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    I just got the DIY Ploopy Classic, and I’m absolutely hooked. If you want the utmost customizability I can’t recommend their products any more highly. They recently released a mouse, too. The big selling point to me is the open source QMK firmware, which allows me to program things like drag scrolling, button macros, gestures, and so on into the firmware itself. Here’s an abbreviated list of things I’ve done in firmware:

    • adjusted the tracking angle
    • customized my button layout
    • enabled drag scrolling while holding the far right button down (and the sensor speed changes in hardware while the button is held down)

    And I’m working on understanding the USB HID protocol well enough to add high resolution scrolling.

    All this without any drivers or any additional load on my computer whatsoever. As far as the computer is concerned this is the most ordinary mouse there ever was!

    Ploopy trackballs are definitely very “hacker aesthetic,” though, being made of 3D-printed parts. It’s not for everyone. But I imagine some post-print work such as sanding and acetone vapor smoothing on the upper case and buttons would go a long way.

    Another great open source option for heavily customizing a pointing device in hardware is jfedor2’s hid-remapper project. As the name implies, hid-remapper remaps existing HID devices much like ordinary mouse drivers do, but it does so by sitting between the input device and the host (i.e., a computer) and altering HID reports in-transit, so it also needs no drivers and produces no extra load on the host. hid-remapper also supports high-resolution scrolling on Windows and Linux very intuitively (by “scaling” inputs by a multiplier value).

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      I got one to go along with my split keyboard and love it. I still use the Logitech M570 as well, but the rollers on the Ploopy make ceramic bearings feel like trying to run in water by comparison. It’s not that the M570 is bad, but that the Ploopy is so much better. I also have a Kensington Expert and it’s… alright. I love the size, but the button layout is a little awkward for me.

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      After a fractured wrist in my younger years, I had to switch to one of these. I’ve stuck with the model ever since and have even converted a few other users. I’m always surprised that there aren’t more knock-offs

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        My vague memory is that there was some kind of patent claim that scared companies away from making knock-offs.

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          I use a couple of Elecom EX-G now, which is similar to the Logitech M57*, but comes in a cabled model, which I prefer. They even take replacement balls that fit those similar Logitech devices, so at least Elecom are not scared away.

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            I’m currently using a wired Perixx myself, which is also very similar to the Logitech. I’ll keep Elecom in mind if/when the Perixx wears out.

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        Is it comfortable to use the thumb to move all the time? I ask cause I have some pain to my thumbs after texting too much on my phone…

        I personally use a vertical mouse, and it changed my life. Used to have chronic wrist inflammations, they’re gone now.

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          I use a kensington expert trackball for that reason. It was very alien at first, but now I love it.

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            Same here, I am addicted to using the ring to scroll. I find it much easier on my wrist, but to be honest i have both a mouse and this guy which i’ll alternate between during the day.

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              Ya same setup here, I use a regular mouse for gaming since I just can’t get used to using a trackball for that… but use the trackball for everything else. The kensington’s ring scroll is the bomb!

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                I’m looking for a trackball to buy but I heard bad things about the kensington’s scroll ring. Can any of you confirm if it’s easy to scroll accidentally or not, or if it has any other flaws?

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                    I don’t think I’ve ever accidentally scrolled the ring.. Maybe with bad posture it’s easier to? But after looking at mine and just now trying to get it to scroll accidentally… I just don’t see an obvious way to do that with how I place my hand on it when in use. 🤷‍♂️

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              I got thumb tendinitis from using one. I use a vertical mouse now, super happy.

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                Vertical mice make my shoulder seize up something fierce, but I’m really happy with an old CST L-Trac finger trackball. It’s funny how wildly people’s ergonomic needs can vary.

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                  CST L-Trac here too! I bought one based only on the internets and I wish it was a bit smaller. Definitely something to try out if you can, especially if your hands ain’t super big. Bought another for symmetry so I don’t end up in a rat race finding something as good but just a bit more fitting.

                  And there were the accessories aspect!

                  CST’s business is now owned by someone else who I don’t think have the back/forward-button accessory. I kinda regret not having got those. ISTR checking out what they had and it was lame.

                  What I’d really like to see are some specs and community creations for those ports, like horizontal scroll wheels, but I think Linux doesn’t really support that anyway.

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                Having used an extensive range of input devices (regular mice, vertical mice, thumb trackballs, finger trackballs, touchpads, drawing tablets, and mouse keys), my thoughts on this are as follows:

                Regular mice are the worst for your health. Vertical mice are a bit better, but not that much. Thumb balls are a nice entry into trackballs, but you’ll develop thumb fatigue and it will suck (thumb fatigue can make you want to rip your thumb off). Finger balls don’t suffer from these issues, but often come in weird shapes and sizes that completely nullify their benefits. The build quality is usually also a mess. Gameball is a good finger trackball (probably the best out there), and even that one has issues. I also had a Ploopy and while OK, mine made a lot of noise and I eventually sold it.

                Touchpads are nice on paper, but in practice I find they have similar problems to regular mice, due to the need for moving your arm around. Drawing tablets in theory could be interesting as you can just tap a corner and the cursor jumps over there. Unfortunately you still need to move your arms/wrist around, and they take up a ton of space.

                Mouse keys are my current approach to the above problems, coupled with trying to rely on pointing devices as little as possible. It’s a bit clunky and takes some getting used to, but so far I hate it the least compared to the alternatives.

                QMK supposedly supports digitizer functionality (= you can have the cursor jump around, instead of having to essentially move it pixel by pixel), but I haven’t gotten it to work reliably thus far. There are also some issues with GNOME sadly.

                Assuming these issues are resolved, and you have a QMK capable keyboard, I think this could be very interesting. In particular you could use a set of hotkeys to move the cursor to a fixed place (e.g. you divide your screen in four areas, and use hotkeys to jump to the center of these areas), then use regular movement from there. Maybe one day this will actually work :)

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                  you could use a set of hotkeys to move the cursor to a fixed place (e.g. you divide your screen in four areas, and use hotkeys to jump to the center of these areas),

                  isn’t it what keynav does? Never succeeded to get used to it though, couldn’t abandon my mouse.

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                  I use an Elecom Deft Pro where the mouse is in the middle of the mouse. I generally use my index & middle finger to move the ball. For me, I find it more comfortable than a normal mouse or one with the ball on the side (thumb operated).

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                    everyone is probably different but I have a standard trackball mouse (Logitech, probably older version of this post) and it’s very comfortable. The main thing is to up the sensitivity a lot. Your thumb is precise, so little movement is needed!

                    No good for games, perfect for almost everything else.

                    (I have used fancy trackballs that a coworker has. It’s terrible for me, I do not get it at all even when trying for hours on end)

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                      Anything you overdo is bad for you.

                      I swap between a trackpad, a mouse and an M570 every few days.

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                      A logitech Trackman Wheel (white with a red ball, and I think it was a PS/2 model) was the first mouse I bought for myself. It’s successor, a USB Trackman Wheel, is getting a bit long in the tooth now. It’s a shame Logitech doesn’t make wired models anymore.

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                        The M570 is my favourite input device. I have five of them (one for each desk in my flat + work), dating back to 2015; all of them still work great. Really cool to see the M575 adds native Bluetooth.