After finally getting our laptop we went to buy a trackball. While I grudgingly have to use a mouse at work, our computers at home have had trackballs since 1996. They’re harder to find than the mainstream mice but so much better to use. I’m still using the original Trackman Marble I had bought back then. My wife is using the newer Trackman Marble (with the center trackball) on her older laptop and it wasn’t even a question about getting one for our new laptop. (Since we will share the new laptop, my thoughts on changing the keyboard to Dvorak were met with less acceptance).
Since they haven’t been adopted by the masses, the selection is notably smaller. The new Logitech M570 is very similar in style to the Trackman we use on our main computer. It loses a button for a scroll wheel and forward/back buttons. It’s also wireless. Best Buy had the Logitech M570 on display – but again had no stock. We popped over to Future Shop. They didn’t have any stock either. In fact, they only had 14 in their system – 4 in Coquitlam, 5 for the Future Shop online eastern division and 5 for the western division.
We were running late so I had to use the touchpad included with the laptop on Saturday. While passable, it still had issues that would take a while to get acclimated.
Calling Staples however, I found that they had stock – 6 at the location I called and about 18 here in the city. I find it amusing that Staples has more in stock here in this one city than Future Shop has in their system for all of Canada. We picked it up, it installed with no trouble, and works like a proper device should. The back/forward buttons will take a bit to get used to but the thumb ball works just like the old one and the scroll wheel feels nice.
As a note of interest – the trackball was invented over a decade before the mouse. The trackball dates back to 1952 as a result of the Canadian DATAR project and the mouse followed in 1963. Contrary to what I always say, the mouse was not simply a precision tracking device turned over and rubbed clumsily against a table.