[bct] Re: Recorders for the blind

  • From: "Judy W" <judyw@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 08:10:18 -0600

Another idea is to have a recorder that has accessible software which would
allow people to perform all menu settings for the unit. I think that could
be done. Personally, I would prefer a high end machine. Maybe even a machine
with effects. It would be good for hobbyists, blind people in radio or
journalism, and other jobs. I agree with neal that you can make good Braille
or cassette charts for these devices. The thing that bothers me is that I
now have six devices that have required sighted assistance to work on
charts. I think we have a need for an accessible device and if APH can't
take this on as a project then perhaps some of us should approach other
companies. I think a good machine would sell to both blind and sighted

I have found this topic very interestintg.



-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Neal Ewers
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2006 7:46 AM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: Recorders for the blind

Krister, I'll answer your last question first.  Professional versions of
recorders can have just as sophisticated menus as consumer models and
sometimes their even more sophisticated.  Take the Nagra for example,
not the one that was demoed on the podcast.  They make a larger unit
that has not just one list of menus but the tree level goes at least 3
deep.  On the other hand, the recorder I have is one list of main menus
and only one sub level under that.  But don't let that fool you into
thinking it is easy.  Because of all it does, it has something like 78
main menus each of which can have 6 or 7 items.  So, I don't think you
can say that professional recorder menus are more simple.

I agree with your point about not just making it blind accessible.  I
hope you read my message on this subject earlier.  Who wants to pay a
lot more just because no one but people who are blind will want it.  In
my humble opinion, it should be accessible to everyone thus bringing
down the cost.  Now, that doesn't mean it can not be accessible.  I
think lots of people who are not blind might like a talking recorder.
Of course, they may want to turn off the speech at some point.

As for how professional it is versus how consumer oriented, my guess is
that it will not be a high end recorder because a lot of people who are
blind may not be able to afford it.  However, I think it definitely has
to be better than recorders like the Olympus, the milestone, and other
MP3 recorders.  It's a lot of trouble to go to in order to produce an
accessible recorder only to have it be not all that good sonically.
So, I'm guessing we're probably talking about something like the r9, or
the microtrack but with hopefully better mike preamps.  In the end, if
anyone decides to develop this, it will depend on feedback from people
like you and others on this list.

It may turn out that it's just to expensive for APH to do.  I am sure it
takes a lot of money up front to develop such a recorder.  I suppose one
thing that might be done is to work with a company that is already doing
this.  Companies like Sony are probably too big to care, but the
Microtrack or the Edirol may be companies APH or some other group might
approach in this regard.  I'm not sure how interested they would be in
making a recorder that is accessible, because most of their users are
likely not blind.  So, what would be their incentive to redo what they
have done and spend more money just to please a hand full of their end
users?  I don't know.  Anyway, it's nice to hear from all of you on what
you think is needed.  If anything ever comes of this, we will have
certainly batted around a number of ideas and that is a good thing.


-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Krister Ekstrom
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2006 6:47 AM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: Recorders for the blind

Hi there.
At the risk of getting all flamed down here, I'll toss out a few ...
what's it called in English ... torches here?...
Personally i don't like special "blind friendly" versions of things that

already exist, for example why do a special "blind friendly" recorder?
I'd understand the accessibility point, i certainly would, but
unfortunately those special gadgets, note not all but quite a few, tend
to insult our intelligence by designing their interfaces in a way that
least to me says: "Well they're just blind, so they don't need this or
that, so we skip those features and do it very, very basic".
  and these so called "blind friendly" products tend to be off-standard
and not compatible with anything in the market. A good example, at least

up to now are note takers. They are nearing standard now, but we all
remember the Eureka A4, the VersaBraille and so on. I for my personal
part, if we go back to the subject of recorders won't compromise high
sound quality for accessibility, that is if a product is highly
accessible but has a poor sound quality i won't buy it just because it's

accessible, but if a product has moderate accessibility and a high sound

quality i'd get it and figure out what i could do with it. That's why i
wonder how good the R1 is and i'm also very curious about the Hi Md-s
and Neal, isn't it so that semi- and professional equipment tend to have

less complicated menus and gizmos than consumer products and be more
straight forward in this effect or am i totally wrong here? /Krister

Neal Ewers wrote:
> Kai, I'm not necessarily saying that it shouldn't have MP3
> capabilities,
> I simply would like to have it also include .wav files for those who
> not want to have to edit their podcasts in a compressed format and
> make it more compressed in the final result.  The Olympus recorders,
> while certainly not totally accessible, are certainly better than most

> in this regard. I would think it not very much worth the money to
> make an accessible MP3 recorder if it is only going to be some access
> features added to an Olympus like recorder.  Don't misunderstand, I
> don't expect it to be like the recorders that Dan and I happen to own.

