Raised Dot Computing Newsletter: Exploring Microcomputer Applications for the Visually Impaired -- ISSN 0890-0019. November-December 1989 -- Volume 8, Number 81.

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.)

Submissions are always welcome, especially on diskette. All are subject to editing for style and clarity. All opinions expressed are those of the author. Editor: Caryn Navy.

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.

EDITOR = Editor's Column -- Caryn Navy (print page 2).

DOUBLETALK = Now Selling the DoubleTalk (print page 2).

COMPANION = Getting Voice Access to AppleWorks with AppleWorks Companion (print page 2).

VERSAPOINT = Model D VersaPoints Now Available from RDC (print page 4).

KENNEL SCOOP = Technical Scoop from the Kennel -- Phyllis Herrington (print page 5).

ONE HAND KEYBOARD = BEX 3.0 and a One-Handed Braille Keyboard -- David Holladay (print page 6).

PIXCELLS INTERVIEW = Using pixCELLS in a Braille Production Center: Caryn Navy Interviews Diane Spence (print page 7).

SNEAK PREVIEWS = Sneak Previews: Checking BEX Format Before You Print -- Caryn Navy (print page 9).

OUTSPOKEN = Berkeley System Design is Now Shipping OutSPOKEN -- David Holladay (print page 14).

COMPUTER AIDS = A Letter from Bill Grimm (print page 15).

IBM & BEX = Transferring Plain ASCII Files between the Apple and the IBM-PC (print page 16).

PLEASE WRITE = We Welcome Submissions! (print page 19).

FACTS ON FILE = Addresses Mentioned (print page 19).

Editors Column -- Caryn Navy

For five years Jesse Kaysen brought her many skills, high standards, and her clear and lively writing and recording to the RDC Newsletter as its editor. We all owe her many thanks. I cannot try to fill her shoes: I wear size 7 and she wears size 9. But in my own shoes I will take things step by step, and I will try to step lively. Working on this issue has shown me just how many steps there are!

The remaining Dots thank both Jesse and Nevin for the years of hard work and the many talents they brought to RDC in their various roles. Linda Millard has now joined us as a part-time bookkeeper; you will meet her in the next issue. Another new staff member will join us in January. We are continuing to work on short-term and long-term projects. In coming issues of the Newsletter you will learn about the software projects we have underway.

Now Selling the DoubleTalk -- David Holladay

RDC is pleased to announce that we are now selling the DoubleTalk voice synthesizer: a circuit card for the Apple IIe, Apple IIgs, or Laser 128. Developed by RC Systems, this new voice synthesizer contains both SlotBuster-style speech and Echo-style speech. Its SlotBuster-style speech quality is very high. This is a great achievement at the DoubleTalk's price of $250. To let you judge for yourself, the DoubleTalk happily introduces itself in the audio newsletter. (If you get the print edition of the Newsletter, send us a written request, and we will send you a cassette tape with the DoubleTalk introducing itself.)

The DoubleTalk and BEX

BEX programs shipped after June 1989 are fully compatible with the DoubleTalk. BEX recognizes the DoubleTalk as a SlotBuster and switches on the SlotBuster-style synthesizer. If you have a BEX 2.2 or BEX 3.0 disk previous to June 1989, then you need a disk from us to "fix" your BEX. Call the RDC technical help line at (608) 257-8833 and we will send you this fix-up disk to make your BEX compatible with the DoubleTalk. There is no charge for this disk. The BEX/DoubleTalk fix-up disk is included with all DoubleTalks sold by RDC.

Even though the DoubleTalk contains both an Echo-style voice and a SlotBuster-style voice, BEX can only use the SlotBuster-style voice. Since the SlotBuster-style voice sounds much better than the Echo-style voice, that should not cause any problems. If you must have an Echo-style voice working with BEX, then you need to have a genuine Echo board in your system.

The DoubleTalk and the AppleWorks Companion

The DoubleTalk's SlotBuster personality is fully compatible with the AppleWorks Companion described in the next article. We are also selling the AppleWorks Companion, which costs $50. With both the DoubleTalk and the AppleWorks Companion, for a total of $300, you get high quality voice access to AppleWorks on an Apple IIe, Apple IIgs, or Laser 128.

Getting Voice Access to AppleWorks with AppleWorks Companion -- David Holladay

RDC is also pleased to announce that we are now selling the AppleWorks Companion: an inexpensive software patch to AppleWorks which gives speech access through the SlotBuster or DoubleTalk speech synthesizers. Available for $50, the Companion adds speech to the AppleWorks word processor, database, and spreadsheet, with full screen review features. In addition it adds 35 new function commands to AppleWorks to speed up its use.

AppleWorks is a very popular integrated program for the Apple II general market, combining a word processor, a database program, and a spreadsheet program. AppleWorks is sold by Apple through its software subsidiary, Claris Corp. However, Apple does not really promote AppleWorks since its "file folder" screen interface is not consistent with the "icon," or Mac-style, screen interface promoted by Apple. In spite of this lack of promotional effort, AppleWorks is an overwhelmingly popular favorite in the marketplace.

Building on the popularity of AppleWorks, Beagle Brothers has developed many AppleWorks add-on programs in their TimeOut series. These programs perform various functions, such as statistical analysis and graphing. The AppleWorks Companion's speech access extends to the TimeOut programs, except for UltraMacros.

How Does It Work?

The Companion modifies the AppleWorks Startup disk, adding speech and new AppleWorks commands right on the disk. Of course, you should make back-up copies of your AppleWorks program disks and your Companion disk before beginning the installation process. After this one-time installation procedure, the Companion automatically loads with AppleWorks when you start the computer with the modified disk.

As soon as AppleWorks begins loading into the computer's memory, the Companion kicks into action. It reads AppleWorks' menus, tells you what you type or pass over with the cursor keys, and allows you to review anything on the screen.

Also built into the AppleWorks Companion is a powerful macro system which enables you to record up to 74 keystrokes in each of the 10 keys designated for macros. Pressing the same key later instantly recalls all the keystrokes you recorded in the macro and executes them with lightning-fast speed. You can use macros to enter your name and address, format a document, load non-AppleWorks files, or do anything else you normally do within AppleWorks--with just the press of a single key.

The AppleWorks Companion is based on the SCAT speech software for the SlotBuster or the DoubleTalk's SlotBuster personality. The SCAT software plays the same role with the SlotBuster or DoubleTalk as the TEXTALKER software plays with the Echo or Cricket. SCAT contains screen review features that allow a blind user to quickly explore the screen. The AppleWorks Companion, SCAT, DoubleTalk, and SlotBuster are all products of RC Systems.

