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Pointing Stick Keyboard Roundup

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the don't-point-that-at-me dept.

Input Devices 195

An anonymous reader writes "Blogger pettijohn went on the search for the best USB external keyboard with a pointing stick. He found exactly three products that fit the bill in the market, so he bought all three and wrote a proper roundup review."

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195 comments

It's not a pointing stick... (5, Informative)

AccUser (191555) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183180)

It's a clit mouse.

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183224)

Tbh, it looks much more like a nipple than a clit. Unless your female friend is on anabolic steroids.

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (2, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183476)

It isn't about looks. It is about operation. You use the trackpoint more like a clit.

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (4, Funny)

flanaganid (900938) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184680)

You use the trackpoint more like a clit.

But how am I supposed to see the screen if my tongue is anchored to the keyboard?

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184806)

Except it's not. My problem with the trackpoint (vs either a clit OR a regular track pad) is that you need rather fine motor control.

I play quite a few sports and have decent hand eye coordination but the track point only has an operating range of less than 1/8" (give or take). I always seem to overshoot my position. The trackpad (or even a mouse) I have a bit finer control. Apple's trackpad (vs my Dell's) seems to be the optimal size for fine control and large movements.

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (4, Funny)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183230)

It's a clit mouse.

It depends on who your talking to:

http://xkcd.com/243/ [xkcd.com]

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (0)

ari_j (90255) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183504)

I've always called it an eClit.

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (4, Funny)

Squeeonline (1323439) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183738)

Personally, I've always called it a g-spot,

as it is situated next to the g key in case some of the virgins on here didn't get that...

*ducks*

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (2, Funny)

nazsco (695026) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183864)

btw having it on the g/h keys is the dumbest thing.

if you had it on the j or f key, then touch typists would already have the clit on their finger. no need to move it to reach and then point. just point.

but then you would have a right hand and left hand keyboard.

which is perfectly fine.

Not (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184026)

btw having it on the g/h keys is the dumbest thing.

Not necessarily. It's in the middle between the two hand-zone. So no crossing over it and no perturbation to the usual haptics.

i.e.: not matter which key a touch-typist is hitting, the typist in never going to have a finger moving over the stick/nipple/clit.
So no way to move the pointer by incident, and no way that typist tries to press it instead of a key, because the the finger-tip "counted" move 3 objects to the right and the finger thinks it's above a key when in fact its above the stick/nipple/clit.

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183976)

The G spot is more like the slightly textured touch pad you get one some machines - especially if you lubricate it with some WD40 you've warmed up a bit.

If my ex boss is reading this - remember that exploding WD40 can in the kitchen. Guess what....

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184482)

It depends on who you are talking to.
It depends on who you're talking to.

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (2, Informative)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183242)

On an IBM^H^H^H^H Lenovo laptop, it's a TrackPoint. Much more convenient than the lame touchpads most computers have (with the possible exception of Apple) and can give you much finer control. And you don't need to move your hands from the typing position at all, so it's even more convenient than an external mouse for quick tasks.

The one downside is that it will start to chafe your fingertip if you use it for hours and hours and hours on end.

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183308)

The one downside is that it will start to chafe your fingertip if you use it for hours and hours and hours on end.

That's only for those of weak mind, who give up early. Similar thing to the one with guitars...

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183352)

Somewhere I have an old IBM mouse with a TrackPoint stick instead of a wheel. Was nice for scrolling about in huge spreadsheets or poorly designed web sites. Even for vertical only scrolling it was better because applying more pressure made it scroll faster.

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (3, Informative)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184212)

On an IBM^H^H^H^H Lenovo laptop, it's a TrackPoint. Much more convenient than the lame touchpads most computers have (with the possible exception of Apple) and can give you much finer control. And you don't need to move your hands from the typing position at all, so it's even more convenient than an external mouse for quick tasks.

The one downside is that it will start to chafe your fingertip if you use it for hours and hours and hours on end.

Nah, not really. IBM/Lenovo usually shipped them with at least two different types of trackpoint caps... the original cats tongue and a domed, wider, more rubbery one with little raised grippy dots on it. And there are about 3 more aftermarket styles to choose from as well (commonly found on eBay).

