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Cordless Mice - before you buy one !!

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I don't know how many of my fellow users on Windows or Mac have changed to a cordless mouse, but those who have not may I offer this word of caution.

I purchased a Microsoft Cordless mouse with tiltwheel. Whilst I have no compliants about its functions, after a particular long stint of use I find my wrist aching and becoming tired.

I put this down to the fact that because of the on board two AA batteries used to power the mouse it weighs much more than its corded equivalent and requires more physical effort to move it around..

Looking around the shops showed that obviously all use some form of battery, either disposable or rechargable, but all weigh more than a corded one.

Whilst the weight may not notice as much straight away if you are pushing this around all day I believe it has an effect.

I can't stand the sort of scratching noise it makes over a desktop so I use a cloth faced mousepad and realised despite my "freedom" from wires I didn't move it very far in scale to the desk surface and did use it on the pad area as much as possible.

On setting up another computer on my home network I pulled out my old corded mouse - what a difference, light as a feather.

So I may just go back to the "old technology" of a corded optical mouse and give my wrist less of a hard time! Or buy a Wacom tablet with cordless-no batteries mouse if I get rich!.

Certainly something to consider before you make the change.

All the best


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i have the same mouse and it hasn?t caused me much pain. My hand get tired, but that?s after a lot of work. One thing I did notice was that moving form a one button mouse to a two button mouse caused me some pain.

I have swapped my mouse buttons over so that the left click on the right hand side. When I grab the mouse my hand is more relaxed and I don?t get any pain... (the right mouse click is on the left button)

use the Microsoft Mouse settings to change the buttons.

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My Microsoft mouse now sits in a drawer. Using it gave me what I assume was carpal tunnel syndrome. After discontinuing use and some time in a wrist brace, the pain went away.

I am back to using the clear Apple optical mouse with no buttons. I do miss the multi-function buttons and wheel, but I cerainly do not miss the pain.

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Is your arm entirely on your work table? Though everyone has different preferences, I am not sure the weight of the mouse is the complete cause of wrist problems. As you know, there are many factors that contribute to fatigue during repetitive tasks. The added weight of a cordless mouse may be exacerbating a marginal problem that a lighter mouse allows you to ignore. I really cannot say without seeing your entire setup, so it may be exactly as you say - heavy mouse causes fatigue. I would also like to hear how your chair and table are configured.

That was somewhat longwinded, sorry. I do have a point to make that I think many computer users overlook. Supporting the forearm on the table where the keyboard and mouse reside is key to relieving stress on the wrist. If the elbow is off the desk so that the edge of the desk presses into the forearm, it's only a matter of time before real pain sets in. Or if the elbow sits on the armrest of the chair, and that height is not the same as the desktop, pain.

Very few computer tables I have seen are deep enough to lay your forearms entirely on the table (My Mom's is the worst with a slide-out keyboard drawer). With LCD monitors, it should now be possible to reassign desktop real estate, but if you are not already doing so, push the keyboard and mouse pad at least a foot into the table and I think a lot of stress will be relieved from the support.

All the best,

Raymond (love my Logitech cordless mouse) Mullin

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I also vote for the trackball. I have a Kensington Expert and find it hard to go back to "mice", for all the above reasons.

There is a wide variation in trackballs, especially when using one for drawing. IMHO, the Kensington is the best for comforta and usability.

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It is nice to hear that some of you have good experience with trackballs. How do you operate the ball? Do you use your fingers or the palm of your hand?

I found it difficult to move the mouse in a straight line with the ball.

On the mouse pain issue, I agree with the comments regarding wrist angle. I believe that was part, (or all), of the problem. The Microsoft mouse is taller than the Apple mouse. This forced my hand up, relative to my wrist/forearm.

Armed with experience, I might be able to go back to using it and avoid the wrist angle.

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Hi Kevin

You know of course that holding the shift key down once you start moving an object will constrain its directional movement or when starting to drawing a line etc. will constrain it to vertical, horizontal, and angles such as 30 or 45 degrees, (which are also configurable), if you have it set to unconstrained by default in the mode bar.

Apologises if you already know this.


[ 03-01-2005, 02:33 PM: Message edited by: alanmac ]

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I use my fingertips to manipulate the ball, with a very light touch. Moving in a straight line improves with use. It's really not a problem unless you are drawing a line freehand. Most mouse movement is point to point and in VW is aided by Snapping. You can constrain the movement to the X&Y axes w/in VW by using the shift key. Kensington allows you to use a button setting to activate this constraint. The software allows you to configure the buttons differently in different programs. It switches automatically when you enter a different program. However, not all settings work with all programs - you have to do a little trial & error.


