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Input Devices

Mouse or Trackball? 627

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the one-for-the-wife dept.
Loconut1389 writes "I've been an avid mouse user for years, but lately all of the wrist movements have added up and combined with a desire for some added precision when not using my tablet in photoshop, I decided to purchase a large trackball. Logitech makes a few with a small, thumb controlled ball, but it looked like you'd get a tired thumb and have no added precision. After searching around, it seems that the only large one really available is a Kensington for about $90. Only CompUSA seemed to even carry the kensington in-store (and had none in stock). After ordering one online and using it for a few days now, I don't know how I ever lived with a mouse. The trackball has better precision, less wrist movement, and even gaming is pretty cool/easy with it (can spin it to whip around real quick, etc). All that said, it seems like trackballs have all but vanished except in medical fields (sonograms, etc) and perhaps graphic arts. I'm left insanely curious why trackballs haven't resurfaced now that optical technologies have fixed the main problems of old trackballs (and mice). Do you use a trackball? If so, are you in graphic design?"
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Mouse or Trackball?

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  • Trackball (Score:5, Informative)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:01AM (#20072169) Homepage Journal
    My favorite input device has been a Kensington Turbo Mouse. It's a large trackball, a design I have been using for years going back to the original 1.0. They are great in reducing Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and allow more precision in control which is important for digital imagery work and image forensics.

    For a traditional mouse, Apple's Mighty Mouse is pretty good, but it simply does not have the robust reliability that the Kensington track balls have. For most of the Kensington trackball's history, they used high quality bearings which were nice and robust, but dirt could get trapped in between stalling the cursor movement. Recently with the Expert Mouse however, they have gone to a glass/plastic? bearing with an optical tracking mechanism that is far superior to just about anything else on the market.

    It is interesting that the trackball has quite a long history. I first saw them, other than Missile Command ;-) of course, on satellite imagery workstations back in 1990 and had to have one for my Mac systems. Unfortunately I had to endure a mouse with just about all of my SGI systems as the trackballs for those systems were either unavailable or just did not work as well as the mouse of hockey puck and digitizing board.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kagura (843695)
      Long, long ago I tried a trackball at my friend's house, and decided I absolutely must have one. That was a good couple of years, til I switched back to a mouse permanently, and you better believe I never looked back. After experiencing both sides of the fence, using a mouse is far more intuitive and precise for many activities on a PC.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BWJones (18351) *
        and you better believe I never looked back.

        Or what?

        After experiencing both sides of the fence, using a mouse is far more intuitive and precise for many activities on a PC.

        That may be true for you, but from my experience in navigating image data comprising many gigabytes to terrabytes, having a trackball with a zoom ring on it like the Kensington Expert Mouse is the fastest means of navigating that I have found though I actually use a combination of trackball and Wacom drawing tablet for any work that requir
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022)
        Many of the problems with mice went away when optical mice became prevalent. No more wrestling with goopy rollers.
      • Re:Trackball (Score:5, Informative)

        by toad3k (882007) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:52PM (#20074441)
        I've been using logitech trackman marble since I was a pretard (10 years). My first came when my parents bought one of these on a whim for our first computer. I reacted hostile initially because all my experience with trackballs up to that point were crappy wheel based ones.

        There are good points and bad points.

        Good:
            It has always been as accurate as the best mouse, even before mice went optical.
            The cord never ever gets in the way of your movement, because it doesn't move.
            Doesn't require desk space. My screen is flush with my desk, my keyboard sitting snugly on an open desk drawer.

        Bad:
            You can't hope to achieve smooth 360+ degree rotation on an fps. You have to move your thumb at some point.

        But the main advantage, and the reason why I will never go back to using a normal mouse is that I can place a trackball anywhere. Before I started this note I was reclined all the way back in my chair with my trackball on my chest navigating slashdot in complete comfort. I tend to use it on my knee alot too.

