NEWSLETTER #28 05/01/85

An Official-Type Announcement Introducing BEX

Drum rolls, please. Our new, improved, zippy, all-things-to-every-user BRAILLE-EDIT will be called: BEX which stands for BRAILLE-EDIT Xpress

Xpress to express yourself in many media; Xpress because it's fast, Xpress because we had to choose a name sooner or later and this one stuck.

Collating the many helpful comments we've received from users, we think BEX will be the answer to many of your requests. BEX will include easy block moves and block deletes in the EDITOR. BEX will allow you to turn off and on up to four output devices at will. BEX will support three Large Print screen modes: 20-column, 10-column, and 5-column. These modes will be retained when you Quit a BEX MENU--you'll be able to do BASIC programming with Large Print screen output. In addition, Large Print drivers for the Epson FX-80 and Imagewriter will enable Large Print hard copy. For Apple 2e and 2c owners with 128K memory, BEX will be very fast. The EDITOR, PRINT OR OUTPUT, and GLOBAL REPLACE programs will always be loaded in RAM. This means that BEX will be quite workable on a one-drive 2c. For more details, stay tuned. Please, no phone calls about BEX--time spent on the phone is time lost from programming.

When Will BEX be Ready?

We promise that BEX will be ready to ship by 1 September 1985. This does not mean that you will receive it on 1 September 1985--have pity on our shipping department! We'll be at both the NFB and ACB summer conventions, demonstrating big chunks of BEX--please stop by and visit.

So How Much Will BEX Cost?

We've received a number of inquiries about the price to upgrade from BRAILLE-EDIT Version 2.50 to BEX. We want to assure people that buying BRAILLE-EDIT now will save money, and that the vast majority of BRAILLE-EDIT commands will work with BEX. BEX is an improvement on BRAILLE-EDIT, not a wrenching change from it. BRAILLE-EDIT and BEX data disks will be completely compatible. We will have two products for sale by 1 September 1985: BEX and BETTE-BEX. Here is the once and future price schedule, which we guarantee until 1 September 1985.

Current BRAILLE-EDIT Customers

Older BRAILLE-EDIT Customers

BRAILLE-EDIT Versions 2.44A and earlier are no longer being supported. We will only offer the special package price to upgrade to Version 2.50 until 1 July 1985. For $40, you get the Version 2.50 disk, print and audio manuals. After 1 July 1985, the fact that you purchased BRAILLE-EDIT sometime back in 1983 will become irrelevant! You will have to pay full price.

Current BETTE Customers

Boy, this gets complicated! Comparable cost savings for upgrades; please contact us for details.

New Purchasers

Purchase Orders

We understand that our customers in the schools may need to encumber funds now. If you submit a PO now, you will be assured of the prices listed in this article. However, any PO submitted for BEX or BETTE-BEX will not be processed until 1 September 1985. Your PO must state that "delivery is OK until 30 September 1985" or we will return the PO. Even if a PO requests items now available, it will wait in a file folder until 1 September, because our experience shows that getting paid for split shipments is a nightmare.

Related Newsletter Policies

A new purchase of BEX or BETTE-BEX includes a year's sub to this Newsletter. To be eligible for any upgrade you must be a current Newsletter subscriber. Check the date on the first line of your label, which shows the expiration date of your Newsletter subscription.

TWO VIEWS OF THE MACINTOSH The Best of Both Worlds -- Mitch Cooper

"Well, how many messages today?" I asked upon walking through the door. "No more than usual, but we seem to be getting quite a few requests for computer assistance."

This typical scenario was not at all what I expected when I first came to work for the Topeka Resource Center for the Handicapped (TRCH) in November, 1980. TRCH is one of many Centers for Independent Living scattered throughout the country. It is a center generally operated by, staffed by and used by persons with disabilities, regardless of the type of disability. Back in those early days, accessibility of Center materials was generally confined to cassette tapes and an occasional braille document, but only when there was plenty of time, something which was never deemed to be more than a highly infrequent occurrence.

Currently, accessibility has a greater flavor of variability about it. TRCH now offers most of its materials in large print, braille and cassette tape. Conversion to large print and braille is also routinely performed for other agencies, businesses and organizations. This is the direct result of computer intervention. TRCH and several other Kansas centers united to form the Land of Ahs network, which became an early beneficiary of a program sponsored by the then titled Apple Computer Community Affairs Program in Cupertino, California. Each participating center was provided with its own Apple 2e, complete with printer, disk drives and a wide assortment of high quality software. More recently, the performance of the network earned it set of Profile hard disk drives to accompany the earlier acquisitions.

