NEWSLETTER #31 August 1985

BEX Experiences Delays

Following our tradition of truthfulness with our customers, we take a deep sigh to announce that BEX won't be available on 1 September 1985. The combination of the usual programmer delays, a pressing family emergency, and post-Convention exhaustion have made it impossible to ship a truly workable program on the promised date. We will definitely have the pieces of BEX ready by 1 September, but we don't want to create trouble for our customers and for us by delivering a "buggy" product. We will delay the release of BEX to new customers by 10 weeks. This will allow us enough time to make sure that BEX will indeed function as a friendlier, easier-to-learn and more powerful program.

The New Schedule

We have chosen 15 experienced BRAILLE-EDIT users to receive BEX 1.0 in the first week of September for large-scale testing and debugging. These testers have already been selected and we cannot accept any more volunteers.

In the first week of October, we will release BEX 1.5 for further testing and debugging.

By 15 November 1985, BEX 2.0 will be available for general sales to both new customers and customers who are converting from BRAILLE-EDIT or choosing the Dual Support Plan. (See last month's Newsletter for details.)

Implications for Orders Already Placed

Every person who has ordered either BEX or BETTE-BEX for a 1 September 1985 delivery will be contacted by mail regarding the disposition of your particular order. (This includes discussion of the Dual Support Plan, which was announced after some of you placed your orders.) We realize that this will create some confusion with those Purchase Orders which have shipping deadlines; we will deal with each order individually.

Conversion and Dual Support Pricing

Raised Dot Computing guarantees the $75 conversion price and $250 dual support price until 30 June 1986. We hope this will help you in your budgeting process.

Implications for People Considering Buying BEX

There is no economic advantage to waiting for BEX if the existing BRAILLE-EDIT can serve your needs. If you need 5-column or 10-column Large Print output, then wait. Otherwise, buy BRAILLE-EDIT now. Remember, your data files will be compatible. User-level BEX will be very similar to BRAILLE-EDIT Version 2.50, with the addition of the Large Print and line-oriented Editor features.

Final Note

Please be patient with the administrative staff at RDC (Kristi, Nevin, and Becky); they cannot control the rate at which the programming staff works.

RDC Newsletter Available on Disk

For those of you umbilically attached to BRAILLE-EDIT (and all other more sedate users), RDC is now making this newsletter available on diskette. Here's the deal:

We write the newsletter using BRAILLE-EDIT, complete with format commands. We collate everything into one print disk, which we use to make the camera-ready copy. The RDC Disk Newsletter will simply be copies of those disks, containing one BRAILLE-EDIT chapter for each article. A one-year, 12-issue subscription costs $30. We'll mail the disks first class, and you get to keep them.

Now, here is the fine print:

The RDC Newsletter is copyrighted. If you use the disk to generate print or braille output and then sell the result, everything you touch will turn to dog hair.

BEX and the Apple 2 Plus -- David Holladay

In the June/July newsletter, I talked about how BEX would work on the Apple 2 Plus. Many BEX features use just 64K of Apple memory, but some features require that you have a 128K computer. Two "master level" features (the 6-page "zippy" chapter and the macro capacity "remember mode") use 128K. At the intermediate, "user level," block moves of up to 4096 characters are only available if you have 128K. For all levels, BEX will operate faster if you have more memory. Finally, some of the line-oriented preview features in the BEX Editor require 128K. Even with a 64K machine, you will be able to know where lines will break. On a fatter Apple, however, you'll be able to use control-V to preview exactly where a character will be positioned on the output page.

An Apple 2c has 128K built in. Adding an extended 80-column card to an Apple 2e has the same result. Until now, we have not known about an equivalent circuit board for the Apple 2 Plus.

However, a firm called Checkmate Technology is designing such a card. This special memory card will fit into slot 0 on the Apple 2 Plus, replacing the Language card. The card provides the Apple with 128K more memory. 16K is used just like the Language card; 64K acts just like the extra memory on an extended 80-column card, and 48K is simply extra. However, this card will not give you 80-column display--for that, you get an 80-column card to plug into slot 3. From my discussion with Checkmate, it's my understanding that if you have the 128K memory card in slot 0 and an 80-column card in slot 3, your Apple 2 Plus will be compatible with an "enhanced" Apple 2e system.

