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Author Topic: Where have all the trackballs gone!  (Read 8497 times)
Josh
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« on: September 22, 2010, 07:51:33 PM »

This is a fairly straight forward question. I am a huge fan of trackballs as pointing devices and I am disappointed by the sheer lack of trackballs available. My wife has been converted after using my old Microsoft Trackball Explorer a while back. Now, I have a Logitech marble mouse which is OK, but it lacks the scroll wheel and the buttons are oddly placed causing some issues using the back/forward buttons.

That said, Logitech has a new trackball available for pre-order which has stuff in logical places. I, for one, cannot wait for this device!

Logitech Wireless Trackball M570

Thoughts?
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 10:02:05 PM »

I used to use a trackball, but now I use Contour Free... which fixed my shoulder pain within a week  Thmbsup and it means I get to use both hands for mouse operations  smiley
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 10:29:46 PM by Perry Mowbray » Logged

mouser
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 11:15:07 PM »

the new logitech trackball looks pretty nice.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2010, 01:21:37 AM »

I've been using a Trackman Wheel Optical for a number of years now and loving it. Unfortunately it's slowly been degrading in performance this year and about a month ago I finally got tired of it not clicking when I told it to and am now using a more standard mouse (sensor underneath).

I, too, have been disappointed in the lack of thumb trackballs. It just doesn't seem right to use my other fingers on a trackball.

That said, Logitech has a new trackball available for pre-order which has stuff in logical places. I, for one, cannot wait for this device!

Logitech Wireless Trackball M570

Thanks for bringing this to my attention! Sounds awesome! It will be so nice to finally be able to go wireless with a trackball with stuff in its logical place.

I don't think I'm going to pre-order though. I bet I could buy it new off Amazon when it comes out and get free shipping.
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IainB
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2010, 11:58:29 PM »

Wow! That Logitech Wireless Trackball M570 looks very nice.

The first time I saw a trackball it was of an embedded-in-the-desk variety, on the Warfare Command/Control Deck of the HMS Invincible, when I was given a personal tour of it in about 1984. The trackball moved the cross-hairs on a big Tektronix radar monitor. You clicked on any vessel blip within an approx 70 nautical mile radar range and after a few seconds the screen displayed all the likely details about that vessel (country of origin, charter contract, etc.) - after having searched Navy and commercial shipping (manifestoes) databases via onboard systems and via a satellite link. It gave a probability as to whether the vessel was friend or foe. If it was deemed "foe", then punching a big fat red button off to the right apparently invoked a strike of sufficient missiles to blow it out of the water. The button was apparently disabled when the command deck was not operational.

The only trackball I actually used was a thumb-ball one that clipped onto the side of my Toshiba laptop, in 1992. Since then I became a dab hand at using those nifty TrackPoint/AccuPoint levers placed in the middle of the keyboard, and I later settled for the touchpad as favourite - for its ergonomics and minimal RSI.
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thecrumb
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2010, 12:47:45 PM »

FYI - I broke my collarbone this spring and had to change my mousing habits - ended up buying a Kensington Expert Mouse - I had been avoiding this model because they had not updated their software in awhile but recently they've updated it and it now runs on Windows 7 and allows you to edit all the buttons.

The new Logitech does look nice smiley 

Jim


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f0dder
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2010, 01:43:38 PM »

I've been considering getting a trackball for a while, but there aren't a lot of options (at least not from standard shopping places, and I'm definitely not up for paying an insane amount for a premium device). A thing that has held me back for quite a while is that trackballs don't seem very suitable for gaming... but I don't game much these days, and it wouldn't be that bad digging out a standard mouse when I feel like gaming (especially not if the "Logitech Unifying technology" works and you don't have to plug in anything when adding a new device).

Avoiding carpal tunnel is much more of a concern now than whether the input device is good for gaming. A friend of mine got hit by this recently, and ended up buying a RollerMouse Pro 2. Seems like a pretty device (and insanely expensive!) nifty, although it takes a bit getting used to - different sensitivity than using a mouse, and you don't have your usual Mouse Muscle Memory. Bonus point for using optical sensors instead of being mechanical, probably also part of the reason why it's not exactly cheap.

