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Tinuz
February 20th, 2006, 09:27 PM
Well, as the title says. I am considering to get a trackball.
Why?
I have used regular mouses for years, but it seems my wrists aren't liking it anymore. They seems to 'snap' quite often and it hurts when they do. Also, after using a mouse for long times, my shoulder starts to hurt. It doesn't hurt very bad or long, but I am trying to prevent things from getting that far.

I hoped you guys could answer me some questions:
1. The internet seems to be full of people having an opinion on trackballs. Some love them, others hate them. What are your experiences with trackballs? Please motivate.

2. I understand trackballs aren't the cure all and therefore it seems smart to get an ambidextrous(suited for left and right handed use) trackball and change with which hand I 'mouse'. Does anyone have any experience with this?

3. Which one do you guys advice me to get? I am thinking about the Marble Mouse (http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/US/EN,CRID=2150,CONTENTID=5003) but I am in doubt about the software emulated scrolling in combination with Linux. Does anyone have any other suggestions as to which trackball to get?

Thanks already

aeiah
February 20th, 2006, 09:48 PM
i dont know anything about trackballs, but how about the vertical mouse? its supposed to be pretty good, although it falls down when it comes to FPS games. the whole idea is that your wrist is at a natural angle, thus relieving it of the stress and aches of the normal mouse position. looks a bit weird tho :p

DigitalDuality
February 20th, 2006, 09:54 PM
I personally can't stand anything other than a regular old mouse.. i'm normally on a computer for a very sad amount of time per day ( roughly from 9am - midnight.. minus lunch, various breaks, errands, etc.).. if my wrists started hurting i'd simply get a gel-like wrist pad.

vertigo
February 20th, 2006, 10:06 PM
I use a track ball all the time at home now and have done for about 6 months. the one I use is a microsoft one (right handed) with a usb connection.

I have no problems with it at all plugged it in and it worked straight away with ubuntu, even the scroll button.
I don't know if your a gamer or not, I'm not so I couldn't tell you what its like for games.

and I have no problem using it for prolonged periods of time where as with a mouse I do get pains in the wirst.

All I can really say is give one a try, thats what i did and im not going back to a mouse, the other plus is I dont need as much room on my desk as a mouse would.

I would say get a usb one then it should work straight out of the box.

briancurtin
February 20th, 2006, 10:18 PM
trackballs are nice, but one thing you want to look at is trying to use the keyboard more effectively. learn every keyboard shortcut you can, and try to minimize your use of the mouse. that will lower some of your pain.

byen
February 20th, 2006, 10:25 PM
Well... I have been using a trackball mouse (the same as in the link) for over 10 months and I can easily say that it is one mouse that I will buy again (if this breaks). Works great and very comfortable to say the least.
As for your palm and shoulder movements... well..this mouse might do the trick for you as it is your fingers that do all the playing here. So I say... Go for it. I did and am loving it!

aerials
February 20th, 2006, 10:42 PM
I used trackballs for years and while I have no problems using a normal mouse, I would always prefer the trackball (or my thinkpad's trackpoint).
I like the fact that I don't have to move anything physically around on my table, that I can rest my arm in a comfortable position.
I usually have my trackball right in front of my keyboard, so that I just move my arm a few centimeters between keyboard and trackball.
My trackball is a logitech cordless trackman wheel by the way, opposite to the one in your link it is controlled with the thumb instead of the index finger.
With years of practice, I can control the mouse pointer much more exact via the trackman than I would be able to do with a normal mouse.

So guess what, I'm one of those trackball lovers ;) Of course that's only my experience and if my father had never bought that trackbal, I would maybe swear to my mouse today.

Kvark
February 20th, 2006, 10:56 PM
trackballs are nice, but one thing you want to look at is trying to use the keyboard more effectively. learn every keyboard shortcut you can, and try to minimize your use of the mouse. that will lower some of your pain.
I secound that! Use the alt key and underlined letters instead of the mouse to access menues on top of program windows. Set up keyboard shortcuts to start all your favourite programs. And get a window manager that can be controlled entirely with keyboard shortcuts. Besides being less straining it is also faster to press a key combo then to aim a mouse pointer.

Trackball users I got another question for you besides the health reasons. How fast, easy and accurate can you aim the pointer with a trackball compared to with a mouse?

byen
February 20th, 2006, 11:06 PM
Trackball users I got another question for you besides the health reasons. How fast, easy and accurate can you aim the pointer with a trackball compared to with a mouse?
at the same ease,speed and accuracy with which you can... with the help of a regular mouse.
Seriously, its pretty much the same... Infact I find it very comfortable to use my index finger instead of the whole wrist. For gaming.. I think it would take a little time to get used to... but that wouldnt take too much time if you ask me. All in all... its every man for himself and it all comes down to personal prefereces. But as a track ball user... I do highly recommend it.

