Author Topic: Cordless Optical Trackman  (Read 4646 times)

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Offline slifox

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Cordless Optical Trackman
« on: Wed, 16 July 2008, 18:52:58 »
2nd post here--1st was on my killer new DSI keyboard, so I figured I'd follow it with a "little" blurb about my current favorite mouse too...

... the Logitech Cordless Optical Trackman! :p

Logitech is a damn fine mouse manufacturer! All their mice I've used have felt very sturdy (unlike Microsoft mice, which creak when you squeeze them), and have put up with a LOT of abuse throughout many years.

My wrist pains were getting especially bad in my mousing hand about a year ago, so I decided to look for something better. Up until then, my favorite was my Logitech Cordless Optical Mouseman (no complaints--great quality mouse!). After looking through some of the more ridiculously-priced "ergonomic" mice, I quickly realized the only real alternative in the same price range was a trackball. And, the only popular, modern (USB; back/forward buttons; etc), and currently-manufactured trackball I could find was the Cordless Optical Trackman...

The mouse body is nice and big, and fits your hand nicely. I would actually go for a bit bigger, but its comfortable as it is (and far better than any regular mouse I've tried, which are ALL too small for my hand). The position your hand takes when you grasp the mouse is much closer to your natural arm/wrist/hand orientation than a regular mouse, which means less twisting of your forearm. (With your arm bent 90 degrees at the elbow, the natural position is with your thumb pointing up. Regular mice force you to twist your wrist/forearm so your thumb points to the left/right... ouch!)

The cordless feature is actually nice--it lets you use the mouse on your lap, on the couch, on the armrest, etc... and the batteries last a good few months of solid, 12-hour-a-day use (for alkalines--I use Lithium-Polymer rechargeables, which last around a month per charge). The wireless range is pretty good too--I can use it in the next room over (why? to use with a TV hooked up to a computer in a different room)

The ball is pretty big -- almost too big even -- and it is meant to be controlled with your middle and index fingers. This can get a bit annoying when using the scroll wheel, since your middle finger is left sitting on top of the ball, with your index finger on wheel on the left and your ring finger on the right-click button to the right (the stretch is uncomfortable for long periods of time). The spacing is a bit awkward, but really that is my only complaint. For most cases, I prefer to use my keyboard to scroll down pages, because it puts a lot less wear on my poor mousing wrist, so I don't have to deal with this issue much. I haven't tried trackballs designed to be controlled with your thumb, but trying to use this one with my thumb is very imprecise (not a flaw of the device, but rather I can't imagine using my thumb to accurately and precisely move the cursor!)

As a side note--I'm interested in a comfortable device for constant slow scrolling through pages (because keeping my hand on the mouse or keyboard for those times, while reclining, gets uncomfortable). I was thinking of repurposing an old mouse scroll wheel. Anyone know of any existing solutions?

Anyways, if you haven't used a trackball before... DO IT NOW! My wrist pains disappeared IMMEDIATELY, and have only recurred during long periods of using (other peoples') regular mice or extremely long periods of using the trackball (i.e. 6 hours without breaks--which is very very stupid and bad btw).

Not only did it almost completely relieve my wrist pain, but I also found that it is totally superior for high-precision applications such as CAD. I do a lot of PCB (circuit board) layout, and so being able to accurately position the cursor while still having a very high mouse acceleration is very useful (especially considering complex PCB layout usually uses 2+ monitors, which means you have to cover a lot of area quickly, and so high mouse accel. is a must for productivity).

Making the switch to a trackball will take a bit of getting used to, of course. I used to play First-Person Shooters a lot (I don't anymore), so I was VERY accustomed to fast and pretty-precise movement with a regular mouse. I am not yet up to the same level of proficiency in FPS's with a trackball as with a regular mouse, but then again the regular mouse has had over 15 years of constant & consistent training, whereas I only just got my trackball 1.5 years ago.

Although... I have a feeling that the trackball will never be as good as a regular mouse for first-person shooters, but not because it is not precise, but rather because a regular mouse gives you a more defined area-to-mouse-movement relationship: you can know that moving from one side of the mousepad to the other will rotate the view X degrees, whereas you can't as-quickly turn the ball exactly 3.5 turns to rotate your view X degrees... this means you have to rely more on visual feedback from the monitor, and less on trained positioning of your hand (which means slower net reaction time). Just a theory off the top of my head though...

