[BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions

Ian Macrae ian.macrae1 at sky.com
Tue Jul 25 14:53:02 BST 2017


Hi tony, there are some of us on this list who’ve been believers for some time that the writing is well and truly on the wall for bespoke Braille devices.  there are a number of reasons why I hold this belief.  

1. While they may be fine and useful as stand alone Braille note takers, their mainstream functionality is and never has been of any real use or value. Taking the BN Touch as an example, it is pretty good as a note taker and the Software VR stream embedded it it works well enough but to be frank, it’s bloody useless as a tablet when put alongside my Apple devices especially when you compare the price of a Touch with an iPhone or iPad and even more especially when you compare it with any Android tablets which people are using. 

2. For too long now bespoke Braille kit has relied on operating systems which are so old as to be obsolete. This clearly has a massive impact on their performance with mainstream functionality as mentioned above. but even things which claim to be more up-to-date and mainstream capable don’t really hack it.  The Touch again is said to be running on an Android version dating from 2011 and it doesn’t help that the manufacturers and their suppliers do nothing to dispel or contradict this belief.  

3. The very fact that the manufacturers and suppliers of these devices make a central selling point of their ability to connect to and work with IOS and other mainstream devices shows just where things are headed. What’s more, over the past year I’ve had two Braille devices both of which claimed to do this seamlessly, neither of them did. 

4. Finally there is the overall question of cost. Had it not been for Access To work, with all its faults, I’d have Left Braille behind long ago and now that I’m no longer entitled to that support I simply could not afford to replace the Braille kit I currently have regardless of its suitability for me and whether or not it actually does the things it claims. 

The future for blind children and young people lies with mainstream tech such as IO’s and Android devices having more and more accessibility built into them and in order for Braille not to be left lagging behind either attention needs to be diverted from producing big ticket underperforming specialist kit and concentrating instead on finding ways of delivering low cost highly connective Braille solutions either as add-ons to smart phones and tablets or finding ways of delivering Braille output direct from these devices themselves.  I personally firmly believe that it is highly possible that haptic technology as it further develops could deliver exactly these sorts of solutions. 
Ian Macrae

