Re: Screen readers and how to develop them: A historical perspective

yes. It was in house software. Very primitive text-bases dtuff. Much of it was very accessible but it was full of codes and acronyms. My current job has web-based apps that we use. Some parts are very accessible but others are rather poorly written and cause all sorts of problems with Jaws and speech. I experimented with it today, in fact. I roamed on calls and tried to go through the screens with just speech alone while the reps I listened to did their job. Jaws find froze up on me lots, sertain objects were not spoken properly, and Jaws seemed to have a hard time with the non-web based parts of our system. window classes were mis-assigned and the like making it act whonkey with speech. I finally chickened out and used braille. Thanks for your response. Very interesting. Kippling wrote that there was no more interesting conversation with someone than one involving how the other man got his bread.



alex M

Trouble wrote:
Must of ben in house software and not web based. also you must of not ben logged out of any tools. The sighted mousers can see the timers going off and they don't show for brail or speech. What do I use to keep these speeds? My head! not allowed any recording or writing tools on desk. So you either remember and forget or you don't work that project.

At 06:59 AM 12/23/2010, you wrote:
Fascinating.  So, you have two conversation streams in your head?  How
do you keep them straight?  I'm very fast with braille and do very
well using it at the same time with speech.  I used to take calls for
at&t where you had to be off the phone in 300 seconds or less.  You
had like six systems up at the same time and you had to grab pieces of
information from several of them all at once and be really quick about
it.  A lot of those systems didn't have hotkeys, (mouse-driven) so,
I've have to use the cursor router keys right above the display line
to click on things.  apparently, it works the same as a mouse and I
found it faster than using the jaws cursor since I was already right
there where I needed to be.  I tried doing it with speech alone when
my display wigged out on me but I wasn't quick enough.  What methods
do you use to stay fast?


Alex M

On 12/22/10, Trouble <trouble1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> I disagree with that and here is why.
> I work for a very fast paced company, on the  Verizon FIOS project.
> We have to use customer in one ear and jaws in the other. The time we
> are allowed to spend with customer is 10 minutes. Now in that time we
> have to get all customer info verified, problem having with service
> IE PHONE, VIDEO OR INTERNET, run diag tools to determine fix,
> possibly walk customer through fix or get a tech out there. Now
> sometimes these fixes require chats with dispatch internal tech's and
> sales. And on top of that keep talking to customer the whole time.
> Now put braille in there and you just lost your time ratio. no matter
> how you put it, braille has no place on this job.
> The company expects you to do just as good as sighted counter part
> and as fast, or your not worth being on the job.
> In the real world you will learn that disability is only as much as
> the company wants to lose money on.
> never learned brail and never saw a need for a dieing art. There is
> just way to much tech replacing it better and faster.
> i can put a dictionary on my iPod and constatution. Now try to cary
> that in brail.
> now there are some places brail is good for like lables, but I even
> beet that one. So if you know brail, good. use it until you can't for
> what you can.
> The rest of us that don't will get by just fine.
>
> At 10:40 AM 12/22/2010, you wrote:
>>Hi.
>>
>>I ask people if they can read braille if they ask me if my company is
>>hiring.  The reason is that the job involves fielding customer service
>>calls where you have a customer talking to you in your ear pretty
>>constantly.  You have to be able to understand the layout of the
>>screens we have because a lot of the information you need for the
>>customer is in tabular form and it is written in web-based
>>applications that were not designed with accessibility in mind so,
>>navigating them with speech is iffy at best.  Some of the stuff on
>>them is not picked up by the jaws find feature because it's images or,
>>because it's coded in some way that speech just doesn't grab it.
>>Braille does though, very reliably.  So, when someone asks me if they
>>are hiring at my job, my first question to them is:  "Can you read
>>braille quickly and listen to speech quickly?  Can you read braille
>>while someone is talking in your ear and demanding instant answers at
>>the same time?"
