I installed Ubuntu 10.10 a week ago and have had mouse glitches since. I know there was some way to monitor USB events real time, but don't remember the command for it, so if you do, please tell :)

Symptoms: At some arbitrary point in time (frequency: 2-3 times per hour), the mouse stops working for about 20 seconds.

  1. Moving the Logitech USB mouse does not move the cursor. Clicks don't register either. The mouse is plugged directly into an USB port, no PS2 adapter. It is a mainbord USB port (no hubs, extension cards, etc.)

  2. On the Wacom Bamboo tablet, neither touch not pen move the mouse. Clicks/buttons don't register. The LED goes out completely (normally, it glows steady white when not in use). The tablet is connected to an USB hub which has its own power source.

  3. The Cideko Air keyboard moves the mouse pointer just as intended. Clicks register as usual. Its dongle is plugged into a front panel USB port.

  4. Both the Cideko Air keyboard and the normal no-name USB keyboard (plugged into the same hub as the Wacom tablet) continue working. Programs (except Rhythmbox) react as expected to all keyboard input events.

  5. If there is a Rhythmbox window open (not minimized to task bar or notification area), it goes grey and stops responding to mouse and keyboard. The music continues to play. No other application window does that. The cause cannot be Rhythmbox itself, as the freezes also happen when Rhythmbox has not been started at all since boot.

  6. The system indicator in the panel does not show any unusual activity.

I am really stumped here, especially because two mice don't work but the third does (actually, I don't know how the Air mousepart drivers are implemented, but it is plug-n-play and works just as a normal mouse), and also because of Rhythmbox' strange reaction. Any ideas where to start troubleshooting?

  • Have you tried looking at the /var/log/syslog and such other log files there for any trace? The usual trick is to note the time when the freeze starts and ends and then jump to the log files (look at all log files that have a time-stamp after the freeze start-time).
    – nik
    Nov 7, 2010 at 12:49

1 Answer 1


I have the answer, and of course it is something I'd never have thought of.

In my home, there is only one electric circuit. When the fridge's compressor kicks in, the power dips for a second. It is exactly when this happens that mouse & Bamboo freeze. The Cideko keyboard doesn't get its power through USB, as it operates on batteries. I only noticed it because the kitchen door was open and I could hear the fridge compressor.

I don't know if Ubuntu 10.10 has a different power management than 10.04, but as I reinstalled the OS, I also disconnected PC and peripherals, cleaned them with compressed air and re-cabled. This is probably the reason why it started happening from this day on.

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