Raised Dot Computing Newsletter: Exploring Microcomputer Applications for the Visually Impaired -- ISSN 0890-0019. September-October 1990 -- Volume 8, Number 86.

Published Every Other Month by Raised Dot Computing, Inc., 408 South Baldwin Street, Madison, Wisconsin USA 53703. Telephone: 608-257-9595. Fax: (608) 241-2498.

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

Single issues: $4 each (specify medium).

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: Caryn Navy, David Holladay, and Phyllis Herrington.

Entire contents copyright 1990 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 = From the Editor -- Caryn Navy

ECHO PROBLEM = A Solution to the New Echo/Apple IIgs Problem

T-BEX ALERT = TranscriBEX Alert

TRAINING = TranscriBEX Training at CTEVH Conference

ROBOTRON = Changes at Robotron

LINK = Arkenstone/Hot Dots Link Now Available


ADAPTIVE FIRMWARE = Using the Adaptive Firmware Card with BEX -- Bruce McClanahan

PACKING UP = Packing It Up -- Phyllis Herrington

CERTIFY = Certification for Producing Braille with Translation Software -- Phyllis Herrington, David Holladay, and Caryn Navy

TECH NOTES = From the Tech Office -- Phyllis Herrington. Includes:; Tabs; Changing the Pitch of the DoubleTalk -- David Holladay; Fixing BEX so it will not say "Undefined Statement in line 2520" -- David Holladay

CALCULATOR = HP 48SX Advanced Calculator Made Accessible -- David Holladay

The Arkenstone and BEX -- David Holladay

Bulletin Board. Includes: Braille Mexican Cookbook Available; Pocket Braille for Sale; Talking Apple System for Sale

From the Editor -- Caryn Navy

It's a little too late to say that Carolyn and I look forward to meeting you at Closing the Gap. So I hope that if we met you there, we all enjoy looking back on it.

The new office hours for Flipper technical support from Omnichron are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pacific Time. If you bought Flipper from us, we are available for Flipper support during regular Central Time business hours.

I recently completed training at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California. My new dog, Wichita, is trying to get the hang of Newsletter deadlines. Phyllis's dog, Claire, is delighted to have an office buddy again.

A Solution to the New Echo/Apple IIgs Problem

In the last issue of the Newsletter, we described a problem that arises when you use a brand new Echo II synthesizer on an Apple IIgs running at fast speed. The symptom is that the system hangs (nothing happens). The problem was caused by a design change that was forced on the manufacturer of the Echo II.

There is a solution! Larry Skutchan of the American Printing House for the Blind has created a new edition of TEXTALKER. With the newer edition of TEXTALKER, there is no problem getting speech on an Apple IIgs at fast speed. This new edition of TEXTALKER will be available inside the regular packages of TEXTALKER that are sold by APH. However, changing an existing package takes some time. The new edition should be available in early November. If you have any questions about getting your copy of BEX to run fast on an Apple IIgs with a new Echo, call the RDC technical number at (608) 257-8833.

TranscriBEX Alert

Do You Have the January 1989 TranscriBEX Disk?

The current TranscriBEX disk is dated January 1989. However, we accidentally sent an earlier version of the TranscriBEX disk to some recent purchasers. We apologize for this mistake. A quick way to recognize the correct TranscriBEX disk (dated January 1989) is that it has a chapter called {DTR FIX}, not on the earlier disks. Since January 1989, we have made available a free TranscriBEX Improvement Disk to earlier TranscriBEX users who requested it. This Improvement Disk brings an older TranscriBEX version up to the January 1989 level. If you are using an older version of the TranscriBEX disk, ask us for the TranscriBEX Improvement Disk.

The TranscriBEX Improvement Disk contains some additions to the TranscriBEX Manual and fixes a number of problems in the transformation chapters. For example, the earlier TranscriBEX version did not correctly handle a capitalized accented E in grade one Spanish. And what's {DTR FIX}? It corrects an earlier problem with print page indicators in Double-spaced, Textbook format material with a Running head.

Incorrect TranscriBEX Manual Supplement in Braille

If you bought TranscriBEX in January 1989 or later, your supplement should be dated January 1989. We have shipped some braille TranscriBEX packages with an earlier supplement. If this problem affected you, contact us for a new braille supplement.

TranscriBEX Training at CTEVH Conference

Becky Weisberg and Sue Reilly will be running a TranscriBEX Workshop at the 1991 CTEVH (California Transcriber's and Educators of the Visually Handicapped) conference. For more information, contact Becky Weisberg at (619) 748-0010 ex. 117 or Sue Reilly at (619) 274-6313 ex. 245.

Changes at Robotron

As of October 1st, Robotron Access Products has a new president. B. T. Kimbrough is the new chief operating officer of the company, which provides marketing, training, and ongoing support within the U.S. for the Eureka Personal Computer. Although Kimbrough intends to handle some of the marketing through independent representatives, all service on the Eureka and much of the day-to-day correspondence with the users will be handled by Enabling Technologies, where the primary contact person is Special Application Products Manager, Barney Barnett.

The Eureka is a powerful small, talking computer with a considerable amount of software built-in. More than 1,000 Eurekas have been sold over the past three years, including some which were taught to speak Spanish, Japanese, and Swedish before leaving the factory.

For further information about the Eureka, contact B. T. Kimbrough at Robotron's toll-free number, (800) 735-1031, or contact Product Manager Barney Barnett at:

Enabling Technologies Company

3102 S.E. Jay Street

Stuart, FL 34997

Arkenstone/Hot Dots Link Now Available

Raised Dot Computing has just released a package for Hot Dots users who are using a Calera Truescan reading system for scanning. The Calera Truescan systems we know of are the Arkenstone, the OsCaR, and the Ad Hoc reading systems; we refer to the Arkenstone Reader in this article because we are most familiar with it. The package is free of charge to any registered Hot Dots user who uses a Calera Truescan system. The Arkenstone/Hot Dots Link works from files saved by the reader to produce Hot Dots files that give well formatted braille.

We already mailed out free copies of the Arkenstone/Hot Dots Link to everyone on our mental list of customers who need it. If you are a registered Hot Dots user with a Calera Truescan system and you have not received this package, contact Raised Dot Computing for your copy.

The key to getting well formatted braille without intervention is getting the Arkenstone system to do most of the work. The Arkenstone reading system can make files for a large number of word processing programs. Of the many word processors on the list, XY-Write has a system of formatting commands closest in structure to the Hot Dots system. After having the reader save the text as XY-Write files, you use the Arkenstone Link to create braille. The Link's batch files and rules files (for global replace) automate the process.

The Link works only on files saved in XY-Write format. If you have files created previously in a format other than XY-Write files, you cannot use the Link on them.

Important note: There is no need to purchase the XY-Write program in order to use the Link. The Link simply uses the XY-Write file format as a tool for creating the Hot Dots files.

