Dear computer mouse: You're dumped

Dear computer mouse: You're dumped

Summary: Mouse, we've been together for a long time. But the time has come. I'm breaking up with you. My new trackball is serving all of my needs.

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TOPICS: Apple, Hardware, IBM
18

(he following is a letter to the ubiquitous computer mouse we've all grown to love so well over the years)

Darling,

I will always remember the day we first met. It was shortly after Apple brought out its first Macintosh back in the 1980's. It was a stunning day with that special colour in the air that only the height of spring can bring, with a delightful scent of roses floating on the breeze.

Until I met you, I had no idea what beauty and elegance could be. I had previously enjoyed a string of relationships with functional PC keyboards, and even flirted after hours with early models of computer game joypads.

But when I first laid eyes on your curvaceous form, I knew I was in love. No other computer peripheral promised such smooth lines and such an ability to control what was happening on the monitor.

To hold you in my hand was a delight only surpassed by the sensation I witnessed when I saw that your undulating movements on my desk corresponded precisely with those of the pointer on my screen.

Over the years I have stayed by your side, as steady a friend and companion as one can be. Microsoft, Logitech, IBM, Apple, no matter what brand you were, I have loved you in all your incarnations. I've loved you as a gaming mouse, as a functional work mouse, and even spent time with you casually, in slummy internet cafes.

That's why I think it's best that I'm honest with you now: I've found someone else.

Yes, it's true, I no longer love you as I used to. Instead, I've been using a trackball at work, and I've been loving it.

Not only does it cure those niggling repetititve strain injuries that my time with you has caused, but it gives me a slight feeling of superiority when others are unable to use my computer due to the fact that they don't know how to move the pointer with a trackball.

Where you used to be flighty, moving all around my desk at the slightest whim, my new Logitech Trackman is peaceful, a reassuring prescence that sits stably at my keyboard's side. With the slightest flick of my thumb I can voyage across the universe; the same motion with you would require me to move my whole arm.

I don't even need a mousepad with my new trackball. It can work anywhere there is a flat surface. It's never going to be as fussy as you always were. God knows how many different times I cleaned your ball to get rid of the clogging lint. And then there were the hours I spend finding a mousepad that would work well with your new optical models.

I have to confess, I feel better about myself. I feel more confident, more stable, more able to deal with anything that life throws at me. More able to face the day, with my trackball by my side.

Mouse, we've been together for a long time. But the time has come. I'm breaking up with you.

I know you'll be able to find someone else to taunt with your playful desktop waggle. And I'll always remember you fondly. But I have to look to the future, and not back at the past.

Sorry mouse, there is another. (Credit: ZDNet.com.au)

Topics: Apple, Hardware, IBM

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Talkback

18 comments
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  • Trackballs 4 eva!

    Yes! Trackballs forever! I've been using a Logitech Trackman full-time for a couple of years, and have kissed my mouse goodbye!
    anonymous
  • Mouse vs... Pen Tablet

    Remember when you held a crayon (perhaps not), but the feeling of touching the page exactly where I want it is what I get from a Pen Tablet.

    Gone is the 80's paradigm of "pushing" a pointer around on the screen; point at what you want. And for accuracy; try painting a perfect circle with a mouse or trackball... dead easy with a pen tablet...

    We all learned to "mouse". But the pen is mightier...
    anonymous
  • Poor Mousey - but a warning to newbies

    I love my trackball too, but was close to suicide last Friday when I was taking 'tracky' home for the weekend. After a rough ride home in the dark, it was another 24 hours before I hit the computer and went to take tracky out of my bag... aaahhhhhh! no ball!! I searched the car, the street (it may have fallen out of the car when I got out), the dogs bed... she's notorious for stealing balls... and no luck! I'd heard a story from a friend their children had stolen their ball, apparently they're the highest valued marbles... I looked suspiciously at children walking past my house... had they picked it up from the gutter?
    There's a happy ending for me, yesterday I took a roundabout a little faster than usual and when I got out of the car I looked down to see my beautiful ball rolling out from under my seat to the accelerator - whew!
    But I'm sure there's a few sadder stories out there, from now on Tracky has his own special sealable bag for being transported!
    anonymous
  • Trackball Marble FX

