Raised Dot Computing Newsletter: Exploring Microcomputer Applications for the Visually Impaired -- ISSN 0890-0019. May-June 1989 -- Volume 7, Numbers 76 & 77.

Published Every Other Month by Raised Dot Computing, Inc., 408 South Baldwin Street, Madison, Wisconsin USA 53703. Telephone: 608-257-9595.

Subscriptions: $18/year Print, $20/year Audio Tape, $30/year Apple II BEX data disk. (Kindly add $20/year for postage outside N. America.) Back Issues: $4.

Submissions are always welcome, especially on diskette. All are subject to editing for style and clarity. All opinions expressed are those of the author. Editors: Jesse Kaysen & Phyllis Herrington.

Entire contents copyright 1989 by Raised Dot Computing, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Nothing may be reprinted in any medium--print, braille, audio, or electronic--without prior written permission from RDC Inc.

Table of Contents: the all-uppercase words name the disk chapters; the words after the equals sign are the actual article titles.

READ ME FIRST = How To Read the RDC Newsletter on Disk.

CONTENTS = (This Chapter) print page 1.

LASER LINES = Laser Lines from the Editor; Additional Notes on Soft Line Offset Command by Caryn Navy (print page 2).

INTRO MATHEMATIX = Create Inkprint Math from Nemeth Braille with BEX and MathematiX (print pages 2-5).

HOT DOTS BUGS & WORK = Hot Dots Bugs & Work-Arounds by Caryn Navy: Returning to Grade 2 Translation; New Formula for Dipner Dot Carriage Width (print page 6).

KENNEL SCOOP = Technical Scoop from the Kennel by Phyllis Herrington: Hot Dots Tips, Global's Verbatim Command, Troubleshooting File Problems; BEX Tips, Typing Sticky Spaces; BEX & the Apple IIc Plus (print pages 7-9).

DISK ORGANIZATION = Developing a Disk Organization Strategy by Jesse Kaysen (print pages 9-10).

KPR AS BRL TRANS = The Kurzweil Personal Reader as a Blind Person's Transcription Tool by Dr. Fareed Haj (print pages 10-12).

KPR INTERFACE = Interfacing the Kurzweil Personal Reader with BEX by Robert Carter (print pages 12-14).

COPY 3-5 DISKS = Using Diversi-COPY with One Disk Drive to Backup 3.5-inch Disks by Jesse Kaysen (print pages 14-16).

BULLETIN BOARD = Bulletin Board: 5 Items for sale -- Floppy disk mailers, Apple Hardware & Peripherals, Talking Apple System, Classic VersaBraille, VersaBraille II Plus; "NAMES" MS-DOS Information Management; Talking Test Authoring Software (print pages 16-18).

FACTS ON FILE = About the Authors (print page 23); The RDC Full Cell; Production Notes; Trademarks (print page 24).

INDEX 1988 = Index to 1988 RDC Newsletter -- Jesse Kaysen (print pages 18-23).

Laser Lines from the Editor

My sincere apologies go out to all readers for the delay in this issue. I have two pretty good excuses this time. First off, our LaserWriter died. This delayed all media because I read the audio edition from the LaserWriter masters. Then when a replacement printer arrived, a rash of tornadoes kept all the Dots quivering in the basement for three hours. We humans can become very attached to technology--without that 70 pound presence lurking in my office, I felt bereft! Perhaps Mother Nature is jealous of my techno-addiction.

Your editor has always loudly proclaimed her allergy to compiling indexes, and in previous years, generous souls have volunteered their time to undertake the task. After waiting several months for someone to magically appear wearing green eyeshades, I faced my fears and did it myself. I hope that the result, which begins on page 12, proves useful to folks tracking down elusive facts. When you do find some article you want to add to your collection, please note that we've increased the price of Newsletter back issues to $4, reflecting the change to a thicker, bimonthly, Newsletter. Finally, here's some additional comments on the "Soft Line Offset" command introduced in last issue.

Soft Line Offset: Hots Dots and Left Margin Issues by Caryn Navy

In the March-April '89 Newsletter I divulged the secret of the soft line offset command $$ms# for making soft line breaks indent or outdent. I neglected to mention that this command works in Hot Dots just as it does in BEX. If you are a Hot Dots user and ignored that article, you may want to take a look at it.

In that article I described using $$ms* for "setting the soft margin right here" but advised using it only with a left margin of zero. Of course a trusty user called to say he has a perfect application for $$ms*, but he has to use a BEX $$ml# left margin command with his inkprint printer. So I will revise that restriction. You can use $$ms* in combination with a left margin, but you need to add another command to ensure success. Follow the $$ms* with a $$ms-# command, and use the left margin value where I show a number sign. For example, with $$ml8 in effect, you can set the soft margin at the current spot by issuing $$ms*$$ms-8.

Create Inkprint Math from Nemeth Braille with BEX and MathematiX -- Jesse Kaysen

RDC is tickled pink to announce our latest module for BEX. MathematiX adds a new Math Menu to your existing BEX 2.2 or 3.0. You can use the Math Menu to get spoken or regular-size print output from BEX chapters containing Nemeth Code braille. MathematiX does not translate inkprint into Nemeth Code. To use MathematiX effectively, you need to already know basic Nemeth Code. With MathematiX you can prepare inkprint documents that include text and fractions, square roots, chemistry, or other technical material for distribution to your sighted instructors, students, or colleagues. We will begin shipping MathematiX after 15 July 1989; it costs $225 U.S.

MathematiX solves the problem sighted teachers encounter in understanding the math and science homework of blind students. Until now, students couldn't prepare the material independently. They would have to find a Nemeth-literate resource teacher to transcribe an inkprint version, or dictate their answers to the teacher. With MathematiX, students can prepare, proofread, and produce readable inkprint without sighted assistance. Blind professionals can quickly create clear technical memos and articles directly from their braille draft. Since MathematiX turns BEX into a mathematical word processor, you don't need to learn an entirely new program. All your BEX skills and experience still apply to MathematiX, which works with your existing software and equipment.

Nemeth Code Provides the Basic Information for Preparing Inkprint Documents

Taking its name from its originator, Dr. Abraham Nemeth, the Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics and Science Notation was adopted by BANA in 1972. It explains how to use the standard 64 braille cells to represent material like arithmetic, geometry, algebra, statistics, chemistry, and more. In addition to a wide variety of braille symbols that stand for particular inkprint signs, Nemeth Code has a rich repertory of indicators. A Nemeth Code indicator describes the spatial relationship of the symbols, which is so crucial to the meaning of math. MathematiX interprets the Nemeth Code indicators and symbols to produce correctly-formatted inkprint math.

For example, in Nemeth Code you can write the fraction "two-thirds" as {?2/3#}. The dots 1-4-5-6 indicator {?} means "start a fraction, here comes the numerator." Dots 2-3 stands for the inkprint digit 2. The {/} dots 3-4 symbol represents the horizontal fraction line, so it defines the end of the numerator and the start of the denominator, in this case, dots 2-4 or the digit 3. The dots 3-4-5-6 indicator {#} means "OK, that's the end of the fraction, and the next stuff is back at the baseline." When MathematiX creates inkprint hardcopy, it uses the graphics mode of a dot-matrix printer. For the fraction two-thirds, MathematiX sends a series of dots that result in the digit 2, an appropriate-length horizontal line, and the digit 3, stacked vertically and centered horizontally.

While the Nemeth Code indicators provide MathematiX with a lot of information, Nemeth Code was designed to be read by humans, not computers. You must enter extra MathematiX-specific information in your chapters to help the software interpret the material. In particular, Nemeth Code uses standard grade 2 braille for all the literary parts of a document. Suppose you have a word problem like Steve gives Thomas two-thirds of forty dollars. How many pennies does Thomas have?

In standard Nemeth Code, this could be written as:

{,?omas gives ,/eve ?2/3#@*@s40_4 ,h[ _m p5nies does ,/eve h8}

Human braille readers use context to decide whether a cell is literary or math. In this sample, the first dots 1-4-5-6 {?} is the literary "th" contraction and the first dots 3-4 {/} is the literary "st" contraction. The second time these cells appear they mean "start fraction" and "fraction line." But MathematiX can't tell the difference between literary and math braille. To write that problem with MathematiX, you enter:

{ @l ,?omas gives ,/eve @m ?2/3#@*@s40_4 @l ,h[ _m p5nies does ,/eve h8}

Space, dot 4, l, space {@l} tells MathematiX to back-translate the material as literary braille, while {@m} tells MathematiX to expect math braille.

