This is the first newsletter produced since we moved to Madison, Wisconsin. The last issue was July, and so this is really a combined August/September issue. We have attempted to pack it with twice as many good articles.
As promised, Raised Dot Computing has moved to Madison, Wisconsin. At long last, our address is Raised Dot Computing, 408 S. Baldwin St., Madison, WI 53703.
Our main phone number is (608) 257-9595. To get technical help on working with our software and the equipment you use with it, call our technical hot line number, (608) 257-8833. In Central Time, our guaranteed telephone hours are 9 to 12 and 1 to 4. When we are unable to answer the phone, you can speak to our answering machine by calling our main number.
There have been other changes at Raised Dot Computing. We are now incorporated under Wisconsin law. Raised Dot Computing is no longer sharing a home with David and Caryn. It's a good thing, since RDC was a very uncooperative housemate. RDC left things all over the house and ran up an enormous phone bill!
We have bought our Baldwin Street headquarters building. Formerly a United Steel Workers union hall, it gives us a lot of growing room. We hope that our new facilities will make it possible for us to do our work more efficiently.
Along with the offices upstairs, our building includes a large meeting room downstairs and a bar in the basement. We have already welcomed a few visitors, and we will be able to hold seminars before long. Instructions for finding us will soon be available upon request in braille and in print. Unlike our former town of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Madison has a blind community and an airport, which is served by 5 airlines. There is also very convenient bus service between Madison and Chicago's O'Hare Field, with many daily trips that take 3 hours and cost $11.
We thank you all for your patience and for the many words of support that helped us through our move.
Raised Dot Computing has also undergone a dramatic change in its staff. We have gone from a two person operation (David Holladay and Cynthia Peltier) to a four person operation (David Holladay, Caryn Navy, Jesse Kaysen, and Susan McMurray).
Cindy had personal commitments in Lewisburg, and could not move to Madison. We are pleased that she now has a position at the Bucknell University Art Gallery. To say that Cynthia Peltier will be missed is an understatement. She raised everyone's spirits. She brought organization and coherence to a disorganized operation. Her resume speaks for itself: [describing her position at RDC] "This job position consists of every job function in a software and peripheral firm not held by the firm's president. Responsible for all financial functions (invoicing, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and checkbook balancing). Responsible for all shipping, receiving, and order filling. Oversee the production of a monthly newsletter. Since this newsletter comes out simultaneously in print and in audio form, this responsibility includes recording the audio edition and performing tape duplication, in addition to the task of maintaining the databases of the subscribers. Responsible for the organization of instructional material. Organized customer networks. Responsible for exhibitions..."
We all owe Cindy our undying thanks for a job well done.
Many of you have come to know me as David Holladay's wife. Over the past three years of living in the Raised Dot Computing headquarters, I have learned a great deal about what makes RDC tick. At times, I have been heavily involved with it. But now that Raised Dot Computing is ticking in the Central Time Zone, I have left my position in the Bucknell University Mathematics Department. I am now eagerly jumping into my full-time role at RDC.
I will be doing my share of providing technical support, attending conferences, and writing and maintaining literature. I will also try to make sure that Raised Dot Computing becomes an accessible workplace for blind employees.
Soon I will be taking on programming duties as well. I will be joining David in maintaining and updating BRAILLE-EDIT. I also plan to expand upon David's wonderful programs for turning braille into print mathematics. As a mathematician, I have a strong personal interest in this area.
I welcome braille letters. If you send me a letter on a VersaBraille tape, I will send you a blank one in return. Instructions on sending us newsletter articles or letters on disk are given elsewhere in this newsletter. Other forms of communication are fine too.
Since late July, I have been working for RDC. I will handle various graphic production tasks, and work on marketing and map-making programs. For a while, I will also be handling the administrative duties, trying to stretch my legs by following in Cindy Peltier's footsteps. You may reach me on the phone, or receive a letter from me, or meet me at a convention. You can recognize me by the wild look in my eyes and the weird shoes. Don't be afraid, I don't bite.
I have watched RDC blossom from the humble beginnings as a wild idea to the humbling present situation of a much wilder reality.
A UW-Madison liberal arts graduate, I am very interested in international relations in every sense. Now I find myself in the midst of a group of imaginative people who love computers, and specifically, computers to help blind people. Actually, this is only my third day of working here, and I find myself being asked to introduce myself to lots of folks out there.
What does a liberal arts major do in a computer business? For starters, just doing a lot of the grunt work and getting a rapid education about computers for the blind. I am facinated by tools that facilitate communication. Because of my contacts overseas, I wonder what the potential may be. I envision a BRAILLE-EDIT program in Spanish, Arabic and even Hausa. However, there is a lot of work be done for the blind and those with other disabilities in the U.S. as well as around the world. I think that the possibilities of this technology are limitless.
Now that both blind and sighted persons are preparing the newsletter, we prefer submissions that are in a form that we can all read easily. Apple disks are the runaway favorite medium for letters and articles.
Before we start encouraging readers to send disks to us, we should give some ground rules. Always make a copy of any disk you mail for your own records. To facilitate proper handling, always include a cover note telling us that you have sent a newsletter article or letter, and not just a contribution to our blank disk collection. If you want a disk back in return, ASK FOR A BLANK DISK. If you ask us, we will mail anyone a blank disk in return the same day we receive it. Never say, "Send this back when you have finished." We are not equipped to handle that request. Thank you for your understanding.
Last spring I volunteered myself into a real test of my high-tech braille transcription talents. The occasion was the production of the braille version of the program for the Annual Convention of the Council for Exceptional Children, held in Washington, DC in April. What I had hoped to do was telecommunicate the program from a word processing system at CEC headquarters in the Washington suburbs, edit and translate it using BRAILLE-EDIT, and then send it to David for hard-copy brailling. I really wanted to prove it could be done, and perhaps develop strategies for assisting other organizations in providing braille programs.
At first the news was good; the text was prepared on a Wang Word Processor. And the word processing supervisor was very cooperative. But that was about the end of the good news.
The first bad news was the length of the program! It eventually ran to 790 braille pages. When the modem connection mysteriously failed, I had to spend ten hours on-site, downloading to my VersaBraille.