I prefer the cats tongue ones myself, but they wear down a lot quicker than the others. But new out of the box, they seem the most responsive. Once old, the "grippy-dot" ones become the best - and the cats tongue ones start to slide under your fingertip, which may be the cause of the "chafing" you are noting. I thoroughly hate the concave aftermarket ones and find them near unusable. Some of the convex aftermarket ones (that are different than the two original options) are ok - but not as good as the two original designs. At least in my opinion.

I'm a proud owner of one of the IBM ThinkPad TrackPoint keyboards (which btw, also came with a neat carrying case (leather or pleather or something), and multiple IBM M13 Trackpoint keyboards in black and beige (which are IBM Model M keybeasts... err, keyboards... with trackpoints).

For those looking, the IBM Thinkpad TrackPoint keyboard reviewed in the article comes in two "styles" I remember. Mine is a Model SK-8845 (the BETTER model). The difference between the two are one (mine) is not Thinkpad branded (simply IBM branded), the other is Thinkpad branded. The SK-8845 model comes with a USB hub and two USB ports, uses only one USB connection to your computer, and has dual height adjust legs (2 legs on each side - a short set, and a taller set), and a cut-out compartment to tuck the cable into when travelling with it (no tie-wraps or rubber bands needed). There's also a slight difference in key layout. The insert/home/del/end/pgup/pgdn key row and the escape key on the model I have is actually normal.

AND the other major difference (which I hate) about the model I have, is that it also comes with a touchpad, and two additional (Right/Left) mouse buttons below the touchpad. With the IBM/Lenovo drivers, one can select "use both" or "use Trackpoint" or "use touchpad" - without, both are enabled. Followed by one other big difference... there is no mic control/microphone in the model I have.

Regardless, if you are looking for one, I'd recommend the model I have.

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184872)

Much more convenient than the lame touchpads most computers have (with the possible exception of Apple)

The only thing that could take me away from a trackpoint was the elegant and powerful trackpad of my 2006 Macbook (the unibody models have even nicer trackpads).

I did always hate the "drift" issue that I had with trackpads (even in thinkpads from 2 years ago).

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183618)

IBMer's referred to it as the Centrally Located Input Thingy

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (1)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183640)

It's a clit mouse.

Can't be. Too easy for most people to find.

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183660)

I've never understood why so many people have difficulty finding the clit... it's not exactly rocket science; it's pretty well front and center!

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (1)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183848)

FTA:

Don't let the "regular" laptop keyboard look fool you, it's even better than the keyboard on my Toshiba, as well as my girlfriend's modern Lenovo laptop. The keys have a buttery softness to them, a firm response, and they're quiet.

Oh baby... wait, are we still talking about the keyboards here?

Re:It's not a pointing stick... (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184310)

FTA:

Don't let the "regular" laptop keyboard look fool you, it's even better than the keyboard on my Toshiba, as well as my girlfriend's modern Lenovo laptop. The keys have a buttery softness to them, a firm response, and they're quiet.

Oh baby... wait, are we still talking about the keyboards here?

Interestingly, it is mostly (or entirely) a laptop keyboard. The IBM Thinkpad keyboards were simply a lot better than the Toshiba (or other) keyboards. Some notable exceptions in the non-Mac world were various of the older Dell keyboards - but I dont count those, since they were manufactured by IBM/Lenovo (or their manufacturing companies) for Dell (including, on many, the Trackpoint).

The model I have is definitely a laptop keyboard (Model SK-8845). The difference is, the IBM laptop keyboards had multiple screw-down points along the back and side edges. It was not uncommon to find an IBM laptop keyboard (like the ones in the Thinkpad 600 series) that used ELEVEN or MORE screws on top and bottom edges, and across the middle (instead of the customary 2 or 4 on the top edge) to hold the keyboard rigid to the laptop (or in this case to the keyboard casing), and was made of thicker metal, with curved-upward edges to help prevent flex.

The Thinkpad keyboards were never exactly "regular" laptop keyboards though - like the reviewer said. :-)

Pointing Stick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183194)

Reading TFA told me what it is (the little button some keyboards have in the middle which can tilt and control the mouse), but does anyone call it a "pointing stick"?

Re:Pointing Stick? (3, Insightful)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183246)

Depends on who can hear you.

Friends: Keyboard Clit
Coworkers: Keyboard Nipple
Boss: Pointing Stick.