        Also another advantage is no one wants to use it. So no one is using my damned computer when I'm not around. Also the ball is perfect for flinging at your coworker.
    • by Achoi77 (669484)

      The big trackballs don't seem to do it for me. By far my most favorite trackball is the basic Logitech Trackman [logitech.com]. I've been using it for several years, switching over and trying different trackballs, but I always go back to this one. Your hand is resting comfortably, the ball is perfectly positioned and I have yet to run into a situation where my thumb would be tired - dunno, maybe it's the gamer in me.

      As for precision, it's pretty good. I do game with it, some counterstrike, but mostly WoW pvp. What I do f

    • Trackball here, too, though my pick is the Logitech Optical TrackMan (I think; don't remember the actual name for certain). I love being able to use it without any significant flat surface with my laptop.

      What I really don't understand, though, is why oh why does nobody make a good Bluetooth trackball?? Every cordless trackball out there (except for one, called The Ball, but I need many buttons, not just 2 & no scroll wheel...) uses an RF transmitter that plugs in by USB. I would have thought tha

    • by spineboy (22918) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:17PM (#20073765) Journal
      I had the large 3" ball from Kensington with 4 buttons. I used it for a year, but kept on getting wrist tendonitis, even after trying many different positions and or supports. My wrist and fingers went back to normal after switchiiiing back to a mouse.

      I've been using a mouse for computer work, with a fair amount of gaming for 13 years now with no problems.

      I suspect that there will be a subset of the population that does better with trackball devices, but the market has shown which device people prefer - the mouse.
    • Using a right-handed trackball is like using right-handed scissors - awkward as all hell.

      I bought a keyboard with a built-in trackball. It was nice for 15 minutes - then I gave it away because its useless!

      Instead, I have 2 mice plugged into the computer - one on each side of the keyboard. I grab whichever one is convenient (dual monitors, etc). I'm thinking that for my triple-monitor setup at home I should configure X so that each monitor has a captive mouse - having to go all the way from the left sid

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SLi (132609)
      I switched from mouses to trackballs some 7 years ago and my wrist problems vanished. I had a Logitech Cordless TrackMan Wheel [logitech.com] since quite recently, and was fairly happy with it. I chose it because it felt so nice in the store. It took two months however to became used to it, and I think my thumb never got quite as accurate as I was with a mouse. Most importantly I felt it (the thumb, not the device) became less accurate after years of using it.

      Now I'm using a Logitech Cordless TrackMan Optical [logitech.com], and I've be
  • The wife swears by her Logitech trackball, to the point where I had to buy her one for work (cheap enough and not even worth asking the boss).
  • by Squiffy (242681) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:03AM (#20072215) Homepage
    I use my fingers and arm more than my wrist when moving the mouse around. Never have any problems.
    • I can't move my arm around without moving my mouse off its pad and my had off the little gel pad it rests on. The motion benefits are a side effect of those two limitations.
    • by skiingyac (262641)
      Using a good write rest definitely helps a lot... the submitter didn't mention if he tried that, but your wrist's position make a huge difference, as does how often you use keyboard shortcuts vs click on things.
    • As a complete opposite to you, I use virtually only my fingers and a little bit of wrist. My arm is rested on the desk. I feel that using my entire arm and parts of my upper body to slide a few grams of plastic around the table is overkill. But that's what most people around where I work do, their arms stretched out in front of them. The mice related physical issues here are normally neck/arm/shoulder related, not wrist. I can't help but feel there's a connection.

