Wow, I hate mice (the desktop kind)

More MPSIMS than pit, but moderator differences of opinion accepted.

I sometimes forget how much I hate computer mice. I guess for small-screen, basic use they’re as good as any other solution, and better than most laptop options like touchpads and pointer sticks, but for the way I use computers… wow. It’s like bumping a pinball machine to try and get the pointer-ball where I want it.

I have, of emergency necessity, been using a fairly good quality optical mouse for about an hour, and my hand and arm are more tired than they are after a full day of using my customary trackball. Getting the pointer back and forth across three huge screens of real estate is an endless lift-and-drop-and-sweep in two dimensions. And then there’s the cord continually pushing back on my motions.

(Cord? Yes. Probably the only thing I hate more than mice is wireless keyboards and controllers - I’ve lost count of the hours I’ve spent trying to get balky cordless devices to just effing talk to their pickups. Reset, batteries out and in (and replaced), driver bump… I’ve had more cordless devices that needed a pot of coffee to start working than I care to count. I’ll take the minor hassles and rock-solid reliability of cordedness any day.)

So I’ve used one generation or another of Logitech thumb-ball trackball for the better part of twenty years. Those of you who hate trackballs likely used one of the other designs, with a center ball and side buttons… and I would put those somewhere below a glitchy cordless touchpad in desirability. Why anyone thought it was a good idea to make the use hover his/her hand in midair for hours, twiddling a center ball and then having to carefully nudge buttons with adjacent fingers is beyond me… but the majority of trackballs sold use just such a PITA-sucking design. I fully understand anyone who hates trackballs based on such devices.

The thumb-ball devices (which are exclusive to Logitech, AFAIK) are another story. You can rest your hand and arm in one comfortable position, whip the pointer across 5,000 pixels in a flick or position it with fantastic accuracy, and click and scroll away with two or three fingers without disturbing your pointing efforts.

So of course Logitech discontinued the corded version of this perfected device - you can buy all the wireless ones you want at $40 a pop, and pop is what they do when I stomp them underfoot. I had one for a while (bought it to use on a client’s system) and even my much less demanding and tinker-inclined son hates the unreliability of the wireless link. (It Just Won’t Effing Work for fifteen minutes, then strolls back in whistling and and wondering what all the fuss is about.)

The only way to get corded replacements is on the used market, where good used corded ones go for $40 or more, and new ones are well into three digits. I’ve just had to buy two on eBay - one for a new system, and one to replace the one that failed this morning. Google around and you’ll find hundred-post group rants about Logitech’s inexplicable decision to drop the corded version of this excellent tool while selling the wireless version cheaper and offering wired versions of the horrid center-ball designs.

So I don’t understand…
…why more people never took to the thumb-ball design.
…why Logitech spent fifteen years evolving and perfecting this design only to drop the reliable version for a crappy wireless one.
…why people put up with the inefficiency of a mouse, or the maddening unreliability of cordless input devices.

That is all.

Have you ever tried a graphics tablet? The ‘real estate’ of the tablet matches the ‘real estate’ of the screen. Where your pen is on the tablet is where your pointer is on the screen. They can be set up for multiple screens too, but I haven’t had experience with that.

Anything I can’t do with a mouse is usually not worth doing. God Bless Mr. Engelbart.

Yes, I have several. They’re not a replacement for a general pointing device, although the larger ones have mouse-like devices.

Meeses are wonderful, within their niche. That niche is limited-span, limited-precision pointing in a relatively compact screen space. Anything more and the physical effort and tradeoffs between pointer sweep and accuracy make them a liability.

Is there any reason you don’t just adjust the mouse speed?

Oh, lord, Amateur Barbarian, I know *exactly *what you mean. I loves me my Logitech (wired) Trackman Marble, and I have been trying to stock up because Logitech is a pile of ninnies. I’d love to know what the hell they were thinking when they made the decision to drop the wired version of the Trackman, especially since they have wireless and wired versions of most of their other products.

I wonder if it’s possible to retrofit them somehow? Open them up, remove the transmitter, solder in a wire with a USB plug … anyone?