During the downloading process, I discovered that direct translation of the print program would not create an intelligble braille program. The printed output from the word processor had been cut and pasted into place. The text was so full of typesetting commands that I thought that using Global Replace would be impossible. (As it turned out, it took as long to do the editing by hand as it would have required to design transformations. Well, we live and learn!) And of course, there were the unique braille format problems, such as centering long titles on a 40-character line.
But at last, it was done--not perfectly--but done. The next problem was distribution: should we provide a shopping cart with each copy? And how many copies should we print? Since braille programs are so rarely available, I had no way of knowing what the demand would be. I created an overview of the program (a good-sized volume in itself) and RDC embossed fifteen copies. I only printed two copies of the full program, about eight volumes each. Anyone who wanted one could have a copy of the overview. If they wished to, they could then borrow the "unabridged edition" as needed from the disabled service desk in the registration area.
I am eager for comments from readers. What should I have done? I know that I resent being told that I "don't need" access to the whole program. How much braille material should blind conference attendees expect? I know that in the past braille programs have been an afterthought and a step-child. I want organizations, especially those in the "handicapped business", to recognize their responsibility. A conference without braille programs should be like a conference without ink-print progams: unthinkable. Yet, I now know, from personal experience, how much work can be involved, even when the print material is "machine-readable." What is the best way to handle the situation?
Wheel of Fortune is a letter guessing game similar to the traditional game of Hangman. It is based on a television game, although there are some differences. Basically the object of the game is to solve the puzzle that appears as a series of words whose letters have been replaced by stars. When a letter in the puzzle is guessed, it replaces the stars in all its occurrences. Guessing letters is the way that points are accumulated. Vowels must be purchased using points that you have already accumulated. Solving the puzzle means typing it in exactly as the solution appears on the screen. A mispelling or typing error will cause the solution to be incorrect, and play will pass to the next player.
If the puzzle that appears has already come up once or is too familiar to one or more of the players, it may be cancelled and a new one displayed by pressing a control A instead of a 1, 2, or 3. There are currently 330 puzzles in the file. The control E key may be used at this point to make changes in the Echo 2 mode (i.e., fast or slow speech). The Make Word List program can be used to add to or change the lists as the user desires. The control E key is used in making changes in old items. When one file is full, the program will automatically move to a new file. Files can be added as long as there is room on the disk. I estimate that a disk will hold 1500 puzzles. The program will select them at random when playing the game. Wheel of Fortune requires the use of an Echo 2 speech synthisizer and an Apple II Computer. The price for the game is $29.50. Please send your order with payment by check or money order to: Keith Creasy 1956 Mellwood Avenue Louisville, Kentucky 40206 Phone: 502-896-0132
The latest changes to BRAILLE-EDIT are dated July 14, 1984. This is substantially the same disk that was distributed at the ACB convention and described in the July newsletter. I made a few changes so the program would work better with the DECtalk.
In the July newsletter, I didn't really explain one BRAILLE-EDIT bug which has been fixed. In some copies of 2.45, the top line on each printed page was printed way to the right. This only affected some program disks with some printers. If you have this problem, write or call for an update without delay.
We am just now making plans for a whole new range of changes to bring BRAILLE-EDIT up to date with the new developments in the sensory aids field. We welcome suggestions.
The version 2.45 manual for BRAILLE-EDIT has been quite successful. We have received only scattered phone or written communications from persons who could not master BRAILLE-EDIT. We have become aware of a number of crucial bits of information not to be found in the present manual.
There is a new system for specifying chapters in BRAILLE-EDIT. For a two drive system, a chapter is assumed to be on drive two unless you put the digit "1" before the chapter name. This practice is important to remember when using the transformations chapters supplied with BRAILLE-EDIT. If you want to specify chapter TXVB on drive one, enter "1TXVB" to the "ENTER TRANSFORMATION CHAPTER" prompt. If you omit the one, the program will try to locate "TXVB" on the second drive - and it ain't there!
In data entry, you can directly enter Echo commands by entering control/S E followed by the Echo command followed by a carriage return. What we did not mention is that you must use capital letters in the Echo command. Commands with small letters are ignored. For example, to use "compressed speech", enter "control/S E capital/C carriage return".
This was our biggest omission. We made a major structural change in the way in which BRAILLE-EDIT chapters are written into textfiles. We forgot to mention this in the manual.
BRAILLE-EDIT writes textfiles without carriage returns except at the paragraph symbol ( $p ). This was done to allow BRAILLE-EDIT to create files more compatible with major word processing systems using textfiles. We forgot to tell you how to put in carriage returns. Just put the word processing command $ $l1 (double dollar sign lowercase l digit one). Putting in this command will insert a carriage return at the end of each "line". Actually, writing a textfile is really "printing" to a file. The word processing commands can be used to alter the format of the file.
Many persons experience problems using underlining with most dot-matrix printers. Dot-matrix printers usually ignore the backup control character. To compensate, most printers usually provide an escape sequence to start and stop underlining. This complicates the user's task of writing their material. In future revisions of BRAILLE-EDIT, the configuration will prompt for the users for the printer name. BRAILLE-EDIT will automatically issue the appropriate escape commands. It is crucial to send a Xerox copy of your printer manual if we are going to support your printer.
We would like to start a regular feature of "the things that we left out of the manual". We welcome your suggestions. If you are the first person to send in a significant omission, we will put you on a list for a complimentary copy of the next manual. Please specify print, audio, disk, or braille.
As Harvey Lauer has stated, computer technology is a bucking bronco. It is moving so fast that it is difficult to keep up with all the developments.
The introduction of the Apple 2c has had many effects, not all of them positive. Apple Computer has been upset at the initially sluggish sales of the 2c. Dealers seem to prefer to sell the 2e. They can make more money on all the devices you can plug into those 7 slots on the 2e. With the 2c, the dealer can sell some software and a printer. To encourage sales of the 2c, Apple is restricting distribution of the 2e. I believe this falls under the "forced march to Siberia" school of marketing. The effect has been that a number of blind persons have been steered to the 2c when the 2e would better serve their needs .