ian.macrae1 at sky.com



> On 25 Jul 2017, at 14:22, Tony Fox <tonyfox1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Hi Everyone
> 
> The Elbraille product looks to be a winner. I am interested in the view of
> braillists on here if there is still a place for dedicated adapted products
> such as BrailleNote Touch and Braillesense. I know the frustration  when
> you  buy a dedicated device and find the hardware quickly becomes outdated
> 
> It would seem the Elbraille is a good investment as you won't get left
> behind when windows upgrades become available and the braille display is
> detachable and  not built into the hardware of the product
> 
> Tony
> 
> 
> Best Regards
> 
> 
> Tony Fox
> 
> *Mobile    0747  966 2341*
> *Landline 01727 752742*
> *tonyfox1 at gmail.com <tonyfox1 at gmail.com> *
> *https://www.linkedin.com/in/tony-fox-96140915/
> <https://www.linkedin.com/in/tony-fox-96140915/>*
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On 25 July 2017 at 14:03, Terry Clasper <terry.clasper at btinternet.com>
> wrote:
> 
>> And Denis what ever happened to good old tech support from the supplier?
>> 
>> 
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of dennis
>> huckle
>> Sent: 25 July 2017 14:01
>> To: 'BCAB Discussion List' <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
>> Subject: Re: [BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions
>> 
>> What you get in the box is a braille document listing most jaws commands.
>> However if any more help is needed You will get it on this list.
>> They take a little getting used to, especially the modifier key commands,
>> but once you get the idea its not too bad.
>> Kind regards,
>> Dennis huckle.
>> 
>> 
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Michael
>> Cassidy via Bcab
>> Sent: 25 July 2017 13:51
>> To: BCAB Discussion List <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
>> Cc: Michael Cassidy <mike.cassidy at ntlworld.com>
>> Subject: Re: [BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions
>> 
>> Hi Dennis,
>> 
>> I like the thought of a small compact device, and I think the price of the
>> 40-cell unit rules it out; I think I’ll be able to adapt to the 14-cell
>> display without difficulty. Just the matter of getting used to the Jaws
>> command set.
>> 
>> Thanks for your thoughts; always helpful.
>> 
>> Regards,
>> 
>> Mike
>>> On 25 Jul 2017, at 11:42, dennis huckle <muir1918 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> 
>>> Mike, I agree about the 40 cell version of el braille, I feel sure that
>> it will, of course be more expensive but by the nature of the larger
>> braille display will be larger in itself.
>>> Using the device as I now do I find it easy and don't find the 14 cell
>> display a problem having used an 80 cell on my pc at home.
>>> Also, don't forget you can configer your 14 display to work with a smart
>> 'phone that is another plus as far as I am concerned. You don't have to
>> remove the display to achieve this.
>>> Also remember you can purchase this over a 12 month period.
>>> Good luck,  I hope you will find something to suit your needs, Kind
>>> regards, Dennis huckle.
>>> 
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of
>>> Michael Cassidy via Bcab
>>> Sent: 25 July 2017 11:18
>>> To: BCAB Discussion List <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
>>> Cc: Michael Cassidy <mike.cassidy at ntlworld.com>
>>> Subject: Re: [BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions
>>> 
>>> 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
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> --
>>>> To find out more about BCAB and the benefits that membership can
>>>> bring, please visit our website: https://www.bcab.org.uk/ Manage your
>>>> subscription by logging in with your BCAB account details at :
>>>> https://www.bcab.org.uk/user_mailman_register
>>>> Access the publicly searchable list archives at:
>>>> https://lists.bcab.org.uk/pipermail/bcab/
>>>> To discuss matters relating to the mailing list, please email:
>> moderator at bcab.org.uk.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> To find out more about BCAB and the benefits that membership can
>>> bring, please visit our website: https://www.bcab.org.uk/ Manage your
>>> subscription by logging in with your BCAB account details at :
>>> https://www.bcab.org.uk/user_mailman_register
>>> Access the publicly searchable list archives at:
>>> https://lists.bcab.org.uk/pipermail/bcab/
>>> To discuss matters relating to the mailing list, please email:
>> moderator at bcab.org.uk.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> To find out more about BCAB and the benefits that membership can
>>> bring, please visit our website: https://www.bcab.org.uk/ Manage your
>>> subscription by logging in with your BCAB account details at :
>>> https://www.bcab.org.uk/user_mailman_register
>>> Access the publicly searchable list archives at:
>>> https://lists.bcab.org.uk/pipermail/bcab/
>>> To discuss matters relating to the mailing list, please email:
>> moderator at bcab.org.uk.
>> 
>> 
>> --
>> To find out more about BCAB and the benefits that membership can bring,
>> please visit our website: https://www.bcab.org.uk/ Manage your
>> subscription by logging in with your BCAB account details at :
>> https://www.bcab.org.uk/user_mailman_register
>> Access the publicly searchable list archives at:
>> https://lists.bcab.org.uk/pipermail/bcab/
>> To discuss matters relating to the mailing list, please email:
>> moderator at bcab.org.uk.
>> 
>> 
>> --
>> To find out more about BCAB and the benefits that membership can bring,
>> please visit our website: https://www.bcab.org.uk/
>> Manage your subscription by logging in with your BCAB account details at :
>> https://www.bcab.org.uk/user_mailman_register
>> Access the publicly searchable list archives at:
>> https://lists.bcab.org.uk/pipermail/bcab/
>> To discuss matters relating to the mailing list, please email:
>> moderator at bcab.org.uk.
>> 
>> 
>> --
>> To find out more about BCAB and the benefits that membership can bring,
>> please visit our website: https://www.bcab.org.uk/
>> Manage your subscription by logging in with your BCAB account details at :
>> https://www.bcab.org.uk/user_mailman_register
>> Access the publicly searchable list archives at:
>> https://lists.bcab.org.uk/pipermail/bcab/
>> To discuss matters relating to the mailing list, please email:
>> moderator at bcab.org.uk.
>> 
> -- 
> To find out more about BCAB and the benefits that membership can bring, please visit our website: https://www.bcab.org.uk/
> Manage your subscription by logging in with your BCAB account details at : https://www.bcab.org.uk/user_mailman_register
> Access the publicly searchable list archives at: https://lists.bcab.org.uk/pipermail/bcab/
> To discuss matters relating to the mailing list, please email: moderator at bcab.org.uk.




More information about the Bcab mailing list