Computer Mice. They've been with us since almost the very beginning of computing, at least for machines with graphical interfaces.

I used various mice over the years, from the Mac plus one-button mouse to the almost-standard modern optical mouse that crowds millions of offices world-wide. But now, I love trackballs. I only use those now.

Kensington expert mouse

Specifically, a colleague/friend gave me a Kensington Expert mouse during a serious RSI episode, for which I will ever be grateful. It took a while to get used to it, but I will never go back. It's really the most expensive mice I have ever owned (at 90$USD). Unfortunately, it's hard to find in real stores. The only canadian store I could find it at is, for 127$CAD. Staples has it in the US as well, but the Canadian equivalent (Bureau En Gros) only has the wireless version at 133$CAD.

Other stores:

The mouse is very comfortable, the ball is heavy and precise, and the mouse wheel is the best I have ever used. It has so much inertia that you can just send that thing flying and scroll quickly to long documents, a bit like you can scroll quickly through things on phones by swiping up repeatedly. I always find scroll wheels on other mouse frustrating since I have found this one.

I also like the four buttons although I must admit I never use the fourth one and always forget what it's for. The layout needed a bit of time to get used to, but now it's wired into my fingers.

I just love this mouse.

Fun bit of trivia: according to Wikipedia, the original Kensington expert mouse could use normal US pool balls to replace the trackball! (I actually added a {{citation needed}}) And while it's featured in the Ocean's 8 movie, actual tests show the 8-ball doesn't track so well while the red 3-ball doesn't track at all, so I doubt this really works in any real way.

But it's still freaking cool. Some even built a custom mouse inspired by the movie.

Kensington Orbit

Because the "expert" is so hard to find and expensive, I bought a orbit trackball for use at home. I never found it as satisfying, as it has many issues:

  1. the scroll wheel doesn't have as much inertia as the "expert"
  2. there are only two buttons, so no middle button, which I use profusely

It's otherwise a decent mouse and is good for travel as the "ball" doesn't fall off like it does with the "expert" model.

Clearly superior

I only mention this because I read about that hardware in some blog that was swearing only by their trackballs. Their laser trackballs are called L-Trac and they have an interesting design where the scroll wheel is above the buttons. I'm not sure I like it, but it's worth looking into I guess...

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