Linux for blind general discussion
blinux-list at redhat.com
Sun Apr 30 03:29:43 UTC 2017
eric oyen here…..
hmmm. well, the BrailleX ELBA is a bit old tech. Still, it was a portable notetaker with some computing capability. that particular device was manufactured from 1997 to 2003. It was also just as expensive as some of the others (like the Braille Sense, etc.). The largest portion of the cost of these machines happens to be the braille cell units. So, anything that helped to lower the cost (like using a free/open source OS) was a great help.
One interesting point, the Android OS (which is now being used on the newest Braille Sense device) is a Linux derivative. It functions much the same way, uses an open source graphic interface and was specifically designed for small computing platforms (like smartphones). So, in that regard, Android has a lot more in common with Linux than most of the other palmtop OS'es.
Since linux can run on a wide variety of hardware and can have accessibility compiled in, it makes for a better tool for us. No having to purchase overly expensive smartphones or install 3rd party applications (like mobilespeak at a cost of $400) and having something that can also run on your laptop or desktop. so, there you go, the best all around OS and toolkit to use just about anywhere.
On Apr 29, 2017, at 6:39 AM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
> Linux on a Braille notetaker. Like, wow, man! National Braille Press has a gismo that I believe is based on android, but I don't know of any others and hadn't heard of the one you mention.
> On 4/28/2017 11:48 PM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
>> Eric Oyen here…
>> Hey, it can still be geeky! I did get a lot of good education through the NFB colorado center for the blind back in 2012. I had only been total for about 2 years at that point (the prior 20+ years were spent in low vision territory). Hell, it only took me 8 months to learn Braille and become proficient enough to operate independently. However, I showed rather a bit more expertise in the kitchen. WHo would have thought that a computer technologist could also rival a Cordon Bleux (not sure how thats spelled) chef! The funny thing is, I usually had my linux laptop with me and would research recipes while there. It sometimes drove the instructors crazy, but some of the things I could come up with certainly made it well worth it. ABout the only thing they did that I found a little frustrating (other than the white cane thing) was that I was required to learn on a windows platform and either use jaws or window eyes. SInce I was looking at the possibility of working in a corporate environment, jaws and windows were a must have.
>> I had many chats with the IT instructors there about the use of Linux. Only 2 were interested but because of center policy, were not allowed to teach others.
>> Now, this is the other reason why a lot of blind users never really get into Linux. Its mostly because Windows is being pushed by the Advocacy organizations (like the NFB or ACB), the state Vocational Rehab systems and a lot of money being thrown around by Microsoft. That is why We need Advocacy wherever we can get it. From the grade schools all the way through college (and very specifically in the computer science depts).
>> Oh yeah, one thing I wouldn't mind seeing is a push to put Linux back on the Braille notetakers. My Braille Sense U2 uses windows CE 6 (which is showing it's age) and even with my writing to the HIMS company of Korea, there just doesn't appear to be any interest. That is rather sad considering that a german company back in 1998 actually equipped their Braille unit (called the BrailleX ELBA) with Linux. Hell, I have a working model of that very machine here! Sure, it's kernel 2.x, but it is still surprisingly fast for what it is. I have no clue just how much work it's going to take to bring that device up to kernel 4, but I am willing to give it a go. Perhaps, if I had the hardware specs for the Braille Sense U2, I would do the same thing there.
>> That is probably why Linux will stick around. It can work on just about anything and with a little tweaking, can even be made fully accessible. Again, this goes back to having an association that would represent us. And here you thought this wasn't going to be a geeky thread! :)
>> On Apr 28, 2017, at 8:06 PM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
>>> I first heard the complaint about "the blind" from a staff member at The Seeing Eye in 1979, when I got my first dog. She'd been reading a letter I'd written to the Federal Aviation Administration or some such, which letter was inspired by my first NFB convention that year. I think my reaction was that I sort of understood her concern but didn't think it worth worrying about.
>>> I've thought about this from time to time, mostly when there's an argument about what language to use when referring to blind folks or folks in some other group. I think my view now is what it was that summer in 1979, but maybe with a better understanding of the concern.
>>> It occurred to me as I read Kyle's message that "the blind" is part of "National Federation of the Blind," and that was the organization that catalyzed my crude sort-of-equality philosophy of my teens into a philosophy of equality that I have thought about regularly and refined in many ways since those early days. I don't use the phrase a lot these days, but I would not call on any blindness organization to alter its name to kick it out. Although the phrase can sound dehumanizing, so that the argument against using it is understandable, I associate it with my efforts and those of thousands of other blind people, in or out of the NFB, to promote a far better grasp of our full humanity.
>>> I guess I was wrong on Wednesday when I said that non-geek stuff message would be my last on the topic here. Strike one.
>>> sent from the city with both Celtics and Red Sox victories tonight
>>> On 4/28/2017 10:38 PM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
>>>> According to eric oyen:
>>>> # In fact, the sense I get is that we (the blind) aren't really even
>>>> considered human.
>>>> As long as we continue to consider ourselves to be "the blind" rather
>>>> than people who happen to be blind or visually impaired, we will
>>>> continue to be viewed as less than human. I am human. Blindness is a
>>>> physical characteristic that I happen to possess. My image of myself is
>>>> human first and foremost, with blindness as a challenge to overcome in
>>>> whatever way is humanly possible. In projecting this image of myself to
>>>> the general public, I generally feel less dehumanized than your
>>>> run-of-the-mill "the blind," because in projecting my self image of
>>>> human first, I relate to other humans on a human level, and the rest can
>>>> more easily take care of itself. No, this isn't a matter of political
>>>> correctness or anything even remotely close. It's a matter of self image
>>>> and psychology. There is a certain stigma, write or not, attached to
>>>> "the blind" by the general public at large. Overcoming it is possible,
>>>> but it means educating the general public, as well as other people
>>>> challenged by blindness or visual impairment, that our blindness or
>>>> visual impairment is a physical characteristic, and even a limitation in
>>>> many cases, but that it is not at all who or what we are as people.
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