[bct] Thanks everyone was RE: (Please read) Blind individual in need of technology assistance.

  • From: "Jay Pellis" <jalucard@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <pmlist@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <BlindusersLGVXPhones@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <exploders@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <fte@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 21 May 2006 19:41:20 -0400

Hello to everyone-
I will be calling the supervisor at my bvs office tomorrow.  However i
don't want this to escalate in to a they said he said thing or anything
like that, i especially wouldn't want to say, Make enemies with anyone
over this.  I will see what happens in the coming weeks and depending on
what happens with freedom scientific etc, i may just purchase a laptop
and customize it to my needs.  I heard rumors that the new version of
this blue tooth wireless braille keyboard i am considering has a 12 cell
braille display, maybe that's why it's $450.  In note taking, i would
like to have access to some type of braille reading, since i wouldn't
want jaws babbling in one ear and trying to listen to the teacher at the
same time etc.  I was able to use the pacmate for the last year alright,
even though i did send it back those times.  When graduate school starts
however, i'm sure i will need a reliable machine since i will be needing
it for class work, notes etc, i will be majoring in music performance
and slowly making my way in to the field of music technology/electronic
Thank you again everyone

Jay Pellis
E-mail: jalucard@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Aol instant messenger: ftealucard
Yahoo messenger: ftealucard
Msn messenger, jalucard@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Skype: ftealucard 

