DB Techies Newsletter No 8

7th July 2000

The Deafblind Techies Newsletter Number. 8


++ 1, Editorial.
++ 2, The Probert Encyclopaedia.
++ 3. The First WAP Deafblind site.
++ 4, Raging.com.
++ 5, The British Museum Compass.
++ 6, The Archives of the DB Techies Newsletter.
++ 7, To subscribe and unsubscribe from DB Techies.

++ 1. Editorial.
By James Gallagher

Hello to all of you, and it's another issue of the DB Techies and welcome to all the new members, there is quite a little number of them this time. And a special welcome to Ann. I hope that you will enjoy this issue of the DB Techies.

I have been a bit busy over the last couple of weeks trying to put this copy together and working on my web sites, And I have just finished a new feature which will I hope will bring more awareness to deafblindness on this new WAP format for the sighted hearing. This I hope was a good move to make but time will tell if it was.

July is going to be a busy month for me which is very unusual for me. As I never do much else but work on my Web sites. I have been asked down to London on the 11th July for an event on that night. We that being my Mother and my sister and myself and not forgetting Wilma, are flying down, and will stay for a full day and a bit in London. On the 12 th July I hope to be able to do a bit of touring around the capital city and hope to go into some famous buildings like the House of Parliament, the Tower of London and do you think that the Queen will let me in too, I some how think not.

But I intend to enjoy myself over these couple of days in London, We head back home on the 13th July. Well less of the fun and back down to business again and back to reality but it's harmless to dream isn't it. With out them what have we got?

Right less of the boring stuff and down to the information on the DB Techies. I hope that you will find some of this info useful.

All the very best to you all.
++ 2. The Probert Encyclopaedia.

Yes I am sorry to say another Encyclopaedia, I know that I have had a good number of these in The DB Techies but it is hard to find any good Encyclopaedias that we can really use on the net so I am always on the hunt for accessible on-line Dictionaries and Encyclopaedias, the hunt never ends.

The Encyclopaedia itself has some nice features which I like, but the site is privately owned by Matthew Probert and because of this there are banner adverts on the main web site to pay for it's up keep, My little point in bringing this to your attention is that a number of these banner adverts, But Matthew has just made available a new site which is totally accessible for us to use. This is a site that you should try out.

The Probert Encyclopaedia is mostly a text site which is great for us, it is very well produced and very easy to navigate around as I have been using this site for some time now.

There is also something else why I have added The Probert Encyclopaedia in this issue of the DB Techies. But I will add this at the end of this article but first here is information from the Probert Encyclopaedia site.

Mission Statement.
The Probert Encyclopaedia exists to generate revenue for its author through the sale of online advertising space. To support the sale of advertising it is necessary to attract readers to the site. Readers are attracted to the site by the provision of comprehensive easy to access data on a wide range of topics, supported with pertinent illustrations and photographs and hyperlinks.

The target audience is envisaged as researchers of all types, especially those working in the field of journalism. Members of the general public, including students of all ages are also welcome to make use of the data.

History of The Probert Encyclopaedia.

In the late 1980s Matthew Probert started developing a computer program that would make inferences and think. This program, originally called Saturn, required a database of knowledge to operate on. By the mid 1990s Saturn had developed into DN2, the database had grown, and the original program was no longer required. However, after spending so many years writing the database it seemed a shame to destroy it, and instead the Probert Encyclopaedia was born, first as a freely distributable ASCII file for use by artificial intelligence and psychology researchers requiring a machine readable database of human knowledge, and later as a fully linked web site for free public access.

With so many encyclopaedias on the market, both published electronically and in paper format, the question arose of whether the world could accommodate another. Investigating existing encyclopaedias it was found that they were all much of a sameness, and the Probert Encyclopaedia aims to include not just the popular knowledge, but more obscure information as well - such as slang, information on computer viruses, details of covert spy operations and the like, so that the Probert Encyclopaedia would have something additional to offer readers and researchers in particular.

With the dawn of the new millennium illustrations and photographs were added to the encyclopaedia which also reached the milestone of over 60,000 separate entries.