System Requirements

To run the AppleWorks Companion, you need a 128k Apple IIe, Apple IIgs, or Laser 128. You cannot use an Apple IIc because you cannot insert a circuit card in it. You need your own copy of AppleWorks 2.0 or later (2.0, 2.1, or 3.0). You also need a DoubleTalk or a SlotBuster card with the speech synthesizer option. RDC is selling the DoubleTalk for $250. Please note that the AppleWorks Companion does not work with the Echo or Cricket synthesizers.

Learning AppleWorks

The manual for the AppleWorks Companion explains how to use the Companion, but not how to use AppleWorks. The AppleWorks Reference Manual and another book, Mastering AppleWorks, are available from Recording for the Blind (phone 800-221-4792).

In addition, Raised Dot is in the process of writing its own quick guide to AppleWorks to assist a blind user with AppleWorks basics.

Don't Be Confused

There is a product for the general market (for a sighted audience) called the AppleWorks 3.0 Companion produced by Beagle Brothers. The program allows you to customize your copy of AppleWorks 3.0. However, the Beagle Brothers program does not provide voice access to AppleWorks. For voice access, buy a copy of "The AppleWorks Companion" produced by RC Systems and now sold by Raised Dot Computing.

Model D VersaPoints Now Available From RDC

RDC now has model D VersaPoints available for immediate shipping. The VersaPoint, manufactured by Telesensory Systems/VTEK, has been redesigned to add some important new features. Here are some of them:

-- The new VersaPoint is much quieter than the previous VersaPoint. In fact, it is 10 decibels quieter than the model C. Ten decibels quieter means 10 times quieter (quieter by a factor of 10).

-- There is now a paper thickness adjustment, which allows you to set 5 different levels of impact. This allows you to adjust the level of impact to accommodate heavy or light paper.

-- The tractor mechanism has been redesigned to accommodate paper as narrow as 2 inches. This means you can run narrow label stock in your VersaPoint.

-- There is a simple switch on the top to switch between serial and parallel interface. If you have both an Apple II using serial and an IBM-PC using parallel, you can cable them both up and switch between them without changing VersaPoint configurations.

-- The front panel has been redesigned so that fewer commands require holding down several buttons.

-- New escape sequences are available for changing parameters. For example, you can use escape sequences to set the form length in inches (very useful for brailling labels or cards), the number of lines per page, and left and right margins--all without using the configuration menu. You can even switch VersaPoint configurations with an escape sequence.

-- Italian computer braille has been added to the list of computer braille systems supported. Note that this only affects those using Italian computer systems. To produce grade one braille Italian books, you can use BEX and TranscriBEX, with the VersaPoint set at the default American translator.

-- You can even write and edit your own computer braille translation table. This would be useful if you needed to make the VersaPoint compatible with a Rumanian or Maltese computer system.

Just like the model C VersaPoint, the model D reliably produces braille at 40 characters per second. You can still emboss graphics quickly and do sideways printing.

We are selling the model D VersaPoint for $3750, which includes shipping. Raised Dot also includes its custom "VersaPoint Interface Disk" at no charge. This Apple II disk steps you through the process of setting up your VersaPoint.

The VersaPoint comes with a one-year warranty. After the first year, a one-year service agreement costs $375.

Technical Scoop from the Kennel -- Phyllis Herrington

Once again it's time for another installment of helpful hints from the kennel. We enjoy collecting technical info, to help you get more out of your software and to prevent headaches caused by that simple something going wrong. So without any further delay, here goes!

Left and Right Margins

I want to remind BEX and Hot Dots users about common mistakes in setting left and right margins. These mistakes can create too small an area for printing and cause havoc with your printing. You can end up with very short lines, and the printer may begin spitting out paper continuously.

A very common mistake made with margins is forgetting the meaning of the number in a margin command. In both BEX and Hot Dots, the left or right margin value means how many spaces are taken away from the full carriage width. For example, if you set the carriage width at 80, you might ask for a left margin of 8 and a right margin of 5. In both BEX and Hot Dots, you do this with [[ $$ml8 $$mr5]]. This takes away 8 spaces at the beginning of the carriage width and 5 spaces at the end. So 67 character positions are left for printing.

You might mistakenly set a right margin of 75 instead. In BEX and Hot Dots, this does not mean placing the right margin at position 75 on the carriage width, as it does on a typewriter. Rather it means taking 75 spaces away from the right of the carriage width. So no character positions at all are left for printing, which assuredly does havoc with your printing.

Remember that you can get great results from BEX and Hot Dots with both a left margin and a right margin of zero. A left margin of zero begins printing at the extreme left of the BEX or Hot Dots carriage width. Often you can control the left margin on the printer itself by physically adjusting the paper or by sending an escape sequence from the computer. This allows you to use a left margin of zero in BEX or Hot Dots. By setting the BEX or Hot Dots carriage width to end where you want printing to stop, you can use a right margin of zero in the software.

Some word processing programs, most notably AppleWorks, set the margins just as BEX does, by taking spaces away from the full carriage width. Other word processors set margins like typewriters. If you are working with a number of different software packages, it may take some effort to remember the approach you need to use for each program.

Grade One Braille

We have received several technical calls expressing difficulty in obtaining grade 1 braille. You need to place [[_o]] just before the text before running the braille translator. It is not enough to just begin with [[_o]]. You must also run the grade 2 translator to get grade 1 braille. Don't let the name "grade 2 translator" throw you; when it finds [[_o]], the translator creates grade 1 braille.

Although grade 1 braille does not contain any contractions, the translator has to create the proper braille capitalization, punctuation, and numbers. If you simply insert [[_o]] in your file and then print it out to the braille embosser, you get bad braille. Not only does the [[_o]] get printed but the braille output is totally untranslated. The output has no capitalization signs, and the punctuation and numbers are all wrong.

When you wish grade 1 translation to end within a document, terminate grade 1 translation with [[_l]]. This causes translation to revert to "literary," or grade 2, braille.

The May/June 1989 issue of the newsletter has an article discussing bugs in Hot Dots and work arounds. One of the bugs involves switching the "grade" of translation. Hot Dots does not properly switch back into grade 2 translation when you use the documented command of [[_l]]. It creates grade 2 without any capitalization. If you switch to no translation and want to get back to literary translation, use [[_b]]. If you switch to grade 1 translation and want to get back to literary translation, use [[_l_b]].

File Extensions and Hot Dots

When we name MS-DOS files, we are very limited in the length of the file name. You can have up to eight characters, followed by an optional period and file extension of up to three characters. Usually, the extension is used to indicate the type of file.

In Hot Dots, you can usually use whatever file extensions you want. Of course, if you are consistent, you can save yourself a lot of confusion. We recommend using [[.TXT]] for an untranslated text file, [[.BRL]] for a translated (braille) file, [[.BFM]] for a file which is both braille and formatted for the braille page, and [[.RUL]] for a rules file.