Re:Pointing Stick? (2, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184058)

I learnt it as "clitmouse".

However, you shouldn't try to move it with your tongue.

Re:Pointing Stick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184452)

The mousey thing is the clit, the things on the F and J buttons are the nipples. Don't you guys have any experience?

Re:Pointing Stick? (0)

jra (5600) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183392)

I generally call it a titmouse.

And while none of mine have them, I do have about 6 IBM Model M keyboards; you can have them when you pry them from, etc, etc, yada yada yada.

Re:Pointing Stick? (2, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183850)

A company called Unicomp is still making the Model M with the same gear IBM used to use in Lexington Kentucky back when they made the Model M. A few IBM retirees bought up the gear when IBM stopped making them, and have been making keyboards with it ever since. They are located at http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/index.html [yahoo.net]

The "classic" model M is now called the "Customizer", http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/cus101usenon.html [yahoo.net]

But they're not just making the old ones, they've been busy reworking the design. You can get one with a titmouse if you want. http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/en104wh.html [yahoo.net]

They don't only sell buckling spring, so look at the product descriptions carefully before you buy...

Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183202)

Funny, I really sought to have somebody play with my pointy stick, but nobody wanted it.

Products you didn't know existed, yet want. (0)

InfinityWpi (175421) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183226)

I can see the appeal of having one of these. I always did prefer having a keyboard-nipple instead of a touchpad.

Now, if only someone would build a Wii-knunchuck-like trackball or pointing stick...

Re:Products you didn't know existed, yet want. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183312)

I can see the appeal of having one of these. I always did prefer having a keyboard-nipple instead of a touchpad.

Now, if only someone would build a Wii-knunchuck-like trackball or pointing stick...

Go roll your own! [hackaday.com] It would be a fun weekend project.

Re:Products you didn't know existed, yet want. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183382)

The fact you can see the appeal shows you've never had the misfortune of having to use one.

Re:Products you didn't know existed, yet want. (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183868)

Unless, you know, he has.

Half the time, I prefer a TrackPoint over a MOUSE.

I just wish the EnduraPro had lighter switches (they're slightly lighter than the Model M already, but I like my switches light,) and a genuine TrackPoint IV mechanism instead of Unicomp's mechanism.

Re:Products you didn't know existed, yet want. (1)

jargon82 (996613) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184196)

I have one, I love it. Never use a touchpad, never use an external mouse, and even have an IBM travel keyboard very much like the one reviewed for my desktop.

Re:Products you didn't know existed, yet want. (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184308)

Some people might call it a pointing stick, but the stick part is disguised.

Some people might call it "the little button some keyboards have in the middle which can tilt and control the mouse", but tilting a mouse is not common behavior, and besides, this is a mouthful. Cue tasteless jokes here.

If you had called it by its correct name, a TRACKPOINT, I would have grokked it even faster.

I used to call it the "F$&*ing eraser head", but then I got an X41 tablet, and got used to it. Other than the autocalibration, it works just fine, though I wouldn't want to try and play Bad Company with it.

My wife loathes it. Good. I get to keep my tablet.

The correct terminology solves a few problems.

what? (0, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183248)

" if you’re like me and you love it, "

yeah, and if I'm like the guy on the corner I wouldn't bath.

But I'm not because I'm a rational person. Same applies to the article.

Re:what? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183646)

Personally I love them too. They are for the exceptionally lazy; for those whom a trackball is way too much physical movement.

Re:what? (3, Insightful)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183666)

Insightful, seriously? Some modders here seriously disappoint me.

It's a matter of preference. Disliking them doesn't make you more rational than the article writer.

Correction (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183838)

it's

if(you're like me && you love it) {
blah
}

not

if(you're like me) {
you love it
}

Parent is insightful, people? Come on.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184682)

if(you're like me && you love it) { clap(your.hands); }

Re:what? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183910)

Sure, it's not the best pointing device out there. Either a mouse or a trackball is going to be necessary for any serious clicking around. But for those times that you just need to move the mouse a bit and go back to typing, the keyboard clit is awesome. That actually describes most of my mousing so I'd love to have one of these. By any measurement it's far, far better than those crappy touchpads everyone is using these days. Those are simply unusable for any purpose.