Installing the Link software is easy. You just copy the files from the Link disk into the hard disk directory {HOTDOTS} which contains your Hot Dots software. You also need to create a Truescan configuration (we suggest the name HD) for saving files in XY-Write form.

Using the Link

Once you have created an {HD} Truescan configuration for saving XY-Write files, take the following three main steps to scan a document and create braille:

1) Use {TRUESCAN} or {SCANTEXT} with the {HD} configuration, and begin scanning.

2) Use the Link's {ARK2BFM} batch file to create formatted braille.

3) Output the formatted braille to your brailler.

For the sake of example, let's use Truescan for the scanning. Type {TRUESCAN HD <CR>} at the DOS prompt, to get into the Truescan menu system with the HD scanning configuration. Use your scanner to read a document. When you say that you have finished reading, you are prompted for a file name. For the sake of example, let's say you answer {CATS}. Truescan creates the file {CATS.DOC} in the directory you were in when you called Truescan.

Make sure that you have the {HOTDOTS} directory in your DOS path. Back at the DOS prompt after leaving Truescan, type {ARK2BFM CATS <CR>} to process the file {CATS.DOC} (don't type the {.DOC} extension). The name {ARK2BFM} stands for Arkenstone to braille formatted file. After the disk stops spinning, the file {CATS.DOC} will be wiped out. In its place are two files: {CATS.HD$} and {CATS.BFM}. The file {CATS.HD$} contains untranslated (print) text and Hot Dots $$ commands. The file {CATS.BFM} contains translated (grade 2 braille) text and is already formatted for a carriage width of 40 characters and a form length of 25 lines. (It is easy to change this batch file to use a different carriage width or form length.)

The final step is outputting the BFM file. At the DOS prompt, type {PRINT CATS.BFM <CR>} after you have turned on your brailler. (If you have a serial brailler, you should do the appropriate {MODE} command first).

The Other Batch Files

The batch file {ARK2HD$} works like {ARK2BFM}, but it stops sooner. It stops with the creation of an untranslated file (with extension {.HD$}) containing Hot Dots $$ commands. You can edit this file to correct any errors generated by the scanner and to repair any formatting problems.

The remaining batch file {HD$2BFM} takes an untranslated file with Hot Dots $$ commands and creates a braille formatted file, ready for output to your embosser.

If you want to run things from the scanner to braille without any manual intervention, use {ARK2BFM}. If you want to check things out before wasting any paper, use {ARK2HD$} and {HD$2BFM}.

BEX Add-Ons

If you have a copy of BEX, you probably know the tremendous range of things you can accomplish with it. You can enter text, format it, produce regular print, large print, and braille. You can send and receive files from a dizzying number of computer-based devices.

However, you may not be aware of some of the additional software options available from RDC which can increase dramatically your effectiveness with BEX for certain applications. So we think it's about time to present for the first time a "BEX catalogue," a list of all the items you can get to add to BEX's usefulness.

BEX Student Pack

Some schools and institutions need more than one copy of BEX. In some situations (such as a computer lab), it is not necessary for each person to have the full BEX documentation. To fill this need, RDC sells the BEX Student Pack. To qualify, you must own one full BEX 3.0. A BEX Student Pack consists of a set of BEX reference cards in print and in braille and an uncopyable BEX program disk; the price is $100.


TranscriBEX is a $100 module which adds to your existing BEX (version 2.2 or version 3.0) the ability to make well-formatted braille books. TranscriBEX supports literary format (with braille page numbers in the upper right corner) and textbook format (with both braille page numbers and print page indicators).

TranscriBEX uses easy-to-understand markup and avoids BEX $$ commands. For example, TranscriBEX includes commands to create a list of items, where each item begins in cell 1 and continues with runover in cell 3. Simply place the command \\items before the list, begin each new item with a paragraph indicator, and end the list with \\enditems. In this way, you don't have to figure out which BEX $$ margin or indent commands to use. There are commands for formatting tables of contents, poetry, plays, footnotes, etc. If you want to improve the quality of the braille you are producing and make the work easier, get a copy of TranscriBEX.

Transcriber Packs

A Transcriber Pack is similar to a Student Pack. It allows a transcriber group to get set up with BEX and TranscriBEX at a discount. Ordinarily, each person working with BEX and TranscriBEX would have to pay $500 ($400 for BEX and $100 for TranscriBEX). The specially priced Transcriber Packs are available only to transcribing groups in one geographical location in which one member takes responsibility for technical support. This focus person needs to have one full copy of BEX 3.0 and TranscriBEX. Satellite members of the group can purchase Transcriber Packs for $125 each.

A Transcriber Pack consists of a full copy of the TranscriBEX Manual, a set of BEX reference cards, an uncopyable BEX disk, and a TranscriBEX disk. Part of the arrangement is that satellite users bring technical problems to their focus person (they are not entitled to their own technical support from RDC). If the focus person cannot answer the question, he or she can call us. RDC reserves the right not to sell Transcriber Packs if we feel that a group lacks the organization to maintain their end of the bargain.

ProDOS Bridge

The ProDOS Bridge is an enhancement to your existing BEX 2.2 or BEX 3.0 disk. The ProDOS Bridge allows your copy of BEX to directly read AppleWorks Word Processing files (and to read from ProDOS subdirectories).

When BEX/ProDOS Bridge reads in an AppleWorks file, it translates the AppleWorks format options into BEX $$ commands. For most files, you can read in the file, run the BEX grade two translator, and then emboss the braille file without having to look at the material in the BEX Editor. This means you can have your assistant do his or her data entry in AppleWorks.

The ProDOS Bridge has proven to be very popular for use in schools. The ProDOS Bridge costs $40. That price includes software, print manual, audio manual, and braille manual on disk (for making braille hardcopy with your own embosser). Add $10 (for a total of $50) for the Deluxe Edition, which includes a hardcopy braille manual produced at RDC.

As it is shipped, the ProDOS Bridge is geared towards the use of plain BEX (without TranscriBEX). But you can produce braille with the data entry convenience of AppleWorks with the formatting quality of TranscriBEX. The ProDOS Bridge Manual explains how to easily adapt the ProDOS Bridge to work with TranscriBEX material.


MathematiX is a specialized module for BEX 2.2 or BEX 3.0 that turns braille material containing Nemeth Code into the equivalent inkprint output. The resulting inkprint uses the appropriate mathematical notation, including fractions, square roots, Greek letters, and many special symbols. MathematiX is designed for the blind student who needs to turn in math or science homework to a sighted teacher. It can also be used by a blind math teacher to produce inkprint for her sighted students, or by a blind professional to produce inkprint material with mathematical notation for her colleagues.

MathematiX comes with a thorough manual in print and in braille which covers every aspect of its operation. The actual translation step of turning Nemeth Code material into the equivalent inkprint output is very simple. The manual explains how to structure the Nemeth Code input so that it does not confuse the translation software. MathematiX can also read aloud the Nemeth Code input as mathematical expressions for audio proofreading.