Another reason to use this type of trackball (besides not having to pick them up like you do with mice) is that they were designed to reduce RSI/CTS. I spend 80% of my day at work or at home on the computer. I write for a living. I do everything I can to reduce my chances of developing CTS, and so far it’s working. Logitech, please bring back my wired trackball!!!

This. I can move from one side of my 63-inch, three-monitor spread to the other without raising my wrist from the table with my mouse. And I find it WAY less work on my thumb than those tiny “marble” trackballs they have now. The old Kensington ones with a pool-sized ball were nice, but hard to keep clean and the new ones are all plastic and break too often for such an expensive device.

At home I use one of the long-duration Logitech wireless mice – it can (and does) go a year between battery changes.

i love my Trackball. I have one for everything: home, work, the netbook.

See, I’m the opposite – I love my mouse. I can’t stand using a touche pad. I haven’t used a tracking ball though in years – I use an optical mouse.
Unless by tracking ball you mean the scroll wheel? The tracking ball is at the bottom of mouse, that pushes it around. The button at the top between the buttons is the scroll wheel.

I agree in part. I much, MUCH prefer a mouse to a touchpad, and like the OP, have had extremely lousy luck with wireless mice. So I use a corded optical one. I also don’t really like the trackballs too much. But my corded optical mouse is fine and I expend zero effort using it hours at a time.

Really? Aargh! I replaced the mouse on my work computer with a trackball, which has the advantage of no one else being comfortable with it, and have one for my laptop. They are the only way to go. I turn off the touchpad on my laptop, those things are awful. My work computer is neither a PC nor a Mac, so I wonder if wireless will work for them.

That’s not what the OP is talking about - a trackball is basically an inverted old-school mouse. Instead of moving the mouse around on the table, you move the ball itself. They look something like this.

Ugh, yeah, that would be annoying.

I’ve been using the Logitech cordless trackman for years now, and I never have trouble with connections. I’ve got my old one at work, it’s probably 8+ years old. The only times I have do do anything is after I replace the battery (which lasts close to 6 months on a AA battery). Then it’s replace the battery, press the button on the bottom of the trackman, press the button on the trasmitter puck and tah dah. At home, I switched to the newer version of the trackman, and it’s even easier. Replace the battery and I’m off and running, err rolling.

Why is it annoying? If you want to move the cursor any kind of distance, you don’t have to worry about falling off the pad, but just spin the ball. And I find it just as precise if not more so than a normal mouse. I’m clicking submit with the exact trackball mouse shown in the picture.

If your hatred for a computer mouse is that strong, offering you to replace it with a wireless computer rat may be a bit too much.

What’s the problem with a mouse? I just checked mine, and to go from one corner of my screen to the other, a distance of 17 inches, my mouse has to move only about 4 inches, and takes maybe a quarter of a second. This sensitivity can be easily adjusted, at least on Windows machine.

I absolutely hate a trackball with the burning hatred of a thousand suns. Despicable things, will wear your wrist out in about ten minutes. Built-in carpal tunnel machines.

I will second the folks who have bad experiences with wireless mice. Never had one last longer that three weeks.

Thumb-ball trackballs are the ones the OP and others are talking about. There’s no wrist movement needed at all.

I’ve had the same Logitech wireless thumb-ball for about two and a half years. Never had a connectivity or latency issue. Bonus, I can take it to the kitchen and control my music (computer hooked up to entertainment center) while I cook, it has a 30-foot range. I’m wondering if it’s a fluke and whenever I have to replace it I’ll get something that doesn’t work nearly as well.

This is the kind I love. Offset thumb ball, not the big thing in the middle. (And as Voyager said, no one else seems to like 'em much. Except all the people buying the ones I want to stock up on.)

Saw a guy kick ass about 10 years back in an Unreal Tournament LAN party with one of those. Match was to the first 100 kills, and he came in second with ~80 kills. Have no idea how he did that well with that weird controller. Well, the competition was pretty bad except for the guy who came in first, so that helped some. I know the winner used a Logitech mouse of some sort. Forget the model, but I ALWAYS use Logitech mice. :wink: