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Blind Bargains Qast 30: Autotune The Moos
Joe Steinkamp Thursday, 03-Sep-2015 4:47 PM ET
This week J.J. and Joe power through the week's news, show off a few things with a demo or two and the winners of the Jet competition are announced. Of course we also have Sound Off" and the "Last Word". This show may have been recorded as the last show of August, however, it airs as the first show of September. How amazingly "timey wimey" of us.
This episode is brought to you by HIMS, who would like to remind you that "Your needs are our solutions". Check out the E-Bot Video Magnifier, the Blaze EZ reading solution, the new Smart Beetle Braille Display and more by visiting the HIMS website. Or, follow them on Twitter.
In The News:
Also, mmm ... sprinkles, BBQ regular Shelly Brizbin has started a new podcast
Demo: Resurrecting an Old Braille Display
J.J. demonstrates how to hook up a HandyTech BrailleStar 40 braille display from 15 years ago to a modern screen reader using the Keyspan by Tripp Lite USA-19HS High-Speed USB Serial Adapter This trick will work on all sorts of old tech, making some of your tech that's gathering dust new again.
Demo: Multi Path Audio for iOS
It's a modern day take on the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" game with snazzy narration and lots of replay ability. Multi Path Audio for iOS has a simple interface, high contrast based controls and a simple "pick up and play" approach to interactive story telling mechanics. Each story is $1.99 and there are currently four stories available. The stories can be played offline for those long trips away from the internet. And you can try a story out before you purchase it in case you find one not to your liking. Each story has multiple endings and you will want to find them all. You can skip past the portions you have already completed, or start over from the beginning and live the adventure to its fullest.
Tip: Give me a Hint
There's a little event happening on September 9, but what exactly will Apple be announcing? IN this week's tip, J.J. asks Siri for a hint on what might transpire.
Jet Contest Winners
A few episodes back, we asked you to post a comment on our website to be entered in a drawing for fabulous prizes (prizes not fabulous). Congratulations to Louis D and mcikeyc who each won a one year membership to Jet. In case you missed it, you can check out our review of Jet from a few weeks ago.
Jan Brown writes in with another review and a few more comments this week.
Ken has lots to say about some of our past episodes as well.
This week's Twitter response was a reply to the following from our @blindbargains account...
... the response that amused us greatly was...
Well played sir!
Joe vowed there would be no food links for this episode. This is what happens in this segment if he isn't thinking, or reading, about food.
Next week, Apple Event Commentary! Expect the show to come out just a little later to allow for us to record our reactions to all the new stuff they are going to drop on us this holiday season. Until then, guard all piggy banks closely.
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Displaying 3 comments.bbrannan Saturday, 05-Sep-2015 03:19 AM ET:
Regarding the USB to serial converters mentioned in the demo of making an old braille display work on a new computer: I'd caution that you be very careful with adapters that claim to use the Prolific PL2303 chip. While the one JJ recommends is likely all right, the market is seemingly flooded with counterfeit chips. This is a real problem, for instance, with cables provided with, or for, cheap Chinese handheld ham radio gear. Working around these issues is not trivial, as one has to locate an old driver and then be sure Windows doesn't try to update it. The trouble here is that Prolific has a check in their driver which makes cloned/counterfeit chips not recognize properly in Windows, thus, the adapter doesn't work. Which means you've wasted $10 or however much instead of saving a bunch of money. Generally, people seem to have better luck over all with adapters based on the FTDI chip. It's the same sort of thing, a USB to serial converter. To be fair, there was a brief time where the FTDI driver would actually render counterfeit FTDI chips completely inoperable...yes, it really would brick your adapter. FTDI updated their driver and my understanding is that the latest versions don't do this anymore. FWIW, I'm using two different cables with FTDI chips in them, and I've definitely run into the fake Prolific chip problem. Also, I actually found a converter that also came with a USB extension cable, with the FTDI chip, for less than $15. It's one of the adapters I'm using and works pretty well.
Alexx Tuesday, 08-Sep-2015 09:49 AM ET:
Hi! Intresting to listen to J.JJ- and how to use an old braille display on a new computer. Hoverer i wonder how to use an Braille woyager 70 who only have and old standard usb for a new computer? Hi have oportunity to buy one from a friend. As i understand Optelec does not provide 64 bits drivers or does not have any suport for this braille display any longer. So i would be glad if some one have a suggest how to solve this, running windows 10 on a 64 bits Maschin?
DebeeArmstrong Tuesday, 27-Oct-2015 1:37 PM ET:
For those of you who really want that ancient Braille display to work with Windows, don't forget that NVDA supports BRLTTY. BRLTTY is a Linux-based Braille display screen access solution, but it's been ported to Windows. The NVDA documentation has a link to the page with its unofficial builds. Documentation is scant, but simply pick the latest version, download the .exe file and run through its install. It will be installed as a service which you can restart or disable with the Microsoft services console (type services.msc from the run dialog box). The service will already be started, but knowing about services.msc is helpful for troubleshooting. To change or check out its configuration file, find Brltty in your Programs (x86) folder and under its etc directory you'll find brltty.conf, a text file which contains all the configuration stuff where each comment begins with a number sign. This is a standard Linux-style configuration file. The only two variables you really need to care about are braille-device which in my case is set to Serial:com1 and braille-driver, which in my case is set to ts which is their driver for all TeleSensory devices. Brltty even supports the routing buttons on my 1995 PowerBraille. The Braille-Driver entries are all two-letter codes, and the Brltty manual has a list of these. There are drivers for lots of really old displays from the 1990s and even the 1980s TeleSensory Navigator. You can also use the code Auto, for the Braille driver, and it will attempt to auto-detect, which in most cases, despite its documentation's warnings, does work fine. Note these variables and values are all lower-case, and sometimes the brltty.conf file has only line-feeds. In 64-bit Windows, when NVDA is not running, you won't have access to the command prompt, but in 32-bit Windows you will. So even with only Braille, you can troubleshoot a bit more in 32-bit operating systems. When a graphical screen is active, as is mostly true for Windows, you'll see the words No foreground window on your Braille display. This is when NVDA is not running. If NVDA is running, Braille will appear. Also if you search for Braille displays on Ebay, you can find many supported by Brltty, often purchased and rarely used by agencies, hence in excellent condition.
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Joe Steinkamp is no stranger to the world of technology, having been a user of video magnification and blindness related electronic devices since 1979. Joe has worked in radio, retail management and Vocational Rehabilitation for blind and low vision individuals in Texas. He has been writing about the A.T. Industry for10 years and podcasting about it for nearly 5 years.
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