After getting my clicky Das Keyboard a couple years ago, I thought I was done buying keyboards. But I'm lusting after that Unicomp. I wonder if you can get it with black keys.

Re:what? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184580)

I've actually got one at work, it's pretty nice, but the nub is pretty easy to accidentally brush up on, so when I am typing something with g's or h's, a lot of the time I accidentally hit the nub instead of the key. Only really an issue with passwords. I would say that it's a really nice keyboard, I've got a unicomp 104 key keyboard at home as well. Been thinking of getting another customizer 104, and dropping the one with the nub. It's totally worth it though, I would put the typing experience in line with a das keyboard and don't mind the clackety noises. I use Auto-Hot-Key to capture Super/Win + [ ] \ for volume down, volume up and mute toggle. Overall it's a pretty awesome keyboard, and I'm not going back. My last Model M died around 2001, and didn't realize how good I had it, until suffering through 8 years with other kinds of "soft" keyboards. Carpel tunnel has gotten better as well, for a "non-ergo" keyboard, but I think IBM put a lot of effort into the tech earlier on, where as now, it's mainly gimmicky.

Hm...netbook + one of those?... ;/ (0)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183250)

Nah, I'm not that desparate...yet.

(Thinkpad x100e is a joke - "ultraportable" with battery life of a desktop replacement, almost? Plus, overall, the first Lenovo netbook, S9/S10, seems closer in spirit to the style of Thinkpad, to me...just add clit & optimize battery life - with latest Atoms and Pixel Qi screen for example)

chiropractor (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183270)

>After a chiropractor urged me to...
>chiropractor

Oh dear....

Re:chiropractor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183530)

You may as well ask a physics professor what he thinks about your neck, he's just as licensed. *sigh*

Re:chiropractor (3, Insightful)

raddan (519638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183858)

The physicist would respond, however, "Necks are not my field." A chiropractor, however, claims be able to cure any ailment using spinal adjustments, which is patently absurd.

Re:chiropractor (3, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184138)

Depends on the chiropractor.

I wrenched my back pretty badly last summer, and it kept getting worse. I finally went to see a chiropractor who spent some time examining the bone positions, used some electric thing to warm up the muscles, did some twisty crunchy stuff, and I walked out of the office upright and nearly pain-free, and armed with some photocopied sheets of appropriate exercises to strengthen the muscles and stretch things back into shape. I went back for a couple of followups, and he fine-tuned the adjustment, and my back felt perfectly normal within a couple of weeks, and we were done.

If the problem is skeletal, a competent chiropractor is an appropriate person to see. There are cases where misalignment of the spine can cause problems elsewhere (nerve issues, breathing issues, etc).

But, yeah, claiming to cure cancer by doing an adjustment is off in oogy-boogy land, and gives the competent bone manipulation folks a bad name.

Re:chiropractor (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184602)

A chiropractor I used to go to was an MD as well, so he was pretty knowledgeable all around. His father disapproved (being a heart surgeon) though.

Re:chiropractor (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184852)

Was he current? where was he getting his CMEs? Why would he go into a field where the major idea is 'magic'? Why not become a specialized in an existing field?

Seems pretty suspicious and I wonder about his critical thinking and skills and science knowledge.
It's like find an evolutionary biologist that promotes young earth. You can't be in your right mind and promote both.

Re:chiropractor (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184764)

my back felt perfectly normal within a couple of weeks, and we were done.

This is the key. Being DONE.

There are very professional looking and sounding chiro's out there who scare you into thinking you have some sort of horrible chronic life threatening time bomb in your spine that will leave you paralyzed or crippled unless you DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW and OH HOW FORTUNATE WE CAUGHT THIS JUST IN TIME and he signs you up for something like a three year long multi-time-per-week thousands of dollars regimen to totally rework your entire spine, and your family too. And the dog. Or you will ALL DIE A HORRIBLE DISFIGURING DEATH.

I worked with a guy that got roped into this, he and his son. I tried to convince him there was no way he had to do this, get a 2nd opinion, but he was convinced because he had x-rays and the Dr. pointed out the "problems."

But, hey, my wife has wrenched her back doing something dumb and she goes in and it's put right, a one shot deal. Chirpractors can help, and they can be quacks. The key is to get one thats just there to help and not one that's looking for his next three boat payments out of you, or one who is into all the crazy new age crap. I want to see joints and muscles on the wall, not crystals and scientology stuff. (I've done comp work for both kinds lol...)

