The Deafblind Techies Newsletter Number 11.

3rd November 2000.


++ 1, Editorial.
++ 2, Gwen's Column.
++ 3, Tennessee Deaf-Blind Association, Anniversary on 4th November 2000.
++ 4, The new Blazie Braille Notetakers.
++ 5, The new Electro-Braille Group.
++ 6, The Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education.
++ 7, The DB Techies Bits n Bytes News File.
++ 8, Download the past issues of the DB Techies.
++ 9, The Archives of the DB Techies Newsletter.
++ 10, To subscribe and unsubscribe from DB Techies.

++ 1. Editorial.

Hello to you all, I hope that all of you are in good health and doing well. It's hard to believe that it's November already, where have the last Ten months gone I ask my little self.

Well I am doing the DB Techies back on my desk top PC again, after about six weeks working on my Dell laptop Computer because my Desk top PC thought that it was time that I needed to be more careful with it because it is starting to get a bit old.

Yes the Old Compaq desk top PC is not that far from being four years old and I am starting to get a lot of trouble with it now for some reason which I do not know why, But that all the fun of having a computer or so they say.

After a good bit of work trying to find the reasons why it decided to wipe the hard disk of all the information and files on it we where able to get it going again, this took us four weeks to get this just right and we still do not know the reason why it did it in the first place but that is life isn't it or so they say.

My sister installed the new Windows Millennium onto my PC for me, I have to say that I do like the new version of Windows, it has not yet crashed on me yet since we installed it about two weeks ago onto the Compaq desk top PC, but there is a good bit of work to do after one installs it because it is very much for the sighted hearing PC user, but it easy to change the settings so that it works like the old windows 95 version, when it comes to going through folders on the computer before one sets it up to change this setting it has all folders viewed as a HTML web page.

This for me was not accessible so with some little changes I was able to make it accessible for myself, and there isn't much to it.

so I am going to install windows Millennium into my laptops when I and my sister get the time.

I will need to buy a new desk top PC some time in the new Year and that will be a Dell PC, which I hope will last me a good bit longer than this one has done so far. On the new Dells one can get a 75 GB hard disk now isn't that just a great size of a hard disk.

I was always sorry that I bought this Compaq PC, I don't think they are as good as they used to be in the past, and that is from some one who has bought a number of Compaq PC's and laptops in his little computing time.

Right less of the day dreaming and back down to earth again and to the DB Techies, we have 101 members on this little newsletter, that is the highest it has ever been since we started it.

So a hello to all the new members and I hope that you will stay a little time with us. We have some good info in this issue I hope that you will like, and we have Gwen's Column again in the DB Techies.

Right less of me and here we go with the DB Techies.

++ 2, Gwen's Column.

I will never say that I know what it is like to walk in the shoes of someone that is deaf or deaf/blind, I would never assume that I know what it is like.

I have multiple sclerosis as I am always appalled when people try to tell me what it is like to live with this disease, when they know nothing about it.

However, I have lived and enjoyed life with the deaf and deaf/blind for many years now, today I would like to tell you a little bit more of how I feel.

As you recall from last month my friend skunk had died and I felt so lost without him as he had been a mentor to me and had taught me so much, so I ventured forward with the same group of people, only this time more on my own.

Rejecting invitations to be with my seeing/hearing friends I started to go to deaf/blind events. Sign language perfection was a must at these gatherings. So I became proficient at the language.

Picnics in the bright sun and parties at night I came closer to my wonderful new found friends, also making other seeing/hearing friends that happened to be in relationships and marriages with deaf/blind people. I realized some of their struggles.

When the seeing/hearing people go on a date or spend an evening together the agenda may be a dinner and the movies, what happens when the movie part is taken away?

aha....a nice romantic dinner and more quality time spent in conversation, a deeper understanding of each other. I always felt there must be a sixth sense for couples that are deaf/blind.

I got to know another deaf/blind couple and they invited me to their house for dinner, what a joy. The way this loving couple interacted with each other was like a ballet, it should have been set to music, for it was such an inspiration to me, to see a couple with a lot of obstacles, over come them and be nothing less than graceful.

I cannot seem to make it through my house without tripping over something, yet this wonderful couple prepared a beautiful meal and we had a wonderful evening full of laughter and friendship, with just me bumping into everything.

Laughing they finally told me to sit down and relax.

I did and it is one of the most memorial dinners I have ever attended.

The seeing/hearing community should take lessons. This couple are still together today and though I do not see them since I have moved away, I am sure they are still making beautiful music together.

When I sought out a relationship of my own in the years ahead, I took the example these fine people set for me, many years ago at a nice homemade meal. I could and did not settle for less.

