locked Re: warning if you doing business
When I was younger, I mean in the last millennium, just when the space race started, the staff at the school for the blind where I went to at age 10, decided I should learn braille because my hand writing was so poor and I always had ink on my nose.toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
Of course I would try to cheat and read braille with my eyes.
Many of the teachers there were sighted and read all my work with their eyes.
I was a proficient braille writer very quickly but I never was a good braille reader.
Thanks to the list owner and moderator for letting us ramble.
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On Behalf Of Evan Reese
Sent: March-07-20 3:01 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] warning if you doing business
I had forgotten about the Optacon in this discussion. I am fortunate enough to be able to have two of them, so I won't have to go without if I should have to send one back to Richard Oehm for repair. I hope he lives forever!
I use one of mine every day for something.
So I read print via touch. I don't think anyone would say that I'm not reading when I use an Optacon to find out what's on a print page just because I'm using a different sense than sight.
Conversely, I knew teachers at the blind school I went to who read braille with their eyes. I don't think anyone would say they weren't reading either, even though braille is a different set of symbols from print, even more so in the case of contracted braille.
So using my own statements to argue that I am not really reading braille is a misinterpretation or misunderstanding of what I actually said.
From: Carolyn Arnold
Sent: Saturday, March 07, 2020 3:20 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] warning if you doing business
When I was a medical secretary in a surgical pathology office, I used my Optacon for some dictionaries, code and drug books, patient name spelling - a lot of things. But, I had some Braille reference books and my slate and stylus for some note taking and personal filing. One of the doctors said that I worked, "in two languages."
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On Behalf Of Ron Canazzi
Sent: Saturday, March 7, 2020 12:38 AM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] warning if you doing business
Well this analysis while tightly argued, is like a biblical literalist that represents a false dialectic by only examining terminologies and factoids that support their own belief structure.
One falsehood of your argument is in semantics Since the perception of reading has been from time immemorial the use of one's eyes and printed material to intake facts derived by, thought of and/or written down by others. If so, then how is it that Braille can be thought of as the exact equivalent of print when it in fact is not. Not only is it not the same as a standard 26 character alphabet, but it also uses a different sense--that of the sense of touch to extract the ideas from the materials.
In a very strict sense of the syntactical world and using at least in part, your own rigid interpretation of 'reading' actually is, then you as a Braille reader really aren't reading in the classic sense of the word either.
That's why I believe that words serve only a function of communicating basic ideas and that there must be flexibility, discourse, investigation and relatively speaking a scientific type analysis of each and every issue for true knowledge to be obtained.
Once again, if the importance of what is known as reading is that we communicate ideas, then the mechanics as to what is defined as reading should be secondary to how the ideas are being transferred.
On 3/6/2020 9:06 PM, Evan Reese wrote:
Well, I would say that listening to an audio book is not the same as reading it, either in braille or print.
To illustrate, if I tell you a story, would you say that you had read it?
No. Now, what if I write down the story and read it to you, either in person or on the phone. Would you say that you had read it? I don’t think so.
Now, suppose I make a recording of me reading the story and send it to you.
Would you say that you had read it? The only difference is that, instead of reading it to you live, I’m reading it on tape, as we used to say.
So no, listening to someone read a book is not the same thing as reading it oneself. You may still get the information, but you didn’t read it if you listened to someone else read it.
I don’t think a synthetic voice makes any difference. True, it doesn’t know what it’s saying, but you still have an intermediary between yourself and the actual text, you’re still listening to (in this case), a computer translate the actual text into words. So, even though it doesn’t comprehend what it is translating, it is still reading to you in the strictest sense.
You are not reading when using a synthetic voice.
But language changes, definitions change over time. It may happen soon that people will say that they are actually reading when they are listening to a voice, any voice, whether human or synthetic, read to them. Many people already say that, so I think we’re on the way. I don’t care all that much. I’ve done it myself, said that I read a book when I actually listened to someone else read it. I don’t make a big deal out of it. But you asked for thoughts, and that’s what I actually believe, even if I speak off-handedly about reading audio books.