Re:chiropractor (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184818)

here is the problem:
"Chiropractors" refuse to clean house of non science mumbo jumbo, and in mayy places you don't actually need to understand the body to practice.

Until the do so they should be treated with scorn and contempt.

YOU can find a dostor that spiaclized in that kind of care. SOmeon who went to medical school and needs to stay current.

I can stitch a person up, but if I tried to become a 'suturalogist' , I would be put in jail.

However, if you claim magic spirits cause you ailments, and use procedures that put you at risk it's OK.

Now if I went to medical school why would I create a new field that does the same thing as an existing field unless is was to promote a scam to make me more money?

Re:chiropractor (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184166)

In general chiropractors are full of shit. However this is clearly an instance of something where there is ample research to backup the claim that using a laptop display is going to hurt your back.

In fact workers comp claims are often filed because of poorly setup desks with monitors that are either too high or too low.

Re:chiropractor (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184820)

If your chiropractor is trained and operating as a physical therapist, then you should just call him your physical therapist.
If your chiropractor is acting as a physical therapist, but is not trained as such, then you should go find a real physical therapist.
If your chiropractor is acting as a chiropractor.... Oh dear...

Please justify your work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184898)

Imageboard style "zoom & snark" comments are nice on imageboards, but perhaps you could amplify your comment by stating what's exactly wrong with chiro. You'd make a stronger case AND would be giving a comment more worthy of your +5 insightful.

For instance, you could say things like "the subluxation is the fundamental lesion of Palmer-style chiropractic, is undetectable physiologically except on x-ray, and trained chiropractors cannot consistently identify subluxations on x-ray."

Love Thinkpads.. (1)

mdwntr (1367967) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183306)

I would be interested in using the Lenovo one for my desktop, that's not too weird/impossible right? (I don't need a numeric keypad, though it wouldn't hurt). Anyone use one in Linux? I figure everything would work as expected, TrackPoint scrolling, etc?

Re:Love Thinkpads.. (2, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183396)

Anyone use one in Linux?

I have the full-sized lenovo UltraNav (with the numeric pad and touchpad) hooked up to my Linux workstation at work. Works great; although I haven't bothered to setup the scroll function for the third button - it is worth more to me as a "paste" function in X.

Overall it's great. I bought it to replace the M2 I had with a pointing stick in it - which I replaced only because the person I share my office with was annoyed by the sound of the buckling spring keyboard (and offered to buy me a new, quieter keyboard).

Re:Love Thinkpads.. (1)

mdwntr (1367967) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183536)

Thanks for the info, I looked into those models a while back, they don't seem to be particularly available at the moment and I was never a fan of it having a trackpad (hence why the one in the article interests me). I suppose the model above would mean you have some certain laptop-like looks about it such as the symbols on the function keys and such... still not such a big deal.

Re:Love Thinkpads.. (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183872)

I have the full-sized lenovo UltraNav (with the numeric pad and touchpad) hooked up to my Linux workstation at work. Works great; although I haven't bothered to setup the scroll function for the third button - it is worth more to me as a "paste" function in X.

I have a Thinkpad T61 with both the pointing stick and touchpad and I find that I switch between both depending on the task.

The trackpoint scrolling functionality in Linux doesn't impede the middle-button's use for pasting.

Re:Love Thinkpads.. (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184050)

The way I've seen to set it up in Linux, as a click, it still functions as a middle-click, but as a drag, it functions as it does in Windows. Best of both worlds.

Re:Love Thinkpads.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183502)

I want http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/UNICOMP-M13-TRACKPOINT-KEYBOARD-SOFTOUCH-IBM-LEXMARK-/290433494085?cmd=ViewItem&pt=PCA_Mice_Trackballs&hash=item439f2f6c45 - I wish they still made them.

Re:Love Thinkpads.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183794)

The only drawback to the older models under Linux is that it's not trivial to disable the trackpad if you, like me, only wanted the trackpoint. This needs to happen in drivers, rather than in BIOS like on Thinkpad laptops. Similarly, the Fn-combinations for power management and what not do not function via the USB keyboard on Fedora by default, and I'm too lazy to look for ways to enable this.