MathematiX's Origins

In addition to simple arithmetic, MathematiX can handle a wide variety of material, up to and including complicated higher math. In fact, the concept of MathematiX dates back to 1971, when two M.I.T. students dreamed of a "Homework Machine" that turned Nemeth Code into inkprint output. Raised Dot's first three years were partly subsidized by Caryn Navy's work as a math professor. She needed to prepare tests and work sheets for her calculus students. David Holladay custom-tailored a program that was a big improvement over her previous technology (an IBM Selectric with three extra type elements). This software was briefly sold as a BRAILLE-EDIT extension called NUMBERS. The NUMBERS software had significant drawbacks. While some of the core algorithms carry over, MathematiX is really a completely new program. Thanks to eight years experience in software design, coding, and documentation, Caryn, David, and I have made MathematiX the right tool for any braille reader wanting to create inkprint math output.

Proofreading Math with Voice Output or Screen

MathematiX offers two ways of getting feedback: sighted people can use the Screen Preview, while blind people can use the Verbalize feature. Thanks to Verbalize, blind users can be confident that MathematiX will correctly output the material they prepare for sighted teachers, students, or peers. When you verbalize, the literary braille is spoken as words, and the math material is spelled out sign for sign. The verbalized version of our word problem sample is:

{Thomas gives Steve start fraction 2 fraction line 3 end fraction cross dollar sign 4 0 period space How many pennies does Steve have? }

The Verbalize feature alerts you to many errors that would prevent MathematiX from producing clear inkprint. For example, if we left out the fraction line in our example, the voice synthesizer would say:

{Thomas gives Steve start fraction 2 3 }

and then switch to a higher pitch and say:

{ERROR: fraction line missing in chapter SAMPLE page 1 paragraph 3 }

and then resume normal pitch and continue:

{end fraction cross dollar sign 4 0 period space How many pennies does Steve have? }

You can use the location information to track down the error. While the verbalize feature can't read as well as a math-literate human being, it can handle some pretty hairy material. One of our testers reported that MathematiX did a better job than his sighted readers! When presented with this:

{"lim%x$o,=] ?3x^2"+8x^3"/2-x^4"#}

Verbalize tells you:

{start modified expression limit below x right arrow infinity modified expression terminated space start fraction 3 x squared plus 8 x cubed fraction line 2 minus x superscript 4 baseline end fraction }

MathematiX comes with documentation in both braille and regular-size (11 point) inkprint. Along with detailed explanations of all the program's functions, the MathematiX Manual includes an extensive tutorial. You can learn a lot about Nemeth Code from the hundreds of examples worked through in the documentation. When you need to know the correct data entry for a specific sign, you can check the alphabetical or transcriber-order reference lists of supported symbols. With its voice or screen feedback on Nemeth Code, MathematiX provides an interactive environment where all Nemeth users can strengthen their math notation skills.

Learn More about MathematiX's Capabilities

MathematiX supports a significant majority of the Nemeth Code, including linear arithmetic; scores of inkprint signs like triangle, approximately equal to, left and right arrow; algebra; up to 14 levels of subscripts and superscripts; modified expressions; integrals and summations with limits directly above and below; and Greek, German and script English letters.

We've attempted to make MathematiX's inkprint output as clear as possible. MathematiX handles the spacing of the math signs, and you can use most of BEX's format commands to control the final inkprint pages, establishing running heads, margins, tabs, and so forth. While MathematiX output is suitable for homework, papers, and rough drafts of theses for the technical typist, it's definitely not publication quality.

Since MathematiX is so flexible, there simply isn't room to demonstrate all its options here. Call or write for the MathematiX Sample Pack. We provide hardcopy versions of both the original braille input and the regular print result, demonstrating arithmetic, geometry, algebra, trigonometry, physics, chemistry, and calculus.

Software and Equipment Requirements

MathematiX is not a separate program; it's a module for BEX. You can only use MathematiX in combination with BEX 2.2 or BEX 3.0. The starting point for MathematiX is BEX chapters containing a modified form of Nemeth Code braille. You can create these chapters with BEX's Editor, and review the material with MathematiX's Verbalize feature. Writing and editing braille is even easier on a braille-oriented device like the VersaBraille, Braille 'n Speak, Eureka, or PortaBraille. When you prepare the data on another device, you use From VersaBraille or Input through Slot to bring it into BEX chapters. The Editor, From VB and Input through Slot are all directly available on the Math Menu for your convenience.

MathematiX requires an Apple II with at least 128K memory: an Apple IIc, IIc Plus, IIgs, or an Apple IIe with an extended 80-column card. MathematiX requires two disk drives: one must be a 5.25-inch floppy disk drive. With Master Level BEX 3.0, the "second disk drive" can be a RAM drive, 3.5-inch disk, or Sider hard disk. Speed fiends can load the MathematiX software on RAM drive.

BEX uses a particular set of programming techniques to make large print output. When MathematiX produces hardcopy, it uses those same programming techniques to make regular sized print that includes math. Although MathematiX output is not large print, MathematiX requires that your dot-matrix printer and interface be compatible with BEX large print. This means you need: an Apple ImageWriter; Apple ImageWriter II; Epson FX-80; or a truly ImageWriter or Epson FX-80 compatible clone. You connect this to the Apple with either an Apple Parallel Card; an Apple Super Serial Card; an Apple IIc or IIgs Serial Port; a SlotBuster Serial or Parallel Port; a Grappler Plus Parallel Card; or a ProGrappler Parallel Card. The Apple IIgs serial port and the ProGrappler card require BEX 3.0; all others work with BEX 2.2 or BEX 3.0.

Ordering Information

MathematiX has undergone two rounds of beta testing: the software is finished. Right now, we are polishing and producing the documentation. We will begin shipping the MathematiX program after 15 July 1989 at a cost of $225. If you own BEX 2.0 or 2.1, you must purchase the $25 BEX 2.2 update to use MathematiX.

Every MathematiX program includes documentation in both inkprint and braille. We need feedback from potential users to help us decide what form the braille documentation should take. It will run to three braille volumes plus a short reference card. If there's enough interest, we will use National Braille Press to publish the documentation in interpoint press braille. If we don't hear from you, we will run out the braille in-house on our Thiel. Keep those calls and letters coming!

Hot Dots Bugs and Work-Arounds -- Caryn Navy

Returning to Grade 2 Translation

By embedding "translator controls" in your file before you run it through BT, you can control the way Hot Dots translates from print to braille. Each of these translator controls consists of four characters: space, underbar, another character, and a space. These four characters disappear and leave one space in the braille result. Space, underbar, hyphen, space {_-} turns on "no translation." From that point on, no translation occurs, leaving the computer braille equivalents for the ASCII characters. So far, so good: the problem happens when you want to turn translation back on again.

The Hot Dots Manual instructs you to embed {_l} in your text where you want to return to grade 2 translation--the l is for literary braille. Unfortunately there's a bug with {_l}: It also makes you lose capitalization. The text which follows {_l} will be translated without any dot six capital signs! Happily, there is a work around. Use {_b} instead of {_l} to leave "no translation" and return to grade 2 translation. Space, underbar, lowercase b, space returns you to grade 2 translation with proper braille capitalization. Thanks to all of you who brought this problem to our attention.

You can also use {_o} to make the translator create grade 1 braille--the o is for one. If you leave grade one translation with {_l}, you have the same problem--you lose capitalization. Unfortunately, you can't just use {_b} to solve the problem. When Hot Dots is in grade 1 mode, {_b} does not take you out of grade 1 translation.

Do not fear! There is a solution: first switch from grade 1 to grade 2 with {_l}, then get correct grade 2 capitalization with {_b}. You have two ways to enter these commands in your file. The sequence {_l_b} space, underbar, l, space, space, underbar, b, space does the trick, but results in two spaces in your unformatted braille file. You can deal with this by performing GLOBAL on your unformatted braille file to change two spaces to one. Alternatively, you can use the longer sequence {_l $$p*_b}. Your unformatted braille file ends up with just { $$p*}. When you run FTEXT, { $$p*} becomes just one space in the formatted braille file.

New Formula for Dipner Dot Carriage Width

Dipner dots output generates braille on a daisy wheel printer with a modified roller. Hot Dots 1.0 and 1.5 has serious Dipner problems. Dipner dots output in Hot Dots 2.0 works fine, but we must correct a formula involving Dipner dots in the Hot Dots 2.0 Manual.

The Dipner dots driver in Hot Dots lets you specify a "Dipner dot carriage width." This Dipner carriage width is different from the carriage width you use for formatting your file (using FTEXT or menu option 4). For formatting, the carriage width has the usual meaning--the maximum number of braille cells per line. The Hot Dots Manual explains that you must specify a larger number for the Dipner carriage width and provides a formula--and it's wrong. If you follow that formular, you get extraneous blank lines after a line of braille that completely fills the formatter's carriage width.

Thanks to Robert Sweetman, who alerted me to this problem, here is the correct formula: To achieve an actual braille carriage width of n, specify a Dipner carriage width of 3n+3. For example, if you want 40 braille cells per line, you multiple three times 40 for 120 then add three. You then specify a Dipner width of 123.