From: David Goldfield <mailto:david.goldfield@...>
Sent: Friday, March 06, 2020 6:58 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io <mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] warning if you doing business
I'd like to address this topic of literacy when talking about whether or not a person is able or not able to read Braille. I wrote a blog post about this a while ago as these were questions which I was considering and I'd like to share this post with you if you have an interest in reading it. I'm afraid that it really doesn't answer these questions and, in fact, may raise a few additional ones that some of us might not have considered. Here is the post.
Consuming Books: Reading Vs. Listening
This morning I was browsing my Facebook timeline and stumbled on a post from one of my friends who posed a very interesting question. The question has to do with the wording we use to convey how we consume audio books. My friend pointed out that she’s noticing a trend, both with blind and sighted readers, where they will use the verb “listen” instead of “read”, as in “I just finished listening to that book” as opposed to “I just finished reading that book”, as if consuming a book via audio isn’t quite the same as reading it.
First, I’ll provide a bit of background into my own life as an avid reader.
I learned how to read Braille when I was around four and how to write it not much later than that. I’ve always found reading Braille to be very easy and I’ve been reading books using Braille for about as long as I can remember. I remember the enjoyment I always felt going to my school library, browsing the many shelves of Braille books and being able to check out one or two books a week, which I always read quickly. Of course, there were many books, known as talking books, which were recorded on cassettes’ as well as on phonograph records. Talking books have been available for blind and visually impaired consumers to borrow since the 1930s, way before audio books became popular with sighted consumers. While I never hesitated to borrow a book on tape from my library, Braille was always my preferred medium and, when given a choice between Braille and audio, Braille was always what I chose.
As I’ve embraced new technologies the way I consume books has also changed.
Nearly all of the books which I consume are done so audibly and not in Braille. There are several reasons for this and they don’t apply to all readers who are blind. First, most of the books which I want to read are just not available in Braille. While the National Library Service <http://www.loc.gov/nls> produces many Braille books there are simply more titles available in an audio format. Even then the amount of books produced by NLS, while I greatly appreciate the work that they do, is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of titles available from other suppliers.
Bookshare <http://www.bookshare.org/> , another specialized library for people with print disabilities, offers over half a million books and that number continues to increase. Learning Ally <http://www.learningally.org/> is another specialized library which I’ve used for over 35 years, offers around 80,000 human-narrated titles. Of course, mainstream book suppliers such as the Kindle store offer millions of books, with more constantly being added. These specialized and mainstream suppliers offer a much greater selection of books than what I am able to borrow from my local NLS affiliate.
Some readers will no doubt want to remind me of the fact that we do have Braille display technology, which will work both with my computer as well as with my phone. This is certainly true and a Braille display would certainly allow me to read books from any of these suppliers using the same Braille code that I enjoyed using with books printed on paper. However, there are reasons which, for me, make this an impractical solution.
First, Braille display technology, while readily available for many devices, is often costly. As an example, Freedom Scientific’s most inexpensive Braille display, the Focus 14 Blue, costs $1295.00. At this time spending over a thousand dollars for a Braille display is just not something which I could easily do, considering it’s a device that I don’t truly need. However, even if a Braille display magically dropped onto my desk the fact is that I do a lot of reading either on the train or lying in bed. Reading with a Braille display on a moving train, no matter how portable, is just too awkward. When I’m lying in bed and wanted to read a book it’s just so much easier to do this with a small phone and would prove to be a bit less convenient if I added even a 14-cell display.
Anyway, back to the topic. My friend was pointing out that she has noticed that many people say they’ve listened to a book as opposed to reading it if the book was consumed in an audio medium, such as an audio CD or listening to it with synthetic speech using the Kindle app. However, this also makes me think of how we often use the word “read” when we actually have listened to the book.
This raises some interesting questions. When it comes to books, is it fair to consider it reading regardless of how it’s consumed? There are probably some sighted people who feel that the only way to truly read a book is to do so by processing the printed material visually. Of course, as blind people we know this is certainly not the case. All of us would agree that processing the information with our fingers would just as validly be considered reading as processing the information with our eyes and, in that instance, there is no controversy. However, the wording sometimes changes when we shift from print on a page to either a human narrator or a synthetic voice coming from a pair of speakers or from our portable phones and tablets. If I consumed a book by listening to it with an app such as Voice Dream Reader, am I wrong to say that I’ve read the book? Most blind people would say that I’m not and I would tend to agree with them.
However, let’s say we have an individual who is blind who never learned how to read Braille. There are some valid reasons for why they might not have been taught how to read and write in Braille, such as having neuropathy in their fingers which would prevent them from being able to distinguish the dot patterns. In such a case, this blind individual would only be able to consume books in an audible format. Considering this, would we look at that blind person who didn’t know Braille and conclude, if only to ourselves, that this person was illiterate. We might not say that to their face in the course of normal conversation but do we consider a blind person who doesn’t know Braille to be illiterate? If the answer to that question is yes then can we say that this blind person, not knowing Braille, has “read” a book when it was consumed by listening. If we say no, then why is it acceptable for me to say that I’ve read a book and my hypothetical blind person could not say that, just because I can read Braille and he cannot.
Let’s take this a step further and consider a fully sighted person who, for one reason or another, never learned how to read print. There’s no doubt that we would conclude that this person would be considered illiterate.
Saying so is not meant as an insult but, in this case, is indisputable; someone who can’t read is illiterate. My hypothetical blind person might not have the ability to learn Braille and the sighted person could, with proper training, learn how to read print but, until that individual chooses to take classes in how to read, we would all agree that he’s illiterate. Given that fact, would we tend to disagree with the illiterate sighted person if he told us that he “read” a particular book by consuming it in an audible medium? Wouldn’t we think, “No, you didn’t really read that book, you listened to it.” If this is the case, then why is it OK for me, as a blind person who knows Braille, to tell people that I may have read the same book by consuming it in the exact same way but yet fewer people would think of challenging my word choices.
Admittedly, this isn’t the most important topic which should concern us. I don’t think about it all that much and it certainly doesn’t keep me up at night. However, I think these issues are important as it has really forced me to think about what we mean when we speak of what it means to be literate.
As an aside, the person who brought up this topic is one of the proprietors of Speeddots, <http://speeddots.com/> which sells various tactile screen protectors for your Apple iDevice. They also sell various Bluetooth accessories as well as rugged lightning cables with a life-time warranty.
So, how do you feel about this? For you, does listening to an audio book qualify as reading it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Blindness Assistive Technology Specialist JAWS Certified, 2019
WWW.DavidGoldfield.org <http://WWW.DavidGoldfield.org> On 3/6/2020 6:21 PM, Ron Canazzi wrote:
I don't want to personalize this, but you say you're a good Braille reader now: correct? You say that people who use audio primarily aren't truly literate and you can tell by the way they write e-mails: is that what you're saying? Well let me be your teacher and quote and correct your own mistakes that you have made in your lengthy reply.
<spelling error> aAmen(I guess you are trying to say Amen to that or
something similar--note the repetition of the first letter A.)
<grammatical clumsiness> if you don't braille than you are not truly literate. (I guess you mean: if you don't know/use/are competent in, Braille then you are not truly literate.)
<run on sentence> If you doubt this then read emails from blind people who don't know braille there spelling and (There should be a period after the word Braille.)
<spelling error> gramar and punctuation leave alot to be desired. (In this sentence grammar and a lot are misspelled.)
<run on sentence> I have been there myself if I don't read then I to will fall in to trap as well. (There should be a period after the word myself.)
If you truly want to be literate then you just have <spelling error> toread and not just listen to audio. (there is a run on word toread that should be separated into 'to read.') Those of us who do prefer braille and would rather read than listen have only audio as the option all to often. For me if I want to stay literate then I have to read braille and as I said in my email to Grumpy Dave I can't <spelling error> amagine my life with out braille. (I guess you mean 'imagine my life without Braille.)
