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Posts from — August 2010

Mouse Alternatives

A while ago, I did way too much mousing (setting up vision jobs with Cognex Insight) and ended up with significant shoulder strain.  I’ve been better since (but not back to normal), partly by watching how much mousing around I do.

Recently, I decided it was time for another approach, and bought a Kensington Orbit Trackball with Scroll Ring.  Overall, it’s working pretty well; I’ve been using it for less than a  week, and my arm and shoulder definitely feel better.  The scroll ring works pretty well (I’d say better than a typical mouse wheel).  The ball is pretty big (about 1.5″), and is very smooth.

I also went to a smaller keyboard; I think part of the problem may have been extending my arm too far to get to the mouse.  When I use the narrower keyboard, I don’t have to extend as far.  I was able to scrounge up an old PS/2 mini-keyboard with trackpad.  The keyboard is OK, with a usable layout, but the trackpad is pretty bad (it doesn’t feel good, and it takes a lot of motion to get across my monitor).  Also, I’ve been adjusting my chair height to find the best position.

I’ve used mini keyboards with trackballs in the past, and haven’t been happy with them, because they had mechanical mini-trackballs that took a lot of motion to get anywhere, picked up lint like crazy, and basically were a pain to use.  In the future, I might try a mini keyboard with trackpad if I can test it first (some trackpads are decent), the old Lenovo Thinkpad keyboard (with pointer stick and trackpad) or the new Lenovo Thinkpad keyboard (with pointer stick only, but more affordable price).

I looked at some Logitech trackballs; I went with the Kensington because the ball seemed substantially larger, I liked the the scroll ring, and I’ve tried some Logitech trackballs in the past and wasn’t impressed (I do like their mice).  I wouldn’t mind having a larger ball and more buttons, but I’m not willing to pay for a Kensington Ultimate (~$90) or CH Products with 2.25″ ball (~$230; I’ve used CH Products joysticks in the past — they are really nice).

August 5, 2010   2 Comments