DB Techies Newsletter No 9

4th August 2000

The Deafblind Techies Newsletter Number 9.


++ 1, Editorial.
++ 2, The Web2Mail Service.
++ 3. Free Email Providers Guide (FEPG.net).
++ 4, New Features for Google.
++ 5, Braille with Pokadot.
++ 6, Stephen's King New e-book The Plant.
++ 7, The New 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.
By James Gallagher

Well here we are all again, another month and another DB Techies. I hope that you will find this issue interesting as there is a lot in it this time. I hope that all of you are all in good health and doing well. I said in the last issue of the DB Techies that July was going to be a busy month for me and it was.

As I said in the last issue that I was asked down to London for a little event on the night of the 11th July, I asked my Mother and sister to come with me as my guides and communicators for these couple of Days in the big Capital City.

Well I was asked to come down by the people at the Yell award, what is the yell award I hear you ask well here is info about it. "The UK Yell Web Awards 2000 are the "people's choice" of the best of the Net.  Now in its fifth year, the Yell Awards continues to recognise and promote the wealth of creativity and originality within the UK Web industry."

I was a finalist in the "Best Personal Website" category. with a friend of mind Julie Howell who runs a web page about Multiple Sclerosis (MS) The site is called Jooly's Joint, and the URL is at: http://www.mswebpals.org/ Julie has MS herself and is also the RNIB's Royal National  Institute for the Blind campaigns officer.

This was the first time ever that a Deafblind or blind person had ever been shortlisted for the Yell award. And I even got to be a finalist in this.

On the night itself I came in second in my category and given a "Highly Commended' site. I only found this out when Julie e-mailed me a couple of days later. Now this tells one a lot about  that night.

I did not think for one moment that I would win a Yell Award. I was looking forward to going around London than the award night itself. Lets be honest Web sites like the ones which I have made myself about Deafblindness never really interest the sighted hearing net users. But I was a little taken a back to even get the second place.

Now I have to say one thing about this yell Award night. I may give a bit too much info about myself here, A thing that I never do, But I am still angry at the way I was treated that night.

Only Julie and her friend Nessa talked to us at the Reception and for a short time, as Julie had to go some where else that night. It would have been a very lonely night if I hadn't taken my mother and sister with me. Not even a person from The Yell Award came up to us to talk.

I could not go through standing in a corner of a room again with no one talking to us, I have done this far too MUCH in the past and I really thought that I would not do it again. I thought that these Days where over. but not YET it seams. My mother said to me that everyone was asking each other why I was there. I really felt that I should have not been there one little BIT.

To be honest I would never go to such a thing again, it was one big mistake, and one that I will not make again.  Not because I felt a bit intimidated about it all, because they are just people like myself who make web pages that is all they do. but because I felt that I should have not been there.

After the Awards had ended We went back to the hotel right away. And had a great couple of days going around London. The first place my mother and sister went to was to Harrods, but we did not buy much there I can tell you that. but that is some size of a Shop with everything you can think about is in it. mind you the smell of perfume gives one a very sore head. The place has so many smells in it.

If you are wondering who was the winner of the Yell Award in the "Best Personal Website" category, it was Law on the Net at: http://www.lawontheweb.co.uk/ The site is owned and run by a solicitor.

It's not bad that a Web site like minds that is funded by myself and is not a part of any organisation or charity in any way can come in second with sites like these. And they where all sighted hearing People. I did not too bad for a deafblind webmaster I think.

Julie came in third in our category but she was a Winner in The Mirror reader's Award.

I thought that one of the two big Deafblind organisations here in the UK would have picked up the fact that for the first time a Deafblind person was a finalist in the Yell Award. This would have been a great chance to show what Deafblind people can really do.

Well it's time I stop and let you read the DB Techies. But just one more little thing I am going away on Holiday with my family in August so there will not be a DB Techies in September so until the 6th October good bye.

++ 2. The Web2Mail Service.

This is a great new service that I have just found on the net, I am not too sure how long it  has been running but if you do not wish to read any more of the DB Techies read this article as it may be of use to you later.

I know that I have written a couple of articles in the DB Techies before about services like these and I do apologize for this but I feel that these kind of services are what we really need to help us access the net. And this is a Great service that we all can use.

Right down to the information and less of the boring stuff.

Web2mail is a new service designed to make your life easier. Use web2mail to have your favorite web pages delivered by email whenever they change. By using web2mail, you don't need to keep checking web pages to see if they've been updated - they watch the web so you don't have to.  Reasons to use web2mail:

Convenience - have all your favourite pages delivered in an email
Intelligence - only read web pages when they have been updated
Persistence - use a mail folder to keep your favorite web pages
Some examples:
Create your own morning "newspaper" of your favorite news pages
Receive the reference pages you rely on whenever they are updated
Keep a record of your stock portfolio by storing pages in a mail folder

TO receive a web page instantly by sending an email to www@web2mail.com with the web page you want as the subject of the message. They will reply to your email by sending you the web page you requested, for example an email subject of www.bbc.co.uk/news would request the BBC news. You may include as many web page addresses as you like in the subject of your email.