However, the [[.BRL]] plays an even more important role. When you run the Hot Dots Formatter, it needs to know if you want braille or print format. When the Formatter sees the [[.BRL]] extension, it knows that you want braille format. If the [[.BRL]] extension is missing, the Formatter does not handle paragraphing and underlining properly for braille output. As a consequence, you should always use the [[.BRL]] extension on a file created by the braille translator.

Without the [[.BRL]] extension, you get print-style paragraphs. A paragraph symbol becomes two carriage returns and five spaces of indentation. On the other hand, when the Formatter knows it is formatting braille, a paragraph symbol becomes one carriage return (i.e., no skipped line) and two spaces of indentation.

When the braille translator sees the [[ $$ub]] and [[ $$uf]] commands (underline begin and underline finish), it places the appropriate braille italics indicators in your file. However, the [[ $$ub]] and [[ $$uf]] commands remain in the braille file. If the [[.BRL]] is missing, these underline begin and finish commands yield a series of backspace and underbar characters, to produce underlined text on an inkprint printer. But these characters mess up braille output with extra cells of dots 4-5-6. When the Formatter knows it is producing braille format, it does not insert these extraneous characters.

When you use Hot Dots from the command line, you can also instruct the Formatter to produce braille format by adding the [[/B]] switch. Nevertheless, it is good practice to avoid problems by always using the [[.BRL]] extension for braille files.

BEX 3.0 and a One-Handed Braille Keyboard -- David Holladay

BEX 3.0 contains software for a one-handed braille keyboard. This undocumented feature was designed by Harvey Lauer. You may find this feature useful, particularly for doing data entry while reading braille. Or you may enjoy playing with it.

You must have BEX 3.0 on a 128k system, either an Apple IIe or an Apple IIc. This feature does not work on an Apple IIgs. You must configure at the User or Master level, since BEX's braille keyboard is not available at the Learner level.

The one-handed keyboard program lives within your BEX disk. You need to tell BEX your preference for the one-handed braille keyboard program. Since this is not a configuration question, you have to inform BEX later in a coded form. At any of the BEX menus, type the following seven characters: [[ 240 <CR> 1 <CR>]]. After typing this, you should be back at the BEX menu. This makes BEX's braille keyboard mode the one-handed one instead of the usual one. If you want to bring back the ordinary braille keyboard, type the following seven characters: [[ 240 <CR> 0 <CR>]].

To actually switch into the braille keyboard mode you have chosen, get into the BEX Editor, depress the caps lock key, and enter: [[<Control-S> K B]] (Set Keyboard Braille). Both a left handed keyboard and a right handed keyboard are available. Here are the dot assignments:

dot 1: F (left hand) or M (right hand)

dot 2: D or N

dot 3: S or semicolon

dot 4: V or J

dot 5: B or K

dot 6: A or L

You have a choice of using your left hand or your right hand. With either of the two choices, you have to cover six dots with five fingers, which requires a little practice. The left handed technique uses the four fingers to cover the ASDF keys (for dots 6, 3, 2, and 1). Use the thumb to cover V or B (for dots 4 and 5). If the cell uses both dots 4 and 5, you have to use the thumb to hold down both the V and the B at the same time.

The right handed technique uses the four fingers to cover the JKL; keys (for dots 4, 5, 6, and 3). Use the thumb to cover N or M (for dots 1 and 2). If the cell uses both dots 1 and 2, you have to use the thumb to hold down both the N and the M at the same time.

While we were doing research for this article, we realized that the right handed keyboard has a glitch. If you really need a fully functioning right handed braille keyboard, call our technical help line at (608) 257-8833.

There is an added wrinkle in the one-handed braille keyboard program not available in the regular braille keyboard. You can make both lower case and upper case ASCII letters. To make an upper case letter, hit the P or Q key once, and then braille the letter. To stay in upper case lock, press P or Q twice in a row. To get out of upper case lock, press P or Q once; the next character is interpreted as lower case. With this ability to make upper case ASCII characters, you can use the one-handed keyboard to do inkprint data entry as well as braille data entry.

The regular braille keyboard program lives in main memory (the first 64k), and the one-handed braille keyboard program lives in auxiliary memory (the second 64k). This is why you need a 128k Apple. The overhead to switch between memory units for each character slows down the program a little bit. Please be patient; don't try to break any typing speed records with the one-handed braille keyboard program.

This program was written at the suggestion of Harvey Lauer. He wanted a demostration project to show the feasibility of a one-handed keyboard. Mr. Lauer has often commented that a one-handed braille keyboard implemented in hardware would make editing easier. You could read with one hand and write with the other.

Using pixCELLS in a Braille Production Center: Caryn navy Interviews Diane Spence

We spoke with Diane Spence about how her transcribing group uses pixCELLS. Diane Spence is the Coordinator of the Computer Braille Center for the Texas Region IV Education Service Center in Houston.

RDC's pixCELLS program for Apple II computers is a tool for creating "brailler graphics" on the many embossers which can be set for graphics output. With pixCELLS you can use graphics files from other systems, draw, modify, add braille labels, and emboss graphics. For information about pixCELLS or for a pixCELLS demo disk, call our business line at (608) 257-9595.

Q. What kinds of diagrams do you produce with pixCELLS?

A. For any diagram in a textbook that we are transcribing, we ask ourselves if we can do it justice in tactual form. If the answer is no, we omit it. If the answer is yes, we produce it with pixCELLS. We do maps, charts, and graphs. Sometimes doing a reasonable job requires differing from the inkprint version. For example, we encountered a temperature and precipitation chart in a textbook. One tactual graphic with information about both temperature and precipitation would be too busy for tactual readability. So we separated the print chart into two tactual charts, one showing temperature and the other precipitation. We also do all the diagrams that occur in the statewide tests that we transcribe.

Q. Do you ever do mathematical diagrams?

A. Since we do very few math textbooks on the computer, we do not have much occasion to do textbook math diagrams with pixCELLS. However, we do some math diagrams with pixCELLS in the statewide tests that we transcribe.

Q. Brailler graphics use only the uniform dots that a brailler produces. This offers less flexibility for representing different textures than a traditional tactual graphic done with tracing wheels and other instruments. How do you compare the effectiveness for your Region's students of brailler graphics and traditional tactual graphics?

A. We have not found the nature of brailler graphics to be a problem. We feel that the teacher should always orient the child to a tactual graphic, no matter how it was produced. With orientation, we find that the brailler graphics are very usable. Even with brailler graphics, you can create different textures. For example, we have used pixCELLS to transcribe a diagram showing the different levels of earth that a well cuts through. We created different textures for the different levels: diagonal lines, separated dots, etc. Because we can create and reproduce brailler graphics so much more quickly and easily than traditional tactual graphics, we want to make them work well.