The logitech M570 looks very nice, and is something I'll consider if they make a left-handed version, and ends up at a reasonable pricetag (the cheapest I can find it at here in .dk is ~USD100). A trackball still has the disadvantage that you have to move your hand between the trackball and the keyboard; might not be that bad wrt. CTS and strain in general, but it's still annoying. For the RollerMouse, the distance you have to move your hands is much shorter - I haven't used it enough to know whether you end up accidentally moving the mouse pointer around with your wrists, though smiley
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Josh
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2010, 02:00:20 PM »

I have been using the M570 for about a month now and I absolutely love it. It takes some getting used to for the left positioned thumb ball but it is a joy to use. I highly recommend it. I give it to deep fried baby cody wings up!
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J-Mac
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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2010, 12:30:30 AM »

Man o man, those Contour products look so nice! I have the Logitech Marble Mouse but I use it sparingly. Every time I get going with it the scrolling ends up throwing me back to my Logitech G9. I think that scrolling - or lack of it, actually - has always been my bane with track balls.

But I love the looks of the Contour Roller Mouse and the Kinesis Freestyle Keyboard made to fit it!

Thanks!

Jim
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2010, 03:36:15 AM »

Avoiding carpal tunnel is much more of a concern now than whether the input device is good for gaming. A friend of mine got hit by this recently, and ended up buying a RollerMouse Pro 2. Seems like a pretty device (and insanely expensive!) nifty, although it takes a bit getting used to - different sensitivity than using a mouse, and you don't have your usual Mouse Muscle Memory. Bonus point for using optical sensors instead of being mechanical, probably also part of the reason why it's not exactly cheap.

Yes, that's what I've got, though it wasn't for carpel tunnel problems; mine was shoulder extension: having the mouse too far away from directly in front of my shoulder.

I've got one at home and work bought me one for the office as well (in fact, two other people at work now have them too).

Man o man, those Contour products look so nice! I have the Logitech Marble Mouse but I use it sparingly. Every time I get going with it the scrolling ends up throwing me back to my Logitech G9. I think that scrolling - or lack of it, actually - has always been my bane with track balls.

But I love the looks of the Contour Roller Mouse and the Kinesis Freestyle Keyboard made to fit it!

That's been my exact set up for over 18 months now: it's saved my shoulder  Thmbsup

For the RollerMouse, the distance you have to move your hands is much shorter - I haven't used it enough to know whether you end up accidentally moving the mouse pointer around with your wrists, though smiley

In fact I keep my fingers on the keyboard and move the mouse with my thumbs (for simple things). You can click with the roller bit too, so simple button clicks are possible too. More complex mouse operations need a little more control than I have in my thumbs so I can use either hand...

It does need a little getting used to, but I don't accidentally move the mouse any more. Getting the relative heights right is important though: the contour comes with "lifters" to help align the height with the keyboard.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 04:39:16 AM by Perry Mowbray » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2010, 05:41:54 AM »

I have been using a Microsoft trackball for 3-4 years. The concept is very good as I don't have much desk space to move the mouse around.

However, the major drawback is mechanical. The ball touches the mouse body in 3 points. The dust tends to stack around these points. So I have to clean the mouse around these points every other day. The drawback is that when dust gathers, the resistance increases and the mouse pointer moves very slowly.

I would say life span for mouses based on this technology is 3-4 years.
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mouser
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« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2010, 07:58:34 AM »

Quote
Every time I get going with it the scrolling ends up throwing me back to my Logitech G9. I think that scrolling - or lack of it, actually - has always been my bane with track balls.
has anyone ever made a two-trackball mouse?  one ball to control cursor, and another to control scrolling/panning?  seems like it might work pretty well, with one big ball and then a smaller ball right next to it, or mounted on the side for the thumb to use.  maybe something for an enterprising homebrewer?  surely someone has tried it..
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Josh
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« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2010, 09:08:22 AM »

Quote
Every time I get going with it the scrolling ends up throwing me back to my Logitech G9. I think that scrolling - or lack of it, actually - has always been my bane with track balls.
has anyone ever made a two-trackball mouse?  one ball to control cursor, and another to control scrolling/panning?  seems like it might work pretty well, with one big ball and then a smaller ball right next to it, or mounted on the side for the thumb to use.  maybe something for an enterprising homebrewer?  surely someone has tried it..

We can call it Scroll Click and Pan Robot! SCPR
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J-Mac
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« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2010, 11:23:33 AM »

Perry,

With the Kinesis Freestyle keyboard, how do you handle not having a number pad? Or do you have an add-on number pad? If you do have an add-on, which on works well with the Freestyle?  (Damn - now I'm actually looking, pricing, checking my savings, etc....)

Thank you.

Jim
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J-Mac
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« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2010, 12:42:10 PM »

That said, Logitech has a new trackball available for pre-order which has stuff in logical places. I, for one, cannot wait for this device!

Logitech Wireless Trackball M570

Thoughts?

