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ergonomic mouse suggestions

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The pain in my wrist/arm/neck/fingers is growing rapidly. I have seen mouse suggestions on forums, but none relate enough to ergonomics. Can anyone help? I am desperate!

I use the scroll button constantly for Pan & Zoom, and am using the mouse/keyboard in-effficiently (working on better keyboard commands, to lessen the mouse/icon clicking, which is a major time-waster (another issue I'm trying to deal with - workflow efficiency!).

My own pain began from gripping a pen, so i think the tablet is out.

I use the number pad constantly for View and lenghts, so don't know if the Nostromo SpeedPad n52 will help workflow and lessen the right-hand mouse use - any thoughts there?

Options so far are:

- Nostromo SpeedPad n52 to replace keyboard use

- Trackball vs scroll

- http://www.handshoemouse.com/

- http://www.orthovia.com/

- http://www.evoluent.com/vm3.html

- logitech Revolution (now replaced by PeformanceMX = less ergonomic!)

Question is, which is ergonomically best BUT ALSO fits Vectorworks, not just everyday computer stuff.

Any suggestions? I'm on my way to being forced to give up my career, here!


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Have not tried Alphagrip, but it's tempting. It's a U-shaped keyboard/trackball thing you hold in both hands like a game controller, in your lap, for instance. Fingers press letter keys on back side, thumbs control scroll and command buttons on front. You need to learn new key/finger locations, cause it's not qwerty. There is some CAD commentary on the product forums.



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I've not tried the others so can't offer a comparison, but I've been using an Evoluent VerticalMouse for years now, and love it. I got it due to recurrent trapped nerve problems in my neck, and it's certainly helped (along with regular stretching etc). The Evoluent driver software allows programming for specific applications, so in VW the mouse wheel/button can be set to drag, the middle button to double-click, and all others to usual settings. Works a treat.

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Sorry, I had to get back to work to check the OS there. Not overly special computers, but here they are:

Desktop at work:

Processor ADM Athlon 64x2 Dual Core Processor 5600+

2.9GHz, 2.0 GB

GeForce 6200 (this may have actually been upgraded)

XP Pro

Laptop at home:

Aspire 7720


Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz

32 bit, 3.0 GB

NVIDIA Ge Force 8400M GS

I'm looking into the advice offered so far, thanks!

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I lament the discontinuation of the Kensington 4-button TurboMouse (roller ball bearing version), which I consider the best ever and which I'm fortunate enough to still use, praying for mine to never break down, which actually seems a reasonable wish given its simple design and durability:


There's an upcoming version, bypassing all those ill-conceived changes to the above model, but which is still unfulfilled for programmability due to lack of software, called Slimblade by Kensington, yet may feel "cheap" compared to the heavy ball-bearing older model:


Thumb button is single click, diagonal opposite button is double click. You cannot rest your hand in a more natural relaxed position yet still allow total cursor movement in any direction at any pace. I do it for many hours everyday without a hint of strain.

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Ken, may I ask how the Kensington works?

ie: my most used action is to select an object, hold & drag it, while both rolling and pushing the middle button to zoom and pan around the drawing to drag the object to a new location. Can this be done with the Kensigton - I don't quite get how the ball works, and how you select, drag and pan or zoom ...

I've never used a rollerball, and in my small town, 'trying before buying' isn't an option - so how is the ball for landing on grips and draging to resize etc.?


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It's truly the best of all worlds once you decide to let the large ball do all the work in movements. No need to move your arm. It's the most compact and intuitive motion ever.

You simply spin/ rotate/ roll the ball. Sometimes I find myself using two fingers -- index and middle finger. But usually just index finger. When the ball rolls up, the cursor goes up on the screen. You can make precise patterns with the ball just after a few minutes of practice. The ball can be lifted out for cleaning. It's just like a billiards ball. It doesn't pop out however fast you work because of the clever pocket dimensions. It's an entire genre better than any of the tiny ball devices. My TurboMouse model rides freely on three stainless steel rollers -- three points of contact. The newer Slimblade also sits on three points, but they're low friction Teflon-type contacts, with optical tracking of the ball surface so the new ball has to be that red color. I wished the newer model also had free spinning roller contact points.

