SlimBlade!

Do you remember the Microsoft Trackball Explorer? Ah the memories! It was a trackball Microsoft offered in the mid-to-late 1990s, if memory serves.

The Microsoft Trackball Explorer

The trackballs available at the time were primarily controlled by placing one’s thumb on the ball and using one’s fingers to click. My experience with these trackballs was a disaster. Such thumb pain from all the required thumb motion! The Trackball Explorer reversed this so one used one’s fingers to move the ball, and one’s thumb to click and scroll. I don’t know why, but this was a heck of a lot more comfortable and greatly reduced my discomfort as compared to a mouse or a thumb-trackball. The two extra buttons, where one’s pinkie and ring finder would naturally rest were a programmable bonus.

Coming back to the current day, I’ve been using my computer more in the new year since my work hours have dropped. I have noted some hand and wrist discomfort from more mouse use. The Trackball Explorer has ceased being an option as it’s been discontinued for a few decades. A few jokers still offer mint specimens for $500 to $1000 but let’s be reasonable. So I researched the current crop of trackballs. Happily there were finger-controlled trackballs that were not wireless. Why do you need a controller than never moves to be wireless? Not having batteries or recharging makes the wire the preferred choice.

I decided on the Kensington SlimBlade trackball. Check it out on my desk:

The Kensington SlimBlade trackball.
Yes my keyboard is hella dusty. You don’t have to touch it. Move along…

It’s bigger than I expected. The ball is 5½ damned centimetres (2 inches) across! There are four buttons, one in each quadrant around the ball. You’ll notice there is no sort of scroll wheel. Must I do without scrolling and limit myself to scrollbars? Hell no! One scrolls by twisting the ball in place. Clockwise is down and counterclockwise is up. It’s very clever and easy to get used to. The only downside is horizontal scrolling requires holding the shift key while twisting the ball. It’s easy but not quite as fluid a motion as your other hand is required.

To use it, the most natural portion is to place one’s three middle fingers on the ball. Do this and the thumb naturally rests on the left-click button and the pinkie on the right-click button. It works very well for me and the discomfort in my hand is much reduced.

A bonus of the symmetrical design is it works equally well for right-handed and left-handed users. If the left-handed user reverses the primary and secondary buttons in his or her login profile, the settings don’t have to be switched back and forth.

It has both advantages and disadvantages over a mouse. Which is better is really a matter of preference, except for gaming … the mouse is better. You certainly use different hand motions to manipulate the mouse so if your hand is hurting from mouse use, the SlimBlade is worth your attention.

Hypocrisy so thick!

Harper’s Bazaar published an article titled, “The Catholic Church Has No Moral Argument on Abortions.” The subtitle completes the thought: “After the pope revealed nuns were forced to get abortions while being held as sex slaves, the Church doesn’t seem well positioned to lecture on what women should or should not do with their bodies.”

I tip my hat to the author, Jennifer Wright. The article is worth your attention.

What I do not understand is why so many Catholics still follow the church. The church protects priests who have sexually assaulted children, and now this? What will it take for people to stop respecting and funding this deeply corrupt organization? Any other business acting in this manner would have been shuttered in a heartbeat.

The fact that the church fights tooth-and-nail to restrict abortion, then forces their sex-slave nuns to have abortions, absolutely sickens me. It’s just one of religion’s seemingly limitless hypocracies.

Ms. Rõivassepp, I presume?

I’d like to present to you the coolest album cover I’ve seen in quite some time.

As you can see, it’s Dance of Sounds by the Karmen Rõivassepp Quartet. Rõivassepp is the vocalist for the quartet, and I assume that’s her on the cover, but I really don’t know. The band is from Denmark though she’s Estonian. They don’t have much of a presence on the web so that’s pretty much all I know.

Yes I bought the album … in high res, even. No, I haven’t listened to it yet.

Willful disregard

Here we go again! You’ll recall My letter to the mayor, in which I relay my thoughts about why it’s such a bad idea to indulge in prayer of one religion before city council meetings. I also asked him if he represented all the residents of the city, or just those who shared his religion. I received no response.

The Niagara Falls Review posted, “Falls mayor apologizes over prayer at council swearing-in.” It seems that as part of the swearing-in ceremony of new city councillors earlier this week, the Mayor included a non-denominational prayer recited by Reverend Chris Kulig. There’s nothing like keeping religion out of city ceremonies like a Reverend reciting a prayer.

Just before the city ceased the practice of opening council meetings with prayers in 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada declared the reciting of prayers before public meetings infringes on people’s freedom of conscience and religion. Three years later the Mayor pulls this garbage.

Given his willful disregard in respecting other’s beliefs, I wrote him again.

I read the Niagara Falls Review article “Falls mayor apologizes over prayer at council swearing-in” online with great interest. You apologized, which I do appreciate. But then you’re quoted as saying, “I was pleased with the inaugural ceremony and proud of the event and the way it was put together,” which entirely nullifies the apology.

I’m at an utter loss to understand how you can not see that your including an observance of one faith makes it clear that you are going out of your way to exclude everyone who has other beliefs.

When this same issue came up over city council meeting prayer, I wrote you and asked if you really represent all residents of the city, or just those who share your faith. You didn’t deign to reply. If it was because I don’t share your faith, I’d really like to know.

So let’s clear the air. Please tell me, do you represent all the residents of Niagara Falls equally, or do you favour those of your faith? It’s a very simple question and I believe I am entitled to an answer since I am a resident.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

[Signature]

PS. Next time please don’t apologize for including prayer in a city ceremony. Simply don’t include prayer in a city ceremony in the first place. Simple!

Do I expect a reply? I really don’t, but I can’t fathom how a politician can really let this go. It’s so ridiculous.

I’ll keep you posted.