Re:Love Thinkpads.. (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184894)

The Linux support for IBM/Lenovo gear like this is generally absolutely superb. I don't have one of these per-say, but the trackpoint/trackpad on my thinkpad is actually more configurable (that I can figure out) in Linux than it is in Windows. Works absolutely flawlessly.

Samsung Q1 keyboard is reasonably good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183328)

I have the Samsung Q1 keyboard which I chose because of its compactness. I agree that it's not the best quality keyboard around but don't really notice any the problems he cites in his article. A minor gripe I have is that if you have your BIOS setting configured to turn on NUM LOCK automatically on boot, the keyboard goes into numeric keypad mode which you'll need to turn it off manually before you can log in.

Ouch (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183372)

I have consistently chosen ThinkPad laptops for the very reason that they had these things. But, after a long period of screen navigation, I would get this wicked blister on my fingertip. I wish they had one that, instead of being a textured nub, was more like the XBox360 analog stick (but smaller).

Re:Ouch (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183414)

You can get one that is concave instead. It's much more comfortable than the "eraser tip" style. Below is a link to a set of different styles you can buy from Lenovo.

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:show-category-with-items?category-id=44A77E4BFC554CEBA4D064394A24A0B8

Re:Ouch (2, Informative)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183650)

When you buy a thinkpad new in the box, it comes with a little bag of replacement pointer tips in various styles. I prefer the original dot texture, but I do hate that it collects filth easily.

Re:Ouch (4, Informative)

Francis (5885) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183836)

I found a "replacement nib" pack for Lenovo Thinkpads for a dollar. There's actually 3 different shapes that you can get, maybe one's more comfortable for you?

I have no opinion on these sellers, but they have a picture of the 3 different types:
http://www.6store.net/other-accessories/328/ [6store.net]
http://www.machinaelectronics.com/store/buypart/Lenovo_Thinkpad_R61_E/91P8421 [machinaelectronics.com]

(PS. What the heck are you doing that you give yourself a blister on your trackpoint? I personally have never had a problem, nor has anyone I know who uses a Thinkpad. They're standard issue at work, so I actually do know quite a few people who use them.)

Re:Ouch (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183992)

Maybe I have sensitive finger skin, I don't know. All I know is, that after a few days of 8+ hours of work, I get these blisters. It's gotten bad enough in the past where I start using a *gasp* mouse ;)

Re:Ouch (1)

ZERO1ZERO (948669) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184376)

I love the think pad trackpoints as well. I have the concave pointer (like the xbox360 pad) and it's the best imo. The problem I find with the trackpoint is that my shoulder gets really tense after using it for a few hours as I find you do need to have quite fine motor controls to use it precisely. I can feel my whole arm tense up when using my finger to just nudge to pointer carefully.

As for trackpads, never been a fan, I always end up accidentally clicking all over the place and accidentally brushing the pad with my wrists, but DAMN I just got a Macbook Pro and the trackpads on them are phenomenol - multiouch, gestures, so smoooth, whole button click, ability to disable 'taps'

Also, the IBM thinkpad keyboards are in a league of their own when it comes to laptop keyboard quality.

Pretty Good Article (2, Informative)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183400)

This is actually a pretty good article. Good run down on features and problems with each. I like the Unicomp-style keyboards too much though.

Re:Pretty Good Article (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183672)

Yeah, I myself have become addicted to this thing. [apple.com] I didn't think I'd like it, but Apple seems to have managed to shorten the keystroke length substantially relative to other keyboards, making it effortless to type on, but still gives you a good strong tactile feedback when the key is fully pressed (i.e. the key comes to a full, abrupt stop when it's at the length of its travel). Getting the function/media keys working properly in linux requires some editing of keyboard map though -- I just run a script at startup that assigns values to the media keys that X11 doesn't know about. I never thought I would like it when I got one with a new computer, but then typing anything else became a chore after a few weeks on it.

The lenovo is good, but not perfect (2, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183472)

I've been using the full-sized variant of the Lenovo UltraNav keyboard at work for a few years now (not sure if they still sell it). Mine has the numeric pad as well as a two-button touchpad underneath the regular keyboard (with the nipple).

