60

Why did trackballs disappear? To start with, they didn't. They are still around and can be bought in many variations. For example, Kensington sells six kinds of trackball, and Logitech sells three. Only their time attempting to work as a general pointing device is gone. Nub. Low-tech, cheap, compact and reliable, but miserably imprecise. Did they ever ...


31

Trackballs are Alive and Well I have a Logitech M570 for my desktop computer. I have another one for my laptop. I got another one for my daughter. Every few years they break and I replace them. I find that trackballs are superior to mice in many ways and recommend them to plenty of people. But the average user just gets a mouse, IMHO simply because they don'...


10

Dirt is another issue. In a mouse, the hole where the ball is exposed is pointed down and stuff naturally falls out. On a trackball it naturally falls in. Goop, especially skin oils, gets stuck to the tracker wheels in either case, but general dirt, crumbs and fuzz is a bigger problem on trackballs. Arcade machines had the advantage that they sort of ...


8

As other have noted trackballs aren't dead ("disappeared"). But compared to other input methods trackballs are indeed much less popular or widespread as they once were. Cost, scale, competing products, path dependencies and consumer psychology are the reasons for this development Trackballs are great. They added a cool, effective, efficient way to move a ...


7

Gaming I can't play FPS or flight simulators with a trackball because I cannot intuitively self-center them. The only games they're good for are bowling and Missile Command - because those are played on an arcade cabinet with you standing in front of it. It's a lot easier to stop a mouse on-target, then it is to stop a trackball - with a finger still on it, ...


4

One disadvantage is that they are hard to use for users that prefer using a mouse at high acceleration and with the wrist resting - of course using it with a fingertip like a mouse wheel is possible, but rather awkward (especially when the trackball is not made very precisely and tends to seize and jam a bit)....


3

My first engineering job was to create a drop-in trackpad replacement for PowerBook trackballs. We had potential customers with thousands of PowerBooks for sales, inventory, anything that would use an iPad today. The trackballs were the least reliable part of the computer due to "DNS Failure": Doritos 'n' soda. Sadly, by the time I got the microcontroller ...


3

I'm using a trackball myself right now. I saw about 12 of them on sale at Best Buy last week. Three of my coworkers use them. I"m not sure where you get that they 'went away' but they haven't. I think it's great for desk space, for precision (I love to game with it over a mouse, which I have to pick up and move back all the time) and to reduce hand fatigue.


3

As the other answer said, trackballs are live and well. I use a track ball on my PC as well as Mac. I found a fantastic brand whose trackball lets it connect with 2 different computers. I will add that I find trackballs hard to use for games like fornight where you need to move your player fast. For this, I prefer a mouse. Other than that I will take ...


3

Many soft-touch rubberized plastics break down quickly with age (especially parts that come into contact with skin oils) and become gooey or sticky. Unfortunately there's not much you can do to reverse the process. The rubber "mouse" nipple is usually just a friction fit piece that can be wiggled loose, but try to find the service manual for your laptop to ...


2

I'm not sure how efficient or safe this is in your case, so if you have a better method, go with it - but I found a good way to "neutralize" any permanently sticky surfaces is application of some kind of insoluble fine inorganic dust, e.g. chalk, fine sand, talc etc. It just binds with whatever "glue" you deal with, forming either easy to remove crud, or ...


1

One advantage of the mouse is that multiple features can be combined into a single device, which can be more ergonomic than nubs and trackballs, making them a more attractive choice. A typical mouse at least combines pointing and selection/activation (clicking) in a way that minimizes hand/finger motion. Many mice also include scroll wheels which allows the ...


1

There are several types of interaction between pointing devices and displayed information. The first three that come to mind are: Point and click Point and drag (moving, sizing) Point and paint (selecting multiple, adjacent objects (including selection of text)) All devices mentioned by the OP are good at point and click. The trackball is good at reaching ...


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