Battle of the Braille Keyboards (Extra 46)

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There are two well-known braille keyboards on the market today, the Orbit Writer and the Hable One. What are the similarities? What are the differences? Which one would suit your needs best?

On Tuesday 4 October 2022, we were joined by a user of each keyboard. They told us more about how their preferred keyboard works and why they like it, and we learnt how they compare against each other.

For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

Getting to Know RNIB Reading Services (Extra 45)

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Connor Scott-Gardner is an avid reader, and on Tuesday 6 September 2022 he demonstrated how to download books from RNIB Reading Services, transfer them to a braille display and read them. He also explained how Reading Services differs from other offerings from RNIB and elsewhere.

For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

Braille Without a Braille Display: Braille Screen Input and More (Extra 44)

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If you have an iPhone, iPad or Android device, it’s highly likely that you can braille in grade 2 directly on the touch screen and have it back translated instantly – a perfect replacement for the on screen keyboard. In this episode, Matthew Horspool and special guest Chris Norman demonstrate how this works on both iOS and Android.

We also briefly explored other ways of entering braille without a braille display, including the popular Perky Duck program from Duxbury Systems.

This session was recorded on Tuesday 5 July 2022. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

Formatting Your Braille (Extra 43)

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It’s often said in the industry that garbage in = garbage out, but what does this mean in practice?

On 17 May 2022, our Chairman Dave Williams held a conversation with Kawal Gucukoglu, who worked for many years as a braille transcriber at RNIB. They discussed the principals of effective braille layout – headings, paragraphs, lists, tables and so on – and how to implement them in electronic file formats to achieve optimum quality.

Braille Technology in Everyday Life (Extra 42)

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In this session, Matthew Horspool explains how braille is still relevant in the 21st century and demonstrates how free and low-cost braille technology is significantly improving the independence and productivity of blind and partially sighted people of all ages. We paid particular attention to Braille Screen Input and the Orbit Reader, both of which are relatively recent additions to the braille technology landscape and are being used by thousands of people all over the world.

This session was presented by the Braillists Foundation on behalf of Visionary: Linking Local Sight Loss Charities on Tuesday 8 February 2022.

Care and Usage of your Perkins Brailler (Extra 41)

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The Perkins Brailler has been a staple in the lives of braille users ever since the first one was manufactured in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1951. To this day, the Perkins is widely considered to be the most durable braille device on the market, with machines over 50 years old still going strong.

They are so popular, in fact, that it is easy to forget that we need to teach new braillists how to use them! Furthermore, even established braillists do not always know how to diagnose faults when they arise, or how to take the best care of their machines so as to minimise the risks of faults arising in the first place.

On 15 March, we were joined by Alan Thorpe of Eyecan, a certified Perkins Brailler Repair Centre. Alan took us on a tour of the Perkins Brailler, introducing us to the proper names of all of the parts! He explained how to insert paper and write braille, and described some common faults and how to overcome them. He also explained when a professional service or repair may be required and briefly explained the differences between the different models of Perkins Brailler available.

For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

Braille on iOS, Part 3 (Extra 40)

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We were delighted to be joined by Scott Davert, one of the most well-known authorities on the use of iOS with a braille display, for the third and final part of his exploration of this winning combination. Scott is the Coordinator at the Technology, Research and Innovation Center, part of the Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youths and Adults, and serves on the editorial team at AppleVis.

In this session, he explained how to re-assign braille display commands and demonstrated web browsing with a braille display in Safari.

This session was recorded on Tuesday 1 March 2022. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

Braille on iOS, Part 2 (Extra 39)

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Following the first successful Masterclass, we were delighted to have been joined once again by Scott Davert, one of the most well-known authorities on the use of iOS with a braille display, to continue his exploration of this winning combination. Scott is the Coordinator at the Technology, Research and Innovation Center, part of the Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youths and Adults, and serves on the editorial team at AppleVis.

In this Masterclass, he introduced some more advanced navigation commands, including using the rota, and then discussed and demonstrated text editing.

This session was recorded on Tuesday 15 February 2022. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

Braille on iOS, Part 1 (Extra 38)

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Following our brief introduction to Braille on iOS last year, we’re delighted this year to have been joined by Scott Davert, one of the most well-known authorities on the topic, to explore this winning combination in more detail. Scott is the Coordinator at the Technology, Research and Innovation Center, part of the Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youths and Adults, and serves on the editorial team at AppleVis.

In a series of three Masterclasses, he discussed and demonstrated how to make the most of using your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch with a braille display, from basic exploration to text editing, web browsing and much more.

In the first Masterclass, he covered:

  • Supported braille displays and how to connect them
  • Braille settings in Voiceover
  • Exploring the home screen
  • Some useful braille display commands

This session was recorded on Tuesday 1 February 2022. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

Choosing and Setting UP Your Embosser (Extra 37)

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In our first Masterclass of 2022, Matthew Horspool tackled the hows, whys and wherefores of braille embossers: choosing them, setting them up and making the most of them. The session covered:

  • The purpose and function of an embosser and why you might want one
  • Different types of embosser
  • Different types of paper
  • Connectivity options
  • The user interface
  • The relationship between embosser and computer
  • The role of translation software

This session was recorded on Tuesday 18 January 2022. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.