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The Braillists Foundation

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Celebrating braille and keeping braillists informed with exclusive interviews, independent reviews, comprehensive demonstrations, clear presentations, thought-provoking commentary and up-to-the-minute braille news.
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This session, presented by Saima Akhtar, is designed to give you a Whistlestop tour of the fundamentals of Arabic braille. Rest assured, it’s not nearly as complicated as you think. By the end of the session, you will have more insight into the following areas: The origins of Arabic braille Common misconceptions around the structure and layout of A…
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Many braille displays include an SD or Micro SD card slot. However, when it comes to purchasing a suitable card, there are so many options! Which is best, and which work with your braille display? In this session, we were joined by friend of the Braillists Ben Mustill-Rose to help make sense of them. He covered: Technical terms – SD, Micro SD, SD H…
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According to its website, “BrailleBlaster™ is a braille transcription program developed by the American Printing House for the Blind to help transcribers provide blind students with braille textbooks on the first day of class.” It uses markup from source documents to automate formatting, and provides “tools to make advanced tasks quicker and easier…
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Sometimes, you just need a BRF file with no fuss, even though you know it might have the occasional error or won’t be formatted quite as you’d like. RoboBraille is one solution to this problem. It works with a large variety of file formats including PDF, Microsoft Word and plain text, and converts them to braille within a matter of minutes. Best of…
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Following our exploration of braille translators during National Braille Week, we were delighted to be joined by esteemed assistive technology pioneer Dean Martineau. Dean is a long term braille user and has spent many years developing his own personal braille shorthand system. In this Masterclass, Dean introduced us to the Biblos braille translato…
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For many years now, Sight Scotland have championed National Braille Week, an opportunity to celebrate braille usage and raise awareness of the importance and value of braille. It runs in the second week of October, to coincide with World Sight Day. In 2023, we celebrated National Braille Week at the Braillists by running five Masterclasses, one eac…
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For many years now, Sight Scotland have championed National Braille Week, an opportunity to celebrate braille usage and raise awareness of the importance and value of braille. It runs in the second week of October, to coincide with World Sight Day. In 2023, we celebrated National Braille Week at the Braillists by running five Masterclasses, one eac…
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For many years now, Sight Scotland have championed National Braille Week, an opportunity to celebrate braille usage and raise awareness of the importance and value of braille. It runs in the second week of October, to coincide with World Sight Day. In 2023, we celebrated National Braille Week at the Braillists by running five Masterclasses, one eac…
  continue reading
 
For many years now, Sight Scotland have championed National Braille Week, an opportunity to celebrate braille usage and raise awareness of the importance and value of braille. It runs in the second week of October, to coincide with World Sight Day. In 2023, we celebrated National Braille Week at the Braillists by running five Masterclasses, one eac…
  continue reading
 
For many years now, Sight Scotland have championed National Braille Week, an opportunity to celebrate braille usage and raise awareness of the importance and value of braille. It runs in the second week of October, to coincide with World Sight Day. In 2023, we celebrated National Braille Week at the Braillists by running five Masterclasses, one eac…
  continue reading
 