Q. Who uses pixCELLS at your site?

A. We have one resident pixCELLS expert, transcriber Kristian Chudley. Five other staff members are also trained in using pixCELLS. They go to Kristian for technical help, and they come to me for help on improving readability. I teach them how much information to put in and what to take out.

Q. How long does it take Kristian to train someone in pixCELLS?

A. A couple of hours. But it depends on a person's previous experience. If they already use another drawing program, it takes even less time. After the initial training, the new user needs a day or so for practice.

Q. How do you do the data entry for pixCELLS?

A. We do about 75 percent of our drawing with pixCELLS itself and the other 25 percent with MousePaint.

Q. How do you use pixCELLS and MousePaint together?

A. Sometimes we do the original drawing in MousePaint. Other times we draw a picture in pixCELLS and then "reverse the image" and move it into MousePaint for manipulation. In MousePaint we avoid moving the screen in any direction. This keeps the graphic small enough so that one shrinking in pixCELLS makes room for several lines of braille. After moving a picture from MousePaint into pixCELLS, we reverse the image and make needed modifications and additions.

Q. In what ways do you modify pictures in pixCELLS?

A. We get rid of clutter and add braille labels and captions.

Q. Do you save some graphic file "templates," such as basic shapes, to use as part of other figures?

A. Yes, we do. We drew outline maps of Texas and the United States, and we reuse them often. We use the outline map of Texas the most. To create any kind of map of Texas, we just add the needed information--about population, climate, cities, rivers or anything else.

Q. Do you ever use graphics files available for the general market and modify them with pixCELLS?

A. No. Since the figures we emboss come from textbooks or exams, we do not have occasion to do that.

Q. Which brailler(s) do you use for text and graphics?

A. We use a Resus for text and a Romeo for graphics. The Resus does not do full brailler graphics. Like the Thiel, it does what the pixCELLS manual calls "gapped graphics." The vertical spacing of dots can be made uniform, but the horizontal spacing cannot. We want standard brailler graphics, with a uniformly spaced field of dots (no gaps between cells). So we use the Romeo for graphics. Our Romeo RB-20 is very slow at embossing graphics, but it is still much faster and easier than producing graphics by hand and Thermoforming them.

Q. For a work that contains both graphics and text, how do you combine them?

A. We do the text first. We leave blank pages for the graphics pages, to get the page numbering right. When we create a figure, we create the entire braille page in pixCELLS, including braille text, page number, etc. We store all the figures for several volumes of a textbook on one disk, labeled accordingly. Each figure's filename gives its figure number in the textbook. We keep notes on which pages contain the figures. When we burst the braille, we combine the text output from the Resus with the graphics output from the Romeo. We have also transcribed some chapters in math books with so many figures that we do the whole chapter in pixCELLS.

Q. How long does it take to create a figure with pixCELLS?

A. A typical bar graph with ten entries down and five squares across takes about 20 minutes. A figure would have to be very complicated to take as long as an hour.

Q. How many pixCELLS graphics do you prepare in a month?

A. Perhaps 20 in an average month, but it varies greatly.

Q. Have you learned anything else from your use of pixCELLS that you would like to share?

A. We used the preference menu to change the grid values from the Romeo defaults. We now use 36 cells by 28 lines, to fit more on a braille page.

Sneak Previews: Checking BEX Format Before You Print -- Caryn Navy

An important benefit of using a word processing program is the ability to create professional-looking print or braille documents. You can use BEX's various previewing modes to check for correct format before printing the final copy. Previewing also helps you to understand how BEX's formatting commands work. I frequently use the techniques described here when troubleshooting printing problems reported by users. While the hints below focus on previewing by blind users, the "zeroing in" techniques may be useful to sighted users as well.

When you preview format, you ask BEX to mimic the act of printing to your final hardcopy device, using the same carriage width and form length. However, the output appears in a transient form, like on the screen or on a paperless braille display, saving time and paper. Through previewing, you confirm that the formatting commands you've used have the effect you want. The difficulty of achieving proper format depends on the kind of material: ordinary paragraphs format themselves nicely, while elegant tables require care. After presenting the basic previewing tools, I discuss some ways to zoom in on the trickier material and save time.

Choosing an Appropriate Previewing Method

For blind users, BEX offers five different ways to preview final format. Each has its strengths and drawbacks. The following comparisons can help you choose the preview method that's appropriate for the material in question. You can define a Review class printer (class R) or a Braille previewer with voice (class B, code 2) in your BEX configuration as a printer in slot 3. Both of these methods offer you line numbers on screen and screen-by-screen control over which page is displayed. As their names suggest, the big difference between these methods is BEX's format defaults: BEX assumes a Review class printer is "print" and a Braille previewer is "braille."

You don't need to configure anything special to print to the 80-column screen with voice and use line review: answer [[SW+V <CR>]] at BEX's "Which printer" prompt. The text is spoken as it is "printed." You can silence it with control-X or start speech again with spacebar. At the User and Master Levels, you can also print to the 80-column screen inside BEX's Editor with the [[control-V]] View Mode command. It's easier to detect underlining with these approaches, and more data can fit on the screen line. Finally, you can capture printed output in a "data box" like the Braille 'n Speak, VersaBraille, or eureka. There you have truly random access to the format of the entire document.

Local vs. Global Format

An important thing to keep in mind for both View Mode and SW+V is that you control the page format with [[ $$w#]] and [[ $$f#]] commands in the chapter you're checking. Without these commands, BEX uses a carriage width of 80 and a form length of 23, which defeat previewing's purpose if your printer has different values. I often use the Editor's View Mode when the inkprint format information I need is very local, like verification of one or two lines with tabs. In this situation, I generally insert just the intended carriage width command at the top of the BEX page in question--and remember to delete it before I print. (When BEX encounters a [[ $$w#]] command in the middle of printing, it clears out any margins in effect.)

Previewing with SW+V is good for reviewing content as well as format, since you don't have the added line number information. When your carriage width is between 77 and 80, each line of final output requires only one screen line in SW+V but two in a Review class printer. The biggest limitation is that the inkprint page length you establish, typically with [[ $$f55]], by far exceeds the 23 lines on the screen. On its own, BEX only pauses at the bottom of each output page, with just the last 23 lines available for reviewing. However, you can freeze the screen at any point during the scrolling by issuing the line review command, and the "beep" techniques described below can also control scrolling.