By default either of the lower buttons is a single click, similar to any mouse click. You quickly adapt to the intuitive action of dragging by holding the button with your thumb and spinning/ rotating/ rolling the ball with your index and/or middle finger(s). The genius is really in the size and positioning of all four buttons. I use the diagonal opposite button for double click directly under my middle finger, so the common Vectorworks click-double-click actions are downright natural and a breeze. I have the other lower button as control-click (or right click in Windows) for the VW contextual menu, the fourth button for general applications switching.

When you hold the spacebar for tool-in-use panning (same for any mouse device and activated by your other hand), you can temporarily release the click-hold in dragging your object and Vectorworks lets you finish the action in click-click mode (as opposed to click-drag mode) regardless of your preference settings. Zooming can and should also be done with your other hand (keyboard shortcuts) with any object dragging in use, regardless of your pointing device, IMHO.

There's a free download driver that lets you adjust the acceleration and set your preferences (programming it). I have it installed for both my Mac and Win95 XP. When the driver is not installed, it works just like a regular mouse with all the buttons being a single click.

I can't say enough about it. Absolutely recommended.

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The mouse is a big part but only a part of the solution. I use a rollerball type (Logitec) mouse but two additional elements ease strain. One is to have a chair that supports the elbow. Mine has rotatable elbow cups (Good luck finding one of these. I found mine with a free sign hanging on it, parked along a curb.) The second part is to have a desk extension--a peninsula of sorts--that gets the mouse closer to you. I made mine out of varnished plywood.

With these two additions to your mousing, only the tip of the forefinger needs to move in order to spin the ball. The arm is supported and therefore at rest.

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I also use the trackman by logitech, which is a thumb operated trackball type mouse.

The nice hting is you can keep the mouse in your lap, you do not need a hard surface for the mouse.

I find that keeping my elbow level with my mouse hand with the combination of not having to move my wrist alleviated my pain.

Edited by Jodyb17
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this might be simplistic, but ...... a few years ago I felt carpel tunnel coming on .... so I taught myself to use a mouse in either hand and now I transfer it back and forth .... no more problems for years now (plus I can amaze my friends). I'm still working on writing with either hand ;)

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Forget mice. Get the Kensington Expert Mouse. The one with the scroll ring. I've been using trackballs with Vectorworks (back to MiniCAD), used MANY different trackballs from Kensington and others (Logitech are CRAP, BTW). I always went back to kensington and the Expert is really the best.


The other suggestion would be to try a Wacom tablet. I carry a small (4" x 6") Bamboo Craft when I'm on the road with my MacBook Pro and it works well, even with two monitors.


The other thing would be to look at your workstation and your posture while working. Look at you chair, keyboard position and adjustability of all.

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  • 1 month later...

For the TurboMouse (better than the newer Expert Mouse IMHO), the MouseWorks software in the link you have is correct. I can confirm that the downloaded file called "MWInstall_3.0r1.dmg" dated 5/31/2006 is the latest! Pleasant surprise that it works fine in Mac OS 10.6.3.

Long live the Turbo Mouse. :cool:

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Ray: I installed the SlimBlade driver as it appears to be the latest version.

Ken: Just 30 minutes ago,I got a note from Kensington's tech. support saying that the Mouseworks in not compatible??

Thank you for the confirmation that it works on Snow Leopard! I shied away from it after looking at the issue date?four years ago!

Ken, should I uninstall the Slimblade software?

Kensington Tech. Support response to my inquiry:

"We would like to inform you that, the product model # 72327 is a SlimBlade Trackball and all the button on it are pre-programmed and there is no option to assign or program the buttons on the Trackball as MouseWorks software is not compatible with this mouse.

We regret to inform you that the 72327 SlimBlade Trackball is non configurable.

The 4 buttons are preset with functions which can be used as play/pause, stop, and next, and the control ball can be used for adjusting volume, zoom in/out, and pan."

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Aloha, Yoginathaswami,

That's the same pref window I get when my Turbo Mouse is NOT CONNECTED. Once the unit is plugged in, the pref window changes.






As for the SlimBlade, which may not have anything to do with Mouseworks, there are rumors and expectations that Kensington is developing a programmable software to bundle with it. This is regardless of their "official" tech support response. If you research into it, the "unofficial" responses by Kensington are in some of the reviews of the device. Personally I'm holding out on getting it. I don't think much of the plastic flaps as buttons, but maybe that's just something to get used to. And then those teflon nibs instead of friction-free rollers... :(

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  • 2 weeks later...

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