PODCAST

Braillecast: Connecting the Dots for Braillists Everywhere

The Braillists Foundation

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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Formatting Your Braille (Extra 43)
6d ago
Formatting Your Braille (Extra 43)
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.
Formatting Your Braille (Extra 43)
6d ago
Formatting Your Braille (Extra 43)
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)
16-05-2022
Braille Technology in Everyday Life (Extra 42)
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.
What Happened at CSUN? (Episode 38)
02-05-2022
What Happened at CSUN? (Episode 38)
The annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference took place in March in California, and there were lots of exciting braille and tactile graphics announcements. We assembled a line-up of braille-using panellists who attended the conference who talked us through what was announced and gave their first impressions of the new products they saw.
Braille Around the World (Episode 37)
18-04-2022
Braille Around the World (Episode 37)
We know about braille in the UK, of course, and we regularly hear about braille in other developed English-speaking countries – the US, Australia, New Zealand and so on. But there are many other countries in the world about which we hear much less. How is braille taught? How is it produced? How easy is it to obtain? What braille technology is in use? On Tuesday 4 January, to mark World Braille Day, we explored these issues in detail with three panellists: Adrijana Prokopenko is a teacher of English and English braille in a school for the blind in Macedonia.Yanan Yu from China has a Master's degree in Disability Studies and is currently an intern at Bristol Braille Technology. Prior to this, she worked for a year as an Editor at China Braille Press.Christo de Klerk is a founding member of Braille SA, the first President of the South African Braille Authority and the Immediate Past President of the International Council on English Braille. He is a former student of the Pioneer Sch
Care and Usage of your Perkins Brailler (Extra 41)
04-04-2022
Care and Usage of your Perkins Brailler (Extra 41)
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 ma
Braille on iOS, Part 3 (Extra 40)
21-03-2022
Braille on iOS, Part 3 (Extra 40)
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)
07-03-2022
Braille on iOS, Part 2 (Extra 39)
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)
21-02-2022
Braille on iOS, Part 1 (Extra 38)
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 themBraille settings in VoiceoverExploring the home screenSome 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)
07-02-2022
Choosing and Setting UP Your Embosser (Extra 37)
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 oneDifferent types of embosserDifferent types of paperConnectivity optionsThe user interfaceThe relationship between embosser and computerThe role of translation software This session was recorded on Tuesday 18 January 2022. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
Drawing Stars with your Perkins (Extra 36)
25-12-2021
Drawing Stars with your Perkins (Extra 36)
Happy Christmas! In this special episode, James Bowden talks us through drawing some stars. The instructions are provided in written form below: Star 1 Line 1: ow sign (Dots 246); comma (dot 2) Star 2 Line 1: o (dots 135; k (dots 13) Star 3 Line 1: capital sign (dot 6); ar sign (dots 345); gh sign (dots 126); apostrophe (dot 3)Line 2: dot 4; wh sign (dots 156); s (dots 234); a (dot 1) Star 4 Line 1: space three times; letter sign or grade 1 indicator (dots 56); semicolon (dots 23)Line 2: space three times; ar sign (dots 345); gh sign (dots 126)Line 3: space twice; ar sign (dots 345); space twice; gh sign (dots 126)Line 4: x (dots 1346) twice; space four times; x (dots 1346) twiceLine 5: space twice; wh sign (dots 156); space twice; s (dots 234)Line 6: space four times; wh sign (dots 156); s (dots 234)Line 7: space four times; dots 45; b (dots 12) A Box Line 1: p (dots 1234); c (dots 14); l (dots 123)Line 1.5: l (dots 123); space; l (dots 123)Line 2: c (do
Drawing Pictures With Your Perkins (Extra 35)
21-12-2021
Drawing Pictures With Your Perkins (Extra 35)
We were delighted to be joined by Kim Charlson, Executive Director of the Perkins Library (part of Perkins School for the Blind). Kim is author of the book “Drawing with your Perkins Brailler”, which includes step-by-step directions for creating 36 different drawings including shapes, animals and subjects with holiday and transportation themes. In this session, she used a drawing of a Christmas tree to explain the concepts behind using braille cells to create pictures. Bring a Perkins and some paper and follow along and, by the end of the session, you will have your very own frilly Christmas tree made entirely of braille dots! This session was recorded on Tuesday 7 December 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
Leisure Reading with Refreshable Braille, Part 2 (Extra 34)
20-12-2021
Leisure Reading with Refreshable Braille, Part 2 (Extra 34)
We were delighted to have been joined by Sean Randall for the second in a two-part series. Sean is something of a computing and IT mastermind and now works at New College Worcester, training many of their students in the use of assistive technology including screen readers and braille displays. This session covered sources of reading material that are more mainstream in nature, including apps or specialist software used to read. These included: Amazon KindleLocal librariesSmaller publishers (e.g. Smashwords This session was recorded on Tuesday 23 November 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
Focus Braille Displays, ElBraille and JAWS 2022 (Episode 36)
30-11-2021
Focus Braille Displays, ElBraille and JAWS 2022 (Episode 36)
Freedom Scientific is perhaps best known for its popular JAWS screen reader, but it also manufactures the Focus line of refreshable braille displays. The first generation of these well-known units was released in the early 2000s, and now the fifth generation is available in 14, 40 and 80-cell configurations, with the 40-cell version being an integral part of the ElBraille from Elita Group. To tell us more, I'm joined by Ron Miller, Blindness Hardware Product Specialist at Vispero. UK Pricing All products available from Sight and Sound Technology Ltd and all prices given ex VAT.Focus 14 £1275 Focus 40 £2950 Focus 80 £7850 ElBraille 40 £1535 with Intel M3 or £1825 with Intel I5 Links Focus Blue 5th Generation Firmware DownloadsFocus Blue Braille Display TrainingFreedom Scientific Webinars On DemandACB Community
The BrailleSense 6 (Episode 35)
27-11-2021
The BrailleSense 6 (Episode 35)