With a Review class printer or Braille previewer, you don't have to worry about inserting [[ $$w#]] and [[ $$f#]] commands, because you define a carriage width and form length when you configure these modes. I find the Review class printer most effective for checking more global inkprint format, like the page layout and where the page breaks fall. The screen display stops when the screen fills up, waiting for a down arrow press to move through the page. It is great to have the line numbers as a guide, but it is awfully annoying to hear the line numbers and vertical bars all the time. By using columns in screen review, I hear them only when I want to, as described later.

Checking Underlining

When you preview with SW+V or with View Mode in the Editor, underlined material is shown with inverse video. TEXTALKER 3.1.3 and Spex alert you to inverse video with little clicks. Use one of these methods when you're interested in the effect of [[ $$ub]] and [[ $$h]] commands. With a Review class printer, it appears as uppercase letters; you'd have to switch to letter mode to hear the difference. In a data box, you see character, control-H, underbar.

Previewing braille accurately

To take advantage of BEX's automatic braille formats, BEX must think it's printing to a braille device. This is equally important whether you're previewing or actually embossing. For example, you must specify a "brailler" destination for BEX to interpret the [[ $$np]] command by putting the page number at the end of line 1. If you previewed with a "print" method, your braille paragraphs would indent five spaces and have a blank line. You have two "braille" preview methods: configuring a Braille previewer with voice, or configuring a real brailler and capturing that output in a data box. You can't accurately preview braille format with the Editor's View Mode, a Review class printer, or SW+V.

Ultra-precise and random access

When I need to preview a very long print or braille document, I sometimes use a portable data box as a stand-in for my printer or brailler. You can trap printed output in any sort of data box--for me, a VersaBraille or a Braille 'n Speak. Once the output is in the box, I can review it in any order at my leisure (and, with the Braille 'n Speak, on the bus away from work!). The simplest way to accomplish this is to configure your printer or brailler as usual, but substitute the port or slot connected to your data box. Before beginning to print, set the baud rate, data bits, stop bits, parity, and handshaking appropriately on your data box, and prepare it to receive text. Depending on the interface details, you may be able to define a new printer on the fly. BEX thinks it's sending to a printer when you answer [[N]] at the "Which printer:" prompt; supply the slot number for your data box.

To capture output on the Braille 'n Speak, you simply turn on its serial port. On the VBII, set VB emulation to no and enter the menus F, P, I for files, print, input. When printing is finished, enter chord-Z. On the classic VB begin a new chapter and enter chord-R T. When printing is finished, enter chord-R M. The standard BEX interface for both VersaBrailles calls for "auto linefeed." You want to see control characters on the VB to see form feeds. Here's how I set the VB parameters so I don't have to read both control-M and control-J at the end of each line: I set the parameter AI (ASCII in) for yes and the parameter CI (carriage return in) for no or space. Then I see control-L for form feeds and just control-J for new lines. Alternatively, you can check Interface Guide Section 6 and issue the commands that turn off auto linefeed in a Super Serial Card or Apple port.

Using Line Review with Previewed Data

Once you've gotten BEX to put the formatted information on screen, you use the "line review" option of your speech software--TEXTALKER, SCAT, or Spex--to actually examine the data. With all three speech programs, you can set the level of punctuation to meet your previewing needs. You can also switch between hearing words read or spelled as needed.

For previewing inkprint material with TEXTALKER or Spex, I generally use Some punctuation and Word mode. I use Most punctuation for braille material, since so many braille cells appear as punctuation. When I am actively trying to understand the braille text, I switch to Letter mode and a word delay of at least five. In Letter mode, I hear the characters spelled out, and the word delay clarifies the word boundaries, which are otherwise hard to detect when listening to spelling. In SCAT you choose between "Text" and "Characters," and toggle between these by pressing the spacebar. In addition, you can independently set the levels of punctuation for text and character reading modes, which can be very useful when previewing braille. Both SCAT and Spex offer a search function, which makes it much easier to concentrate on just the tricky parts of a document.

Since Learner Level 10 and the Echo/Cricket Training Disk provide good basic information on using line review, I won't repeat that information here. Instead, I'll focus on the more advanced column features offered by TEXTALKER 3.1.3 and Spex.

SCAT doesn't offer this type of column, but there's something similar. You can left arrow over the first character position you want and then use open-Apple with up or down arrow to restrict reading from that position to the end of the line. Solid-Apple with up or down arrow is similar, but reads the top or bottom portion of the screen bounded by the line with your audio cursor.

Columns and the Configured Previewers

In TEXTALKER and Spex you can divide the screen into nine numbered columns, each containing part of the line. This is especially useful with the Review class printer or Braille previewer with voice. When you use a column that leaves out the initial line number and the vertical bars, general listening is much more tolerable. When you want that line number information, it's available at the press of a key. Columns are also handy for checking tabular material. Establishing columns is much easier with TEXTALKER 3.1.3 than with the earlier 3.1.2 version supplied on the BEX disk. The latest version is available at a bargain price from APH (address in Facts on File), and BEX installation instructions appeared in the March 1988 RDC Newsletter.

To preview inkprint on a Review class printer, I customarily set up three columns. Column 1 contains all the text for my carriage width but leaves out the initial line number and vertical bar and the final vertical bar. Column 2 contains just the line number, and column 3 contains just the first character of text on the line. When I use a running header or footer with a page number, I sometimes set up an additional column which contains just the page number.

Once you have heard a line in line review, you press a number key to restrict yourself to that column. You stay in a column until you choose a different one by number--0 for the full screen line. When I want to hear just the text, I press 1 in line review. I can up and down arrow to my heart's content to hear the rest of the screen. When I want to check the line number, I press 2. When I am looking for blank lines, for example to locate headings, I press 3 and M for Most punctuation. As I use the down arrow, I quickly hear the first character on each line, and Delete tells me that the line is blank. For this you need Most punctuation, since you don't hear the Delete character in Some punctuation.

For a braille previewer with voice, I add one more column definition to these three. It contains the last few text characters on the line, so I can check for the braille page number or print page indicator.

When you use BEX tabs or TranscriBEX column commands to format text in columns, you might set up additional line review columns to facilitate previewing the columnar material.

Establishing Columns with External Commands

The easiest way to set up the columns is with a control-E command outside of line review. (This feature is always available in Spex, and requires version 3.1.3 for TEXTALKER.) The command has seven elements: control-E, the column number, semicolon, the beginning character position, comma, the ending character position, and the letter I (with no spaces). To issue a column command, you need to know the character position numbers; this can be a little tricky at first with TEXTALKER.

When you press spacebar in line review, you hear the audio cursor position. When you left arrow over a character, the audio cursor is on that character, and spacebar gives a number between 0 and 79. When you right arrow over a character, the audio cursor is on the next character, and spacebar gives a number between 1 and 80. When you set up a column, give the left arrow number for the starting character and the right arrow number for the ending character.

