The computer mouse has now become an essential computer accessory, and it would be very hard to envision any computer without a pointing device that would allow you to move the cursor along the screen. Just like any other product that makes it big in the market, the computer mouse has seen a lot of variations and development over the last few years.
The traditional mouse. While there are several ways by which you could control your on-screen cursor, the mouse is the most basic of these. This consists of a small box that you can move across a flat surface (usually a mousepad), and it has buttons corresponding to the action you want to do with the object being pointed by the cursor.
The ergonomic mouse is the holy grail of computer mice when it comes to the ease of use. The mouse tends to be used a lot over the course of the day, and once you add up all the hours that go into the work of having to use a computer, using a non-ergonomic mouse might result in stress-related injuries. The Genius brand of mice is a great manufacturer for these ergonomic mouse models.
The Logitech optical mouse was revolutionary, since it was one of the first few computer mice without a trackball. The optical mouse instead emits a concentrated beam of light that detects the displacement of the mouse itself. This makes the mouse a lot more portable and versatile as well, since the mechanism of the trackball underneath used to make the mouse fairly bulky. With the need for the contraption and trackball eliminated by the optical mouse technology, computer mice shrunk dramatically to sizes that can be easily stowed away in any jacket pocket. It also allowed for hassle free use of a mouse without using a mouse pad.
The wireless optical mouse is the next big step in the development system. With infrared technology, one can now use a wireless mouse that communicates through a beacon attached to a USB port on your computer. This makes the mouse a lot easier to use and simply more convenient to store. Just make sure that you keep the line of sight between the beacon and the infrared sensitive end of the mouse clear and free of any impediments to make sure that you get the best possible wireless connection. Brands like A4tech and Genius have been great in developing the finest quality wireless optical mice.
Other pointing devices. The touchpad is the preferred method of moving the cursor when using laptops. Also called a trackpad (in Apple computers), the touchpad is basically a touch-sensitive surface where you can move your finger, and the cursor follows accordingly. Synaptics is one of the biggest producers of touchpads, and this company supplies the materials that laptop manufacturers use in the finished product.
Some portable computers also use a pointing stick. Notable among laptops in this type of pointing device is the IBM Thinkpad, which is now owned by the Lenovo brand. The pointing stick is a little rubber nub that you nudge toward the direction you want the mouse to go.
The desktop computer mouse has changed a lot throughout the years, and this has depended on the application and need. No matter what type or brand of pointing device you use, remember to stretch and exercise your shoulders, hands and fingers after prolonged periods of use, to avoid repetitive movement injuries.