The braille conversion process is performed with the assistance of BRAILLE-EDIT and these text documents are transferred to a Macintosh to allow for a change to a highly legible and inexpensive large print. It is ironic that this "sighted person's toy", as David Holladay once referred to it, has evolved into a great helpmate for persons with a substantial degree of visual loss.

Text entry, proof reading, braille printing and duplicating tasks are all regularly performed by a dedicated group of Center volunteers, the majority of whom are disabled themselves. This helps to keep costs and, consequently, prices at a minimum.

BRAILLE-EDIT and the Center's Apple equipment have been instrumental in facilitating communication among disabled staff, board members and consumers of TRCH services. The learning process has not been a painless one, but it has been very much worthwhile. BRAILLE-EDIT Verson 2.50 has helped to speed up the work flow considerably in comparison with its earlier ancestors and everyone at the Center is eagerly anticipating the release of the newest version later this year.

TRCH uses Appleworks for purposes of data entry for all of its word processing needs. Files which are to be transferred to braille are then printed as ASCII text documents and converted to DOS 3.3 text files.

The document, while still an Appleworks word processing file, is first run through the Sensible Speller spelling checker (Prodos version). The file is then re-loaded with Appleworks, where the file is printed to ASCII by using the command "open-apple p," followed by the selection of the menu option to print the file to an ASCII text document.

The file must then be converted to a DOS 3.3 text file. This is accomplished through the use of the Prodos User's Disk available from Apple Computer. One of the options on the main menu of this disk is a ProDOS - DOS 3.3 conversion utility program. Once selected, the program permits you to transfer over one or more Prodos files to a DOS 3.3 initialized disk. The text files are then in a condition which permits them to be read by BRAILLE-EDIT. [Editor's Note: This conversion process is detailed in Newsletter #25/26.]

BRAILLE-EDIT takes over at this point as the text files are read into the BRAILLE-EDIT format. Global replace is then performed, using the Text-to-Versabraille TRANSFORMATION CHAPTER (1TXVB). This utility changes all multiple spaces between words and sections into single spaces. Also, single carriage returns are turned into spaces and double carriage returns into new paragraph indicators ( $p ).

The computer operator then enters the EDITOR and inserts the following formatting instructions at the beginning of page one of the document:


For the uninitiated, this instructs the program to number the pages in braille format, starting with page one (this is especially important considering the Center's use of the M - MULTI-COPY PRINT Option to print documents consecutively), each paragraph is automatically indented 2 spaces and lines between paragraphs are eliminated.

Finally, we run the document through the GRADE TWO TRANSLATOR on the MAIN MENU and then print it with the Center's Cranmer Modified Perkins Brailler. Copies are then completed on the Thermoform Braillon Duplicator.

The large print conversion uses the same ASCII text document, transferred by XMODEM protocol to an Apple Macintosh computer to minimize errors in transmission. MacWrite, a Macintosh word processing program, is then used to transform the document into any number of sizes and styles of fonts, though an 18 point New York (Apple names its fonts after cities) is generally preferred. We merely select the entire document by clicking the mouse at the beginning of the document and shift-clicking it at the end. Then, the appropriate font is selected from the Font pull-down menu and the size is picked from the Style pull-down menu.

Limitations for the Visually Impaired -- Sid Wharton

The Apple Macintosh Computer is an easy to operate machine that, for those of us raised on the Apple 2, takes some of the fun away from computing. For the visually impaired, the Macintosh presents several problems.

Access to the Macintosh is through "screen icons", or pictures, that represent various aspects of the operating system. A mouse is used to select the program to be run. Commands that are accessed though numerous keystrokes on other computers are contained in "pulldown" menus that appear at the top of the screen. Thus, to print the contents of a file, the mouse pointer "clicks" the file menu and the choice "print" is selected by releasing the mouse button. The computer then prints the file without additional imputs from the user. Formatting is done on the screen.

The choice of print styles and sizes is impressive; combined with the supplied "MacWrite" software allows large print on the screen and printer in sizes from 14 pt. to 24 pt. I have used the Macintosh to produce large print programs for meetings which were photocopied on yellow paper, which provided excellent contrast and readability.