Here's how I set up my usual columns for a Review class printer with carriage width 72. The two-digit line number and initial vertical bar are in positions 0, 1, and 2. Text occupies positions 3 through 74 (74 = 2 + 72). The final vertical bar is in position 75. Column 1 goes from 3 to 75, column 2 goes from 0 to 2, and column 3 goes from 3 to 4. The following three commands establish these columns:

[[<Control-E> 1;3,75I

<Control-E> 2;0,2I

<Control-E> 3;3,4I ]]

Once you have issued the commands, the new column definitions persist until you reboot or change them.

My Braille previewer with voice uses a carriage width of 40. For this, the final vertical bar is in position 43 (43 = 3 + 40). Column 1 goes from 3 to 43, column 2 goes from 0 to 2, and column 3 goes from 3 to 4. The fourth column allows me to check a braille page number with four or fewer digits: it goes from 38 to 43. For some reason, perhaps fixed after I got TEXTALKER 3.1.3, column 4 does not behave properly, so I make this column 5.

You use the same seven-element command to control Spex's line review columns. The only difference is the numbering of the character positions. In Spex the characters are always numbered from 1 to 80, and when you arrow over a character in either direction, the audio cursor is on that character. For example, in the Review class printer with carriage width 72 discussed above, the line number and initial vertical bar are in positions 1, 2, and 3; text occupies positions 4 through 75 (75 = 3 + 72); and the final vertical bar is in position 76. My usual column 1 in Spex goes from 4 to 75.

Issuing Commands with an Auto Chapter

While these commands are not too bad to type, you can automate things for yourself or for those just learning. I've set up two auto chapters that issue the control-E commands for my usual print and braille previewing columns. Because TEXTALKER and Spex intercept your commands when you issue them "live," you can't establish this auto chapter in Remember mode; you must write the auto chapter in the Editor. To get control-E in the Editor, press control-C and then E. For an auto chapter only, you must have a carriage return after each control-E command. For example, the auto chapter for my Review class printer begins with [[<Control-E>1;3,75I<CR>]]. Once you write all the commands, edit an existing auto chapter and copy the single final "magic Delete" character to the Clipboard. Then edit the column command chapter and insert this at the end.

Zeroing-In with Beeps

I often want to preview just a few portions of text. If I can quickly zero in on those places, it takes less time. BEX's "pause and beep" command [[ $$b]] facilitates this. When the formatter encounters [[ $$b]], printing to any device stops and BEX issues a distinctive beep. I generally place a [[ $$b]] at the beginning of a text segment of interest. When previewing on the screen, I keep pressing the spacebar to go from one screen to the next until I hear that beep. At that point, I enter line review and find the first empty line, where printing has stopped. Then I leave line review and press spacebar to continue printing and fill up the screen. I enter line review again and return to the line I found before, where I find the text I want.

By placing [[ $$b]] before a heading, you can easily find its page number in the document. The [[ $$b]] command is especially useful when circumstances call for using SW+V. The pause and beep prevents the text of interest from scrolling off the screen.

After previewing, don't forget to "turn off your beeper" by removing these commands. I always type the command with four characters: [[ $$b<Space>]]. After successful previewing, I use Replace characters to remove those four characters.

The pause and beep command is also useful when printing or brailling to a paperless braille stand-in. For example, long files on the VBII make for slow access. To create several smaller files, place [[ $$b]] commands in your text at convenient dividing spots. At a pause and beep, close the current file and start inputting to a new file.

Here is something else I have tried when previewing to SW+V and silencing speech with control-X. I have added beeping running header lines just for previewing, something like this (only BEX 3.0 allows running head lines below line 4):

[[<CR>$$vh24 line 23 finished <Control-G> <Control-G> <Control-G>

<CR>$$vh48 line 46 finished <Control-G> <Control-G> <Control-G> ]]

To account for these two extra running head lines, I increase the form length value by two. When the multiple beeps start, I enter line review and freeze the screen. Please do not try this if too many beeps give you a headache. After all, the purpose of previewing is to avoid headaches!

Berkeley System Design is Now Shipping OutSPOKEN -- David Holladay

The first voice screen access program for the Macintosh computer is now shipping. OutSPOKEN is available for $395 from Berkeley System Design (see Facts on File). This exciting new product opens up the Macintosh to blind users.

It works on all Macintosh computers from the Mac Plus on up to the most advanced Mac II computers. Right now, the Mac Plus is the minimum computer you need to run most Macintosh software. OutSPOKEN works with all versions of Macintosh system software starting with version 6.02. For those with earlier versions of system software, upgrades are available from your local Apple dealer.

The speech output is based on the Macintalk technology which uses the built-in speaker inside the Macintosh. Currently, OutSPOKEN does not support the use of an external synthesizer. Thus for $395, you effectively get a speech access program and a synthesizer. Compared with the cost to access MS-DOS machines, this is very cost effective.

The Macintosh computer is very popular because of its consistent user interface. Once you have learned how to delete or insert in one program, you have learned how to insert or delete in all programs.

Many other computer systems are now in the process of imitating the Macintosh user interface. The use of mice, windows, dialogue boxes, and icons is spreading. This is causing a lot of problems for blind computer users. The introduction of OutSPOKEN is a dramatic statement that blind users need not be frozen out of the world of graphical interfaces.

The use of OutSPOKEN totally replaces the Macintosh mouse. You do not have to use the mouse at all (unless you want to). The program uses the numeric keypad for the screen review command keys. OutSPOKEN does not have a "live mode" and a "review mode." You can always give a review command (use the numeric keypad) or type (use one of the other keys).

Right now there is no infrastructure for teaching blind users to use the Macintosh. So accessible documentation not only on OutSPOKEN but also on the Macintosh is especially important. One of the first chapters of the OutSPOKEN manual covers Macintosh basics. It describes windows, dialogue boxes, icons, and other fundamental aspects of the Macintosh screen. The next chapter has a guided tutorial using the OutSPOKEN startup disk (which contains a simple word processor). After that, you learn how to install OutSPOKEN onto your hard disk. There is instructional material on using OutSPOKEN with word processors, databases, spreadsheets, and telecommunication programs. At the end, there is a list of accessible books about the Macintosh. Berkeley System arranged for Apple Computer to send the text of their Macintosh manuals to Computerized Books for the Blind (see Facts on File). Another highly recommeded resource for beginners is Personal Training Systems, a company that sells training courses called MacTeach on cassette tape. The two MacTeach courses are $49.95 each (see Facts on File for the Address).