I do have a couple complaints for it though:
  • The finish wears off - just like my laptop keyboard. You can definitely tell that I tend to hit the space with my right thumb much more often than with my left. For that matter you can tell which non-letter keys I use the most (such as space and enter) based on what remains of the finish on the keys. Fortunately the letters themselves are still adequately visible.
  • Recently the left trackpoint button seems to have lost its spring. It doesn't have the resistance that it used to have, although if you can accept that it works pretty well. I now often use the touchpad left button instead.
  • The touchpad itself is too close to the trackpoint buttons; I often click a button and then end up moving my mouse cursor due to a clumsy thumb.
  • There is no obvious way to disable the touchpad as far as I have seen - in Windows or Linux.

Otherwise, its a great keyboard. A bit expensive but worth the money IMHO.

Re:The lenovo is good, but not perfect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183520)

There is no obvious way to disable the touchpad as far as I have seen - in Windows or Linux.

Hammer. Or, open it up and disconnect it internally.

Re:The lenovo is good, but not perfect (2, Insightful)

Ipeunipig (934414) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183644)

The touchpad more than likely has its own connection wiring in the internals of the keyboard.

Re:The lenovo is good, but not perfect (1)

wordsnyc (956034) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183942)

gpointing-device-settings will supposedly let you disable the touchpad in Gnome, but I have problems making the settings stick

I have a Lenovo Thinkpad and two desktop PCs, on both of which I use the original IBM-branded Ultranav short-form keyboards (PS/2). Supposedly these are of slightly better build quality than the Lenovo Ultranav boards and can easily be found on eBay. But having one without a touchpad would be nice.

Re:The lenovo is good, but not perfect (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184188)

Most likely the rubber dome under the trackpoint button has worn out. Find an old ThinkPad T4x or R5x that's dead, and steal the dome from its keyboard.

Re:The lenovo is good, but not perfect (1)

decnartne (468935) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184896)

The Lenovo keyboard I have (SK-8835) on XP has two entries in the Device Manager under "Mice and other pointing devices", one of which is the touchpad. Disable, and voila no touchpad. It's done wonders for avoiding my own 'clumsy thumb' syndrome...

Hope that helps

Where are the trackballs? (1)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183766)

While I'm glad to see Lenovo get honors for their (IMHO, awesome) keyboard design, I don't understand why the nub/clit/eraser/whatever is ubiquitous among laptop manufacturers. I find trackballs so much easier to use on laptops--particularly since there's no fuzzy-logic-acceleration involved.

Re:Where are the trackballs? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183958)

Trackballs take more space. That's really all there is to it.

I wasn't aware that trackpoints were "ubiquitous among laptop manufacturers". Who makes them besides Lenovo? I thought everyone had moved to those awful track pads. You know, the ones that take several strokes to move the pointer across the screen and click if you tap too hard.

Re:Where are the trackballs? (2, Informative)

j_sp_r (656354) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184056)

You know you can configure them to move the whole screen in one swipe? Does take a bit of practise but it is almost as good as a screensaver lock ;-)

Re:Where are the trackballs? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184564)

You know, the ones that take several strokes to move the pointer across the screen and click if you tap too hard.

Most OS's have configuration tools to adjust both of these to your preference. 'Mouse acceleration' and 'tap to click' would be terms to look for.

Re:Where are the trackballs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184814)

So turn a little acceleration on and turn tap-to-click off.... not so hard. Computers ARE configurable to suit your own tastes. If people are too silly to learn how to use a control panel applet cleverly labeled Mouse or Trackpad then maybe they deserve the frustration. Don't blame engineers for your lack of experience and/or poor training.

While I do prefer trackballs, most people are too stupid to clean them and complain they are crap.

Of course most people think handhelds, smartphones and tablets are "new". Too bad they've been around almost as long as personal computers in general in one form or another.

I want the days back when manufacturers made things FOR experienced computer users. Back when a secretary had to learn at least some basic command line skills (and usually did) to use her computer. The problem is that people are lazier about computer training and maintenance than they are about their vehicles. Trackpads and trackpoints are zero-maintenance devices, trackballs require a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol once in a while.

Re:Where are the trackballs? (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184034)

I don't understand why the nub/clit/eraser/whatever is ubiquitous among laptop manufacturers.

I don't know that I would call the trackpoint ubiquitous on laptops... If I recall, IBM has a patent on the design so other manufacturers (excepting Lenovo) have to license the technology. I haven't seen anything but Lenovo laptops using them for quite awhile.

