[bksvol-discuss] Re: PackMate?

  • From: "Sharon Jackson" <dolly1025@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 07:58:47 -0400

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 have
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 it.
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 run
standard software, Word, K1000, etc.


-----Original Message-----
From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Barbara J Wagreich
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 submission?

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 the
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 and
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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