Cover image

Yesterday I disconnected my mouse

published 31/05/2024 in Linux | tags : Linux, Arch, Mouse, Ploopy, Trackball, MXERGO

  Estimated read time: 3 min.

The issue

I’ve tried for several years to find an alternative to the mouse due to some carpal tunnel / RSI issues.

However it’s always remained plugged in (the mouse), as a secondary option, always available just in case.

And sadly most times I always ended up reverting to using it for gaming. I couldn’t really find an alternative. Since it’s one of my hobbies, it’s something I do quite often, so some nights I could still feel my wrist burning and being quite stiff, even if I had used my ploopy for most of the day. But ended up doing some gaming in the evening.

Somehow laptop trackpads are even worse for my wrists than a mouse, as I was trying to use my work laptop without a mouse for a while.

Enter the trackball (the wrong one)

I used a Ploopy Classic for the last 3 years. And have written about it when I got it: short write up on the ploopy classic. And it’s been quite fantastic, although I wasn’t able to use it proficiently for gaming. It works wonders however for work as I generally just rummage around in terminals all day writing code or debugging infrastructure issues.

If my current trackball breaks, I will likely snatch up one of the thumb ploopy’s and give it a try.

The new model

Earlier this year after a particularly painful night, I broke down and bought and MX Ergo trackball. It’s main qualifications were that I was hoping that the thumb ball would be easier to use for gaming, and it had the shortest shipping time available to me from Amazon. I generally try to do a bit more research into things, however my hand was hurting and it was late.

I did not expect it to be quite as good as it is honestly. It’s been many years since I had used Logitech gear. But the price wasn’t too bad on this MX Ergo.

If there’s one feature that makes this one worth it for me, is that it has, what I assume is a small magnetic plate on the bottom that allows it to essentially be used in 2 separate positions, one being inclined and the other flat similar to regular mouse usage.

This has proven to be quite useful for when I can start feeling my wrist stiffening up, I can switch up the grip position by just pressing down my palm to the side.

This has also changed how I hold the trackpad, instead of using the pointer finger for primarily clicking the left mouse button I can use my middle finger, and my ring finger for the right mouse button. Somehow this hasn’t short circuited my brain and comes quite naturally. This has helped the pain quite considerably, and definitely something that I would recommend investigating if it’s something you are also experiencing.

Visual comparison:

Picture of the 2 trackballs side by side:


As you can see they are polar opposites, one has the ball on the right, the other the left. Turns out for me the left works way better, and feels more natural.

But I guess this isn’t really a comparison between the trackballs, either or works for “work” purposes. But the MX Ergo actually has been usable in games without too much detriment. And I didn’t think I would ever ditch the mouse entirely. But here we are.

Arch BTW?

Also it works great in Arch, zero configuration required etc.

More ergonomics?

Speaking a bit on ergonomics, I’ve also recently swapped over to using a Glove80 split keyboard, so maybe I’ll do a small write up for that since I’ve put a few months into it now. Stay tuned I guess if you are into that type of stuff.