Technical Scoop from the Kennel -- Phyllis Herrington

While winter blended into spring and spring into summer, we techies have been busy fielding various phone calls and answering letters relating to technical issues concerning our various software. Please let me know when you have questions about BEX, TranscriBEX, and/or Hot Dots, so we can work together to help other users with the same difficulties.

Hot Dots Tips

Global's Verbatim Command

Users of earlier versions of Hot Dots (1.0 and 1.5) remember how much trouble they had entering control characters in their Global rules. Instead of typing a control character directly, you had to type in a tilde followed by the character's hexadecimal value. So to enter a carriage return, you had to type in {~0D}. This process wasn't much fun, especially if you didn't have an ASCII hexadecimal chart handy.

Thankfully Hot Dots 2.0 makes entering control characters in rules files much simpler. When writing a rules file in Hot Dots, you still cannot enter a control character directly into the rule. However, with the {control-V} verbatim command you can enter the characters into the rule without having to fuss with the hexadecimal value. Before you think I've contradicted myself, let me explain how the verbatim command works.

While you're being prompted for "from" and "to" strings, after you enter control-V the next keypress is interpreted exactly as you enter it. I recently encountered a word processor file where each paragraph was signaled by two line feeds. Hot Dots's {fixtxt.rul} and {crlf.rul} rule files find two carriage return/line feed pairs and change them into the paragraph {$p} indicator. (They also get rid of single carriage return/line feed pairs.) However, since paragraphing in this file was signaled differently, the supplied rules files wouldn't work.

I used the verbatim command to write this rule to handle this unusual file:

{From: control-V control-J control-V control-J <Enter>

To: space $p space <Enter> }

In the from string, the control-V signals that the next keypress is to be interpreted literally. You must use the verbatim command before every single control character: the control-V only affects the next key you press. You can use the verbatim command to enter control-Ms in rules files. When you enter control-V control-M, the control-M does not signal the end of the string. Instead, the control-M is stored as one character in the from or to string of the rule file.

I trust this discourse on the verbatim command has not totally confused you. The bottom line is that the command enables you to make better use of Global Search and Replace without having to worry about placing hexadecimal values for control characters in your file.

New Uses for Your Data Box: Troubleshooting File Problems

Many times when Hot Dots users call having trouble with a file, I suggest they take a look at the file in a different editor than the creating one. This allows one to see what the actual control characters are in the file, and helps you write effective rules files. Don't despair if you don't have an editor that can show you every control character in the file. Most of the stand-alone "data boxes"--devices like the Braille 'n Speak, VersaBraille (either flavor), Pocket Braille--will let you see every control character.

Even if you don't have a "data box," many braille embossers allow you the luxury of printing out control characters. When you ask a braille embosser to print control characters instead of interpreting them as commands, the embosser itself must take care of breaking text into lines and pages. You would need to turn on "auto word wrap" and "automatic line feed"--check your brailler manual for how. In six-dot braille, most embossers represent the control characters as a letter preceded by a dot 4, so a carriage return would show up as dot 4, m.

Whether you're receiving the data in a box like the Braille 'n Speak or as hardcopy on an embosser, you send the data by printing the file. You can either use Hot Dots's own print routine or the DOS print command. Now you're ready to carefully check out what control characters are in the file, and figure out what function they play.

BEX Tips

Typing Sticky Spaces and Other Control Characters in a Chapter

Writing control characters directly into a document via BEX's Editor is a simple process. Let's see how you write a <Control-S> sticky space. A common impulse is to hold down the control key then tap the S key, but that won't work. In fact, control-S by itself invokes the beginning of several Editor commands: once you press {control-S}, BEX waits for more command characters. For example, to toggle jerky speech, you enter {control-S J}. If you enter {control-S} and then change your mind, enter the "nothing" command {control-N} to get back to work.

The right way to write control characters is to press {Control-C}. This signals that the very next keystroke is to be interpreted as a control character and typed in the chapter. Therefore, when you want a sticky space in your document, you press {control-C} and then} S}. Control-C followed by any character will enter the control-character version into your chapter. (There are some control characters that you can also type in with single keystrokes. The Return key writes a control-M and the Escape key writes a control-left bracket. Other less commonly used control characters are discussed in Master Level 5:4.)

BEX and the Apple IIc Plus

Thanks to Nick Dotson, I'm now able to pass some information along pertaining to the use of BEX with the Apple IIc Plus. There seem to be two critical issues here: no Cricket speech output and BEX 3.0 not recognizing the internal 3.5-inch disk drive. Both these problems can be circumvented.

The no-speech problem is wierd because it only manifests itself if you boot BEX by powering up the Apple. (This problem won't show up when you do a warm boot, that is, when you enter control-Reset-open-Apple or type {PR#6} at the BASIC prompt.) But when you do a cold boot, it seems like TEXTALKER is not loading: BEX beeps but won't speak the "Enter configuration:" prompt. If you try to use a configuration for speech you won't hear the Cricket. If you try to define a new configuration, the system crashes when you come to the question asking if you want speech.

To deal with this minor inconvenience, proceed as follows. After you do a cold boot and hear the beep, enter control-Reset then depress the Caps Lock key. Now type {RUN} and press <CR>. BEX reboots and loads TEXTALKER correctly. You will hear the "Enter configuration:" prompt, and can specify an existing configuration name or create a new one.

The second minor detail about the IIc Plus concerns its internal 3.5-inch disk drive. If you have BEX 2.2, you won't be able to use this drive at all--contact us about upgrading to BEX 3.0. Once you have BEX 3.0, you still need to have one 5.25-inch disk drive to boot the software. The first time you use BEX 3.0 on this system, BEX won't recognize the 3.5-inch disk, and that means it won't let you configure it as part of your extended disk system at the Master Level. In order to use the 3.5-inch disk as a data disk drive, you must teach BEX to recognize the internal drive.

At the Starting Menu of all three levels, there is an option called Recognition of cards. This option lets you the user teach BEX about circuit cards it doesn't already know about. Briefly what happens is that after you press {R} at the Starting Menu, BEX looks at your cards and reports the slot number of any "unknown card." For our exercise here the unknown card is in slot 5: you can use Recognition of cards to tell BEX that it should treat slot 5 as a 3.5-inch disk drive. Before you attempt to use this option, read Section 15 of the Interface Guide very carefully. If you try something and are not certain as to what must be done, you will have a big mess.

As you can see we've pulled together a wide range of information to pass your way. We hope you will find it useful and that those burning questions or problems which have kept you awake for many nights have been laid to rest. However, we need your help.

Much of the information contained in these pages is in response to questions we receive via the tech line. If any of you have questions, solutions, or difficulties with our software, let us know. We will try our best to find the answers and work-arounds for you. If need be, we'll even put Claire to work digging up the necessary information. Until next time, don't let the dog days of summer get you down.

Developing a Disk Organization Strategy -- Jesse Kaysen

When you first start using your computer, your disk organization strategy is simple: put everything on the disk. But pretty quickly, that first disk fills up, and is joined by ten or twenty others. At that point, finding a particular file can take forever. Let me share some techniques I've found helpful in keeping track of the 500-plus disks in my office.

Don't Skimp on Disks: While it's tempting to use every possible corner of a disk, I've found that it reduces my efficiency. No matter what program you're using, picking out one file name from a list of 30 is difficult. Very full disks can also interfere with editing your documents later. I always want to leave room to add a few more characters in my files without worrying about "DISK FULL" errors. Finally, in the unfortunate event that the disk gets trashed and you don't have a backup, you will spend less time recreating the information if the disk wasn't full.

One Category Per Disk: I create a broad variety of documents: print and braille editions of letters, articles, outlines, and manuals, just to name a few. Whenever possible, I store like documents on the same disk. This lets me put more information into the individual file or chapter names. If the same disk included letters, articles, and outlines, I would need to include the document type in the file or chapter name itself. A chapter named "HARVEY 13JUN" on the disk labelled "Braille Letters" is obviously a braille letter to Harvey that I wrote on June 13th.

Date & Label Those Disks! In addition to the document type, I always add the date that I started saving data on the disk. Recently, a disk named "Braille Letters April 85" worked its way out from under a stack of papers on my desk. Thanks to the date, I was confident that it was simply ancient history and ready to be formatted and reused. Remember, you should never write or braille directly on a disk, as the pressure can easily render the disk useless. I've found that standard 15/16 inch by 3-1/2 inch address labels work well as disk labels. While the stock is still on the backing sheet, I make my inkprint or braille labels, then peel them off and stick them on the disk. I've found that while a print label generally goes on the front, a braille label is more legible if it's upside down on the back. When you're browsing through a forest of disks in a shoe box or disk holder, you can read the braille without sliding the disk out of its pocket.