There is software available to read text files in a high quality male voice through the Mac's built-in speaker: it's called "Smoothtalker", from First Byte of Long Beach CA. Unfortunately, Smoothtalker requires that you use the mouse to access pulldown menus without speech feedback. The program would be of little use to the visually impaired who require speech to access the operating systems. While Smoothtalker will read textfiles from MacWrite documents it does not provide speech as text is being entered from the keyboard.

Macintosh's built-in styles and selectable point sizes allow the visually impaired limited use of the computer. The nine inch screen, although extremely sharp and detailed, requires the user to sit very close to the computer. The black letters on a white background may cause glare problems for some users. It would be helpful to have easy access to an inverse screen. A large 23-inch screen is available from Professional Data Systems. The screen offers inverse print (white letters on a black background), but it costs $1995.

Even with these limitations, several of my students have enjoyed working with the 14 pt. Geneva font. Using the MacWrite program, students were able to write and print compositions with an ease provided before only with BRAILLE-EDIT in the large print mode. Work is formatted on the screen using a "ruler" that may be inserted or hidden. The document is printed exactly as it appears on the screen.

The Macintosh is not the computer that I would recommend to my students; the Apple 2e with BRAILLE-EDIT is still the machine of choice. Future development of computers may be along the lines of the Macintosh. It is hoped that the needs of the blind and visually impaired populations are not neglected as technology expands.

Do You Want This Newsletter on Disk?

We're curious if our customers would subscribe to this Newsletter on disk. We want to hear your ideas about this, through the mail and at the conventions. Each Newsletter would consist of one floppy disk full of (print) BRAILLE-EDIT CHAPTERs.

Some Advantages: A disk-based Newsletter would be accessible to all of our customer base. You could output certain articles on your own braille device, if desired. Partially sighted people could review it with Large Print on the screen. It would be easy for us to produce and distribute.

Some Disadvantages: We'd need at least 50 subscribers to justify producing a disk edition. It would not be cheap: we'd need to charge around $50 a year. It's easy to hand someone a print or cassette Newsletter and say, "Hey, check out this article!" A disk magazine, on the other hand, is only accessible to people who already have BRAILLE-EDIT. (And so it may encourage piracy of the program.)

We welcome comments--please drop us a note with your reactions! The last date for comments is 30 July 1985: look for an announcement in the August Newsletter.

Revised Canadian Shipping Charges

A careful analysis of our true shipping costs for air parcels to Canada has led us to establish this policy:

There is a 10% surcharge UP TO A MAXIMUM of $25 (US) for each Airmail Parcel winging its way North.

Each parcel can contain quite a lot: 5 BRAILLE-EDITs or 5 Echos or 5 Super Serial Cards. If you have any questions about what the shipping charge on your order wil be, don't hesitate to call. The $25 limit only applies to regular handling. The actual cost (including staff time) of handling special requests will be added to your order.

Attention Canadian Cranmer Users

Raised Dot Computing is now offering special software/interface packages only for Canadian Cranmer users. You can turn your Cranmer brailler and Apple II into a TAPS, BEST, or BEST IIc at significant savings.

TAPS software/interface package includes: BRAILLE-EDIT software with print and audio manuals; Super Cranmer Graphics Package software; Interactive Cranmer Interface software; Echo+ speech synthesizer; Apple Super Serial card; and Cranmer to Super Serial card cable. All for only $800 (U.S.) postpaid.

BEST software/interface package includes: BETTE software and print manual; Interactive Cranmer Interface software; Apple Super Serial card; and Cranmer to Super Serial card cable. All for only $600 (U.S.) postpaid.

BEST IIc software/interface package includes: BETTE software and print manual; Interactive Cranmer Interface software; and Cranmer to Apple IIc cable. All for only $500 (U.S.) postpaid.

Please do not order Cranmer Braillers for delivery in Canada from us. Raised Dot Computing can only sell and deliver Cranmers in the U.S.

For Canadian Cranmer Brailler sales, please contact these folks:

Read & Write Apple Disks on the IBM-PC with the APPLE TURNOVER -- Ted Glaser

In our company, we maintain all documentation on computer floppies. The only problem is that they are IBM PC floppies. Up until recently, I have used various communication packages to move data between the IBM environment and my Apple, where BRAILLE-EDIT resides. I have been a BRAILLE-EDIT user for over three years. I find I can do my work, send the results to others, review their comments, and look at their work, all by using BRAILLE-EDIT together with my VersaBraille. The main bottleneck has been communicating with the IBM community around me.

