Digitizing audio cassettes and extracting the contents of digital cartridges.

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at redhat.com
Mon Sep 11 23:35:51 UTC 2017

Here's the announcement I was referring to earlier. I saw it posted on 
the NFB in CS list, but it was forwarded to that list from another list. 
I had some trouble with the cutting and pasting, so hopefully the 
formatting comes through.

Perkins Library Product Sale Program

The Perkins Library, a division of the renowned Perkins School for the 
Blind, is now selling several products to assist and support your use of 
"talking books" and BARD (The Braille & Audio Reading Download Website) 
through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically 
Handicapped (NLS) of the Library of Congress, in cooperation with state 
library agencies.

Through the use of Amazon Marketplace, several products are being made 
available for sale to individuals, organizations and agencies to support 
the "talking book" reading experience.

Listed below are the products that we now have for sale, including our 
pricing as well as links to purchase them online directly from Amazon.com.

Digital Cartridges

Until recently, only 4 gigabyte cartridges were available for the NLS 
Talking Book Player. This limitation kept people from putting all their 
favorite music, books, or their favorite book series on one cartridge. 
But now, Perkins School for the Blind has broken down that capacity 
barrier and will soon be offering cartridges in an 8 gigabyte version as 
well as a 16 gigabyte version. The 8 GB version will be able to hold a 
whopping 768 hours of audio, and the 16GB version will be able to hold 
over 1536 hours of audio. This means not only will  you be able to put 
all your favorite books on one cartridge, but now most people will be 
able to store every single book from all of their favorite authors on 
one cartridge. Of course, every book is different in size, but we have 
found that a 4GB cartridge can hold 35-45 average sized books. This 
means that with our 16 gigabyte cartridge, on average you will be able 
to store up to an amazing 180 books on one cartridge!

*         4GB Blank Cartridge for Talking Book 
Price: $9.99 Each
*         8GB Blank Cartridge for Talking Book 
Players<http://www.perkins.org/8gb> NEW!
Price: $10.99 Each
*         16GB Blank Cartridge for Talking Book 
Players<http://www.perkins.org/16gb> NEW!
Price: $13.99 Each

These 4, 8 and 16 gigabyte cartridges can hold audio content in the NLS 
talking book format, play books that are downloaded from the NLS BARD 
website, and will play on the NLS Digital Talking Book Player. To 
download books from BARD (the NLS book download website) you must be an 
authorized "Talking Book" patron. DAISY, MP3, and WAV files (often used 
for music) can also be placed on digital cartridges.

Cartridges will work with the APH (American Printing House for the 
Blind) BookPort DT, and APH's Joy Player (Note: the APH Joy Player is 
not enabled to play NLS Talking Books). Digital cartridges are also 
compatible with Humanware's Victor Reader Stream (adapter or cable 

It is important to know that in order to load data onto a cartridge, it 
requires a data transfer cable to connect it to your computer. This 
cable will work with any computer that has a standard USB port.

*         Belkin Pro Series USB 2.0 Transfer Cable from Computer to 
Digital Cartridges <http://www.perkins.org/cable>
Price: $4.99 Each

This cable can be used to transfer data, audio books, mp3 files, and 
more, from any computer with a USB port to the cartridge.

*         Container/Mailer for the Digital Talking Book 
Price: $1.99 Each

This custom-made light gray plastic mailing container also doubles as a 
protective holder for the cartridges. Each postage-free container holds 
a single cartridge, can be used to safely send cartridges through the 
mail, and comes with the imprint: "Free Matter for the Blind or 

*         Travel Case for the National Library Service (NLS) Digital 
Talking Book Player<http://www.perkins.org/travelcase>
Price: $54.95 Each
Made from a soft, water-and-stain resistant, black, durable Italia faux 
leather, this form-fitting case is custom made to fit the National 
Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped/Library of 
Congress Digital Talking Book Player. Its soft, leather-like material 
fits the Talking Book Player like a second skin and makes it easy to 
carry. No need to ever remove the Talking Book Player from this durable 
case. The unit can be carried on a comfortable shoulder strap or a hand 
carry strap. The case is designed to allow easy access to load your 
cartridges, access all of the buttons, the USB port, and the headphone 
jack. It comes with a zippered pocket/flap that can accommodate up to 
three cartridges, or other accessories. The pocket/flap can be secured 
in an open position by fastening the flap under the unit. In the closed 
position, the pocket/flap protects the keys, covers the cartridge area, 
power cord area in the rear, and protects the overall unit. This case 
fits both the standard and advanced NLS players.
*         "Over the Ear" Style Earphone for Talking Book 
Price: $8.99 Each
This "Over the Ear" style Earphone with a single-earpiece speaker may 
look unusual, but is very comfortable, durable, and has great audio 
quality. Used by many in law enforcement and news program listeners for 
steadfast listening where dependable, crisp audio, and long duration 
comfort is a concern. Fits ear without fatigue or pain after prolonged 
use. It stays on your ear better than buds, and won't fall off. It even 
makes for a comfortable pillow speaker while in bed. A great value for 
the price with excellent sound quality, with a 5-foot length cord and a 
3.5 mm jack.