<wrong use of the word loose> I have had braille most of my life and I would loose independence (I guess you mean lose independence.)
<spelling error> ifI were to not know braille. (You ran the words If and I
Reading braille is active reading but listening to audio or computer speech is just passive reading.
I prefer to <spelling error> activly read but most of the time I can't because it's audio only. (You misspelled actively.)
<spelling errors and a run on sentence> I do rember haveing to cary volumes of braille books acrost campus at the blind school but I never gave it a
though it was just what I hav to do it was no problem for me at all. (You
misspelled remember, having, across and probably mean the word had when you wrote hav. And I almost forgot, you used the word though instead of
thought.) (There should be a period after the word thought.)
The campus at the Michigan school for the blind in Lansing Michigan covered a 4 city block area. I tried college back in 1987-1988 and I could have <spelling error> donee much better if I had braille. (You misspelled the word done.)
<spelling errors> I had tapes from recording forthe blind but I had issues
with the readers with pronouncations. (you ran the words for and the
together. You misspelled pronunciation.)
I remember taking test and what I heard during the test sounded nothing like what I heard on the tapes.
If I would have had my books in braille I would have known the correct words and the tests would have made <spelling error> sinse. (You misspelled the word sense.)
<spelling error> If yur going to read on tape then you must be able to speak
properly and say your words properly. (You misspelled the word you're--or
at least I think that's what you meant by writing the word yur.)
<grammatical oddity> There was the issue of only tape at a time and having to send 2 copies of every book to recording for the blind to be recorded.
(I'm not quite sure, but I think you meant 'only one tape at a time.)
<spelling error> Audio is usless if I don't know what you are saying. (You misspelled useless.)
This is why we need braille. Braille readers don't make a big deal of how many volumes a book is it just is.
LONG STORY SHORT: BRIAN, YOU ARE A POOR EXAMPLE OF THE IDEA THAT BRAILLE
READERS WRITE COHERENT AND GRAMATICALLY CORRECT E-MAIL MESSAGES.
On 3/6/2020 3:01 PM, brian wrote:
aAmen if you don't braille than you are not truly literate. If you doubt
this then read emails from blind people who don't know braille there
spelling and gramar and punctuation leave alot to be desired. I have been
there myself if I don't read then I to will fall in to trap as well. If you
truly want to be literate then you just have toread and not just listen to
audio. Those of us who do prefer braille and would rather read than listen
have only audio as the option all to often. For me if I want to stay
literate then I have to read braille and as I said in my email to Grumpy
Dave I can't amagine my life with out braille. I have had braille most of
my life and I would loose independence ifI were to not know braille.
Reading braille is active reading but listening to audio or computer speech
is just passive reading. I prefer to activly read but most of the time I
can't because it's audio only. I do rember haveing to cary volumes of
braille books acrost campus at the blind school but I never gave it a though
it was just what I hav to do it was no problem for me at all. The campus at
the Michigan school for the blind in Lansing Michigan covered a 4 city block
area. I tried college back in 1987-1988 and I could have donee much better
if I had braille. I had tapes from recording forthe blind but I had issues
with the readers with pronouncations. I remember taking test and what I
heard during the test sounded nothing like what I heard on the tapes. If I
would have had my books in braille I would have known the correct words and
the tests would have made sinse. If yur going to read on tape then you must
be able to speak properly and say your words properly. There was the issue
of only tape at a time and having to send 2 copies of every book to
recording for the blind to be recorded. Audio is usless if I don't know
what you are saying. This is why we need braille. Braille readers don't
make a big deal of how many volumes a book is it just is.
On 3/6/2020 7:26 AM, chris judge wrote:
This is true. There is a huge difference between not learning braille if
you've lost your site later in life. The unfortunate fact is that even
people who are blind since birth are not learning braille at the rate they
were when I was a kid 50 years ago. If you are blind since birth and you
don't learn braille you miss out on basic literacy. How do you learn proper
spelling, grammar, punctuation and such if you don't learn braile. If you
have had site you already understand these things so knowing braille isn't
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io>
mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io On Behalf Of Victor
Sent: March 6, 2020 12:42 AM
To: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] warning if you doing business
I would like to point out that many blind people lose their eyesight later
in life and they find it too difficult to learn braille. It is much easier
for them to access information by listening to audio. It’s hard enough for
them to get over losing their eyesight and live without seeing their loved
ones or other things ever again. The last thing they want is to learn a new
skill that they may find just too difficult.
After obtaining my iPhone, I attended a users group where are the people
taught each other to use iOS devices. While at the group one day, one of the
group leaders brought a focus 40 refreshable braille display for everyone to
examine. I was the only blind person in the room interested in touching the
device because I knew braille and I owned a previous generation of that
device. It was not discussed, but I knew that they were not interested
because most of them had lost their eyesight later in life. I suspect that
they found it much easier to listen to audio than reading braille. Plus,
most of them had learned how to access information using their iPhones. I’m
sure they found it much easier to whip out their iPhones and listen to their
books, podcasts, scan documents and do everything else we can do with our
iPhones. I realize that not everyone owns a smart phone because they have
not found a way to obtain one. I also realize that not everyone is into
these types of gadgets. However, many blind people have discovered how great
these gadgets are and how useful they can be in helping them become more
independent. For many of us, that is the route we have chosen.
In any case, don’t be too surprised if you meet a blind person who is not
interested in learning braille. Don’t be too hard on those people. Maybe
they just prefer to do what is easier.
I am so glad that refreshable braille displays exist now. I am also glad
that low cost refreshable braille displays are being developed. I definitely
don’t miss the days of carrying bulky braille books to and from my classes.
I do not miss the days of trying to look up words in the dictionary and
dealing with a whole bookshelf of braille books. No thank you! I do not miss
my five volume braille New Testament.
If I did not already on a refreshable braille display, I would definitely
look into obtaining the orbit braille reader or the braille me.
Anyhow, these are just my rambling opinions.
Victor Sent from my iPhone
On Mar 5, 2020, at 7:40 PM, brian mailto:bsackrider55@... wrote:
Thanks Grumpy Dave for your explination. I would be willing to pay a
few dollars to get braille. I am not saying that I should get for free but
not to have the option is my complaint. My local liberary use to provide
braille for 10 cents per page. I was also told that if I provided the
paper they would braille what I wanted. They required 67 weight paper which
I can get at Staples. All to often we are forced to except only audio as
the only format that is available. Braille will always be my prefered format
because I prefer to read for myself instead of just listen. You say that
you hate braille but you can use it well I feel the same about audio. Why do
we have to be locked in to just one format? How many people would rather
read than listen? Blind or sighted. People who prefer to read than should
be commended instead of being kind of bashed for it. If not many blind
people request braille than it should be no trouble to provide it. Braille
is not that dificult to produce once you have the equipment. my liberary
had no trouble all they needed was files in microsoft word and the paper and
they were good to go. I use to get my weekly meterials for my church all in
grade 2 braille. It was really great to finally be an active participant in
the service instead just a pasive listener. To be able to read along with
everyone else the verses and hyms and classes lessons is a great feeling you
just can't discribe the independence that it givesyou. It's kind of like
having access to dvs you can finally know what is going on when there is all
of that dead air. I was able to read infront of the church and be active in
bible study and even lead the groop all using braille. I do use braille
menus when ever possible even if I don't really need it just to let them see
that somone is acually using it. Braille has given me a very full life and
I don't know whear my life would be with out braille. I feel that every
blind person who is able to read braille should learn it. I do understand
that there are blind people who have medical conditions that prevents them
from being able to read braille. For them they have no choice but to use
audio but I do have the choice I just don't like being limited to just audio
only and not braille. You hate braille and I hate audio. a good example of
when I wish that I had braille instead of a file was when I requested my
local newspaper to be accessable. my lions club purchassed a sara reading
machine for me there was no braille manual but there was a print manual. I
had to go to the help file on the machine and try to find what I wanted.