The memory card will cost about $200, but the exact price has not been set yet. It will be available in October. Please do not try to order one yet. I am offering this information now to any Apple 2 Plus owners so they can make intelligent purchasing decisions. The manufacturer can be contacted at:

BRAILLE-EDIT for the Apple 2 Plus

As of May 13, 1985, we've been including the very latest TEXTALKER (version 3.1) on the BRAILLE-EDIT disk. For details on improvements in this TEXTALKER, see the article elsewhere in this newsletter.

The bad news is that TEXTALKER Version 3.1 has some bugs when used in an Apple 2 Plus. The most serious is that line review doesn't work. Street Electronics is aware of these bugs, but will not be able to fix them for a few months. RDC has sprung into action, and created a special version of the latest Version 2.50 disk. It contains all the features documented in the BRAILLE-EDIT User's Guide, and the old reliable Version 1.3 of TEXTALKER.

As several Apple 2 Plus customers discovered, you can't just copy an older version of TEXTALKER onto the latest BRAILLE-EDIT disk. This is because David's made a number of idiosyncratic patches to TEXTALKER. We've learned our lesson! TEXTALKER for BEX will be totally off-the-shelf, so that people can insert whatever version they prefer.

So, any Apple 2 Plus (or Franklin) users who've gotten the May 13, 1985 disk and been disappointed by the loco line review, drop us a note and we'll send you the disk that works. Any Apple 2 Plus (or Franklin) users who want to get the latest update, please tell us that you have a 2 Plus, and we'll make sure you get the right disk.

The PortaBraille:

Low-Cost Refreshable Braille Device

[Editor's Note: The engineers at the Kentucky Dept. for the Blind are working on another exciting public-domain design project. While this unit is definitely not in production yet, we thought that the readers of the Newsletter should be aware that it is in the works.]

The PortaBraille, with Braille display and a seven-key Braillewriter keyboard and both RS232 serial and parallel input/output capability, will serve as a portable, fully interactive Braille computer terminal permitting communication with a microcomputer or mainframe. When connected to a computer, output can be read in Braille. Once one 20-cell line has been read, the press of a key removes that set of characters and replaces it with the next to be read. Special commands allow uppercase as well as control characters to be read.

Its Braillewriter keyboard and up to 56K of memory available to the user will enable one to use the instrument as a stand-alone writing device for use at meetings and in situations where the quiet writing of Braille is desired. Then, the instrument can be connected to a computer, Braille printer, ink printer, or other device for the transfer of information from the PortaBraille memory to computer disk or to a paper record.

The instrument also enables one to read data set forth in columnar form. Through commands from its own keyboard or escape commands from a host, left and right boundaries are established; each time the display is commanded to reveal the next set of 20 characters, it does so within the defined boundaries. This means that if it is important to read a set of tables, one can read down a vertical column. Where decimal values are involved, one should be able to read straight up and/or down with the decimal points properly lined up.

Connected to a telecommunications device for the deaf, the PortaBraille should enable a deaf-blind person to engage in telephone communication with other users of such equipment.

The PortaBraille measures about 8 by 6 inches by 2-1/2 inches thick. It weighs 3-3/4 pounds and has a 20 cell Braille display, made by Tiflotel Inc. of Bergamo, Italy. It's powered by A.C. house current or by its own rechargeable battery supply--both power supplies are housed within the unit.

At our laboratory in Frankfort, Kentucky, we have built six units which are being tested for reliability. We plan to make documentation about it generally available for those who might be able to build it or have it built. Through the use of printed circuit boards, construction should be simple. At this time, we don't know who will be making it or what the actual cost will be. We can say that the cost of parts for a single device is around $900. This may vary depending upon the amount of user memory desired.

Our goal is to have the PortaBraille produced at the most affordable price possible.

The PortaBraille also has a "little brother," the PocketBraille. The PocketBraille is a PortaBraille without the Braille display and associated driving and power supply circuits. This means that the PocketBraille is smaller, about 7-1/2 by 4 by an inch thick. The PocketBraille fits perfectly into the plastic box that VHS videocassettes come in. It is lighter in weight, weighing about a pound. Cost of parts is between $100 and $200, again, depending on memory requirements.