Pros

* Looks nice and practical

* Long battery life


Cons

* too big to easily carry in a laptop bag

* requires a proprietary USB dongle, you cannot use your bluetooth connection, so this kind of kills on the purposes of a wireless mouse which is to free-up a USB port.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2010, 12:59:14 PM »

* requires a proprietary USB dongle, you cannot use your bluetooth connection, so this kind of kills on the purposes of a wireless mouse which is to free-up a USB port.

I thought the purpose of a wireless mouse was to get rid of the wires. But I read somewhere that they're making a bluetooth version of this mouse. I'm not sure if that's true or not, though.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2010, 09:06:45 PM »

I've used two of Logitech's Bluetooth meeces in the past and had lag difficulties with both. Connection is momentarily interrupted and the mouse stops for a split second or so. IIRC it was a pretty widespread problem and they stopped marketing BT mice altogether for a short time. Hopefully they’ve fixed it by now.

Thanks!

Jim
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« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2010, 11:34:23 AM »

Perry,

With the Kinesis Freestyle keyboard, how do you handle not having a number pad? Or do you have an add-on number pad? If you do have an add-on, which on works well with the Freestyle?  (Damn - now I'm actually looking, pricing, checking my savings, etc....)

Thank you.

Jim

Jim, I have the Kinesis Freestyle and the numeric keypad accessory, and they work perfectly together. One does have to press the Num Lock key on at the beginning of a session on the keypad, but otherwise, it's great.

In regard to the general discussion, the Logitech Marble Mouse has been my favorite for decades. I don't care about the lack of a scrolling function because the ergonomics are just great.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2010, 01:34:36 PM »

Hank, are you using the Freestyle KB with a Marble Mouse? I had only considered using that with the Contour Roller Mouse.

Jim
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J-Mac
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« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2010, 10:58:49 PM »

I've been using the Microsoft Trackball Optical for years and love it (despite having to clean my hand sweat/dirt off of the 3 support rollers regularly). I've added some strips of Velcro to hold a piece of microfiber cloth to help absorb my palm sweat, which helps a bit.

I went to buy another but had to settle for the Logitech Trackball unit that looks similar, but discovered that it doesn't have the same [solid] 'feel' as the MS Trackball. I always loved the feel of those big trackballs that the arcade games (like Asteroids) used, and I've seen them occasionally on TV (science/computer-type topics) but never knew where to buy them.

After reading through this thread and checking out the Contour/RollerMouse and the Kinesis sites I plugged in the Kinesis URL into "Similar Sites" and discovered the Fentek Industries site.
There I found a large selection of 'ergo' keyboards & mice, including what looks like the big (flat) trackball unit I've been looking for and a bunch of others.

Also, for those looking for left-handed units, there are many flat ambidextrous roller/trackball choices.

A lot of this 'ergo' and assistive-tech stuff is expensive, but some aren't too bad. Even a guy living on SS Disability might be able to find money in his budget at some point!
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Deozaan
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« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2010, 12:00:02 AM »

If you intend to buy, be sure to check Amazon for this mouse. Currently it's listed for $10 cheaper and free shipping (in the USA, at least):

http://www.amazon.com/Log...-910-001799/dp/B0043T7FXE
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« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2010, 12:32:36 AM »

We can call it Scroll Click and Pan Robot! SCPR
So would that get renamed (or nicknamed) SCiPeR and start sailing ships or something  tongue
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Deozaan
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« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2011, 05:11:35 PM »

That said, Logitech has a new trackball available for pre-order which has stuff in logical places. I, for one, cannot wait for this device!

Logitech Wireless Trackball M570

Thanks for bringing this to my attention! Sounds awesome! It will be so nice to finally be able to go wireless with a trackball with stuff in its logical place.

I don't think I'm going to pre-order though. I bet I could buy it new off Amazon when it comes out and get free shipping.

I just ordered it from NewEgg. Like Amazon, they list it as $10 cheaper than MSRP and have free shipping, plus they have a promo code (EMCKHJK44) that takes off a few bucks, plus I had a $30 gift card from a previous mail-in-rebate. So I got that $60 mouse for $17! Thmbsup
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Josh
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« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2011, 05:20:50 PM »

I swear by this trackball. It is a god send. There are so many nice things about it that I get excited just thinking about using it!
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Deozaan
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« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2011, 05:26:43 PM »

There are so many nice things about it that I get excited just thinking about using it!


I guess I am also exciting just thinking about using it, since I don't have it yet I am eagerly anticipating its arrival. tongue
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