> I don't even expect balanced inputs.  But I think it would be a big
> to pull off in the first place, so why not go the extra step and
> .wave recording capabilities?
> Neal
>     -----Original Message-----
>     *From:* blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>     [mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] *On Behalf Of *Kai
>     *Sent:* Wednesday, March 08, 2006 11:32 AM
>     *To:* blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>     *Subject:* [bct] Re: Recorders for the blind
>     Greetings Neal et al.
>     Recording in wav is really nice, but I think being able to record
>     with MP3-encoding on the fly would be awesome. What would be nice
>     would be the ability to alter the compression rates.
>     If you're doing a bunch of sound seeing tours, choose 128KBPS
>     compression. You'll be able to fit quite a lot of recordings into
>     one card. That means you can cover an entire vacation with one,
>     possibly two 2GB/4GB CF cards.
>     Recording a bunch of orchestral environments? Set the unit to
>     compress its recordings at a 192/224/256KBPS rate, which will
>     preserve all those important nuances.
>     Kai
>     -----Original Message-----
>     *From:* blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>     [mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] *On Behalf Of *Neal
>     *Sent:* Wednesday, March 08, 2006 9:22 AM
>     *To:* blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>     *Subject:* [bct] Re: Recorders for the blind
>     Sam, recording a wave file at a sampling rate of 44100 and 16 bit
>     the 4 GB flash card will give you about 6 hours of recording time.

>     And that is in stereo.  I don't think that is too shabby for a
>     recording that is totally uncompressed.  In addition, if you
>     the sampling rate by half, you could still get a better than MP3
>     quality recording and get twice the time.  Plus, unlike the
>     recorders, you can always have more than one flash card.  Just
>     one out and put in another one until you can get back to your
>     computer to unload the files.
>     Neal
>         -----Original Message-----
>         *From:* blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>         [mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] *On Behalf Of *Sam
>         Bushman
>         *Sent:* Wednesday, March 08, 2006 10:39 AM
>         *To:* BlindCoolTech Email List
>         *Subject:* [bct] Recorders for the blind
>         Hi Guys,
>         Just a few thoughts that may help on the recorder issue.
>         I agree that there are many different uses for the recorders
>         that will detail what brand / feature set is best.
>         But, I think that accessibility is the key thing we all need.
>         Meaning that if a recorder is accessible but, not best suited
>         the job at hand ... I may live with it because at least I can
>         operate the dang thing.
>         I don't think we can develop a recorder for the blind because
>         all have different wants and expectations for the  device that
>         may conflict.
>         Some have mentioned .wav files but, I personally don't think
>         that will work well.
>         First they are large and you will lose lots of record time.
>         But, this is not about my personal opinion on a feature set
>         for a digital recorder for the blind.
>         I think that Larry has done is best to identify a recorder
>         is the best all around for the blind at this time.
>         Meaning that it's accessible and has the main basic feature
>         we all need.
>         Olympus has shown over time to have the beeps we need to at
>         least run the things in the first place.
>         I think that if we try to work with Olympus to either create a
>         version for us or add a few more accessibility details that
>         would help us that would be great.
>         I also suggest that we all spend more time finding out why the
>         hum on the 320.
>         Is it the mics that are being used, is it other devices that
>         close by causing interference, is it truly the recorder?
>         I don't have these answers yet but, if we could eliminate the
>         hum that would go a long way.
>         Reviewing other devices and trying to work with other device
>         makers also is a great idea.
>         If we develop our own recorder I fear that it will cost an arm
>         and a leg and be very hard to repair.
>         Thanks for listening ... all ideas welcome.
>         Sam

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