MathematiX can also be used by a Nemeth transcriber as a proofreading tool in the creation of Nemeth Code braille. For more information about MathematiX and its applications, contact Raised Dot Computing to receive a MathematiX Sample Pack, which demonstrates what MathematiX does. MathematiX costs $225.

HP Calculator Package

The HP Calculator Package adds additional software to your copy of BEX 2.2 or BEX 3.0 (or to MathematiX) to provide access to the HP 48SX advanced calculator. Using this software, you use the Apple keyboard to give commands to the calculator, and you get your answers through speech or large print on the Apple. Your entire session is saved in a BEX chapter for later reference.

The package also contains a collection of braille tutorial and reference material to help you use your calculator. For more information, see the separate article in this Newsletter. The HP Calculator Package costs $75.


ClasX is a $50 add-on to TranscriBEX. You need BEX 3.0 and TranscriBEX to make use of ClasX.

ClasX (pronounced like Classics) enhances TranscriBEX so that it can handle the Computer Braille Code and Linear Braille Format. Computer Braille Code is the official braille code used for transcribing computer notation--computer program statements, computer commands, file names, and other computer-related material which would be scrambled if sent through a grade two translator. Since 1987 the Raised Dot Computing braille manuals have been produced with ClasX and use Computer Braille Code (including the BEX 3.0 documentation).

The Linear Braille Format is a set of rules for producing braille on linear braille devices, such as the VersaBraille. Because you cannot have indent, runover, centering, or skipped lines on a linear braille device, these rules provide for a series of explicit signs to indicate format. The Linear Braille Format portion of ClasX allows you to automatically create the explicit formatting signs from your TranscriBEX data.

QTC and Control Panel Program

QTC stands for Quick Textfile Converter. It takes BEX chapters or DOS 3.3 textfiles and converts them to ProDOS textfiles. The QTC program has a user interface similar to BEX's (i.e., you can select files by number from a list). With QTC you can convert an entire disk in one operation.

You can use QTC any time you need to convert BEX data for use with ProDOS programs. Many software programs, such as the Talking Sensible Speller and AppleWorks, can read ProDOS textfiles created by QTC.

The flip side of the QTC disk is a Talking Control Panel Program that was written and placed in the public domain by Computer Aids Corporation. This program allows blind Echo users to set their Apple IIgs control panel. (The Apple's own built-in control panel program is not accessible with ordinary TEXTALKER. Now, however, it is accessible through the new Textalker-gs program from APH, described in the last RDC Newsletter.)

The disk containing these two programs is free when you send in your BEX registration card. It is also available from other BEX owners on a shareware basis. If for some reason you do not have a copy of QTC, you can obtain one for $15 from Raised Dot Computing.

Training Packs

If you are running a training program (a class to teach others how to use BEX), then you may be interested in renting a Training Pack. A Training Pack consists of one full BEX 3.0 plus up to 10 packages containing reference cards and an uncopyable BEX 3.0 disk.

If you are interested in renting a Training Pack, contact us at least a month in advance so that we can reserve the materials for you and can send you a rental agreement. Let us know if you would like to include TranscriBEX in your training session. A Training Pack costs $75 per week.

BEX 3.0 Upgrades

If you have BEX 2.2 and want to upgrade to BEX 3.0, the cost is $175. Send back your print manual for BEX and your BEX program disks (master disk plus all copies) plus a check or purchase order for $175. We will send back your BEX 3.0 program disks, a short description of the differences between BEX 2.2 and BEX 3.0, plus complete documentation in one form of your choice (print, audio tape, or braille). If you want a second form of documentation, that costs an additional $50. Contact RDC at (608) 257-9595 to make arrangements.

The main difference between the two versions of BEX is that BEX 3.0 works on an Apple IIgs. BEX 3.0 also works with 3.5 inch disks and with RAM drives. The documentation for BEX 3.0 is improved.

Braille Font Disk

The Braille Font Disk allows you to print smart-looking simulated braille dots on a dot matrix printer. It uses the same techniques that BEX uses to print large print. The cost of the Braille Font Disk is $10. It works with either BEX 2.2 or BEX 3.0. Before you purchase the Braille Font disk, verify that you can produce large print output on your system (which depends on your printer and interface card). If you are curious, we would be glad to provide samples of simulated braille produced with this technique.


SPEX is a new screen review program that is compatible with BEX 3.0. It does not work with BEX 2.2. Your ordinary copy of BEX comes with two screen review programs: TEXTALKER (which works with the Echo II or the Cricket), and SCAT (which works with the SlotBuster or the DoubleTalk). SPEX gives BEX a screen review program for serial-based devices (such as the Audapter, the Braille 'n Speak, and the Echo GP). If you have one of these three devices, and want to have them work with BEX, you should obtain a copy of SPEX. SPEX costs $35.

French or Spanish Back Translation Disk

Occasionally we get phone calls from people who want to be able to write French or Spanish in grade one braille and get inkprint output with accented letters. We went to work and produced a special disk to make this possible, and we tried to sell it for $40. Absolutely nobody bought it. (The problem may have been that we didn't tell many people about it.) So now this disk which totally reprograms your back translator is available absolutely free of charge. All that we ask is that you send requests for this disk in writing.

3.5 Inch Disk Bug Fixer

Last November, Apple came out with a new version of the Apple IIgs, the ROM 3 version. BEX could not use 3.5-inch disks on the ROM 3 Apple IIgs. You would get the cryptic message, no Unidisk in that slot. We quickly figured out the problem and have fixed all the BEX disks shipped in 1990. The problem remains if you work with a BEX 3.0 prior to 1990 with a ROM 3 edition of the Apple IIgs. You can tell if you have one of the nasty computers if your computer shows ROM 3 on the screen just after you turn on the power.

If your copy of BEX needs fixing, contact Raised Dot Computing. We will send you a bug fixing disk at no charge.

Other Bug Fixers

We have an assortment of bug fixing disks which we will send at no charge if you report a bug that we can fix. We have a DoubleTalk Installer, needed if you have a BEX purchased before 6/89 and a DoubleTalk voice synthesizer. We have a Large Print Fixer that deals with some early bugs with BEX's large print system. Our most obscure bug fixer deals with the problem of trying to use a SlotBuster modem port for Input Through Slot on an Apple IIgs with BEX 3.0.

Using the Adaptive Firmware Card with BEX -- Bruce McClanahan

[Editor's note: We ran an article about the Adaptive Firmware Card in our November-December 1988 issue. Because of changes in the technology, we thought it appropriate to take another look at the Adaptive Firmware Card.]

I teach at the Washington State School for the Blind, where we have adopted BEX as our standard word processor for the school. As at other residential schools around the country, we have a number of multiply handicapped students. Many of these students, whether because of difficulty controlling their hands or because of cognitive disabilities, cannot use the standard computer keyboard. Starting this year, we have been using the Adaptive Firmware Card as a tool to allow more students to use the computer.