When I called the paper office they asked what files my machine could read.
If I had a braille manual I could have just looked it up while on the phone
and gave them the answer. I had to call back after I went to the help file
and found it. This is very time concuming I can look up somthing much
faster in braille than any other format. I am not saying that I can do it
as quick as a sighted person can with print but for me it's the fastest way
for me to get the job done. When I was a kid I attended the Michigan school
the blind in Lansing and we had to learn braille and all of our books were
in braille. There was no I don't want to learn it you had to. I will say
that I can certainly listen much faster than I can read but when it comes to
looking up somthing braille is faster hands down. I have been blind since
birth and thats all I ever knew was braille. It's like the sighted grew up
with print. I wanted to learn the opticon at the rehab center but they
would not let me because they said that I was not fast enough. I felt that
I was learning and making progress and I should had the right to continue
but they said no. If somone really wants to learn a new skil then they
should beallowed to do so. If I am determind to learn somthing that then I
will even though it might take more time then the teacher would like. I
guess that modavation means nothing. If somone reallly wants to learn
braille so what ifit takes several month to do so they should not be told no
you can't continue. If companies had the equipment to produce braille they
could charge me for the cost of the paper to get braille manuals or
On 3/5/2020 9:26 PM, Dave wrote:
I have nothing against Braille other than the hassle it is to create
it, such as a Manual in Braille.
I've been blind for a long time now, and there were many times when I
would have Kissed the Feet of anyone who gave me a manual in Audio
format. many times have I had to just Wing it, learning by Guess and
by Golly. Once Computers became a Tool for the Blind, Guessing was
not always the best thing to do, as guessing wrong could ruin your
day in a Big way. Still can.
but, Brian, I have no Beef with Braille. To produce it is just not an
easy task. And I would guess that most manufacturers of items for
the blind, may not want to hire another Staff member to do nothing
but print out Manuals in Braille.
Yes, it all sounds good, until the costs of doing such a thing is
These days, I do expect a Manual at least in a PDF format, if not an
Audio file. And if I own my own Braille Printer, I can then print
out the PDF file.
Although, I can't afford one of those printers, so I do without.
However, I could run the Audio file through an Audio to Text
converter, and then print that file out in Braille.
When I get nothing but an On Line Manual, where I need to go On Line
to read the thing. I am Thankful for at least that much, but I
always look to see if I can just download the manual so I don't need
to be going On Line so much.
Call it my personal Taste.
I would think most who are Blind have learned over and over again to
look for Work Arounds for doing many things in Life.
You like Braille, and while I do use it, I Hate it. So a Braille
Manual would be a waste of resources to send me one.
You Love it, and can use it well. So, when the Company doesn't send
a manual in Braille, but has sent you one in PDF, or even Audio, if
you want a manual in Braille, the Work around is to convert that Audio or
PDF file into Braille. And if you are like me, and can't afford a
Braille Printer, there are Services that will take your Manual file
and make you a manual in Braille.
it may cost you a few dollars, which again is all part of the Life of
someone who is Blind. In the past, I have hired Readers to read
Manuals on Tape. Paid them $10 for every hour of Recorded material.
I've paid people to read my Mail. This was before smart Phones had
built in Cameras and OCR programs. I paid them $10 an hour too. this
was back in the 1980's and 90's.
I haven't had to hire anyone for about 20 years now
And Dare I bring up the Quality of Manuals? So often, regardless of
what Format it comes in, the information in the thing is totally Nuts!
It doesn't make Sense, and you can't tell if it is a Translation of
something in Chinese to English, or from Chinese to Spanish and then
Russian, and then to English etc.
And some manuals that come in English are so poorly written, lack
helpful information and seem to be missing a great deal of actual
instructional information and are next to useless in any format.
They Ask Me If I'm Happy; I say Yes.
They ask: "How Happy are You?"
I Say: "I'm as happy as a stow away chimpanzee on a banana boat!"