>>
>>I have talked to other blind people who work in customer service and
>>most of the ones I have spoken with use refreshable braille in their
>>job and felt that their job would be nearly impossible to do without
>>it.  They would end up having to place customers on hold repeatedly or
>>allow their attention to drift away from the conversation to listen to
>>speech output.  With braille, they pan up and down and use cursor
>>routing to click on objects on the screen much the same way a mouse
>>user would and do this very very quickly.  In all the years I did
>>customer service before I became a trainer, only a handful of my
>>callers even knew I was blind and that was because I told them.  They
>>never heard speech in the background, they never got put on hold for
>>me to hear what Jaws was saying; it was very close to them having a
>>sighted person doing the job.  So much so, that they didn't know the
>>difference.  I was able to move up in my field because braille enabled
>>me to get a physical picture of the layout of screens in my head to
>>the point that I am able to accurately tell asighted person exactly
>>where to look on a screen to click on something or find some
>>information that is displayed by our system.  I wouldn't be able to do
>>this with just speech because it's a bit like hearing about crossing a
>>street without vision and actually going out and doing it.
>>
>>My point is that some jobs do require braille to be done efficiently.
>>If you are working where you are interacting with just the PC and
>>don't have to listen to other conversations or, if you are in a quiet
>>area, you are OK with pure speech.  If you have a loud work
>>environment and your ears are occupied with listening to a
>>conversation and your voice is occupied with responding, it is more
>>efficient for another part of your mind to be engaged in acquisition
>>of information.  This is where your fingers come in.
>>
>>So, perhaps in programming, you are not asked if you can read braille
>>and it is not a prerequisite and, undoubtedly, few places in my field
>>would outright ask you if you can read it mostly because they don't
>>know to ask and might get in trouble.  A lot of sighted people just
>>assume you can read braille so they don't ask.  Many of the
>>restaurants where I live have braille menus, for instance, and the
>>waiters just ask me if I'd like a copy of it.  I figure people who
>>hire do the same and have to be told otherwise.  I ask because my
>>perspective is different.  I am careful to ask when I am not the one
>>doing the hiring though.  I know that I could not in good conscience
>>recommend another blind person to do a call center job at my company
>>or encourage them to apply for one if they can not use braille because
>>I would be contributing to bringing someone on board whose listening
>>skills are not 100% devoted to our customers and if they drop the
>>ball, it might close the door to other perspective blind people who
>>want to work here or, worse, make me look bad and make me unpopular
>>for putting a good word in for someone who wound up doing poorly.  The
>>law probably states that I have to give them a chance if I am in a
>>position to make an official hiring decision but I would do so against
>>my better judgment.  Of course, if they proved me wrong, I would be
>>ecstatic but I would find it most unlikely that they would do well.
>>
>>Alex M
>>
>>
>>On 12/22/10, Dale Leavens <dleavens@xxxxxxx> wrote:
>> > But surely that is the point.
>> >
>> > I too came to braille somewhat late and never was a really good braille
>> > reader nevertheless Janet and I have three braillers around here, I
>> > always
>> > had one on the corner of my desk at work for banging down notes
>> or telephone
>> > numbers, getting correct spellings for patient names and organizing
>> > lists
>> > for placing orders or any number of other things. Nothing like the
>> > random
>> > access to bits of information offered by written notes. We label
>> things with
>> > braille dymo tape, so convenient though we don't do it enough.
>> >
>> > Computer voice has certainly sped some things up and much recreational
>> > reading I would never do without talking books.
>> >
>> > Certainly one can get along without being able to read or write braille. >> > remarkably large numbers of sighted people cannot read or write print >> > adequately either and many function so well that people don't know they
>> > cannot. all that notwithstanding those who do not read braille
>> > adequately
>> > for function really cannot appreciate the value and benefit of braille
>> > literacy and those of us who do don't like to think of getting
>> along without
>> > it.
>> >
>> > Interestingly, neither has anyone ever asked me if I use braille when >> > applying for work. Many make assumptions that I would use a dog guide or >> > that a spouse drives me about or that I would be counting steps, I don't
>> > think those questions have much to do with what is required.
>> >
>> > What computers have done for us more than anything else is add another >> > channel of literacy of a sort for us. As with braille they give us a
>> > better
>> > random access to what we read than we had with tape and a currency we
>> > could
>> > never have with tape or braille and in some situations more instantly.
>> >
>> > I don't know why this debate always seems to get defensive. It is like
>> > the
>> > dog/cane thing somehow there doesn't seem to be any neutral ground.