Maintain Separate Templates Disk: The one variation on the "one category per disk" rule concerns templates, empty files that include all the format information I need for a particular document. My templates disk has one example of every format I regularly create. When I refine my braille letter format, for example, I only have to change the templates disk, and not five different "Braille letters" disks. This centralized storage also makes it easier to backup the improvements.

The "Organize Me Soon" Disk: We all have days when we're just not in the mood for tidying our files. That's the time to save your data on the "Organize Me Soon" disk. When you next get up on the right side of the bed, you can copy the information from this "holding area" to the labelled disk where it belongs.

Label-Chapters on BEX Data Disks: The MS-DOS and ProDOS operating systems let you name a disk, and tell you that "volume name" whenever you catalog it. Here's a way to simulate this using BEX. Create a one-page chapter named {D=BLANK} on your program disk, and type in the words Information about this disk. Whenever you initialize a disk, immediately copy this chapter from the program disk to the fresh disk. This chapter will always appear first in the list when you do a disk catalog. When you decide what sort of information this disk will hold, use option N - Name change on the Second Menu to rename {D=BLANK} to something more meaningful--for example, {D=LETTERS TO MOM JUN89}. When you need to keep notes about different versions of chapters on the disk, this "label-chapter" is a great place to write them.

The Kurzweil Personal Reader as a Blind Person's Braille Transcription Tool -- Dr. Fareed Haj

Until recently, most of the braille available to the blind was produced by the sighted. Workers at printing houses mass produced some of that braille, but the bulk of braille reading matter was still hand copied by thousands of dedicated sighted volunteers throughout the nation. Theoretically, of course, the blind could transcribe braille by teaming up with a sighted reader or by utilizing a Dictaphone machine. The sighted could proofread as well as the blind. In practice, however, it was most cost effective and time conserving to have the sighted do the transcribing and the blind the proofreading.

Thanks to improvements in scanning technology, this division of labor can begin to disappear. Today a blind person working alone can produce braille almost as easily as the sighted, and a sighted reader working alone can proofread almost as well as the blind. To test that assumption, I decided to produce a print book into braille as a totally blind person working alone. My toolbox included a Kurzweil Personal Reader, an Apple IIgs, and BEX. [Interfacing details appear in the companion article on page 10. JK] For my project I picked a hefty hard-cover 643-page novel called Promises To Keep by George Bernau. That particular title happened to be the book I had checked out to read from the regular Public Library.

Reading and Typing Simultaneously

I am happy to report that I was able to accurately and easily braille that book with a minimum help from a sighted family member. I found the project very exciting because of its tremendous implications. The new technology gives the blind almost as varied reading material as the sighted, and the production effort is so painless!

How long did it take to produce this 16-volume braille book? All statistics are open to interpretation. With some accuracy, I can say that it took me only half an hour to produce that book in braille. I was transcribing a book which I was going to read anyway. I was listening to it on the scanner the way I would have listened to it on the cassette recorder or the talking book machine. The key fact is that, as the Kurzweil Personal Reader does its OCR magic, it stores all the characters it speaks in its memory.

I only had to make one allowance for the braille production process. At the start of every twenty-print-page segment, I pressed the Personal Reader's "Mark" key. When I'd listened through to the end of the segment, I went to BEX running on my Apple IIgs and typed "I" for Input Through Slot. BEX would soon inform me that the Apple was ready to receive. Then I would go back to the Personal Reader and press the key that means "Transmit From Mark." The computer would scream as it accepted each page and the noise would last for about a minute. When it stopped, every character that the KPR had read to me had been typed into the chapter name I'd supplied.

Had I been reading the book specifically for the purpose of brailling it, I would have to say that it took me the whole weekend to read the print and save it on disks. Even so, this still is a tremendous achievement. It would have taken a dedicated sighted volunteer months of daily work to hand-transcribe this sixteen volume braille book.

BEX Chapter Size Suggestions

I found that fifteen BEX pages was an ideal size for each chapter created with Input through slot. Trial and error showed that twenty inkprint pages resulted in fifteen BEX pages--it depends on the size of the inkprint you're working with. Smaller files would have wasted more time and disk space. Larger files would not have worked well either because of the Personal Reader's memory limitations. It seems to have 64K memory, and once it's full, the Personal Reader starts erasing the earliest pages. Eventually I had 32 chapters on three 3.5-inch disks.

It is important to remember that BEX doesn't let you append text to the end of a chapter when you're using Input through slot. If you specify a chapter name that's already used on that disk, the new information will supersede the old. You can always use a different name and later use Grab pages to insert the material anywhere you choose. I named my chapters with numbers at the end to keep them straight--"PROMISES1", "PROMISES2", etc.

Once the book is saved on disk, you can do a lot with it. You can listen to it with BEX, you can read it on the screen in large print, or you can translate it into braille. The actual translation only requires a large chunk of the computer's time--some three hours to translate my book. If you take pride in your braille production, however, you are not ready to translate into braille after the first reading. You really must like your book well enough to read it a second time on the computer.

Processing the Received Data with BEX

Working with the older Kurzweil Reading Machine, BEX had to do a lot of guessing about the format of the received data. The new Kurzweil Personal Reader lets you define what characters will mark lines, paragraphs, columns, and pages. I found it best to tell the Personal Reader to insert spaces at the end of lines, Returns at the end of paragraphs and Return/Linefeed pairs at the end of pages. This makes it easier to use Replace characters: All returns become BEX paragraph indicators. If you are doing textbook work you can take advantage of the presence of Return/Linefeed pairs to place print page indicator commands.

The second reading is required to eliminate some excess baggage. Whenever the scanner does not recognize a character, it puts a tilde in the data. I found that most of these tildes were phantom characters caused by the KPR attempting to read the opposite side of the page through thin paper. With Replace characters, you can change the tildes to nothing and delete them.

Since I wasn't using textbook format, I wanted to delete all references to print pages. While I could have done this in bulk with Replace characters, I found out it best to remove the print page numbers one at a time. Occasionally, if your pages are not placed on the scanner perfectly straight, or if the glass is smudged, there will be a jumbled word which you may need sighted help to untangle. By removing each page number as you work through it, you can easily ask a sighted person to help you find the original word on a given page.

Once your editing is behind you, the braille translation and braille printing are almost totally automatic. At some point, you need to take a little time to place your "end of volume" indicators where they belong. With my system, two fifteen-page BEX chapters turn out to just fill one braille volume. Actually printing such a book is a big job for an embosser. Using a VersaPoint braille printer capable of 20 characters a second, it took over 21 hours to output the fifteen hundred braille pages in sixteen volumes.

Brailling With Your Eyes Closed

The Personal Reader can be used with magazines and newspapers. I used it with BEX to save Time magazine's special Soviet Union issue on disk. However, it is not worth the effort. I never realized how much space in magazines is taken up by pictures and advertising. Pictures, designs, and numbers in excess give the Personal Reader a lot of trouble and you often end up with the statement "text not recognized." While the Personal Reader does not replace a Radio Reading Service or sighted volunteer, it does automate brailling considerably. It enables our dwindling number of sighted volunteers to produce so much more with so much less effort. Even the deaf-blind can now have all the variety of reading they desire. It has been a very long time since I felt so much excitement in experimenting with a project. In summary, it may truly be said that brailling straightforward print is something you can now do with your eyes closed.

Editor's note: the Kurzweil Personal Reader costs between $8000 and $12,000, depending on the scanner options chosen. For information on the dealer near you, as well as the Xerox/AFB loan program, contact:

Xerox/Kurzweil Computer Products

185 Albany Street

Cambridge MA 02139

Telephone: 800-343-0311

Interfacing the Kurzweil Personal Reader with BEX -- Robert Carter

The new Kurzweil Personal Reader is a high quality scanner with optical character recognition and voice synthesizer. As Dr. Fareed Haj details in his article (page 10), when you interface BEX with the KPR, you can go directly from inkprint to disk (and then on to braille). You can also use the Personal Reader as a high-quality voice synthesizer to listen to long sections of text.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, there is one thing that has to be clarified. The Kurzweil Personal Reader (KPR) is a very different device than the old Kurzweil Reading Machine (KRM). The KRM did not have handshaking, was very hard to configure, did not go faster than 4800 baud, and spoke everything that was sent down the serial port. The KPR, on the other hand, does have handshaking, is easy to configure, can send and receive at 9600 baud, and can scan silently. When you work with the KPR, please ignore everything written in the BEX manuals about the KRM.

Quick Look at the KPR's Keypad

The Personal Reader's 18-key keypad has four personalities. Each key has a different function in each of the four modes. In the default Reading Mode, you can set markers in the buffer that define a block of text for transmission. Other Reading Mode keys tell the KPR to read a character, a word, a line, and so on. In the Set Up mode, you specify the speech parameters as well as other features. In particular, you can choose your "transmit mode" to be "continuous" or "block"--more on this topic below.

