General discussion



By GuruOfDos ·
Balls! The bane of my life! I'm talking about balls of the rodent variety and mice generally. I get more calls for help with sticky or unresponsive rats than any other piece of hardware. I often have to replace worn out microswitches and strained cables, but cleaning detritus and fluff from mouse rollers is an everyday occurence and to be honest, a pain in the rump. Optical mice offer a limited solution, in that they have no balls to pick up dust, sandwich crumbs and cigarette ash, but they have problems in certain lighting conditions and you still end up with wrist ache when using them for precision work.

I acquired a Chic Trackball a few weeks back and it has changed my life. No more wrist strain, four buttons AND a scroll wheel and the most accurate and precise control of the pointer I have ever encountered. I work in graphics resolutions of upto 4096x3072 on 72 inch display systems (doesn't everyone?!!) and no mouse comes even close to a trackball for speed and precision at those sort of resolutions. Not only that, but it is so much easier to keep clean and takes up very little desk space.

Input devices are largely a matter of personal preference, but has anyone else found that after using a trackball, using a mouse is like going back to using a 9600bps modem after having broadband? Or have you tried a trackball and just couldn't get to grips (pardon the pun)with it?

As an experiment, I gave all the troops at work a 'go' on my R&amp machine to see if they liked the trackball, and only 1 guy out of 19 didn't put in a request for one!

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

I love my track-balls

by TheChas In reply to Balls!

Hi Guru,

I have trackballs on all of our home PCs.

I used to have one at work too.
It was great, no-one wanted to use my PC at ALL.

I started out with a couple of no-name units.

I really like my Logitech Trackman Vista.
However, unlessyou wash your hands to obsession, the rollers that the ball sits on have the same problem as the mice rollers.

We recently installed a Microsoft Optical.
While it does not suffer from the roller problem, and has a wheel, it is nowhere near as precise as my old Trackman.

Logitech has a new wireless trackball that looks like it may be ideal (if they made a wired version) for me.

I believe that LabTech used to have a very involved track ball style pointing device specifically designed for CADD work.

I had a file about it, but can't find it just this moment.


Collapse -


by TheChas In reply to I love my track-balls

I found it.

The product is the Spaceball 4000 made by Labtec for themselves, and for IBM 3D work stations.

It retails for around $400.
(Which is why I don't have one!)


Collapse -

Logitech, Some Pricing!!

by vegatecgroup In reply to SpaceBall

I just bought a new HP workstation for my business use. The two Spaceball units Logitech is marketing are nearly 1/4 the cost of my new workstation! A $499 mouse, no matter how you slice it and dice it is still just a mouse! Thirty years ago when 640KB of memory cost $10K, a mouse unit this expensive may have actually sold, but not in todays commodity computer era. Dell computer and Gateway have seen to that.

Collapse -

Bought by Logitech

by TheChas In reply to I love my track-balls

Searching, I found that Logitech bought the Spaceball technology from Labtec, and created a new company.

At $500, I won't be trying one soon.


Collapse -


by GuruOfDos In reply to Bought by Logitech

The Chic one was only ?24.99, or around US$38!!

The cleaning issue is still there, but the 'ball hole' is bigger and hence it is much easier to clean the rollers.

I believe Logitech made one called the Trackman Marble, with a huge ball that just sits on the base. It's optical and so cleaning just means a wipe over every now and then with a clean tissue!

Chas, as always...informed input!

Collapse -

Trackman Marble

by JackOfAllTech In reply to Ouch!

I have a Trackman Marble on all the PCs in my house and I absolutely love it! The ball is about an Inch and a Quarter in diameter which provides exceptional control. The body is mostly elliptical in shape with a button on each angled side providing extreme comfort. Given the choice, I would never use a normal mouse again.


Collapse -

Heh try

by zlitocook In reply to Balls!

Teaching a group of nurses who just got mouse clicking down! I love the track ball but if the people who use it have protective gloves or OR ware on it is not easy to use. And when they are off duty they have food in their hands, which gets into thetrack ball. I need a point and click or a self cleaning touch screen computer:)

Collapse -

You Gotta have balls!

by road-dog In reply to Balls!

When I take the laptop to a customer site, I feel like my arm has been posessed by the demons of uncoordination.

As far as cleaning, the trackball is a snap after cleaning the belly button lint out of mousewheels all this time.

If you have more than one PC on the desktop, the trackball is indespensible for space management as well.

Collapse -

For a moment I thought ....

by jardinier In reply to Balls!

that you were going to question my testosterone levels.
But now that I've got your attention (by the balls) there's a little something that I would like to discuss with you. In the biography section of your Peer Profile, you mention that you are getting 486s to perform like Pentium IVs.
Well I have this little quirk that, while I own newer and much faster computers, my preferred workhorse is a 486 DX 100 with 48 MB RAM. And why? Well the box cost me $AU 20; I picked up a brand new Dynalink 33.6 Kbps external modem for $2, etc etc. And the thing does the job. I run my websites from it and all.

But I have really got AOL pissed off, because I reverted to version 4 because version 5 would no longer run because they had downloaded so many updates. They no longer provide tech support for version 4 in Australia, and the usual answer to any enquiy is: "Upgrade to version 7 and all your problems will disappear."

After explaining that I have two perfectly good Pentium 100 notebooks etc.etc. they finally informed me that version 5 and 6 were also on the version 7 disc, and they did actually realize that some customers didn't have the hardware to run version 7.

Actually I never need tech support for version 4 because nothing evergoes wrong.

So how do you get 486s to perform like P IVs?

Collapse -

The secret is...

by GuruOfDos In reply to For a moment I thought .. ...

By running the right software! A 486DX4-100 running WFWG3.11 and Word1.1 and Excel3.0 can boot, open a document, print and shut down faster than ANY P4 I have ever seen!

Dos6.22 and WFWG3.11 take up a total of 11Mb on the hard disk and Word1.1 comes on three floppys!

Most Word users only use something like 5% of the available features available in later versions, and 1.1 can do most things, including embedding images in documents. Funnily enough, a file created in Word1.1 and saved to disk takes up half the space of an identical document created in (say) Word97. Most people type up a single page memo or letter in Word, and I'm half way down the page on the 486 before the P4 has finished loading Windows98!

Related Discussions

Related Forums