Please visit the new Perkins Library Store<http://www.perkins.org/nls> 
for links to all of our products.

To order our products in quantities of 100 or more, please contact Tim 
McGrath by email at: 
Tim.McGrath at Perkins.org<mailto:Tim.McGrath at Perkins.org>.


Q. Can people order the cartridges by phone, or is the phone number only 
for questions?
A. The phone number is generally only for questions. We set things up so 
patrons will go directly to Amazon to make purchases. We do however 
realize that a small number of patrons will not have access to Amazon 
themselves, from a friend or from a family member. In those cases, they 
can call us and we can buy products from Amazon for them, provided they 
are willing to give us their credit card to do so.

Q. Can individuals also purchase products through the Perkins Library 
Products web site as well as on Amazon.com?
A. The Perkins Library Products page is merely a portal leading to the 
products on Amazon.com

Q. Your assistance with patrons and their credit cards, would this only 
be for Perkins Library patrons, or patrons of any talking book library?
A. We will help anyone make purchases if they have no other way to do 
it. This includes patrons nation-wide as well as any other non-patrons 

If you have any other questions, please feel free to call the Perkins 
Library at 617-972-7240 or email 
Library at Perkins.org<mailto:library at perkins.org>

On 09/10/2017 10:08 AM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
> Okay, I'v managed to find Perkins branded Digital Cartridges on
> Amazon, but there doesn't seem to be any listings for the cables. Does
> anyone know if the cartridges include the cables? Either way, I'm
> tempted to pick up a 16GB cartridge as a stop gap for playing the
> encrypted files if I can't figure out how to play them on my Blaze ET
> or Linux PC, though considering how anemic 16GB is for storage this
> day and age, I find myself wondering if my digital cartridge player
> can play audiobooks stored on an SD card in a dongle-style reader
> connected to the USB port on the side of the player. *Tries it with
> the 256GB card from my Blaze ET.* Okay, its been beeping for a few
> minutes and the pause, fast forward, and rewind buttons just play a
> please wait message with no explanation. I can only assume its trying
> to scan the SD card for compatible files.
> Given a suggestion to use a standard tape deck to rip two of a
> cassette's four tracks at a time and do post processing to account for
> tapes having non-standard formats, I've been searching for a suitable
> one on Amazon, and while there are several rather affordable models
> designed specifically for converting cassettes to digital files, it
> isn't always clear which models are stand-alone, which rely on a PC
> and specific drivers, and which should work with any recording device
> with a line-in/microphone jack, and many sound like they're hardcoded
> to output mp3, which I deem completely unacceptable in this age of
> terabyte harddrives and 256GB memory cards, and even cutting record
> time by more than half isn't worth lossy compression when I already
> have a recording device with line-in and wav support, and there's no
> mention of sample rate or bit depth on any of the product pages I've
> checked. If anyone has any suggestions for cutting through the cruft,
> it would be greatly appreciated.
> I've only ever used sox for concatenating flac files, but I understand
> its one of the most versatile command line tools for manipulating
> streamed audio. Can anyone provide instructions on how to do the
> following tasks in sox or via another command line tool?
> -Reversing an audio stream in a way equivalent to playing an audio
> cassette backwards.
> -Altering the sample rate for playback without altering the samples
> themselves. Also, am I correct that, if your analog source is playing
> at double speed, you'd want to record at twice the target sample rate
> before slowing the recording down?
> -Splitting multi-channel files into single channels files or merging
> single-channel files into multi-channel files.
> -Trimming silence to a given length at the biginning/end of a stream
> or splitting a stream into multiple files in the middle of internal
> silence exceeding a certain length.
> -Anything else that might be useful for the task at hand.
> Oh, and my digital cartridge player eventually finished whatever it
> was doing, but still offered no explanation, not even a "no content
> found" message. The contents of my SD card seems unaffected putting it
> back in my Blaze ET.
> Sincerely,
> Jeffery Wright
> President Emeritus, Nu Nu Chapter, Phi Theta Kappa.
> Former Secretary, Student Government Association, College of the Albemarle.
> _______________________________________________
> Blinux-list mailing list
> Blinux-list at redhat.com
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Christopher (CJ)
Chaltain at Gmail

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