Street Electronics Corporation deserves the gold star medal for making the Apple accessable to the blind. The Echo II has been the one nearly universal, low cost, practical tool that made it all possible. Being a circuit card, the Echo II cannot be plugged into the 2c. Street Electronics is selling a new speech unit called the Cricket for the 2c. The Cricket needs special software similar to the way the Echo II needs the Textalker files. Unfortunately, these files are in ProDOS format. It may take me a while to convert them for DOS 3.3. The Cricket also lacks screen review and other features which have made the Echo II so useful. The Cricket has a built-in clock and some music and sound effects features not found on the Echo II. Apple is pressuring vendors to adjust their product line so there is little difference between products for the 2e and the 2c. Street Electronics will be replacing the Echo II with the Echo II plus in a few months. This new unit is supposed to do everything the regular Echo II does, but add those extra Cricket features.
The big kicker is that Street Electronics wants to discontinue the Echo GP. The Echo GP is the general purpose voice output device that can plug into any serial port. The reason Street Electronics gives is the low level of Echo GP sales. The potential dropping of the GP would effect non-Apple talking systems more than it affects Apple users. However, with the PRINT-IT card and the Apple 2c, there is a real demand for the Echo GP for Apple systems.
To deal with the crisis of Echo GP supply, Associated Services for the Blind and Raised Dot Computing have ordered 100 Echo GP units. However, it may take 2 or 3 months before we recieve our first supply. Please stay tuned to the newsletter for more details.
Raised Dot Computing has an experimental copy of BRAILLE-EDIT that is fully compatible with the Apple 2C. The transfers to and from the VersaBraille and the input from the Kurzweil are fully functioning on the Apple 2c. After field testing the new version a little more, it will become our production disk. This new version is available on a pre-production basis for 4 blank disks. If you plan to use BRAILLE-EDIT with the 2c, and you place your order in the next few weeks, specify that you want the 2c version.
Raised Dot Computing is proud to announce that we have ordered a quantity of special cables for the Apple 2c. These come in three forms: 2c-male, 2c-female, and 2c-KRM. The 2c-male cable will work with the VersaBraille model "B" and with the Cranmer Brailler. The 2c-female cable will work with the VersaBraille model "C" and with the Echo GP. Both cables cost $40. The 2c-KRM cable will connect the Apple 2c to the Kurzweil Reading Machine. It costs $50. These cables should be available by the last week of September.
As of this moment, the only thing that is holding up the full exploitation of the Apple 2c is the limited supply of Echo GPs and the conversion of the Cricket to DOS 3.3. One of the strengths of BRAILLE-EDIT is that because it is so flexible, it can be easily modified to work with new devices that come to the marketplace.
I am making progress in an extensive project to make commercial Apple programs "talk". I look for programs that look useful, contact the appropriate companies, and request permission to experiment with their programs for the purpose of adding speech. I have been locating evaluators to offer suggestions. I do what I can to assist the actual process of creation of a special talking version to be made available through the company's regular marketing channels.
I started this in May when I realized that I may be one of the few people with both an interest in speech and the resources to carry this project through.
Right now the goal is for special versions that will talk with the Echo II, the Echo GP, Intex-Talker, Votrax products, and any other speech product that is popular with blind users.
My one big disappointment has been the difficulty in getting timely evaluations of talking software by experienced blind Apple users. [Editor's note: It is as if everyone in the field is working two full time jobs.] However, there is progress to announce.
Sliwa Enterprises Incorporated (an educational software company) has agreed to work the speech conversions into over 40 multiple-choice style programs on many subjects required for high school graduation. These include science fiction, fantasy writers and stories, history of space flight, a lot of government and history, mythology, authors from various countries, foreign languages, and skills for general review and SAT preparation. If you call, ask for < Martha Gardner at (804) 898-8386, or write Steve Sliwa, S E I, 2360-J George Washington Highway, Yorktown, Virginia 23692. >
This speech conversion of Sliwa programs is a breakthrough for the speech market. It is very much to our advantage to give them all the support we can by letter and phone call. You can help by spreading the word about this software to every agency, school, and other group you know working with Apples and the blind. These programs will be available soon, some by October 1, 1984. All the programs will be suitable for those in their mid-teens or older, and some can be used by well read younger students. The prices of the talking versions haven't been announced, but they probably will be no more than $40 each.
Right now I am communicating with Central Point Software for a talking version of Copy II Plus. This is a menu driven program for customizing DOS, that also contains a good bit copier for backing up difficult-to-duplicate originals. Please write them and let them know you would buy this if it were made available. The address is: < Mr. Michael Brown, Central Point Software, 9700 S.W. Capitol Highway, 100, Portland, Oregon 97219. > Please don't phone. They prefer to receive requests in writing in order to devote their phones to support for purchasers.
I have also been talking with Tom Weishaar, who wrote many of the programs sold by Beagle Brothers. He is interested in making speech modifications in some of his programs containing disk and programming utilities. He needs you to specify in detail what you want utilities to do.
I would like information as well about interfacing Intex-Talker to the Apple. I need help with the controlling commands. I would also like to hear from anyone using the Print-It card successfully with a speech device so we can compare notes.
If you are really interested in talking software, now is the time to get involved. Unless I have something more concrete than encouraging statements to offer software distributors, this project may collapse. Please take the time to send me your wish list. In fact, it would really help if you also mentioned what speech device you are using, and whether your computer has an extended 80 column card. My address is < Sherry Lowry, 10622 Fairlane Dr., Houston, TX 77024, (713) 461-9654. >
I think that this newsletter needs a column of suggestions and questions. It would really be nice if there were a forum for all those picky little items that are not worthy of a newsletter article on their own. Let me start with some suggestions and questions:
Q1) It is common knowledge that three of the most frequent uses of a microcomputer are word processing, data-base management, and spread-sheet utilization. RDC has long had an excellent word processor in BRAILLE-EDIT. Now what about developing a data base and a spread sheet? And finally, how about integrating the three - the word processor, the data base, and the spread sheet? The program entitled Apple Works is a good model.
Q2) In the Page Menu of BRAILLE-EDIT is the "Grab a Page" Utility. How about reducing the length of the spiel? After listening to the instructions a few times, one becomes impatient. Perhaps the full explanation could be given if and only if a question mark were entered after the prompt.
R2) I agree that the spiel is long. In the future, there will be a configuration question asking if the user is an expert. If you answer yes, the prompts will get much shorter.
Q3) Why does version 2.45 of BRAILLE-EDIT consist of two disks? Having two is a hassle that we would be happier without. If space on the disk is the problem, the chapters "Lessons in BRAILLE-EDIT", "Differences between Versions 2.45 and 2.44", and "BRAILLE-EDIT Reference Card" could be deleted after the user has become familiar with the program. A customer could be supplied with instructions for deleting the above-mentioned documents and the elements of BRAILLE-EDIT that he might never need and for reducing the two disks to one.
R3) Even if you got rid of the chapters on the boot disk, you still have to throw something away. Please see the announcement from Harvey Jossem for a solution.
Q4) In the Main Menu, I press P and get "print or output". After the chapter prompt comes the printer prompt. If I press n, I get a carriage width of 39, a form length of 17, and an output slot of 0, even though I have indicated no such parameters in the system configuration. Why is this so?
R4) The system "remembers" the screen. It is a bug.
Q5) I often need square brackets, accent marks, and the like. I was able to get these in version 2.44a by using control/X followed by one of the digits. In version 2.45, I use control/c followed by a digit, but I do not get square brackets etc. Why is this so? How can I get such characters in version 2.45?
R5) To get a control character in your text, use the control/c. To use characters not found on the Apple 2 plus keyboard, use the control/X. For example, to type an underbar, type a control/X 5. Please see section 10 of the manual for more details.
Q6) Have you tested version 2.45 with an Echo GP? In data entry, for example? My Echo two works fine, but I prefer to use my Echo GP and can't. In data entry, the GP will not speak one word at a time forward or backward; it will not speak when the control/l commands are used, and it performs in strange ways at other points in the program.
R6) As mentioned in the July newsletter, only a recent version of BRAILLE-EDIT works with the Echo GP in data entry. The solution is to get a program update.
Q7) At the printer prompt in BRAILLE-EDIT, I would like to print to screen with high-res and with Echo and get the output just one line at a time. There is no opportunity to set form length. Is there any way of getting the parameters I want? Let me explain why I need such a combination.
Since BRAILLE-EDIT does not yet have line-oriented word processing and since my screen displays only forty columns, I often want to see/hear what is on each line of a document. This is especially important where tables and charts are concerned. At the printer prompt in version 2.44A, I used to set carriage width at the desired width for the document in question and would set form length for one line. Output would stop at the end of each line of the document, and the spacebar would be pressed to get the next line. This was a keen way of proofreading a document, and now I don't seem to be able to do it.
R7) Piece of cake. Just set up a priter description with carriage width 80, form length 1, and pause on form feed. When you actually print, append an "E" to get the line in voice as well.
Q8) Next, I have an Apple DMP (Dot Matrix Printer). Is there any way of providing for printer setup within a document?
R8) Write a chapter that contains nothing but your desired escape codes. When printing, print this "format" chapter first, then you data chapter.
Q9) In Data Entry, I think I am supposed to be able to change the Echo's parameters, right?
R9) Yes, but the commands must be in capital letters. When you are using an Apple 2 plus, this means using the escape key to force a capital letter.
Raised Dot Computing can now handle Master Charge and Visa transactions. We can handle mail or telephone orders. We prefer mail orders. Please send your card number, expiration date, the exact items you want, and their cost. Write "I authorize this charge" and then sign your name. Don't forget to sign the letter.
We reserve the right to restrict credit card sales to straightforward transactions. For example, we cannot charge to your card anything that we have in back order. As a guideline, we are happy to sell BRAILLE-EDIT packages, cables, and Apple circuit cards since we rarely run out of these items. For the purposes of a charge transaction, BRAILLE-EDIT costs $275. Depending on your charge limit, all or part of a Cranmer Brailler purchase can be put on your plastic money.#[_$]#grade II#[_$]#grade two#[_$]#Grade II#[_$]#grade two#[_$]#Versa-Braille#[_$]#VersaBraille#[_$]#Versa Braille#[_$]#VersaBraille#[_$]#Versabraille#[_$]#VersaBraille#[_$]#Braille -edit#[_$]#BRAILLE-EDIT#[_$]#braille -edit#[_$]#BRAILLE-EDIT#[_$]#BRAILLE EDIT#[_$]#BRAILLE-EDIT#[_$]#grade 2#[_$]#grade two#[_$]#Grade 2#[_$]#grade two#[_$]#Grade ii#[_$]#grade two#[_$]#Grade iI#[_$]#grade two#[_$]#Grade Ii#[_$]#grade two#[_$]#grade ii#[_$]#grade two#[_$]#grade iI#[_$]#grade two#[_$]#grade Ii#[_$]#grade two#[_$]# #[_$]# #[_$">_$]#
I had intended to spend this column talking about some of the neat and wonderful games that are available for virtually no money from sources of public domain software. However, in my travels lately, I have discovered that there seems to be a new disease abroad in the land: INTEGER PHOBIA. This malady is not life-threatening. It can be intellectually debilitating as it can block access to many of the early programs written for the Apple. For those who have always wanted to get Integer BASIC programs to talk and have never managed to figure out just how they can do that and for those who want some ideas about writing HELLO programs, this month's article is for you.
First, what is Integer anyway? It's a programming language that was developed for use on the Apple II computer. It has largely been superceded by its cousin, Applesoft. All Apple computers that are sold now come with Applesoft BASIC resident in the machine. In order to run programs that are written in Integer, you need to load this language into memory at the appropriate spot. Apple recognizes that it has a responsibility to its owners and so it provides a version of the language that loads automatically when you boot your SYSTEM MASTER or BASIC disk. For most users of the Apple, then, accessing Integer is not a problem. They can flit from one language to the other by simply typing a command before running a program. Those of us who want to use a speech synthesizer are the ones who get into trouble. This is because the Integer and the TEXTALKER are stored at the same memory position. When you load the TEXTALKER, the Integer gets zonked out of memory. So what can we do about it? The solution that I am going to suggest will seem a little cumbersome, but it works. This approach offers an all-purpose solution to a whole range of problems while making Integer programs easily and quickly accessible.
First, what will you need? You must find a twenty-two sector Integer program that is sometimes called INT and sometimes INTBASIC and sometimes INTEGER BASIC. The best clue is the size of the program. If you can find a twenty-two sector program that says something about Integer, you've got it made. If you don't have one, check with a local users group or with your dealer. Next you will need two programs from your TEXTALKER disk or from your BRAILLE-EDIT disk. These are TEXTALKER.RAM and TEXTALKER.RAM.OBJ. Next you will need a FID program. If your system master has gone the way of all masters, use the FID on the BRAILLE-EDIT disk. Last, you will need a HELLO program. In an effort to prove that the last shall be first, let's start with the HELLO program.
When you intialize a disk outside of BRAILLE-EDIT you have the option of including a HELLO program as part of your initializing process. This is a little program that gives the computer some instructions to carry out every time that disk is booted. The HELLO program that we are about to write will do several things. First it will bring up speech. Next, it will set the speed of the speech. Next it will set the pitch. Then it will catalog the disk onto which you put it and, finally, it will run your small Integer program so that you can immediately run any Integer program that is on the disk. Accurate typing is essential for this little exercise. Beginners may want to turn on all punctuation on the speech synthesizer. Use this Echo command: control/E A.
The Integer program that I use is called INT. Where I have INT, you should substitute the file name that corresponds to the Integer program you are using. Incidentally, I have written out the word PRINT each time it is required in the program. However, you can substitute a question mark when you are typing your program. Type the line number, a space, a question mark, a The Apple will translate that code to mean PRINT. When you save the program and reload it, your question marks will have been replaced by the word PRINT. Well, folks, here goes. Below is the HELLO program listing. use the Integer program name that you have where "INT" appears. Use your favorite pitch and speed settings. Otherwise, you must type it in exactly as it appears here.
10 PRINT CHR$(4); "BRUN TEXTALKER.RAM" 20 PRINT CHR$(5); "C" 30 PRINT CHR$(5); "10P" 40 PRINT CHR$(4); "CATALOG" 50 PRINT CHR$(4); "BRUN INT" 60 END
From now on, I will give you instructions one step at a time. If you follow them carefully, all should go well. 1. Load speech and get into BASIC. 2. Type NEW to get rid of any programs that may be lurking in the memory. 3. Place an unused disk into the drive that you are using. 4. Type the HELLO program listed above into the computer. Remember to press RETURN after each line. 5. Type INIT HELLO and wait The disk drive formats the disk, and then moves the HELLO program you just typed from RAM onto the disk. 6. Using the FID program, move the programs named TEXTALKER.RAM, TEXTALKER.RAM.OBJ and the INT (or equivalent program) to your newly-created disk from wherever they are. As this requires use of seventy-four sectors of your disk, you will have less space to work with. 7. Using the copy program (from BRAILLE-EDIT or wherever) make several copies of this disk. 8. Now you are ready to use these disks. Once again, you should load your FID program. Use option 1 (COPY FILES). Fill in the disk drive information as prompted and, when asked for a file name, hit the equals sign (=) and then RETURN. You will be asked if you want prompting and you should probably answer Y followed by RETURN. The rest is a piece of cake. It will tell you what file it proposes to put onto your disk and you have the option of saying Y or N. If you say Y, it is transferred. If you say N, the computer will say CANCELLED and go on to the next file.
This process will take some time to set up. However, it will save you lots of time in the long run. You only need to type the HELLO program once. By using the copy program on your HELLO disk, you can initialize and copy at once. There are easier ways of doing what I have described. However, this is a sure-fire method. Integer disks that have Integer HELLO programs are one of the major problems that this approach circumvents. It is not easy to change an Integer HELLO program into an Applesoft one. This way, you can use a standard HELLO program for everything. Good luck with this system. If there are questions, send them into the newsletter and either I or David will try to answer them.
Since this spring, all Cranmer Braillers have been shipped with revised software. It has come to my attention that I have not updated any of the Raised Dot Computing documentation to reflect these changes. Without further ado, here are the most important changes that affect use with BRAILLE-EDIT:
When you turn on the unit, enter chord/H H chord/S Y chord/R. When a page has been finished, it is unnecessary to enter a chord/4-5-6. That is only necessary when you want to force a page eject. To accept a new sheet, enter a chord/4-5 (same as before). It is NOT necessary to clear the buffer every once and a while.
From BRAILLE-EDIT, you can use a form length of 24. That allows for braille page numbering on the Cranmer Brailler. Previously, I had recommended a form length of zero. Now it is possible to use a form length of 24.
-- Auto line feed can be separately enabled or disabled for transmit or receive. Use chord/J T Y for transmit auto line feed enabled, chord/J R Y for receive auto line feed enabled.
-- To clear the buffer, use a chord/N chord/full cell.
-- Chord/S Y will enable automatic scroll. Auto scroll means that when the buffer is almost full, the Cranmer automatically deletes the beginning 256 characters. The upshot is that there is no need to explictly clear the buffer every so often.
-- There is a new command to enable (chord/X Y) or disable (chord/X N) the serial port while embossing under Edit Mode.
-- To go into remote mode, enter a chord/R from command mode. The old command was a chord/R R.
The result of these changes is that the Cranmer will be much easier to use. There are fewer commands to use for printing, and it is easier to produce a flawless braille document.
Raised Dot Computing has worked through its backlog of Cranmer orders. At the beginning of the summer we had a 60 day waiting list. By the clever strategy of increasing our standing order with Maryland Computer Services, and of doing virtually no marketing while we were moving to Madison, we are now down to a 20 day backlog.
Raised Dot Computing is selling the Cranmer for $2,950. Maryland Computer Services is selling the Cranmer for the same price. To encourage Cranmer sales, we have dropped our prices on other popular items on orders that contain a Cranmer Brailler. For example, when you buy a Cranmer Brailler, you can buy BRAILLE-EDIT for $200, a Super Serial Card for $125, a Cranmer cable for $25, and the Super Cranmer Graphics Package for $150. Together, this represent a savings of $185. To further complicate things, you can buy a package of the Cranmer Brailler, BRAILLE-EDIT, an Echo II, a Super Serial Card, the Super Cranmer Graphics Package, and a Cranmer cable for $3,500. We call this package TAPS (for Total Access Package for Schools). We think that this will make it easier for people to fill out purchase orders. At this rate, by next year we will be giving away free 10 speed bikes.
[Chris Gray is the Applications Engineer at Telesensory Systems, Inc.]