Supernova is a screen magnification and screen reading package from Dolphin Computer Access Ltd, based in Worcester in the UK. Braille display support is a core part of its offering, but we don't hear very much about it. In this session, we were joined by Aj Ahmed, proprietor of AAT Solutions, an independent provider of assistive technology trainin…
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If you have a new braille display and you’re struggling to connect it to your computer, iPhone or iPad, or you have a new computer, iPhone or iPad and you’re struggling to connect it to your braille display, this session is for you. We covered: The pros and cons of Bluetooth and USB Pairing and unpairing your braille display via Bluetooth Drivers a…
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Many screen readers, including JAWS and NVDA, make use of the popular, open source Liblouis braille translation engine as part of their braille display support. In this session, we explained and demonstrated how to harness the power of Liblouis braille tables to implement additional contractions in your screen reader of choice. If you use a long wo…
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“What’s wrong with grade 2?” In many cases, nothing. It strikes a good balance between compactness, readability and lack of ambiguity. However, in some cases, a code which is even more compact than grade 2 is extremely advantageous, especially when information needs to be written down at speed. The Braille Shorthand Code was one attempt at creating…
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iOS 17 was released last September, bosting a number of significant braille enhancements. In this Masterclass, we were joined by Scott Davert to find out more. Scott is well regarded in the blind community as an expert in braille on iOS. He regularly contributes braille-related content to the AppleVis website, and presented a series of three Master…
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The 39th CSUN Assistive Technology Conference took place from 18 to 22 March in Anaheim, California, hosted by the Centre on Disabilities, Division of Student Affairs at California State University, Northridge. There were many exciting braille product announcements at the conference, and the latest prototypes of previously announced braille product…
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Getting tactile diagrams at University is often not as easy as it should be. However, the Open University has an excellent reputation for accessibility, and has developed robust processes for students to request diagrams and for those diagrams to be designed and produced. This session was presented jointly by Jeff Bashton, former Visual Impairment …
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Bristol Braille Technology CIC recently released version 2.1 of the firmware for Canute 360, the world's first multi-line braille E-reader. Canute has come up in conversation many times before, but never specifically: what is it, and what can it do? In this episode, we sit down with Ed Rogers, Managing Director of BBT, to find out. Links of interes…
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The braille community is buzzing about the next generation of braille display: multi-line devices which can show anything from tables to tactile graphics at the press of a button are now a reality, and enthusiastic early adopters around the world are putting the technology through its paces. These multi-line braille displays will, sooner or later, …
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It's an exciting time for braille as we approach the 200th birthday of the braille code, and the International Council on English Braille will be celebrating in style this year with its eighth General Assembly, the theme of which is "Two Centuries of Braille". It will take place from Saturday 25 May to Thursday 30 May at The Grand Millennium Hotel …
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The Braillists Foundation held a face-to-face meeting at the 83rd annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind at the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel, Texas, in July 2023. Our Chairman, Dave Williams, was there with a microphone to soak up the atmosphere. We spoke to: Bristol Braille Technology CIC Hable A Cubed Design Ka Li (consulting …
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As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, a few people joined us for a cosy fireside chat to round off the year on Tuesday 19 December. How do you write and address your Christmas cards? How do you know whose Christmas presents are whose? And what part does braille play in all of this? We were joined by our expert Braille for Beginners tea…
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Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could just pick up a tablet of sorts, draw on it, and have the drawing in a tactile form? And wouldn't it be even more wonderful if you could simply erase the drawing and start over if you didn't like it? The Braille Doodle does just that, and we catch up with the Touchpad Pro Foundation to find out more.…
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Have you ever downloaded a book from Bookshare or Reading Services, but struggled to extract the zip file? Have you ever had a BRF file emailed to you, but not been able to copy it to your braille display? Does your braille display only support text or BRF files, but you want to read Word or PDF files on it? If you can answer “yes” to any of these …
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Whether you're new to braille or an experienced braillist, reading is an important and fundamental process. To fully appreciate the brilliance of braille for use in daily life, reading is something you should enjoy and feel comfortable with. But what can you do to improve your reading skills once you have learned all the letters and perhaps some co…
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The Orbit Reader range is now very extensive and comprises the Orbit Reader 20, the Orbit Reader 20 Plus and the Orbit Reader 40. On Tuesday 30 May 2023, James Bowden, Braille Technical Officer at RNIB, talked us through what these products can do, how they work, and the differences between Orbit Readers and other braille displays and notetakers. W…
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“This new braille has so many extra dots!” This is something we hear a lot, and it’s often followed by the question, “What do they all mean?” This Masterclass will help to solve the mystery. James Bowden, Braille Technical Officer at RNIB, Chairman of the Braille Coding Group of the UK Association for Accessible Formats, and the UK Representative t…
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There was a lot to cram into the last of our computer science-themed classes. We started with a quick refresher about what we’ve covered so far before taking a deep dive into what it takes to write software and build hardware with a particular focus on the accessibility elements of the process.By The Braillists Foundation
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Hable One is a powerful, fun and exciting way for you to interact with your smartphone or tablet using braille. As well as being a fully functional braille keyboard, supporting both grades 1 and 2, it also serves as a wireless remote control for every aspect of your smartphone or tablet, from moving around the screen to selecting, playing and pausi…
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According to Wikipedia, Git is a distributed version control system that tracks changes in any set of computer files, usually used for coordinating work among programmers collaboratively developing source code during software development. Luckily for us it’s far more interesting than it sounds on paper as it was the topic of the third in our series…
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The first of a series of recordings from the recent Six Dots to Success conference held in collaboration with Sight and Sound Technology Ltd. This episode includes: Welcome from Sight and Sound CEO Glenn Tookey Welcome from Braillists Chairman Dave Williams Keynote speech from Peter White, Disability Affairs Correspondent at the BBC Greater Indepen…
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Linux: it powers everything from laptops to toasters, braille displays to coasters. You may have heard of the world’s most popular operating system if you follow technology related news, but what is it and how do you get started exactly? In the second of our computer science themed Masterclasses, we explored how to get started using Linux with tech…
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The blind community is not without its fair share of innovators: Louis Braille himself, of course, alongside many others who brought us the braille code we know and love today. Elsewhere, the blind community has invented talking book players, screen readers, notetakers and so much more. For blind musicians, many of the most notable technological in…
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The Braillists Foundation recently held its first face-to-face event since the Coronavirus pandemic. In this episode, we catch up with some of the people who attended, and we also hear recordings of the three presentations which took place: Reading multilingual text using an iPhone, the Kindle app and a Focus 14 Text entry with an iPhone and a Brai…
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George Bell has been at the helm of Techno-Vision Systems for at least 35 years. In that time, he has brought many blindness products to the UK market, repaired numerous machines which would have otherwise been condemned, and provided countless hours of technical support. He is particularly well-known for his involvement with the Duxbury Braille Tr…
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In our last Masterclass before the Christmas break, we’re delighted that Kim Charlson, Executive Director of the Perkins Library (part of Perkins School for the Blind), was able to join us again. Kim is author of the book “Drawing with your Perkins Brailler”, which includes step-by-step directions for creating 36 different drawings including shapes…
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On Tuesday 15 November 2022, we hosted an incredibly informative panel discussion around writing software and working in the technology industry in general when using a braille display. We heard from people in a variety of different IT rolls about the techniques they use, when they use braille and when they use speech, and left plenty of time for a…
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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 l…
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The International Council on English Braille held its Mid-Term Executive Committee Meeting from 5-9 June 2022. As well as transacting various items of business, there were lively discussions around the history of braille, braille music, braille technology and the braille code itself. In this episode of Braillecast, we were joined by ICEB President …
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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 …
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