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Anyone still use ball mice?

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Reply 40 of 55, by gdjacobs

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badmojo wrote:

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 😀

I have a cat and she tries to be helpful, so no matter what I was picking little bits of fur out of the rollers. Optical mice were a great invention.

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Reply 41 of 55, by AlaricD

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I do, because that was all I could find in a serial mouse in a hurry. It's in one of the rare cat-and-dog-free spaces I have.

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Reply 42 of 55, by Intel486dx33

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My old mouse fit perfect with my BIG hands. Running Win3.11 on 486

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Reply 43 of 55, by KT7AGuy

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Your mouse feet get gunked up if you don't use a mouse pad. The feet also wear out quickly if you don't use a mouse pad.

I've been using the same mouse for over 16 years and I've never had to replace or clean the feet. I use a neoprene mouse pad with a cloth surface.

Don't use a mouse pad with a plastic surface. They are crap.

My father doesn't use a mouse pad and the feet on his mice wear down after a year or two.

Reply 44 of 55, by akula65

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Still have more than 20 ball mice for older machines, most of which are PS/2, but some USB as well. I only converted to optical on modern machines about a dozen years ago. As others have noted, ball and roller maintenance is a pain, but acceptable given the relative price of alternatives.

Just got my first wireless mouse 18 months ago, but still haven't used it yet. Maybe one of these days.

Reply 45 of 55, by Ozzuneoj

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KT7AGuy wrote:
Your mouse feet get gunked up if you don't use a mouse pad. The feet also wear out quickly if you don't use a mouse pad. […]
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Your mouse feet get gunked up if you don't use a mouse pad. The feet also wear out quickly if you don't use a mouse pad.

I've been using the same mouse for over 16 years and I've never had to replace or clean the feet. I use a neoprene mouse pad with a cloth surface.

Don't use a mouse pad with a plastic surface. They are crap.

My father doesn't use a mouse pad and the feet on his mice wear down after a year or two.

I use an Icemat. Its made of tempered glass and I've had it for 13 years. The surface is still basically the same as it was when I originally bought it. After going through many mouse pads and having them wear out in various ways, I can safely say that an Icemat is a wonderful investment. The only downside is that its a bit noisy but I lessened the noise a bit by putting it on top of a piece of that rubber mesh stuff that you use to keep a rug from sliding around. It deadens the sound a decent amount.

EDIT: HOLY CRAP... one sold on eBay recently for $299. 😵

I guess I'm not the only person that likes them...

Slightly more on topic, I've been thinking lately about how it'd be interesting to try out a "top of the line" ball mouse, like a Razer Boomslang. I remember when optical mice were starting to turn up and the Boomslang was regarded as a better, more accurate mouse for gaming, since the early optical mice would lose tracking fairly easily. I actually still have my first "Logitech Optical Mouse" from this era. Its the sparkly blue one from ~2001 or so (can't remember exactly). It actually still works! And it still loses tracking when you move it too quickly. I'm not sure how I feel about the ergonomics of a Boomslang though... I doubt I'd like it after using an MX500, MX518 and G402 for the past 15 years.

I still have several ball mice too, one is a Logitech Mouseman like Intel486dx33 posted. I use that with a serial adapter on my IBM 5150. Not period correct, but its the only system I use regularly that requires a serial mouse, so it gets the best one I have.

Now for some blitting from the back buffer.

Reply 46 of 55, by KT7AGuy

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Interesting. I never heard of the Icemat frosted glass mousepad before. I'm not gonna drop $200+ on a mouse pad though. Even if I replaced my neoprene/cloth mousepad every 2 years for the rest of my life, it won't begin to approach the cost of an Icemat. I don't know what I'm doing right, but my mice and pads last a very long time.

Last edited by KT7AGuy on 2018-07-26, 07:56. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 47 of 55, by NamelessPlayer

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I have an Icemat, in its rebranded Steelseries Experience I-2 form. Wouldn't use anything else for a modern mouse, but god help you if any hard dirt or grit gets between the mouse and the glass surface, because the scraping noise will drive you nuts.

Shame that Icemat/I-2s are so stupid expensive now, though... just like 15 KHz RGB CRTs, GDM-FW900s, Amigas and X68000s. Everything I like is going up in price! I remember when these things were $40-50 still, with the cheaper ones often being the pink ones.

There should be newer tempered glass alternatives available after Steelseries quit making 'em, I just have to remember what the names are. Some are custom made specifically to be mousepads, others are just cutting boards adapted into mousepads.

As for the original topic of ball mice, I'm not a fan of 'em, but I do have to use some old-school Amiga tank mice and Mac ADB mice because I don't have appropriate adapters for using more modern PS/2 or USB mice on either. I do note that some ball mice have nicer metal rollers, though, particularly the boxier Apple ADB mice.

Also, someone linked one of the classic Logitech "bear claw" mice above. I picked one of those up from a thrift store a few months back just for the nostalgia factor, as they are pretty ergonomic and give me fond memories of other people's setups from my childhood. It also might support RS-232 serial with a simple pin adapter if I ever find myself with a system so archaic it doesn't even have PS/2 ports.

One thing that stands out is that even with a proper cloth-over-rubber mousepad that would've been used with ball mice, these things suck when it comes to fast movements, as the ball doesn't always keep a grip on the rollers when flicking the mouse. Optical is a godsend for the entire FPS genre, and it makes me wonder how those old Razer Boomslang mice held up before its optical successors took over.

Reply 48 of 55, by creepingnet

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I still have a Microsoft Dove Bar mouse I have to use when I want to run Windows 2000 or XP on teh 486 because my Microspeed PC-TRAC Trackball just won't address under that O/S, a lot of it I think is because the DoveBar is a hybrid PS/2-Serial device vs. the plain Serial PC-TRAC.

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Reply 49 of 55, by MCGA

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Tiido wrote:

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.

Just curious, but why not use a Wacom?

I switch between my mouse, keyboard, and Wacom when pixeling away in Photoshop. 😀

Reply 51 of 55, by .legaCy

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I have a microsoft serial mouse 2.0 for my 486 but currently my 486 is on storage.
LGR covered one odd mouse that was optical and could be considered kind of period correct for old builds.

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Reply 52 of 55, by Baoran

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I have used this on my 486. Probably a really old serial mouse with a really heavy ball. Needs a mouse pad with really good traction that it works properly.

Reply 53 of 55, by Errius

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gdjacobs wrote:

I have a cat and she tries to be helpful, so no matter what I was picking little bits of fur out of the rollers. Optical mice were a great invention.

I was recently given a faulty optical mouse. Opening it up, there was a long human hair that had gotten inside and rolled itself around the light source, bending it out of place.

“I like to dissect PCs. Don't you know I'm utterly insane?"

Reply 54 of 55, by cj_reha

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I have never had too many issues with ball mice - I just find some that work well and stick with them. There are definitely crappy ball mice, but good ones aren't hard to find.

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Reply 55 of 55, by Cobra42898

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I use a optical mouse on my 64 bit stuff, but everything else I use a regular ball mouse. Yes they some times stick, but cleaning is just maintenance. You get used to the shakey-move when they get sticky. To me it's nostalgic. If you're recreating something 20 yrs old, but it works better, operates easier, etc. Is it really the same? If I wanted ease of operation as highest priority, I'd probably just use dosbox and virtualization. Is it sometimes annoying? Yes. But I dealt with it in 1996, and I'll deal with it playing red alert now too. Lol.

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