Recently we have obtained a new product that allows us to directly read and write Apple-format disks in IBM-PC drives. The Apple Turnover lists for $279.50, and it's available from Vertex Systems, Inc. (Suite 3, 6022 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035, 213/938-0857). The Apple Turnover consists of a circuit card, special cable, IBM-format disk, and manual. Installation is not quite as easy as the typical card. It is installed in one of the card slots in the IBM machine. The cable which goes from the IBM floppy drives to its disk controller is disconnected and reconnected to the Apple Turnover card. Finally the special Turnover cable is connected between the card and the disk controller. At this point the PC can be operated as a normal PC. When you install the Apple Turnover software on an IBM-DOS disk, you can call four programs which give the PC a new look.

Using these new programs, the IBM drives are thought of as being of two types. The A drive is always the IBM drive, while the B drive is the Apple drive. Disks can be formatted for either DOS 3.3 or CP/M. The four basic functions are: read Apple disk, write Apple disk, initialize Apple disk, and sift. The read and write functions move designated files between the IBM and Apple disks. The init function is just what it says. The sift function permits a certain amount of bit twiddling for clean up after some packages. The sift works in IBM land. I have found that the normal default read and write functions are sufficient.

Our experience, after a few false starts, has been excellent. The process is faster than communications packages and easier for people to learn. It is necessary to transform word processor files into ASCII files. The same is true for BRAILLE-EDIT files. On some occasions, the last few characters in the file are repeated. This is particularly true with some releases of Multi-Mate. However, the overall experience has been very positive. I have not yet tried adapting the Apple Turnover software to a speech output system, so I cannot say how suitable it is for direct use by a blind operator. However, I can say that it has enabled me to easily apply my Apple-based BRAILLE-EDIT tools to data maintained on an IBM PC.

BRAILLE-EDIT: Brand X or Generic? -- Nevin Olson

We recently read a review of a new program for the Commodore computer. The headline and first paragraph left us totally incensed. It read: "Now a braille edit program called...."

It is one thing to have our product recognized as a standard in the marketplace, but quite another to have someone else misuse our tradename. Imagine what happens when blind Commodore users hear about "the braille edit software available" for their machine. They inquire of their local resource person. Hearing "BRAILLE-EDIT", the resource person directs their attention to us. Result: Confusion.

How could someone make this mistake? Well, we have received many letters addressed to "BRAILLE-EDIT Company". (Not to mention letters addressed to: "Ray's Dot Computers"; "Raised Sot Computing"; "Blind Dot Company"; or our current favorite, "Raised Donut Computers".) A leading figure in the visual aids field recently introduced me as being "one of the folks from BRAILLE-EDIT". The tradename "BRAILLE-EDIT" is well-associated with the quality products from Raised Dot Computing and vice versa. It seems that others are willing to cash in on that identity.

We chose "BRAILLE-EDIT" as a tradename for our word processing software because it is descriptive and distinctive. The term 'braille edit' had no meaning before our software. Edit is a transitive verb and cannot be used in a grammatically correct manner as a subject or object. One does not 'printed-English edit', but you can 'edit braille'.'braille editor' and 'braille editing' are perfectly acceptable as descriptions of what a person or a piece of software might do to braille prose.

If the phrase 'braille edit' has any generic meaning it is derived from the success of our BRAILLE-EDIT software. We have been careful to be consistent in our own literature. We always show BRAILLE-EDIT as one, all caps, hyphenated word. We know this can be tricky to type--we type it more often than you do--but BRAILLE-EDIT is the tradename of the software we sell. When you refer to it, please follow our usage.

LED-120 for SALE

Mr. Dennis Clark of Los Angeles wants to sell his 1979-model Triformation LED-120 braille embosser for $4000 or best offer. (The purchaser will pay shipping from LA). He reports the device is in "better-than-usual" condition, and that he has not had any repair problems with it. If interested, please contact him at (213) 207-1920 (evenings) or (213) 450-1166 (days).