Introducing the Adaptive Firmware Card

The Adaptive Firmware Card (AFC) is a circuit card for the Apple IIe or the Apple IIgs that allows someone with limited mobility or control to use the keyboard. The card has 9 separate systems for redesigning or replacing the standard keyboard. Using some of these systems requires additional specialized equipment.

Of the 9 separate keyboard systems provided by the Adaptive Firmware Card, two are most useful for use with blind students and Echo speech. These are Morse Code and the Unicorn Keyboard. Morse Code can be done either with one switch or with two switches. With two switches, one switch is used for dots, and the other for dashes.

The Unicorn Keyboard is a large keyboard with 164 squares. Each square can be assigned by the Adaptive Firmware Card to any Apple key or key combination you want. It is my own experience that kids with normal intelligence work best with Morse Code. They can achieve satisfactory typing rates. Two kids at our school can use Morse Code. They are both able to use the regular keyboard, but not accurately. In a three-hour session, the kids learned how to use the Adaptive Firmware Card with Morse Code. For those with mental impairments, the Unicorn Keyboard is better. It is slower, but the kids can hunt for the braille labels. Once our students are up and running, they use BEX unattended.

Students with physical, mental, and visual impairments are using the Unicorn keyboard and are productive. We have also used the Unicorn Keyboard to introduce computers to our early elementary students before teaching them the standard keyboard. Even when they need considerable assistance, the younger kids can get an appreciation for using the computer which they might not get otherwise.

Installing the Adaptive Firmware Card

The Adaptive Firmware Card must be placed in slot 5. It does not work in any slot other than 5. On an Apple IIgs, slot 5 is usually reserved for the smart port (3.5-inch disk drive controller). However, You can put the Adaptive Firmware Card in slot 5 and still set the control panel's designation for slot 5 to smart port. This lets you use both the 3.5-inch disk drive and the Adaptive Firmware Card at the same time, both ostensibly through slot 5.

Configuring BEX

You do not have to do anything special when configuring BEX to tell it about the Adaptive Firmware Card. When configuring, answer No to the question, Do you have a remote keyboard? Answer Yes to the question, Do you want Echo speech?

Configuring the Adaptive Firmware Card

Configuring the Adaptive Firmware Card is considerably more difficult than configuring BEX. While the manual for the card is thorough, I am glad that I took a course on the device at the State Resource Center for Adaptive Technology. The staff had a number of technical problems in getting things going.

The Adaptive Firmware Card has a setup program for configuring the card. You have to tell the card what input method you are using (Morse Code, Unicorn Keyboard, or one of the 7 other techniques). You also have to tell the card that you want speech.

For whatever keyboard technique you choose, you can designate the resulting keystrokes and what is spoken for each unique entry. For example, the Unicorn Keyboard has 164 different squares. One square is designated for a capital W. I tell the setup program that when this Unicorn key is pressed, the resulting keystroke is to be a capital W, and that the system should not say anything. I do not want the Adaptive Firmware Card to make the Echo say anything for the W key because BEX will say the appropriate thing when a W is pressed.

After I program the Unicorn keyboard to cover all the keystrokes found on the Apple keyboard, I can get fancy. I can designate a key on the Unicorn to result in the keystrokes space, dollar sign, p, space, and tell the system to say paragraph when that key is pressed. This makes it easier for a kid to understand what is happening in the BEX Editor.

As with BEX configurations, you can set up a series of named setup files in the memory of the Adaptive Firmware Card. You can even have a default setup. Once you have created a default set up for the Adaptive Firmware Card, the Apple gets its input from the system you have designated as soon as you turn on the Apple and press the carriage return key.

While you are using the Adaptive Firmware Card, you may want to issue a direct command to it to change its operation. These direct commands start with control-A. When you simply type the desired command on the Apple keyboard, it usually does not cause any problems, except in BEX's Editor. In BEX's Editor, control-A is the command to advance the cursor. To issue an AFC command from BEX's Editor without moving BEX's cursor, type {<Control-S> O} followed by the control-A command, and then press the carriage return key. Control-S O tells BEX that the text which follows (up to the next carriage return) is for output to another device only (and not an Editor command).

At this point, setting up the Adaptive Firmware Card is not accessible to blind staff. You do not get Echo speech for all configuring the steps. Using the Echo with Textalker-gs might make this process more accessible, but we have had not had a chance to try this yet.

Obtaining The Equipment

The Adaptive Firmware card is available from Don Johnson Developmental Equipment, Inc., P.O. Box 639, Wauconda, IL 60084; (708) 526-2682. The current model number is G32e. This model works on an enhanced Apple IIe and on the Apple IIgs. It costs $520. An enhanced Apple IIe has a newer ROM than the original Apple IIe models had. If your Apple IIe is not enhanced, then you cannot use the G32e. On an unenhanced Apple IIe, You can use the C40 model of the Adaptive Firmware Card, which costs $400. The G32e has more memory than the C40 (32k instead of 12k), operates faster, and can emulate mouse or joystick operations (which the C40 cannot do at all).

The Unicorn Expanded Keyboard is also distributed by Don Johnson Developmental Equipment. It costs $350.

For Morse Code, you connect a switch to the Adaptive Firmware Card. You can use any switch that has a one-eighth inch mini jack. Don Johnson Developmental Equipment sells a plate switch as well as an LT (Light Touch) switch, both for $46. I use a Left/Right rocker switch that costs $70. It is set up so that pushing one side makes dots, and pushing the other side makes dashes. This means that the user does not have to hold down the switch for a specified period of time to make a dot or a dash.

Don Johnson Developmental Equipment has an introductory video that can be borrowed; call for details. In addition, a larger series of training videos is under production.

Systems for the PC and the Macintosh

Don Johnson Developmental Equipment does not have an equivalent product for the PC. Such products are available elsewhere; they use TSR (terminate and stay ready) programs to modify the keyboard.

Don Johnson Developmental Equipment is developing a special card for the Macintosh. It will work on a Mac SE or better. It will be shown at Closing the Gap this October.

Packing It Up -- Phyllis Herrington

Over the past few weeks we have received several technical calls with the same theme: everything was working fine at the end of school, but now it doesn't work. We attempted to figure out how the computer was set up last year and what has changed. The culprit can be equipment failure or cables and cards that are rearranged. I realize the school term has just begun. But here are some suggestions which will be helpful at any time.

Making a Computer Inventory

-- Label your cables. On a label or on a piece of paper, write which devices the cable connects. For instance, if the cable connects an Apple IIgs to an ImageWriter, put that on the label. When you get ready to reconnect the printer or other device to the computer, you know what goes with what.

-- Write down how the switches are set on your printer(s).

-- If you use an Apple IIe or Apple IIgs, write down the switch settings on any Super Serial Cards or other interface cards in your system. Also make note of the slot number where each card is located. Often other people use the computer and change switch settings on interface cards or even move them from one slot to another. If BEX cannot find what it is looking for, you don't get any output. If your computer is an Apple IIgs, go into the control panel program and examine the slots and serial ports. Note which slots are set to your card and which are set to printer port or modem port.

