Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 09, 2016, 11:10:51 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?  (Read 7774 times)

cranioscopical

  • Friend of the Site
  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,368
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« on: November 28, 2006, 07:47:18 PM »
Has anybody else noticed the recent absence of trackballs from just about every computer-peripheral store?

I have used a Logitech TrackMan Marble Wheel for years, the ball on mine is thumb driven.
Being right handed I keep the thing between the right edge of my keyboard and my graphics tablet. I'm used to it, and can cover a lot of real estate without requiring constant hand movements. That way I can work comfortably with both it and the tablet without having to keep moving stuff around.

Lately one of my units has been sticking, so I decided to pick up another. None are to be found in the stores (in Toronto, Canada). Precious few are to be found on the web, most of them refurbished (of which I've ordered several). New product seems to have vanished.

Anyone who uses a mouse would probably experience horror and dismay if asked to use a trackball (my wife does!) but that's just how I feel about using a mouse.

Since the writing appears to be on the wall, I'd be glad to hear recommendations for a mouse--that people have actually used--to scoot the cursor fast around a 3200x1600 desktop and yet still allow excellent precision (not at CAD level but certainly good enough for working with tiny increments in stuff like Illustrator and InDesign). I'm looking for something that keeps hand movement to an absolute minimum.

I thank you in advance for any help you might offer.



f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2006, 03:06:53 AM »
They're becoming scarce in Denmark as well :(

Never really got used to them myself, but since I don't play games very often anymore, I've been considering trying out trackballs, to avoid wrist injury... only to find out they're all but gone.
- carpe noctem

Carol Haynes

  • Waffles for England (patent pending)
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,986
    • View Profile
    • Dales Computer Services
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2006, 07:31:43 AM »
Seem to be alive and well on the UK Logitech shop ...

http://www.logitech....id=2141,categoryid=6

cranioscopical

  • Friend of the Site
  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,368
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2006, 12:18:27 PM »
Quote
Seem to be alive and well on the UK Logitech shop ...
Oh my! Actually, I post here only to prove to the community that my brain has turned to mush.
Thank you very much, Carol, that led me to Logitech Canada who claim to have some.

It's still true that they're not in stores and several big-box stores (when asked) call them obsolete and expect to stock no more.
I guess the thing to do is to estimate my lifetime consumption of these things and buy that many now.

I'm still interested to learn about what mice others are using with multi-monitor displays.

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,724
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2006, 01:06:10 PM »
I got a trackball years ago for precision in graphics editing. Back when optical mice were still fairly new. I was tired of the ball sticking, ruining my line drawings. So I got the trackball (optical!) and loved everything about it except that because it still uses a ball, it will still get gunky and stick or slow the movement down.

Sadly it was eventually stolen and when I tried to replace it I bought one from Logitech's website (three years ago) but the ball doesn't seem to move across the screen very fast. In windows I can change the speed, but in games it seems to revert back to the same old slow speed which means I have to move my thumb a lot to get the cursor across the screen (1280x1024). Eventually I bought Logitech's MX1000 Wireless Laser mouse, which is great, except that I have to move my hand again, and since my desk space is very limited right now, I'm actually using my trackball anyway.

I love trackballs--the only thing I don't like is that the ball's track can get dirty.

Logitech's Canada site lists some trackballs: http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/productlist/CA/EN,crid=2141,categoryid=6


Josh

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Points: -5
  • Posts: 3,397
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2006, 01:16:37 PM »
What I want is a trackball with the side scroll option, back/forward buttons and a SMOOTH scroll wheel (You know, instead of feeling like a "click" when scrolling on it). But, it seems, no one wants a trackball. I find the mouse awkward for gaming and the trackball makes it so much easier. I love my trackball explorer from MS, but I am on my second one and dont feel like buying a new one because, knowing my luck, someone WILL release a new one with the features I want RIGHT AFTER I buy it. BRING BACK MORE TRACKBALLS!!!!

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,431
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2006, 01:26:50 PM »
josh - that's an interesting idea..
are there any double-ball trackballs?  one for cursor and one for scrolling? now that would be interesting!

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,431
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2006, 01:30:37 PM »
someone else had my idea of a dual trackball as well:
http://www.squub.com.../of-balls-and-wrists

Quote
While researching these things I've decided what would REALLY be cool is a trackball with two balls; one under the fingers, and another under the thumb. One would function like a scroll wheel (except scrolling up/down and side to side,) and the other as a traditional cursor controller. Then a slew of easily accessible programmable buttons. Somebody get on that.

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,724
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2006, 01:32:15 PM »
What I want is a trackball with the side scroll option, back/forward buttons and a SMOOTH scroll wheel (You know, instead of feeling like a "click" when scrolling on it).

I need to feel the wheel clicks. Scroll wheels without them just feel weird to me. They do have smooth scroll wheels out there, but I don't know if they are on a trackball.

are there any double-ball trackballs?  one for cursor and one for scrolling? now that would be interesting!

Double trackball would be cool for 3D stuff. One ball for the cursor and one ball to move the camera or an object in 3D around on its base axis.


Edvard

  • Coding Snacks Author
  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,888
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2006, 01:34:10 PM »
Dude, I think this one's got you covered. That scroll ring looks nifty: http://www.cardcam.com/html/2200.html

Or check out one of these: http://www.infogrip....&option=pointing

Nope, scratch all those, get one of these: http://www.x-arcade.com/trackball.shtml  8)
TRACKBALL.gif
« Last Edit: February 19, 2007, 12:55:36 PM by Edvard »

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,431
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2006, 01:34:31 PM »
i actually agree with deozaan about the "clicks" on a scroll wheel - i prefer feeling them too.