VersaBraille to IBM-PC Interfacing -- Olga Espinola

You'll need a null modem connector to go from your VersaBraille I/O cable to the serial port (COM 1) of the IBM PC. TSI's Crosstalk provides this wiring diagram for the null modem:

Load a terminal overlay on the VersaBraille and configure as follows:

b 9600; d 8; p n; s 1; t c; ll 80; pl 0; ci sp or ci y (if you wish to capture carriage returns); cr 0; et eot; dx f; hs dtr; ai n; co cr; ak n; dci n; cts y; cd n

Save these parameters with an o chord. Open a new chapter and get into remote with an r chord r. Make sure the cursor is up.

From the IBM keyboard at the DOS prompt, type the following, pressing Enter after each line:

All input and output must now take place from the VersaBraille. To return input control to the PC, from the VersaBraille type (in computer braille, of course):

CTTY CON <Control-M>

With this easy technique, you can download from the IBM to the VersaBraille. From the VersaBraille type:

TYPE D: filename.ext and press Enter (also known as a Control-M). Immediately do an r chord t so that the VersaBraille will advance pages automatically.

To upload from the VersaBraille to the IBM is somewhat tricky. Here you need to load a hardcopy overlay with the following parameter settings: b 9600; d 8; p n; s 1; t c; ll 72; pl 0; ci y; cr 0; et eot; dx f; hs dc 3; ai n; co crlf; ak y; dci y; cts y; cd n

Save as an overlay with an o chord. Open a chapter called "upload" or "send" on your working tape. Bring up the cursor and get into remote. Now type:

COPY COM1:D:filename.ext <ENTER>

Nothing should happen at this point. The D in this case is the drive letter A or B to which you want your VersaBraille chapter to be copied. Now you need to find the chapter in the table of contents on the VersaBraille. Once there, do not load it; instead do x chord p. The chapter will begin to advance by pages and the VersaBraille display will show the message "done" when it is finished going through all the pages in your chapter.

Now you need to return to the chapter called "upload". Load it and get the cursor beyond the last character previously written. Get into remote and type Control-Z Control-M. The disk in the drive designated by your COPY statement should spin and the message: "one file(s) copied" should appear on the VersaBraille.

Although this is a somewhat awkward procedure, it does work very well. This information shouuld be enough to get you started.

I am available for further consultation on any or all of the above at modest rates. You may make consulting arrangements by contacting me in Braille, VersaBraille cassette or audio cassette at:

I Customized My BRAILLE-EDIT Disk -- Dean Martineau

One day, a couple weeks ago, when the moon was probably full, I dared to enter into the guts of BRAILLE-EDIT to personalize my program. Although there was no lightning rod on the building where I conducted this operation, I was not struck down. So I will tell the story for any other brave soul who would like to tempt the gods in the same way.

BRAILLE-EDIT is a marvelous creation! Its flexibility allows it to meet many needs. But for an experienced user who knows what s/he wants to do with the program, some of this flexibility is unnecessary and time-consuming.

At our Center, BRAILLE-EDIT is used for three functions: to transcribe braille, to write documents, and to assist in the teaching of typing. For none of those functions is it necessary or particularly desirable to have to enter a CONFIGURATION name and to pass by the STARTING MENU. These procedures take time and complicate the lives of those users who don't need to know anything about the operation of the program. So I succeeded in modifying my Version 2.50 so that the program boots straight to the MAIN MENU.

I can only recommend these procedures to experienced users of BRAILLE-EDIT who have established a CONFIGURATION which they always use and which they won't want to change.

Step 0. Read through all 10 Steps before you do anything.

Step 1. Get one "flippy" two-sided disk and one one-sided disk. Copy the BOOT side of your BRAILLE-EDIT disk onto the "main" side of the flippy. Copy the MAIN side of your BRAILLE-EDIT disk onto the one-sided disk. Put your original BRAILLE-EDIT disk somewhere safe! You now have a BOOT "risk" disk and a MAIN "risk" disk. As I made my alterations on the "risk" disks, I always knew that there was a perfectly good back-up copy.

Step 2. Using the KILL CHAPTERS Option on the SECOND MENU, delete all three CHAPTERS on the BOOT side of the "risk disk": MENU, LESSONS, and REF. Then, use KILL CHAPTERs to delete anything you don't use on the MAIN side of the "risk" disk. ZQONE, KRMPORTS, and VERSA are good candidates.

