After far too many years hunched over a computer I started to feel the old aches in the arms, wrist and fingers. Some of it was due to cramped laptop keyboards but a lot was down to the mouse. I tried a number of alternatives over time and developed a huge affection for my Microsoft Trackball Explorer.
Sadly this wonder (described by some as "the world's most comfortable trackball") is no longer available (examples on Amazon and eBay often top US$200) so I treat mine with due reverence - no longer does it get slung in luggage and dragged around the world to meetings, conferences and friends houses. It stays safe and snug at home and no-one is allowed to touch it lest some accident befalls it. I hate to think what will happen when it finally does give up the ghost - it's been on of those unsung heros of my toolkit for many interesting projects.
Imagine my surprise when today I was given a Natural Mouse 6000 to try. Could this "normal" mouse compare to my beloved trackball? Would it join the ranks of other almost, but not quite, input devices I've tried over the years?
I'm pleased to report that this little creature may find a way into my heart very quickly. The shape is different enough from a normal mouse that you're aware of using it for about the first hour but then it feels (pardon the pun) quite natural - and going back to a conventional mouse it quite disconcerting.
It's a little larger than the mouse I currently lug around on my travels, and being wireless requires a dongle as well (would be nice if there was a very small USB dongle that could be housed inside it for transport, or it used Bluetooth) but when I've got space in the bag it's certainly coming along with me.
My other wish-list item (if the folks who design Microsoft Hardware are listening) would be for it to be rechargeable and ship as the mouse with a version of the Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 package - that's a great keyboard but the mouse is "conventional" - though it's Bluetooth....