-- If you use BEX, write down the name(s) of any BEX configuration(s) you use with your set-up.

-- Write down any reminders that you'll find helpful when it's time to start up the system. If you're like me, these reminders come in handy.

-- Put your notes in a place where you can find them in an emergency.

Starting Back Up

When it is time to get your system up and running, check your list. Do you have the proper cables for connecting printers and other devices to the computer? Check the switch settings on the printers and cards. Do they match those listed on your piece of paper? Is each card in the same slot as before? Is the control panel set the same way? Are the cables plugged in the proper jacks?

After going through your check list, start the system. If you encounter difficulties printing or downloading material into the computer, check your lists again. BEX users should get to the Starting Menu and use options V and W for View a configuration and What is in this computer. Examine the configuration currently running. Note which slots are designated for your printers and your download device. Then, with option W, check that these things match with how the cards are arranged in the computer and, for an Apple IIgs, with how the control panel is set. If everything checks out fine, then there is a possibility of hardware problems.

Hot Dots users who encounter printing problems should check to see if the printer cables are in the proper serial or parallel ports. Remember to use the MODE command to configure the serial port. Examine the subdirectory on the hard disk or the program files on the floppy disk to check that all the Hot Dots files are there. Not only do missing files interfere with printing. They also hinder translation, formatting, and global replacements.

Most of us avoid writing up lists. Imagine the time you will save putting your system back together if someone does rearrange your equipment.

Certification for Producing Braille with Translation Software -- Phyllis Herrington, David Holladay, and Caryn Navy

[Editor's note: In the last issue, Gayle Gould, a braille transcriber, wrote about how the current Library of Congress system for certifying braille transcribers is not meeting the needs of those using translation software. The National Braille Association (NBA) has been working hard on a thoughtful response, which will be in a later issue, not in this issue as promised.]

Braille translation and formatting software, which translates print text into grade 2 braille, has been changing the production of braille books. The availability of this kind of software together with computer-driven embossers has been speeding up the braille production process and enlarging the community of those producing braille. Optical scanning equipment, newest on the scene, continues to change the field of braille transcription, for example making it easier for blind individuals to be braille transcribers. Production of braille with translation software is a welcome part of the effort to alleviate the shortage of braille material needed for educational, professional, business, and personal reasons.

Some of those using translation software are experienced transcribers who have produced braille with a Perkins Brailler and have received certification from the Library of Congress through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). Others are newcomers to the field who have never produced braille with a Perkins Brailler. Braille readers and braille producers alike would like to have confidence in the quality of braille, whatever the source. Transcription typists, using translation software, would also like to know that they are producing good braille and to feel welcome in the braille transcribing community, which shares a great deal of useful information.

For traditional braille transcribers the key to legitimacy in the braille transcription community has been certification from the Library of Congress for producing literary braille. The homework and final trial manuscript sent to the NLS as part of the certification process must be done with direct braille entry. The student can use either a manual machine like a Perkins Brailler or a computer program which is strictly an "electronic braillewriter program." Translation software, like BEX, is not allowable (even if you use its braille keyboard option). Therefore, someone who is producing braille with translation software must change gears in order to work toward certification. Is it necessary to put up this obstacle between the transcription typist and credentials in the braille transcription field?

What are the alternatives? We feel that examining this issue brings up a basic question. How can the NLS and the braille transcription community help transcription typists to acquire and demonstrate the skills they need to produce good quality braille with translation software? Can the current certification process be modified to accommodate transcription typists? Or do we need a separate certification process specifically designed for transcription with translation software, respected by the braille transcription community?

When calculators became available to students, the educational community was in a quandary over whether to let students use them for homework and tests. Would using a calculator interfere with learning math? Would students still be able to do calculations without a calculator? What about students who could not afford a calculator? By now, however, many courses are designed with calculators in mind. Students gain an appreciation for what the calculator does. They learn to make effective use of the calculator and check that answers are reasonable, rather than pushing buttons mindlessly. Some of these issues are very similar to those facing the braille transcription community now.

An important question is, "What skills does the transcription typist need to produce good quality braille?" Typing or using an optical scanner, transcription typists must perform and correct data entry. They must give the proper software commands to get the appropriate braille formats. They must know what the software cannot do. They must proofread and correct errors in data entry, translation, and formatting.

However we choose to make transcription credentials more accessible to transcription typists, we can take advantage of new opportunities. Communication between the administering group and the vendors of translation software would be of great benefit. For example, vendors could supply information about known problems in translation and formats that require hand manipulation. There could be guidance on reading ASCII braille from the screen, on the kinds of words that translators get wrong, etc. There could be greater emphasis on formatting. While the current Library of Congress certification is for literary braille, a separate credential could include textbook formatting as well. Like a restricted driver's license, a separate credential could exclude the kinds of material that translation software does not handle, such as dictionary diacritics.

The National Braille Association (NBA) has been setting a great example by conducting many workshops and writing articles on getting good quality braille from a variety of translation programs. They also provide informal advice to developers of translation software. We are not implying that Raised Dot Computing wants the NBA to run a new certification program. We are merely suggesting that all the parties in this field work together to meet the challenges of new technology and a new, nontraditional generation of transcribers.

From the Tech Office -- Phyllis Herrington

In this issue we discus setting and accessing tabs and some bug fixes.


Using tabs in Hot Dots and BEX is a twofold process: establishing the value of the tab stop; and accessing the tab. You set the tab stop by inserting a command at the beginning of your document or just before the tabular material.

To set the value of the tab, type $$t#. The number value tells where you want the tab stop. If the number is unsigned, the command sets a tab stop at exactly that absolute position on the line. If the number has a plus or minus sign, the command sets a tab stop that number of characters to the right or left, respectively, of the current position. To move to the tab stops, type {<Space> $$ <Space>}. To clear tabs type $$tc.

If you want three columns, you set two tab stops. For example, suppose the first column starts at your left margin, position 0, and columns one and two are 15 characters wide. The second column should begin at position 15, and the third column at position 30. To tell Hot Dots or BEX to start the second and third columns at these positions, enter $$t15 $$t30 at the beginning of the document or just before the tabular material. To move from column 1 to column 2, type {<Space> $$ <Space>}. Then enter the material for column 2. To move to column three, type {<Space> $$ <Space>}. When you move to a new line with a carriage return, you are back in column one, at the left margin. On the new line going to the next tab stop works the same way.

What if you have material for columns 1 and 3 but not for column 2? Enter the material for column 1. Then type {<Space> $$ <Space> $$ <Space>}. This tells the software to skip over column two and move to column 3. Then enter the material for column three and move to the next line to begin column 1 if you so desire. Similarly, if you wish to move to column 2 without putting data in column 1, you simply type {<CR> $$ <Space>} to move to the second column.

Although you include tab stops in your group of formatting commands, you do not move to them until you access them with the <Space> $$ <Space> command. You can change the values of the tabs at any time, but you must first clear the old tabs with $$tc before establishing new values.

