[BCAB] BWBF launches Bumblebee

Matthew Horspool mhorspool at live.co.uk
Thu Jul 20 10:40:52 BST 2017


Hi Steve,

I think this is rather narrow-minded, if I'm honest. An El Braille is nothing more than a custom built PC. If that's not mainstream then you might as well say that my custom built desktop isn't mainstream either.

The only thing that makes El Braille not mainstream is the specialist case that it's in. However, that specialist case doesn't have any system requirements above and beyond those of Windows 10, so I don't see as having a specialist case makes my computer any less mainstream (in the blind sense) than having specialist software on it. All sorts of fields have specialist cases for their computers - think of PCs built into portable PA systems for festivals and the like. I don't think any sighted person would look at a sound engineer's equipment rack and dare to say that "The computer in there isn't a proper computer because it's not in a tower case", and in that sense the El Braille is no different.

If they really wanted to, sighted people could purchase the El Braille dock, uninstall JAWS, attach a keyboard, mouse and monitor and run it is a mini PC.

As blind people, we could buy the El Braille sans JAWS license and run it with NVDA or whatever. I'd wager we could uninstall Windows and put Linux on it if we really wanted to - and crucially, we could do that and still have working braille because there are Focus 14 drivers for Linux.

Hardware obsolescence is not in its favour, I'll grant you. Perhaps if it had better hardware it wouldn't become obsolete quite as quickly as it probably will. But hardware obsolescence is inevitable, and the El Braille has a better chance of staying current than, say, the BrailleNote Touch, which I would certainly not classify as a mainstream product.

I say that because it would be virtually impossible to install Vanilla Android on a BN Touch and keep everything working. Even if we could get the generic components of the Touch to talk to native Android (the wifi and suchlike), we would have real trouble getting Brailleback to talk to the built-in braille display. This simply isn't the case with the El Braille.

And because of the mainstream nature of El Braille's internals, we could most likely overcome at least some of the hardware obsolescence by swapping components out. What's to stop someone removing the RAM from the El Braille and subbing in a stick with twice the capacity, assuming it's compatible with the motherboard? Or replacing its SSD with an SSD with more space? This sort of tinkering is pretty common in laptops even amongst sighted people, assuming they have someone in the family who knows what they're doing.

Matthew



-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Steve Nutt
Sent: 20 July 2017 10:02
To: 'BCAB Discussion List' <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
Subject: Re: [BCAB] BWBF launches Bumblebee



But it isn't mainstream.  Mainstream is only where you connect a PC to a Braille display.



All the best



Steve



-----Original Message-----

From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of john gallagher

Sent: 20 July 2017 09:08

To: BCAB Discussion List <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk<mailto:bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>>

Subject: Re: [BCAB] BWBF launches Bumblebee



but the Braille note sorry but the L Braille uses mainstream technology



Sent from my iPhone



> On 20 Jul 2017, at 08:58, Steve Nutt <steve at comproom.co.uk<mailto:steve at comproom.co.uk>> wrote:

>

> Hi John,

>

> You are funny, you just defeated your own argument.  You said why

> should we buy products especially for the blind, then said the

> ElBraille is the best thing you bought.

>

> Hey ho.

>

> All the best

>

> Steve

>

> -----Original Message-----

> From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of john

> gallagher

> Sent: 19 July 2017 10:44

> To: bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk<mailto:bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>

> Subject: Re: [BCAB] BWBF launches Bumblebee

>

> hi all,

> surely the experts are on this list most of us could be the people to

> say what would be a good device for a blind person. so much is out

> there to do all this listening to the radio and the like its just

> showing people how to use what's out there. why now do we need

> products for the blind which cost a lot of money. my elBraille which

> uses main stream for me is the best thing i have ever purchased.

> i think what dennis says is a very good point bringing out a very good

> accessible dab radio could be the way to go but, because we're in such a

> very minority group this will never happen.

>

> ----- Original Message -----

> From: Iain Lackie  <iainlackie at gmail.com<mailto:iainlackie at gmail.com>>

> To: BCAB Discussion List  <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk<mailto:bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>>

> Date: Wednesday, 19 July 2017 10.30 am

> Subject: Re: [BCAB] BWBF launches Bumblebee

>

>>

>>

>> In my far from humble opinion, surely they should be doing something

>> about the lack of a truly accessible DAB radio. will we ever see one?

>>

>>

>> Iain

>>

>>

>>> On 19/07/2017 09.40, Jackie Brown wrote:

>>> I don't want to start bashing this as I haven't seen it.  But BWBF

>>> (British Wireless for the Blind Fund) has launched a Samsung tablet

>>> with locked proprietary software on it called Bumblebee.  Its yellow

>>> and black contrast with speech feedback allows you to enter a number

>>> of applications to listen to radio stations, podcasts, books,

>>> newspapers and other information.  It is only available on loan to

>>> those

> who "meet the criteria."

>>>

>>> This to me sounds like another Synaptic product with layered

>>> software over a Samsung tablet which cannot be unlocked.  I would

>>> just

> ask these questions:

>>> who comes up with the research stats for these kind of products?

>>> Are these kind of devices as popular as our organisations seem to

>>> think?  Am I being too cynical?

>>>

>>> Kind regards,

>>>

>>> Jackie Brown

>>> Email: ,j;ackieannbrown62 at gmail.com

>>> Check out my website: www.thebrownsplace.info<http://www.thebrownsplace.info> Follow me on Twitter:

>>> @thebrownsplace Skype name: thejackmate

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>

>>

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