This article will continue in the next DB Techies, but if you would like to E-mail Gwen, Then I know that Gwen would be very pleased to receive any e-mail letters from fellow DB Techies.

Gwen's E-mail address is:

++ 3. Tennessee Deaf-Blind Association, Anniversary on 4th November 2000.

Tennessee Deaf-Blind Association 4th Anniversary Year.
President Tommy Bedwell.
The Deaf-Blind Volunteers
Cordially Welcome You
To ATTEND the Quarterly
On Saturday, November 4, 2000
Open at 8:30 A.M. to 3 P.M.
At the
Knoxville Area Community Center f/t Deaf
3731 Martin Mill Pike in Knoxville
Across from the Dialysis Center
4th Thanksgiving Dinner Celebration!
Door Prize Fun!
Contact: Carolyn Nicholson
TTY/FAX 615-612-3835
For potluck information to contact:
Lillian Wynn,
TTY: 865-463-9106,
FAX 865-463-9035,

Thanks Tommy for sending me this information for the DB Techies.

++ 4, The new Blazie Braille Notetakers.

A number of you may have learned that Blazie are bringing out a new Series of the Braille Lites and the Type Lite.

I am very interested in this myself as a person who owns two Braille Lites 18, and would like to get a braille notetaker  that one can use to access the net and also read e-mail letters and send them with this notetaker.

I have already had my sticky little fingers on one of the New BrailleNote notetakers from HumanWare and that was thanks to Ann on this list for setting this up for me.

I have to say that I was really taken a little back with this new brailleNote, And came away from the Demo thinking that I would be buying one maybe in June of next year so that I had a good bit of time to save up money for it.

And thinking to my little self that buy the time that I do go for the Braille Note the specs on it would have went up quite a bit than what it is right now. That meaning that the BrailleNote has only 8 MB of internal storage, This may seem a lot but when you are downloading sites and e-mail letters, and also keeping a number of e-text books on it to read when one is on a  bus or in a car it is not really that much.

I think, well I believe that it is about time that Blazie was given a good run for it's money  when it comes down to Braille Notetakers. and I really think that the New BrailleNote will change the way that Blazie has been doing things for a long long time. instead of just sitting on there hands and not doing very much with there braille notetaker equipment for years and when a new rival comes on the scene and one that can do a lot better than what Blazie have. it has finally woken them up and at long last too.

Competition between Blazie and HumanWare is really good for us, it may push up the specs and bring down the prices on these new Braille note takers. Well that is what I hope.

Right less of me going on and on, and down to the information about the new Blazie Braille lites and we have information about the new Type Lite and a new Blazer Inferno Embosser.

The Braille Lite Millennium Series from Blazie, a division of Freedom Scientific

Braille Lite M20
Braille Lite M40

Introducing the newest Note-takers from Blazie, a division of Freedom Scientific. In 20 cell and 40 cell models, these Note-takers feature Braille displays with cursor routing, CompactFlash, built-in 56K baud modem, POP 3 email capabilities, and much more. These features, along with the addition of Whiz Wheels and an even more compact design, make Braille Lite the top choice in Braille Note-takers.

Features of the Braille Lite Millennium Series are:

12 MB of internal storage  Cursor routing in both 20 cell or 40 cell models CompactFlash port economical, easily obtained, and easy to use. This feature also allows you to synchronize files with your computer, and Microsoft Windows will recognize your Note-taker as an additional disk drive, making file management quick and simple.

New and improved JAWS for Windows support: The combined development efforts of the Blazie and Henter-Joyce Divisions have resulted in some distinct advances in support with the new Note-takers.

WHIZ WHEELS: These two small wheels found at each end of the Braille display were developed to help you move throughout a document with more speed, accuracy, and versatility. They are programmable to scroll by line, sentence or paragraph, and they contain tactile bumps indicating your location on a document.

POP 3 E-mail Services: The Millennium Series supports standard POP 3 e-mail services. This will allow users to log onto the Internet through almost any Internet service provider to maintain email accounts through their Note-Taker.

More Compact Design: Measuring just 8¼ x 5 x 1½, the Braille Lite Millennium 20 small size offers more features in less space, making it even easier to go wherever you go.

The new Millennium Series of personal Note-takers are available in 16 languages.
Price each: 5,995.00 US Dollars (English only).

Additional Models:
Dual language, English +1 Price each: 6,095.00 US Dollars.
Dual language, 2 Non-English Price each: 6,195.00 US Dollars.

Type Lite.