So anyways, I HIGHLY recommend this mouse. It is relatively inexpensive, very comfortable, ergonomic, and a good productivity booster. Plus, if its anything like my previous Logitech mice, it will last for many years to come. :D

Cheers,
Alex

Offline ashort

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Cordless Optical Trackman
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 16 July 2008, 19:03:21 »
It took me very little time to adjust to a trackball (same optical trackman wireless of which you speak).  I think what took me a while was to realize just how much better an option it is!
Andrew
{ KBC Poker - brown | Filco Majestouch - brown | Dell AT101W | Cherry G84-4100 }

Offline bigpook

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Cordless Optical Trackman
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 16 July 2008, 19:50:33 »
I have the same mouse but corded, and yes, it is a fine mouse. I only wish it didn't slope so quickly where my palm rests. A little bit more real estate there would make for a better fit.

I was curious, so I thought I would ask. Are you using a full size keyboard? If so, how do you manage with the mouse on the right hand side. Its always too much of a reach for me and has my right arm at too much of an angle.

I am now using a kensington expert mouse on the left hand side. It took some getting used to but after a few months it has worked out well. The upside is that my left arm is pretty much in a straight line when I use the mouse and the keyboard is dead center.

I agree on the gaming, I haven't had much luck using a trackball for FPS. I use a logitech G5 when I game, that works real well. The trackball is just too hard for me to control properly.
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Offline slifox

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Cordless Optical Trackman
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 16 July 2008, 20:51:10 »
Quote from: bigpook;6624
I was curious, so I thought I would ask. Are you using a full size keyboard? If so, how do you manage with the mouse on the right hand side. Its always too much of a reach for me and has my right arm at too much of an angle.


I use a full-size keyboard, and I use the keyboard far more than the mouse, so my regular positioning is biased for the keyboard, with the letter & arrow keys centered with respect to my body/chair (the numpad is a bit off to the right; the F6 key is centered with respect to my body).

When I type, my elbows are roughly where my armrests are (but not resting on them, of course!). Imagine 2 lines drawn from the ends of the armrests and converging at the F6 key. My arms lie along these lines. This means that my hands are angled inward at the keyboard. Instead of bending my wrists outward to make my hands perpendicular to the keyboard (which is uncomfortable, but is the more "proper" posture I guess; the alternative would be hugging my elbows close to my body, which I also find uncomfortable), I instead keep my wrists in-line with my forearms, and have adjusted my typing style to compensate.

This just means that my middle fingers end up typing more of the upper row, and my index fingers end up typing more of the lower row (or I momentarily bend my wrists while typing, but I try to avoid this). My natural "home row" position, for instance, is with my index fingers just above the V & N keys, and my middle fingers just below the R & U keys. It sounds weird, but my grade school typing teacher ("computer lab" teacher) stopped complaining when I beat him in typing speed :p Since then, I've had many many years for it to become habit. I don't actually use any "home row", but rather my hands just find their own position on the keys. Also, it may seem that my hands are a bit off-center, but since I use symbols very often (programming), I actually find that this is a good mid-point.

I'd take a picture to demonstrate, but I only have so many hands :)

I find this method a lot more comfortable. I think the key to avoiding strain, though, is not staying in one position for too long, ever.

With this setup, my mouse is definitely far off to the right, but not so much so that it is a stretch. When I'm using the mouse, I switch between my elbow being against my body and being on the outside of the armrest (this lets me adjust to whatever is most comfortable at the time). If it does get uncomfortable, I have plenty of desk area between my keyboard and me that I can move my mouse to. I only do this for extended mousing periods, because otherwise it gets in the way of using the keyboard effectively (especially the PgUp/Home/etc keys). I also end up moving my mouse to my lap or my armrest for reading through long web pages (when no keyboarding is needed), which facilitates reclining

But yeah, I like the trackball because it doesn't require me to stretch to the right as much as a regular mouse. I think I read a past post of yours saying pretty much the same thing.

It also helps to have long arms!

Alex

Offline graywolf

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Cordless Optical Trackman
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 16 August 2008, 10:40:58 »
"As a side note--I'm interested in a comfortable device for constant slow scrolling through pages (because keeping my hand on the mouse or keyboard for those times, while reclining, gets uncomfortable). I was thinking of repurposing an old mouse scroll wheel. Anyone know of any existing solutions?"