When you're setting tab stops, pay attention to the left margin if you've set it to be greater than zero. Since column one starts at the left margin, set the tab stop for column two at the value which is the left margin plus the desired width for column one. Let's say that you want columns one and two to be 15 characters wide each, but you have a left margin of 8. Since the first column starts at position 8, start the other columns at 15+8 = 23 and at 30+8 = 38.

As on a typewriter, be careful not to type too much text for a column you've established. For example, if the text you typed in column one takes you right up to or beyond the start of column two, the next tab command takes you all the way to column three.

Setting tabs and accessing them in Hot Dots and BEX is simple. However, you must do a little planning to make sure the columns turn out the way you want them to.

Changing the Pitch of the DoubleTalk -- David Holladay

BEX keeps a list of the pitch commands used in the Editor. (The pitch changes to indicate if a word is all lowercase, has one uppercase letter, or has more than one uppercase letter.) This list of commands is not in a place where you can change it easily. Ordinarily, this is not a problem.

However, it is a problem with the DoubleTalk. BEX treats the DoubleTalk just like the SlotBuster voice. The SlotBuster and the DoubleTalk have different ranges for pitches. The SlotBuster goes from 1 to 32, and the DoubleTalk goes from 1 to 100. Thus commands which make reasonable speech on the SlotBuster give the DoubleTalk a deep voice. To lighten things up for the DoubleTalk, do the following:

1) At the BEX Starting Menu, type {Q}.

2) At the ] or Ready prompt, type the following: {92 POKE 8169,52 : POKE 8177,54 : POKE 8185,56 <CR>}

Do not worry about the spacing, any extra or omitted spaces will be ignored. But do be careful that you get the numbers right; and don't forget the two colons.

3) At the ] or Ready prompt, type the following: {SAVE START <CR>}

(if you have BEX version 2.2, type {SAVE MAIN} instead of {SAVE START}).

4) After the disk stops spinning, type the following: {RUN <CR>}

5) That is all. From now on, whenever you boot up BEX, it will use more appropriate pitches with the DoubleTalk.

Fixing BEX so it will not say "Undefined Statement in line 2520" -- David Holladay

A recent change to BEX caused an unfortunate bug. When you try to access the Ready Chapter, you might get a message Undefined Statement in line 2520. Do not do anything to your BEX unless you get this annoying error message. If it does show up, it is easy to fix.

1) Make sure there is no Write Protect Tab on your BEX Main disk.

2) At the BEX Main Menu, type {Q}.

3) At the ] or Ready prompt, type the following:

{2591 REM <CR>



3) That is all there is to do.

HP 48SX Advanced Calculator Made Accessible -- David Holladay

A few weeks ago, I got a phone call from a blind college student asking for my help in getting an advanced scientific calculator to talk. The calculator in question is the HP 48SX. This hand-held whiz kid knows how to perform hundreds of mathematical and technical functions. It also has a serial port. We thought that it would be simple to send commands down the serial port and get the answers back to a computer to output them in voice or in large print. Instant accessible calculator!

It was not so easy. It turns out that this calculator only talks in Kermit, a specialized data transfer protocol supported by hundreds of devices. As far as I know, no sensory aids devices talk in Kermit (except for talking computers). Even when you get a Kermit program to talk, it can be awkward to access the HP 48SX (you need to type a REMOTE HOST command constantly).

In my spare time, I wrote some software which, when added to a copy of BEX, allows a blind person to work with the HP 48SX. Once everything is installed, you just press H at the BEX Second Menu and specify a logging chapter, and then BEX says Start using the HP 48SX. You can type calculator commands on the Apple keyboard (without having to type REMOTE HOST). When you press return, the command goes to the calculator, and the new calculator stack data comes back to the Apple display (and voice if you are using a synthesizer). Effectively, you are using your Apple as a computer terminal to "log into" your calculator (talk about your role reversal!)

All transactions are recorded in your "logging chapter." Later you can clipboard the significant portions into your homework.

I have also prepared some braille literature: a brief introduction, a keyboard guide, a 68 page reference card to the hundreds of functions supported by this super calculator, and a braille copy of the index to the print manual. I wrote to Hewlett-Packard and received permission to reproduce their copyrighted material in braille.

If you have a PC, you can log onto the calculator by using the copy of Kermit which comes with the serial cable for the calculator. However, using the calculator from the PC can be frustrating: certain characters are not properly transmitted, and at this Newsletter press time, I do not know how to get the full access that my BEX software allows.

If you are a software developer, I would be glad to share my source code so that other devices and other systems besides BEX can have access to the HP 48SX. I have already sent material to Dean Blazie at Blazie Engineering. If there is enough spare room in the ROM to squeeze in the code, the Braille 'n Speak may talk Kermit too. If so, this would allow a blind person to use the Braille 'n Speak as an access device for their HP 48SX.

Getting this Stuff

The first items you need are the HP 48SX and the PC serial cable. Because of the current national shortage of HP serial cables, I recommend getting the calculator and the serial cable from EduCALC, a calculator mail order house in California. Their price is $274.95 for The calculator (item HP48SX), $49.95 for the PC serial interface kit (item #82208A), plus $8.50 for second-day shipping. Contact them at (714) 582-2637.

Once you get your calculator and PC serial cable, you need to add a null modem and a male-to-male gender adapter for the connection to your Apple Super Serial Card. You can get these from your local computer store. Or you can get the $45 Interface Kit from Blazie Engineering (consisting of one male-to-male, one female-to-female, and one null modem adapter).

Finally, you need the braille manuals and the software to install on your copy of BEX and/or MathematiX. These items are sold as the HP Calculator Package for $75 from Raised Dot Computing.

If you already have a copy of BEX and a Super Serial Card, getting this talking calculator costs only $453.50 (or $408.50 if you already have the right adapters). If you are only interested in a four function calculator, this is not for you. If you need access to a powerful scientific and mathematical processor, this might be just your speed.

Due to the extreme technical nature of these items, all technical support will be done by David Holladay from his home. For technical inquiries or technical support, call (608) 241-2498.

The Arkenstone and BEX -- David Holladay

[Editor's note: in the March-April 1990 issue, we described the general outlines of using the Arkenstone Reader with BEX. This article gives a step by step description of how to do the data transfer.]

Required Equipment

You need a PC system (286 or above) with a Calera Truescan card and software system. This system is sold under the name Arkenstone, OsCaR, and Ad Hoc (and possibly others). Any of these systems will work.

You need a copy of CROSS-WORKS, a $99 package that performs data conversion and file transfers between the Apple II and the PC. Finally, you need a nearby Apple II running BEX with the ProDOS Bridge (a $40 BEX add-on to read AppleWorks files). While it is not required, we recommend the use of TranscriBEX for making quality braille. TranscriBEX is the $100 add-on to BEX which creates well-formatted quality braille.