      Most of those with pain opt for a vertical t [animax.no]
  • both! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xhrit (915936)
    I have both plugged in to my pc - one trackball and one mouse. I prefer the trackball, but like to switch to reduce strain.
  • I am not saying the Trackpad is better then a trackball in any particular area. But it has less moving parts that get gummed up offer much of the ergonimic benefits as a trackball. Lighter to carry and no balls to be stolen. The mouse sticks around because people know how to use it and they are trained to use it and it is easer to train people on how to use it because they move the mouse up the ball goes up. Vs a trackpad or a Trackball where you move you finger then the mouse moves. It is a difference be
  • by toolie (22684) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:05AM (#20072255)
    Do you mean a trackball or a spaceball? Spaceballs are used widely with modeling software such as Catia and UniGraphics.
  • Trackpoint? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:05AM (#20072257)
    How about the Trackpoint on thinkpads and such? Everyone I know with a thinkpad (including myself :D) swears by the little thing.
    • Re:Trackpoint? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:10AM (#20072399)
      I like my little mousy nipple! :D The Trackpoint is awesome.
    • by macdaddy (38372)
      Everyone I know that had a laptop with a TrackPoint swore AT them, including myself. I'd be typing along and hit that little bastard and suddenly I'll have clicked in the middle of some other window or even worse if it was in the middle of a block of text. They are as bad as a trackpad that hasn't had the sensitivity adjusted to prevent my palm from causing an accidental click while typing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by isaac (2852)
      I've been using an IBM M13 buckling-spring (clicky) keyboard with built-in trackpoint for years. I carry it from job to job. I have a new-in-box spare in my storage unit in case it ever gets swiped (because it's sure not going to fail on its own. It's built like a tank.)

      These regularly show up on ebay, just watch out you don't get a later model without the clicky keys (unless you prefer a membrane keyboard.)

      Highly recommended - it's nice not to have to move my hands from the keyboard.

      -Isaac
      • Re:Trackpoint? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by RobertM1968 (951074) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:21PM (#20073833) Homepage Journal

        There is actually a company that licensed the design from IBM and makes them - with and without Windows Keys (none for me thanks), and standard IBM click - or - mushy, crappy, gonna fail in a few years membrane. Havent tried them, but people claim they (the clicky ones) are as durable and well designed as the Mfg'd by Lexmark IBM Model M's (which is to say, slightly less durable, but still damn near indestructible). ( http://pckeyboard.com/ [pckeyboard.com] ) On a funny but very entirely true story (stories actually), I actually put that indestructible-ness to the test.

        Back in 86 I worked for Valcom Computer (prolly never heard of them unless you were big into buying IBM's in the mid 80's). People would come in and ask "Why is the IBM keyboard $100 and the others $10-40?" So, I'd unplug an IBM from one of our computers, put it on the floor (tossing it tends to pop the overcaps on the keys), and then proceed to step on it, bounce up and down on it, etc... pick it back up and ask "If this was your cheap little $40 keyboard, would you want to plug it back in now and hope you didnt fry your keyboard controller or at the very least hope it still worked?" - then plug the beast back in and load the keyboard test and hit every key.

        A number of years later, at a different job, after doing something similar with coworkers, we decided to see just how indestructible they were... so, after (obviously) passing the stop on it test, we took it out back and parked an Isuzu Trooper on it... then hit the gas... they keyboard went flying across the asphalt about 30 feet... was scuffed on the bottom, and of course worked fine. By that time, we were getting kinda desparate in our attempts to destroy it under something that resembled normal use, and were standing in the front of the stoor - where we saw a city bus stop at the corner (our storefront was 2 doors down from the light)... we ran out, put the Model M right in front of the big back wheels, and waited... the bus slowly crawled up (like people tend to do while waiting for a light) which put the wheel right on top of the keyboard. Finally the light changed, the bus took off, we ran out, grabbed the keyboard, waved to the guy behind the bus who was watching us with a mixture of amusement and "I think they are crazy" look on his face, and plugged it in...

        So, having passed that test (yes, of course it still worked - it was only a city bus)... we decided to go upstairs and launch it off the roof (3 story drop). We threw it as far outward as possible adding to the distance travelled considerably. The keyboard must have went in total 150 feet between it's downward drop of 3 stories and the distance we launched it horizontally.

        The ancient Model M's casing cracked or split in a number of places, the keycaps flew everywhere, it looked horrendous - but STILL worked.

        We took a blowtorch (propane pipe welding torch like what a plumber uses) and took that to the outer casing... the weird stuff they use kinda smoldered on the outside, turning brown and black, but didnt burn through. Looked more like a bad scare from a surface burn on a human (like a cigarette burn).

        Finally, we "destroyed" it with a sledge hammer. Mostly though, the hammer just ended up crushing the round key holders that rise up from the inner plastic cover - and probably a few of the keyswitches.

