VOGONS


Anyone still use ball mice?

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Reply 21 of 55, by Der_Richter

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Always use trackball for daily use, and have several ones just to switch between them. Always trackball at work. And for most computers outside of work, i use either trackball or ball mouse mostly (unless i play modern games where i use some fancy gaming mouse). Like with anything, ball mice and trackballs are subject to the rule of "you get what you pay for". If your idea of a ball mouse or trackball is the el cheapo one you got with your Gateway system in 1997, then yes, they suck. Get a good piece of tech though and the feel is superior to optical tracking in many ways...

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Reply 22 of 55, by Unknown_K

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For my main machine(s) I started using optical mice when MS started selling them ages ago. I still use ball mice for early PCs and early Macs (ADB). Ball mice don't bother me much because I don't use them all day, have decent mousepads, and I clean the rollers when needed. I do have a nice Belkin KVM that allows me to use a MS optical USB mouse + PS/2 connector with old AT machines that had serial mice only (simulates the serial mouse using PS/2 mice).

Most people who complained about ball mice generally had crappy dirty mice and dirty desks and never cleaned them.

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Reply 23 of 55, by feipoa

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I still use a track ball mouse as my daily driver. I don't understand why most people don't like them. It is possible that my particular track ball (w/mouse pad) has higher resolution that most? It's important to clean the lint off the rollers once every few months to maintain smooth tracking.

This mouse came with different brands written on the top, like Compaq, Dell, or Logitech. I've been using this mouse for 20 years and my hand is sorta addicted to it. It doesn't have a scroll wheel, but you can hold down the middle button and scroll pages. I prefer it to the scroll wheel for most cases. The mouse came in serial and PS/2 flavours. Some are dual PS/2, serial capable.

My laptop, which sits on the kitchen counter, has a modern infrared USB Logitech M125 mouse with scroll wheel. I personally do not feel any difference in tracking quality between it (M125) and my 20-year old trackball mouse, M-S38.

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Reply 24 of 55, by Revolter

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While I love the ball mice due to the smooth operating feel and the comfortable weight - the ones I have (a couple of new old stock Genius Netscroll+), unfortunately, do not work with the KVM switch I use at home (D-Link KVM-121 - which also re-routes the 3.5 Jack audio). And it would be a waste to use them at work. So I'm kinda stuck with the optical ones until I move towards a different KVM or ball mouse model.

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Reply 25 of 55, by dosgamer

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Never had an issue with ball mice. You just have to clean your balls (heh) and the rollers regularly. I did have a 486 laptop with a mechanical trackball once. Boy, that thing sucked.

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Reply 26 of 55, by oeuvre

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pee is stored in the ball mice.

that being said, I use one of these on my retro boxes.

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Reply 28 of 55, by cyclone3d

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badmojo wrote:

I still haven't heard anyone explain what's so bad about ball mice - is it the feel of them? The precision?

1. The aforementioned gunk that builds up on the rollers.

2. Almost nobody would clean them or even knew how to clean them to make them work properly. You have any idea how annoying that is when you are the one that fixes computers? Have to clean out the who knows what crap that is gunked up in the mouse in order to actually use/work on the computer. Some people let them get so dirty that disassembling was required to clean it in order to make it work properly again.

3. The rollers and, if super cheapo, ball would wear down over time and the mouse would no longer work properly. I did have one or two that had metal rollers instead of plastic. Those lasted longer.

4. Movement accuracy pretty much sucked compared to even the earliest optical mice which required a special gridded mouse pad.

As for why they are pointless to use for old machines unless it is all you have.... Pretty early on, ball mice started using optical sensors instead of the super junky electrical contact wheels on the rollers. If the mouse is optical at it's core, then what is the point of dealing with extra moving parts that get dirty and cause issues?

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Reply 29 of 55, by firage

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The nice ball mice I prefer are no compromise vs. opticals performance wise, for the 90's stuff predating optical mice. Tactile things like that contribute to the experience, and realistically it's for maybe a few hours on a good (exceptional) week.

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Reply 30 of 55, by konc

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For me even the best ball mice can't compete with a not-the-cheapest optical mouse. Apart from that there are cases for which there's no alternative, like a bus mouse/InPort interface.

Reply 32 of 55, by bjwil1991

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Used to have that IBM mouse. I have a cordless PS/2 3-button/scrolling wheel ball mouse, and the rest are standard (either 2-button, or 3-button/scrolling wheel) ball mice. The USB ones are optical.

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Reply 33 of 55, by MCGA

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Yep, I use a Microsoft Serial 1 on my 486( which was my favorite Mouse in the early nineties ) and then the gray version of that on my other newer retro PCs. I have several ball mice in my closet.

I find it a bit ironic, that even though I no longer need to clean the rollers inside the mouse, I still need to clean the pads on the bottom of my new mice in a similar way. The pads( especially the front ) on my Corsair M95 gets grimy in the same way a roller would. Maybe I need to clean my desk more often or use a mouse pad...

Reply 34 of 55, by bjwil1991

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I purchased a ball mouse cleaner (NOS) at a thrift store and it did a pretty good job. I use Q-tips and Isopropyl alcohol to clean the interior (X, Y, and Z axis) and does wonders.

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Reply 35 of 55, by Tiido

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I prefer ball mice over optical tracking types mostly due to lack of dead-zone that most optical tracking mice seem to have. I do pixel art and the like every once in a while and doing very minute movements work lot better on ball mice for the most part, regardless of sensitivity and other settings.

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Reply 36 of 55, by feipoa

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I was wondering about the folks who think the tracking quality of track ball mice are bad - are you using an age-appropriate mouse pad? The squishy kind, which feel like they are made out of neoprene or some other kind of synthetic rubber, plus cloth surface overladen.

If you use the mouse directly on the tabletop or with one of those more modern, or stiffer mouse pads, the experience can be a little crummy.

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Reply 37 of 55, by badmojo

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Sounds like the complaints are mainly around ball mice getting dirty, which is fair enough. It did used to drive me nuts when I used a school or friends mouse and it was all jammed up with shite, but then so was their deskspace / hard disk / keyboard / etc. I tend towards OCD neatness so I didn't have that problem - I just now leaned over and opened the nice Logitech 3 button serial mouse I've been using for retro stuff for years and it's clean as a bean 😀

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Reply 38 of 55, by looking4awayout

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I do. On my Tualatin daily driver I use a Logitech Series/2 which apparently is the very first PS/2 mouse made by Logitech. Aesthetically speaking it's kinda like a two buttoned C7. I would like to use my Genius GM-6000 but unfortunately the sensors are temperamental and often the cursor just won't move.

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Reply 39 of 55, by chinny22

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yeh my preference of optical is cleaning the pads is much easier then getting into the rollers.
Not having to use mouse pads anymore, No more picking the mouse up and moving it center of the pad when you reach an edge.
I also seem to think tracking was better then my balled MS wheel mouse, but again this may simply be due to my desk always been dusty.