Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Of Mice and Track Balls

We were shopping in town yesterday, and went to our local Staples store to buy a trackball. We couldn't find any, they only had wireless mouses (or is it mice? Whatever). We asked a salesman, and he said Staples no longer carries any track balls.

I was shocked. Furthermore, he said that nobody in town carried them any more; if we wanted to buy one, we would have to search on-line.

Since when did these wonderful devices become so unfashionable? When I used my first track ball years ago, I was converted and never looked back. For some reason, all my desktops have never had sufficient space to use a mouse properly. The track ball solved that problem, and seemed so much easier and efficient.

I eventually found my preferred track ball (shown above) on, and ordered a couple. One of the User Reviews describes it thus:
The Logitech Marble Mouse Trackball is possibly THE most intelligently designed pointing device for PCs and Macintosh personal computers. First of all, in spite of its name, it's a trackball, the superior successor to the computer mouse. Unlike a mouse, it sits in one place and your fingers guide the pointer. You click on menu selections, icons and such with your thumb. It takes mere minutes to get used to this method of moving around the screen but after you do, using a mouse will seem cumbersome and quaint (which it is).

Beneath that black-dotted burgundy ball lies the secret of the Marble Mouse's responsiveness, longevity and reliability. An infrared emitter and optical pickup track the movement of the ball, not mechanical rollers which quickly become gunked up with skin oils and dust. You'd have to let a really thick layer of crud accumulate on the ball before you'll see an impact on the Marble Mouse's performance. Small enough to tuck into your notebook, laptop or PowerBook's carrying case, the Marble Mouse is pure computing bliss compared to jittery trackpads, wobbly finger sticks and erratic rollerballs. [...]

Once in a great while I've had to pop the ball out and clean it, and the groove it sits in, but that only takes a moment. For some reason the Amazon website has a wrong description of the device, describing it as using two AA batteries, but it doesn't, I have the one in the picture. No batteries.

This particular track ball is is manipulated with your fingers, not the palm of your hand or your thumb. It's a lot like using a mouse, only you don't have to move it around. The design has the best of both worlds, I don't understand why it hasn't caught on in a big way.

Meanwhile, I don't understand the wireless mouse craze. You still have to move the friggin thing around. They need batteries. Was the wire really such a problem for most people? After all, it just stays on the desk. Sheesh.

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At Thu Feb 05, 12:25:00 PM 2009, Blogger Walker said...

I'm with you. I Love trackballs. So much saner.


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