[Mm-friends] low tech

Lynnette Tatum techlynne46 at gmail.com
Mon Sep 5 18:16:08 CEST 2016

Agreed. . the show was positively packed with great info!
Keep up the excellent work, Main Menu Gang!

-----Original Message----- 
From: Mary Emerson via Mm-friends 
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2016 2:41 PM 
To: MM Friends 
Cc: Mary Emerson 
Subject: [Mm-friends] low tech 

Hi all,

I really enjoyed this past week's show, having received the podcast this 
morning. Thanks for such a great show about low tech!

I still have some older technology, and I think there's still a place 
for it. For example, I've been an optacon user for forty years; the 
optacon is a device that can be used to read print, although you need to 
know the shapes of print characters to use it. It uses a camera that you 
move across a page, computer screen, or other item with print on it; the 
camera sees the image of each character, and sends it to vibrating reeds 
that pop up on a small plate; the reeds form the image shapes on the 
plate, and you feel them with one finger. I've used the optacon to read 
buttons and dials on appliances. For example, my microwave has a flat 
panel; I used the optacon to read the panel, row by row. I knew what 
everything on each row was for, and where to put the stick-on dots.

Although optacons aren't manufactured any more, mine has served me well. 
In fact, I used it to read computer screens during the first fifteen 
years of my career. I used it to learn the keyboard that came with my 
first PC. A couple years ago I got a Crosely Princess phone, a replica 
of the ones that came out in the 1960s, but with modern electronics 
inside. Instead of the old rotary dial, buttons are arranged in a 
circle. The optacon came in handy because the pound and star are before 
the number 1, and the numbers are arranged counter-clockwise, similar to 
the old rotary phones. I put stick-on dots on some buttons to help with 


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