>> >
>> >
>> > ----- Original Message -----
>> > From: "Jamal Mazrui" <empower@xxxxxxxxx>
>> > To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> > Cc: "Bob Kennedy" <intheshop@xxxxxxx>
>> > Sent: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 7:55 AM
>> > Subject: Re: Screen readers and how to develop them: A historical
>> > perspective
>> >
>> >
>> >>I agree that braille is generally a valuable skill for a blind person to >> >>have. I think all rehab programs should include braille instruction,
>> >> and
>> >>all blind kids should be taught braille at an early age. Unfortunately,
>> >> I
>> >>have also concluded that it is extremely  difficult for someone to
>> >> become
>> >>efficient in reading braille if he or she did not learn it as a young >> >>child -- perhaps similar to the way that languages are much harder to
>> >> reach
>> >>
>> >>fluency level when learned later in life.
>> >>
>> >> So, I read braille, but despite much practice during my late teens and
>> >> early 20s, (I lost my sight as a junior in high school), I never
>> >> achieved
>> >> a speed that made it practical to use braille except for things like
>> >> menus
>> >>
>> >> and labels. I have met many blind adults who are similarly situated.
>> >> We
>> >> have to make the best of speech or other techniques besides braille.
>> >>
>> >> Jamal
>> >>
>> >> On 12/22/2010 4:18 AM, Bob Kennedy wrote:
>> >>> Wow I didn't know there was so much passion for Braille. Having gone
>> >>> blind
>> >>> at age 12, I had to learn Braille, just later than most. Never could
>> >>> read
>> >>> fast and the careers I've had have left me with a small spot that is
>> >>> smaller
>> >>> than a full Braille cell of sensitivity on one finger.
>> >>>
>> >>> I've never had a problem finding work though, and no one has ever
>> >>> asked
>> >>> me
>> >>> if I can read Braille as a part of a job interview.
>> >>>
>> >>> No need for that when I built transmissions I guess.  I have been
>> >>> asked
>> >>> many
>> >>> times about my computer skills since I've left the garage business but
>> >>> still
>> >>> no concern for Braille.
>> >>>
>> >>> I better hope it stays that way or I'll have to get the Think Green
>> >>> people
>> >>> involved. What is the ratio now? Four pages of Braille to one of
>> >>> print?
>> >>> ----- Original Message -----
>> >>> From: "Sina Bahram"<sbahram@xxxxxxxxx>
>> >>> To:<programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> >>> Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 10:40 PM
>> >>> Subject: RE: Screen readers and how to develop them: A historical
>> >>> perspective
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>> What Ken said.
>> >>>
>> >>> Take care,
>> >>> Sina
>> >>>
>> >>> -----Original Message-----
>> >>> From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> >>> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ken Perry
>> >>> Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 12:44 PM
>> >>> To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> >>> Subject: RE: Screen readers and how to develop them: A historical
>> >>> perspective
>> >>>
>> >>> You said ,
>> >>> "Take away your tech, your electricity, your computer, your gadgets,
>> >>> your
>> >>> willing friends to read to you, hand you a greeting card
>> >>> from a friend, a recipe, a medicine bottle with a braille label on it,
>> >>> and
>> >>> what happens?  Go to a nice restaurant with a sighted
>> >>> friend, have the waiter hand you a braille menu which they have gone
>> >>> to
>> >>> the
>> >>> trouble and expense of providing you, have that friend
>> >>> step away to go to the restroom, the waiter approach you and ask:
>> >>> "What
>> >>> will you have today?"  What happens?  "Sorry, can you read
>> >>> me your menu? I can't read this." Litterate or illiterate? You tell
>> >>> me."