Powered by two 9-volt transistor radio batteries, the PocketBraille is intended as a data entry system. Information written into its 32K memory can be sent to a computer for editing, storage, printing, etc. It can be used to drive an ink printer, Braille printer, speech synthesizer, modem, even a PortaBraille. If it is used to drive a PortaBraille, a deaf-blind person reading the PortaBraille display could read at his own speed while the writer using the PocketBraille could write at an independent rate.

In a school setting where there may be one computer and several students needing to use it, the PocketBraille could serve as a data entry and temporary collection device to "feed" the computer.

Anyone interested in receiving announcements concerning availability of documentation should contact us by mail or phone. Of course, we will be making this information known through the newsletter.

Software & Information Resources for Education -- Kay Chase

Now that I have had my Apple for about a year, I've mastered most of my current software and have time to locate various new computer resources. I thought other RDC Newsletter subscribers might be interested in some of the material I have uncovered. These resources are listed below with contact information and a brief description provided for each. Please feel free to contact me for any additional details--my address is at the end. Ruth Heibelvach Department of Curriculum and Instruction College of Education University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742 (301) 490-6735

Dr. Heiblevach runs a computer bulletin board called the Maryland Education Microcomputer Network. MEMN is aimed at teacher educators, parents, teachers and others interested in computer education. Write to her to get a password and the on-line telephone number. Education Associates P.O. Box 35221 Phoenix, AZ 85069

This company has two educational software catalogs on disk. The first, SOFTWARE DIRECTORY OF FREE EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL, costs $30.00 and provides lists of public domain software. The second, SPECIAL EDUCATION SOFTWARE CATALOG, lists commercial special education programs. Unfortunatelty, their copy-protection scheme prevents these disks from talking with the Echo. These on-disk directories also include a program for printing out a form letter to any of the companies to order specific materials. I was particularly interested in the first directory, since it would be easier to modify these public domain programs to work with speech. National Software Lending Library P.O. Box 360 Damascus, MD 20872

This public domain software library can be accessed in several ways. Particular sets of disks such as the Apple education one (which is 14 double-sided disks) can be purchased for around $75 each, or for the same price, you may purchase a year's membership enabling you to borrow disk sets and copy them yourself. Apple categories include education, business, music and art, Pascal, CP/M, home, games, adventure games, and utilities. Sets are also available for Atari, Radio Shack, IBM-PC, and Z-80 computers. As is the case with most public domain software, around 70% of the programs on the disks seem to be readily modifiable to work with speech. Cross Educational Software P.O. Box 1536 Ruston, LA 71270 (318) 255-8921

This company sells a Talking Disk for $25, which includes a primitive word processor called "Talking Writer" and several games--audio versions of Space Invaders, Dragon Maze, Simon, and a typing tutor program. The games are great fun for children and adults alike. Special Education Software Center Bldg B, Room S-312 333 Ravenswood Avenue Menlo Park, CA 94025 (800) 327-5892 Technical Assistance (800) 223-2711

This project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, is forming a data base of computer-related materials and software for handicapped children. Free searches will be done to your specifications by the Center's staff. Boston Computer Society 1 Center Plaza Boston, MA 02108 (617) 367-8080 from 9:30 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. weekdays

This society is a collection of computer special interest groups, including an Apple User Group and a Disabled SIG. The $28 annual membership fee includes the BCS newsletter and your choice of two interest group tabloids. Additional tabloids are available for $3 each. Max Jerman Bertamax P O Box 31849 Seatle, WA 98103 (206) 547-4056

This company's early childhood programs are wonderful for blind parents wanting to find computer software to use with their sighted children. Bertamax uses the Echo female voice and eighteen programs now talk. My favorites are "Feet Read Along," "Counting Read Along," and "Story Mix: At the Zoo." Blind children would also enjoy these, although some of the programs like "Telling Time" are visual and would be difficult without further modification. The software is reasonable--around $24.95 per program. Project on the Handicapped in Science American Association for the Advancement of Science 1776 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036 (202) 466-4496

AAAS has a free print/cassette newsletter on technology applications for handicapped persons. I recommend it highly. I do not recommend subscribing to the cassette versions, since AAAS tells me that there is quite a time lag between the mailing out of the print and cassette version. Handicapped Children's Computer Cooperative Project 7938 Chestnut Kansas City, MO 64132

For $15 you can get the collection of bibliographies and software listings this group has developed pertaining to the application of computer technology for handicapped children. The software listings for early childhood and schoolage children are particularly useful.