----- Original Message -----
Jay Pellis
To: multiple recipients
Sent: Saturday, 20 May, 2006 3:25 PM
Subject: [bct] (Please read) Blind individual in need of technology
I am a blind college student from Northeastern Pennsylvania. I am having
problems with assistive technology thus I am posting this message to as
many places
online as possible. This message is quite long so please feel free to
disregard it if you would like. However, if you or anyone can help me in
this matter,
feel free to contact me. If possible, please also send this message to
any mailing lists or individuals whom you think may be able to help.
My story involves the pacmate PDA by freedom scientific I own and the
many many problems I've had with it, both hardware and software but
mostly hardware.
I owned a Braille lite during my high school years and it served me well
until it unfortunately started to function strangely around the middle
of 2004.
I was in college at the time and needed something to take notes with,
luckily my local Blindness and Visual services agency were willing to
purchase a
note taker for me. I have always used Jaws for windows as my screen
reader so it was logical that I would gravitate towards the Pacmate.
What also lead
me towards this product was the ability to install third party
applications such as aol instant messenger, audio recorders, drivers for
using wireless
and Ethernet compact flash cards etc. For example, I used the linksys
wcf54g card which supported W p a security which was the setting my
network was set
to. Back to the pacmate, things started going wrong even before the
order went through for the unit. A computer consultant met with me,
showed me a unit
then I went on the FS website and told them what I wanted. For example,
they recommended a modem, I told them I wouldn't be needing it, figured
it would
save them some money you know? So they end up going ahead, ignoring all
of my requests/recommendations and going with what the consultant wanted
to order.
I even ended up receiving an e-mail with her order recommendation, to
which I responded with my own recommendations, this was right before the
order was
finalized and as I said above, I was ignored. I luckily saved the last
e-mail I sent, so here are the specifications with my comments in
Note taker: PacMate BX 420 note taker
To include Software and Hardware Product Maintenance Agreement
(I received this and this agreement runs out in September and as it
stands now, I will not renew it.)
10 MPS Ethernet Card
(Received it, package did not include all hardware in order to use card
even though package was sealed when received.)
Spare Battery
(The battery is for older pacmate units, I advised people of this many
many times, I did not receive the battery but it was paid for.)
Mobile Planet 56K Modem with Bluetooth
(Received a modem which came in a bubble rapped package with no cd or
any info on how to use it. I think it was by socket communications)
SanDisk 1GB compact flash storage card
(Received it, will explain below)
Carry Case
(Received laptop style case which came with unit, had to eventually
purchase separate case in order to use unit when it was inside case)
(All software was paid for but only software included with pacmate was
received such as pacmate documentation cd, pocket pc cd etc. The
following was not
PocketPrint CE
Resco Audio Recorder
Pocket Backup
Items were received in late 2004.
I contacted the consultant after all of this was discovered as well as
talking with my BVS case worker. The consultant never responded to my
e-mails or
calls and my contact at BVS basically told me there was nothing she
could do since everything was already paid for. At the time, I was
finishing my undergraduate
degree and did not have much more time to keep e-mailing and calling and
to speak frankly, begging it seemed to me, for them to help me.
When I first started out, the pacmate seemed to work fine. The Ethernet
card was by socket communications and included a strange cable with
internet jack
at one end and a strange connector at the other. It also included a
laptop PCMCIA adapter and that's it. The instructions didn't really tell
how to insert
what I thought at the time was the card. The cable seemed the right size
for the cf slot and it did actually fit but the pacmate didn't recognize
it or
anything. Please keep in mind this was my first experience with anything
like this, I've always been a desktop/Braille lite user. After a while,
the first
compact flash slot stopped recognizing the sandisk 1gig card. In calling
freedom scientific tech support, they told me the Ethernet package was
to include
a cable, the laptop adapter and also a small cf card to fit between the
cable and pacmate. I told them it did not include such a card and they
kept insisting
I should search for it. Now this happened a few months after I received
everything, my original box and packaging were put away in a closet in
my dorm
room the evening I received the unit and barely touched, only used to
extract the cds, manuals etc. Needless to say, the tech support person
and I almost
got in to an argument about the non existent cf card. Finally I changed
the subject to something else, which was the right most advance button
on the Braille
display and the whiz wheel. The right button would move the display but
I wouldn't get the physical click feedback that I would get with the
other buttons
and the right whizwheel took a few pressings of it up/down in order for
it to move the display. The display worked fine for a while when it was
this happened soon after. Also the unit was acting strangely, it
froze/crashed every so often when turned on, requiring a hard reset and
reinstalling of
programs and changing default settings etc, which takes time. When
resetting the unit, it would sometimes reset fine, sometimes I would
have to disconnect
the display in order for it to reset. The display also, after a time of
use, would freeze and stop following the speech. Or sometimes, it would
not come
up at all when the unit was turned on and it had to be disconnected then
reconnected.  I sent the units back to FS after spending time filling
out support
forms and getting material authorization numbers. I also sent back all
of my cards. They contacted me and told me it would cost in the $200
range to get
some bent pins in the cf slots fixed, since it wasn't covered under my
agreement for some reason. I paid it, I had no choice. Now if you
remember, this
was all thanks to me not having the proper parts for that Ethernet card.
I would still like to know why on earth it seems like tech support did