Step 3. With the BOOT "risk" disk in drive one, get into BASIC (option Q from the STARTING MENU.) and depress the CAPS LOCK key. At the BASIC prompt, type this command: LOAD LOADCON <CR>

Step 4. Now you're going to modify the program LOADCON so that it tells the computer to enter your configuration and go on: it will no longer make you enter it from the keyboard. The configuration I always use is called DEAN. The actual filename on the disk is called DEAN.SYS (the program adds the .SYS). Substitute the name of your own configuration in line 100. Type the following four BASIC statements: 100 PRINT CHR$(4); "BLOAD DEAN.SYS, A$F00" <CR> DEL 101,899 <CR> SAVE LOADCON <CR>

Step 5. Now you'll make extensive use of the FID program. If you've booted with BRAILLE-EDIT, you'll probably need to type Control-Reset, then PR#0 (to turn the Echo back on) before you type BRUN FID.

Step 6. First, you will want to unlock all the files on the BOOT side of the "risk" disk. You're going to want to delete a lot of them, and some are locked. So choose option 4 from the FID menu. Once you've set the slot and drive, enter an "=" when FID prompts FILENAME? Answer "no" to the question about prompting. Now the computer will merrily unlock all the files on the disk.

Step 7. Now you're going to delete many files from the BOOT side to make room for files from the MAIN side. Choose option 6 on the FID menu, give an "=" to the FILENAME? prompt, and answer an emphatic "yes" to the question about prompting. The program will ask you if you want to delete each file. If you answer "n" it will let it remain, and if you answer "y," it will get rid of it. The files you do not need include MAIN, SETCON, PRINTCON, COPY, COPY.BIN, PRINT.BIN, FID, and any CONFIGURATIONs except your own.

Step 8. Choose FID's option 2, CATALOG. These should be the only files on the BOOT side of the risk disk: HELLO LOADCON IO.BIN SCAN.BIN CHAR TEXTALKER.RAM TEXTALKER.RAM.OBJ DEAN.SYS (your configuration)

Step 9. Now you'll use option 1 from the FID menu to copy the contents of the MAIN side of the "risk" disk onto the newly-freed space on the BOOT side of the "risk" disk. Use the wildcard "=" to the FILENAME? prompt and answer N to the DO YOU WANT PROMPTING question. FID will merrily copy the entire MAIN side onto the "risk" BOOT side. (You might think it would be faster to copy the BOOT side to the MAIN side, but it would not work. Only the BOOT side contains DOS, which you can't copy with FID.)

If you've done everything exactly as specified, (and I take no responsibility for what will happen if you haven't,) all should be in readiness. Now, when you boot this "risk" disk, it should go straight to the MAIn MENU: no CONFIGURATIONs to enter, disks to turn over, or space bars to hit!

Step 10. BOOT your original BRAILLE-EDIT disk and choose C - COPY DISKS. Copy the BOOT side of this disk onto the other side of your "risk" disk. This way you can always have access to the STARTING MENU. If you want to copy or initialize a disk, just get to the MAIN MENU on your "risk" disk, flip the disk and hit the space bar.

Dispelling Rumors about MCS -- David Holladay

As many readers may be aware, there is increasing competition in the sensory aids field. This competition seems to have spawned quite a few rumors. Some rumors are absolutely false. A few months ago, I received quite a few phone calls claiming that Triformations was filing for bankruptcy. In truth, Triformations is doing better than it did last year, and has no intention of filing Chapter 11.

The same sources are spreading rumors that MCS is in deep financial trouble. This is untrue. MCS is sound, with increased sales of increasingly competitive products. The rumor of financial problems had a grain of truth to it. MCS had a temporary cash crisis several months ago. As is the case with most small businesses, MCS does not have a "sugar daddy" to help it ride a temporary crisis. MCS had no choice but to directly cut their operating costs. MCS chose to lay off 15 people, both as a cost cutting move and as a way to implement some management changes.

It is hard to believe that MCS had more than temporary problems when you realize that their sales are up 50% from this time last year, and they are now reporting record profits. No matter what you might be hearing, MCS is in the sensory aids business for the long haul.

BETTE Version 1.30

We shipped the first BETTE update free of charge to all BETTE Version 1.20 owners this week. The upgrade was made possible through bug reports from BETTE users. We anticipate making only one more upgrade free of charge. If you want us to fix BETTE bugs, please continue to send us bug reports! We want to hear about all program bugs for the Version 1.40 update.