Introducing Type Lite: the world’s first Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) that combines the award-winning features of a Blazie Note-taker with access to the world’s leading screen reading software, JAWS for Windows. This new Note-taker offers speech access, a 40-cell refreshable Braille display, and a standard Windows style keyboard. The wireless compact design delivers 30+ hours of battery life. With 14mb of built-in memory and removable Compact Flash, Type Lite provides virtually unlimited file storage possibilities. All these features make Type Lite a top choice among versatile, powerful, note-taking devices.

Additional features of the new Type Lite include a 40-cell Braille display that allows you to read and edit what you’ve written directly into your Type Lite’s file memory.

Working together with JAWS for Windows screen reading software, Type Lite becomes a dynamic Braille display for your PC, allowing you to toggle easily between Note-taker and PC modes at the flip of a switch.

When used as a Braille display and keyboard for a computer, the Type Lite becomes a universal workstation for a blind professional. No need to be confused when moving from one computer to another as the keyboard lay-out will always remain the same, making it the perfect choice for the blind professional on the go. And the removable CompactFlash memory cards provide for virtually unlimited storage and easy system back up.

Additional Type Lite Features and Benefits:

Bilingual option Operates two different languages if desired. Choose from among 15 languages, and switch between them at the touch of a key!

Easy to operate  Simple, proven command structure. Both children and adults master it quickly.
Word processing  Complete capabilities, including spell check.

Speech synthesizer  Fully adjustable to let you control parameters such as tone, rate, pitch, and more.

Grade 2 Braille translation  and Braille input mode.
External software Our large selection of inexpensive Note-taker software lets you add capabilities like personal money management, scientific graphing, and spreadsheet production to your Type Lite.

Time and Date functions, Talking (and Braille) clock, appointment calendar, alarm, and stopwatch. Plus, a phone book organizer and scientific calculator.

Protective carrying case, easy-to-follow documentation and other accessories included.
Install software updates yourself, quickly and easily.

All Blazie, a Division of Freedom Scientific, products come with a 30-day money-back guarantee of satisfaction. Type Lite carries a full one-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
Customer support

Blazie offers extensive computer help, including our highly trained technical support staff, company website with on-line manuals and other product information, and e-mail user forums.

Blazie Type Lite  English Version: 5,995.00 US Dollars.
Dual language, English +1: 6,095.00 US Dollars.
Dual language, 2 Non-English: 6,195.00 US Dollars.

The Blazer Inferno Braille Embosser.
This newly engineered, wide carriage, high-quality Braille embosser is portable, dependable and fast working. Based on the widely used Blazer, the Inferno has some notable design expansions to offer users more versatility, greater capacity, and overall lowered operational Brailling costs.

Features of the Blazer Inferno are:

Wider carriage allows the use of Braille paper up to 11-inches wide, or Standard Braille Paper size, making it an easy choice for transcribers.

BLAZING embossing speeds of 50 characters per second, or more.
New Spool and Copy functions allow for embossing of large files of up to 60 Braille pages, and a repeat of up to 255 copies, without tying up the file source device.
Light weight- 17.5 pounds.
Size: 18" x 8" x 5"

Power-up announcement of platen as "Text Mode," "Graphics Mode," or "Platen Error." This decreases embossing errors and paper waste. On the fly switching from parallel to serial port. The unit will announce current mode, eliminating the previously required start menu visit to make this change.

An attractive new design of polished aluminum sides and a bright red, translucent cover.
Emboss the current state of each menu item setting through a new keystroke command; especially helpful to deaf-blind users.

New Printer Configuration menu settings of 1/8-inch increments for Page Length, offering more accuracy when embossing cards and labels.

Carrying case available.
Renewable, annual Product Maintenance Agreement (PMA) available for $275.00 per year.

Price each: 2,795.00 US Dollars.

End of Information about Blazie.

Now I am asking my self what are Blazie going to offer to there long time users of there Braille Lites 18 and 40. there should not be a real reason why we can not be able to get a 4 MB of internal storage card in a Braille Lite 18 and a bit higher in a Braille Lite 40. I know we're not talking about a programme upgrade here on our old Braille Lites.  But surely there is something in this for us, even though it's just a flash card upgrade.

But I can tell you one little thing I would not like to be one of the many people out there who have bought a Braille lite from January to let say August.

Only the people who buys a braille lite now, i.e., before the Millennium series is released, will be entitled to an upgrade to the new one for 395 Pounds. I read this on the UK Blazie mailing list so that is what they are saying.

They also said "You wouldn't expect Canon or HP to trade in your printer, scanner or PC in a similar situation: unless of course you had one of those Gateway-type arrangements".

That is very true, but I say one would not pay thousands of Pounds for a printer or scanner. a good couple of hundred pounds for them, and maybe even then if one searches long enough on the net one can get that down even more.

