Recently Apple added the ability to scroll with your trackpad on the new series of Powerbooks. However, most Mac OS X users were already able to do just that and much more by using the SideTrack utility which works on most iBook and Powerbook models.Sidetrack is basically a new driver for your Mac’s trackpad. It installs some system-wide files and requires a reboot (an uninstaller is included). After you do that, you will be having a new item on your Preference panel, under the “Other” section.
In the first tab of its preference panel you can change the tracking speed you want and the double-click speed. You can also change the usage of the trackpad button (left click or right click) and the usage of the trackpad tap (no action, left click, left click with drag or lock, or right click). You can also set the driver to continue scrolling if your finger has reached the end of the trackpad.
If you enable the assistive options of Mac OS X you can also set the driver to automatically move the mouse pointer to the default button of a given window.
In the Scrolling tab, you can set the scrolling area and its scroll speed and set up horizontal scrolling in addition to the default vertical if you want. I personally have horizontal scrolling off as it can easily get confused with the vertical scrolling and create a mess in the usability of the system.
Then, you can also set the four corners of the trackpad to do a specific job, e.g. right click, a special keystroke or emulate up to 6 mouse buttons configurations (you can also have per-application settings here). On my system, I have setup the right click as a tap on the top corner of the trackpad, I must admit though that I always forget it’s there and so I always use the CNTRL+click keystroke to get to right click.
On the Accuracy tab, you can calibrate your trackpad for best results. On the same panel some of my favorite features are present: “ignore trackpad while typing”, “ignore trackpad taps that occur in scroll areas” and “ignore trackpad when mouse is present”.
Lastly, on the Advanced tab, you will be able to select between the default Mac OS X trackpad acceleration, mouse acceleration and the Windows default acceleration. I found that none of the default OSX trackpad acceleration was the best for my needs (the Windows and OSX mouse ones are not smooth with the trackpad).
Overall, this is one of my favorite utilities in the Mac OS X world. Using the scrolling feature with Firefox has brought a new meaning of using the Mac. Along with USBOverdrive that brought life to a badly supported Logitech mouse (both the OSX driver and Logitech’s driver would not give me the acceleration I needed for this 800 dpi mouse model), Sidetrack is a worthwhile shareware application. It sells for $15 and it’s worth every penny.
If I had one feature request for it, it would be to allow for more tracking speed, I currently have it max’ed out and in the future I might need more room.