of the winter. For years I have been hunting for a solution and until now, a variety of mouse pads with some insulation capability were the best solution I’ve come up with, but they fell far short of keeping my mouse hand warm.
On my latest search, I came across a heated mouse pad. While this is not the first such model I have found, it is the first one that didn’t have some restrictive tent-like or glove-like structure over the pad. It was inexpensive, looked like it would work well for its primary function (a surface for the mouse), had a decent appearance (we’re photographers – appearance matters) and I didn’t deliberate very long before ordering one.
For the price, I didn’t have very high expectations for build quality, but I was far from disappointed with what I got. The basic, nondescript, 8 7/8 x 10 1/4″ (225 x 260mm) mousepad design features a smooth, 7 3/4 x 9 3/4″ (197 x 248mm) matte aluminum surface (great for mouse friction and response) surrounded by matt black ABS plastic (white is optionally available). Four non-slip feet hold the pad in place.
Creating heat generally involves electricity or burning something and fortunately the designers chose the former option for this product. Included is an approximately 5′ USB cable that appears designed to plug into and draw power from the computer’s USB port.
Upon plugging in the USB cable, my Dell XPS laptop immediately informed me that a device was requesting more power than the port had available. I rely heavily on my laptop and that message sent a little chill down my spine, but no harm was done. I unplugged and instead used an A/C to USB wall outlet adapter.
The next issue was trying to decide which switch position on the provided USB cord was “On”. This determination became easier when I realized that there was a faint blue light emanating around the port when the switch was in the “On” position.
As you would expect with a low-draw power source, the heat isn’t instant. But, the warm-up time isn’t bad and the amount of heat provided after warm-up seems ideal for me. The great news is that my wrist and hand now stay toasty warm on even the coldest days. Eventually, even the mouse even becomes slightly warmed, at least near its bottom.
With the heated mouse pad on my desk, winter has become a little brighter. Sometimes it is the little things that make life better and the heated mouse pad may have been the best money I have spent recently.
The heated mouse pad is available at Amazon.

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