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Old 27th July 2008
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Default are trackballs any good?

i am thinking of buying a trackball. but i have never used one.
does anyone here use a trackball?
do you find it more ergonomic than a regular mouse?
thumb operated trackball or some other type?
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Old 27th July 2008
davidgurvich davidgurvich is offline
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I have a logitech trackman that works well. I prefer the trackball for use in tight spaces and do not like the thumb manipulated trackball. Easily adjustable for either left- or right-handed people.
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Old 27th July 2008
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trackballs are probably not a good thing if your used to doing a lot of mouse-intensive work (e.g. gimp/photoshop) and have never used a trackball before, you'll go crackers until you get used to it. For general computing work they are more then adequate and simple to use. Just buy one and try it, see if you like it more then a regular mouse.


I've used a trackball on several occasions and have never found it to be exceptionally comfortable.... The only great thing I can say about it; is if you have no where to mouse over to or need to cover a lot of screen realestate without the desk space to match, a trackball is quite nice.



Personally I prefer touch pads, like those found on laptops.
While it is slightly off topic, you might be interested in parts of this as they relate to usability and pointers, including trackballs.
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Old 27th July 2008
OldCoot OldCoot is offline
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I've used a Logitech Trackman for years and prefer it to a regular mouse. I guess you could call it economy of motion. Why use your whole arm when just a thumb will do? For a "leftie" it wouldn't work because the ball is on the wrong side, but those with the center ball should do. If you are one of those people who like a lot of buttons, maybe not so good. As a reference, TerryP's comment about liking a touchpad, I personally hate a touchpad. Maybe I am a little too heavy handed, but I was never able to make friends with a touchpad but tolerate them on a laptop.

Last edited by OldCoot; 27th July 2008 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 27th July 2008
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hi old coot, good to hear from you after a long time.

thanks everyone for the input.

i guess the only way to be sure is to try it out.

one more question: on the models that don't have a scroll wheel like some of the the non-thumb manipulated designs, is scrolling done manually or is there some other way.
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Old 27th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ephemera View Post
i guess the only way to be sure is to try it out.
That really is the right answer.

This is an area where people have strong preferences, and their history has a lot to do with it. Personally I don't like either trackballs or touch pads; my wife *loves* touch pads. I'm OK with a mouse, but the best input device I used was a graphics input tablet. I liked the adjustable resolution, and that the motion was not relative, like it is with a mouse. That is, you can't pick up the puck and put it somewhere else without the cursor moving. The tablet center is your screen center, no ifs, ands or buts.

Other than that, I'd suggest you go to a bricks and mortar store and try a few for comfort and features. You might be surprised at the shear number of them with different form factors (if the store is any good).
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Old 27th July 2008
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I had a request some time ago about trackballs.
Unfortunately this was in a cement factory with lotsa grind everywhere.
Frankly, If you want to get rid of a mouse, use either a tablet or an interactive monitor. (If you need a tablet, if an interactive monitor isn't sensitive enough).
I found trackballs more sentive to dust than cheopo mice which cost a couple of bucks to replace (not worth the time needed to clean them .
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Old 28th July 2008
davidgurvich davidgurvich is offline
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The trackman that I use is left-right symmetric and comes with 2 big + 2 small buttons. I usually set one of the small buttons as the wheel emulation button in xorg.conf, and can then scroll vertically or horizontally. Annoys me way too much that I can't do that in OSX and have to settle for pageup/pagedown for the 2 small buttons. I also usually set the other small button as physical middle button.

I used to need xmodmap with older versions of xorg and xfree86 but basic settings only need xorg.conf now. Xmodmap is only needed for very specific actions or scripts now(ie. volume control).
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Old 28th July 2008
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One of my fav gadgets is trackball and Im unsure why trackball is not popular. It saves space, your wrist would say "thank you" if you regularly use computer for a long period of time, and it looks really cool

However, there are some downside. Its not good for playing game, you would swear the trackball to be got pwned . The size of trackball is generally bigger than the normal mouse. It does collect dust, not as much as mouse though, but you do need to clean it occasionally
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Old 31st July 2008
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i bought a logitech optical marble mouse.
its an ambidextrous mouse. optical trackball + 4 buttons.

the one thing i miss the most is a scroll wheel. in windows i have set the 2 small buttons for scrolling (cruise up/down) which is an ok substitute for a scroll wheel.

how can i set the 2 buttons (button 8 and 9 in xorg) to do any sort of scrolling in xorg?
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Old 31st July 2008
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You can probably use the *AxisMapping options in your xorg.conf files input device section(s) to define it.

If your using the generic mouse driver from xorg, this might be a good starting point.
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Old 31st July 2008
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TerryP, i got it working, thanks for the link!
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