If you already have a cable going from your PC serial port to your Apple Super Serial Card, you are fine. If not, use the cable from the CROSS-WORKS package to connect the PC with the Apple. Write down how the machines are cabled. Do you use COM1 or COM2 on the PC? Which slot are you using on the Apple?

Get your Apple Disks Ready

It can be inconvenient to format (or initialize) a fresh Apple data disk right when you need it. To accomplish the transfer described here, you need both ProDOS and DOS 3.3 formatted disks. I use DiversiCopy (a utility that is supplied with BEX) to make two stacks of disks: ProDOS and DOS 3.3. This is a true time saver. To switch between formatting ProDOS and DOS 3.3 disks, you have to reboot DiversiCopy. DiversiCopy is very efficient. In automatic mode it takes about 20 seconds to format each disk.

Installing Software on the PC

Both the Truescan and the CROSS-WORKS packages have excellent instructions for installing the software onto your hard disk. If you have problems getting your software onto your hard disk, call the appropriate vendor. For the balance of this article, we assume that you have performed the installation successfully.

Using Truescan

When you use the optical scanner, you are converting inkprint material to computer files. You need a place to put these files. The usual approach is to make a new directory to place these files; you may find it appropriate to make a fresh directory for each major scanning project you undertake. The DOS command to make a directory is MD, and the DOS command to switch to a new directory is CD. Here is a sample dialogue on the PC:

{C:\> MD SCAN <CR>


C:\SCAN> }

Once you are in your "landing zone" directory, call Truescan by typing {TRUESCAN <CR>}. This takes you to Truescan's Main Menu. Press option 3 to select the word processing options. Press PgDn 3 times and then F to select the WordPerfect 4.2 file format. Press ESC to get back to the Main Menu. Now press 4 to save this format. Choose a name like CW. The next time you use Truescan, type {TRUESCAN CW <CR>} to invoke your Truescan configuration.

Use the Truescan menu to scan some pages and save them in a file called {SAMP}. Then press option 5 to leave Truescan. If you do a directory ({DIR <CR>}), you will find that you have created a file called {SAMP.DOC}. The part of the name after the period is a file extension, which usually describes what kind of file it s. Truescan adds the {DOC} file extension when it saves word processing files. The CROSS-WORKS program prefers the extension {WP}. To make CROSS-WORKS happy, we need to rename the files. Enter the following at the DOS prompt: {REN *.DOC *.WP <CR>}. This means rename all files ending in {.DOC} so they now end in {.WP}. If you do another directory, you will see that the change has been made.


CROSS-WORKS is a program that is run simultaneously on an Apple II and on the PC. To get into the program on the PC, type the following: {C:\CW\CW <CR>}, to call the program {CW} located on the subdirectory {CW}. You should get the following menu:

{1. Convert & send file to Apple

2. Receive files

3. Change current disk drive

4. Communications activities

5. Choose PC-to-Apple file conversion

6. Choose Apple-to-PC file conversion

7. Other activities

8. Quit }

Before you pick option 1, you need to set up all the right parameters. Choose option 4 to select COM1 or COM2. Make sure you have selected direct connect. Press return to get back to the Main Menu. Save this information on disk so you don't have to do this again. In sequence select 7, 6, and 8 to save your communication preferences to disk. Get back to the Main Menu.

Now you have to tell CROSS-WORKS where your data files are. Press 3, and type in {C:\SCAN} (or whatever your data directory is called).

Now let's pay attention to the Apple II. Boot the Apple CROSS-WORKS disk. At the Main Menu, the options are as follows:

{1) Send files to the PC

2) Receive files from the PC

3) Change data disk drive

4) Communications parameters

5) File Activities

6) Preferences

7) Quit }

The steps we take on the Apple are similar to those we took on the PC. Pick option 4 to select the communications parameters. Make sure you have the right slot number for your Super Serial Card. Do not be concerned about the reference to 19200 baud. You can leave your Super Serial Card at RDC standard parameters; the CROSS-WORKS program will temporarily use different parameters. Use option 6 to save your preferences.

Insert one of your ProDOS formatted disks in a drive. If you have no free drives, remove the CROSS-WORKS program disk and insert the data disk. Use option 3 to select the disk drive containing the data disk. Use option 2 to get the Apple to receive data.

On the PC, use option 1 to select the files from a list and send them to the Apple. This is very easy. Make sure you do not send more than 136k of data at once (so you do not overflow your Apple data disk). The actual transfer is very fast.

Getting the Files into BEX

When you have finished getting all the files over to the Apple, boot your copy of BEX. Your ProDOS data disks contain files in the AppleWorks Word Processing format. Because your copy of BEX includes the ProDOS Bridge software, it knows how to read these files and create BEX chapters from them.

Get to the Second Menu. Press {R} for Read Textfiles. Insert the ProDOS data disk in drive 2. Remove your BEX program disk and insert a DOS 3.3 data disk. Press {2 <CR>} to select all the files on drive 2. Press {Y} to select the entire list. Now type the digit 1 followed by a chapter name (if there is only one file) or type {1S} (if there is more than one file). Just press return for the question about narrow format.

BEX will click and whir as the files come into BEX. This is the last step in a process which took the material from paper to WordPerfect, to AppleWorks, and then to BEX.

Cleaning Up the Files

The reason we went to the trouble of using CROSS-WORKS and the ProDOS Bridge was to preserve the format information recognized by the reader. Before you go through and start doing any replacements or anything to clean things up, examine your text carefully. It is my experience that nothing is quite as frustrating as performing countless replacements and fix-ups and then finding that I am missing a chunk of text. This means I need to switch gears, scan the absent material, bring it over, and then try to duplicate all the fix-ups that I did to the rest of the material. Take the time to make sure that everything you want is in BEX format before you do anything.

If you have RAM drives on your BEX system, you can really save a lot of time. If not, you can time share between your two systems. While BEX is doing disk-based replacements, you can do some more scanning on your PC. If you are using RAM drives, make occasional copies onto fresh data disks. Keep notes on what you are doing so that you can retrace your steps if something goes wrong (like the time when my transformation eliminated all the spaces in a chapter).

The ProDOS Bridge turns all italics into $$ub and $$uf, and all boldface into $$ub and $$uf $$ec. It is my experience that the Truescan system picks up boldface very well and italics not as well. But be careful. Sometimes footnotes are mistakenly marked as boldface, simply because the tiny print is more dense in a footnote. As the first step, I usually do the following: change control-T (touching token) to space, change to nothing, change $$ec to nothing, and change two spaces to a single space. But be careful. The last replacement will really mess up tabular material. Because I use TranscriBEX, I also change $$ub to \\ib and $$uf to \\if. Later TranscriBEX changes \\ib and \\if back to $$ub and $$uf. But for the meantime I temporarily make the emphasis "invisible" when I go through the file and locate all $$ commands.

I know that the start and end of each BEX chapter will have extra $$ commands to get rid of. When I find a $$c centering command, I change it to the appropriate TranscriBEX command. Margin commands show up now and then. These are inappropriate, but they always show up in places where something special is happening to the format. Depending on the circumstance, I may need to put in a TranscriBEX heading command, a \\items command, or something else.