Of course, the existence of OutSPOKEN does not make every piece of Macintosh software easy for a blind person to use. You should use common sense. Page layout programs (or any programs that divide the screen into columns) are harder to use than word processors. When you learn a new piece of software, it helps to work with a sighted person who is familiar with the package. Bit-mapped graphics programs such as paint programs are inaccessible through voice.

OutSPOKEN takes up 150k on a disk and 300k in RAM memory. If you only have a 1 meg system, you cannot run other programs that take up huge sections of memory. For example, you could not run OutSPOKEN with PageMaker in a 1 meg system, since PageMaker takes up 780k of RAM memory.

A hard disk is strongly recommended. You could run OutSPOKEN in a dual floppy disk system, but a one floppy system (with no hard drive) would be out of the question.

A Letter from Bill Grimm

We received the following letter in the mail just before Thanksgiving:

Dear Friend,

It is with great sadness that I must inform you of the immediate closing of Computer Aids Corporation. Eight years of pioneering efforts and tremendous support from the blind community just has not been enough to make our company profitable. We all want to offer our heart felt apologies to anyone who may be inconvenienced by our closing. We also want to express our warmest appreciation to the many who have allowed us to serve.

The spirit of Computer Aids will live through its people. Doug Geoffray, author of most of our current software products and Technical Support Specialist, will be continuing to sell and support our Apple Software as well as Braille-Talk IBM through his independent business. To contact Doug, you may call or write:


5805 Breconshire Drive

Fort Wayne, IN 46804

(219) 436-4391

Dan Weirich, our Chief Engineer will be providing service for Computer Aids products and other related products. He is also interested in providing custom engineering services for your individual needs. Dan will be acting as an independent business person and may be contacted at:

Renaissance Engineering

1731 Graham Drive

Fort Wayne, IN 46818

(219) 489-2733

Soon I hope to be able to offer a new and advanced PC screen reader. You may correspond with me at:

William L. Grimm

P.O. Box 150685

Altamonte Springs, FL 32715

Very Truly Yours,

William L. Grimm

Transferring Plain ASCII Files between the Apple and the IBM-PC

[Editor's Note: This article is a revised version of an article published in the Feb. 1988 Newsletter.]

There are a number of ways to transfer plain (also known as "7-bit") ASCII data between the Apple and the IBM-PC. You can attach modems and run telecommunications software on both machines. You can buy special disk controller cards that allow one machine to read the disks of the other. In this article, we will describe the transfer of data in two directions over a serial connection, using the BEX software on the Apple, and MS-DOS on the IBM-PC.

Cabling and Interface Cards

The same cable works for data transfer in both directions. To connect the IBM serial port to an Apple Super Serial Card, use a male to female straight through cable, which RDC sells as a "6F". To connect the IBM serial port to an original Apple IIc, use RDC's "2F" cable. To connect the IBM serial port to an Apple IIc plus, use RDC's "11F" cable. All RDC cables and adapters are $35 each. All these cables work if you have a 25 pin IBM serial port. If you have a 9 pin IBM serial port, you need a 9 pin to 25 pin adapter. These are available at your local computer store.

When you send data from the IBM to the Apple, you use BEX's Input through Slot. On the Apple IIgs, Input through slot requires an Apple Super Serial Card; you can't use the IIgs ports. Sending data from the Apple to the IBM is less critical; you can use a IIgs port for data flowing to the PC. you can use an 11F cable to connect the IIgs serial port to the PC.

When you are using an Apple Super Serial Card, set the switches to the RDC "Standard Parameters," as follows":

Set the jumper block to "terminal".

Switch bank one: off off off on off on off.

Switch bank two: off off on on on off off.

IBM-PC to Apple

Configure BEX with a "remote serial device to input text through slot." Answer "no" to the question asking if you have a Kurzweil Reading Machine. Use Input through Slot on BEX's Second Menu. Once you supply a target chapter name and press <CR>, BEX prompts you to start the transfer.

On the IBM-PC, you must have access to both a data disk and your DOS disk. In the following samples, we assume the DOS disk is in drive A and the data disk is in drive B. At the DOS prompt type:

[[MODE LPT1:=COM1 <Enter>

MODE COM1:96,N,8,2,P <Enter>

PRINT B:[filename.ext] <Enter> ]]

The first time you print, the PC tells you:


Just press <Enter> at this point. You should hear a buzzing sound from the Apple. When the IBM is finished sending, press Q on the Apple keyboard to close the BEX chapter.

When the IBM file you are sending is over 100,000 characters, it won't fit in one BEX chapter. Thirty full BEX pages is a limit for one Apple 5.25-inch disk--around 110,000 characters. After around 15 minutes into the transfer at 9600 baud, press control-S on the IBM. Wait for the IBM to pause and for the Apple to stop clicking, then press Q on the Apple. Now, insert a fresh Apple disk and use Input through Slot again, specifying a new chapter name. When the Apple is ready, press control-Q on the IBM to resume the transfer.

The first step in dealing with the received IBM file is to delete the linefeed [[<Control-J>]] characters. The BEXtras disk has a transformation chapter called FIX TEXT that does a good job of placing BEX paragraph symbols in a textfile from the PC.

Apple to IBM-PC

While the transfers from the IBM to the Apple can run at 9600 baud, transfers in the opposite direction require a slower baud rate. The problem is caused by the fact that BEX sends out data very fast (i.e. no pauses between characters). The fast flow of characters from BEX causes problems transferring data to the VersaBraille II Plus as well as to the IBM-PC. Get the transfer working at 1200 baud. Once that is working, keep trying the transfer at a higher baud ratee until it doesn't work. Then back down to the highest baud ratee for which the transfer worked. On different machines, the highest baud ratee are 1200, 2400 and 4800 baud. This method only works with up to 65,000 characters--some suggestions on sending larger files appear under "Refinements," below.

Setting the IBM-PC Serial Parameters:

On the IBM-PC, type the following:

[[MODE COM1:12,N,8,1,P <Enter>

COPY COM1 B:[filename.ext] <Enter> ]]

Now the IBM is ready for data; it will wait forever. The IBM-PC recognizes the end of a file when it encounters the [[<Control-Z>]] character. You must send a control-Z to tell the IBM-PC that the transmission is over and that the material should be saved to disk. Create a BEX chapter named "Z" consisting of a single character: [[<Control-Z>]]. To type a control character in BEX's Editor, first press control-C and then press the plain letter. In this case, press control-C Z to create one [[<Control-Z>]].

