What's a braille display that _works_?

Mario Lang mlang at teleweb.at
Wed May 5 10:07:32 UTC 2004

Krister ekstrom <crisekstrom at bredband.net> writes:

> On Tue, May 04, 2004 at 05:09:45PM +0200, Mario Lang wrote:
>> > 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.
> And another bad thing which the manufacturers seem to have steered clear 
> of was those pesky touch cursor routers, you know those where you just 
> had to touch a cursor routing key very lightly to send the cursor 
> flying, sometimes not where it was meant to go.<smiles>

You're refering to optical sensors.  AFAIR, only BAUM
was really using that a lot some years back.  I never had such
a device in long-term use, so I can't really confirm this, but I've
heard the same from other users.

>> One other aspect I personally dislike are displays with very few novigation
>> keys, like the Vario 40, which has only got 6 keys on the display.
> I personally didn't find that to be a problem, but if you had taken your 
> display with you for a couple times, you'd notice that braille cells 
> tended to spread in your back pack. In other words, the Vario wasn't 
> very mecanically good in my experience.

I tend to agree, but I am getting the feeling here that you
perhaps mistreated it a bit.  At least I am of the opinion
that such a expensive device needs special care.  But yes, sometimes
things just happen.  I remember I once dropped my CombiBraille PC from
about one meter height on a concret floor.  It did survive
without any problems, luckily :-).
OTOH, the thing that also anoys me with the Vario is that its
dots only have very little pressure.  I hear that this is
due to the type of cells they are using, and due to the fact
that they tried to minimize electricity consumption.  Still,
it kind of feels like a blurred picture to me, but this is also
a personal thing, of course.

>> 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.
> And i use a Tieman Braille Voyager, which i think is perfectly ok for 
> my use.

When I bought a new display, I actually had to decide between
the Braille Star and the Voyager.  I figured the Star was
a little bit smaller, and even lighter IIRC.

> I also have an Alva Satelite 544 or whatever they're called.  This
> is also a good display, however i haven't tested it with Brltty yet.

My girlfriend owns a Satellite 577, and frankly speaking, I have
to say this is one of the really silly devices IMHO.  The navigation
buttons (also rubber) are very hard to press.  Working
with it for a long time makes my wrists hurt, which is a very bad sign.

  Mario | Debian Developer <URL:http://debian.org/>
        | Get my public key via finger mlang at db.debian.org
        | 1024D/7FC1A0854909BCCDBE6C102DDFFC022A6B113E44

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