[bksvol-discuss] Re: PackMate?

  • From: "Sharon Jackson" <dolly1025@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 07:47:51 -0400


They give good reviews on all assistive technology.  It's a great resource.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Kaitlyn Hill" <Kaitlyn@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 10:29 PM
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: PackMate?

Hello Sharon,

I will have to read this publication.

I have never found using a laptop. Actually in my years of computing I have
use laptops much more than desktop computers. I like the feel and the
smaller size of a laptop keyboard.

It's looking like more and more except for battery life that a light weight
laptop may serve me better in the long run. Right now I have a Dell 9100
laptop which I just love. It is wireless so I can use it anywhere in the
house but it is almost 10 lbs so not that kind you would want to be taking
on the bus to read while traveling:)

-----Original Message-----
From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Sharon Jackson
Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 4:59 AM
To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: PackMate?

If you want other opinions about the various notetakers, I would try the
Accessworld journal from American Foundation for the Blind.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Sarah Van Oosterwijck" <curiousentity@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2005 11:23 PM
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: PackMate?

Which option to use always depends on what you want to do. If you don't
care about having a braille display I would certainly go with the
sub-compact laptop, because they can do more than any notetaker and are
cheeper than anything but a Voice Note classic. The number one reason to
consider a nottaker instead of a laptop would be battery life. Any
notetaker will get at least 25 hours of battery life. I think I heard the

PackMate gets even more, whereas a laptop will only give you a few ours.
The other problem they might cause you is annoyance do to the lack of
keys. Screen readers use so many hotkeys that a laptop keyboard just can't

provide them all, and I have found the alternatives used for laptop layout

to be kind of annoying.

The PackMate can do a lot of things, but they can have some of the
keyboard issues that laptops have. If you get one you should get one with

a qwerty keyboard because the key combinations necessary on the braille
model can get ridiculous and hard to remember. You can run some Pocket PC

software, but only if someone has created scripts for it, so don't expect
to use software just out of the box. If you want a very small and feature

packed device with a display it is probably a very good option for you,
but be prepared for bugginess because even it's fans say it isn't the most

stable product on the market.

If you really want a braille display at the lowest price possible, then I
would check out the Braille Sense notetaker sold by GW-Micro.  It is just
under 5,000 dollars instead of over 6,000 for a model with a 32 cell
display.  It also has a built in DAISY player that can use both text and
audio.  That and it's price are what might make it a better option than
the braille note.  It's stability and simplicity may also be of interest
to you.

The braille note M-Power is much easier to learn and use than the
PackMate and it is designed as it is to make it a stable product. At this

point who knows just how stable it is, though.  It also has more features
than the Braille Sense.  The word processor is far more advanced and it
can download and unpack bookshare files.  It is supposed to have a DAISY
player in the future, but I wasn't given any possible dates for that so
who knows when. Reading braille files is quite nice, though.  I like the
arrangement of the front thumb keys to advance the display.  I find it
more ergonomic than the other notetakers available.

These are just some general things to think about.  For actual feature
comparisons it would be best to investigate each option thoroughly by
looking at their respective web sites.  I also know there are a few more
things out there, but I don't know much about them if they aren't as
strenuously marketed.

Sarah Van Oosterwijck
Assistive Technology Trainer

----- Original Message ----- From: "Kaitlyn Hill" <Kaitlyn@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2005 7:15 PM
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] PackMate?

Hi Barbra and all,

<<FSEDIT on the PackMate tends to screw up the format and of the document
and Pocket Word on the PackMate will work only with files 100KB or

So are there many PackMate users out there? I have been kind of poking
around trying to decide on a transportable reader for digital files. I
not heard a lot of good things about the PackMate for the money. The
Bookcurrier I listened to the voice available and not real excited about
I am also considering getting a subcompact notebook. I am seeing some out
there between 2 and 3 lbs. My thought on the notebook would be I could
standard software, Word, K1000, etc.


-----Original Message-----
From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Barbara J
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2005 1:34 PM
To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: Barbara J Wagreich
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: Guidelines for prep of books for

Hi Listers:

Thanks for the feedback!  I appreciate it.

Some additional questions:

1) should the print page number be on the  same line as the form feed or
on a separate line?

2) What should I do about hyphenated words? This usually happens if the
last workd on an ink-print page is split between the current page and
next page? Will the Bookshare stripper program fix this or should I fix
the hyphenated words (join them together) before I submit the book?

3) The present book I'm doing is in text mode because it's easier for me
to edit it in text mode. The parahraps are not indented but there is a
blank line between each paragraph. will the braille translation program
be able to identify the paragraphs?

4) I'm wondering wht formats could be edited on a Braillenote (Keysoft
6.11) without spoiling the format (meaning when I transfer the edited
files back to the PC, the format wof the book will not be affected).
FSEDIT on the PacMate tends to screw up the format and of the document
Pocket Word on the PacMate will work only with files 100KB or smaller.

5) Are there any written guidelines?  if so, where would I find them?

Thanks for your feedback on these questions!

Barbara Wagreich

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