Right this is how it works, lets say you want my web site at www.deafblind.com so this is how we go about this. send an e-mail to www@web2mail.com and in the subject line write the site address, like this. subject www.deafblind.com

Now you will get a very fast reply with the web page of the site that you sent for, But this information will be in HTML just like what would be on the site itself.

I use a braille Display myself to access my computer and I had no trouble what so ever with reading the page that the www@web2mail.com sent me through there service, but mind you I was reading my own site.

But there is a lot more to this service than just getting web pages now and again, One can  subscribe to get your favorite online newspaper e-mail to you every morning when you sit down with your cup of Tea, Create your own subscription list, and this is how you can do it.

To create your own subscriptions send an email to www@web2mail.com with a subject like this:

subscribe www.bbc.co.uk/news daily
subscribe www.wired.com www.cnn.com monthly

As well as receiving normal web pages, you may also request files of the following formats:
PDF - Adobe. Acrobat. files
GIF - Image files
JPG - Image files

Now the Files option is a good one and I would try this one out if I was you.

Remember in the DB Techies issue Number 6 I had made a file available of Stephen Kings new E-Book Riding the Bullet. This e-book was only available in the PDF format which was totally useless to us, so I was able to make a text version of the book and a BRL version which is used by braille note takers. These files are available at: http://www.wilma.co.uk/book.html

But using this new www@web2mail.com service you will never need to go to my www.wilma.co.uk site to get these files, This is how you can do it using web2mail

Send e-mail to www@web2mail.com
and on the Subject line put this. www.wilma.co.uk/bullet.zip
Or for the BRL version put this in.

The file Bullet.zip is 32.7 KB in size, and the kingbrl.zip is 303.KB in size to download.

That is how easy it is to get these files now, So why not treat yourself to a good read one  night with a Stephen King book.

You can also do searches with web2mail as well and it easy to do. again send e-mail to: www@web2mail.com and on the Subject line let say Subject: search deafblind

They will reply with the results page from a popular search engine. Again this will come back in an HTML format, but you should not have any trouble reading it.

Now one more little thing about web2mail is that if you have some sight in any way you can get images to come down with any sites that you have asked for.

as a totally blind person myself I will never use this option but some one out there may find it useful. right lets go through how one can do this if you wish too.

Right again send an e-mail letter to www@web2mail.com and on the Subject line let say
Subject: www.bbc.co.uk/news with images but be prepared for a longer download time because you are also downloading images too.

OK we have talked about how to send e-mails to Web2mail and the options that it has for us to use, After you send your first e-mail to them you will get this reply in all the e-mails that come back to you from Web2Mail.

(this is my reply which I got)

Dear James Gallagher

Please find the following web pages attached:

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

If you like web2mail please tell your friends, if you don't then tell us!
If you would like to contact us directly, please mailto:info@web2mail.com
To stop receiving ALL web2mail emails, please mailto:suspend@web2mail.com
For information or to subscribe to web pages, see http://www.web2mail.com
low graphics version | feedback | help

(End of there information)

This is what you will get in every e-mail letter from web2mail.

Now I have talked about Web2Mail e-mail service in this article but I have not said a thing about there web site, This is because I found there site very hard to use and to find my way around it, I really do not know why because there isn't many images on there site maybe one or two that's it. But still I found it hard going to do it.

But I have to say that i have been playing around with there web2mail service too much and not trying out there site as I should have been doing. but one never needs to go to there web site because YOU just use the web2mail service through your e-mail. That is it....

Right I have went on a bit to much about this so it time I moved on.

The URL to the Web2mail web site is at, Yes you Guessed it right:. http://www.web2mail.com

Or if you wish to e-mail them with a question there e-mail address is: info@web2mail.com

++ 3. Free Email Providers Guide (FEPG.net)

We all at some time have tried one of these Free e-mail services and found a great number of them totally inaccessible for us to use.

Well with this Free Email Providers Guide we should be a little more aware of what is out there for us to try out next when it comes to playing around with searching for a new free e-mail service, this is because this is a Bobby approved web site so It should be accessible for us to use.

There is a lot of information on this site and I did find my way around it with not that much trouble.

Here is some information what it offers us.

