[BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions

Matthew Horspool mhorspool at live.co.uk
Fri Jul 28 16:49:12 BST 2017


Hi Sean,
No there isn't, and it wouldn't surprise me if some schools went down that route. You're right about network shares too.
The problem isn't to do with the technology, though, it's to do with the accountability. The assurance of high quality, timely tech support from S&S would indeed go a long way towards alleviating that problem, but I don't see that coming any time soon, and there would still be hurdles to overcome even if it was there.
Ultimately, no one knows who's going to get the chop if something goes wrong, but no one wants to take the risk that it's going to be them, so everyone will go for the safe option. For the school tech, that's BrailleNote touch because it's specialist enough that he can pass the buck to the peri service tech. For the peri service tech, it's also the BrailleNote touch because he needs minimal input from the school tech to set the thing up, and it doesn't rely on the school network so if something goes horrendously wrong, he can take it back to his workshop and work on it there. Oh and while he's doing that, the service can loan out a replacement unit if they're wealthy enough and it will basically work straight away.
The high ups in both the school and the service don't really get how assistive technology works, but they don't want a battle of wills with the other party, so if there's a solution that keeps the technicians on both sides happy they will use that.
Even with good tech support from S&S, I don't think we'll see large scale ElBraille usage in schools until we get rid of the blame culture, pay staff what they're worth rather than what they can get away with, make skills be worth more than austerity, and so on and so on.
The difference in attitude between technicians in private schools and technicians in state schools in Warwickshire is staggering. I don't know what the pay gap is, but they seem to be much better managed in private schools. It's these private schools that I think would be more likely to start using ElBraille - their technicians would be more prepared to take a risk because they know they'll have backup from their managers if it doesn’t' pay off. In return, we'd be happier working with them because they wouldn't need their first line of defence to be passing all the blame onto us. And so it goes on.
Matthew

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Sean Randall
Sent: 26 July 2017 20:58
To: 'BCAB Discussion List' <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
Subject: Re: [BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions

Matthew,

There's nothing wrong with them putting their image on the thing if they cooperate with you to get it up and running, assuming of course it's for use in that school. This is the sort of thing that S&S should be supporting to encourage uptake in schools. In an ideal world of course the system wouldn't need a re-image, simply some decent setup to map network shares and such and yes, that's where senior management come in.  But if you can't batter them down with a SENCO and a QTVI on board they clearly aren't fit for purpose and should be complained about anyway.
S.

__
Sean Randall
IT and Accessibility Specialist
Email Contact at SeanRandall.me
Phone +44 (0) 1905 692280 
Or visit My LinkedIn Profile for my blog posts, areas of interest and qualifications at http://UK.LinkedIn.com/in/AccessibleSean


-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Matthew Horspool
Sent: Wednesday 26 July 2017 05:13 PM 
To: BCAB Discussion List
Subject: Re: [BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions

Hi Sean and all,
Yes, I agree about S&S and their ineptitude.
I'll also be honest and say that my experience with school technicians is quite limited, in the main to Warwickshire County Council schools. It's pretty consistent, though - they are generally underpaid and basically want to get the job done with as little effort as possible. In practice, this basically means creating a single Windows image that they can deploy across all of their computers and then not have to think about it. Anything that disrupts that process, or even that is seen to disrupt that process, is an irritation to them and they will try really hard to obstruct you.
We have several students in mainstream that need assistive technology (mainly JAWS, but also NVDA and Zoomtext). They're happy for it to go on a dedicated laptop because the alternative is them needing to build a new image for all of their boxes. However, they get very antsy if the laptop comes from outside. They'd much rather issue the laptop themselves, complete with their standard image. Then they get really grumpy because JAWS needs more access rights than their image affords us. They'd still rather grump about that, though, than let loose any old laptop on the school which could do goodness knows what damage that they're not paid enough to fix.
Certainly in Warwickshire, I feel pretty confident that the El Braille would fall into the "any old laptop" category for the vast majority of school technicians and they would really kick up a fuss if we wanted to put it onto their network. The only way to assuage them, grudgingly, would be to let them install their universal image onto the device. However, our side wouldn't let them do that because we would then be in uncharted waters from a tech support point of view if, say, the El keys stopped working.
If we could get senior management from the school on our side, they would eventually intervene, and the technicians would eventually give in and let us have our way. However, we're talking literally months before we get to that point.
The touch, being a tablet, can't be disc imaged in the same way. Technicians might not be happy about putting it on the network, but it's specialist enough that we can generally pull the rug out from under their feet in a matter of weeks if not days and get them to cave in.
Matthew

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Sean Randall
Sent: 26 July 2017 14:16
To: 'BCAB Discussion List' <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
Subject: Re: [BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions

Hi

I think S&S will be one of the big let downs for education.  The ElBraille could be a great school product, Matthew's quibbles aside which are valid but narrow in terms of mainstream education. 
No matter how good the product though, bad support, inept sales people and an unwillingness to engage with the users will scupper its chances in schools I think.

I also disagree strongly with Matthew's technician theory.  Give a technician an elBraille with an HDMI adapter and they can put it onto their network  howsoever they like. Again, it's the selling of it.
__
Sean Randall
IT and Accessibility Specialist
Email Contact at SeanRandall.me
Phone +44 (0) 1905 692280 
Or visit My LinkedIn Profile for my blog posts, areas of interest and qualifications at http://UK.LinkedIn.com/in/AccessibleSean


-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Steve Nutt
Sent: Wednesday 26 July 2017 02:10 PM 
To: 'BCAB Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions

Actually, this is incorrect.  The first true Windows device was the Esytime from Eurobraille.  It was under-specified, otherwise if it had been on Windows 10, I believe it would be better than ElBraille, since it had some music programs for importing Midi and producing Braille music.  So for education, it would have been excellent.

All the best

Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of dennis huckle
Sent: 25 July 2017 14:41
To: 'BCAB Discussion List' <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
Subject: Re: [BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions

Hello tony,
El braille, as far as I am aware is the first tru windows all-in-one device allowing control via a braille display,.
The older devices, although accessable in many ways were not a true windows experience.
Even braille sense is not truly a windows device although, I understand, many like it.
El braille is surely the way to go in allowing us braille users to get the best out of windows.
Also, of course you can control a smart 'phone with the braille display.
Kind regards,
Dwennis huckle.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Tony Fox
Sent: 25 July 2017 14:23
To: BCAB Discussion List <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
Subject: Re: [BCAB] ElBraille First Impressions

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
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
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> >
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