Right less of me going on and on, I hope that you found this info of use, here is the web site of Blazie and HumanWare.


And HumanWare have a web site all about the BrailleNote
here it is:

++ 5, Electro-Braille group.

This is a new Mailing list, setup to give help and info about electronic Braille and here one can find electronic Braille in the net.

I have been on the group for about four weeks and find it very interesting and I thought that just maybe some of the DB Techies would also find it of use too.

Here is the information about it and how one can join it.

The Electro-Braille group is for the discussion of the production, and use of electronic Braille, files .   Topics can include the production, and reading of books and other materials produced in this format. The establishment of on-line libraries of such materials.

to Subscribe to the list e-mail to:

The Moderator of the Electro-Braille egroup is Peter Donahue
E-mail address is:
To Post message to the group:
To Unsubscribe:
URL to this page:

++ 6, The Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education.

The Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education - formerly known as The Helen Keller Education and Research Foundation.

This is a new site that has just been put on to the net, and it is a very interesting one with a lot of information about Deafblindness and a good bit about Helen Keller as well. There is there Mission Statement.

Our Mission Statement Based on the legacy of Helen Keller and her request "help me to hasten the day when there shall be no blindness," the Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education strives to prevent blindness by advancing vision research and education. The Foundation aspires to be a leader in integrating vision research with the greater biomedical research community, by creating and coordinating a peer-reviewed, worldwide network of investigators and institutions.

As i said above this is an interesting site, but there is a little unusual thing about it that I have never come across before and that being it's domain name, it's domain name is:

I didn't know that there was a "ws" Domain name out on the net yet, I have found out that it stands for World Site. So we will in time find a lot more of these WS domain names on the net because the dot com names are starting to be taken up by more people buying them all up.

I liked the WS domain names my self but do not have a clue how much these cost.

But anyway getting back to the new site, The site is a joy to use as it has been well thought out and it is accessible for us all to use.

The Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education site is at:

++ 7. The DB Techies Bits n Bytes News File.

+ Bits n Bytes, Intel releases the P4 early.
PC vendors rejoiced today as Intel pushed forward the release date for its P4 chip. Intel will be introducing it in about a month.

Originally due for release at the end of this year, vendors had complained of the late release. Intel CEO Craig Barrett said: "We'll price the Pentium 4 processor precisely as necessary to get it in the volume desktop marketplace."

Barrett also said that production of the processor would be ramped up considerably in the new year.

The Intel chip will sport maximum speeds of 1.5Ghz, and the earlier release date will bring it into competition against AMD's new Athlon chips, running at 1.2Ghz.

+ Bits n Bytes, Web Firms Calling On New Phone Services.

Web portals looking to provide consumers with more ways to access content are launching voice portals, which read information such as stock quotes and e-mail over the phone. Yahoo! recently launched a voice portal that allows users to access e-mail, stock quotes, and sports scores by dialing a toll-free 800 number. Users obtain information by pressing phone buttons, because Yahoo's voice portal does not yet use speech recognition software.

Meanwhile, Lycos recently launched a voice portal in five major cities that will gradually expand across the country over the next four months. Lycos' voice portal offers speech recognition software but uses local numbers, which could leave some consumers uncertain about which number to call when they travel. Yahoo and Lycos are lending credibility to the voice portal space, which is already occupied by companies like BeVocal, Tellme Networks, and

+ Bits n Bytes, Bluetooth Technology Promises Revolution In Connectivity.

IBM, Ericsson, Nokia, Intel, Toshiba, Microsoft, 3Com, Motorola, and Lucent are leading the Bluetooth Special Interest Group and its roughly 2,000 other members to develop low-cost devices and applications based on the Bluetooth wireless networking standard.

Bluetooth-enabled laptops, cell phones, handheld computers, printers, fax machines, and other devices communicate wirelessly with each other via 2.4 GHz radio signal, allowing users to pass a file from a laptop to a printer or fax machine without connecting the machines physically. "It's the holy grail of connectivity," says IBM mobile market program director Ronald Sperano.

IBM will release a Bluetooth network card in November and is working on a Bluetooth antenna that will be built into laptop cases. Meanwhile, cell phone maker Ericsson plans to release a cordless headset to be used with its phones before Christmas. Some 670 million devices are expected to be Bluetooth-enabled by 2005, according to Cahners In-Stat.

+ Bits n Bytes, Internet chief kidnapped by rival.
The wild world of the World Wide Web got a little stranger yesterday as it was revealed that an executive at Liquid Audio kidnapped his rival. Masafumi Okanda and four other men are suspected of abducting a Liquid Audio executive who planned to start a rival business in the US. The incident is said to have happened in June last year, when Mr Okanda allegedly handcuffed and blindfolded the man, held him hostage in Tokyo for two days before releasing him in a forest.