I hope these resources are helpful. It is through this kind of sharing of ideas that computer technology can really benefit all of us.

If there are other blind parents out there, using their computer to teach early reading and math skills, I would appreciate hearing from you. With my 2-1/2 year old daughter, I have found that the computer is a real asset for working with her. I just purchased the Muppet Learning Keys from Sunburst Communications. By labeling the keys on this alternative keyboard in braille, I can teach her numbers, letters, and colors. The Bertamax programs mentioned above are also wonderful learning tools for her. Kay Chase 6841 Boot Court Lorton, VA 22079 home (703) 339-7540 work (202) 732-1162

Selectively Reprinting Certain Pages with BRAILLE-EDIT -- Caryn Navy

Many BRAILLE-EDIT users have asked for a way to resume a printout in the middle, without having to reprint previous sheets or use SPLIT CHAPTERS. BEX will include ways of doing this automatically. However, there are some things you can do right now with BRAILLE-EDIT.

This method requires that you accomplish two tasks. Task 1 is making BRAILLE-EDIT believe that it is outputting to your printer, when it really isn't. Task 2 is making BRAILLE-EDIT pause at the appropriate spot to let you switch from "imaginary printing" to "real printing."

Accomplishing Task 1

The tools at your disposal for Task 1 depend on your equipment. Some printers have a special mode where characters are received but not actually put on paper. For example, on the Cranmer Brailler, you can turn embossing off with chord-[dot 5]. For other printers, you'll have to consult their manuals.

Even if your printer lacks this "imaginary printing" mode, you may be able to do this trick if you have the right kind of printer interface. If your printer interface is with either an Apple Super Serial Card (SSC) or Apple 2c port, you can take advantage of a little quirk in their operation. The SSC and 2c ports are willing to send out characters even when no device is connected to receive them. This means that you can simply unplug your printer cable from the SSC or 2c port, and BRAILLE-EDIT thinks that it is sending characters to a real printer.

If you don't have a SSC or 2c port, there's a simple test to see if your interface card has this quirk. Step 4 is not necessary if you can see the screen.

If the Apple responds with the BASIC prompt--a right square bracket on the screen, the Echo says "ready"--then you're in business. If your printer interface card does not pass this test, you'll have to wait for BEX.

Task 2 Explored

Two approaches are possible for accomplishing Task 2. You can define one of your printers as having "pause on form feed." (Either define this printer in your configuration, or define one "on the fly" with printer N.) To selectively reprint page 17, you print the first 16 pages to the "imaginary printer." This means sending out the first page and then sending 15 more by hitting the spacebar 15 times. If you can see the screen, it's easy to know when to press the spacebar. If you can't see the screen, there are three ways to know when to hit the spacebar.

We've added a feature to the latest BRAILLE-EDIT disk (July 22, 1985) that makes it easy to know: when BRAILLE-EDIT pauses on form feed, the Apple makes a low "boop" sound. If you don't have this disk, you can use the Echo to signal the Apple's readiness. Start the printing process, then issue the Echo line review command: control-L. The Echo won't actually say "review" until it's time to hit the spacebar. At this point, hit the spacebar once to exit line review, then a second time to start the printing again. Enter control-L again, and wait for the next time the Echo says "review." If you don't have an Echo, you can simply start printing and then wait around 15 seconds, assuming that in that time, all the characters in the first page will have been sent out.

