Time to give up TrackPoint?
I haven’t forgotten my promise to write about 5th generation Owl Blade technology. This topic is weighing on me this morning, so I'm going to go with it. I’m wondering if it is time for me to give up using a TrackPoint in favor of (gasp!) a touch pad. Five years ago I would never have made such a heretical statement, but maybe it is time. One, I’m worried about carpal tunnel syndrome. I don’t suffer from it, but I wonder if I’m headed down that road. As of late I’ve noticed that sometimes at the end of a long day, I can feel one of my right arm’s tendons – not hurting mind you – but feel it. I’ve taken extra steps to make sure I use good typing habits (not letting my wrists sag and all that), but in narrowing down the cause, I’ve noticed that it takes a LOT of force to move a TrackPoint. It’s the tendon for my right index finger that I have been noticing at the end of a long day. For the uninitiated, there are two ways you can affect how your TrackPoint operates. First, in mouse properties in Windows, you can adjust the pointer speed. This is a global Windows setting that controls acceleration for any pointing device.
The second way is TrackPoint specific. Head on over to the UltraNav tab and adjust your sensitivity there. I’ve cranked the sensitivity to eleven and hope that may solve my problem.
My second reason for considering switching is more global. Medium-term, the TrackPoint is doomed. I know our management team has publicly stated otherwise – that we are fully committed to this technology. They obviously outrank me, but the writing is on the wall. Touch is taking over the world. We think nothing of the tens of touch screens we use every day and unlike five years ago, some of them are very good. Our next generation of buyers, kids in school, know nothing about TrackPoint technology and mock it derisively. Those that prefer TrackPoint (and I include myself among them) will become an ever smaller bunch. Some day an executive will make the decision that keeping stick technology on every system just doesn’t make financial sense given the dwindling number of people who actually use it. So do I convert now? (Those that have converted tell me it takes about two weeks of pure agony to switch over.) Or do I put off until tomorrow, giving into human nature to procrastinate?