OdoPlus and MousePath are two free applications that run in the background and can tell you a bit more about your mousing activity during your session. What good does that information do for you exactly? Not a whole lot. However, it can be informative if you’re testing out an interface or create some pretty art based on a day’s work.
[Editor’s note: this review was written by Freewaregenius contributor Jason H. Check out his tech blog: 404techsupport.com].
OdoPlus is a 750KB download that doesn’t require any installation. It takes the size of your monitor and tracks how much distance your mouse has covered in meters and in pixels, hence the name derived from odometer. It also counts mouse clicks, dividing them between left click, right click, middle click, and scroll wheel ticks. The application can be minimized to the system tray so that it interferes with the recording as little as possible. OdoPlus uses ~7MB of RAM while running but your mileage may vary.
Beyond counting your mouse usage, OdoPlus will also show you a “heatmap” of the clicks around your screen. You can display the heatmap full screen from the View menu or by right-clicking the systray icon. The darker color an area is, the more clicks it has had.
OdoPlus gave me some errors when run as a standard user but still worked. When run as an administrator account, it ran just fine without the error messages popping up.
You can read more about OdoPlus and download it from its website at http://www.fridgesoft.de/odoplus.php.
IOGraph was known as MousePath before and it differs from OdoPlus by focusing more on the mouse’s path. It is less than half a megabyte download and as a stand-alone Java executable, it does not need to be installed. From what I saw, it required a bit more resources to run, clocking in at using 55MB of RAM.
While it’s running, IOGraph will keep track of how long it has been running. The IOGraph application gives you a small preview window of what it has tracked so far. The line is the mouse path and any black circles are where the mouse has paused. Unfortunately, when you close IOGraph you lose your data and your next session starts on a blank canvas. Before you close out, you might want to save the image that has been created. You can do so with the top button on the right side. You can also access the control panel (the middle button on the right side) to set some preferences. You can ignore the mouse stops and just record the paths and you can include your current desktop background in the image background as you would like. It also looks to support multiple monitors but I wasn’t able to test that as I don’t have more than 1 monitor here.
You can see the resulting image after 3 hours of Photoshop use from the developer and the same image with the desktop background in place.
Below is the image I created quickly after playing a tower defense flash game. You can see it’s density is centered on the game with plenty of pauses in between. You can also see the movement across the top that must have been me switching tabs, reading the page, and moving on.
IOGraph is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. You can download it from http://iographica.com/.
Overlaying the results of IOGraph and OdoPlus could be pretty interesting if they measured the same session to graph out clicks, pauses, and the mouse path.