I have found that using the down arrow key on the keyboard is an easy way to scroll. One click, it scrolls a line. Hold it down and it scrolls continuously. Of course if your keyboard is out of reach you can not do that easily. I discovered this because the scroll wheel on my cordless junk mouse does not work. Why do I continue to use the junk mouse? Because it fits my hand so well. I do have a Trackman Marble Wheel Mouse but, due to arthritis, my thumb joint starts to ache after a while when I use it.

Offline Vinz

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Cordless Optical Trackman
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 19 August 2008, 10:48:52 »
Quote from: slifox;6621
As a side note--I'm interested in a comfortable device for constant slow scrolling through pages (because keeping my hand on the mouse or keyboard for those times, while reclining, gets uncomfortable). I was thinking of repurposing an old mouse scroll wheel. Anyone know of any existing solutions?

Rethink the way you scroll. If you use Firefox, try the Scrollbar Anywhere extension, available at http://pagesperso-orange.fr/marc.boullet/ext/extensions-en.html . It basically allows you to hold a mouse button and then move the mouse to scroll. I use that with an Anir Vertical Mouse (known as a 3M Vertical Mouse these days) and just hold the middle mouse button while moving the mouse. Downside to this method is that it only works in your browser and you'll continually want to scroll like this in other programs too.
Kinesis Ergo Elan
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Offline graywolf

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Cordless Optical Trackman
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 19 August 2008, 13:40:26 »
Quote from: Vinz;7565
Rethink the way you scroll. If you use Firefox, try the Scrollbar Anywhere extension, available at http://pagesperso-orange.fr/marc.boullet/ext/extensions-en.html . It basically allows you to hold a mouse button and then move the mouse to scroll. I use that with an Anir Vertical Mouse (known as a 3M Vertical Mouse these days) and just hold the middle mouse button while moving the mouse. Downside to this method is that it only works in your browser and you'll continually want to scroll like this in other programs too.


I hate that technique. Constant pressure on a mouse button leaved my hands aching after only about five minutes. Come to think of it I actually hate mice, I only use them because they are convenient and everything is set up to use them.

Offline Vinz

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Cordless Optical Trackman
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 19 August 2008, 13:57:21 »
How much of an issue that constant pressure is depends very much on your mouse, which is why I posted my choice of mouse with it. I use my index, middle and ring finger to depress the middle button on the vertical mouse, and that feels quite natural, as if I'm grabbing the page and moving it.
Kinesis Ergo Elan
Topre Realforce 86 KB (Black Korean edition)

Offline graywolf

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Cordless Optical Trackman
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 22 August 2008, 09:17:49 »
Quote from: Vinz;7573
How much of an issue that constant pressure is depends very much on your mouse, which is why I posted my choice of mouse with it. I use my index, middle and ring finger to depress the middle button on the vertical mouse, and that feels quite natural, as if I'm grabbing the page and moving it.


No, it depends more on my arthritis.

Offline CX23882

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Cordless Optical Trackman
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 04 November 2008, 06:49:59 »
My two biggest gripes about the Cordless Optical Trackman are:
- The little balls/studs that support the ball get crudded-up very quickly, no matter how clean your hands or the ball are.
- Default alignment is about 30 off (i.e. moving cursor "right" doesn't move it across the screen).  Installing Logitechs driver allows this to be compensated for.
I would suspect I'm at fault, but I never had either of these problems with the more basic (and probably more comfy) Marble Mouse.  The Marble Mouse lacks a scroll wheel though.  Other than that, the Cordless Optical Trackman is a fine trackball, and the batteries last for months.

Offline bigpook

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Cordless Optical Trackman
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 04 November 2008, 18:50:36 »
And what mouse would you be using?
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Offline bigpook

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Cordless Optical Trackman
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 04 November 2008, 19:41:44 »
: ) I only asked as I was curious as to what actual mouse you used left-handed.
the field is somewhat limited . I have a kensingtion and a logitech that can be used with either hand. I am a righty but have gotten used to using a trackball on the left hand side.
At work I use a laptop and use a small microsoft mouse with my right hand.
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Offline bigpook

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Cordless Optical Trackman
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 05 November 2008, 05:07:50 »
I googled the techsolo, and physically it works with either hand.
I have a kensington expert mouse I use on the left side. It took awhile to get used to it, but I am used to it now. I cycle through my keyboards and some of them have numpads, or are just large. It always bothered me  to have to reach for the mouse when it is on the right hand side.
HHKB Pro 2 : Unicomp Spacesaver : IBM Model M : DasIII