The third mode is the Communications Mode, where you get to specify the baud rate, data bits, stop bits, parity, and handshaking. In addition to the serial parameters, Communications Mode lets you define the basic format of the transmitted text. The choices are slightly different for each key, but the basic idea is that the KPR can represent the end of a line with one carriage return, or one linefeed, or the pair of carriage return/linefeed, or just a space. The same basic choices exist for representing the end of paragraphs, columns, and pages. This is a dramatic improvement over the old KRM, which provided no information about format. You can save and restore three different communications profiles with the KPR. Finally, you choose the Calculator Mode when you want to use the KPR as the world's largest talking four function calculator.

One possible stumbling block for beginners is that you have a choice of data transfer methods. In Set Up mode, you can choose between "block transmission" or "continuous transmission." Neither of these have anything to do with switching gears on a car. Block transmission is the default, and it allows you to tell the KPR which marked block of text to send. Continuous transmission means the KPR sends out everything that it scans.

Getting Ready

In addition to the KPR itself, you need

Apple Super Serial card (or Apple IIc port)

Any version of BEX

A male-to-male serial cable that swaps wires 2 and 3

Set the Super Serial Card for RDC standard switch settings--see Interface Guide Section 3. Establish a BEX configuration at the User or Master Levels. Answer "yes" to the "Do you have a download device" question, and answer "no" to the question "Is this a Kurzweil Reading Machine?" A male-to-male cable that swaps wires 2 and 3 is readily available at computer stores. Since BEX and the KPR control the flow of data with software handshaking, the exact wiring of the other lines is not important. If you happen to have an RDC 6M cable and 3F null modem, connect them together and use that. (Apple IIc owners need a 2M plus the 3F.)

To prepare the KPR to send text to the Apple, use the Communications Mode to establish the following serial parameters: 9600 baud, 8 data bits, 2 stop bits, no parity, and "Xon/Xoff" (software) handshakes. (The KPR refers to hardware handshaking as "CTS"; it allows the user to choose either of these protocols, to choose the two in combination, or to choose no handshaking at all. Xon/Xoff works best with BEX and it is the default.) When you want to send material from the Apple to the KPR to use the DECtalk speech, you must change one of these parameters. Establish and use another set-up with 7 data bits instead of 8 data bits.

Using the Interface

Now you have everything you need, and you can actually do it! Cable the KPR to the SSC. When you want to capture text, choose Input through slot on BEX's Second Menu and supply a chapter name. (Details in User Level 12). Tell the KPR to send text. For block transmission, press the "marking" key three times. When the KPR prompts "transmit from mark," you specify one of the 8 markers; the KPR sends everything from that mark up to your current cursor out to BEX. The Apple starts howling; when the Apple is silent, you press "Q" to close the chapter. It took around one minute and twenty-one seconds to scan a 2397-character inkprint page into BEX.

If you don't hear any clicks or squeals from the Apple, either you have the wrong cable or you are not issuing the correct KPR commands. You should check the first chapter you receive with BEX's Editor. If the material is garbled, then you probably don't have matched parameters. Use What is in this computer on BEX's Starting Menu to make sure that the SSC is indeed set to the standard recipe. Use the KPR's Communications Mode to check that you do indeed have 9600 baud, 8 data bits, 2 stop bits, no parity, and "Xon/Xoff" (software) handshakes.

Using Diversi-COPY with One Disk Drive to Backup Up 3.5-Inch Disks -- Jesse Kaysen

Many Apple IIgs's are sold with one 5.25-inch and one 3.5-inch disk drive. Beginning with BEX 3.0, you can use 3.5-inch disks for BEX data when you configure at the Master Level. In my office, I have a "board-lifted" Apple IIgs with 1 megabyte of memory, two 5.25-inch drives, and one 3.5-inch drive. I find that the combination of RAM drives and 3.5-inch drives works like a charm for lengthy documents. (As readers of RDC manuals know all too well, long documents are my specialty.)

In the morning I "copy up" my chapters from the 3.5-inch disk to the RAM drives. Working with chapters on RAM drive is zillions of times faster than editing them on disk. Every hour or so, I "copy down" my revisions from the RAM drive to the 3.5-inch disk. (When thunderstorms are in the area, I copy down more frequently.) At the end of the day, my 3.5-inch disk has been updated. But how to make the all-important backup copy of my work?

Unfortunately, BEX can't do a whole-disk copy of 3.5-inch disks. One way to make my backup is to simply repeat the "copy down" process on to a second 3.5-inch disk, using BEX's Copy chapters. The drawback is that I can't kill any chapters from RAM drive until the end of the day. Another approach is to use FID to copy every chapter from 3.5-inch disk to RAM drive, and then copy all the RAM drive data back down to another 3.5-inch disk, but that takes a while. What I needed was a utility to copy 3.5-inch disks.

I reached over to my deep-dish disk holder for my two favorite Apple II utilities, Central Point's Copy II Plus and Apple's System Utilities, but I encountered a snag. In order for BEX to work with 3.5-inch disks, it uses Gary Little's AmDOS software, a specially modified version of DOS 3.3. Neither of my utilities knew about AmDOS, so both reported that my BEX 3.5-inch disk was "unformatted."

Diversi-COPY to the Rescue!

One of the disks in the BEX binder is the remarkable Diversi-COPY utility. Written by Bill Basham, Diversi-COPY is a shareware program that copies 5.25-inch disks faster than greased lightning. Although Diversi-COPY uses every scrap of the Apple's memory, and therefore doesn't talk, it does provide enough audio feedback to use it without reading the screen. (There are BEX chapters and textfiles on the Diversi-COPY disk that explain how.) If you find it useful, please send in the reasonable shareware $30 payment to DSR, Inc.; 34880 Bunker Hill; Farmington, MI 48018-2728.

I've been using Diversi-COPY daily to make backups of my 5.25-inch disks. One day I broke down and read the manual on disk, and I discovered that Diversi-COPY can also handle 3.5-inch disks. Since Diversi-COPY supports all four Apple operating systems, I suspected it might be able to copy my 3.5-inch BEX data disks. I tried it out, and much to my delight, it works like a charm.

Making a Bootable 3.5-inch Diversi-COPY Disk

When I want to make my 3.5-inch backups, I could just boot the 5.25-inch Diversi-COPY disk and choose number 2 from its menu. Reading a little further in the manual, however, enlightened me to a faster possibility: making a 3.5-inch disk that comes up with the 3.5-inch disk copy menu.

It's simple to do. You need a ProDOS utility that can format disks, copy files, and convert from DOS 3.3 to ProDOS. I used Apple's System Utilities--a talking version is available from APH. Then you just do four steps:

1. Format a 3.5-inch disk. I named it {/DIVERSI.COPY}.

2. Make the 3.5-inch disk a startup disk. Copy the two files {PRODOS} and {BASIC.SYSTEM} from the utilities disk to the {/DIVERSI.COPY} volume.

3. Convert the copy program from DOS 3.3 to ProDOS. The program named {UCOPY} on the 5.25-inch Diversi-COPY disk is what you want. Copy this file to the {/DIVERSI.COPY} 3.5-inch disk.

4. Rename the copy program. When you boot a ProDOS disk that has a file named {STARTUP}, ProDOS runs that file automatically. Use the Rename files function to change the name {UCOPY} to {STARTUP}.

Now you're ready to make backups painlessly.

Making Backups with UCOPY

At the end of each day, I use this procedure to make a backup copy of the 3.5-inch disks I've created. When you do a one-disk copy, Diversi-COPY takes advantage of all the memory in your Apple--erasing any data that had been on RAM drives. Therefore, before I even think about starting backups, I make sure that I've "copied down" all my chapters from RAM drive to my master 3.5-inch disk(s). Then I'm ready to roll:

1. Write-protect the master disk. This step ensures that you don't clobber your master disk by mistake. The little black write-protect tab rides in a rectangular channel in the disk's upper right-hand corner. When the tab is slid up and the hole is open the disk is write-protected.

2. Quit BEX and boot Diversi-COPY. I slip the booting Diversi-COPY disk into the 3.5-inch drive, and Quit BEX. At the BASIC prompt, I type {PR#5 <CR>} to boot the disk.

3. Space past first screen and eject Diversi-COPY. Very quickly Diversi-COPY throws up a silent screen reminding me to make my shareware payment. I clear this screen by pressing the spacebar. Next Diversi-COPY presents a brief menu and beeps once. Eject the Diversi-COPY disk and insert the write-protected master at this point.

4. Space for one-drive copy. The menu has four choices: <CR> for a two-drive copy, "M" for mass production, "E" to exit, and "space" for the one-drive copy. Since the master disk is already in the drive, you're ready to press "space."

5. Relax for a minute. Diversi-COPY reads as much as it can from the disk. With 1 megabyte of memory, it only needs to read the disk once.

