I use a Logitech “Trackman Mouse” T-SC1-6MD (whatever that means) with 3 buttons. I started with tracker ball on oncology apparatus in Denmark and fairly accidentally got one here. THEY ARE AN ACQUIRED TASTE! Everyone else in the Safety Office abominates it. It is slightly less accurate for ultra-precise pointing (i.e. picking out one letter in the middle of a word).
Comment 1: I have briefly used a small tracker ball attached to a laptop and didn’t like it much. But I think that may have been because they could only be used with the right hand. As a left handed person it was almost impossible to use in my off hand! I have also seen somewhere a graphics tablet sort of thing but smaller where you use a finger to point or move the mouse cursor (they are about the size of a mouse) but it seems to me that they would be even less accurate than a tracker ball. If anyone used one and can tell me different, then please do!
Comment 2: As a left handed person it was almost impossible to use in. The tracker ball I use is VERY right-handed. They may of course make a left handed version as well (after all you are a good quarter of the population) but for some reason which escapes me firms often forget about left-handers completely even though they are a pretty big market. I come from a family of 3 left-handers and 7 right handers (including my parents) and from a little boy, I’ve always wondered why more things weren’t made for left-handers as well as for right-handers. I’m 49 now and still wonder…
Comment 3: If you get a tracker ball get the biggest ball you can. The “pointing devices” on laptops are mostly a bit naff, (with the exception of the Glidepad, see below). You can get left handed tracker balls, or some which are symmetrical. I`ve used all three, mouse, tracker ball nad Glidepad: I prefer a mouse but the “Glidepad” is surprisingly accurate and for most work more accurate than a tracker ball. I rather suspect that if the hardware were to improve slightly that I might get rid of the mouse.
Comment 4: I quite like the Microsoft Ballpoint and in fact use it with my left hand – it allows the three buttons to be swapped over to suit. The trackpoint mini-joysticks are not too good, I found these worse than a mouse, but I think trackpads would be good although I haven’t spent much time on them. One tip I saw is to make sure the pad is aligned with the G and H keys, which is not necessarily the middle of the laptop – then it is easy to use either hand. Also, make sure you have software support for double-tapping. “I have also seen somewhere a graphics tablet sort of thing but smaller” – They seem quite accurate but you end up having to do a couple of strokes – perhaps someone who uses one a lot can say whether this improves with usage.
Comment 5: I use a Microsoft intellimouse trackball with windows 98 and it may work with 3.1. There is a web address: http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/ which may have the info re 3.1 or their tel no is 0870-5010100. I find it great to use!
Comment 6: Slighty off on an tangent here – I am right handed but have used my left hand for the mouse every since developing RSI 3 years ago. It took a while to learn but now have no problems using it (other than developing RSI in my left arm!). I may look into tracker balls etc. However my nephew is left handed and I saw in TimeOut that in Soho there is a shop completely for left handed people. But I guess left handed people may already know about this. If I see computer stuff there I will let you know.