Since returning to TSI from the ACB Convention, I have wanted to personally thank you for your comments at the VersaBraille Users Group meeting. I feel that your positive and congenial approach to Versatext and BRAILLE-EDIT existing side-by-side in the world did a lot to calm down a potentially difficult and negative situation. Neither Gerald Neufeld nor TSI has the slightest interest in hurting, demeaning or in any other way detracting from RDC or from BRAILLE-EDIT. We do intend to bring alternatives to the market, particularly where those alternatives directly enhance the usefulness of - and thus sales of - TSI products. Versatext is such a package, and it is one that TSI feels can be marketed with a minimum of additional support from myself and other TSI staff.
I was quite interested in the article by Roger Petersen in the July issue of your newsletter. I feel that it fairly represented Versatext with one major exception. It has never been true that Versatext was unable to examine or display the translated version of a grade two braille file. On the contrary, these files are fully accessible to the editor and can be fully examined and manipulated like a standard braille file.
Further, I think that Roger is correct in selecting full-screen editing and the fifty thousand word spell-checker as two major features of Versatext. In addition to those features, I wish to add one more. The use of the CP/M operating system, and the use of a computer that is able to allow the VersaBraille to function as the console monitor to the system provide systemic advantages that go far beyond Versatext or BRAILLE-EDIT. The ability to use off-the-shelf software in great quantities from dBASE II, to games, to income tax programs (without having to resort to measures such as the Zero Card) is of inestimable value to the user.
I also want to comment on your follow-up article concerning Versatext vs. BRAILLE-EDIT. The spirit and the tone of this article are somewhat different than you expressed at ACB. I agree that you should create lists of those features that are best and most useful about a package. In no way is TSI criticizing BRAILLE-EDIT by promoting those features that are best about Versatext. Your implication is that TSI is issuing some sort of comparison chart as Triformations did between Microbrailler and VersaBraille. Frankly, I resent the innuendo and am suprised to find it in your newsletter. [editor's note: the article was a reaction to an advertisement placed in the ACB program by TSI].
I think that your list of the advantages of BRAILLE-EDIT is fairly good. There is one slight problem with your comments about length of file in Versatext. In the current Versatext program, a file can be 380,000 characters in length. I was not prepared to show this version in Philadelphia, so you had no way of knowing this. There are a couple of points that you should add to your list. First, your display of braille dots is a good feature, and many users may want this. In addition, I don't recall your mentioning a large-print capability which I understand you have built into BRAILLE-EDIT. I think that many people are impressed by the ability of BRAILLE-EDIT for simultaneous print and braille output.
Your final point spoke to the fact that Versatext is not a telephone receptionist's package. I whole-heartedly agree with you; it is not. It is TSI's intention to release a complete receptionist's package during the fourth quarter of this year. Neither TSI nor anybody else can put every last thing into one small package.
In conclusion, it is my firm belief that Versatext and BRAILLE-EDIT need not be directly competitive with one another. Through cooperation and mutual good will, competitive antagonisms can be kept to a minimum and I believe we can get on with the business of access to information, enhancing paperless braille usage and the bringing of computer literacy to the blind.
Chris Gray, TSI Applications Engineer
"Miss Wilkinson, I don't understand what you typed on my comment sheet," a student in my college freshman introduction to literature course told me. "What does the word little followed by the letters dd followed by the word bled and a dash and a 5 mean?"
"Well you see," I valiantly tried to explain, it refers to the poem you were writing about--lines 4 and 5, only I couldn't get the computer to--well, forget it but that's what I meant to type on your paper!"
I couldn't explain it to her, but I'll attempt to explain it to you, my fellow computer-users. And believe me, eventually I'll get to my point about the mysterious typo problem! In correct literary referencing format, one uses a capital letter L to refer to one line of poetry, and two letter L's if more than one line is cited; this is followed by a period and the appropriate line numbers. But when I ran what I thought was the correct information through the Back from grade two translator, the computer read the double letter L as the word little and the period as a double d. Because I hadn't put any spaces between my period and the following braille number sign, naturally the translator thought the number sign represented the letters BLE--hence the word "bled" for line 4.
Now I know that much of this error resulted from my own carelessness: naturally dots 2-5-6 seen with no space on the right will be seen as double d, and the combination dots 3-4-5-6 without a space on the left will be viewed as the contraction for BLE. Things have improved: I now remember to space before the number sign--still incorrect stylistically but at least my students can read what I wrote them.
But this dilemma raises another rather more serious one, one I haven't seen addressed as yet: the misunderstood typo created by back-translation of errors entered into the VersaBraille. One of the main reasons I invested in the computer in the first place was so that I could enter material from the VersaBraille, send it to the Apple accurately typed and then produce--for the first time in my life--a perfectly-typed document.
I expected the grade two translator woes; I even quickly learned to be honest in my writing of grade two, but now I have had to come to grips with my carelessness in entering material into the VersaBraille.
You'd be amazed at how difficult it has been for me to hand out grades to my students. Minuses are easy: you just put a hyphen following the letter grade; but what if you want to give a student a simple little B+, for instance? If you use the old Taylor math symbol it translates to the letters en; if you use Nemeth, you get the letters ing. I tried using the symbol in BRAILLE-EDIT to turn literary braille on and off so that I could enter the grade B followed by the symbol for plus. But then my students came up to ask me what the at sign followed by a hyphen next to their grades meant--it turned out that the symbols for turning on and off the translator were printing.
Well finally in self defense, I learned to use global replace: and now I just run a transformation chapter which changes the word "plus" to the sign. But, I found out the hard way (trying to be clever) that I could not run that particular global replace before running the Back from grade two translator. I'd end up giving a lot of bing's, cing's, ding's, yes even fing's--I never give aing's!
Returning to my second point about mystery typing errors. One day a student asked, "What does corffect spell?" "Well," I glibly explained, "I meant to type the word correct but I left the dot 1 out of the second R." "Oh," said the mystified student. (I now know what it is like to be able to pun in more than one language at a time.) When a person mistypes "ot" for the letters "or", or "hte" for the word "the", the mind automatically makes the correction because most of us type and most of us know what should be there. But when a blind person mis-enters something in braille on the VersaBraille, the typing errors are totally mysterious and incomprehensible to a sighted person.