6. Listen for two beeps and the disk eject. This means that it's ready for the duplicate. Remove the master and insert the duplicate disk (you don't need to format it first).

7. Space to write the copy. Once the destination disk is in place, press space again to start writing. Diversi-COPY formats the destination disk and then copies from memory on to the disk. When it's done, you hear the duplicate eject and a single beep.

That's all there is to it. You can copy more disks by repeating steps 4 through 7. Remove the backups to a safe location, and then un-write-protect your master disks. (I always forget this step--the first time I write chapters to the disk in BEX, I crash with a "WRITE PROTECTED" error. Just slide the tab back down and try again.)

If you hear three beeps at any point, then Diversi-COPY has encountered an error. Press "space" to return to the initial menu, and try again. When you're done, press "E". Diversi-COPY prompts you to insert a new boot disk in slot 6 drive 1, then press "space" to restart the computer. For a detailed description of how Diversi-COPY handles 3.5-inch disks, read the textfile named {UCINST} on the Diversi-COPY disk.

Bulletin Board

We're happy to publish brief "for sale" notices, want ads, and other announcements--send 'em along in print, in braille, or on disk. We publish these announcements as space permits; when things get tight, then submissions by Newsletter subscribers have priority.

Five-Disk Floppy Mailers for Sale

These Disk Mailers cost $1.50 each, or $17.00 for a dozen. These reversible mailers, made of corrugated fiberboard, hold up to five 5.25-inch disks. Simply fold the ends around the diskette(s), tape ends, and mail. Please add $2.00 for UPS charges. To order, contact in any format (including Apple computer disk): Option Central; Fred Sanderson, Proprietor; 1604 Carroll Ave.; Green Bay, WI 54304. Telephone: (414) 498-9699

Apple Hardware and Peripherals for Sale

Neal Ewers writes: I have an Apple IIe computer for sale. It's three years old and in excellent condition. It includes a Kensington System Saver, a 64K extended memory card, an Apple 5.25-inch duo disk drive with controller card, a monochrome monitor, and a no-slot clock with software. I am asking $850 for the complete system.

I have the following additional items for sale: An Apple controller card for a 3.5 inch drive, price $25. An Applied Engineering 512K RamWorks card with software, price $200. An Apple Super Serial card, price $75. Contact: Neal Ewers; 5212 Red Oak Drive; St. Paul, MN 55112. Telephone: 612-786-6223

Talking Apple II System for Sale

Edward J. Glass writes from Nevada: $1200 will get you an enhanced Apple IIe in excellent condition, with 80-column card, BEX software, Echo speech, dual disk drive, and monitor. Call 702-456-2946 after 6 p.m. Pacific time.

Classic VersaBraille for Sale

Kevin Utter of Colorado offers a Telesensory Systems, Inc. VersaBraille model P2C. It includes charger/power supply, overlay tapes, and braille manuals. Currently (and has always been) covered under TSI service contract. Has had moderate use and is in good working order--asking $3000. Contact: Kevin Utter; 924 James Court, #3; Fort Collins, CO 80521. Telephone: 303-493-2219

Disk-Based VersaBraille II Plus for Sale

A one-year old VersaBraille II Plus, in excellent condition, is available for $2500 or best offer. It's covered under warranty until October 1989, and it includes the Duxbury Braille Translator. Contact: Sara Tsutsumi, 18 Eustis St., Cambridge, MA 02140 or phone 617-354-1357

"NAMES" Makes MS-DOS Information Management Easy -- David Andrews

Kansys, Inc., of Lawrence, Kansas, has announced the release of "NAMES" Version 2.0. This inexpensive and easy-to-use menu driven program will allow anyone with an IBM or compatible computer to work with lists of names, addresses, telephone numbers and identifying information that the program calls "tags." Dr. Charles E. Hallenbeck, the program's author said, "we had two things in mind when designing and writing NAMES. We wanted it to work well with all existing screen review programs, consequently NAMES uses standard MS-DOS function calls so that it should behave well and speak automatically as you use it. Secondly, we wanted it to be easy to use. All choices in the program are made from menus by using either letter or arrow keys or by pressing the appropriate function key equivalent command."

NAMES will allow you to enter and edit data, store to or retrieve from disk, display entries to the screen, search by key or tag patterns or by individual keys or tags, identify entries with missing fields, produce mailing labels and reports, and much more. The program is being used to keep membership lists by a variety of organizations and individuals, produce mailing labels for newsletters, for tracking foundation and individual prospects by not-for-profit fund raisers, keep lists of resource people and more. You can also use it to keep your "little black book" on your computer.

The program, which only costs $49, is available on either 3.5-inch or 5.25-inch MS-DOS disks, and comes with its manual in print, braille, and on disk. A cassette manual is available on request. Kansys, Inc. now accepts Visa and MasterCard. In addition to NAMES, Kansys, Inc. also has a number of other products including PROVOX--a full featured screen review program, TURBOBRAILLE--a braille translator and formatter, and RALPH THE READER and WATCHDOG--two shareware utility programs. The company also sells speech synthesizers and provides custom brailling services to individuals and organizations. For further information, contact them at

Kansys, Inc.

1016 Ohio Street

Lawrence, KS 66044

Telephone 913-843-0351

Teacher's Pet: Talking Test Authoring Software available from APH

The American Printing House for the Blind has released Teacher's Pet, a talking test authoring program for the Apple II family of computers. Teacher's Pet is a completely speech-accessible program that allows teachers or parents to create and administer drill and practice exercises as well as tests and quizzes.

Teacher's Pet can be used to create multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, single question/single answer, and simple matching tests. The test creator can enter a range of acceptable answers for each question, so that the program can recognize variations on the correct answer (such as "4" and "four"). The test creator is also able to add explanatory or instructional statements to the test items. This explanatory material can be displayed and announced to the student on request.

During practice sessions and tests, students may choose the number of question they desire from a test file. Correct answers are positively reinforced, while incorrect answers cause Teacher's Pet to provide additional information to help the student remember the correct answer in the future. "Report cards" on test performance can be displayed on screen or sent to a printer. Teacher's Pet also provides teachers and parents with "housekeeping" functions: tests can be edited and merged.

Teacher's Pet requires an Apple II with at least 64K memory and an Echo-family speech synthesizer. The software comes in a sturdy 3-ring binder, and is currently priced at $21.75. Teacher's Pet, APH Catalog No. D-89530-00, comes on one 5.25-inch disk, with documentation on disk, in braille, and in large print. For more information, contact:

American Printing House for the Blind

1839 Frankfort Avenue

Louisville KY 40206

Telephone: 502-895-2405

Facts on File

About the Authors

Dr. Fareed Haj is a technology specialist for FLDRS in Miami. He sure hopes the next technological breakthrough is compact, because he's running out of room for devices on his desk.

Dr. Robert Carter, with his brand-new Ph.D. in hand, begins his professional psychologist career at Texas A&M this summer. Yeah Robert!

Phyllis Herrington loves becoming a flying projectile while playing with Claire. Fortunately, no permanent damage has resulted so far, since she provides most of RDC's technical support.

Jesse Kaysen (RDC's resident typesetter) is recovering nicely, thank you, from her severe attack of LaserWriter withdrawal.

Caryn Navy, RDC programmer and troubleshooter, sure is glad that MathematiX finally supports "$$" commands--even if it is five years too late!

The RDC Full Cell

Phyllis Herrington, Tech Support/Newsletter; David Holladay, Programming; Jesse Kaysen, Publications; Caryn Navy, Programming; Nevin Olson, Business Manager; Susan Murray; Order Processor.

Production Notes

Written & edited with BEX on an Apple IIgs. BEX commands changed to Microsoft's RTF/Interchange format control words with BEX's Contextual Replace. File transfer with BEX & Hayes's Smartcom II to an Apple Macintosh SE. RTF commands interpreted with Microsoft Word 4.0. Word files spell-checked with Working Software's Spellswell. Pages composed with Aldus's PageMaker 3.0, output on an Apple LaserWriter Plus, and printed at The Print Shop. Two-track audio edition mastered on APH Recorder & copied on high-speed Recordex 3-to-1 duplicators.


American Printing House for the Blind: Pocket Braille, Teacher's Pet. Apple Computer, Inc: Apple IIc, IIc Plus, IIe, IIgs, Macintosh, ProDOS, Super Serial Card. Blazie Engineering: Braille 'n Speak. DSR, Inc.: Diversi-COPY. International Business Machines Corp.: IBM-PC, Selectric . Raised Dot Computing, Inc.: BEX, Hot Dots, MathematiX, TranscriBEX. Street Electronics: Cricket, Echo, TEXTALKER. Telesensory Systems, Inc.: VersaBraille, VersaBraille II Plus, VersaPoint. Xerox: Kurzweil Reading Machine, Kurzweil Personal Reader. NOTE TO DISK READERS: Every index entry ends with a period, so it's a "sentence." In BEX's Editor, use control-T to talk a sentence. For BEX 2.2 and later, you can use control-A control-T to advance cursor silently a sentence, and control-Z control-T to zoom cursor back silently a sentence. The index has two levels: major and minor. The major entry level begins with a paragraph indicator (space, dollar sign, p, space). Minor entries begin with one carriage return followed by one plus sign. Each letter of the alphabet is introduced with BEX's centering command. A key to which letters appear on which BEX pages appears at the end of this BEX page.

