Dell has some great Christmas deals out and while looking at their catalogue I noticed they have some wireless xbox 360 controllers for windows. I had always wanted to pick one of these up and now wireless - even better!
It was dead simple to install, little peice of software on the supplied CD and then plug in the usb dongle. Instantly I can now fly around, badly mind you, in Virtual Earth 3D.
You have 3 controls, the LT and RT (trigger fingers at the front of the controller) control zooming in and out. The multidirectional pad in the top left (left thumb) pans the map while the multidirectional pad on the right (for the right thumb) controls the point of view, rotating and tilting the map. The "A" button puts everything back to north if you get a little lost. All these controls are analogue so it appears you have control over the speed as well.
It will take me a little while to get use to it but it is pretty cool to show of your latest project standing back 5m and flying around the location. No doubt you will see it in action at any VE presentations I do in the future! So if your not sure what gadget you need for Christmas pick one of these up.