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,724
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2006, 01:37:26 PM »
Oh, and trackballs have to be controlled by the thumb for me. The ones under different fingers are also just awkward to me.


nudone

  • Cody's Creator
  • Columnist
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 4,117
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2006, 01:54:24 PM »
this multi track ball talk has reminded me of what i made when i first started playing first-person shooters on the pc.

at that time i really couldn't understand how anyone could use a mouse to play a game like 'quake' so i looked for an alternative controller.

i had a joystick (nothing fancy) and a 'mini' trackball - a thumb ball that you hold in your hand. so, i glued the thumb ball to the side of the joystick handle. this allowed me to make quick large movements using the joystick and very fine movements using the ball that rested under my thumb.

i played quake the whole way through a couple of times using this hybrid device and thought it was great - i thought i was so damn smart for doing it.

i then bought half-life (1) and made the effort to use the mouse to play it - which then made me realise that i was a complete idiot and that the mouse was about a million times better than the stupid joystick/thumbball monster i had constructed.

i've seen experimental controller devices where there are two separate trackballs - one for each hand - that were then rigged up to a user interface that exploited this dual hand method of moving objects around on screen. obviously, it hasn't caught on.

i still find the mouse to be the best option at the moment. a dual track ball (under one hand) would be tempting to use but i can't help but think we haven't yet reached the 'best' controller device. maybe a pen makes more sense.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2006, 01:57:23 PM by nudone »

tomos

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 10,341
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2006, 02:28:15 PM »
Quote
Dude, I think this one's got you covered. That scroll ring looks nifty: http://www.cardcam.com/html/2200.html
K64325-4260.jpgDemise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
looks like it could be used by a left hander as well, (looks symmertical I mean) but doesnt say.

Any left hander tips ?
anyone tried this: "Vertical Mouse" for left handers
(@ $30 more than the right hand version :huh: )
Tom
« Last Edit: November 29, 2006, 02:31:51 PM by tomos »

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,431
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2006, 02:40:21 PM »
Nice long review of Expert Mouse:
http://www.atpm.com/...5/expert-mouse.shtml

Quote
Let’s get one thing out of the way: the Expert Mouse is the epitome of all things trackball. It’s the latest offspring of the original trackball mouse. If you’re a trackball-hater, approach this review with an open mind. Don’t hate the player. Hate the game—and Kensington’s game is not to be hated lightly.



And it gets good amazon.com customer reviews:
http://www.amazon.co...ckball/dp/B00009KH63

Carol Haynes

  • Waffles for England (patent pending)
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,986
    • View Profile
    • Dales Computer Services
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2006, 06:57:16 PM »
Actually there are quite a few devices on Amazon - try searching for Trackman instead of trackball.

cranioscopical

  • Friend of the Site
  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,368
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2006, 08:47:54 PM »
Quote
quite a few devices on Amazon - try searching for Trackman

Thanks, I appreciate the help!  I've ordered some from eBay.
Most of those available are refurbished and/or discounted (and Logitech's own supplies appear to be limited to some extent) which still implies to me that it's going to be increasingly difficult to find them before too long.

The Kensington item looks promising but doesn't appear to have drivers for Windows platforms.

Edvard

  • Coding Snacks Author
  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,888
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member

cranioscopical

  • Friend of the Site
  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,368
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2006, 10:17:02 PM »
Everybody is very helpful here!  Thanks to you all.  I shall pursue Kensington with a Windows XP driver.

Josh

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Points: -5
  • Posts: 3,397
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2007, 09:21:06 AM »
Has anyone come across any new trackballs? I am still looking for a replacement for my trackball explorer which has seen better days.

cranioscopical

  • Friend of the Site
  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,368
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2007, 11:05:20 AM »
Has anyone come across any new trackballs? I am still looking for a replacement for my trackball explorer which has seen better days.
Nothing so far, for me. I followed up some suggestions from here but none was exactly what I wanted. I ended up buying a bunch of reconditioned units that'll probably see me out. Do post something here if you have any better luck.

iphigenie

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,169
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2007, 11:59:59 AM »
With the problems of RSI there is an incredible variety of devices out there, but all priced thinking that business and/or government will pay for them. I'm in the UK at the moment so I only bookmarked local ones but look at the list on that site http://www.keyboardco.com/

anyone ever tried any of the finger/hand mouse devices? Look like they could work without forcing you away from the keyboard as much.

I'm very curious about those http://www.keyboardc...ails.asp?PRODUCT=270 for example or http://usb.brando.co...il.php?prod_id=00187

(and i do have the old logitech mouseman that used the index finger, love that thing! Bought 2 to have a spare)


AbteriX

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,115
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Demise of the trackball? What's the alternative?
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2007, 02:19:58 PM »
Thank you for this links, iphigenie!
Funny enough i am on the hunt for an trackball-mouse too,
i never know that there are such things like you show us.
(Funny, but i don't thing that they are nifty, they looks like they would disturbs me)

I was in the last days in two big computer stores in GER and i saw a lot of mouses in all colors, but only one Trackball between them.
I think i go buy one at eBay.

I have had an trackball with my AMIGA and later i bought one for my PC, but this is broken now.
Then i used a simple mouse with scroll wheel (which i miss on all PCs i came along and they didn't have this wheel)
but i miss this simpleness to let the ball roll -- just with a quickly stroke of my finger -- and the cursor move across over the  screen. :Thmbsup: