Question: I am trying to find UK suppliers for gizmos like trackballs, interesting mice, speech recognition programs etc. someone told me of a place in Warwick which does this sort of thing. anyone know who this is? or know other suppliers?
Answer 1: I know that Maplin stock a simple tracker ball. I use the Logitech one which is widely available.
Answer 2: It is worth IMHO going to someone like PCWorld and trying out a range of mice… I found most trackballs hurt my hand and I settled with a Logitech MouseMan+ (which has a wheel and a thumb button for scrolling) as the least damaging. A mouse mat with a wrist support is another good investment.
Answer 3: I think you are thinking of the Computability Centre. Their website is http://www.bcs.org.uk/computab/index.htm They are very helpful.
Answer 4: Your local “PCWorld”-type mega-store is usually adequate for trackballs, Wacom pads, keyboards etc. I would be wary of buying software from them unless you know exactly which version you want – they have a tendency to stock shrink-wrapped “cut-down” cheap versions of the speech-rec software. And you’re unlikely to get much intelligent support if it won’t work as expected (speaking as an ex- Dixons employee myself ;-).
Also, you can always get impartial advice and lists of suppliers from the Computability Centre in Warwick: http://www.bcs.org.uk/computab/acontact.htm – is that the place you mean?
Answer 5: PCWorld do have a lot of mice set up for demonstration, but I find it hard to give it a realistic trial with a freestanding mouse. You can ask them to plug one into one of the demo PCs, but it’s still not very realistic because you’re standing up, so you’re probably not using your habitual grip. The best would be if you could have a mouse on a two-week trial so you could use it in your real life working setup. I don’t know whether there are any suppliers who do this, though.
Answer 6: The Employment Service has a scheme where they will give you a piece of equipment to use if they have to see if it is any good for you individually. Not sure if this service is only available in the North East or not though.