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Computer mouse alternatives
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #1
Computer mouse alternatives
I have been using Logitech trackballs for years. However, their quality control has gone downhill and their very expensive devices now barely make 6 months. They do honor the warranty but there's some hoops to jump through first. And I figure they may some day stop for me. I am now replacing my second one in 7 months. We'll see if they notice.

Anyway, I am looking into alternatives. I think a typical mouse is archaic and anti-ergonomic so those are out of the question. Kensington makes trackballs but they are horribly designed.

Yesterday I bought a Wacom Bamboo touch screen tablet thing. It's not a tablet computer but a tablet mouse/drawing device thing. LOL Not sure what to call it now that "tablet" means something else!

I am still mucking with it. I think the pen is possessed by demons. I tried using it in a game (Sims 3) but had issues with anything that is to be clicked and held (still learning the gestures).

So I was wondering what others use. For me, ergonomics is very important. Even this tablet may not work as my arm feels as if I must hold it tense all the time. There's a mouse that is vertical. I've not used that one. And some that you put on your finger for presentations but not sure how it would work while typing.

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03-23-2013 05:39 PM
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DocWils Offline

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Post: #2
RE: Computer mouse alternatives
I wonder if the problem with your trackball is a bad batch. I have the same trackball for years, works perfectly, but you DO have to pop out the ball every few weeks and clean the 3 track nubbins inside the socket of lint, dust and what not - I wonder if the problem you have been having was that - there is a little hole under the mouse to pop the ball for cleaning - try it, and you will probably have it working again no problem.

I also use a Wacom Stylus 2 tablet, but for graphics use, haven't tried the Bamboo.

Logitec is a Swiss company and at least for European use, still build all devices in Switzerland, where it is subject to strong scrutiny. I have no idea if the American market products are Swiss made or Chinese made to keep the costs lower. To date, I have had in the house and at work dozens of Logitec devices and they have all worked flawlessly. If fact, I think they are very robust, but you DO have to perform normal maintenance on them - trackballs and older ball style mice always have to be regularly cleaned out - laser based mice don't.
03-23-2013 06:03 PM
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zonk Offline

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Post: #3
RE: Computer mouse alternatives
I'm looking forward for the days when keyboard is not required so don,t have to spend hours trying to type anything
computer with voice recognition, spoken word automatically translated to text. Happy days
03-23-2013 08:24 PM
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Computer mouse alternatives
It's the left click that dies. I regularly clean everything out. But the left click stops working or double clicks or works one click and not the next. Annoying as heck.

I had a Trackman wheel that lasted for about five years. Then the next one I got lasted for just two. I switched to the M570 since they were stopping production of the Trackman. The first M570 lasted about 15 months. The next, about a year. Now they last about 6 months or less. I finally started keeping the reciepts and got a new one last July. I also bought another from BestBuy. No clue as to which was the one they sent or the one I bought. But one I kept with my laptop and wasn't used as much. A month ago, the one I use the most started failing. I had the other so at least I'm not cussing every time I sit here. LOL

I opened one once and the inside was covered in a gray dust from where the plastic had eroded. I've told them. I've offered to send them the faulty one so they could see it, but they don't want it. I've got other things by them that take a beating and just keep right on going. But their trackballs stinketh strongly.

I used the Bamboo some more today, did some tutorials with it. Even got a little better with the pen! If I am to use it, I need some sort of wrist support.

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03-23-2013 11:40 PM
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DocWils Offline

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Post: #5
RE: Computer mouse alternatives
I have never heard of this problem, I must say. To date (NMRK) I have never had a mouse pack it in on me in any way. So I wonder how hard you must be stabbing that left mouse button that it would do so. I asked two computer professionals who are mates of mine if they had ever heard of a mouse or trackball packing it in, and they never have, nor had any that did. So, in the words of my former boss, "the mouse just doesn't like you."....

I myself would not rely on a pen input, since in the end the same wrist problems you encounter if you wrote all day will hit you with a pen input - we of course have lots of medical literature on this, since the pen was the primary input method since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and occupational injuries of scribes, bookkeepers and secretaries is well documented. Same with a track pad - there is both "track pad wrist" and "track pad finger", the latter being a neuroma that develops form using a track pad. And your carpals will take a beating after a while. A new one that is showing up more and more is "smart phone thumb". New toys, new injuries - that's what keeps folks like me in business, I guess.

Meanwhile why not get a 4D mouse? It is a sort of palm controlled joystick used in CAD work, a little dear in price, but very robust and designed to give minimum wear and tear to the wrist and forearm.
03-24-2013 10:42 AM
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Shastzi Offline

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Post: #6
RE: Computer mouse alternatives
Hmm. I have several Logitech trackballs and a few are 1st generation. I use them till the microswitches wear out, otherwise I just keep cleaning the ball and socket with some alcohol & Q-tips.
***
The Wacom tablets are awesome but take lots of practice, then I just use them for intensive graphics work.

"With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable." - Thomas Foxwell Buxton

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03-24-2013 10:43 AM
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Computer mouse alternatives
I don't slam down the button. I've monitored myself closely. I don't play mouse intensive games like shooters. I used to play WoW a lot but not anymore. I do play "time management" games which require a lot of clicking but none of them are constant banging, just clicking, waiting, clicking, waiting. Like Diner Dash. Even the few arcade like games (Zuma, Luxor, and BeJeweled) are calm-ish. I'm a writer so it's my poor keyboard that takes the abuse. Selecting text is simple via-mouse and if I am ticked, I pound the backspace key.

So I don't think it is because I abuse the poor things. My style hasn't changed since I first started using them.

But I do nothing but sit here. My computer is never turned off except for Friday hard boots and the odd install that insists on a reboot before it will work. Unless I am slaving away on a project, that trackball is being used. It's not used just a few hours a day or even 8 hrs at an office.

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03-24-2013 12:08 PM
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Ugly Offline

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Post: #8
RE: Computer mouse alternatives
(03-23-2013 08:24 PM)zonk Wrote:  I'm looking forward for the days when keyboard is not required so don,t have to spend hours trying to type anything
computer with voice recognition, spoken word automatically translated to text. Happy days

Always brings me back to this moment:
http://youtu.be/hShY6xZWVGE
03-24-2013 12:25 PM
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Computer mouse alternatives
I have tried Dragon Dictate several times and find it is too time consuming. My brain goes faster than my mouth and the computer is even slower so for me, even just writing a letter for practice was irritating. I haven't the patience. I don't think it will be long, though, before voice recognition becomes standard. Apple's Siri is a huge step in that direction.

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03-24-2013 03:28 PM
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Post: #10
RE: Computer mouse alternatives
I have DragonNaturally Speaking on my PC at work and it took a while to adjust to it. I'm never sure if I'm training the software or it's training me. I can talk faster than it can keep up but I don't find that bad. I will also admit that I only use it a couple of times a week because I'm either not able to use my voice (others are around) or I need to type things in German.

My iMac at home has the latest operating system and it has a dictation option but it can't handle large chunks of voice like Dragon Dictate can.

Paula, give it some time and practice. It might be frustrating at first but could be worth the time you invest in it.
03-26-2013 07:36 PM
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