As of June the 24th 2000, the Probert Encyclopaedia consisted of:
65,700 entries, 1,882,290 words, 11,310,000 bytes of raw data, 1,500 illustrations and photos.

Right down to the real reason why I have added this in to the DB Techies this month. As a promotion, a free ASCII edition of The Probert Encyclopaedia was available to download in three volumes at the web site but Mr Matthew Probert the author of the Encyclopaedia had to withdraw  these files because he ran out of web space.

So with his permission I have put a copy of these files on my own web site for you to download but I had to agree to the conditions which are.

*These files are for personal use only.
*And these files are provided from The Probert Encyclopaedia in support of Deafblind and blind people.

So Please remember that these files are just for personal use only.

Right down to where one can get these files.

This is the Text version, and these files will make up the full version of The Probert Encyclopaedia.

Now you can download them from: http://www.wilma.co.uk/book.html or just go to these URL's as well.

volume one is at: http://www.wilma.co.uk/ascii-1.zip and the file size is 935 KB.
volume two is at: http://www.wilma.co.uk/ascii-2.zip and the file size is 0.99 MB.
volume three is at: http://www.wilma.co.uk/ascii-3.zip and again the file size is 1.09 MB.

The web site of The Probert Encyclopaedia is at:
http://www.probert-encyclopaedia.co.uk This is the site with the images on it

The site that Matthew has made available for us is at:

I would really like to thank Matthew Probert for his help here for letting me make a copy of his Encyclopaedia available to the readers of the DB Techies Thank You for that.

If you are interested there is a CD-ROM edition available too.
To buy your copy, please send £30 sterling (no foreign currency) to:
Matthew Probert
5 Longcroft Close
RG21 8XG
United Kingdom
E-mail address is:
probertm@probert-encyclopaedia.co.uk or comments@probert-encyclopaedia.co.uk

++ 3. The First WAP Deafblind site.

I have been working for quite some time to get the first Deafblind WAP site on this new communication industry service. it has been a bit hard for me to get there but on Monday the 3rd July 2000 I uploaded the first WAP site about Deafblind people.

There is only an 83 bytes size Document on my new WAP site and this is a description of the Deafblind Manual Alphabet as a text file.

This is a great little step for us to have information about deafblindness in this new format but I have to say that a great number of us reading the DB Techies will never be able to access this new operating system and this I have to say includes me as well.

I was able to put a Document on to a WAP server but I know I will never be able to use this new system myself, but for me it's the fact that I did it on my own, Yes I did get a sighted person to see if the Document was on the WAP server after I uploaded them.

Now one or two of you may be asking your little self what is this WAP thing, here is a description of it.

What is WAP?

Wireless Application Protocol or WAP is an accepted, open industry standard that allows wireless devices to access information and services on the Internet. WAP standards are developed by over 300 member companies from around the world. WAP operates on top of almost all wireless phone networks including those built under GSM and CDMA technologies.

Basically, a handset sends a request, using WAP protocol, to a special WAP gateway server. Upon interpretation of the address or URL in the request, the content is fetched by the gateway and transferred via WAP to the handset.

Digital wireless user agents such as mobile phones have become very popular in recent years. Technically speaking, mobile phones are no longer just phones; they are communication devices capable of running applications and communicating with other devices and applications over a wireless network.

The idea for WAP comes from the wireless industry, from companies such as Nokia and Ericsson. It is based on existing internet technology such as XML and IP. The point of this standard is to serve internet contents and internet services to wireless clients, WAP devices, such as mobile phones and terminals.

What type of devices will use WAP?
Handheld digital wireless devices such as mobile phones, pagers, two-way radios, smartphones and communicators -- from low-end to high-end.

I hope that the above information may have helped you to learn what WAP is all about, For myself I still do not have a clue, but I thought that it would be useful if we had information about deafblindness available in this new format for the sighted hearing mobile phone users.

I hope that you think that this was a good move to make. I feel that we have to keep up with the times and the new communication devices that the sighted hearing are using.

Right down to the info again, if you know anyone who uses a mobile phone with WAP available in it here are the two sites that I have made, both of them contain the same information.