For at least the past 30 years, blind people have been well-served by notetakers: electronic, computer-like devices with a Perkins-style keyboard and speech and braille output. At their most basic level, they've functioned as an electronic brailler for composing documents and, of course, taking notes, but they've also included functionality such as a calculator, address list, scheduler and, latterly, internet connectivity. Over the past few years, there's been a steady shift towards vastly increasing the capabilities of these devices, with many moving towards either Windows or Android. The latest of this newer style of notetaker is the BrailleSense 6 from Selvis Healthcare (formerly Hims). It measures 9.65×5.67×0.87 inches, weighs 1.58 lbs (2.3 lbs with case), and is equipped with a 4590 mAh user-replaceable battery, wi-fi up to 802.11AC, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS and compass, USB C with display port functionality, full-size SD card slot, 13 MP rear camera, microphone and stereo speakers.
Leisure Reading with Refreshable Braille, Part 1 (Extra 33)
15-11-2021
Leisure Reading with Refreshable Braille, Part 1 (Extra 33)
We were delighted to have been joined by Sean Randall for the first in a two-part series. Sean is something of a computing and IT mastermind and now works at New College Worcester, training many of their students in the use of assistive technology including screen readers and braille displays. This session primarily discuss the various braille devices available to consumers. He then provided an overview of libraries and sources of materials specifically for blind people, including: RNIB: reading Services, Bookshare and NTNMThe Seeing Ear National Accessible LibraryBibles for the Blind This session was recorded on Tuesday 9 November 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.
Braille in Spain and Translating for the Spanish Foreign Ministry with María García Garmendia (Episode 34)
13-11-2021
Braille in Spain and Translating for the Spanish Foreign Ministry with María García Garmendia (Episode 34)
George Bernard Shaw, in his play Pygmalion, wrote that "the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain." That line has its roots in spoken language, though of course in English rather than Spanish! But what about written language? We quite often talk about braille being useful as a tool when learning languages, but María García Garmendia of Madrid, Spain has taken things to the next level by qualifying as an official translator for the Spanish Foreign Ministry. As well as professionally translating to and from Italian and Portuguese, she's also a fluent speaker of English, German, French and Russian. She's been blind effectively since birth due to Retinopathy of Prematurity, learnt braille from the age of three and, in addition to her translation work, she has a part-time job as a lawyer in one of Spain's principal banks. In this episode of Braillecast, we hear more about her legal and translation work, the availability of braille and braille technology in Spain, and the Spanish
Kawal Gucukoglu on Being a Braille Transcriber and What Braille Means to Her (Episode 33)
01-11-2021
Kawal Gucukoglu on Being a Braille Transcriber and What Braille Means to Her (Episode 33)
Transcription, for anyone who doesn't already know, is the process of taking content in one format and converting it into another. In this case, print is being converted into braille, a process ubiquitous in the production of braille books, magazines, bills, bank statements, legal documents and much more. Humans have been at the heart of this process since its inception and, in spite of numerous technological advances, they remain so today. Kawal Gucukoglu, herself blind since birth, was a braille transcriber at RNIB for over 23 years, and in this episode of Braillecast, she shares some of the highs and lows of this part of her career, as well as what braille means to her more generally. We discussed the change to Unified English Braille, the evolving role of technology, the division of labour within a large organisation, and unique opportunities afforded to her through her braille-related work. Resources The Braillists Manual: standard reference on braille transcription with
Improving Reading Speed and Building Braille Mastery with Kit Aronoff (Episode 32)
25-10-2021
Improving Reading Speed and Building Braille Mastery with Kit Aronoff (Episode 32)
It's a question we get asked all the time – how can I read braille more quickly? To answer it, we were delighted to be joined on Tuesday 19 October by Kit Aronoff of Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and founder of Main Line Accessibility Consulting. Kit has a background in elementary education and, using principals of teaching literacy to emerging readers and articles from the National Federation of the Blind, she has developed a series of strategies which are sure to benefit even the most competent of braillists. Our Chairman Dave Williams led the discussion, and he started by asking Kit to describe her braille learning journey. Resources Braille Together Mingle is organised by the American Council of the Blind. For more information, email brl@earthlink.net
Braille: Connecting the Dots in 2021 (Episode 31)
22-10-2021
Braille: Connecting the Dots in 2021 (Episode 31)
Perhaps you're thinking about learning braille, but don't know whether it's worth it. Maybe you learnt braille as a child, but haven't used it since. You might know braille and want to use it in your daily life, but can't work out where it will fit. Or you could be bamboozled by braille technology, gadgets and gizmos. A panel of passionate braillists met in front of a live audience on Tuesday 12 October 2021 to celebrate National Braille Week. They explored how to overcome common obstacles faced by people who could benefit from reading by touch, sharing a diverse range of perspectives from braille learners to braille experts, technology enthusiasts to people who just need to get on at home or in the workplace. The audience also had the opportunity to ask questions and contribute their own tips and suggestions. Credits Host Dave Williams Panellist Claire Amoroso Panellist Darren Paskell Panellist Laurent Cadet de Fontenay Moderator Ben Mustill-Rose Producer Ma
An Introduction to Computer Braille (Extra 32)
11-10-2021
An Introduction to Computer Braille (Extra 32)
What is computer braille? Are there different flavours? What are all the signs? Why would you want to use it? Is it still relevant now that we have UEB? The latest occasional Masterclass from RNIB’s braille expert James Bowden answered all of these questions and more. This session was recorded on Tuesday 21 September 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.