BWF89
February 20th, 2006, 11:56 PM
I heard from the guy that works at the dentists office that trackballs are alot easier to use once you get past the lurning curve..

prizrak
February 21st, 2006, 12:21 AM
I used them all, trackballs, tinkpads, touchpads, mizzaice ;) For gaming nothing beat a mizzaouse for everything else it makes no difference whatsoever of course on touchpad, tinkpad, trackball you won't use your wrist as much. You also might wanna go for a karpal tunnel syndrome checkup

purdy hate machine
February 21st, 2006, 09:42 AM
This is where I may get the evil eye from some people but I use a Microsoft Optical Trackball.
Itís really designed well and fits perfectly into the hand.
In my defence itís the only MS product I own and it works out of the box Under Linux ;)

Warning, gratuitous link to Microsoft dot com ! (http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/productdetails.aspx?pid=012)

Deaf_Head
February 21st, 2006, 10:00 AM
mouse to trackball is teh same as windows to linux .. ocne you get used to it everything is perfectly fine

Deaf_Head
February 21st, 2006, 10:01 AM
This is where I may get the evil eye from some people but I use a Microsoft Optical Trackball.
Itís really designed well and fits perfectly into the hand.
In my defence itís the only MS product I own and it works out of the box Under Linux ;)

Warning, gratuitous link to Microsoft dot com ! (http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/productdetails.aspx?pid=012)

me, microsoft may be evil .. but tey make top notch user interface devices .... (except their joysticks .. those are horrible)

fuscia
February 21st, 2006, 10:20 AM
what are the dangers of using a mouse? i've been using one for five years now, for more time that i should be wasting, and i don't have any noticeable problems.

mstlyevil
February 21st, 2006, 04:31 PM
I hated using trackballs until I got the exact model you are looking into buying. It is the easiest trackball to use and get adjusted to and is very nice. It has one disadvantage to a regular mouse and that is you will loose the scroll wheel function in Linux. In Windows you press both buttons at the same time and roll the ball and it simulates a scroll wheel but Xserver can not support that function (Unless someone knows how to edit the file to get it to work,) It is much easier on the wrist and eliminates a possible need for a wireless mouse because it remains stationary.

Stormy Eyes
February 21st, 2006, 04:37 PM
I hate to admit it, but Microsoft does make a very good optical trackball that has a scrollwheel. As long as you keep gunk from collecting and slowing down the ball's movement, you should have no trouble using the GIMP or playing FPS once you get used to it.

StueyB
February 22nd, 2006, 04:00 PM
I bought a Logitech cordless bluetooth one about a year ago for my then Windows computer. After a little "woooh there boy" getting to grips with it. Id prefer to have one at work too rather than my MS intellimouse.

Also the logitech bluetooth one i had required minimal setting up and needed no setting up at even after I dumped c:\ to go /home ;) All the buttons work out the box no problems on Ubuntu

Stormy Eyes
February 22nd, 2006, 04:03 PM
Id prefer to have one at work too rather than my MS intellimouse.

Then buy one and bring it to the office. That's what I did. I buy my own keyboards too; that way they can't bitch if I break one.

xmastree
February 22nd, 2006, 04:21 PM
I have one of these:
http://img.digitalshop.ru/img/cmp/easytrak.jpg
which I sometimes use. Whilst it's ok for clicking buttons, dragging and scrolling, I wouldn't like to use it for grapics work. Trying to draw with it is a nightmare.

Maybe it gets easier with practice though. As I said, I use it sometimes.

wrtrdood
February 22nd, 2006, 06:20 PM
I despise the mouse. I tire of the constant motion required to use it. I agree that the keyboard is the best solution if at all possible, however, sometimes it's not possible.

A Trackball is by far the best choice of input if you can find one suited to you. I've used various trackball configurations and my assesment is that the larger the ball, the better. I have a Trackman FX (I think it is). The old PS2 type. I see where Logitech now sells a nice cordless one but it's not cheap. Neither was mine but it has been worth every penny. The fingertip control type such as the one you are considering felt cumbersome to me and minute control was minimal. Thumb control is somewhat better but prolonged use tends to cause light cramping in the thumb muscle. By far, the best is the larger ball of the Trackman FX. It's far more comfortable and the larger size ball gives a much greater degree of control since you can grasp it with thumb and finger on opposite sides. There's enough buttons included to provide a great deal of flexibility in any configuration. The one obvious negative is the price. Even so, I'll buy another as a replacement.

Tinuz
February 22nd, 2006, 07:07 PM
Bought one the other day and am uisng it now. I bought the model I linked to in the opening post and I must admit, it feels like you'll never get used tyo it in the beginning, but now I am....decent. I guess a little more practice will take that away though.
Noticed a few things though.
I seem to not be able to relax my arm as of yet, I still move it when I move the mouse, causing a not so pleasant feeling in my elbow and wrist, but when I pay attention to it and relax, it absolutely rocks. Also, when I relax and place my entire forearm on my desk, control and precision go up quite a bit.
My current style is to grip the ball with indexfinger and middle finger and rest my thumb on the LMB. I use my ringfinger for the RMB.
It all feels really odd right now, the muscles in my elbow nag a little, but I guess thats due to tiredness. Starting to like it, but need some more pratice :D

About the scroll, I found some article about enabling it in some obscure linux version. I'll look for it tonight.
EDIT: found it! (http://www.linuxquestions.org/hcl/showproduct.php/product/670/sort/2/cat/myprod/page/1)

floff
April 21st, 2006, 11:23 AM
I had to switch to a trackball controlled by index and middle finger, since I (on a MS Optical Explorer) wore out my phalanx joints of the fingers on the right hand (index finger & middle finger).

I found what I needed in the Logitech Cordless Trackman Optical http://e-katalog.com.ua/jpg_zoom1/42659.jpg(whose only disadvantage lies in its looong name when googling for ways to set it up, which I still am trying to)(and perhaps it's price...)

Long history... long: my hand and fingers are much less strained now than before. Pretty easy to learn aswell.