Setting the Apple Serial Parameters:

When you have an Apple IIc, create a BEX chapter named "SETUP" that consists of the following 18 characters:

[[<Control-A> 1 D <CR> <Control-A> 7 P <CR> <Control-A> 8 B <CR> <CR> <CR> <Space>$f<Space> ]]

(The only spaces are shown with <Space>; others are added for clarity.) When you are using an Apple IIe or IIgs with a Super Serial Card, set the switches for the "Standard Parameters," as listed above. Your "SETUP" chapter contains the following 18 characters:

[[<Control-I> 1 D <CR> <Control-I> 7 P <CR> <Control-I> 8 B <CR> <CR> <CR> <Space>$f<Space> ]]

(The SSC version uses control-I in place of control-A.) When you want to change the serial parameters for the Apple IIgs port, see the BEX Interface Guide for which command character to use.

These commands set the serial interface to 7 data bits, 1 stop bit, space parity, and 1200 baud. On the Apple IIc, the new parameters stay until you send a new control sequence. On a Super Serial Card, the new parameters stay until you press control-Reset. The function of the <CR><CR> $f sequence is explained under "Refinements," below.

Configuring a "Transfer" Printer.

How you define the BEX printer for IBM data transfers depends on what sort of format you want in the IBM file. If you want to suppress BEX page numbering and other page oriented formatting, set the BEX form length to zero. If you need to suppress BEX underlining, configure your "transfer" printer as a brailler. If you need to suppress form feeds, configure your "transfer" printer as a Cranmer Brailler.

Starting the Data Transfer.

Once you've issued the [[COPY COM1]] command on the PC, use BEX's option P - Print on the Main Menu to send the data over. Your list of chapters begins with "SETUP", then the chapter or chapters of data, and finally the "Z" chapter. Direct this list to the printer number you've configured, or define a new inkprint printer with N. You hear BEX reading from Apple disk, but the IBM is totally silent, since the IBM temporarily holds all the received data in memory. The IBM only saves to disk when it gets the [[<Control-Z>]] end-of-file character.

Refinements: Larger Files and Garbage Characters.

The IBM's data buffer can only hold 65,000 characters. If you need to send more than 65,000 characters, create several smaller BEX chapters with option G - Grab pages on the Page Menu. Repeat the [[COPY COM1]] process for each file on the IBM. Once all your pieces are on the IBM, you can use the DOS [[COPY]] command to merge them together. The syntax is:

[[COPY [file.a] + [file.b] + [file.c] [bigfile.txt] <Enter> ]]

When the data arrives in the IBM, there should be a linefeed after each <CR>. This happens automatically, since "auto linefeed" is part of the RDC "Standard Parameters," and the control sequences shown above don't change this. When you're working with files that are near the PC's 65,000 character limit, you must remember to account for the linefeeds that are added for every <CR> sent to the IBM-PC.

In every transfer that we have done, there are a few garbage control characters at the top of the IBM file. Use your favorite tool (PC-Write, EDLIN, Hot Dots) to delete these extra characters. Some control characters are harder to delete than others. In some IBM editing software, it is easier to delete whole lines than it is to delete some control characters. That's why we add the six characters [[<CR><CR> $f]] at the end of your "SETUP" chapter. They force BEX to move to a new output page. When you edit the PC version, your meaningful data appears after the first page break [[<Control-L>]] character.

Possible Mistakes:

During our experiments, we made three kinds of mistakes: exceeding 65,000 characters in one transfer; using a baud rate that's too high; or setting the Apple parameters incorrectly. When you have to change the baud rate, be sure to change both devices to the same value. On the IBM, give a new [[MODE COM1]] command. On the Apple, edit the control sequence chapter and use a different value for # in the [[<command> # B <CR>]] sequence. All the SSC, IIgs port, and IIc port commands appear in Section 6 of the BEX Interface Guide.


The two transfer procedures are almost mirror images. To send from either machine, you use "print". To receive on the IBM, you tell DOS to copy the text coming to the serial port into a file. To receive on the Apple, you use Input through Slot, which amounts to the same function. To tell BEX and the Apple that the transmission is over, you press a Q on the Apple keyboard. To tell the IBM that the transmission is over, you send it a [[<Control-Z>]] character through the serial port.

Step-by-Step: IBM to Apple

1. Cable the two devices together with 6F (or 2F for the original IIc, 11F for the IIc plus).

2. Boot BEX with a configuration including a download device.

3. Boot DOS on the IBM. Set the DOS printer to COM1. Set the serial port to 9600 baud, no parity, 8 data bits, 2 stop bits.

4. On BEX's Second Menu, choose Input through slot and supply a target chapter name.

5. On the IBM, use the DOS PRINT command to send the file out the serial port.

6. When transmission is finished, press Q on the Apple keyboard to close the BEX chapter.

Step-by-Step: Apple to IBM

1. Cable the two devices together with 6F (or 2F for the IIc).

2. Boot BEX (optionally using configuration with "transfer printer")

3. On the IBM, boot DOS and use [[MODE]] command to set COM1 serial port to your baud ratee, no parity, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit.

4. Get the IBM ready to accept data with the [[COPY COM1]] command.

5. Use BEX's Print chapters and specify a list of chapters to print. The first chapter is "SETUP" (setting the Apple serial interface to your baud ratee, space parity, 7 data bits, 1 stop bit), then the data chapter(s), and finally "Z". Direct this print stream to the "transfer printer."

7. On the IBM, use EDLIN, or any other tool, to delete initial garbage characters up to the first [[<Control-L>]] in received file.

We Welcome Submissions!

You don't need to be an expert to write for the Newsletter. If you have a short (100 to 200 words) announcement, all you have to do is put it in print, braille, or on disk and send it along for the Bulletin Board. If you've really enjoyed using a new sensory aids product (or really hated it ...), why not share your experiences with others? We wish you all a great Christmas vacation (if you have one) that gives you a chance to collect your thoughts for that article you've been planning to write for so long. The submission deadline for the next issue is January 19, 1990. If you need some help organizing your thoughts, call Caryn for advice at 608-257-9595. During this transition period at RDC, your submissions are most welcome!

Addresses Mentioned


Berkeley System Design

1708 Shattuck Avenue

Berkeley CA 94709

Telephone: 405-540-5537

MacTeach Audio Courses

Personal Training Systems

P.O. Box 54240

San Jose CA 95154

Telephone: 408-559-8635

Books on Disk

Computerized Books for the Blind

33 Corbin Hall

University of Montana

Missoula MT 59812

Telephone: 406-243-5481

Books on Tape

Recordings for the Blind

20 Roszel Rd

Princeton NJ 08540

Telephone: 800-221-4792

TEXTALKER 3.1.3 2 American Printing House for the Blind

1829 Frankfort Ave.

Louisville KY 40206

Telephone: 502-895-2405

TimeOut AppleWorks Enhancements

Beagle Brothers, Inc.

6215 Ferris Square, Suite 100

San Diego CA 92121

Telephone: 619-452-5500