Instead of using pause on form feed to accomplish Task 2, you can use a $$b command to make printing stop at the proper place. The command $$b3, for example, stops printing and makes the Apple speaker beep three times. To resume printing, you hit any key. The number can be anywhere from 1 to the limit of your patience. This frees you from worrying about timing and counting, and lets you use your tractor feed to its best advantage. The only drawback is that you have to go back into the EDITOR and find the proper place to insert the command.

There is one limitation to using $$b. It will not be executed when it it occurs at the end of a line of output. However, this is easy enough to defeat, as long as you know about it. Immediately before the word at which printing is to resume, insert a carriage return followed by the $$b command. This "extra" carriage return just replaces one that the print-thinker would automatically generate, so it won't create an extra blank line. Don't try to use this $$b if you have a left margin command.

Putting It Together

Let's say that you have a 17-page document named FRED, and you realize you need to reprint pages 15 through 17. We'll assume that your printer lacks an "imaginary printing" mode, so you have to use the "imaginary" quirk of your printer interface card.

This is how it works if you use a printer defined as having pause on form feed. You choose option P, and specify chapter FRED. Turn your printer off, and unplug the printer from your computer. There are several places to unplug a printer: on a 2c, it's easiest right at the port; on a 2e, it's probably easiest at the little SSC cable tail that hangs out of the back of the computer. If you have a serial switch box, you can just turn the switch to an empty slot.

Now, start printing. The first time the Apple pauses, it is signalling that output page 1 has been sent out. Hit the spacebar and make a mental tick. Do this a total of 13 times. Now, reconnect the cable, then turn on your printer. (If you connect the cable with the printer turned on, you may generate some spurious characters.) Make sure your top-of-form is set right, then hit the spacebar. Output page 15 is now being printed. You'll have to hit the spacebar two more times for pages 16 and 17.

If you use the $$b method, this is how you proceed. You find out the characters that start page 15. Go into the EDITOR and find out where those characters are. If these characters are immediately preceeded by a <CR> or ($p) indicator, just insert $$b5. If the characters are not immediately preceeded by a "hard" carriage return, then insert <CR> $$b5. Now, Quit the EDITOR. Turn your printer off and disconnect it from your computer. Choose option P and print the chapter you've just edited. You don't have to define the printer with pause on form feed. Start printing your chapter, and keep one ear tuned to your computer. When you hear the Apple speaker beep 5 times, reconnect your cable, turn on your printer, and hit any key on the Apple keyboard.

If you have a Cranmer Brailler or other printer that lets you set "imaginary printing," then see the step-by-step instructions elsewhere in this issue and in last month's Newsletter.

More on IBM-PC to VersaBraille Interface -- Al Gazaygian

Following are a few additions to Olga Espinola's excellent and useful articles in recent Newsletters on interfacing the IBM PC with the VersaBraille:

1. During the download procedure described in Olga's article, i.e., when sending a file from the IBM to the VB, you may get a "read fault" error message after a page or two. If so, change your handshake configuration parameter from DTR to DC3. I found that one worked better on one IBM XT I used, while the other worked better on a second XT. Don't ask me why, except that I suppose some internal setting was different.

2. While controlling the IBM from the VB keyboard, you can perform a number of functions, such as uploading and downloading, editing with the EDLIN line editor, and executing many DOS commands. What you can't do is run any full-screen programs, such as word processors (at least the ones I'm familiar with), spread sheets, and even BASIC. If you try running BASIC, for example, you'll lose control of the IBM and your VB will probably lock up.

3. The process of sending files from the VB to the IBM detailed in Olga's article works very well except for one limitation, which may or may not be important to you. The IBM will not accept carriage returns whether generated automatically by the Hardcopy overlay or whether they are entered in the file being sent to the IBM. This limitation doesn't keep the file from being copied to the IBM and subsequently sent back to the VB. What it does prevent is the ability to edit the file on the IBM, because it is stored as one long line rather than a series of lines. It also, of course, keeps you from sending the file from the IBM, with any kind of formatting, to a printer.