"This useful site should be regarded as the definitive source on free email services, with a searchable database containing information on over 1,300 free email providers in more than 85 countries, free email news and commentary, and links to various other free eCommunications services, including ISPs, fax, long-distance calls, voicemail, online storage, etc. Visitors can browse the free email provider listings by category (USA, International, Special Interests, etc.), by region and country, or even better, search for the service that best suits them by selecting from a list of options (attachments, storage space, POP accessible, etc.). For dedicated free email enthusiasts, the site also produces a weekly newsletter (delivered by email of course)."

This is a nice site with all you will ever need to search for free e-mail services and a lot more.

The Free Email Providers Guide web site is at: http://www.fepg.net/

++ 4. New Features for Google.

Google is one of my favorite search engines on the net, it is I believe one of the very best out there. And it is very accessible for us to use.

Google has unveiled an advanced search page, which features pull-down menus that allow users to specify included and excluded keywords and domains, specify languages, and find pages that link to or are similar to specified pages. The page also links to Google's topic-specific search pages (US Government, Mac, Linux, etc.).

Give this one a try it really is worth going too.

Google Advanced Search Engine is at: http://www.google.com/advanced_search.html

++ 5. Braille with Pokadot.

I thought that this would be a good bit of software for anyone out there who is sighted and is interested in learning Braille, as this is software for a sighted person.

Pokadot is a six-key direct keyboard input braille transcription program for sighted braille transcribers that has been approved by the National Braille Association. You can download it for free from this web site. Also FREE PERSONAL HELP is available as described at the Braille with Pokadot web site. Pokadot and 22 supporting files are contained in a self-extracting zipped program named POKADOT.EXE

If you need help in downloading, setup, or the use of Pokadot, Len Dozier  offers free help via email or phone as follows:
Len Dozier Email: lend@braille-pokadot.com
Tel: 360-574-6167

Braille with Pokadot Web site is at: http://www.braille-pokadot.com/

++ 6. Stephen's King New e-book The Plant.

As a good number of you may have learned that Stephen King has Published A new book called  The Plant, at his web site. The idea is I believe that the first instalment of his new serial novel The Plant on the Internet. He has promised to make the first two instalments available online.

here is the information about it.

Stephen King Publishes Book On The Net

Horror writer Stephen King has put the first instalment of his new serial novel The Plant on the Internet. He has promised to make the first two instalments available online.

However, he warns that at least 75 per cent of readers must pay 60p when they download an episode. He said on his Web site, "if you pay the story rolls. If you don't, the story folds."

The work was launched on 24th July, and already 34,000 people have downloaded it. About 75 per cent have paid by credit card. King chose Amazon.com, the Internet's largest book, music and video outlet, to provide the online payment system. Users also have an option to send payment to a post office box.

On American morning talk show Good Morning America he said, "we have a generation of computer jockeys that we've raised on Napster and MP3 who have gotten the idea, the mistaken idea, that everything in store is free." He continues, "I'd like to see if we can't re-educate these people to the idea that the fruits of talent cost you money."

Last March King put his novella Riding the Bullet on his Web site. Readers had problems downloading the file as it had been published in an encrypted format. The Plant is in an easy to use portable digital format.

King did not use his publishers in this venture. They await anxiously for the verdict on the project. "I think the publishers might heave a sigh of relief if this doesn't work" King said. "But I think we've got a chance here to change the way people think about stories."

What It Is

It's The Plant, an epistolary novel set in the early 1980s (before e-mail, in other words, and when even the fax was a fringe technology). It'll be presented in parts ranging from 5000 to 7000 words. The story is sort of funny and at the same time pretty gruesome (think Christine). I'm committed to publishing at least the first two segments. Whether or not I publish more depends.

Right back to me again.

I have downloaded this, will part of this book and have made it available for you to download it from one of my web sites, it again is in two formats the first is text and the other is in the BRL format, this format is for people like myself who owns a Braille note taker like a Braille Lite. I have to say that I have not read this little instalment myself yet so I have no idea if it is any good. But we should have this available to us as well so it now is.

These files are available at: http://www.wilma.co.uk/book.html  and the files names are text version plant1.zip and BRL Version plantbrl.zip

But using this new www@web2mail.com service you will never need to go to my www.wilma.co.uk site to get these files, This is how you can do it using web2mail again

Send e-mail to www@web2mail.com
and on the Subject line put this. www.wilma.co.uk/plant1.zip
Or for the BRL version put this in.

If you would like to go to the Stephen King Web site here is the URL:

Happy reading..

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

These Bits n Bytes are little articles which I have picked up on the net and thought that they may be of some interest to us and keep us up to date with what is going on.

+  Bits n Bytes. There is going to be a new note taker from Blazie, I believe that it will be released in September. I am not sure if this is a new Braille Lite or one of there other Note takers. And there is going to be a new Lite version of JAWS, I am not sure when this will be available for us to try it out.

