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Mouse Balls.....
blaisepascal
A number of years ago, I got a Logitech Trackman Marble FX. It's a great little trackball. It's an asymmetrical design, with a large 2 inch ball positioned to sit under the index and middle fingers, two large buttons perfectly suited for the thumb and ring/pinky fingers, and third and fourth buttons easily pressable by the thumb. The placement of the buttons makes it virtually impossible to hit the wrong one by accident, and the large ball manipulated by the two most dexterous fingers makes positioning a breeze. The optical design and easily removable ball makes it incredibly easy to clean when it needs cleaning, and a long time between cleanings at that. It may not be the perfect trackball, but it's the best I've run across.

Logitech no longer makes it, which made getting one for my work computer difficult. I've not been impressed by the replacement models that have come out.

Trouble is, while to the best of my knowledge the trackball works perfectly, it doesn't work all that well without the ball -- which has gone missing in our house. Logitech doesn't have an easily-findable way to buy a replacement ball for a discontinued model. And buying another Marble FX on the secondary market has proven.... enlightening.

Keep in mind that this model is not new; it's been out for several years -- probably close to a decade. It uses a PS/2 mouse connector (which is round and has 6 pins) instead of the more recent USB connector (flat, with 4 pins). It doesn't even have a proper scroll wheel. Instead, software tricks supposedly allow one to use the 4th mouse button and the ball to simulate a scroll wheel. It's beige (skitten says tan or light gray).

The roughly equivalent current Logitech models list for between $35 and $50, new. The Marble FXs sell on the Amazon Marketplace (new or used) starting at $442. Ebay.com has several, with the going price for a working one not even new-in-box around $150. That's 3-5 times the price of an equivalent new model!

Wow!

If I find the ball, I'm not going to sell. I need a working trackball more than I need to get $150, but not enough to spend $150. If that makes sense.

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Awesomest Trackball EVAR.

Oddly enough, I still have the ball from my several-years-deceased Trackman Marble FX. It's not doing me any good. Send your address to jazzfish at softhome dot net and it's yours.

Have you tried the Microsoft Trackball Explorer? It's not as good as the Logitech, but not a whole lot not as good. It's what I switched to. And it's a heck of a lot more obtainable ($20 refurbished on eBay, as of a year ago anyway). (Plus, USB and a genuine scroll wheel.)

Re: Awesomest Trackball EVAR.

I've replied privately. Thank you for the offer.

It keeps slipping my mind that Microsoft's peripheral hardware division actually does good product design, so I rarely give them the attention they deserve. From the Amazon.com page, it looks like it might be a 5-button trackball with fingertip control. I'll definitely look into it for a backup mouse.

Re: Awesomest Trackball EVAR.

It's actually a four-button, with a scroll wheel. There's a large button for your thumb, the scroll wheel, and then a smaller also-thumb button. Then the two finger-buttons on the right side of the trackball.

. . . holy wow, just checked eBay. They were /way/ cheaper this time last year, I swear.

I now have both keyboard and mouse plugged into USB ports. You know how, when your computer first boots up, it'll say something like "Press F2 to enter SETUP", which gives you access to your BIOS settings? Well, pressing F2 doesn't do anything, because USB only activates after the O/S is fully booted. This also prevents me from going into the early stages of my Windows boot sequence (to enter Safe Mode, for example). So how do I get into the BIOS and/or Windows boot options?


Re: Slightly off-topic...

I don't know. It's motherboard-specific, really. My computer at work came with a USB keyboard and mouse, and I can press the appropriate key sequence at boot to access the BIOS settings.

If your motherboard won't do that with a USB keyboard, I can think of a couple of options: 1) keep a spare non-USB keyboard around for those times you need to special-boot, or 2) get a new motherboard. Option 1 is likely to be easier.

Re: Slightly off-topic...

I think I need to check some of the settings on the USB KVM switch - the instructions are in Engrish, and I may have set something up wrong. Although I suspect I'm going to have to go with the idea of keeping a PS/2 keyboard around for emergencies :-(

I have a Logitech Marble Mouse that I loved dearly, since I could use it in either hand. Unfortunately, it decided to stop working shortly after Logitech decided to discontinue making them, so I've been forced to use an optical mouse, which I loathe. (The trackball could be used in any comfortable position for my hand, while the mouse necessitates my running my hand and arm over some surface, which I find much less comfortable, especially after a long-ish session at my plug-in drug computer. My wrists never hurt when I used a trackball in my lap, since I could even use it upside-down if I wished.)

I don't know why Logitech discontinued trackballs -- I preferred them and have used one model or another for more than a decade.


Persephone

Logitech has not discontinued trackballs, and even still make and sell a version of the symmetrical Marble®& Mouse. It's cheap, too.

It has discontinued the Trackman Marble® FX, which is asymmetrical. It would be very difficult to use it left-handed. There's a good picture of it on it's Amazon.com page.

Thanks for letting me know that! :D

I'd been told by several stores where I could previously buy them that they were discontinued by Logitech. I guess those stores just decided to stop selling them and the clerk just presumed Logitech stopped making them just because they were no longer available from the store, even via special order. After having been told this at four separate store chains, I simply believed it to be true. I'm quite happy that it's not. :)


Persephone

I personally love my trackball and would cry mightily if it were to come to a demise any time soon

I've had to retrieve the ball from the cats a couple times - but so far it has not gone permanently walk-about even during the move - thank goodness

good luck!

Hey did you ever find the trackball for this? I was just now looking through my office and lo and behold there's a logitech TrackMan MarbleFX sitting on a high shelf still in the box not being used. I'm sure it's surplus at this point and I don't think anybody would care if I scrounged the ball off of it for you.

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