[access-uk] Re: First impression of penfriend...

Never used the labeller, but this is so simple to use. Four buttons, that's all.



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Barbara Wilson
M: 07917710779
T: 02887784046
E: barkingbabs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
IM: creativeeyes@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Skype: creativeeyes

----- Original Message ----- From: "Jackie Cairns" <jackie.cairns@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, August 01, 2009 1:54 PM
Subject: [access-uk] Re: First impression of penfriend...


Hi Barry

Could I please ask you, or anyone else who has tried working with this
gadget yet, is it anything like the Voila labeller?  Please tell me it
isn't! (smile).


Jackie Cairns
Braille Specialist
Email: Jackie.Cairns@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sight and Sound Technology Ltd
Welton House North Wing
Summerhouse Road
Moulton Park
Northampton
NN3 6WD
Telephone: 01604 798024
Fax: 01604 798090
Web: www.sightandsound.co.uk

-----Original Message-----
From: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Barry G
Sent: 01 August 2009 11:46
To: Access Mailing List
Subject: [access-uk] First impression of penfriend...

Well, mine came this morning and here's my first impressions...

The labelling and reading function works well, it's easy to use, smaller
and lighter than I expected.  It picks up the tags and plays the note
quickly, and the sound quality is fine - it does exactly what it says on
the box and I reckon it's an excellent little device.

My concerns...

Mine came with a short fly lead to convert between the standard
headphone jack and the smaller jack socket on the penfriend - someone
mentioned that there had been a manufacturing glitch and the wrong jacks
were fitted to the early batches.  It would seem that these
mis-manufactured models have been issued to customers.

I tried the mp3 player function and there are no instructions for using
this feature on the product guide at rnib.org other than telling you to
paste the music to the mp3 folder on the device.  That's fine, but there
are no instructions for operating it.  Can't remember which, but either
the power or the record button toggles play/stop.  Sound quality is not
sparkling, but it's acceptable in a device that doesn't try to be a
dedicated mp3 player.   There appears to be no way of moving from file
to file however, so at first glance, it's not really very useable.

My single serious gripe is the volume!  The product guide and the tags
on the packaging correctly say that the device defaults to the same
volume each time the machine is switched off and on, and this is rather
high.  The real pain, on mine at least, is that it jumps to this high
volume each time a new label is scanned, even though the volume has been
turned down, so you have to reset it on each scan!  I'm hoping that
there may be firmware updates that will include a fix for this, but
there is no mention of this in the product information.

Finally, the online product info sheet says the following:

RNIB are developing some associated products that are pre-recorded.  If
you wish to listen to RNIB's pre-recorded information then you will need
to use the download feature. You must have access to the web and connect
to www.rnib.org.uk/penfriend <http://www.rnib.org.uk/penfriend> . You
will see a list of titles available for download. These titles are free
or are part of any subscription system that you may have joined with
RNIB. Click on any single title to download and save on to your
computer's hard drive. For example, c:\penfriend\downloads. After you
have downloaded all the titles you are entitled to, connect PenFriend to
the computer using the USB cable.  Next, enter or double click on any
title and an audio installer programme will appear, and then just follow
the simple instructions on screen. This programme will automatically
load the audio file onto PenFriend. Repeat the process for the other
titles that you have downloaded. Remember, a copy of all titles is
always kept on your hard drive so there is no need to back up. The audio
files will be kept on the AP4 folder in PenFriend.

Well, the link doesn't exist or is broken.



All the best,

Barry G






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