The Smartest Mouse Pad That Ever Lived (and Then Died)

Are you overwhelmed by the Internet? I sure was in 2000. Hell, I still am. But I think I'd be able to navigate everything in a more manageable way if only I had the right... mouse pad.

Last time I used a mouse pad was when I was when I couldn't find my dog's frisbee. But if I had this little wonder, I'd create a little shrine to it and would bow down to its excellence. No doggy teeth marks on this one please! The MySmart, which was made by Keytronic and aimed at novice Web users, was a $20 device with buttons and input ports a go go.

This decade has seen a shift on the button issue: lots of tactile things to press used to signify that something was high tech. Now, anything with lots of buttons just looks like it is trying hard to not look like an iPhone. This thing's buttons could bring you straight to CompUSA! Online, that is. It could also store passwords and bookmarks. On the site was the explanation:

We believe that the Internet experience shouldn't be confusing. So we developed a simple and secure way to access, surf and shop the Internet.

See, I agree. But the Internet is confusing. To use the vocabulary of 2000, it's a network of a billion million interconnected tunnels to computers. A super highway, if you will. I think that if it weren't confusing, I'd be confused.

The MySmart didn't last, even though its site promised that the first 100,000 would be given away for free (shipping not included). [Archived site from 2000]

Anna Jane Grossman will be with us for the next few weeks, documenting life in the early aughts, and how it differs from today. The author of Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once-Common Things Passing Us By (Abrams Image) and the creator of iamobsolete.net, she has also written for dozens of publications, including the New York Times, Salon.com, the Associated Press, Elle and the Huffington Post, as well as Gizmodo. She has a complicated relationship with technology, but she does have an eponymous website: AnnaJane.net. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaJane.