What's a braille display that _works_?

Tom Masterson kd7cyu at yahoo.com
Wed May 5 02:43:55 UTC 2004

Hi John

I am answering off list for this one.  The braille star 40 is about $6,000
U.S. and is handled in the U.S. by Humanware and their dealers.  It is
primarily a display though it has some capacity as a standalone unit.  It
comes if I remember correctly with a qwerty keyboard that can be attached
for use in it's editor and other built in things.  I have used one for a
couple of weeks on a trial basis and liked it quite a lot and would
definitely think about it if my alvas fail.  However I did buy an elba as an
alternate becuase it has more functionality and more versatility although it
is not as nice when just used as a display.  It really depends on the
primary purpose you want to use it for.  I have not tried the elba on linux
yet as a display but I know it has some issues (in the 20 cell model) with

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John J. Boyer" <director at chpi.org>
To: "Linux for blind general discussion" <blinux-list at redhat.com>
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 08:59
Subject: Re: What's a braille display that _works_?

> Mario,
> How much does the Braille Star cost? Is the company good at service? Does
> it have a braille keyboard? I am interested because, although my present
> Braille Lite 40 is doing nicely, I am not sure how long I can continue
> getting it repaired by a good company.
> Thanks,
> John
> On Tue, 4 May 2004, Mario Lang wrote:
> > "Lee Maschmeyer" <lee_maschmeyer at wayne.edu> writes:
> >
> > > A trend among hardware as well as software manufacturers seems to be
> > > release a product or program "on time" rather than when it's ready.
> > > thinking specifically of braille displays, and I've read reports over
> > > past couple years of braille displays allegedly not working as
> > > These reports frequently come from vendors of rival products, but they
> > > always.
> > >
> > > I'm going to a technology bash tomorrow in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a
> > > interest in looking at braille hardware that's currently being
> > > Do any of you have experience, especially bad experience, with stuff
on the
> > > market today? Is there anything I need to stay away from because of
its not
> > > (yet) working on Linux?
> >
> > The only newly manufactured model I know of which does not yet work
> > under Linux is the new USB display of Papenmeier.  But this is likely
> > to change soon.
> >
> > Apart from that, a personal experience I've made several
> > times in my life is that routing keys made of rubber-like material
> > tend to get stuck at some point, generating quite some problems.
> >
> > One other aspect I personally dislike are displays with very few
> > keys, like the Vario 40, which has only got 6 keys on the display.
> > I find those displays a bit anoying in daily use.
> >
> > To give a bit of positive input too, I currently use a HandyTech
> > Braille Star 40, which is a very nice ergonomic device.  Have a look
> > at it if you can someday.
> >
> >
> -- 
> John J. Boyer; Executive Director, Chief Software Developer
> Computers to Help People, Inc.
> http://www.chpi.org
> 825 East Johnson; Madison, WI 53703
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