    I have been using the above (mine's bigger than yours :-P) for 5 years or more here at work and I love it. I had heartstopping moment a few weeks ago when it appeared to have given up the ghost.......but phew!, tested on another PC and it was back in action and back on my PC!
    anonymous
  • Trackballs ain't new

    My first laptop had a trackball and it was a POS. It had to be cleaned constantly to work properly and did more to give me RSI than any mouse would, although meeses aren't much better in that regard.

    A touchpad the size of a mouse pad would be great I reckon. I am yet to try one though.
    anonymous
  • Glad to hear it

    Glad to hear it Bill! A long life without RSI awaits you :)

    Cheers,

    Renai LeMay
    News Editor
    ZDNet.com.au
    anonymous
  • Moving your arm

    I agree it would probably allow more precision, especially for artistic applications ... but I can imagine my arm getting very tired :(

    Cheers,

    Renai
    anonymous
  • Heart attack

    Jesus christ that would give me a heart attack, especially if I had to get work done that weekend! A trackball is certainly useless without its ball ....

    Renai
    anonymous
  • Touchpad the size of a mouse pad

    I really wonder why this sort of stuff hasn't come out yet, it seems like there would be some opportunities there for innovative thinking.

    Renai
    anonymous
  • Touchpad the size of a mouse pad

    Actually I expect that touchscreens will become more mainstream in the next few years, particularly with better support in Win7 and the interest in capacitive screens prompted by the iPhone and Android.
    If tablet manufacturers had priced them a lot lower, they could have become the default configuration by now.
    anonymous
  • I so want one too

    I've actually thought of getting a small 9"-10" touchscreen and placing off the side of my bigger monitor to monitor my stuff and surf the web while doing work. Be useful in gaming...like a PC oriented Nintendo DS. :) Prices even at wholesale were too high.

    btw I love the trackballs but they are harder and harder to find esp the style that I like(ie MS Trackball Optical current one)...had a few die and couldn't ever find the same models again. :(
    anonymous
  • An alternative solution

    The disappearing ball is a real problem - particularly as the trackball gets older. The old PS2 version had a better solution with a locking ring that meant it couldn't get away.
    However with the Logitech Trackman there is another response instead of the sealing bag. If you wind the cable around the body of the trackman, using the 'dip' just beside the ball itself to hold it correctly the cable ends up covering about one third of the ball, and then it can't get away
    anonymous
  • bye bye mouse, buy buy trackball

    I have one too, the MS mouse was giving me intense RSI pain after only 7 days. I brought my trackball from home and plugged it in and after a few rests have fully recovered.
    anonymous
  • Glad to hear it!

    Glad to hear it! I had a very similar experience ... admittedly my RSI pain was caused by playing too much Starcraft and Team Fortress 2 ...

    Cheers,

    Renai
    anonymous
  • USB

    Apparently a fair amount of people are buying those little USB monitors for a similar purpose, although obviously they don't have a touchscreen. Just for monitoring IMs, twitter etc.

    Cheers,

    Renai
    anonymous
  • Trackball

    You are a little late un using a Trackball. When I was in the military 40 years ago, they were the go you could not have a mouse with it's cord getting in the way in a confined space and the one shown with you looks very similare to the 40 year old model.
    anonymous
  • Trackball

    I am a many year convert to trackballs.

    optical trackballs don't clog, need almost no deskspace, and allow you to build/pad a position for your arm that helps cope with RSI.

    They can be moved with a choice of finger(s) or thumb(s), and when using motion acceleration, tend to be more accurate as finger tip control is finer than whole hand control.

    Trackballs are superior in my opinion.
    anonymous
  • Old meeses

    If you want a mouse that is not ergonomic then try the old boxy one that came with the Commodore 64. A great mouse for its time but it wouldn't sell today.
    anonymous