When I find a $$vn command, it indicates a print page transition. If I am doing book format (no print page indicators), I wipe out the command, inserting a paragraph indicator if a new paragraph starts there. If I am doing textbook format (with print page indicators), then I need to be more careful. For example, let's say my BEX chapter has:

{[text] $p 91 $$vn $p [more text] }

This means that a page number 91 is on the bottom of a page. This means that we are at the transition to print page 92. I change this to:

{[text] \\pp 92 [more text] }

As with book format, I have to place a paragraph indicator after the 92 if print page 92 starts with a new paragraph.

Anything unusual in the text, such as a table, a diagram, or a footnote needs to be examined and repaired by hand. Use your judgment of good transcribing practice to decide how careful to be.

You should transfer the tables of contents and indexes as separate files. In fact, you will probably get better results by scanning these two parts of your book as decolumnized ASCII instead of WordPerfect files. To get the ASCII files to BEX, use the MS-DOS Print command and BEX's Input through slot. If you are clever at using Replace characters, you can automatically tag main and sub entries in the table of contents and the index with the correct \\ commands. If there is a line of periods separating a table of contents entry from the page number, change multiple periods into \\gd. Be careful--since scanning is not perfect, you often get a few spaces mixed in with the periods, and you have to turn {\\gd <Space> \\gd} into {\\gd}.

Before I mentioned the need to make emphasis invisible. You may want to check out each use of emphasis. Typically you find emphasis in headings. The braille transcribing rules call for showing headings not with emphasis, but with format (skipped lines, centering, or special indent and runover). So eliminate emphasis in any major or minor heading.

Don't forget to search for every hyphen followed by a space. If there are any words divided between lines in inkprint, they will come out as separate words in braille unless you eliminate these. If you want to do this automatically, use Replace characters to change all space, hyphen, space to space, tilde, space; change all hyphen, hyphen, space to tilde, tilde, space; change all hyphen, space to nothing; and change all tilde to hyphen. This removes unwanted hyphens but protects some legitimate ones.

Finally, each document or typefont will have some irregularities. For example, I have found that the digit 1 often becomes the digit 1 followed by a space. Thus 109 in print becomes 1 09 in the computer file. You need to develop your own list of things to fix up.

As you work, save your transformation chapters. You will need them again. You can add comments to the very end of a transformation chapter, to remind yourself about why you created it and what it does. In this discussion, I have focused on "simple Replace." Contextual Replace often gets the job done faster and with more precision.

The Rest of the Story

Once your files are cleaned up and in TranscriBEX format, you are virtually finished. Use the {MAKE$} transformation chapter to turn your \\ commands into $$ commands. Use the translator to get things into grade two braille. And fire up your Cranmer Brailler (just a joke). I mean fire up your brailler, to produce your book in braille.

Once you get your tools ready, you will be combining the best of the PC and the best of the Apple to create a high-quality braille transcription work station. It is literally possible to scan and format an entire book in a single weekend (but you may not be in very good shape on Monday morning). I hope I have not scared you off by making everything sound difficult. Using an optical scanner and manipulating the text with Replace characters are tremendous time savers. But, like all tools, they take some getting used to.

Bulletin Board

Braille Mexican Cookbook Available

The NFB of New Mexico is selling a soft-cover two-volume braille cookbook for $15, called Selections from Simply Simpatico. If you have ever wondered what to do with that pile of chili peppers your neighbor gave you, how to make tortillas, enchiladas, sopipillas, or countless other Mexican and southwestern dishes, then this is the cookbook for you. If you want, you can get the same material on an MS-DOS disk for only $10. Send all orders (check or money orders only) to:

NFB of New Mexico

c/o David Andrews

906 1/2 Fruit Ave., N.W.

Albuquerque, NM 97102

Pocket Braille for Sale

For sale: New Pocket Braille in original carton. Full one year warranty. Also includes extra memory module. Original price, $993; asking price $500, or best offer within thirty days. Call or write:

Cathy Jackson

210 Cambridge Dr.

Louisville, KY 40214

(502) 366-2317

Talking Apple System for Sale

For Sale: a 128k Apple IIe system with 2 disk drives, monitor, ImageWriter printer, 2 Super Serial Cards, Votrax Personal Speech System, and an Applied Engineering Music synthesizer. Software included in the package includes BEX 2.2, Bank Street Writer, and ImageWriter Tool Kit. The entire package is available for $1500 or best offer. Contact:

Jane Paddock

4462 SE Beaver Lane

Stuart FL 34997;

(407) 283-4817 work;

(407) 286-8597 home

Facts on File

Addresses Mentioned

Adaptive Firmware Card:

Don Johnson Developmental Equipment, Inc.

P.O. Box 639

Wauconda, IL 60084;

(708) 526-2682

Blazie Interface Kit:

Blazie Engineering

3660 Mill Green Road

Street, MD 21154;

(301) 879-4944;

fax (301) 452-5752



P.O. Box 18343

Raleigh, NC 27619

(919) 870-5694


B.T. Kimberough

Robotron Access Products

(800) 735-1031

Barney Barnett

Enabling Technologies Company

3102 S.E. Jay Street

Stuart, FL 34997

HP 48SX Calculator:

for calculator and cable kit


27953 Cabot Rd.

Laguna Niguel, CA 92677;

(714) 582-2637

for making it talk through BEX

David Holladay

(608) 241-2498

The RDC Full Cell Plus

Carolyn Briggs, Shipping Goddess; Phyllis Herrington, Tech Support; David Holladay, President; Aaron Leventhal, Software Development; Linda Millard, Bookkeeper; Susan Murray, Office Manager; Caryn Navy, Vice-President.

Production Notes

Written & edited with RDCUs BEX on an Apple IIgs. BEX commands changed to RTF/Interchange format control words with BEXUs Contextual Replace. File transfer with BEX and Hayes Smartcom II to an Apple Macintosh Plus. RTF commands interpreted and the spell checked by Microsoft Word 4.0. Pages composed with Aldus PageMaker 3.02, output on an Apple LaserWriter, and printed at the Print Shop. Two track audio edition mastered on APH Recorder and copied on high speed Recordex 3-to-1 duplicators.


American Printing House for the Blind: Textalker-gs; Apple Computer, Inc: Apple IIe, Apple IIgs, Macintosh, ProDOS; Arkenstone, Inc.: Arkenstone Reader; Blazie Engineering: Braille 'n Speak; Hewlett-Packard: HP 48SX; International Business Machines Corp.: IBM-PC; Omnichron: Flipper; Personal Data Systems: Audapter; RC Systems: DoubleTalk, SlotBuster; Raised Dot Computing, Inc.: BEX, Hot Dots, MathematiX, SPEX, TranscriBEX; SoftSpoken: CROSS-WORKS; Street Electronics: Echo GP, Echo II; TeleSensory: VersaBraille; WordPerfect Corporation: WordPerfect.