The DB Techies Newsletter.

3rd December 1999

The Deafblind Techies Newsletter Number.3


++ 1, Editorial.
++ 2, Disability Accessible Mailing List
++ 3, SETI: Search Engine Technology Interface.
++ 4, The Brailtalk.
++ 5, HotBraille.
++ 6, The New North Carolina Deafblind Associates Web site.
++ 7, The Archives of the DB Techies Newsletter.
++ 8, To subscribe and unsubscribe from DB Techies.

++ 1 Editorial
By James Gallagher

Hello to all of you, and I hope that the past four weeks have been good to you. We have a couple of new members and I welcome them to the DB Techies, I hope that new and old members will enjoy this issue with some good info within it, well I hope you think so anyway.

I have been busy myself over the past couple of weeks trying to write an article for the International newsletter for Deafblind People, I tried to write something that would be useful to the readers but I think that i have made a right mess of it. it's away now but I think that I have made a big mistake in doing this. But time will tell.

Well we have some good things in this months newsletter, and I am already working on the next issue which will be sent to you on the 7th January 2000. Yes it's the end of another year and I am a year older but not any more wiser for it or so they tell me ?

I wonder what the millennium will have in hold for us, probably Bugs and more bugs or so they keep telling us all. But you really wonder what new technology will come to be a part of every day life for us all, and just maybe it will help people like ourselves to have a lot more independents in our lives than what we have at the moment. As one of this centuries greatest men said, "I have a Dream". And I hope for us deafblind people we can have more independents with the new equipment that the future just may bring us all. But this is only hope but it is better than nothing.

Well I better let you go now and let you all start reading the newsletter.

I hope that this new millennium will keep you all well and in good health and may it bring you and your family happiness.

My thoughts go with you all and have a very good Christmas or Hanukkah.

God bless and shalom.

++ 2, Disability Accessible Mailing List

This is a new mailing list about making web sites accessible to all. I am on this list myself and find it of great use to me, Because there are many webmasters on this list who are really trying to open there sites to all on the net. Every Disability is thought about, and how one can over come these troubles with helping the webmasters of these sites.

This is a very good list and I would try and encourage you all to give it a try.

The list info

Disability Accessible Web Design.

This is a list for web site designers about the issues involved with making web sites accessible to the disabled. For many, the Internet is the last frontier. This list sheds light on very important humane issues.

Subscription instructions: To join, send blank e-mail to:

Post message:

Disability Debate.

Here's a description of the list:

This is a sister list to DisabilityAccess.  It lets members intensely debate technical issues concerning designing web sites for the disabled.

To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: .

Post message:

The List owner is Patrick McFarland
and his e-mail Address is:

For more information go to:

++ 3. SETI: Search Engine Technology Interface.

In the last issue of the DB Techies newsletter I had information about WebFerret software that one downloaded from the net, Well SETI is a search engine tool that is on the net and it is totally accessible to all, That being those who use speech software or like myself a braille Display, And not forgetting those who are Partially Sighted.

SETI: Search Engine Technology Interface. They say on there site "ACCESS FOR EVERYONE".

Right I will start giving the information about SETI. SETI search is a unique, user-friendly search engine tool that offers many different search engines to choose from. SETI lets you enter your query once, then select from current and popular search engines! These are AltaVista, AOL Search,, (newsgroups), Discovery, Health, Excite, HotBot, MetaCrawler,, WebCrawler and Yahoo.

To use SETI, enter your keyword or phrase once, select your desired search engine and use the "Search Now" button to view the results. To search the Web for your keyword or phrase using a different search engine, use the back button on your browser to return to the main page of SETI-search, select the new search engine from the pull-down menu, press "Search Now" and view the new results.

SETI also have a Style Settings Selection Option on the site, by Following the link shown on there home page you can read the options that they have established to enable you to better control how the SETI-search tool will appear on your display screen.

At the moment they have provisions for three different style settings: default (the cascading style sheet they normally employ on this site), high contrast (white letters against a black background) and none (no style sheet is employed--you will see a simple text display with no background images or fancy graphics). This may be of great interest to the low vision net users
who are with us on the net.