        Neat thing is it was still easily fixable since we could have just replaced the inner and upper cover and a few keyswitches and been done (for far cheaper than a new Model M)... but we had a couple dozen at the time, so it didnt really matter and we just kept it as a conversation piece. Somewhere I have shards of the outer casing still...

        Years and years ago, I gave my mom one of them... (Model M) ancient one, metal IBM logo and all... she still uses it and refuses to give it up - begging, offering to buy it, whatever... doesnt work.

        And me, I have 2 Model M-13s, and slowly acquiring more... and will keep them till they die (if I dont die of old age first)... my M/M13 keyboards have outlasted every computer I have had - and will continue to do so.

    • I was just fine until I got my '99 IBM Thinkpad 600E. I had shooting pains up & down the one arm within a couple months. So I switched to the other hand for operating the trackpoint, and before long I had shooting pains up and down that arm too. So I switched back & forth. Then I spent a day working on my cs2 final project. By evening I had a burning sensation across my shoulders and up the neck, and I was miserable for the rest of my college career.

      Later I learned that it wasn't so much the trackp
  • by jnaujok (804613) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:06AM (#20072277) Homepage Journal
    ...try looking at HAPP controls http://www.happcontrols.com/trackballs/trackballs. htm [happcontrols.com].

    Admittedly, they make them for the video gaming world, but they are just USB (or PS2) trackballs. You can mount them directly into a table top. Nothing like a 3" trackball to work from.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by stewbidasso (768984)
      I have a happ 3" trackball in my MAME arcade which uses WinXP and Mame32 as it's front end, so the trackball gets plenty of use as a mouse in that machine. The only real problem with it is that it's not very handy to use it one handed (the precision and feel is great, they are super quality track balls, much heavier feeling than most so you can get "momentum" going on a roll). With the buttons mounted above it, you pretty much have to have one hand on the trackball and one hand on the buttons. It works g
  • Ive had a microsoft trackball explorer since 2000 or so. It has come with me to every desk job ive worked, and i wouldnt consider using a mouse unless forced. It saves desk space, is easier to manipulate, and has a very comfortable design.

    I cannot understand how it gets dirty so quickly. There are a couple metal bearings inside to keep the optical ball spinning freely, and they are constantly getting gummed up with skin flakes and whatever else constitutes desk dust. If not for that, it would be perfect
  • A quick Amazon search [amazon.com] shows quite a few models (15 or so at a quick glance), including what I am guessing is your Kensington [amazon.com]. So I don't think they are too terribly difficult to find.

    I have a few coworkers who use them - maybe 3 people out of around 80. Which isn't too bad I don't think. I know that for myself, I've just never used a trackball much outside of missile command. (And on a visit to a radar installation on a mountain once as a kid) That was a nice big trackball, but not real practic
  • Yes, I use a trackball, no I do custom, embedded linux os work.
    I use this one, I prefered to use my fingers instead of my thumb. $21
    http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=904360-040 3-DT&cat=MOU [geeks.com]

    I got it because my wrists hurt with a mouse, since I got this a few years back, my wrists don't hurt anymore.

    Don't know why they cost more, the parts are the same concept. Production scale I suppose.
  • You should give the thumb-balls a try. Once you get used to it there's no drop in precision, if anything there it is greater. And your thumb won't get tired, assuming you find a model that your hand will rest comfortably on. I went thumb-ball maybe six or seven years ago, looking for an alternative to a mouse for playing Team Fortress Classic. I'll never use anything else for my main machines again.
    • I tried one for a while and found that if you try to move, say, down and then left, with your thumb starting in the center of the ball, the "left" movement just rotates the trackball clockwise, and the cursor doesn't move left. A big, sensitive trackball doesn't have this problem because you can move pretty much as far as you want without moving your fingers far from the center.
  • I've been using the thumb-ball Logitech TrackMan since the first model, and on the modern optical-ball models, I have no lack of precision and no wrist or hand pain at all after almost 20 years of use. I love these things.

