[BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions

Michael Cassidy mike.cassidy at ntlworld.com
Tue Jul 25 11:18:27 BST 2017


Hi Sean,

I’ve been reviewing these emails as I’m thinking of purchasing one of these. I see from Jonathan’s podcast that a 40-cell version is in the offing, but I haven’t seen the price tag! My blind-friendly notetakers are getting old and rather worn, and the cost of repair as against a new purchase have to be considered. I’ll have to be quick to decide as the offer closes on Friday.

Mike
> On 3 Jul 2017, at 12:40, Sean Randall <contact at seanrandall.me> wrote:
> 
> Hi Folks
> 
> 
> 
> As I'm sure you all know by now, Jackie did a fantastic presentation on the ElBraille for BCAB members a few weeks ago. I'm showing
> a unit off to staff and students at work this week, so just wanted to throw my thoughts into the ring as well.
> 
> 
> 
> My first impression, on just holding the thing in my hands, was how small it is.  Obviously, it's a bit bigger than the actual Focus
> 14 display which is one of the components, but it's not an unwieldy machine. In fact, with it in its carrying case and the shoulder
> strap attached I'm perfectly happy wandering around our campus.  Ordinarily I'd have a laptop either under my arm or in a bag all
> its own, so that's a refreshing change.
> 
> 
> 
> I don't think I can quite express the joy of having a full Windows desktop in something so small. It weighs under 800 grams and is
> under 8 inches wide and yet I can run Office(Outlook, Word and Excel),, Dropbox and the web all at the same time. It does slow up a
> little on the task changes, especially when I've got gigantic web pages of tables open and workbooks full of graphs and charts. My
> inbox, a web page and a notepad though? It's a dream.
> 
> 
> 
> I think the biggest problem people are going to have if they buy this thing is the fact that other notetakers have done us a
> disservice. The ElBraille's biggest selling point is surely that it's a proper Windows 10 based system, and yet we've been using
> customised, blind-friendly Braille notetakers for so long that we will quite possibly struggle to adapt to navigating a full Windows
> interface with the efficiency we would like when there's no qwerty keyboard in the mix. Those few of us who use a Braille display
> for input as well as output will have no problems at all adapting to this system, but the vast majority of people I work with are
> full keyboard users and that presents a steep learning curve.  It's not just learning about navigation either, computer Braille, UEB
> and all this sort of thing comes into play. I have still not managed to press alt+f4 without pausing for a little while to think
> about what I'm going to press. I am sure, with use, I would do so - and become as proficient as possible, but I can really see how
> hard it would be for a qwerty user to move to this system at least initially.
> 
> 
> 
> That said, I think it's an excellent idea. My wish list for improvements or other options would include More RAM, a bigger display,
> perhaps an extra USB port. A smaller charger (to fit in the case), a bigger hard drive and perhaps a redesign of ElNotes (although
> decent notetaking is a Windows issue, not an ElBraille one).
> 
> 
> 
> The other slight annoyance for me is the lack of a lock; if I want to just hop between rooms I'd like a single keypress to lock the
> keyboard rather than a complex chord to learn. I can't seem to put the system to sleep either, you either leave it on, sign out, or
> shut down.
> 
> 
> 
> I've so far used ElBraille to do some audio recording (with a decent USB microphone), but it works well for VOIP with my wired Apple
> earbuds, aside from general paperwork and reading. The portability and battery life are superb. Today I've watched Netflix in a taxi
> using my phone as a hotspot, minuted a meeting without using any speech, played an online game of cards and read the newspaper. Just
> today, and the battery is still over 80%. That's not counting the general emailing and web browsing between activities.
> 
> 
> 
> So there you have it. An extraordinary amount to learn, but more in the JAWS and total Braille display space than from ElBraille
> itself. A very nice device to use, I think.
> 
> 
> 
> S. 
> 
> __
> 
> Sean Randall
> 
> IT and Accessibility Specialist
> 
> <mailto:Email%20Contact at SeanRandall.me> Email Contact at SeanRandall.me
> 
> <tel:00441905692280> Phone +44 (0) 1905 692280 
> 
> Or visit  <http://uk.linkedin.com/in/accessiblesean> My LinkedIn Profile for my blog posts, areas of interest and qualifications at
> http://UK.LinkedIn.com/in/AccessibleSean
> 
> 
> 
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