Mr Okanda was later made president of Liquid Audio but resigned his post in September this year. But the story doesn't end there as the man who was allegedly kidnapped was arrested a year after the incident for hacking into his former company's computer system.

+ Bits n Bytes, Will E-Books Be Real Page-Turners?

E-book sales have been disappointing so far for companies that have tried to get the public interested in the technology. But Gemstar-TV Guide International is trying again, this time by lining up five publishers to launch titles by best-selling fiction authors exclusively for e-book download.

The traditional bound versions will not be available until days or weeks after the electronic copies become available. Publishers say this gives the authors greater exposure. Some of the titles will be much cheaper than the print versions as well. An agreement between Gemstar and Thomson Multimedia will bring two new portable e-book devices--one colour, one black-and-white--into stores later this month. Gemstar Chairman Henry C. Yuen says e-books will do well because they are cheaper to produce and eliminate shipping, environmental, and warehousing costs.

+ Bits n Bytes, Microsoft hacked from St. Petersburg.
Reports are emerging that hackers have broken into computer systems at Redmond and may have gained access to Windows source code. Over a three month period. According to the BBC, the attack - now being investigated by the FBI - was discovered on Wednesday by company security staff. Microsoft is adamant that no source code has been modified.

But what is most alarming is that this was apparently not a one-off breach of security; it's suspected that computers have been accessed over three months.

"Microsoft is moving aggressively to isolate the problem and to secure our corporate network," said Microsoft spokesman Rick Miller."We are confident that the integrity of our source code remains secure."

"This is a deplorable act of industrial espionage and we will work to protect our intellectual property," he added.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Microsoft security discovered that passwords used in the transfer of source code were being sent from the computer network in Redmond to an e-mail account in St. Petersburg, Russia.

+ Bits n Bytes, FBI Investigates Unwanted E-Mail Linked To Web Site Run By Rnc.

The FBI is trying to determine the source of a number of spam attacks that urge voters to support presidential candidate George W. Bush. Although the messages claim to originate from a Web site run by the Republican National Committee (RNC), the party says it is not responsible for the unauthorized e-mails.

The e-mails have been sent to Democrats and independents who are likely to be annoyed by the pro-Bush message. The message asks recipients to sign up for more information at a Web site maintained by the RNC. Meanwhile, ClickAction, the company that runs the Republican Web site, says it never authorized spam to be sent from the site.

The episode highlights not only the growing importance of the Internet in today's political campaigns but also the potential for politicians to alienate voters by misusing the technology.

+ Bits n Bytes, Ten Billion E-Mails A Day In 2000.

The number of e-mails sent on an average day will reach 10 billion this year and rise to 35 billion by 2005, according to a recent report from International Data (IDC). This growth "can be a blessing or a curse depending on how prepared our environments are for them," says IDC's Mark Levitt.

In Western Europe, the number of e-mails sent annually is expected to grow to 1.6 trillion in 2005, up from 511 billion in 2000, Levitt says. The Western European market accounts for 20 percent of e-mail usage globally.

While e-mail has always been the most popular application on the Internet, it continues to gain momentum as companies increasingly move business online. Interactive and content-rich e-mail is also driving increased usage.

++ 8. Download the past issues of the DB Techies.

If you would like to read the other DB Techies that you may have missed in the past I have made an archive of all the past Issues available in text and in the BRL format for a Braille Note taker. These files are available at  And they are this is the text version, and for the notetakers.

You can go to the site to get them or use this method too.

Send e-mail to
and on the Subject line put this.
Or for the BRL version put this in.

++ 9. The Archives of the DB Techies Newsletter.

I have included a page on my site which will archive this copy of the DB Techies Newsletter, and the last issue of the DB Techies has already been put on to my site, so if you missed the other Editions of DB Techies Newsletter you can get them at:

++ 10. To subscribe, send a message to or go to the e-groups's home page at

To unsubscribe from DB Techies send e-mail to: You must send the e-mail letter from the same e-mail address that you used to subscribed from.

Please remember that any suggestions about any equipment that would Be useful to Deafblind and blind people, or any information, which would be useful to the readers will be welcome.

Until the next issue which will be on the 1st December 2000.

"DB Techies" newsletter will be published monthly on the first Friday of each Month. And will be e-mail to the Subscribers.

I wish all the very best to all of you, And Thank you for taken the time to read this little newsletter.

All the very best to you all.


James Gallagher

End of DB Techies.

A-Z to Deafblindness