When I first got the VersaBraille and Apple hooked up, I joyfully reread everything on the VersaBraille to check my braille before sending it to the Apple. "Well so what," I thought, "yes it seems to me that doing things this way is taking longer but think how accurate my typing is!" But finally I had to face it: my papers were taking twice as long to correct than they had when I just sat down and typed full-page comments to my students because I had to carefully proofread and correct my errors. But it was hard to give up. After all--my reasoning went--it's so much faster to enter material in grade two and then have the computer do the translating: there are so many fewer strokes!
But on the other hand, when you're typing, 90 percent of the time you know when you've made a mistake; the problem heretofore has been going back to make corrections. Having thought I would enter things in braille, it took a long time for me to even begin to think of going back to using the Apple as my main device for entering material. I'm a very fast braillist and typist: and perhaps because of my speed, in both areas I therefore make mistakes. However, I have returned (temporarily at least) to the system of entering my material from the Apple keyboard in regular typing. I have found that in fact I do know when I make mistakes, and when I miss some, at least my students can understand what I meant because I'm once again writing in a medium they can understand.
I still haven't resolved this issue for myself. If I could force myself to slow down on the VersaBraille, perhaps it will still turn out to be the faster and more accurate means of entering material. But I still worry about the incomprehensible printed result of a braille error.
However, I'd never go back to the bad old days: it's a joy to correct my errors, especially with the improvement David has made in the up-dated version of BRAILLE-EDIT. But as is so often the case with new innovations, there are hidden, secondary problems wich we must deal with and warn others about if we are to assist each other in our continuing mastery of the new technology.
First, I think we need to seriously consider which means of entering material is ultimately faster. Second, though many of my weird print-out errors were results of my own carelessness, it took me hours to check over my material and to decide what changes to make. (I haven't even dealt with the problem of using two-cell words beginning with dots 4-5-6, and then asking for control characters... I once typed "spirit" which turned into a control/S and stopped everything cold...but that's another article, and it's only a problem with the VersaBraille version B.)
Like any new skill, learning to use the new technology takes time, but the truth is for many of us it takes more time than we might like to admit to ourselves. If there was ever a good case for networking, I hope I've just made it.
[editor's comments: This article raises many interesting points. I recommend sending a back translated chapter through voice output while following along with the VersaBraille. The "braillos" sound just as jarring as they appear to sighted persons. I have received reports from BRAILLE-EDIT users that they wer more efficient than sighted persons in rooting out typos by simultaneous reading in braille and voice. There is no need to use control characters in your text. If you transfer from the VersaBraille without control characters, you will not have any problems with dots 4-5-6. Finally, anyone with a special translator problem (i.e. getting letter grades translated) should write Raised Dot Computing about getting a custom back translator.]
For several months RDC has not been providing VersaBraille tapes, since we can not have them duplicated reliably. Harvey Jossem came to the rescue and is still there. He has produced error-free VersaBraille master tapes of a number of manuals, and he duplicates them with care. We are extremely impressed by Harvey's attention to quality control.
He is distributing material in two forms. His standard VersaBraille tapes, which cost $10 each, are prepared in accordance with accepted rules for VersaBraille tapes. For $15 each, he is distributing what he calls Easy-Read VersaBraille tapes. These receive additional fine tuning for format and readability. In preparing the Easy-Read tapes, he attempts to make best use of the VersaBraille's small display, for example by eliminating extra characters like capital signs and unnecessary paragraph signs. Harvey does spot checking for duplication reliability on all of his tapes. He will replace any tape with problems, but he has never yet been asked to do so.
Harvey has several manuals provided by Apple Computer, Inc. They are the Apple 2E Owner's Manual, the Applesoft Tutorial, the Applesoft Programmer's Reference Manual, the DOS Manual, and the Apple Super Serial Card Manual. He also has the Echo 2 Manual provided by Street Electronics. Rounding out his collection are some materials written by Raised Dot Computing. These are the Interface Guide, the 1983 RDC newsletters, and the 1984 RDC newsletters to date.
Harvey is also selling a streamlined one-sided version of BRAILLE-Edit 2.45. This disk has some "frills" missing-some printer driver routines and the Starting Menu are not on it. THIS STREAMLINED VERSION IS ONLY AVAILABLE TO BRAILLE-EDIT CUSTOMERS. Ordering procedures is as follows:
All orders MUST be prepaid by check or money order.
Absolutely NO purchase orders.
You MUST supply the date of your BRAILLE-EDIT purchase.
All ordering instructions MUST be in braille, on audio cassette or on VersaBraille cassete. < The address for Harvey Jossem is 1432 Sunny Avenue, Eureka, CA 95501, (707) 442-7247. >
Olga Espinola has this update to her project announced in the June newsletter. She is preparing both disk and VersaBraille copies of several manuals.
The CompuServe Manual is now available on 1 tape or 1 disk.
The Lotus 1-2-3 Manual will be available at the end of September on 2 VersaBraille tapes or 4 Apple disks.
The SOURCE Manual will be ready at the end of October on 2 tapes or 4 disks.
Olga greatly prefers providing these manuals on disk, since she has no access to a tape duplicator. To order these materials, send replacement media, a disk for each disk and a VersaBraille tape for each tape. Olga has put a great deal of work into preparing these manuals, and she deserves your full cooperation. The home address for < Olga Espinola is 763 Grafton St., Apt. 2, Worcester, MA 01604. > If necessary, you can call her at work at the Worcester County Institute for Savings.
We announced in a previous newsletter that the author of the Term Exec program, a very well regarded terminal program for the Apple 2, was making it compatible with the Echo 2. Her work is now done, and the Term Exec for use with the Echo 2 is ready. For information, call < Henry Brugsch at (617) 391-0200. > The current price is $79.95. It will cost $95 starting October 1. Address orders to < Quinsept, 1645 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA xxxxx> We look forward to receiving a review of talking terminal programs for the Apple 2.
Bettye Krolick has prepared more notes on ED-IT and its use with BRAILLE-EDIT. This is available for free from RDC on request.
