Re: Complexity Math in PDF and ASCII Notation (Fluff, Long)

  • From: "Chris Hallsworth" <christopherhallsworth71@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 13:44:33 +0100

One other thing to add. If you have a BrailleNote, there is a built in scientific calculator called Keyplus. Whether this is what you're looking for, I don't know, but thought I'd throw it in anyway for those who are interested. Hope that helps.

Chris Hallsworth
BrailleNote mPower user
----- Original Message ----- From: "Peter Torpey" <ptorpey@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 1:13 PM
Subject: RE: Complexity Math in PDF and ASCII Notation (Fluff, Long)

You asked about Mathematica.

Well, I am a blind physicist and have needed to do complex symbolic math.

I must say, I've never figured out a good way of dealing with the PDF type
of documents you wish to read, but if you're doing your own math, equations,
etc., I found mathematica almost impossible to use with Jaws.

The program which I found to be very accessible (and used all of the time)
is Maple (  Although the Java interface they are pushing
into their new releases is somewhat clumsy with Jaws, the Classic interface
is very accessible with Jaws.  I have found this program very useful.

Maple is rather a costly program (> $1,000, although there may be a less
expensive version for students).

An open source math program which you can obtain is macsyma.  This runs
fairly well with Jaws (although I haven't played around with it much).  I
found this on

One other neat little program for which I developed scripts and had the
original developer tweak a bit to work well with Jaws is called QD
Accessible.  This little program runs on the PacMate and does all sorts of
symbolic math, derivatives, solving symbolic equations, as well as doing
numerical math.  I placed the program, scripts, and some documentation I
wrote on the Pacmate Gear web site so that folks could download it if they
needed it.

I hope this helps.

-- Pete

-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Veli-Pekka
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2007 6:01 PM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Complexity Math in PDF and ASCII Notation (Fluff, Long)

Hi list,
I'm now on a course that's about algorithms, data structures and temporal
complexity, for the most part. lite math, intuition and analysis of code
rather than any actual programming tasks, per se. ONce again, I've hit the
usual snag of notation, so here are some questions about math:

The slides are PDf files produced by Distiller from PowerPpoint Slides,
arrgh. In them the math is seriously whacky. On exporting to plain text
using Acrobat or Xpdf, both left out various critical math signs such as
greater than or is in set. Using Acrobat Reader 8 and Dolphin Supernova
8 beta the situation is not much better. There are symbols that look like
set theory symbols but it appears their actual code points don't match, in
stead Sn reads something like pounds, for instance, even though I know for
certain that is not what the symbol on screen looks like. Is there any
accessible way to deal with these PDfs? Has anyone had similar experiences
and could share workarounds? This is in Finnish, and the math is near the
end, but here is a sample document:

The book we use is Introduction to ALgorithms, the 2001 edition.

I'm sure I'll be able to get the originals for the lecture notes but they
are power point, so might not be that good to begin with. Even if LaTEX was
used, as in another math oriented computing course I tried, I had a hard
time with that, too. Mostly due to the math itself, but one still has to
know the notation, too and I have never studied LaTEX, although would like
to mainly for writing articles and maintainging references with ease, but
hey, that's OT.

Nested parens and the greek letters make things all the more harder, though,
as far as symbols go. Doable, sure, but not nice and or easy, even if I was
a math whiz, and I assure you I am not. I genuinely like programming but I
have never truely gotten into higher math, higher than say logarithms or
simple derivatives. I kinda like math and have a deep appreciation for some
of the results and people I know who know it well, but somehow feel I have a
hard time coping with very abstract definitions. Part of that is just me,
part is practice and one important portion of that is notation, thus my
questions. I still wish I knew enough to be able to do audio DSP some day
since I'm an analog synth buff, too.  But the filter math there is way
beyond me and again OT.
Sorry for these tangents, I'm typing this late at night and don't feel like
cutting, <smile>.

Anyway, back to notation, my other question is, how do you people deal with
the set theory symbols, logic and other basic math signs? So far.
as in a previous course on logic, I've used operators from programming
languages and the HTMl 4.0 entity names with relative success. Are there
better textual notations and on-line references for picking them up?
What does Mathematica use? How is Math ML like?

I wish semi seriously that there would be a math notation that's as speech
friendly as SQl or Ruby is compared to obfuscated C and Perl JAPHs with
speech, to draw bad programming analogies, <grin>. I'm still a fan of Ruby,
SQL, and APple script on syntax grounds alone  which is quite telling. I
know this doesn't matter to everyone that much but when ever I can speech
read code that sounds like Good English, I think, now this is easy to
follow, and elegant, to.

With kind regards Veli-Pekka Tätilä (vtatila@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
Accessibility, game music, synthesizers and programming:
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