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Listener Comments After Main Menu Presentation

July 14, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Check out the two wonderful comments I received on the comment line after the airing of my first Main Menu presentation. Want to join the fun? Call 206-350-6925, post a comment to any blog entry or send e-mail to today!

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3 opinions on “Listener Comments After Main Menu Presentation

  1. Thank you for publishing my phone comment, and for clarifying your stance on the blindness consumer organizations. I apologize for making assertions about you which were incorrect. I, also, do not fully agree with the actions of the Federation; however, I do feel that they have done some important work. While I initially considered their lawsuit against AOL to be a bit extreme, it also proved to be very effective in stimulating change. The main problem I have with Federation philosophy is that a group comprised of a select few who determines the attitude of the Federation also decides which things should and should not be made accessible to the blind community. While curtis Chong should be applauded for going after Internic for making their Whois feature inaccessible, I suspect there are more blind people trying to use other verification systems that are more popular than Whois. Also, I would not consider opposing video description, audible pedestrian signals or tactile currency a model of accessibility. Just because they don’t need these things doesn’t mean there are not others who do.

    Stephen Baum had some interesting comments to make during his Main Menu interview about the realization of a handheld scanning device. He questions the effectiveness of such a device for the applications for which many will try to use it, like some of the examples that you gave. I suspect, however, that he did not anticipate 7 megapixel cameras being available in today’s generation of cell phones.

    Finally, you did not address my question as to your thoughts on using a GSM phone with the latest generation of BrailleNotes. I suspect the process would be easier to configure than your experience with the PacMate. I hope you will be able to gain access to one so that you can test this for us and report your findings.


  2. Sam,

    Thanks once again for your feedback. I do hold some hope for the NFB Kurzweil Reader. Like all other technology, I’m sure it won’t be perfect. But, if it really can provide a level of dynamic, immediate ultraportable access to print and some other visual information, then, by all means, let’s go for it. Personally, I want one of these.

    I used to be a BrailleNote owner, but traded it in for a PAC Mate QX420 last year. I haven’t looked back. I feel the PAC Mate is more directly compatible with the sighted world and appreciate the flexibility to be able to use a great deal of mainstream Pocket PC software and off the shelf hardware.

    I am aware that Jonathan Mosen, HumanWare’s BrailleNote product manager, uses his BrailleNote PK or MPower to connect to the Internet through his cell phone, so I know the BrailleNote products can be set up to accomplish the same goal as I am with the PAC Mate. Perhaps, Jonathan would be an excellent person to do a BrailleNote version of my tutorial. He would certainly be able to get this done in a much more eloquent manner.

    Thanks again for your feedback and please stay tuned to Blind Access Journal.

  3. Well the camp of BrailleNote/PacMate users is no different than the camp of people who use OpenBook and Kurzweil, and the camp who uses mainstream OCR programs with a screen reader. I think both approaches have their place in the assistive technology arena.

    Finally, I believe the Braille Sense from GW Micro also supports BlueTooth, so it might be usable with a cellular modem as well. The real exciting news in the PDA arena will be the release of Pocket Hal, which will give us access to mainstream PDAs off-the-shelf. I hope it gives the PacMate a run for its money, as capitalism is always a good thing.

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