There is a new accessory for Echo 2 users who want to use earphones or to record. It is awkward and risky to open up the computer and connect other devices to your Echo speech board. Greg Mark sells a little plastic box with a cable to connect to the Echo that solves the problem. Into the box you can plug the speaker, a head set, and a tape recorder. There is a volume control knob that controls the speaker and head set volume but leaves the tape gain on full. The signal to the head set is attenuated to prevent blasting your ears. A switch lets you turn the speaker on or off when a recording is being made. Greg Mark sells it for $29.95. His address is < 207 Paisley Ct., Kalamazoo, MI 49007; phone (616) 344-4592. >
Edwin Eames is conducting a study of blind individuals who make personal use of microcomputers. Professor Eames of Baruch College is such a user and would like to pool information on reasons for acquisition, patterns of use, problems, and rewards. He will conduct telephone interviews. Contact < Edwin Eames, Box 511, Baruch College, New York, NY 10010; office phone (212) 505-5985; home phone (215) 572-8961. >
The following letter speaks for itself.
Dear Mr. Holladay:
Thank you for publishing brief details of the Mountbatten Brailler research project in the May edition of the Raised Dot Computing Newsletter. Your item failed to make three very important points.
(1) The research project is well funded, with 126,000 English pounds to cover 3 years of development and testing.
(2) The aim of the project is to produce a brailler which over the next ten years will completely replace both the manual Perkins and the Cranmer Modified Perkins throughout the world.
(3) I am not laying down what the brailler will do - rather I am asking all braille users what they want it to do. I am offering all braille readers a unique opportunity to contribute to the design of the brailler they will be using in a few years' time.
What do you want of your future brailler, and what do readers of the Raised Dot Computing Newsletter want?
< You can write to Ernest Bate, Mountbatten Research Fellow, at Mountbatten Research Project, Royal National College for the Blind, College Rd., Hereford, HR1 1EB, England. >
The purchase of our high performance Thiel brailler has enabled us to produce many things. We have produced sales literature, manuals, cookbooks, newsletters, and the Daily Echo. For some time now, we have also been offering a brailling service priced at a penny a page above the paper cost. Often we messed up a run and had to rebraille a significant portion without recovering the additional cost. Basically, we offered dirt cheap prices to gain experience. We cannot continue to offer the five cents a page charge. We have developed a cost sheet which will allow us to continue to offer a brailling service for the long haul.
For material that is "All Ready to Go" - translated into grade two on a BRAILLE-EDIT formatted disk, with INSTRUCTIONS chapter on the same diskette as outlined below:
10 cents per braille page.
Massaging Charges: $5 flat fee for each data-massaging operation required:
-- Braille Massage: To translate a print-oriented BRAILLE-EDIT file into Grade two.
-- Textfile Massage: To create a BRAILLE-EDIT chapter from a textfile supplied on diskette.
-- Format Massage: If your chapter(s) to be printed require any reformatting.
-- Mailroom Massage: If you do not supply a complete Instructions Chapter as described next.
To provide us with all the information needed to do your job right, please include an INSTRUCTIONS chapter on the diskette that contains the material to be brailled. Call the chapter "INSTRUCTIONS". To avoid the $5 Mailroom Massage fee, include all this information:
-- Where to ship the brailled material. (If UPS we must have a street address).
-- Where to send the bill for the brailling costs.
-- Payment method (see below for options). Please tell us your dollar limit for the job. We will never exceed a stated maximum amount without contacting you!
-- The names of the chapters you wish brailled.
-- How many copies you want of each chapter.
-- The order in which you wish the chapters brailled.
-- Whether you want each chapter to start on a new braille page.
-- If you want a proof copy before we do the production run, see below
-- Any other formatting details
-- The name and phone number of someone to call if we have technical questions about the brailling job.
-- The date you expect to receive the brailled material.
-- Your shipping method.
Never send us a disk "Free Matter for the Blind". We may never get the disk. Always make a backup disk. We prefer to ship regular UPS. We can also ship UPS Second Day Air. To help you estimate shipping costs, 200 sheets of braille paper weighs about 7 pounds. A thirty pound package costs between $3.75 to $12.75 depending on the distance shipped. UPS Second Day Air for 30 pounds costs $31.00 anywhere in the 48 states. We will add the direct shipping cost to your bill.
We promise nothing. If you wish to proofread a long document before brailling many copies of it, tell us. We'll do your job in two steps. First, we'll make you a proof copy, either in hard-copy braille or INKPRINT braille. Then, we'll wait for your authorization to proceed with the production run. Please include this in your INSTRUCTIONS chapter. (Of course, you can also print the braille to the screen for proofreading!)
Is your responsibility. Brailled material is produced on 100 pound tag fan-fold braille paper. We neither burst nor remove the perfery from the sheets. The paper is three-hole punched to fit in a standard braille binder.
No packing charge for up to 100 sheets.
100 to 1000 sheets: $2 packing charge.
for every 1000 sheets above 1000: $1 packing charge.
Minimum charge - $10.00. (Even if you incur no massaging charges, and send us a short chapter that ends up only 30 pages long.)
We offer three payment methods:
Charge it to your VISA or MasterCard (please supply us with your number, your expiration date and a signed statement authorizing us to charge your account) --or--
Send a blanket purchase order --or--
We will ship your brailled material COD via UPS.
Please tell us what your limit in costs is. We promise not to exceed this maximum amount without contacting you.
Here's an example of estimating your costs. First, find the character count of your chapter using the "File List" option from the Page Menu. Let's say you have one chapter that contains around 8500 characters, named STUFF. You have written your INSTRUCTIONS chapter and told us everything we need to know (thereby saving yourself $5). You have translated the chapter into grade two. (You just saved another $5). You want STUFF printed in braille format. You have remembered to put in "$$s1$$i2$$nb" and other formatting commands, and saved another $5. You tell us you want 30 copies of the STUFF in braille.
1000 print characters yield approximately one braille page when translated into grade two. Since you've got 8500 characters, you guess that STUFF, when brailled, will run 9 braille pages. 9 times 30 equals 270 braille pages. 270 times 10 cents for each page yields $27.00. There is a $2.00 packing charge of a job between 100 and 1,000 sheets. The final charge is for shipping. If you had put a dollar limit of $35.00 on that job, then there shouldn't be a problem.
We hope this is not too confusing. We will be including a "RDC Brailling Service Order Form" in the next update of BRAILLE-EDIT, and then it will be much easier. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.