Also SETI are very keen on Feedback about there site and any comments that you have about the great search engine. They also are very please to add to SETI more search engines that you feel that you use but are not on the SETI site search engines list.

They also have a e-mail mailing list but I not really know what is on this newsletter that SETI do. To e-mail SETI with feedback about the site then send to:

Now for the URL for SETI: Search Engine Technology Interface.

The URL is:

"A note to all readers the URL address above is there is no WWW between"

This is the right URL, it got me for a little time. But then again it not take much to confuse me, but you can disagree with me if you like.

++ 4. The Brailtalk.

Brailtalk, is a slim pocket-sized hinged plastic case which opens to display the braille alphabet embossed beneath the corresponding raised print letters. Intended to be used as a communication card, the sighted person "talks" by moving the deafblind person's fingers over the letters. This device is also suitable for teaching the beginning of Braille. As a conversation tool for the deafblind with those who cannot fingerspell, and it can be used for writing limited braille messages. To use Brailtalk, as a conversation tool, place the recipient's finger on the appropriate braille or print characters and spell out words and sentences. The Brailtalk comes with a card that has on it "Brailtalk.I am Deafblind and this card enables you and me to talk to each other. Please place my index finger on each letter and number and i will indicate that I understand."  You would give the card to the person you are trying to communicate too. I have a Brailtalk myself and I think it is a great little device.

Many of you  will find it hard to believe but long ago I used to help to teach braille to others, these people where blind but hearing many of them had just lost there sight or needed to learn braille because what little sight that they had was not good enough for them to use for every day reading. The Brailtalk was a great help for me to give them the first step into the wonderful world of braille. I used it because they had been sighted before and they could understand printed text. The Brailtalk was so useful because it had raised character alphabet, and the braille version of the character alphabet was under the Printed alphabet, so they could understand what each braille dots where for the printed alphabet.

I did help teach braille for a good little time, untill I thought it was getting to much for me trying to keep up communication between myself and the other person, But I think that the other persons thought it very hard to keep this up all the time, So I thought to my little self that it was time to go. But this was long before my computer days when so many things changed for the better for me.

Now back to business again the Brailtalk is made in the UK. I have searched the net for many weeks to find a dealer in America or Canada, But the only place that one can buy the Brailtalk is in Britain. I did send a letter to the inventor of the Brailtalk Brian and Jane Payne some time ago and they did send a braille reply to my letter with info about a new address, but stupid me cannot find that braille letter any where. But here is the address of Brian and Jane Payne.

Brian And Jance Payne
28 Crofton Avenue,
BR6 8DU.
United Kingdom.
Tel: +44 1689 856118.

There is no e-mail address or Web site. I not know why they not have e-mail address or Web site because this would bring them a lot more orders from all over this little world of ours.

Now for the price of the Brailtalk When I bought the Brailtalk it was just about Ten pounds but I believe that Brian And Jance Payne have made some changes to that. but the Brailtalk is a great communication tool for deafblind people all over the world that if they can use Braille.

Here in the UK there are many deafblind people who just can not learn braille for one reason or another, that may be that they where Deaf before they loss there sight or that they just not have the feeling in there fingers to read braille. Well for this reason we also have Moon here in Britain, But in the next issue of the DB Te??? I will give you a lot more information about Moon and about Dr Moon who invented Moon.

++ 5. HotBraille., Inc. is the only free Braille transcribing service on the internet. Located in Oakland, California, HotBraille was founded in September by a group of Web and Braille enthusiasts with the mission of providing anyone with free Braille.

They say that they will soon be launching more web-based services of interest to the visually impaired.

You will find to be a very useful service. Instead of buying and maintaining your own Braille printer and translation software you can use for all your documents needs. Use to print your class notes, recipes, written reports, internet sources, or make a record of your everyday notes, all in Braille! As long as you limit each letter size to 4 pages,  we will print the message you provide on the screen and send it to you, or any of your friends, for free.

You have to Sign Up at the hotbraille site to start using there services All they ask is that you give your name and Address,  telephone number and your e-mail address.

And you are asked to choose a Username and a Password.

Then you have to read there acceptance of terms and conditions of the site you must Accept the terms and conditions or Decline them, if you Decline you will not be able to use there services.

Once you have Accepted the terms and conditions, You are then taken to a page to where you can sign in to the HotBraille site using your chosen Username and Password.

When next you download your e-mail letters you will find an e-mail from, This is what you will find in this e-mail letter. I have taken out my Username and a Password with ????

Start of e-mail letter.

Subject: Welcome to HotBraille

Dear James ,

Thank you for registering with HotBraille, the world's first free web-based Braille transcription service. Keep this information handy so you won't have to sign-up again:

Your Username: ?????
Your Password: ?????

To ensure that all has gone well with your experience on our site, we'd be more than willing to answer any questions or concerns you may have; e-mail us at Also, don't forget to tell your friends and family about our service so as many people can benefit as possible. Thank you for your interest in HotBraille and we look forwarding to transcribing and sending your letters soon.

Warmest Regards,

The HotBraille Team.

End of e-mail letter.

Now also at the site there is a link "What does Braille look like?" I got a sighted person to look at this page on the net. The idea is for a sighted person to type in a small amount of text and when the software on the hotbraille site to convert this text type in to braille. The person e-mailed and said that for him that this was very interesting to be able to do this.

Anything that interest a sighted person in braille is a good thing, so hats off to Hotbraille again.

I think this may become a great service from but my only question is that this site is in the USA. I am not sure if we in Europe will be able to use this service or not.

I send HotBraille an e-mail asking this very Question and this was the answer that they send to me.

Start of Reply.

Subject: HotBraille International

To all concerned about HotBraille,
Thank you for your inquiries and we took them as requests to globalize HotBraille. Here's the deal: We are set to launch a worldwide version of HotBraille very soon. How soon? I'd say mid-january or february 2000. Right now we want to focus on perfecting our Braille production flow, then we can go global. Sorting letters by language so that we use the proper translation tables will crunch more time. However, we have a question. Because we'd send the letters "Free Matter for the Blind", it would take almost three weeks for those letters to arrive. Is it worth it for you to receive those letters so late? We will work on creating other offices around the world to make the arrival time faster, however would you be willing to wait for letters in the meantime?

Stay posted, we will alert all of you when we launch HotBraille 2.0.

Warmest regards, don't forget to respond to my above question

Khaled Hal Saad
C.E.O., Inc.

End of reply.

I really wish these people well in this as it would be of great help to us all.

And one more little thing the site has frames on it. I got this little message the first time I went to the site, This page uses frames, but your browser doesn't support them.

Now I have told you every thing but the URL of HotBraille here it is

And again this is a free service from so give it a try.

++ 6, The New North Carolina Deafblind Associates Web site.

North Carolina Deafblind Associates (NCDBA)

There mission is to seek new ways to provide emotional support and improve the quality of life for Deafblind people, from cradle to grave. We will explore all possible ideas, means, and technologies to maximize their potential and achievement in their communication, mobility, independent living, and place of employment and social life. NCDBA will, as always, continue to help the deafblind persons be informed, empowered and supported their prosperity of life. No stones will be ever left unturn, as we pursue our goals in this competitive world.

The New North Carolina Deaf-Blind Associates Web site is at:

For me it is always great to find out that there is another New Web Site about Deafblindness on the Net. This can only help us all in the long run, The more that Deafblind organizations put up web sites the more we start to be noticed by the sighted hearing people on the net.

And we cannot for get about the many Deafblind people who have a private web site on the net as well, like my little self, This can only do us good. Every little bit that we open the minds up of the sighted hearing people to what we can do the more they realize that we are just like themselves just trying to get on with life.

I wish them all the best of luck for there New web site.

++ 7. 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 first ever Edition of DB Techies Newsletter you can get it at

++ 8. 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 7th January 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.

And have a great Christmas.


James Gallagher

End of DB Techies.

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