    It's not great for first-person shooters, and can't write my signature with it, but I can always get the mouse pointer to the pixel I want. YMMV ... but if you're a cellphone text messager your thumb could already be more dexterous than your fingers anyway :)

    I only wish I could get it in B
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kwalker (1383)
      I've also got a Logitech TrackMan, and maybe it's just me, but I'm better at FPS games with it than I am with a mouse, by far. I keep the ball-stand-offs clean and can whip around faster than anyone I play with who uses a mouse. Plus I hate playing "mouse hockey" when in the middle of a firefight like others have to. A flick of the thumb and I'm facing a different direction. But yeah, I can't write my name or anything with it, though it is great for precision work in The GIMP. It's also really nice bein
  • Have this at work and home; hand in a reasonable curve, only have to roll my thumb, no travel space needed for shifting a mouse around.
  • I swear by the Logitech Trackman Wheel, viewable here [logitech.com]. My wrist doesn't hurt like it did when I used a regular mouse.

    They have a cordless version [logitech.com], but it's USB-based. If they made a Bluetooth version, it would be perfect.

    • by balthan (130165)
      I've been using one for years. It took a little time for me to adjust to it, but now I greatly prefer it. I will never go back to a regular mouse or trackball if I can help it.
  • Marble Mouse USB from Logitech. The ball is about the size of a golf ball and operated with three fingers. Clicks are accomplished with thumb or little finger, but can also be hit in a wrist-roll left or right for an extended click. Has a scroll "button" pair.

    Been using this or the previous PS/2 version for probably 5-7 years or so now. Love 'em! Used to sometimes use the old Atari trackballs (the pool ball size giant clunky things) back in the mid 90s, but the gritting up was a problem.
  • I'm a trackball user, but not because of precision or anything. I'm using it because of the different movement that it offers. I'm doing 9+ hours behind a PC and my thinking is that this isn't really healthy. And besides that, I've learned myself to be able to use the mouse with my left hand. I think it helps, but nothing beats a little weight lifting in my case.
  • My preferred choice is a thumb-operated trackball. Your thumb does get tired initially, it's not used to being used that way. It's no worse than any change in pointing device, though, and in my case after a week I'd adapted and was more comfortable with the trackball than a mouse. I've never been comfortable with conventional trackballs with the ball under the fingers.

    I originally swore by the Logitech Trackman Wheel, but then Logitech changed the design to make it too narrow for my fingers to be comfortab

  • Wacom (Score:2, Interesting)

    by madjalapeno (1052094)
    I use pointers more than keyboard as part of my job being a CAD monkey.

    About 5 years ago I started getting RSI in my wrist, and purchased a Wacom tablet. I'm now on my third, a widescreen one to match the set-up I have with 2 widescreen LCD monitors, and would never go back to using a mouse most of the time.

    The ability to move the pad about to change the way you hold the pen is fantastic, and my wrist has been fine ever since. It takes a while to get used to the pad having an absolute relationship to the
  • Excercise (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stringer Bell (989985) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:10AM (#20072389)
    I'm a professional programmer, and spend about 50 hours a week typing, between work and home. I've found the best way to keep from having hand/wrist problems is to get regular exercise. I haul my ass to the gym 2-3 times a week like clockwork to lift weights and run. Since I've started, my hand problems have cleared up completely.

    I like trackballs too. It's a mystery to me as well why they're not more widely available.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by exhilaration (587191)
      I've found the best way to keep from having hand/wrist problems is to get regular exercise.

      Mod parent up! Curls, tricep extensions, and especially wrist curls completely eliminate my wrist and elbow pain. I'm sure everything else helps, but arm exercises undo the damage I do my joints each week.

  • I do use a trackball and do some work with designs on the gimp. I found that that I not been hindered all that much with the trackball. I use the Logitech Trackman[thumb ball version] and looking forward to getting another. My mouse looks really nasty after all the years of usage. Anyways, I have found that the inaccuracies that I once had with the Trackman were overcome with time and experience. The other trackballs did not help either as I felt they were awkward because of their size.
  • Trackballs, laser mice, and old style mice all have PIXEL PRECISION. If you can pick a pixel you want to click on, and you can click on it, you have as high precision as possible. And I have yet to find any mouse that doesn't allow me to do exactly that.

