How to Choose an Input Device?
By Dr. Michael and Lee Penrod
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- Common input devices such as keyboards and mice are something you will likely use every time you turn on your computer. These devices tend to have mechanical and moving parts that could cause reliability problems. Therefore, it is a good idea to choose brands and models with good reliability and comfort, i.e., the least return rates. Check the product return rates at our web site.
- Ergonomic keyboards are highly recommended. You won't feel thrilled when you first use one, but getting used to it is easy and does not take too long. After a few days your wrists will enjoy it more than you think.
- Get a wheel-, Internet- or intelli-mouse! Isn't browsing the web the only reason you turn on your computer these days? The wheel will make browsing so much easier. More and more applications now take advantages of the wheel feature.
- If you are shopping for a scanner, choose a USB one - if you have a USB port. The rest of your decision is up to your budget. If you don't have a USB port in your computer, it's time to add one or get a new computer. USB is fast and allows hot connections - connect and disconnect without powering down your system. USB is particularly useful for peripherals that you may switch between computers a lot.
- For most users it does not yet make any economic sense to buy a USB keyboard or mouse, unless of course you are thinking about notebook computers! Most people hate using the pointing device on a notebook for an extended period of time. Buy a USB mouse and take it with you on your next trip! Don't forget to write me back a thank-you e-mail.
- The exception to the USB rule is gamers, many gamers feel that a USB mouse can provide better responsiveness due to their higher scan rate and connection speed. Gamers like optical mice with high scan rates, and a fast connection to the system. One of our most popular sellers has been the Microsoft Intellimouse USB Optical Mouse which combines these two ideas. The Logitech G5 and G3 are also well liked for this reason.
- For people that love graphics, resolution is everything. The resolution of a traditional mouse or trackball becomes worse with time, as the tracking mechanism gets dirtier. Don't try to clean it next time. Give it to your co-worker or in-laws. Then, tell your "boss" that you found a dead mouse and would like to replace it with an Logitech G9 Laser Mouse. Interestingly, it's much easier for a mouse to get "dirty" in a home environment where a great deal of fine fiber particles are present.
- "Go digital, young man. Go digital!" If you are planning to buy a camera, do give digital ones some thoughts - especially if you use the Internet a lot. It's some thing new with exciting features. However, don't expect any of the current digital cameras to last too long. Just like a PC, the technology for digital camera is changing and fortunately getting BETTER rapidly.
- Joysticks and Gamepads are for gamers. Unfortunately, we don't come across too many "inexpensive" gamers unless they are so young that they don't know the difference yet. Expensive joysticks enhance the feel and accuracy during gaming. The best joysticks and gamepads use a USB interface and are from well known manufacturers.
- To track ball or not to track ball? That's the question that divides us. It's a very personal decision. Some people claim they may get "dizzy" simply by touching a track ball, while others can't live without one. Borrow one or go to a retail store to try one first. A Track ball does offer an alternative way to utilize your hand bones and muscles while computing, surfing, and having fun.
- The main reason these days to have a microphone on a computer is to do online chatting without paying long distance. Today's voice streaming technology is not perfect yet. You need as much help from a quality microphone as possible to get results half as decent as a regular telephone. Unless all you care is recording voice, buy a headphone/microphone combo. The combo allows you to listen and talk at the same time without hearing your own echo. Next time your friends complain about an echo when trying to chat with you online, tell them to get a combo, too.
- PS2 is the standard now for keyboard and mouse adapters. The older style is AT and serial. If you are not sure what you need, click here for diagrams of various computer ports, interfaces and connectors.
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