Index to 1988 RDC Newsletter -- Jesse Kaysen

This Index includes the majority of information published in the eight issues that appeared between February 1988 & February 1989. To save a little space, I only show the first month, although most were double issues (the exceptions are Feb 88, March, and Jun.) I've omitted some time-dependent announcements and included all authors who are not RDC staff. Back issues of the Newsletter are available in audio tape, large print, & BEX Apple data disk for $4 each.

DISK MINI-CONTENTS: Letters A & B: BEX page 2. Letters C D E F & G: BEX page 3. Letters H I K & L: BEX page 4. Letters M O P Q & R: BEX page 5. Letters S T V & W: BEX page 6.


Adaptive Firmware Card, combined with Apple talking software - Nov 88:5-8.

Apple IIgs control panel + function explained - Jan 89:5-6. + RAM drive setting & BEX effects - Jan 89:7-8.

Apple IIgs keyboard buffer + BEX uses & pitfalls - Mar 88:8. + clearing contents of - Apr 88:2.

ASCII file transfer, see File transfer.

Audio publications, MS-DOS software lessons from FlipTrack - Apr 88:9-10; Nov 88:22.

Audio reading + benefits for amputee users - Sep 88:14-20. + efficiency contrasted with other communication media - Sep 88:14-20.


Backing up data + BEX Beginner's Corner: strategies for - Feb 88:6-8. + consequences of neglecting to - Nov 88:4-5.

Barnett, D 'Barney', Index to 1987 edition - Feb 88:14-19.

Barrett, Don, Sensory Overload Contest Winner - Apr 88:3.

BEX 3.0 + 3.5-inch disks, configuring & using - Apr 88:19-22. + Apple IIgs keyboard buffer - Mar 88:8. + Apple IIgs RAM drives - Mar 88:8. + braille manual availability - Feb 88:2. + suppressing "AmDOS" message - Jan 89:19-22. + upgrade policies criticized & defended - Feb 88:2-3.

BEX configuring techniques + & 3.5-inch disks - Apr 88:19-22. + defining automatic set-up sequences - Apr 88:13-17. + resolving problems - Jun 88:5-6.

BEX discounts, multiple purchase School Pack bargain - Apr 88:5.

BEX formatting/printing techniques + "$$p#" & "$$ml*" commands - Jul 88:13-17. + controlling printer with "set-up" chapters - Apr 88:13-17. + braille letters on narrow paper - Jan 89:4-5. + including printer "escape" sequences in chapters - Jan 89:18-20. + inkprint outlines, commands & samples - Jul 88:13-17. + large print special effects, how-to & samples - Apr 88:13-17.

BEX general techniques + copying chapters & disks - Feb 88:6-8. + estimating disk space required for chapters - Jul 88:3-4. + floppy disk care & labelling - Jun 88:5. + installing & using TEXTALKER 3.1.3 - Mar 88:11-14. + reading ProDOS textfiles - Jul 88:4-5. + recognizing & preventing overflow errors - Apr 88:7-9. + troubleshooting unresponsive Apple - Jun 88:6-7. + using Adjust Pages - Apr 88:7-9. + using sentence units in Editor - Mar 88:7-8.

BEX interface techniques + controlling serial interface with "set-up" chapters - Feb 88:8-12. + Input through slot with IBM - Feb 88:8-12. + printing to Braille 'n Speak - Apr 88:17-19 (disk Jun 88). + printing to IBM - Feb 88:8-12. + transferring files to & from VersaBraille II+ - Jan 89:7.

BEX translation techniques + Grade I translation - Jan 89:6-7. + using Grade 2 translator - Jul 88:5-6.

Boyd, Wes: Letter: Berkeley System Designs Comments on inTOUCH - Sep 88:2.

Braille 'n Speak + braille manual available from NAPUB - Apr 88:2. + MS-DOS file transfer with terminal software - Sep 88:20-21. + portable braille input, voice output note taker, reviewed - Mar 88:3-7. + serial file transfer with Apple II & BEX - Apr 88:17-19 (disk Jun 88). + serial file transfer with IBM - Jun 88:14-15.

Braille graphics, pixCELLS (Apple II) software announced - Sep 88:3-5.

Braille hardcopy reading, efficiency contrasted with other communication media - Sep 88:14-20.

Braille literacy + braille screen access advantages - Jun 88:11-12. + championed & contrasted with other media - Feb 88:4-6.

Braille publications + NAPUB sells Braille 'n Speak manual - Apr 88:2. + Seedlings catalog of children's books - Feb 88:12.

Braille transcribing: see also TranscriBEX.

Braille transcribing + Computer Braille Code with ClasX software - Jun 88:2-5. + Computer Braille Code workshop notes available - Feb 88:12. + Linear Braille Format with ClasX software - Jun 88:2-5. + still needed in "paperless" offices - Sep 88:14-20.

Braille translation + from inkprint to grade 1 with BEX - Jan 89:6-7. + Hot Dots version 2.0 improvements - Nov 88:2-3.

Buntrock, Gloria K. + Joy of TranscriBEX: Fixing an Ellipsis Glitch in the Grade 2 translator - Jan 89:9-10. + Joy of TranscriBEX: Save Time with the Clipboard - Apr 88:12-13.


Carter, Robert + Elegant Access Technology in Your Pocket: Braille 'n Speak Review - Mar 88:3-7. + Interfacing the Braille 'n Speak with BEX & the Apple II - Apr 88:17-19 (disk Jun 88).

ClasX, Computer Braille Code & Linear Braille Format tools for TranscriBEX - Jun 88:2-5.


Disk drives, cautions on connecting - Nov 88:4-5.

Disk publications + A2 Central: talking Apple 3.5-inch magazine - Jan 89:23. + Apple Talk magazine - Sep 88:23. + facilitated through SGML - Nov 88:16-19. + LINC Resources education databases - Feb 88:12-13.

Disks + 3.5-inch with Apple II & BEX - Apr 88:19-22. + care & handling of 5.25-inch - Jun 88:5-6. + troubleshooting problems with - Jul 88:19-22.

Downie, Andrew, A Comparison of the Keynote & the VersaBraille - Mar 88:9-11.

Dubnick, Mark + Remapping the Keys of the SmallTalk Plus to the IBM Keyboard - Jan 89:16-18. + Sensory Overload Contest Winner - Apr 88:3-4.

Duffy, Sharon, BEX Beginner's Corner: Careful Disk Handling - Jun 88:5.


Espinola, Olga + The Kurzweil Personal Reader: Champion of Optical Scanners for the Blind - Sep 88:8-14. + Three Cheers for the Worcester Public Library - Apr 88:6-7.

Eureka A4, portable braille input, voice output computer, reviewed - Nov 88:11-16.

Ewers, Neal + Letter: RDC Newsletter Focus is Narrowing - Feb 88:3-4. + Term-Talk: An Exciting Step Forward in Terminal Communications - Jun 88:7-10.


FAST TALKER, variable speed tape recorder announced - Apr 88:23.

File Transfer + two-way Apple & MS-DOS computer - Feb 88:8-12. + Braille 'n Speak & MS-DOS with DOS commands - Jun 88:14-15. + Braille 'n Speak with MS-DOS with terminal software - Sep 88:20-21. + creating Hot Dots files in a word processor - Jul 88:9-13. + simplified through SGML - Nov 88:16-19. + two-way between Macintosh & Apple ProDOS with Apple File Exchange - Jan 89:20-22. + two-way Braille 'n Speak with Apple II & BEX - Apr 88:17-19 (disk Jun 88).

Fliegelman, Mindy, The Eureka A4: A Tool for Today - Nov 88:11-16.

Flipper: MS-DOS screen access software + announced - Sep 88:5-9. + MS-DOS screen access software, price & feature corrections - Nov 88:2.


Gayzagian, Al + Letter: Does RDC Still Care? - Feb 88:2-3. + More on the Braille 'n Speak/IBM Interface - Sep 88:20-21.

Global Replace + Hot Dots files created in word processor - Jul 88:9-13. + Hot Dots version 2.0 rules file revisions - Nov 88:2-3. + Redefining keyboard assignments - Jan 89:16-18. + BEX & inkprint outlines - Jul 88:13-17.


Hard disks, advantages for amputee users - Nov 88:5-8.

