The computer mouse; the input device that just about everyone who's used a computer has used. You know exactly what it is, and I betcha that your hand is on it right now.

Well, mine isn't! Wanna know why? You've come to the right place, and it's the place where I'm gonna tell ya why.

Tracking issues §

You know how it goes; some mice work on some surfaces, some work on "all" surfaces, mousepads exist, mice are best on flat surfaces, blah blah blah. Come on, now, that's silly! Not every (potential) work environment is going to meet those requirements.

They can be a ripoff §

Oh, my favorite; ripoffs. Since they are physically relocated a lot in their use, their cables are in danger of being damaged. Wireless mice, on the other hand, could easily be dropped, especially when in use with a laptop. The potentially-cheap switches can fail. The scroll wheels can be crumby, or perhaps just their middle click (or maybe even the lack thereof). They might need a mousepad. Finally, the worst of them all; the "GAMING" products. How I hate those things! How they make my stomach turn.

Mice are a ripoff.

It takes up room §

It's a pain; mice not only need room for themselves, of course, but they also need enough cord slack to move around (if applicable), and they need more space around them to move it around. It's just annoying having to deal with this.

You might not see how annoying this really is, unless you've tried to use a laptop and a mouse in a car, airplane, on your lap, or just some other cramped area like that. Now you probably see what I'm talking about. Can't you agree that it's ridiculous?

What if you're primarily a desktop user, though, and you cannot relate with the annoyance of that situation?

Oh, believe me, you're still not safe on a desktop. In fact, you're even more doomed, but I want to save the details for later on this article.

Also, haven't you ever had to reposition the mouse, especially in games? It's stupid having to do that. It can be combatted against with higher DPIs, but it just about never can be truly defeated.

Back in August of 2014, I was searching for a small-layout mechanical keyboard that let me have more mousing room, because my desk's keyboard tray wasn't wide enough. Personally, I think it's a very poor idea to put the mouse on the tray above the keyboard, because it can't be good for your arms, back, or any of that, so, sticking with this, a smaller keyboard was the only way. Or was it? Wait and see.

Searching for a smaller keyboard was a difficult process, but I did find one. To keep it short, it broke. To replace it, I settled for keyboards that were full-sized, but still small; this gave me more mouse room than otherwise, but it still took a lot more room than the first one I got.

The thing is, though, I shouldn't have to do that. "Get a bigger desk", you say? That would be unergonomic, stretching my arms wide to use an oversized desk, just for having more mouse room. That also means less space in my bedroom, just for the sake of a flawed input device. Geez.

Mysterious System Wakeups §

In many system BIOSes, computers are configured to wake upon sensing mouse movement, so if something falls or someone bumps into your desk or something, causing the mouse to move, it will wake the system. I've realized the stupidity of this before I even realized how stupid mice were altogether.

Gigabyte motherboards offer the option to wake the system only by the double-click of a mouse. While I despise double-click as well, at least this lets you wake the system with the mouse without this huge downside.

The Alternative §

You know what? I have a better idea.

Screw mice.

Why?

They're space hogs, and there is no denying it. There's also no denying that the computer mouse was a big step in computing, and I'm not fighting against that fact. Yes, horses were a big step in transportation, too, but we've had cars for about a century now.

Let's get on with it, shall we? Introducing...the alternative to mice!

Track sticks!

"Come on, you have got to be kidding. How do you even use one of these!?"

It's sad how kids these days don't know how to use boomboxes, phonographs, typewriters, or tape players, it really is. I betcha that there's someone older than I am who doesn't how, either, and they're probably stuck using some blasted, potentially-overpriced "smart phone". Ugh...I think I'm gonna get sick.

"At least you don't have to wait for a pencil to boot up." -- Me, 2011

Now, let me just give you the advantages of a track stick over a mouse:

  1. Precise
  2. Simple
  3. Very low space requirements
  4. Keeps your hands on the keyboard (no switching your hand around)
  5. Lower power consumption (no lights)
  6. Doesn't require much movement, or any re-positioning
  7. Better for your hands (again, ergonomic)

However, here are the downsides:

  1. Alienates those who aren't used to it
  2. Rare and expensive

These are both only problems you'll face initially, rather than something that lives throughout the use of the product (like mice's space & power requirements).

Also, it is possible to play games on a track stick. I don't really care for games anymore, but track sticks are actually more precise than mice for playing FPS. That, and you don't have to re-position the mouse nine thousand and one times!

Besides, cool people can spin around infinite in games. The only way you can do that on a mouse, is if you get a table shaped like a doughnut, sit in a chair in the middle, then spin in the chair while holding the mouse. Good luck with that!

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