I find trackballs so much easier to use on laptops--particularly since there's no fuzzy-logic-acceleration involved.

Easy answer: trackballs are much more fragile than trackpoints or touchpads. They get filled with gunk, break easily, and the ball comes out and gets lost. Not an issue if you take care of your stuff, but we're talking about the general population here.

Re:Where are the trackballs? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184080)

"The nub/clit/eraser/whatever is ubiquitous among laptop manufacturers"?! I don't really care how are you posting from another Universe...I do care how to get there though.

Standalone pointing stick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183922)

Does anybody make a small standalone pointing stick that could be grafted into the middle of an ergo keyboard?

Anyone else have this problem? (3, Interesting)

raddan (519638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183974)

I've been a ThinkPad user for over 10 years (I tried a Sony and a Panasonic-- both were lousy machines), and the best feature in my mind is the pointing stick. Touchpads give me terrible wrist/forearm pain, especially when I'm on an airplane or train, because the seating tends to force me into an uncomfortable position. But in these spaces, I can use the pointing stick without a problem.

Sadly, over time, my pointers start to drift to one side. At first, if I take my finger off of it, it will recenter itself. Over time, though, it eventually loses this ability. Is there some kind of calibration tool I need to run, or is this usual wear and tear? It's happened on every ThinkPad I've ever owned, including my first 365CD and my current X61.

Primadonna (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184340)

I have always felt people that feel the need to elevate their laptops and use ergonomic keyboards to be prima-donnas.

If you find you're injuring yourself with your keyboard then perhaps we need to re-evaluate our method of typing? How is it we could go so many decades with mechanical type-writers and not 'injure' ourselves? You would think *something* would have come up during WWII at least...

- Dan.

Re:Primadonna (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184836)

I have little objective evidence to support this, but I have a suspicion that people could use the old manual typewriters for so long without problem because it took quite a bit more effort to press a key on them than it takes to press a key on a modern keyboard. I've asked people who used to work in typing pools in the past about it and they didn't indicate the same problem with RSI that people who have never used anything but a computer keyboard seem to have. Some of this can be chalked up to the way that worker's comp works now, but the anecdotal evidence I've seen seems to support it.

As for keyboards, I seem to have fewer problems typing for long periods without strain with my old Northgate OmniKey (key switch - a bit harder to press) at home versus the cheapo membrane Dell keyboards that we use at work.

HI (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184792)

Does anyone know of a good WIRELESS version? I am looking for wireless keyboard with some kind of track ball/pad/pointy thing built in. Silly to have two items (wireless keyboard plus a wireless mouse). That is just asking for the mouse to get lost, lose it's power, etc.

Why, why, why? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32184810)

Can somebody please enlighten me as to why you would want a pointing stick. Seriously. That's so like, 15 years ago, on cheap laptops, when trackpads were a novel idea. I can not think of one time when I've said to myself, "Gee whiz, I wish I had a pointing stick," or "Wow, I could accomplish my work so much quicker if I had a pointing stick instead of this stupid mouse / trackpad / touch screen." I haven't said these things, because, well, in my experience, it's a PITA. Seriously, I know this a geek site, but c'mon. Do all of your people intentionally go out of your way to make your work that much more difficult, that you get excited about pointing sticks? God, I was glad when I got rid of my last computer, a Thinkpad, that had a pointing stick. And I've never looked back since. My mouse, with configurable buttons, scroll wheel, laser tracking, etc is way better. My multi-touch trackpad on my Macbook is way better. I think the only thing just as bad would be a friggin trackpad. What's next? Are we going to argue that using a gamepad is the best way to control your computer (even in non-gaming applications)? It must be a slow news day. Which is fitting, considering doing something with a frikkin pointing stick is even slower.
I would just LOVE to know what it is about these stupid little sticks that makes you so excited. How does it help you? What makes it better than just about every other alternative there is to it? Enlighten me please.

My wish (1)

bunglebungle (777874) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184864)

I love my Microsoft Natural 4000 keyboard except for the truly worthless zoom toggle right in the middle. If they were to replace that with a pointing stick (or even trackball) I would be in heaven. (The back/forward buttons could be left/right click instead.)

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