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>> You assume a lot of things in the above. I have been blind 20 years
>> >>> and
>> >>> got
>> >>> one Braille Christmas card,  I have only recently
>> >>> started seeing any Braille menus.  If you took the tech from most
>> >>> sighted
>> >>> people they would be lost as well.  I have never got one
>> >>> bottle of pills with a Braille label. Most of the Pill bottles I get
>> >>> come
>> >>> with barcodes though and read fine.  As for Cards  my son
>> >>> and daughter have given me audible ones. Hell I got one this year
>> >>> with
>> >>> actual letters I could feel true this is like brailed so
>> >>> don't really count. The point is Tech is here to stay and if it went
>> >>> away
>> >>> then maybe it would be worth me gaining speed with
>> >>> Braille. It is like saying you don't know how to ride a horse so you
>> >>> won't
>> >>> be able to travel more than 20 to 40  miles  a day
>> >>> because you will have to walk if you don't have a car. . When I want
>> >>> to
>> >>> read a menu I download one and I do that on my Braille
>> >>> plus and or Iphone both.  I actually take pictures of menu on  my
>> >>> IPhone
>> >>> and
>> >>> read it that way many times.  I am sorry but my brother
>> >>> has started going to restaurants in Atlanta only if they have online
>> >>> menus
>> >>> does that make him illiterate? Kids in college now
>> >>> couldn't do Calculus if you took their calculator away but I could
>> >>> does
>> >>> that
>> >>> make them lost in the world of business  because they
>> >>> use a tool?
>> >>>
>> >>> I never said that my way I s the best way. What I said is to call
>> >>> them
>> >>> illiterate is asinine.  If they can write and read and spell
>> >>> they are literate. You might not call them fully self sufficient but
>> >>> I
>> >>> would argue that until every written word is in Braille then
>> >>> no blind person is self sufficient when it comes to reading but then
>> >>> it
>> >>> looks like Google will fix access to text long before paper
>> >>> Braille ever catches up.
>> >>>
>> >>> Ken
>> >>>
>> >>> The funny thing is you say take your tech away and yet what you were
>> >>> talking
>> >>> about originally is reading with a Braille display.
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>> Find yourself in a place with no new batteries for your machines, no
>> >>> power,
>> >>> access to a PC ETC.  Hand you a slate and stylus or,
>> >>> heck, just a sharp pin and some paper. Instruct you to leave a note
>> >>> for
>> >>> a
>> >>> friend that you stepped out for an hour and will be back,
>> >>> and what happens?
>> >>>
>> >>> Take pride in your abilities, do.  Even boast about how well your
>> >>> memory
>> >>> works, your accomplishments in programming, your
>> >>> mathematical prowess, whatever you like but, don't tell me there is no
>> >>> value
>> >>> in reading and that implying that if some can't
>> >>> actually interact directly with text for themselves, know that letters
>> >>> on
>> >>> that page are forming themselves into words and so forth,
>> >>> that this is an assinine thing to say.  For one thing, it's rude,
>> >>> discourteous, ETC. for another, it's not true. Do as many studies >> >>> as you like, ask as many people as you like, whatever. You are not
>> >>> illiterate because you learned to read and write as a child.
>> >>> You used print. You have some knowledge of braille. If you can't do
>> >>> grade
>> >>> II, it is probably because you chose to deny yourself
>> >>> this skill. If you can learn computer code, you can learn braille
>> >>> code
>> >>> be
>> >>> it Nemeth, computer braille, musical notation, whatever
>> >>> you like. If you can learn alternate keyboards, you can train your
>> >>> mind
>> >>> to
>> >>> learn the feel of different symbols.  The only reason
>> >>> you couldn't is if your sense of touch is not working for some reason.
>> >>> In
>> >>> spite of this, the fact that you were taught your letters
>> >>> and how to read and write them as a child and learned them makes you
>> >>> literate.  You just haven't fully transferred those skills to
>> >>> another medium because you chose to rely on tech instead of putting
>> >>> forth
>> >>> the time and effort it took to master them.  There are
>> >>> those who never really truly learn their letters unless they are the
>> >>> ones
>> >>> doing the writing, output, not input.  Their knowledge of
>> >>> letters is more akin to their ability to put words together in a
>> >>> spoken
>> >>> sentence.  They know how to type out letters on a computer
>> >>> keyboard to get the computer to say what they want. A lot of them
>> >>> write
>> >>> ate
>> >>> when they mean eight, break when they mean brake,
>> >>> speach when they mean speech and so forth because the computer speaks
>> >>> them
>> >>> out just the same and their mind never skips a beat when
>> >>> they hear it spoken and when their friends hear them spoken from a
>> >>> screen
>> >>> reader.  They can write, they can not read.  ugly?