[Editor's Note: We are interested in continuing to support the grassroots research on this important interface. If anyone discovers a method that allows the transfer of carriage returns, we'd be thrilled to publish details.--DFH]

CRANMER APPLICATION NOTES: Another Way to Reprint a Page -- Caryn Navy

In the last issue of the Newsletter, I described an "insurance set-up" that allows you to easily reprint a sheet on the Cranmer Brailler. It requires that you include one printer description in your BRAILLE-EDIT configuration where the Cranmer has "pause on form feed." Now that I have used this set-up quite a bit, I would like to suggest a more convenient way to accomplish the same task.

Last month's procedure included clearing the buffer at the end of each Cranmer page with the chord-N chord-[full cell] sequence. The method described below eliminates this step by instructing the Cranmer to scroll its buffer. Some Cranmer commands include numbers; remember to enter these with dropped letters as digits (e.g., dropped B for 2).

In your configuration, describe one of your printers as brailler type C, form length 25, and pause on form feed (as well as the carriage width and slot you desire.) When you turn on the Cranmer, issue four commands: chord-H H; chord-[number sign] C 7; chord-S Y; chord-R. At each page change, simply insert the next sheet, hit chord-[dots 4-5] on the Cranmer, and hit the spacebar on the Apple.

If you wish to reprint a sheet, insert a new sheet and then issue five commands. On the Cranmer keyboard, enter: chord-[dots 3-6]; chord-E; M B; M U 25 chord-Q; and finally P 25 chord-Q. You've just instructed the Cranmer to enter Command Mode, then enter the Editor, move to the bottom (end) of the buffer, move up 25 lines, and finally print 25 lines. To resume printing with the next sheet, insert a new sheet, hit chord-[dots 4-5] and chord-R on the Cranmer, then tap the Apple spacebar.

The Cranmer has to be set for 7 data bits to be able to move by lines in its buffer. That is why the command chord-[number sign] C 7 is required in your start-up sequence. You can also change one of the DIP switches inside the Cranmer to automatically set it for 7 data bits. Grab your screwdriver and change switch 5 from OFF to ON.

Features & Quirks in The Latest TEXTALKER -- Harvey Lauer

Overall Program Changes

Street Electronics provided this update to address some problems with the last version. These included a program crash after reset on an Apple 2 plus or 2c, and an inability to say letters when you backspace over them. Unfortunately, some problems remain in the latest version, but only for Apple 2 plus users. (See related article in this issue about BRAILLE-EDIT for the Apple 2 plus.) Street Electronics is definitely aware of what the bugs are and is planning to fix them; we've been told the fixes will be available at the end of the summer.

The two new versions of TEXTALKER, Version 3.1 for DOS 3.3 and Version 3.1P for ProDOS, will automatically configure themselves for the ECHO 2, ECHO Plus, or Cricket. The text-to-speech algorithm itself has been enhanced. It is now twice as accurate as before. Uppercase letters are spoken at a higher pitch in the letter mode. PR#3 as well as PR#0 will reconnect TEXTALKER after a control-reset. (This feature will not work on most Apple 2 plus machines.)

Line Review Enhancements

Both Version 3.1 and 3.1P enable line review of the 80-column screen. A new "exit at" function has been added to the line review mode. If the letter "X" is pressed while reviewing the screen, the program will exit the review mode with the "real cursor" moved to the last position of the audio cursor. The words "exit at" are spoken followed by the new cursor position. In addition, all four arrow keys can now be used to move between lines in line review.

Some New Commands

The Echo command syntax has changed slightly. The letters that follow control-E can be lowercase. In addition, a carriage return is no longer required to execute the command. This has an unfortunate side-effect that's evident when you issue Echo commands at BRAILLE-EDIT menus. TEXTALKER simply ignores the final carriage return, so BRAILLE-EDIT interprets it as a request for the list of menu choices.

A variable delay is available between each word. Control E n D sets the delay. The value n can vary from 0 (no delay) to 15 (longest delay). This delay may enhance intelligibility, as it provides evidence of missed spaces or the presence of multiple unwanted spaces. Try using a delay in the Spell Mode--this puts pauses between words instead of spaceless strings of letters. Watch out for the effect that long delay can have on the action of control-X. Control-X only cancels the speaking of words, not the delays between them.

