From the Whatever happened to Padlet, comes this suggestion.
Or, a nice collection of images appears here.
This is so timely. I was in a Staples store just this past week to get a floor mat for my computer chair; the old one had become brittle and falling to pieces.
To annoy my wife, I always take a spin through the computer and device sections to see what I would buy if I had more money. Of course, there are the computers and I always like to try out the keyboard to see what the latest feel is. I still think that the IBM keyboard with the metal base and the wonderfully designed keys is still the best. After I passed the computers, I hit the peripherals and looked at the myriad of mouses and other pointing devices that are available. There was a nice collection of mouses that include a trackball.
Ontario educators long in the teeth will remember the Icon computer. That was my first experience with any pointing device. When you’re using punched cards, that technology doesn’t even enter the picture. The Icon had a trackball at the top of the keyboard with a pair of “Action” keys to complete the package. So, you’d use your finger or palm to move the pointer over the screen and tap “Action” to make the magic happen. The similarity to a hand cleaner at the bowling alley wasn’t lost on my students and it was nothing to hear the “wheeeeeee” as the trackball got a good spin. They were durable things. Every student studied the keyboard to see how to remove the ball but I don’t recall any student who ever managed to do it. Now, mouse balls are a different thing…
This technology design was enhanced by manufacturers and it wasn’t long before you’d see them in gaming devices or devices design to address issues of ergonomics or drawing that require fine detail. My secretary got one to help her with wrist issues and it soon became the “thing” to have although I don’t recall that anyone really mastered it.
For me, it was about the time that I switched to a laptop because I was out and about visiting schools and needed something portable. I never got one but I did admire my secretary who really used it well.
These days, my sit down workstation is a mishmash of a laptop with external Logitech keyboard, Logitech mouse, and Wacom tablet. The mouse with a laser to read movement addresses my pointing needs for the most part. But, walking through Staples, I did pause for a second or two to wonder if I’ve missed something in the complete computing experience by never having owned a mouse with at trackball.
For a Sunday, I’d like to hear your thoughts…
- Are you experienced enough to remember the Icon computer and its trackball?
- Have you ever used a mouse that has a trackball build into it?
- What is your main pointing device? Name brands are OK.
- Has your finger become your ultimate pointing device with a tablet, phone, or touch screen?
- With voice assistants maturing, will we eventually not need anything in this genre at some point?
- And, if you know, just how does that trackball stay inside the device?
Please, please share your thoughts via comment below. I’m really curious.
If you like this post, please share with your friends and let’s get a feel for how everyone is pointing.
The entire series of these Sunday “Whatever happened to” posts is available here.
And, please, if you have an idea and would like me to share my thoughts about anything, add it to the Padlet.