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Input Devices

Mouse or Trackball? 627

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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  • both! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xhrit ( 915936 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:05PM (#20072251) Journal
    I have both plugged in to my pc - one trackball and one mouse. I prefer the trackball, but like to switch to reduce strain.
  • Re:Trackpoint? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chanc_Gorkon ( 94133 ) <{gorkon} {at} {}> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:10PM (#20072399)
    I like my little mousy nipple! :D The Trackpoint is awesome.
  • Re:Trackball (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kagura ( 843695 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:14PM (#20072467)
    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.
  • Trackman Marble+ (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:14PM (#20072471)

    I have an old Logitech Trackman Marble+, and I couldn't live without it. The best trackball bar none Logitech ever made as far as ergonomics go - it's really wide, perfect for my hand to rest naturally upon (unlike the newer trackmans, which have the same much higher shape as the long since discontinued mousemans), and then my thumb needs to make only minimal movements.
    It sucks in that it doesn't have a USB connection, and I need to clean the contacts the ball rests upon almost weekly, but these are things I'll happily accept.

    Don't understand why trackballs are as margenalized as they are, but I guess people just became too conservative with input devices before they ever managed to take off.

  • Re:Trackball (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Silver Sloth ( 770927 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:33PM (#20072897)
    Probably not, but thoughtful husbands buy their wives trackballs as well as flowers
  • Re:Also Trackball (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Constantine XVI ( 880691 ) <`trash.eighty+slashdot' `at' `'> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:44PM (#20073133)
    Then why, may I ask, are there so many Bluetooth mice? It's not like mice, trackballs, touchpads, and trackpoints speak a fundementally different language.
  • by spineboy ( 22918 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @01:17PM (#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.
  • by Cyrano de Maniac ( 60961 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @01:27PM (#20073949)
    Simply wrong.

    Take a look at the (out of production) Microsoft Trackball Explorer. The trackball movement is sensed optically, just like an optical mouse. Other than dimension and shape of the device, it's pretty much exactly the same set of components as an optical mouse (but with three bearings instead of a few Teflon glide strips).
  • by __aadxzo5882 ( 756750 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @02:07PM (#20074719)
    Exact opposite here. I have arthritis in my base finger joints and shoulder, and with the track ball, I only have to rotate my wrist slightly, side-to-side to use the buttons. For moving the trackball itself, just a small amount of movement from the shoulder is necessary while I keep the elbow at a 90-degree angle. Whatever works best, eh?
  • Re:Also Trackball (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UncleTogie ( 1004853 ) * on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @02:09PM (#20074743) Homepage Journal

    Bluetooth wasn't meant for real-time communications...

    Call me crazy, but don't many cell phones allow for Bluetooth headsets? T'would seem to be real-time enough...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @02:58PM (#20075561)
    I was raised on Logitec Trackman track balls and loved them until a few years ago. They started making them too small and they feel like they are made of the same plastic as the candy filled Howard the Duck bust that TOPPS used to make, so even though I avoid using MS software whenever I can I use a five button (4 normal buttons and a wheel) optical track ball with Microsoft's name on it. I also use a keyboard made by them because it seems that all the other good ergonomic keyboard designs have disappeared for some reason.
    It really does bother me because in both cases I had been using keyboards and trackballs that I was happy with but the designs either weren't continued or were taken in a direction I didn't like.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis