DB Techies Newsletter No 5

The DB Techies Newsletter.

3rd March 2000

The Deafblind Techies Newsletter Number.5


++ 1, Editorial.
++ 2, Sign Language Teacher.
++ 3, IT Reviews.
++ 4, Accessing the Internet by E-mail FAQ.
++ 5, Electronic Mail Related Information Page.
++ 6, E-mail letter from HotBraille.
++ 7, HotBraille article again.
++ 8, Peer Support for Students who are Deaf-Blind.
++ 9, The Archives of the DB Techies Newsletter.
++ 10, To subscribe and unsubscribe from DB Techies.

++ 1. Editorial.
By James Gallagher

Welcome to another DB Techies Newsletter, I hope that you are all fine, it has been two months since we did this. I was away on holiday in between January and February and I was going to miss the date of sending out the February issue. so here am I back again just like a bad penny.

First I would like to welcome the new readers to DB Techies. I really hope that you will enjoy this little newsletter, hopefully you will stay for a little time with us.

I had a great time away, But I did miss being away from my computers and having no access to the Internet was not a thing I like very much but such is life....

I am about to start working on a Seminar/Conference that I have been ask to take part in on April, The Seminar/Conference is called Web: Access Denied and will be held in Scotland in the UK, so I have a lot of work to do over this but I hope that it will be of use to people like us. it's keeps the old brain going buy doing these things. but they are a lot of work so the old brain will be sore over the next number of weeks.

Right we have a number of little interesting articles in this issue of the DB Techies, well I hope you think so. We have ASL Sign Language to accessing the net through e-mail and a couple of other things.

Right lets get started.

++ 2. Sign Language Teacher.

I thought that this may be of interest to the sighted readers of DB Techies.

Sign Language Teacher is software that one can download from the net. it tries to teach sighted people the American Sign Language Alphabet. This handy application tests your finger spelling skills.   You can easily learn how to finger spell (and soon sign words) with this program. Includes exercises." as well.

The software runs on Windows 95/98/and on NT. it's a 684K file to download. And it is Freeware that means that it's Free to all.

I Am not able to give you any idea if it any good to use or easy to learn from. But what I have read from the site many people believe that it is a great bit of software.  The web page itself is not that good to find your way around it.

I have downloaded this software myself so if anyone has trouble getting it just send an e-mail letter to me and I will e-mail it to you.

I try and download all the software that I write about in the DB Techies so if anyone can't find that software you can always just get back to me.

Here is the URL to Sign Language Teacher web site: http://home.att.net/~aslslant/
And the URL to download the software: http://home.att.net/~aslslant/downloads/slsetup106a2.zip

++ 3. IT Reviews.

I was searching on the net a little time ago trying to learn more about the new Iomega's Clik drive that they have just brought out for sale in the UK.

I tried to learn more about this before I went out and bought it by searching the net for as much information that I could find.

There was web sites that did have the info but these where very inaccessible to me. But I started searching the net using Webferret the software that we talk about in DB Techies

I found a great site called IT Reviews. This site is a joy to use, one of the most accessible sites like this I have ever found on the net, and take my word for it i have been searching the net for some time now.  Just like everyone else we like to read about the latest new computer equipment that has just been brought out by the big name computer companys. But on trying to get this info on computer magazines web sites with all the adds and images and frames that they all have is almost impossible to get. So for myself I keep away from these sites as much as one can.

The IT Reviews site is so easy to navigate your way around it that for me it's a joy to use.

This is what the webmaster of IT Reviews writes about his site

This site is intended for viewing by any browser, which maximises its audience. Only simple, comment-free HTML and small images are used; no JavaScript, Java, ActiveX, DHTML, etc. Just because you don't have the latest technology doesn't mean you can't read about it. And this keeps your on-line costs to a minimum, too. I only wish that this was true for many more sites
that has information about new technology.

Here is some info from the site.

IT Reviews, are written by professional IT journalists. The people who write the reviews for IT Reviews are specialists in their field. Every one has been in this industry for at least five years, and all have worked for at least one of the mainstream PC titles, such as PC Magazine, PC Week, PC Gaming World, IT Week, PC Direct, ComputerActive and so on. Most are still regular contributors to some of those titles. We don't use trainee or amateur writers.

The IT Reviews site is edited by Alex Cruickshank a freelance journalist. I started the project in May 1998 (the site went live in June), intending to bring clear, accurate, unbiased and occasionally entertaining reviews to anyone interested in, or involved in, the IT industry.

IT Reviews also has a mailing list. The newsletter (usually every fortnight and not more than once per week) informing you of new reviews and other information which is on the site.

The e-mail letter that you will receive with the newsletter has info about new IT Reviews that have been added to the Web site, This is a good way to keep you up to date.

This is the URL to the mailing list page at IT Reviews: http://www.itreviews.co.uk/maillist.htm

I do think that many of you will find this site of great interest if you are like me trying to learn as much as I can about the latest technology and new software.

IT Reviews has two URLS the first is http://www.itreviews.com and: http://www.itreviews.co.uk  It's a UK site.

I do really think a lot of this site because the owner Mr Alex Cruickshank has put a lot of thought into the makeup of the site, This is a thing that is sadly not given much thought about by other webmasters. "Mr Cruickshank believes in information for all" And it is about time too.

In an e-mail from Mr Cruickshank he says that he has big plans for the IT Reviews site but one thing that won't change is the navigation of the site.

It is well worth going to.

++ 4. Accessing the Internet by E-mail FAQ.

In the last issue of the DB Techies Number Four we talked about the Web-by-Mail service, this was a service that one could use to bring down a Web page for you through e-mail. This I still think is a great service from Mr Oliver Smith.  But after some searching and an e-mail from a good friend Hugh Sasse I have found a lot more that may help a lot of us in many ways.

And all of this information is just on one web site. This site is called, Accessing the Internet by E-mail FAQ. The site is owned and run by Mr Gerald E. Boyd.

This is information from the site.

Accessing The Internet By E-mail or originally known as "Doctor Bob's Guide to Offline Internet Access" was the brainchild of Bob Rankin (a great net guy) who started it up in 1994.  He kept it up about 5 years before passing it to Mr Gerald Boyd in January 1999, when it became apparent he was too busy with other projects (Internet Tourbus, writing, etc.) to continue maintaining it.

In October 1997 Mr Boyd had taken over the moderator duties of the ACCMAIL mailing list (which is used to further develop ideas expressed in the FAQ) and started a web page based on this FAQ.

If you don't have direct access to the Internet through your BBS or online service, you're not alone.  Many of the world's countries with Internet connections have only e-mail access to this world-wide network of networks.

But if you think that sounds limiting, read on.  You can access almost any Internet resource using e-mail.   Maybe you've heard of FTP, Gopher, Jughead, Usenet, Finger, Whois, Nslookup, Traceroute, and the World-Wide Web but thought they were out of your reach because you don't have a direct connection.

Not so! You can use simple e-mail commands to do all of this and much more on the Internet.  And even if you do have full Internet access, using e-mail services can save you time and money. If you can send a note to an Internet address, you're in the game.

Now this is a site that I would encourage all of you to go too, it has some of the best information that i have found on the net yet about using e-mail to get information for you.

This site is very easy to use.

It's owned by Mr Gerald Boyd, his e-mail address is: gboyd@netcom.com

The URL to Accessing the Internet by E-mail FAQ is:

++ 5. Electronic Mail Related Information Page.

This is another site that has very interesting information about Accessing the net through
e-mail. The site is own by Mr Hugh Sasse.

As some of you may know Hugh Sasse did own one of the very best sites about Deafblindness on the net. He had to give up the site on May of last year. But he kept up another resource that he had called, Electronic Mail Related Information. With this page about accessing the web through e-mail and a lot more information, Hugh has given us another great resource for us to use. The knowledge that he has on this Subject is great.

The URL to Hugh Sasse web site is Electronic Mail Related Information Page:

++ 6. E-mail letter from HotBraille.

Some of you may remember on the DB Techies Number 3 on 3rd December 1999, we had a little article about HotBraille, The free Braille transcribing service on the internet.

This service was to be used by people from Canada and the United States of America.

Us little European folks where not able to use this service from HotBraille, And I like many others thought that this was a little bit unfair.

Well on the 16th January 2000 I was sent an e-mail from these good folks, and this is it.

-- Copy of e-mail letter --

Dear friend,

As promised, we've globalized our service to incorporate, yes you guessed it, the entire globe!

We will now process letters in different languages, translate them in the localized Braille and send to different countries. These letters will remain free as long as they are less than 4 Braille pages.

Take care and hope you sign up soon.


Khaled Hal Saad
Co-founder, HotBraille.com

-- End of e-mail Letter --

This is a good step forward for many people who can now send a braille letter to a friend or family member if they have no knowledge of braille themselves, Yes three braille pages is all that one can send at a time but one can say a lot in three pages.

I have added the full article about the HotBraille service again in this DB Techies just in case new readers missed it.

++ 7. HotBraille.

HotBraille.com, 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 HotBraille.com to be a very useful service. Instead of buying and maintaining your own Braille printer and translation software you can use hotbraille.com for all your documents needs. Use hotbraille.com 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 HotBraille.com 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 hotBraille.com, 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 info@hotbraille.com. 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 HotBraille.com 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. Hotbraille.com, 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: http://www.hotbraille.com

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

++ 8. Peer Support for Students who are Deaf-Blind.

This is a new site which I am pleased to say, that it has been setup by another Deafblind person, and the more the merrier I say.

Peer Support for Students who are Deaf-Blind is a web site for students who are Deafblind who are attending BC colleges and universities in BC, Canada.

This site has a lot of great information that can be helpful for Deafblind students, intervenors, interpreters, coordinators, schools and other service providers. To discover more go to the Peer Support for Students who are Deaf-Blind web site.

Craig has done a great job with his site and he has even bought a domain name for it. Good luck with it Craig.

This site is made by Craig MacLean,his e-mail address is: DBPride@peersupportdb.com
Web Site URL is http://www.peersupportdb.com

++ 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: http://www.deafblind.com/dbtechies.html

++ 10. To subscribe, send a message to dbtechies-subscribe@egroups.com or go to the e-groups's home page at http://www.egroups.com/group/dbtechies/

To unsubscribe from DB Techies send e-mail to: dbtechies-unsubscribe@egroups.com 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 April 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
E-mail James@deafblind.com

End of DB Techies.

A-Z to Deafblindness http://www.deafblind.com