The Wild Slot 2 Bug

Version 3.1 sends out "identity sequences" to try to locate a Street Electronics Alpha-Bits card. This has the consequence of gronking the settings on an Apple Super Serial card if it is in slot 2 of an Apple 2e. If you control-RESET, then type RUN, you will cancel the effects of the TEXTALKER-generated gronk.

Of Interest to Programmers

Please note the name change for one of the files which comprise the speech program. In the DOS 3.3 version, the new name is "TEXTALKER.OBJ" instead of "TEXTALKER.RAM.OBJ".

When you install these files on an old disk, you may want to delete the old speech program first to avoid keeping extra files. Intermediate versions had other names, so you may need to change your "HELLO" program if it runs the speech program. You could also change the name of the speech program "TEXTALKER.RAM". However, you should not rename the file "TEXTALKER.OBJ". If you did that, the speech program would not run.

TEXTALKER 3.1 uses the same addresses as before:

Nevin Olson: Threat or Menace? -- Jesse Kaysen

Our new Business Manager received his first baptism at the ACB Convention held in Las Vegas last month. Although not on everyone's lips, the question of just how he fits in to the RDC panoply has been raised enough times to justify a Newsletter article.

Born at an early age, Nevin brings diverse experience to his role as Final Arbiter of business decisions here at Raised Dot Computing, Inc. While getting his BS in Industrial Engineering, he worked in many departments of a large paper-machine manufacturer. His experiences in the machine shop, foundry and weldry are crucial to his understanding of the paperwork involved in running little RDC. Nevin has also worked as a consultant in hazardous waste and job evaluation. Most recently, he worked in the accounting department of a natural-foods warehouse, babysitting a WANG mini-computer for fun.

Considering his broad experience, the owners of RDC feel comfortable leaving most of the day-to-day business decisions in his hands. Rest assured that Nevin has the requisite authority to handle any or all business-related matters. (One of the reasons that RDC has been prospering in the last six months is that David Holladay has been confined to programming.) Nevin also bakes a wonderful apple pie, and has been known to tinker in the basement on furniture for whole weeks on end. Nevin's presence at RDC has meant a lot to us all--who else would remember to buy coffee?

Handy and Informative Daily Planner on VersaBraille Cassette

The National Braille Press is distributing a VersaBraille cassette called the "Daily Planner." It's a quick and easy way to keep track of your appointments and organize your work day. The Daily Planner is set up just like a pocket desk organizer. It has a scratch pad for quick notes; a calendar with the dates and days of the week for 1985 and 1986; a place to record your credit card numbers; a check register; and a phone directory. Plus, the Daily Planner explains how to organize your business and personal plans using the easy access feature of the VersaBraille.

VersaBraille Interfacing Information

The second side of the Daily Planner meets an important need for VersaBraille owners. It contains detailed VersaTricks and many of TSI's Cross Talk articles explaining VersaBraille applications. In addition, there's a step-by-step guide to interfacing your VersaBraille with other computers and information databases. Finally, there's an extensive toll-free phone number directory (everything from where to order pecans to stereo discounters) and the more popular bulletin board numbers.

All this for only $10 (US and Canada) or $15 (Foreign) postpaid. Foreign addresses can add $1.50 for air mail if desired. Direct orders to:

[Editor's note: We are thrilled that National Braille Press is providing VB interfacing information on VB cassette. We encourage you to take advantage of this reasonably priced and useful offer! JK]

Braille Math and Computer Science Books Seeking Homes

Dr. Abraham Nemeth has collected a vast personal library of braille mathematics and computer science books, mostly college level textbooks and beyond. Moving to smaller quarters, Professor Nemeth would like to give them away to people who can use them. Available for the asking are books on calculus, advanced calculus, differential equations, numerical analysis, FORTRAN programming, and other subjects within mathematics and computer science. For further information contact

Used DECtalk for Sale

Dennis Clark would like to sell a used DECtalk, Version 2.0. It can be yours for $3000 or the best offer. You can phone Mr. Clark at:

Ask Aunt Interface

A short request from Kathy Blackburn of Texas: Does anyone out there know interfacing information for a CPT dedicated word processor? She's heard rumours about connecting a Cybertalker, but has no further details. Any leads would be greatly appreciated; direct them to