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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Firefox extensions I'm trying out; and a new trackball

Firefox extensions I'm trying out:

  • Cooliris Previews - Hover over a link and it shows you a preview of the page. Also you can right-click a word and it can show you results from TheFreeDictionary, Google Images, and Wikipedia.
  • Firefox Showcase - Sidebar that shows you thumbnails of all open tabs (รก la Powerpoint). If you've got a lot of tabs open, it's often easier to scan the thumbnails than the tab names.
  • FlashGot + FlashGet - Evidently, download managers speed up downloads by breaking them up into smaller chunks and downloading them simultaneously. Or something like that.
  • GooglePreview - Puts thumbnails beside Google search results.

(Other extensions I have installed:, Firebug, StumbleUpon, Tab Mix Plus, and Web Developer).

On a different note, I'm giving the inexpensive Logitech TrackMan Wheel a spin:
I've tried a few different ergonomic input devices: a Kinesis keyboard (a keeper, though no silver bullet), an Evoluent Vertical Mouse 2 (gives me forearm pain), a pricey Kensington Expert Mouse (gives me other sorts of aches). The humble Logitech TrackMan Wheel feels very natural and comfortable. But it's only been one day.


  • That has been my favorite mouse for a few years :-) It rocks.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/14/2007 8:55 a.m.  

  • I had one of these but much prefer the MS Trackman Explorer which puts the ball under the fingertips - sadly MS no longer make them. On e-Bay they're fetching 2 - 3 times the new price so I am not alone in wanting another one.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/14/2007 11:54 a.m.  

  • Some more extensions you may or may not like;

    I've been enjoying your posts (via Bloglines) by the way. Keep it coming.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/14/2007 12:13 p.m.  

  • Brian - Cool! Good to know it's worked for you for so long.

    John - I've heard good things about MS's trackball.

    Logan - Thanks for the link - I'll check it out!

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 1/14/2007 7:49 p.m.  

  • Doesn't a trackball overload the nerves corresponding to the thumb ?

    By Blogger Daniel Serodio, at 1/24/2007 5:13 a.m.  

  • Daniel - It could. Actually I've gone back to a mouse + software that automatically clicks it whenever I stop moving it (RSIGuard). Quite comfortable.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 1/24/2007 9:45 a.m.  

  • belated comment, hope it helps.
    I have a Kinesis, got here looking for keystroke help with that and Firefox (OSX 10.4 seems to just ignore the propeller-splat key with it).

    I have a couple of these, older models, which work fine.

    This was on advice after carpal tunnel surgery failed, to find the biggest trackball I could, something too big to try to squeeze.

    Crayola's Kids Trackball was actually perfect -- simple 2-button serial, huge sphere, hard to find nowadays.

    By Blogger Hank Roberts, at 4/06/2009 9:02 p.m.  

  • Interesting trackballs, Hank!

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 4/07/2009 8:06 p.m.  

  • And answering Jonathan from a few years earlier, these trackballs don't rely on the thumb the way the smaller asymmetrical ones do. You use the whole palm to move the trackball, which is the size of an orange.

    The Trackerball links are above; this is what the Crayola one looked like:

    By Blogger Hank Roberts, at 4/09/2009 9:19 p.m.  

  • I just happened on this page -- these are made for arcade games. Some look very tempting.

    By Blogger Hank Roberts, at 4/09/2009 9:21 p.m.  

  • Nice!

    What do you think about the Kinesis Expert Mouse? Seems to be the mainstream large trackball.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 4/09/2009 9:30 p.m.  

  • Sorry, no idea, I can't tell the size of the Kensington.

    The basic thing my physical therapy folks told me was to find a trackball so big that there was no way I could grip -- close my fingers around -- the thing, big enough my hand would just lay flat on it.

    Same principle as the Kinesis-ergo keyboards, to make you flatten and stretch the fingers out to reach for the keys instead of curve them inward.

    By Blogger Hank Roberts, at 4/24/2009 1:58 p.m.  

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