Part of the Hardware glossary:

1. The mickey, in a computing context, is a unit for the smallest detectable movement of a mouse.

The mickey is not precisely quantified but varies depending on the specific equipment. A typical mickey would be about 0.1 milimeters (about 0.0039 inches). The cursor moves on the screen proportionally, at a rate of something like 2 pixels per mickey.

The mouse driver converts the mickey count (the number of mickeys that the mouse moves) into pixels to determine how far to move the cursor. Cursor direction is a function of the vertical and horizontal mickey counts.

The mouse mickey is named for Disney’s Mickey Mouse. 

2. MICKEY (all capitals) is a stream cipher algorithm

3. Outside of computing, mickey means a number of other things, including:

  • Short form for Mickey Finn, meaning a drugged drink.
  • Slang for a pint bottle of liquor.
  • Taking the mickey, meaning to tease.

 

Continue reading about the mickey:

 > Neatorama.com explains a lot of unusually named units of measurement, including the Smoot, the smidgen and the MegaFonzie.

 > HowStuffWorks explains computer mice.

 > Wikipedia has an extensive entry about computer mice.

This was last updated in April 2012
Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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