Traveling Trackball, AKA “GSD Better!”

Recently I purchased a trackball and a hardshell case for that trackball, which I then wrote a review of over yonder “A Review of the MX Ergo Advanced Wireless“. The hardshell case primarily because I displace a lot during the course of the day. Whether traveling far away from home or just within the city in which I live (i.e. Seattle these days, but in the past Portland, Memphis, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Krakow, etc) it’s been very important to have computer gear that holds up well to these movements during the day. Here is a video that details the trackball, hardshell case, and some of the different places I’ve used it since purchase. Below the video I elaborate on two of the scenarios I use these devices.

Trackball Travels

Coffee Shop Cycling Displacements

Often during the day, at least a non-pandemic day, I work coffee shop to coffee shop. Meeting other coders, working alone, or having meetings in person in coffee shops. As I move from coffee shop to coffee shop, sometimes I use transit (bus/train/tram/streetcar/etc) but more often I bike from shop to shop. During these displacements computer gear can get banged up heavily. That’s where the hardshell case for the trackball is hugely important!

Here are some detailed “product” shots from Amazon/co2CREA, and the link itself to the product if you want to pick it up.

While cycling all sorts of things can happen. I could biff it (i.e. *wreck*) on my pack (i.e. messenger bag, or backpack) and things are safe from direct impact in there, but can still be squished. I could toss my bag down or set it somewhere and it gets kicked, hit, or falls. The number of impact scenarios are numerous. But it doesn’t stop there while out cycling, since most of my packs are waterproof it’s nice to have individual elements packed in water resistant packages for when I pull them out of their pack. You get the idea, there’s a lot of potential oops scenarios, and for maximum gear lifespan it’s best to keep them safe.

Railroading Baggage Pannier Packing Style

Alright, using panniers for bike and train combo trips is another one of my specialties. I take a lot of train trips. Sometimes I ride coach, sometimes I get a roomette or bedroom, and on some trains I may end up standing. Whatever the case, traveling means luggage of some sort and luggage gets banged around. Again I’ve got my packs, but also in this scenario I routinely use my panniers. The combination is great as the survivability of devices – Apple Laptop + hardshell case for pointing device plus tough packs with panniers holding the remainder of things means surviving insane things like train wrecks (i.e. my experience of the train wreck of 501), or just regular travel trips like my trips to San Francisco for QCon, or my trip to Olympia, Washington to speak at a users’ group.

In summary, if you want to enjoy the bikey life combo powered with the rail life and keep your gear intact, it’s a good idea to pick up a hardshell case.

Back to the Cascades

Today I jumped aboard King County Metro Bus #26 headed south bound through downtown Seattle to King Street Station.  At this time of the morning, 6:19am, the streets are tranquil and oddly lit with the night lights.  As the bus pulls up at 6:29am, 7 minutes late with 6 passengers on board, I swipe my ORCA card to pay the fare and take a seat toward the back.

The bus rolls through the wet from rain streets.  The street and building lights glaring like golden decorations all along.  Barely a soul moves, except for the rare early riser and oddball bum or transient.  A person walking down one street howls some nonsense, as his sanity cracks.  The sky is overcast gray, one can tell even with darkness still caressing the early morning.

I get off the bus in the old town Pioneer Square are one block north of King Street Station.  I’m now running pretty late compared to my intended arrival time.  I’m glad I decided to get the bus just before the one that would theoretically get me to the station on time.  So now instead of early I’m just barely on time.  I make no dally and attain my tickets from the ticket clerk and stand in the line to get a seat assignment.

After standing in the line of the century old process of seat assignments, I text my lady after realizing I failed to provide a wake up call.  She’s forgiving thankfully and wishes me a good trip.  I bid a good day to her.

With a steady walk I roll the dice to get a good cappuccino and croissant from Zeitgeist 2 blocks from the station.  I arrive, as always when they’ve just opened there are only a few people inside and nobody is in line.  I walk right up and order.  A few minutes later the candid young lady working provides me a cap and ham and cheese croissant.  I’m set, and back to the station I go.

As I walk into the station I literally beeline straight through and onto the train.  Again, dice rolled and perfection in timing.  I’ve made the train with a decent bit of quality food and drink for the trip.  I sit down in car 8, seat 15, and sip on my cap and nibble a bit on the croissant.  The coffee is delicious, an absolutely spectacular brew.  The croissant has an elegant, light suppleness to it.  With an almost sweet aftertaste, a perfect complement to the cappuccino.

We depart perfectly on time at 7:30am.  The flanged wheel is again moving me in luxury to my destination.  The plush leather chair, not even business class but mere simple peasant class, comforts me as the breaking night gives way to the sun that can’t be seen.  The train is a perfect temperature today, people being quite at this time of the morning.  I lean back knowing that the last decade of my life, ridding myself of automobile, putting myself into walkable communities, and throwing the suburban nonsense into the trash has been the right decision.  This ease, simple and elegant, down to earth and real, sustainable in so many ways, tasteful and subtle just brings a smile as we roll smoothly on through southern Seattle.

Every few minutes though, when leaving Tacoma and Olympia we go through the desolate and lifeless suburbia where mediocrity screams out as the leading mindset.  Not a soul risen or working toward a goal.  Providing souls for urban jobs and imitation of the rural life.  However leaching off the wealth of the urban life and mocking the rural life, it holds no place anymore with the death knell of the cold war.  It just drags upon American society with vast auto dependency and no real war survival need.  Having bred cursed mentalities of land entitlement and assumed rights to jobs – suburbia is an odd and crass place.  But I digress, the beauty of the rural land surpasses the suburban ideas that frustrate me at the moment.

About 30 minutes out of Tacoma we roll through the beautiful nature, disturbing barely a soul as we traverse the country side.  The trees along both sides of the tracks break the frequent farms and fields.  Green is intense with a speckle of orange and yellow leaves among the trees.  The rural residences of the red counties caressing the land to feed the blue counties full or urban people.  The parallels of America that make this country; urban and rural landscapes.

With these thoughts of the beauty of rail travel, I bid this entry fini.