+ Bits n Bytes, Lords RIP Into Snooping Bill - Again. UK.

The government's controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Bill has been subjected to yet another mauling by the House of Lords, but critics argue that it remains fundamentally flawed.

Several key amendments have now been made to the Bill since it was first introduced into Parliament, and the third and final reading in the upper chamber on Wednesday evening saw the culmination of a vigorous campaign by Tory and Liberal Democrat peers. While the changes are undoubtedly significant, many feel that they do not go nearly far enough.

Two concessions in particular are aimed at easing the burden of the RIP Bill on Internet service providers (ISPs).

First, £20m has been allocated to cover the cost of installing the black-box devices required by the police to carry out their snooping activities.

Secondly, the Bill sets up a statutory Technical Advisory Board, whose duty it will be to act as a watchdog over the enforcement authorities, as they exercise their powers under the Act.

Still Incompatible With European Convention Of Human Rights

These amendments, coupled with the removal of the notorious 'reverse burden of proof' clause, go some way towards watering down the Bill. The latter clause was removed following serious concerns that legislation placing the burden of proof on a defendant would breach Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), which requires that a defendant must remain innocent until proven guilty. However, the Bill may be incompatible with the ECHR in other respects - the extraordinary breadth of powers conferred upon enforcement agencies, and possible contravention of the right against self-incrimination (by demanding a password that exists only in the suspect's head) may yet cause problems when the legislation enters into the statute book.

Who To Sue If It All Goes Wrong?

A further notable amendment is found in clause 55, headed 'General duties of specified authorities'. As amended, the Bill now provides that a person suffering loss or damage resulting from breach of a specific duty will be able to sue those concerned. In policy terms, clause 55 is difficult to square with clauses 21(2) and 21(3), the combined effect of which is that an individual suffering harm in the course of acquisition of communications data will have no civil remedy. Furthermore, Schedule II of the Bill, which deals with who will have appropriate permission for authorising the serving of notices requiring disclosure, remains entirely impenetrable.

Despite the most recent amendments, ISPs are still far from happy, with suggestions being made that some may relocate their bases of operations when the RIP Bill comes into force. While this may be a daunting prospect, it is a distinct possibility for the larger ISPs, whose international networks would suffer minimal disruption were such a switch to take place. The implications for e-commerce go far beyond this, however - the Bill, when enacted, will make the UK the only G8 nation with Government Access to Keys (GAK) powers, and threatens to damage business confidence by undermining the security of on-line trading.

The Bill will now return to the House of Commons, where Charles "I shall make no concessions" Clarke MP will doubtless assure members once again that the legislation poses no threat to commercial security or personal privacy.

+ Bits n Bytes, Sneaky Ads Companies To Self-Regulate, US.

The US government is backing a move by Internet advertisers to control the gathering of users' private information.

The Network Advertising Initiative, a group of major online advertising companies, will self-regulate the collection of data used to create detailed profiles of users' preferences. These profiles are formed by watching which Web sites people visit, where they stay longest and what they buy. Other activity can also be monitored.

The reason for this snooping is to create targeted advertisements, although many people feel that it is also an invasion of their personal space.

Under the tighter controls put forward by the NAI Web site visitors will be informed when they are monitored, and by whom. They will also be able to access information stored about them.

The Federal Trade Commission has voted in favour of the scheme and believes that similar plans should be implemented in other areas of the Internet.

"Industry self-regulation must play a central part in protecting consumer online privacy," said FTC director Jodie Bernstein.

+ Bits n Bytes. Intel Releases 1.13GHz Pentium III.

Intel has moved processor speeds up yet another notch with the release of a 1.13GHz version of its Pentium III CPU.

According to Intel, the 1.13GHz Pentium III is just over 5 per cent faster than the 1GHz chip. "With the Pentium III processor at 1.13 GHz, PC enthusiasts will be able to get the most out of the Web and the high performance applications they use today," Intel Architecture Group VP Bill Siu said today.

The company was beaten to the 1GHz milestone by arch-rival AMD, but now claims that its new chip is the world's highest performance microprocessor for PCs. AMD is set to release a 1.1GHz version of its Athlon Thunderbird processor on August 28th, giving Intel precious little time to capitalise on its performance lead.

The new Pentium III is currently available only in limited quantities, and is priced at $990 in quantities of 1,000.

++ 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 http://www.deafblind.com/dbtechies.html  And they are dbttxt.zip this is the text version, and dbtbrl.zip for the notetakers.

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

Send e-mail to www@web2mail.com
and on the Subject line put this. www.deafblind.com/dbttxt.zip
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 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 6th October 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