Our WAP sites are at: http://tagtag.com/deafblind and http://tagtag.com/deafblindness

I do really hope that they will be used by these mobile phone users, If you ever learn of one of these sites ever being used I would be grateful for this information.

I just hope that this was a good step to make for us.

++ 4. Raging.com, Another search engine.

Yes it's another new search engine on the net for us to use, and it is a very accessible one at that. I do like to try out new things to learn if they any use to us. Well Raging.com is one of these things that is just great to find on the net these days. It is from the people who created the AltaVista search engine web site.

This search engine has No fancy images, no banners and no ads and without all the bells and whistles of today's search engines. And this is great for people like us with not having to try and get around all these adds just to type in our search word. I really think that you will like this site.

Right here are the Features Raging.com has got.

Family Filter may be set to filter out objectionable material when searching the Internet. When the Family Filter is on, they will do there very best to exclude all results deemed objectionable due to sexual, violent, and/or hateful content. Note: The Family Filter is only effective for English pages. You should leave the Family Filter OFF if you plan to search in non-English languages. This may be a good feature if you have kids about the house.

Search by Language, You can search the Web in up to 25 different languages at the same time.
here are just some of the languages that one can search in Chinese, Italian, Czech, Japanese,
Danish, Dutch, Netherlands, Norwegian, Finnish, Polish, French and the list goes on and on.

The translate feature, Do you want to surf the Web in Spanish, French, German, Italian or Portuguese? With there translation technology, you can. and every result in one of those languages will have a "Translate" link that will allow you to see the result in the language of your choice.

The URL to Raging.com is: http://www.raging.com/

And to Customize Raging Search to your own liking go to:

++ 5. The British Museum Compass.

Well what can I say about this one, I was over the moon to learn that the "Great" British Museum had made a site accessible for blind and partially sighted people. Yes a full text only version of the whole site. This is a great move for the people at the British Museum to do this and may I say it about time too. As a person who loves reading about history I have been going through this site for many weeks now, And I have not been disappointed with it.

As I said at the start of the DB Techies I am flying down to London this month for a day and a half touring around the capital city. And the British Museum is one of the places that I am looking forward to going to. I know that I will not really be able to get my little sticky fingers on anything really interesting there, but I have read so much about it that just to say that I have been in the British Museum is good enough for me.

I hope that there are things about for people to touch. My real interest in this is archaeology, I have always found this subject totally fascinating to me as long as one can remember. Well less of my little interest and back to why you are reading DB Techies. I do go on a bit? don't I.

Right down to the information about the British Museum.

This site is still quite new, I believe on December 2000 the full version will go live as part of the Museums' new Great Court Development. But what is on the site at the moment is keeping me happy for now. And I do really look forward to the full version of The British Museum.

The URL for the British Museum Compass Page:

The above URL takes you to a splash page on the main British Museum's Web site, which is semi graphical, however, wait for about Ten seconds and this splash page will take you to another page on the site. This is what the people at British Museum Compass site say that one should do.

"it should be accessible to screen readers and Braille display users, with live text and alt text for any links. This splash page will take you to the actual COMPASS homepage which does have the link to the text only version in the top left hand corner, the first link a screen reader will come across. On the text only version we have also provided a link to every object image on the site; this may be useful to some people who may be using the site with a sighted companion for further description."

When You are taken to the Page with the Text version of the site just Tab once to the Text link and you are ready to go through the site.

This is more information from them again.

"As I said before we did need to use tables behind the layout of the graphical version of COMPASS, however, every effort went into ensuring that this too is accessible to blind people using speech synthesisers as well as partially sighted users. This can be seen through the provision of Alt Text for every single image, link and piece of bitmapped text; that amounts to well over 1,400 object images alone. Partially sighted users are also able to alter the background colour and the text colour, size and style through their own browser settings. Please see the More About COMPASS section for further information on the accessibility features."

I believe that they would like feedback from the users so if you have any comments and suggestions you can send an e-mail to: compass@british-museum.ac.uk

I do really think that many of you will find this site of interest, well I hope so, I was very pleased myself to learn about it and hope to use it a lot in time.

The URL to The British Museum again is:

++ 6. 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

++ 7. 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 4th August 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.

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