Stuff I Use – A Logitech Trackball

The wireless trackball my colleague recommended.

The wireless trackball my colleague recommended.

In addition to adopting dual monitors recently, I switched from a mouse to a Logitech Trackball when I revised my set up for writing.  The trackball was a little tricky at first.  I wasn’t used to controlling my cursor with my thumb, but after only a day, I decided I won’t be going back to a mouse.

A tech savvy colleague heartily endorsed the trackball. He had been right about so many things that I adopted the trackball even though I had serious doubts about how much of a difference it could make.  I felt clumsy for about ten days, but I think I have the hang of it now.  At one point in a recent writing project, I had to switch out the trackball for my good old mouse, and the difference was amazing.  The mouse felt clunky and rough; it seemed to take a lot of effort to drag it around on its mouse pad.  The trackball felt smooth and almost too easy, plus it stayed stationary. Even though the trackball is larger than the mouse, it doesn’t require as much desk space.  It stays still, and the ball does all the moving.  One annoying mouse-related problem was my mouse tray extension, which is a shelf extended out from my keyboard tray.  The homemade custom mouse tray would bend slightly, and the mouse would occasionally slide off the tray onto the floor.  I had considered rigging up some sort of “mouse corral” to stop it from falling.  Because the trackball is stationary, I don’t have to think about a mouse corral anymore.  The trackball stays put.

The Logitech model I have has more features than I understand right now.  In addition to the ball, there are two large buttons that work the same way the buttons on a mouse work.  There’s a scrolling wheel.  And then there are two small mystery buttons.  One of these days, I will take the time to look up what they do, but right now, I have enough technology headaches.

Unlike the mouse, the trackball doesn’t need regular cleaning, and it seems sturdier than a mouse. Mine is wireless; the mouse was wireless too. Having cords in sight annoys me in a vague way, so I get rid of them whenever I can.  The trackball, after getting my thumb up to speed, seems more precise than did the mouse. I can easily move the cursor all over two screens now.

Evaluating my writing technology was something I never considered, though writing is the largest part of my work day. I’ve always been involved with heavy duty writing projects, and I spend time learning new features for any piece of software I use because I know that software improvements will almost always be helpful.  But the hardware?  Since adopting a favorite pen, I never gave my hardware a second thought.  Thank goodness for my tech savvy colleague.  My new writing set up is a pleasure.

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