>> >>> Unyielding? Yes, the world often is. Yes. Uncomfortable? You tell
>> >>> me.
>> >>> Fact?
>> >>> Absolutely.  It is immutable, uncontradictable, inarguable.
>> >>>
>> >>> Sorry about the rant. I will stop since this has gotten off topic.
>> >>> It was never my intent to offend anyone.
>> >>>
>> >>> Regards,
>> >>> Alex M
>> >>>
>> >>> On 12/21/10, Ken Perry<whistler@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>  wrote:
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Well I agree that Braille should be taught and is good to know. I >> >>>> have to put my 3 cents in. I went blind at 20 and in my now 20 years >> >>>> of being blind, I have only been able to learn to read Braille to
>> >>>> the
>> >>>> see dick run levels. That means I read enough to be able to code
>> >>>> Braille output
>> >>> methods
>> >>>> (i.e. My unique way of Braille scrolling on the Braille+ and Icon)
>> >>>> and
>> >>>> I
>> >>> can
>> >>>> code games like Sudoku for the same devices. I can also read labels
>> >>>> but
>> >>> if
>> >>>> you give me a Braille book be ready to age before I finish a
>> >>>> paragraph.
>> >>> Now
>> >>>> I realize if I would have learned Braille when I was young it would
>> >>>> be
>> >>> much
>> >>>> faster but I have said all this to say this.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> The idea that someone is illiterate because they don't read Braille
>> >>>> and
>> >>> are
>> >>>> totally blind is just stupid and asinine. I have Taken High level >> >>>> math classes with no Knowledge of nemeth, True I would not have had >> >>>> to use a reader if I knew nemeth then but I also could have done it >> >>>> alone if they would have let me use the tools I can use for example I >> >>>> could do all my calculus by hand with my Calculator/ worksheet called
>> >>>> xplore.  It  of
>> >>> course
>> >>>> is not really that accessible now that it's a windows app but when it
>> >>>> was
>> >>> a
>> >>>> dos app it was awesome for doing math by hand on the computer. Yes >> >>>> the computer did some of the work when I wanted it to but hell seen a >> >>>> sighted person take calculus without an hp48 in hand lately? Now I
>> >>>> will say when
>> >>> I
>> >>>> took Calculus I could and did do five page problems in my head. My
>> >>> teacher
>> >>>> actually insisted I do this for him once because he thought my reader >> >>>> was doing the math. Little did he know I did the stuff better than
>> >>>> he
>> >>>> could
>> >>> do
>> >>>> on paper in my head. I definitely couldn't do that now but back then
>> >>>> I could.  Ask Sina I am sure he has that same ability.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Now you say there is a difference from reading something by hand to >> >>>> listening to it? Hell yeah the thing don't always pronounce things >> >>>> right and you can read a hell of a lot faster and retain more when
>> >>>> listening.
>> >>>> Doubt me? Test me against anyone who can read Braille at what would >> >>>> be considered 100% give us 10 books to read in the same amount of
>> >>>> time
>> >>>> and
>> >>> test
>> >>>> us on it. True this would really need to be done in a large group to
>> >>>> make sure the people involved just were not stupid but I will
>> >>>> guarantee the person listening to the text will retain more.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> You say yes but what about graphics and table. Um sorry but getting
>> >>>> graphics and tables into Braille still takes translation of
>> >>>> information
>> >>> and
>> >>>> you will lose something there as well. I actually found my Calculus >> >>>> books on tape from RFBD very well read and well described in fact the
>> >>>> guy
>> >>> correct
>> >>>> the text book like 3 times that I remember while describing the
>> >>>> graphics.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Note I have lived in both worlds a world where I had to read and do
>> >>>> math
>> >>> on
>> >>>> paper and now one I do everything in my head or on a computer. I
>> >>>> find
>> >>> using
>> >>>> my brain a much better exercise than writing everything down. I call
>> >>> paper
>> >>>> whether it be sighted paper or Braille a disability in itself. I
>> >>>> don't
>> >>> whip
>> >>>> out a book to take down a phone number I either remember it or poke
>> >>>> it
>> >>> into
>> >>>> my phone. Most of the time I remember it just because that works for
>> >>>> me.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Now am I saying people don't need to learn Braille no. As I started >> >>>> out I think people should learn Braille from the beginning and even
>> >>>> if they
>> >>> lose
>> >>>> their site it's a useful tool but I fully disagree that a person is
>> >>>> illiterate just because he or she cannot read Braille well.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> I want to end by saying my wife who has a Kendil, and and IPad still >> >>>> loves to listen to Audible books and find she gets more out of the
