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  • Mouse vs. Trackball

    Does anyone use a trackball when running a DAW, and if so, do you think it's better/worse/about the same as using a mouse?
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  • #2
    I used trackballs for a long time (the red ones) up until about 2001 or so. Then I went back to mice with scroll wheels.... don't remember why I switched back. Maybe mice got better around then. Early 1980s mice were terrible.

    I wish I knew of a TOTALLY SILENT-NO-CLICK-SOUND-EVER scroll wheel mouse. I sometimes spend a few halfa** moments looking for one online, but never seem to find clickless Logitech etc mice as being mainstream. Why on earth would ANYONE want to hear ANY mouse make clicks nowadays? Shouldn't "silent" be the default?

    Back to the topic, trackball navigation was pretty fast as I remember. It would probably feel strange now though after all this time.
    Last edited by bookumdano4; 01-19-2018, 05:50 PM.

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    • #3
      I've used both. I went to a trackball to head off some stress-repetition symptoms, and it worked. Fine resolution moves were easier for me with the trackball. And the more programmable, the better, no question. And if you are constantly moving from keyboard to mouse, the big ball is easier to locate blind than the mouse, too. Just feels a lot more efficient from a muscle-stress point of view. Makes a difference over time, especially for long sessions. Forces your hand to work consistently from a good position. Takes a litle time to train the muscles to move just so, like drawing envelopes or dealing with virtual rotary knobs - but it becomes second nature quickly.

      I like a wireless mouse, 'tho, for moving around the room and listening from different spots.

      Best for me is no mouse whenever possible - but some things the mouse just does best unfortunately.

      nat


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Anderton View Post
        Does anyone use a trackball when running a DAW, and if so, do you think it's better/worse/about the same as using a mouse?
        Trackballs are really popular among professional engineers here in LA. I think part of the reason is that they require less space to use.

        Personally, I can't stand the things. I much prefer using a regular multi-button wireless mouse with a center scroll wheel. I feel it gives me better control and precision than a trackball does.

        ATM I'm using Logitech M325's (I've got three or four of them), which are a bit smaller than some mice, and they fit my hands better than larger models do.
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        • #5
          There should be an app that allows facilitates quicker keyboard navigation of buttons and links; maybe a touch pad that would jump the cursor instead of dragging it.
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          • #6
            Me? I like the little eraser head found on ThinkPad keyboards (you can buy just the keyboard).

            Why?

            I can move anywhere without taking my hands off the typing keys. This saves a lot of motion moving my hand back and forth from a mouse or trackball, and that results in quicker work flow.

            Now I admit, I hated it at first.

            I bought an IBM R30 ThinkPad way back in the early 2000s. I had no glide pad (whatever you call that) but only the eraser head. So I got used to it.

            Then when I got a newer IBM with both the glide strip and the eraser head, I found I loved the eraser head much more.

            And now that I use ThinkPads on my desktop, with mouse and room for a mouse, I still use the eraser head. Why? The same reasons, I can keep my hands on the typing keys and get work done faster.

            Of course, YMMV.

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            • #7
              I prefer trackball. Much easier on my wrist and it uses a lot less real estate.
              Don Boomer

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              • #8
                I should add that trackballs come in such a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, that they can't all be covered by a blanket opinion. My preference was for the larger variety with the ball on top, with at least two programmable buttons, and that just felt good, resting my hand on the thing.

                They've got some now with a "scroll ring" that looks interesting....

                nat

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Anderton View Post
                  Does anyone use a trackball when running a DAW, and if so, do you think it's better/worse/about the same as using a mouse?
                  I don't use either. I use a Zero Tension Mouse.

                  Do this. Hold your arm and hand out straight, with your palm out flat as if you are going to lay it flat on a table. Now, turn it so it's positioned as if you are about to shake someone's hand. Feel the tension go out of your forearm and wrist? That's what a Zero Tension Mouse does. It takes almost no adjustment time because it's simply a mouse that is sideways. Amazing how something as simple as this works so well, but it's wonderful. This has singlehandedly saved my wrist.
                  What I have not tried yet is a Wacom Intuos tablet, which is supposed to be great. I might be exploring this later on, as I want to use it for editing photos as well as other things.

                  I have used a trackball, a small Cirque touchpad, and a regular mouse, and strongly prefer the Zero Tension Mouse to these. I should also probably get some kickback from the company. About 6 or 7 of my friends have used the ZTM at my house and immediately went out and purchased one.

                  One of them balked initially, saying, "It's $59! That's too expensive!"

                  I asked, "$59 is too much money for your wrist to stop hurting? How much do you pay to see your doctor?"

                  He nodded, then immediately purchased it on the spot, using my computer.
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                  • #10
                    I used trackpad on my Apple products. I`m comfortable as a lefty when using it... I was getting carpal tunnel in my right hand so I had to switch around 10 years ago. At work, I use a PC with a mouse but the Zero Tension Mouse looks interesting, thanks Ken.

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                    • #11
                      You got it. I cannot recommend it enough. It saved my wrist, and I never have wrist pain using it.
                      Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                      • #12
                        I notice they have a "Small" and a "large" model. Which is the one to get?

                        Actually my biggest problem with wrist issues isn't the mouse, it's the keyboard. I really don't like the idea of using a Dvorak keyboard because of lack of compatibility with using keyboards in the outside world, but it may be an answer. Also speech-to-text is getting really good, but I don't talk as well as I write.
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                        • #13
                          I used to use the wired version of this one at work (till I retired from the day job recently)

                          https://www.logitech.com/en-us/produ...trackball-m570

                          It solved a lot of carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome problems for me. It took about 3 weeks to get used to it, though. It takes some time to retrain your muscle memory.
                          I like that it uses the right hand thumb to control the ball, which worked well for me since it's my guitar picking thumb.

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                          • #14
                            Back in the early days of computing-by-pointing, I liked the idea of a trackball, primarily for the space consideration. But when I actually started using software that was designed for mousing, I found the trackball tradeoffs to be between quite uncontrollable and inefficient. I switched back to a mouse and never looked back. Todays optical mice have good resolution, a good scroll wheel, and can be set to zip around on the screen and stop on a dime. And along the way, I've collected some interesting mouse pads from companies who used to make audio products.

                            My current mouse, which I think cost about $5, has a third button under the scroll wheel, but it's pretty stiff. What I'd hoped to do was use that button along with the scroll wheel to zoom in and out, but the mechanics just aren't good enough to bother trying to get that to work. Maybe I need a $10 mouse?
                            --
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                            • #15
                              I don't see a left-handed version of the Zero Tension Mouse on their website... That's a dealbreaker for me if a left-handed model doesn't exist.
                              CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                              Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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