    Take your mouse, and see if you can move it 1 pixel to the left. Ok, now see if you can move it 1 pixel down. If you managed both, then congratulations you have a working mouse ^_^

    What one would want to consider is response time, how frequently random lag oc
    • Sure - maybe you can move it one pixel - but how much time and effort does it take to do so? It's not just a question of what the device is capable of, but how easy control is for the user. Some devices have a lot less leeway in that department - and are not as precise. Not from the computer's point of view but from the user's point of view.
      • by Sciros (986030)
        So far I've found it as easy as "generally getting adjusted" to the device. As far as mice are concerned, that is. Though I understand what you're saying, it's something I've only seen as an issue when using a stylus and a _small_ Wacom tablet.

        I do quite a bit of Photoshop work, and I've done more than my share of CAD stuff as well, using all sorts of mice and trackballs. I found it easy enough to get pixel precision with all of them.
  • by seebs (15766) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:12AM (#20072437) Homepage
    I use the Kensington Expert Mouse (4-button, spinny wheel for scrolling, big ball) for nearly everything at home. My travel device is a Logitech Trackman Marble; it has the bonus that the ball stays in it at odd angles and you can put it nearly anywhere. Either is unequviocally and totally superior to any mouse I've ever used.

    My Expert Mouse developed a minor nuisance, I forget what, and I asked Kensington about it. They sent me a new one as a replacement, free. Right there, we see the price difference between the Expert Mouse and cheap crap mice evaporate.

    I hate mice. I love trackballs.

    If you're doing a lot of graphics, you might also pick up a tablet.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cusco (717999)
      I learned typing and computer usage under DOS, so really don't like to take my hands off the keyboard. Mice just slow me down. I can get along with a touchpad, but my all-time favorite keyboard was a Keytronics with an integrated trackball in just the perfect place to be operated by either thumb. Had to leave it behind when I changed jobs, and have never seen them since.
      • by seebs (15766)
        I think they still make those, although I don't remember where I last saw one.

        Mice don't slow me down necessarily. They're much faster for some things, much slower for others. A good interface ought to allow both, but random access really is faster than indexed access. You can't make a good keyboard-friendly Bejeweled, or a mouse-friendly shell.
  • by Genevish (93570) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:13AM (#20072447) Homepage
    Although I would have to consider myself a "Mac fanboy", Microsoft does occasionally get something right. I'm very happy with the MS optical trackball ("Microsoft TrackBall Explorer Optical Mouse") I've been using for several years. The layout is very odd (you use your thumb to right and left click, on the left side of the mouse), but works fine once you're used to it. I used to use a Kensington trackball and liked it too. Can't really remember why I went with the MS one when I replaced it.
  • I use one of the Logitech Marble's ( http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/mice_pointers/t r ackballs/devices/156&cl=us,en [logitech.com] ).. unfortunately it was the largest trackball I could find for $100 at the time.. Initially I wasn't sure it would suit my needs (mostly just ergonomics), and it wasn't a 'thumb' only style..

    I never tried any real Graphics Art type stuff with it however... i've found it's easy enough to 'lock' the left-right movement of the ball by using the side of my middle finger on the side of the
  • It has a large ball, multiple buttons, and can be used for long periods of time comfortably. I have used mine for years and love it. I found one on amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-TrackMan-Marble-FX - Trackball/dp/B00000JBUI [amazon.com], although I can't imagine the prices they are asking for it - mine cost far less than $100 when I bought it. My wife and kids don't have a problem with it either - highly recommend.
  • I use them at work and home. The Trackball Explorer [amazon.com] is fantastic. And yes, playing games with it rocks like Gibraltar!

    I use it on my Powerbooks, and the FreeBSD server I run on the basement... I realize this is sacrelig, but the things kick ass.
  • At my last job, the boss allowed us to request a Logitech Marble Mouse instead of a regular soap-bar mouse. It took less than a minute to fall in love with the thing. Instead of cramped wrists shoving around a rectangular box, suddenly I was able to use my fingertips to use the CAD system. In a matter of days, all the problems I had suffered from due to years of CAD work disappeared.

    I bought some extras to outfit the home systems.

    Now that I've changed jobs, that marble mouse is still on my desk, working
  • I've been using the cheap $20 Logitech optical trackballs on my main machines for years. For graphic design, 3-D building, audio stuff, and pretty much anything that requires precision control for long stretches of time, there really is no possibility of me ever going back to a mouse.
  • i have gone through about 5 computers in that time, but i have consistently migrated the trackball. it just needs to have the accumulated lint picked out when response gets a little sluggish once every 3 months or so. i swear by the thing. superior to a mouse, superior to your regular big bowling ball trackballs, and superior to the other goofy flavors of trackball that puts the ball off center. on all measures of ergonomics: ease of use (smaller desk footprint), comfort and safety (very comfortable, more n
  • I have a mouse for the laptop and a Kensington trackball (the big one with four buttons and the scroll ring) for my desktop. I am a graphic designer, as well. I used to carry the trackball around in my laptop bag, but I find that the mouse is a lot easier to travel with.

    I'd have trackballs for all my computers if I could afford it -- I got the trackball when I was having wrist problems, and while those have cleared up even with more mouse use again, I still much prefer the trackball (though it's not so good
  • I'm more of a developer than graphic designer, but the reason I haven't gone to trackball is that I just don't like it. I find it to be uncomfortable and unnatural (for lack of a better word) when using it. Maybe it's just that I've been using mice for so damn long that I can't get used to anything else, but at the end of the day it's just not my thing.

    I don't think you could conclusively say that either one is "better" than the other; it's just a matter of personal preference. Some people like mice, some p
  • Wrist problems with using a mouse? What? Sounds to me like you need to make some sensitivity adjustments to your mouse to require move movement. If you can can jump from one side of the screen to the other with a flick of the wrist, you need to cut your sens by half at least. You should use arm to navigate the screen and the wrist should be used for precision and smaller movements.

    Another thing that makes using a mouse much more comfortable is to move where it rests. To the right of the keyboard is the w
  • I'm looking for a trackball ON a mouse. Sorta like he mighty mouse, but much bigger.
    Also, the thumb and pinky buttons should be wheels as well, at 45 degree angles probably.

  • They may look stupid and it takes a while to get used to them but they work... at least for me.
    Anir mouse [animax.no]
    3M equivalent [3m.com]
  • Was some off brand keyboard from the late 90's. Had a large trackball on the right side of the keyboard and the mouse buttons on the the lower left side of the keyboard. It was a very natural flow due mostly to the trackball and the buttons being split on different sides of the keyboard. But it died and I haven't been able to find a similar replacement since.

    But I do agree that trackballs are superior to mice, but I always end up using a mouse for some reason. Anything is better than a trackpad.
  • When I started working here I requested a trackball, and this [pcpartscollection.com] is the one they ordered for me. I wouldn't have chosen it myself, but I found it to work really well.

    Movement is controlled by the index and middle fingers, and the main buttons and wheel by the thumb. There are two more buttons for the ring and pinky fingers.

    About once or twice a month I have to pop the ball out and move some irritating piece of lint off the sensor or the bearings, but every trackball I've ever seen has the same issue.
  • I've been using the exact same Logitech Trackman Marble (not even a wheel) for almost 12 years now. The thing fits my hand absolutely perfectly, and I'll keep using it until I can't get a desktop with a PS/2 mouse port anymore, and can't get coverters to work. I love this discountinued model so much, I have replaced the left button switch three times and the right switch twice to keep it alive. (All mice seem to use the exact same microswitches... a soldering iron, soldapault, some RadioShack solder, and
  • Try one of these (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BigGar' (411008) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:26AM (#20072781) Homepage
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8 2E16826141001&Tpk=evoluent [newegg.com]
    I started using a vertical mouse and its helped a lot.
    I've had inflammation in my mouse arm for several years now.
    Since I've started using this mouse my symptoms have started to subside.
    I also take more breaks, do stretches, etc to help alleviate the symptoms.
    The vertical mouse helps by keeping the arm from being twisted when using the mouse.
    It does take some getting used to, but its worth the effort.