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Thanks Alan, of course you are right. My recollection of trying out a trackball was just general cursor movement in the finder and perhaps an old drawing program. I never tried it with Vectorworks.

Using the shift key could solve my concern over drawing straight lines. Thanks for the enlightenment.

Thanks George, what attracted you to the Kensington track ball versus other brands?

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I use a thumb drive one... it was the only usable one I found the day I star to feel the "mousse syndrome". I know is not the best (microsoft) but I like the thumb accuracy and the way my hand rest on the more than generous ergonomic surface.

One side the thumb, and the other with the scrolling wheel and 4 buttons for the rest of the fingers. A couple of days to get use to it, but big productivity gains!

I still need to try a finger tip one, but at the moment I'm more than happy with what I use. My best trick is to spin the ball to send the cursor across both screens, and stop it just on the right point... impossible with the mouse, my table is not big enough and I'll need to do this annoying thing of lifting the mouse a few times to get where I want!

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I've been using a Logitech Cordless Optical Trackman for the last year and a half. Never had a problem with it, very comfortable and affordable. It will now be used on an older machine. I had used an earlier Kensington on a Mac about seven years ago and always liked it. I made the switch mainly because of the more powerful software with the Kensington. This one has a scroll ring around the ball instead of a wheel. You can add more functions to the buttons - shortcut keys can be assigned to buttons or button combinations (hitting 2 at once). The spin that Kiwi uses is what I meant by "throwing" the cursor around the screen


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Which Kensington did you get, the Expert , Expert Pro ? They seem a little pricey when compared to Logitech and Microsoft offerings, but not completely put off, just don't want to find I can't get on with it after spending loads of money, which has been stated in one review I read, some people just can't get on with them. Suppose if that's the case there's always ebay!


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Larry; I was just looking at the Kensington website and they have a trackball with scroll wheel.

In pondering this issue, it occurs to me that the most difficulty that I often have is navigating nested menus. You know, scroll down, scroll horizontal, then scroll down again. I use a mouse. I am thinking that with a trackball it will require even more skill.

Are you trackball users able to navigate these menus?

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I'm using the Expert (Black body)

Model number: 64325


$78.95 at Buy.com

They are more expensive - there are some less expensive alternatives, but I haven't tried them.

The Logitech can be found for around $48 online.


The Kensington has a scroll ring - a large ring surrounding the ball. The Logitech & other Kensington models have the usual scroll wheel.



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I do not believe that the cause of my hand pain was the weight of the mouse. The shape of the Microsoft mouse forced my fingers to reach and extend in ways that lead to pain.

Does anyone besides Kiwi use a trackball? I have only used them for a minute or two and found them unintuitive and inaccurate. Am I correct or is this a learned skill?

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I've been using one form or another of Kensington trackballs for over 10 years and could never go back to a mouse.

Presently I use a 3-button Kensington optical trackball (cool silver/gray color) and not only does the trackball occupy much less desk real estate than a mouse but when used in conjunction with Kensington's free Mouseworks software one can fine tune acceleration, click speeds and program the buttons. It may take some adaptation when moving from a mouse to a trackball but IMHO is well worth it.


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I recently bought a Microsoft Standard Wireless Optical Mouse, and so far no problems. It's my understanding from ergonomic studies that the primary cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is related to the angle of the hand and forearm, not just to the repetitive motion. If your hand is angled up, the carpal ligaments rub against the top of the tunnel.

So I always try to angle my hand down relative to the forearm. In my case, I do this by holding the mouse near the edge of the desk, heel of hand on the edge, elbow below the desk top, and shoulder in a relaxed position.

This may not work for everyone, but the general principle still applies: angle the hand down. A pad to raise the forearm should also help, but elbow by the side is a more natural position.


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It takes a some time to get used to a trackball, but I think it's worth the effort. I just switched from a Logitech to a Kensington Expert (4 button), mainly because the software lets you program more functions to the buttons. As for the wrist soreness - your wrist should be in a "neutral position" (no bend).

I found that my wrist and hand were tense when I first started. As I got a feel for the action of the ball & the buttons, my hand and wrist became more relaxed than when using a mouse. I also like the larger ball on the Kensington, when you get a feel for it you can sort of "throw" the pointer across the screen.


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