>> >>>> books when
>> >>> she
>> >>>> listens because her mind can both listen to what she is reading and >> >>>> assimilate the information without having to do the work of actually
>> >>> reading
>> >>>> the text and if you think that doesn't make a difference again I
>> >>>> think
>> >>> some
>> >>>> studies should be done.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Ken
>> >>>>
>> >>>> -----Original Message-----
>> >>>> From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> >>>> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Alex
>> >>>> Midence
>> >>>> Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 9:14 AM
>> >>>> To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> >>>> Subject: Re: Screen readers and how to develop them: A historical
>> >>>> perspective
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Hi, Don,
>> >>>>
>> >>>> For someone like you, braille isn't a viable solution. Your case is >> >>>> special and understandable. You can't read braille unless you can
>> >>>> feel your way across a line.  About the most sensitive organ
>> >>>> remaining
>> >>>> to you short of your tongue for this purpose is probably the tip of >> >>>> your nose and, that would be ... well ... Let's just say that audio >> >>>> tech is a wonderful thing. We can't have folks giggling at us when
>> >>>> we
>> >>>> read, you know. =) I'm talking about kids who grew up blind and
>> >>>> have
>> >>>> two perfectly functioning index fingers (never could read with my >> >>>> pinky, can anyone?) and a mind to go with them. They should be able
>> >>>> to use both braille and audio to good effect.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> alex M
>> >>>>
>> >>>> On 12/20/10, Don Marang<donald.marang@xxxxxxxxx>  wrote:
>> >>>>> My older sister was upset at me because I was unable to learn
>> >>>>> braille!
>> >>> My
>> >>>>> remaining fingers are just too insensitive now from nerve damage and
>> >>>> endless
>> >>>>> blood tests. She has been a teacher at a blind school for at least
>> >>>>> 20
>> >>>> years
>> >>>>> and is a huge advocate for braille litercy. She even reads braille
>> >>>>> while she is driving!
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> Don Marang
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> There is just so much stuff in the world that, to me, is devoid of
>> >>>>> any
>> >>>> real
>> >>>>> substance, value, and content that I just try to make sure that I am
>> >>>> working
>> >>>>> on things that matter.
>> >>>>> Dean Kamen
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> --------------------------------------------------
>> >>>>> From: "Alex Midence"<alex.midence@xxxxxxxxx>
>> >>>>> Sent: Monday, December 20, 2010 6:03 PM
>> >>>>> To:<programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> >>>>> Subject: Re: Screen readers and how to develop them: A historical
>> >>>>> perspective
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>> Glad you liked it. I was hoping someone on this list would have >> >>>>>> personal recollections of this time and the tech available. Neat >> >>>>>> how there was braille output as far back as the 50's. It's a shame >> >>>>>> that that stuff is stil as expensive as it is. Perhaps, some day, >> >>>>>> as happened with speech technology, blind people will see the price >> >>>>>> of a braille display drop to something affordable as in, under a
>> >>>>>> thousand dollars?  Same for a braille printer/embosser.  I am
>> >>>>>> enormously concerned at how many of the blind kids I have met
>> >>>>>> recently have poor braille reading skils and don't really seem to >> >>>>>> care that they are bordering on illiteracy. Having something or >> >>>>>> someone read to you is not the same as direct input from a written
>> >>>>>> document to your mind without an intermediary.  In this age of
>> >>>>>> electronic texts, you would think that braille would explode in >> >>>>>> popularity since you no longer have to fill a room with tomes of
>> >>>>>> the
>> >>>>>> stuff.
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> Alex M
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> On 12/20/10, Rasmussen, Lloyd<lras@xxxxxxx>  wrote:
>> >>>>>>> That was fascinating.  Dr. Stoffel worked at NIH for a period
>> >>>>>>> after
>> >>>>>>> he wrote that article. I could go on and on about this ancient
>> >>>>>>> technology, but had better do it off-list.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> People had produced braille from computers since the 50's. The >> >>>>>>> first speech for a blind computer user was for Jim Willows, an >> >>>>>>> engineer at the Lawrence-Livermore Laboratories in 1968 (letters >> >>>>>>> and numbers played out through a digital-to-analog converter).