    Also look closely at your work environment from an ergonomic point of view. Most IT professionals I've met don't pay any attention to the ergonomics of their work station, at work or at home. I didn't for years and I've now had bilateral carpal tunnel releases, repeated tendinitis and other problems related to poor ergonomics and repetitive stress issues. I'm only 39.
  • The problem with (Procrustes') rack-balls [1], at least for me, is that you have to keep moving back and forth between the ball and the buttons. You either click or you move, but you can't drag and it seems like half the time the movement from ball to buttons causes the pointer to move again and you have to go back and do it over until you get it perfect.

    No thanks.

    [1] Yes, I use one. It's attached to the exercise machinery because there's no suitable surface for a mouse. It's also even harder to get

  • I my laptop at home, I have eschewed the mouse/trackpad option complete for the pen. I have suffered far less repetitive strain and the use of a pen is intuitive even to a child. I just wish my boss would let me replace my work PC monitor with a pen-input screen.
  • I use a Microsoft Trackball Optical on my Linux and OS X machines and absolutely love it. It was a little awkward for the first week or so, but now it's as seamless to me as a mouse ever was. No, my thumb doesn't get tired. Yes, my wrists feel better. They're apparently not everybody's cup of tea, but I absolutely love them.

    A huge drawback to the palm-operated trackball the submitter seemed to be wanting is that you're always moving your fingers away from the action buttons. For example, clicking a m

  • There is a huge variety of input devices, besides mice, trackballs, trackpoints, touchpads, tablets, pens, etc.. For some examples see this overview of DIY Custom Mouse Replacements - Selfmade Adaptive Pointer Devices and Foot Mice [repair4mouse.org].
  • sticking up from my keyboard.

    I am odd that way.

  • In my graphic design studio I use a mouse (cordless Logitech MX Laser 1000, best mouse I've ever used). I've been using a mouse since the eighties and have never had any pain or tiredness from using them. My partner uses a trackball (Kensington Expert Mouse PRO). Neither one of us can understand how the other uses our preferred device. All I know is that trying the paint with a trackball is way more difficult than with a mouse. If all you have to do is click points and move them from place to place, I can s
  • I used a Kensington Orbit trackball for years. I'm back to regular mice now. With the Orbit, you use your fingers for the ball, your thumb for left button, and pinkie for right button. I found that after a while, I developed symptoms of RSI in my hand, but different from that stemming from a regular mouse.

    Also, hand dirt and grime would build up on the ball and deposit itself on the roller mechanisms inside. I'd periodically have to pop the ball out and clean the insides. It's just an upside-down mechanical
  • 4 Years with a mouse, 6 years with a trackball (kensington) and I found that you cannot get the pricision with a trackball that you can with a mouse...but a tablet is even better.

    Trackballs are imprecise at small movements, mice at smooth arcs and tablets allow you to do any shape in any dimension that your hand could normally do on your workspace.
  • by di0s (582680)
    None of my mice have balls and I'm damn proud of it! /me uses wireless optical mice
  • I used a Kensington Turbo Mouse for years at work. They are built to last and are great trackballs. At some point I started using Microsoft Intellieye mice , not sure why/when I switched but that's what I've used for several years now.
  • At work and my wrists have thanked me ever since. It took a little while to get used to, because my hand wasn't used to using fingers (as apposed to the whole arm) to finely manipulate the cursor, but after a few weeks I like using better than a mouse. But don't get rid of the mouse! I left my mouse hooked up for those who want to use my terminal and aren't adept at using a trackball.
  • by GWBasic (900357) <slashdot@andrewr ... S.com minus city> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:22PM (#20073841) Homepage

    Once, when I first had wrist pain, I bought a giant Crayola trackball. It was 5-6" in diameter. Overall, it was very comfortable to use, but because it was designed for children, the buttons were on the top of the trackball instead of the bottom. Also, it required a serial port.

    I ended up hooking it up to my Fraternity's jukebox computer. The drunks loved it.

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