[BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions

Matthew Horspool mhorspool at live.co.uk
Tue Jul 25 19:12:21 BST 2017

Hi Jim,
My braille music skills are shameful, so I must admit I hadn't thought about using the Apex in that context, but it is a fantastic example of where a braille first approach far outstrips a mainstream alternative.
I should stress here that I'm not deliberately trying to knock El Braille and products like it. I saw one at Sight Village and wanted one straight away purely because of how portable it is. Its most off-putting feature, for me, is the Focus braille display that it pears with. If it paired with something that had better quality braille - a Brailliant or a Vario Ultra or something - I'd be much more tempted.
But I would be very interested to see how an El Braille coped with braille music. Mary had a little lamb goes something like this:
Dot 5, ed sign, wh sign, th sign, wh sign, ed sign, ed sign, ed sign.
How would the back translator deal with the dot 5 ed sign? It isn't a known contraction! If the back translator gets it wrong, what will the forward translator give me in its place? How is that a reliable way of taking down music dictation? Where is the mainstream advantage here?

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of jim taylor
Sent: 25 July 2017 16:57
To: BCAB Discussion List <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
Subject: Re: [BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions

Matthew, I, a fellow Apex user, fully endorse what you say.   You 
could, of course, have put your t h sign or t h e sign in quotes, 
or written:  "T H sign, E A sign, T, R, E".   As for italics, 
again you could resort to block capitals or asterisks.

You did not mention the usefulness of the Apex's portability.   
Last night, in our choir rehearsal, we started work on three new 
carols for our Christmas carol service.   While the choirmaster 
was thumping out the bass parts on the piano, I was able to take them down on the Apex (three cheers for Braille music!) and join in to the best of my ability, even though nobody had thought to 
email me the words of the carols.   Still, what's a few la la la 
la la's between friends?   At least, I got the notes right, 
thanks to the Apex.

Apart from its ancient software, the only trouble with HumanWare is that not all the technicians have taken the trouble to learn the rudiments of Braille, but then my Apex has served me well for the past seven years and I wouldn't be without it, despite its imperfections and inadequacies.

Warm regards,


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