Giant trackball takes it easy on your arm and hand...

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June 15, 1998|By Sean Carton

Giant trackball takes it easy on your arm and hand, doesn't 0) gum up

The first thing you notice about the Trackman Marble FX is that it's freakishly large. At 7.3 inches long, 3.3 inches wide, and 2.5 inches high, it looks like a big plastic foot. The new trackball uses an innovative optical sensor technology that means there are no mechanical parts inside the unit to clean or get gummed up.

The $99 Marble FX has four buttons for regular mouse functions and pop-up menus, shortcuts and macros you can program using the included MouseWare software. Two potentially useful features are the CyberJump and HyperJump cursor menus.

These are little eight-function shortcut menus, one for the Internet and one for Windows, that pop up at the cursor position whenever you click the buttons you've assigned to them.

They offer commonly used menu items such as access to your bookmark file, the browser "Back" button, and the "Stop" button (CyberJump), and activation of the Win95's Start menu, resizing a window, and recalling a previous window (HyperJump).

OK, it's not that big of a deal to access the regular Windows menus, but I like having the option of these shortcuts anywhere my cursor is on the screen. With the monster monitors many people have these days (at 17 inches, 19 inches, and 21 inches), cutting down on cursor travel time is becoming a real asset. - Gareth Branwyn.

Information: 800-231-7717 or

Technicolor mouse pad designed for Webheads

You know something's really cool when the folks in your office come to blows over who gets to play with it first.

When the R35 webColor Pad came sailing across my desk the other day, everyone dove for it at once. At first glance, the R35 webColor Pad ($12.95) might be mistaken for just another mouse pad. But it sports a brilliant palette of the 216 cross-platform, browser-safe colors that all Web designers know and love. They're handily arranged on the pad for easy reference, from green to black, by hue.

You can use the webColor Pad not only for color selection and color matching, but also for programming - each color is also marked with its six-digit HTML hexadecimal color value. Enter these values into an HTML document, and the color you've selected appears on your screen. So, you can throw away those HTML color pickers and quit opening up Photoshop every time you need to change a background color. Information: 818-296-1250 or

For full reviews of these and other gadgets, point your Web browser to

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