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Mouse Alternatives For MCAD

Matt Lombard has a post on his search for a mouse replacement.  I recommend reading it; the post has lots of pictures and good commentary.

I primarily use my computer for software development, browsing, blogging, and such, so my needs are a little different.  I’ve talked about my Kensington Orbit trackball before.

I’m still satisfied with my current desktop setup: IBM Ultranav Thinkpad keyboard and Kensington Orbit trackball; my hand and arm strain is still much reduced, and both input devices work well.

The Ultranav has both a Trackpoint (pointer stick) and trackpad.  I still tend to use the trackball for most pointer moves.  I like the shorter width (less arm movement to get to the trackball), and overall, the feel is good.  However, even though I bought a PS/2 IBM branded Ultranav made by Lenovo, which is supposed to be better than the newer Lenovo USB models, I still find the Thinkpad keyboards to be much better on a Lenovo laptop.  Maybe it’s the extra mass below them; the laptops are >4 lbs, but the standalone keyboard is pretty light.

Sometimes the trackball is awkward, but overall, I’ve adapted pretty well.  I still might get a Kensington Ultimate trackball, since they’re somewhat affordable on eBay, but I’d have to check into the driver situation again (I’ve seen many complaints about their Vista/Win7 drivers), and I’d have to find uses for the extra buttons; in the past, I’ve never used extra buttons.

Although many of Matt’s readers like the Logitech trackballs, I still like the Kensington models better.  Quite a few readers also love the 3D Connexion controllers; sometime I do plan on picking up a Navigator and/or SpacePilot.  Used SpacePilots are available on eBay for reasonable prices, but they’re kind of big; I’d have to be sure I’d use all those extra buttons before I’d buy one.

I still use other setups quite often; I use and like the Lenovo Trackpoints, I often use a Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 with my laptop, and I still use mice and trackpads on other computers.


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