[Mm-friends] thoughts on this week's episode

Mary Emerson maryemerson at sbcglobal.net
Sun Aug 14 05:08:21 GMT 2011

Hi again list,

I'm writing thoughts as I hear the podcast, so I hope this won't be too 

I love the Pac Mate QWERTY keyboard and am very comfortable with it. I 
use it for reading files that require 40 cells, such as books of poetry 
from various sources, recipe files, etc. I use the Apex for braille 
reading; I love sitting outside reading a novel, and the Apex is great 
for that, although I find it hard to get used to only 32 cells. I miss 
the advance bar and think Humanware could add an advance bar to the Apex.

I have the pac mate Omni set up in reverse advance mode, so that I can 
read with one hand and keep the other hand on one of the advance buttons.

Third-party software: I've tried it on the pac mate and never liked it; 
it was just too slow, or not compatible with the Omni.

Music, NLs Bard, Audible.com, Learning Ally, Bookshare, and MP3 files: I 
use a Victor Stream and am about to wear out my second one. It's with me 
all the time and I find it works incredibly well. I even like the 
monaural feature when the speed is set to 1; I'm deaf on one side and 
can't hear stereo. Music sounds a little weird when the speed is at 1, 
but I've gotten used to it and I'm not missing anything.

PC: I use it for e-mail, file conversion to various formats, sound 
editing, web surfing.

Direction of note takers: If screen reader manufacturers could add a few 
functions to screen readers that would make note taker capabilities 
work, that would probably steer me away from note takers. The main one 
i'm thinking of is having screen readers translate and speak grade two 
braille files. I love the pac mate, braille lite, and Apex ability to 
vocalize braille files. If I'm doing something else and can't read a 
grade 2 file in braille, it's great to have it speak without worrying 
about back-translating it first.

cell phone: I don't have one. As a retired person, I don't do a lot of 
traveling and I don't commute any more, so I'll use a land line until 
land lines go away.

One aspect of note takers that wasn't mentioned is immediate access to 
braille. I'm hearing-impaired, and really appreciate how braille use is 
built into these devices, or can be added with separate braille 
displays. These days there's so much emphasis on talking devices that 
the deaf-blind community often gets left behind.

I agree that note takers are not so-called ghetto devices; they have a 
place in the blind community. It will be interesting to see where things 
go in the future.


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