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Behold, my favorite ever mouse — the MS Trackball. Look at the price. Look at it! That’s not a P’shop. They actually cost that now, on account of MS isn’t making them any more.

The closest thing still in production is the Logitech cordless, which isn’t bad. It’s no Microsoft, but it isn’t bad, but even this one has edged up to £50. I’m not sure why these are so rare. People who love them (like moi) really hate to use anything else. That’s what you call a ready market.

What happens to them, after many hundreds of hours of happy mousing, the three little ball bearings that hold the ball suspended go flat on one side, at which point the traction gets gummy. I kept all the old dead ones, of course. Some day, I might get desperate enough to try replacing those little ball bearings, but by god the tolerances would have to be close.

For now, though, I have broken down and broken out my last backup Logitech mouse, after the last one became intolerable. The occasion? Bundle Stars sold me the whole Quake series for, like, five quid.

I know what I’m doing this weekend. Happy frags, y’all!


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 4, 2015, 10:25 pm

It’s really spooky how vividly I remember every level on this game so far. That’s what happens when you’d get, like, one or two games to play for a whole year…

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: December 4, 2015, 11:01 pm

I use the Logitech trackball – I’d never tried the Microsoft. I do love an optical trackball – they’re just more comfortable and easier to use precisely than a mouse. I used to do huge Excel spreadsheets, and it’s a funny thing but hitting the right cell seems to matter.

I had no idea, of course, that MS is getting out of the trackball business – guess they’re going all-in on the Win 8 touchscreen interface. Touchscreen will be just F’n great for using Ecxel, so I can see why they’re doing it.

Anyhow, I bet that a careful search of the the interwebs would turn up somebody refurbing MS trackballs. The bearings should be standard as engineers tend to design using available internal parts rather than product specific… Keeps costs down

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: December 4, 2015, 11:27 pm

I have the logitech. Hell on yer thumb and carpal tunnel.

Comment from AliceH
Time: December 4, 2015, 11:33 pm

On Amazon US, they seem to have several used mice in the “good” to “very good” range for about $40. Also “New” starting at $140. These are 3d party amazon affiliate sellers w high customer satisfaction ratings.

Might be worth checking out.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: December 4, 2015, 11:45 pm

It’s always aggravating when, once you’ve found the perfect gadget, the manufacturer feels obligated to “improve” it and stop making the earlier model. Having been a heavy computer user (that’s deliberately ambiguous, heh) since the early 70s and a continual hobbyist since 1982 when Andy Kay and Nonlinear Systems came out with the Kaypro II, I’ve gone through the heartbreak of having my favorite peripherals yanked out from under my very fingers. Such as the original Microsoft Natural keyboard. Perfect, and gone the way of the moa.

You have my sympathy, Mme. Ermine, not that that’ll get you a new MS Trackball Optical.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: December 5, 2015, 12:39 am

Looks like replacing the bearings isn’t too big a deal


Comment from QuasiModo
Time: December 5, 2015, 1:04 am

I can’t stand trackballs, myself but I do have an old fashioned Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical that I had to buy on eBay cuz they don’t make them anymore…should maybe buy another before they disappear…I just can’t stand anything else because I’ve been using this shaped mouse since the early 90’s and everything else feels weird.

I tried this fancy Rat gaming mouse a while back…couldn’t stand it…it was expensive too.

I kept the old ones I have…usually it’s the wire that breaks inside and becomes intermittent…I might try putting a fresh wire on those one of these days.

Speaking of peripherals…I got a brand new Rosewill mechanical keyboard with the Cherry MX Brown switches…the dummies put this removable cord on it to switch between USB or PS2 interface but the extra connector weakens the signal so much that it doesn’t get recognized on bootup using the PS2 (which is the interface I like cuz it’s more responsive than USB)…gonna try soldering the PS2 cord onto it…I could still return it but I like it, otherwise…very nice touch.

Comment from bds
Time: December 5, 2015, 5:36 am

I switched to Logitech trackballs years ago. I tend to press too hard or something, and am lucky to get 18 months out of one. I try to keep at least one new one on hand so I don’t have to hunt for one when I’m desperate. If you watch, you can catch them for about $30 on Amazon here in the States. As for the MS Natural keyboard, the new version is passable (the wired one), but it’s just not the same as the original.

Comment from mojo
Time: December 5, 2015, 4:39 pm

Sanwa. $30

Comment from mojo
Time: December 5, 2015, 7:08 pm

I used to use a Logitech “trackman marble” at work, but it didn’t have a scroller, so I went to a gamer mouse. But I prefer a good trackball, less arm movement required.

But the newer ones seem to have scroll wheels, maybe time to switch again.

Comment from BJM
Time: December 6, 2015, 3:09 pm


I’m probably an outlier, but I find using the directional keys in combo with the tab key much faster than mousing through spreadsheets.

In general I tend to navigate via keystroke a lot more than by mouse…my brain is wired that way cuz I learned pre-Windows/mice.

I too use the Logitech trackball for gaming, the thumb ball took a little getting used to, but the reduced hand and arm movement is so much kinder on my wrists. I vaguely recall the MS and not liking it…gave it away I did.

Comment from mojo
Time: December 7, 2015, 8:53 am

So did the Preshizzle open up a big can of platitudes for his important speech?

Anybody bother watching? I was washing my hair.

Comment from mojo
Time: December 7, 2015, 8:54 am

PS: Pearl Harbor Day

Comment from jwpaine
Time: December 9, 2015, 8:48 pm

A billion years ago (ok, maybe 40 years ago) the sonar system I operated in the Navy used a console-mounted “trackball” about 5 inches in diameter to move the cursor around the screen. It was quite a marvel. I remember my chief talking about the new “personal computers” some company named after a fruit and how it used an “upside-down trackball” called a “mouse.”

We all wondered how that company had gotten the idea. Also, we all wondered why they didn’t just g with a trackball.

That said, I used a Logitech Marble for years on my PC. I loved it. And when I finally needed to replace it, I couldn’t find one.

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