[bct] Re: Web-Braille

  • From: Buddy Brannan <buddy@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2006 16:28:23 -0500

Hi Jeff,

At this point, braille may not be of as much use to you, simply because you may not have the motivation to learn it and stick with it until you're good at it. This isn't any sort of criticism or any kind of statement on your motivation in general, or your character, or really much of anything else but a bit of conjecture, so I'll try to elaborate.

I'm a braille user for a long time: I learned it, as most children learn to read print, when I was a small child. Like in kindergarten or something. Therefore, because I learned it early and loved to read, it became second nature to me. Because it is, for me, truly a medium of equal import to me that print would be to a sighted person, I think many of its features are analogous. For instance, it's far easier to skim a bunch of braille (again, if you've learned to use it efficiently) than it is to do the same thing with an audible format, such as a CD or even a text-to-speech computer. I think, too, that learning braille can give one a real, tangible idea of how words are put together, in a similar fashion that print does for sighted people. If audio were good enough, I expect no one would need written language anymore: let's face it, the technology's there to do away with written language if we so desired. Since most people do not so desire, clearly there is merit in written language, and that is no less true for us than it is for the sighted.

Braille, in general, has some other advantages. Hardcopy braille never runs out of batteries. It's fairly durable, so long as you don't spill your drink on it or put a 40-pound brick on it, and it allows you to file things without any additional technology (which could be prone to failure).

Of course, braille has certain disadvantages, too: it's bulky and takes up a lot of space...those are the chief disadvantages.

As far as reading, again, reading braille affords similar advantages to us as reading print does to the sighted. For instance, with a braille book, you aren't subject to the interpretation of another person's reading to you. No matter how good a narrator is, that person will put his own interpretation of a book into its reading. Of course, you don't have this problem to the same degree if a computer reads to you, but there's an intangible something about reading that listening doesn't have at all.

Honestly, I think that if you take braille out of the equation entirely, the question comes down to:

What are the advantages of reading over listening?

The question is the same for us as for the sighted, and so, I believe, are the answers.
Buddy Brannan, KB5ELV | Work from home the Watkins way!
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