Hardware + Adaptive Firmware Card with talking software - Nov 88:5-8. + analysis & history of reading machine development - Jan 89:10-15. + Braille 'n Speak reviewed - Mar 88:3-7. + braille embossers, MS-DOS interfacing - Jun 88:12-14. + Eureka A4 computer, reviewed - Nov 88:11-16. + FAST TALKER variable speed tape recorder announced - Apr 88:23. + Keynote PC+ seen at convention - Jul 88:8. + Keynote, compared with VersaBraille - Mar 88:9-11. + Kurzweil Personal Reader, reviewed - Sep 88:8-14. + Kurzweil Personal Reader, seen at convention - Jul 88:8. + VersaBraille, compared with Keynote - Mar 88:9-11.

Holst, Alan, The Roots of Braille Chauvinism: A Response to Andrew Downie - Jun 88:11-12.

Hot Dots + hard disk batch file suggestions - Jan 89:15-16. + Using GLOBAL to redefine keyboard assignments - Jan 89:16-18. + using other word processors to create files for - Jul 88:9-13. + Version 2.0 revisions & ordering - Nov 88:2-3.

Humor + Sensory Overload from RDC staff (sensory aids parodies) - Mar 88:2-3. + Sensory Overload from readers (sensory aids parodies) - Apr 88:3-4 $l.


IBM-PC: see MS-DOS techniques; software (MS-DOS); file transfers; hardware.

ImageWriter LQ, interfacing with BEX - Jul 88:6-7.

ImageWriter, special effects with BEX - Apr 88:13-17.

Interfacing: see file transfer, printer interfaces, & individual device names.


Keynote PC+ seen at convention - Jul 88:8.

Keynote, portable computer with voice - Mar 88:9-11.

Kurzweil Personal Reader + seen at convention - Jul 88:7-8. + reviewed - Sep 88:8-14.

Kurzweil Reading Machine + compared & contrasted with other reading aids - Jan 89:10-15. + compared with Kurzweil Personal Reader - Sep 88:8-14. + public access to at Worcester Public Library - Apr 88:6-7.


Large print, with BEX, special effects & samples - Apr 88:13-17.

Lauer, Harvey + BEX Trick Reference: Create Sentences as Handy Units - Mar 88:7-8. + Communication Media for the Visually Impaired: Why One Medium Isn't Enough - Sep 88:14-20. + Reading Machines for the Blind: Why One Medium Isn't Enough - Jan 89:10-15. + The Adaptive Firmware Card Expands Computer Access to a Blind Bilateral Hand Amputee - Nov 88:5-8.

Libraries, Sensory aids services for visually impaired users - Apr 88:6-7.

Library services, future developments envisioned - Sep 88:14-20.


Macintosh: see Software (Macintosh), file transfer.

Miller, Cyral, The Best Little BEX in Texas Training Institute - Nov 88:8-10.

Morse code, computer data entry through - Nov 88:5-8.

Moses Juliano, Elaine, The Best Little BEX in Texas Training Institute - Nov 88:8-10.

Mountbatten Brailler, seen at convention - Jul 88:7-8.

Mowinski, Leonard, The Adaptive Firmware Card Expands Computer Access to a Blind Bilateral Hand Amputee - Nov 88:5-8.

MS-DOS techniques + creating Hot Dots files in a word processor - Jul 88:9-13. + file transfer with terminal software - Sep 88:20-21. + interfacing braille embossers - Jun 88:12-14. + PRINT, COPY COM, & MODE - Feb 88:8-12. + screen access to mass-market applications - Sep 88:5-9. + tailoring batch files for Hot Dots & hard disk - Jan 89:15-16.

Music synthesis & notation, Eureka A4 computer, reviewed - Nov 88:11-16.


OCR (optical character recognition), analysis & history of reading machine development - Jan 89:10-15.

Optacon, compared & contrasted with other reading aids - Jan 89:10-15.


Periodicals + A2 Central: talking Apple 3.5-inch disk magazine - Jan 89:23. + Apple Talk: talking Apple disk magazine - Sep 88:23. + Covering computer issues for the visually impaired (nine addresses) - Feb 88:13-14. + NewsBits Audio Tape Computer Magazine - Mar 88:14.

pixCELLS, beta testers named & thanked - Nov 88:3.

Porter, Marie, BEX Beginner's Corner: Careful Disk Handling - Jun 88:5.

Printer interfaces + ImageWriter LQ & BEX - Jul 88:6-7. + braille embossers, MS-DOS interfacing - Jun 88:12-14. + troubleshooting problems with - Jul 88:19-22.

Printer manuals, understanding & using "escape" sequences - Jan 89:18-20.

ProDOS textfiles + & 3.5-inch disks - Apr 88:19-22. + read & written by Macintosh - Jan 89:20-22. + using with BEX - Jul 88:4-5.

Publications: see audio publications, braille publications; disk publications; periodicals.


QTC (Quick Textfile Converter) + & 3.5-inch disks - Apr 88:19-22. + role in transferring BEX files to Macintosh - Jan 89:20-22.


RDC Newsletter + changes to bimonthly publication - Sep 88:2. + focus challenged & defended - Feb 88:3-4. + Index to 1987 edition - Feb 88:14-19.

RDC telephone hours, - Feb 88:2.

reading machines, analysis & history of their development - Jan 89:10-15


Scanners: see reading machines, OCR, Kurzweil.

Sensory aids + monetary & human costs of - Jul 88:18-19. + parodied by RDC staff - Mar 88:2-3. + parodied by readers - Apr 88:3-4. + possible attitudes toward future development of - Sep 88:14-20. + Public access to at Worcester Public Library - Apr 88:6-7.

Sensory aids industry + Ohtsuki Communications Corp. ceases operations - Jan 89:2. + Telesensory Systems & VTEK merge - Jan 89:3.

serial interfaces: see file transfer, printer interfaces, & individual device names.

SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language), relevance to computer access - Nov 88:16-19.

Shareware, definitions & resources - Apr 88:10-11.

SlotBuster, Solving BEX Non-recognition of - Apr 88:5.

SmallTalk Plus, redefining keyboard assignments relative to IBM PC - Jan 89:16-18.

Software (Apple) + Desktop Productivity Assistance utilities, announced - Nov 88:21-22. + Digital Gourmet recipes, announced - Sep 88:23. + Term-Talk telecommunications, reviewed - Jun 88:7-10.

Software (Macintosh) + Apple File Exchange utility to read/write Apple II data - Jan 89:20-22. + inTOUCH screen access seen at convention, criticized - Jul 88:9.

Software (MS-DOS), PC-TALK III & PROCOMM: addresses for two shareware terminal programs - Sep 88:22.

Software (screen access) + Flipper (MS-DOS) - Sep 88:5-9. + Flipper price & feature corrections (MS-DOS) - Nov 88:2. + inTOUCH (Macintosh) seen at convention, criticized - Jul 88:9. + inTOUCH (Macintosh), defended by designers - Sep 88:2. + TEXTALKER 3.1.3 (Apple) improvements - Mar 88:11-14.

Software, RDC: see individual product name--BEX, ClasX, Hot Dots, TranscriBEX, pixCELLS, QTC.

Spence, Diane, Interview: More Texan BEX Training - Nov 88:10-11.

Stereotoner, compared & contrasted with other reading aids - Jan 89:10-15.


Tactile graphics + inTOUCH Macintosh screen access, criticized - Jul 88:9. + inTOUCH Macintosh screen access, defended by designers - Sep 88:2. + pixCELLS (Apple II) brailler graphics software - Sep 88:3-5.

TEXTALKER 3.1.3 + Apple II Plus incompatibility - Apr 88:2. + improvements & BEX installation - Mar 88:11-14.

Toelle, Nancy, The Best Little BEX in Texas Training Institute - Nov 88:8-10.

Training + BEX training packs available for weekly rental - Apr 88:5. + Communicator sponsors VI Teacher User Group - Sep 88:22. + Five Learning Traps - Jul 88:2-3. + MS-DOS Tutorials from FlipTrack - Apr 88:9-10; Nov 88:22. + Texans teaching BEX: how-to & conclusions - Nov 88:8-11.

TranscriBEX + ClasX: Tools for Computer Braille Code & Linear Braille Format - Jun 88:2-5. + correcting translation of ellipses - Jan 89:9-10. + free 2.1 Improvements Disk offered - Jan 89:9. + manual correction re: author's names after titles - Jan 89:10. + suppressing contractions with Troubleshooting + computer problems, strategies for - Jul 88:19-22. + electrical power problems - Nov 88:4-5.

V & W

VersaBraille + compared with Keynote - Mar 88:9-11. + Keynote comparison rebuttal - Jun 88:11-12. + Linear Braille transcriptions with ClasX - Jun 88:2-5.

VersaBraille II+ transferring files to & from BEX - Jan 89:7.

Witte, Randall, Sensory Overload Contest Winner - Apr 88:4.

The End.