not believe
me, that card was not included in the package. And in case you are
wondering, yes, I did have sighted assistance throughout this, looking
for the card,
sending everything back etc. I received the units back a while later,
the braille display was not fixed. So I sent the braille display out
again. It got
fixed. Now the pm worked fine for I'd say 4 or 5 months or so. In
october/november of last year, the same problems started to happen. Now
I would like
to tell you right up front, I take good care of all of the equipment I
own, keep them clean, keep them in their cases etc etc. I never miss use
equipment. These problems started happening with the first slot, even
though the units were kept in the case I purchased. Oh and also when i
received the
unit back the first time,freedom scientific advised that I throw away my
cards, the modem, parts of the Ethernet card, the 1 gig sandisk card. I
did so
and had to buy new cards. I purchased a 4gig flash card to use. I also
purchased the linksys wcf54g wireless card as well as the socket
EA2912 Ethernet card. The linksys stopped detecting my network in the
first slot for no reason whatsoever after a while so I then used the
second slot.
Last month, I upgraded to pacmate 4.0 firmware. The unit kept freezing
even more then usual, for example when leaving the unit off for up to a
day or even
a few hours, turn it on, hear the start up click then it would freeze.
Sunday evening (may 14th), I was trying to backup files to my flash card
from the
unit, suddenly the second slot stopped recognizing cards. Now since the
unit kept freezing, I did not restore a backup from the sprite backup
program I
had installed, left the unit at default settings. I fiddled with the
switch on the cf card to switch partitions, nothing was recognized. The
Braille display
started then displaying random 6 dot Braille sells, even in the middle
of a hard reset.
(A quick note here, I never have forced cards in to the cf slots, I'd
put them in until they clicked in to place and remove them gently etc.
Some I left
in for a few days at a time, wireless card for example and some I would
remove after use, the memory card. I read all manuals and followed all
in using the cards)
I called freedom scientific Monday (may 15th). I gave them a piece of my
mind, though in a nice way. I told them what was going on, how
frustrated I was
and even that I would be willing to downgrade to a Braille lite or other
machine, I'd rather have a working unit for taking notes in classes even
if I
couldn't transfer files to the pc. They sort of dodged around what I was
telling them, made me fill out the forms needed to send back the units
and that
was that. I asked if they would at least consider replacing the unit,
they said they would try to fix this one. Again. What if I perhaps have
the 1 in
10 thousandth badly built units?
I am predicting that when I receive the pacmate and display back, they
will tell me to throw out all of my cards, just like they did last time.
Then I will
have to buy new ones again. Then perhaps in a while, this may happen
At this point, it seems no one will listen to me. Not freedom scientific
when all I am asking for is a unit to be replaced and not blindness and
services since they are slowly now helping me out with grad school
preparation and my case worker told me over the phone the other day that
she didn't
want to hear about it. What are my options? I'm not really sure.
I was thinking of buying a laptop in the next few months, somehow
transferring programs over to it from my desktop because someone told me
it could be done
and using that. I type faster in Braille then I do on a pc keyboard for
taking notes in classes or from a reader so I'd have to purchase a blue
tooth Braille
keyboard that I found some info about online that is suppose to let you
type in grade 1/2 in windows. I don't know much about this keyboard
since there
seems to be limited information online about it but it may be able to
solve my problem of having a reliable machine with storage and other
that will last, not break down and let me type using the braille
Now is it worth it, trying to find a laptop, one with features that let
you turn off the screen/mouse/wireless, or a normal one and buy an extra
high capacity
battery in order to get a decent amount of time from it? I don't know.
In doing that, I will also probably not have any access to a Braille
display and
in taking notes, I usually have speech turned off and use Braille to
keep track of where I am in a document.
I am moving to Pittsburgh for grad school in mid august so either before
then or during august, I'd like to get a hold of a working machine that
will let
me take notes in classes or from someone reading me something. Other
features like internet would be nice but if I can backup my documents to
pc, that
would be ok with me.
As I said, I'm not sure if I want to do the laptop thing because it
seems quite complicated. In fact, when I receive the pacmate back, I
don't even know
if I will use it, I may just sell it, who knows. As you can see, I am at
my wits end. I am frustrated and confused. I am saddened by how I've
been treated
by these so called people who are suppose to help me.
In terms of computer usage,i'd say I am an advanced, if not a power
user, I have been using both dos and windows systems for around 10 years
now. I love
jaws for windows and use it on a daily basis, it's a great product.
Frankly, I did not expect these problems with the pacmate to happen. In
talking to
a few other blind individuals who own a pacmate, they told me they have
no problems at all which i find sort of hard to believe.
Well that is my story. I apologize for the length and wordy quality of
the above information, however I think it hopefully summorizes my
unfortunate experiences.
If there is anything anyone can think of, even if it's the smallest bit
of information, please get in touch with me. My contact information is
below in
my signature and if anyone would like to speak to me over the phone or
you know someone who may want to speak to me about this situation, let
me know and
I will provide my cell phone number.
I thank you sincerely for reading this and have a good day.
Jay Pellis
Jay Pellis
E-mail: jalucard@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Aol instant messenger: ftealucard
Yahoo messenger: ftealucard
Msn messenger, jalucard@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Skype: Jay Pellis

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  • » [bct] Thanks everyone was RE: (Please read) Blind individual in need of technology assistance.