Since the release of BETTE version 1.20, most bug reports have concerned print page numbers. Version 1.30 fixes all of these bugs. BETTE now produces Roman numeral page numbers for preliminary pages. In addition, BETTE version 1.30 can produce well-formatted VersaBraille tapes. The Heading Test option on the Main Menu has been inproved to make it easier for both blind and sighted users. The numerical scales have been removed. BETTE now reports the number of characters in the instant grade 2 translation.

If you are interested in improving the efficiency of your braille production operation, please consider purchasing BETTE! It's only $100 to upgrade from BRAILLE-EDIT Version 2.50. For new purchasers, it's $400 to get both BETTE and BRAILLE-EDIT.

Echo Enhancers Now Available

RDC is pleased to be distributing the Echo Enhancers manufactured by Adaptive Engineering. For $40 you get a carefully constructed box that helps you get the most out of your Echo speech synthesizer. One end plugs into the speaker jack on the circuit card. A two foot cord leads to a plastic case the size of a pack of cigarettes. There's a volume knob and three jacks: one for a regular quarter-inch headphone plug, one for a mini-plug for an earphone or lightweight headphones, and one for a mini-plug for a patch cord to a tape recorder. The tape recorder output is independent of the volume knob, and there's a separate control to turn the tape recorder output off and on.

We use them around the office, and they are really nice! Hats off to Greg Mark and Adaptive Engineering for a well-made product that meets a definite need.

Summer Computer Camp for Visually Impaired Teens

The NY Institute for the Education of the Blind is pleased to announce its first Summer Computer Camp for Visually Impaired Students at Camp Wapanacki in Hardwick VT.

The goal is to provide 13 to 21 year old students (with little or no previous computer experience) with the fundamental skills necessary to make the best use of microcomputers in school and at home.

Instruction will stress the areas of word processing, data base use, BASIC programming and telecommunications, and will be provided by an experienced staff of computer users and teachers of the visually impaired. Working with Apples, campers will learn basic functions of the computer and its peripherals as well as the use of specialized devices and software to make the microcomputer accessible to them.

This unique program has the added advantage of allowing campers to make use of Camp Wapanacki's recreational facilities thereby providing a well-rounded summer program.

It's open to all blind and visually impaired students who are planning to attend Camp Wapanacki July 21 through August 15. Enrollment is limited so please apply early: For further info contact:

Joe Ingraham, Director

Camp Wapanacki

Hardwick VT 05843


Camp Needs Counselors with Computer Experience

Here's an opportunity to put your experience with Apple and special devices to work in a lovely setting. The NY Institute is looking for two counselors with computer experience, a sense of humor, and a willingness to work for little pay. The junior counselor salary for the whole camp session--June 23 through August 15--is $450; but there is no place to spend money in Hardwick VT. If you're interested or want more details, please contact:

Mr. Frank Irzyk

NY Institute for the Education of the Blind

999 Pelham Pkwy

Bronx NY 10469

212-519-7000 ext. 331

Disk Adapter for Apple 2c

A new device will allow you to use any Apple 2 disk drive and connect it as a second drive for the Apple 2c. The AppleDaptor is $32.95, and is available from Micro-Design, 6301 B Manchaca Road, Austin, TX 78745.

Mother Jones on Tape

The periodical Mother Jones is now available on four-track cassette. Mother Jones is a left-of-center monthly, celebrated for its careful investigative journalism. They also publish fiction and cultural reviews. The recorded version is $18/year (the same cost as the print edition) as long as you return the tapes for recycling. Contact Associated Services for the Blind, 919 Walnut Street, 8th floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

The RDC Staff Requests: Please Ask Us Instead!

If you call and ask to speak with David Holladay in the next three months, the answer will most likely be: "No." David is busy programming BEX. Please believe us that you do not need to talk directly to David Holladay. We've spent many long hours picking his brains, and we have the answers to your questions. Ask us instead!

If you have technical questions, please direct them to our Technical Hotline expert, Caryn Navy.

If you have subscription, ordering, or shipping questions, please direct them to our Shipping Czar, Kristi Seifert.

If you have questions about credit or billing; about new product development; or distributorships, please direct them to our Business Manager, Nevin Olson.

If you have questions about things not mentioned so far, direct them to our Flak Catcher, Jesse Kaysen.

Thank you for your cooperation.