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> The context of this article ... Votrax devices had been on the >> >>>>>>> market for several years, but the SC-01 chip was put into the Type
>> >>>>>>> 'n Talk in
>> >>> 1981.
>> >>>>>>> This device had built-in letter-to-sound rules, so you didn't have
>> >>>>>>> to send phonemes to it as you did the earlier V S A and VSB
>> >>>>>>> boards.
>> >>>>>>> These
>> >>> three
>> >>>>>>> devices took RS-232 data and either acted like terminals or
>> >>>>>>> interpreted terminal sequences and sent the data along through
>> >>>>>>> another serial port
>> >>>> to
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> be
>> >>>>>>> displayed. They were not screen readers running on the computer >> >>>>>>> whose screen was being read. It was revolutionary to think that
>> >>>>>>> you could
>> >>> buy
>> >>>>>>> a
>> >>>>>>> $300 Type 'n Talk instead of a $5,000 talking terminal to speak
>> >>>>>>> the
>> >>> data
>> >>>>>>> coming from an RS-232 device. The Echo II synthesizer (using the
>> >>>>>>> T
>> >>>>>>> I
>> >>>>>>> technology) was added to the Apple II at about this time. By the
>> >>>>>>> end
>> >>> of
>> >>>>>>> 1983 there were screen readers for the Apple II and for the IBM
>> >>>>>>> PC.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> I worked a little bit with the FSST-3 and the VERT terminal, and
>> >>>>>>> heard Deane Blazie demonstrate the TotalTalk at various
>> >>>>>>> conventions.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> Lloyd Rasmussen, Senior Project Engineer National Library Service
>> >>>>>>> for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
>> >>>>>>> Library of Congress   202-707-0535
>> >>>>>>> http://www.loc.gov/nls
>> >>>>>>> The preceding opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect
>> >>>>>>> those
>> >>>> of
>> >>>>>>> the Library of Congress, NLS.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>> >>>>>>> From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> >>>>>>> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Alex
>> >>> Midence
>> >>>>>>> Sent: Monday, December 20, 2010 3:24 PM
>> >>>>>>> To: programmingblind
>> >>>>>>> Subject: Screen readers and how to develop them: A historical
>> >>>> perspective
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> Hi, all..
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> I thought this was rather interesting. It is an article written
>> >>>>>>> in
>> >>>>>>> 1982 about some of the techniques used back then to write screne
>> >>> readers
>> >>>>>>> or
>> >>>>>>> "talking terminals" as they called them. I was struck by some of >> >>>>>>> the predictions the author made with regard to the future, some of
>> >>>>>>> wich
>> >>> came
>> >>>>>>> true and others which did not. There was also a very interesting
>> >>>> section
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> on
>> >>>>>>> speech synthesis and how to get the hardware and software to do >> >>>>>>> many of the things we take for granted nowadays like starting and >> >>>>>>> stopping speech, repeating previously spoken text, deciding what
>> >>>>>>> to
>> >>>>>>> say as an acronym
>> >>> and
>> >>>>>>> what to speak as a word, punctuation levels and so forth. It was
>> >>>>>>> fascinating stuff.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> http://web.archive.org/web/20060625225004/http://www.edstoffel.com/david/tal
>> >>>> kingterminals.html
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> Oh yeah, and get a load of the prices for that stuff! Keep in
>> >>>>>>> mind
>> >>> that
>> >>>>>>> was
>> >>>>>>> in 1980's money too. Put like a 33% markup on it and you might
>> >>>>>>> approximate what it would cost in today's money.
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> Alex M
>> >>>>>>> __________
>> >>>>>>> View the list's information and change your settings at
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>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>
>> >>>>>> __________
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>> >>>>> __________
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>> >>>>
>> >>>>
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>> >>
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>> >
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> Tim
> trouble
> Verizon FIOS support tech
> "Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance."
> --Sam Brown
>
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--Sam Brown

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