1 (edited by jack 2018-06-05 19:46:08)

Yes, it's an ancient device. But for us folks who still have these notetakers, I'm compiling an archive of everything game/software-related for the thing that may end up going on a g archive if I end up getting everything. I have the Basic interpreter package which came with some sample code and applications (including games) plus all of the games that came with the thing that Blazie Engineering shipped on the firmware diskette. Which by the way were written in c, no basic for these. I also have all of Dan Zingaro's games. Anyone happen to have any of the BPC titles? Like Treasure Hunt for the notetakers?
By the way, I do have a prototype demo of a port of one such braille-n-speak game for windows, and I did get permission from Dan to port it. More info on that soon.

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On a simalar note, Does a Braille 'n Speak emulator exist?

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No. This is due in part to the fact that the rom hasn't been dumped, seeing as I have two different variants of the thing (bns640 and bns2000) that are both in use, I can't do it unless one of them gets their battery replaced. Lol. And second, the artic ssi263/sc02 speech chip itself is so hard to find, and I think it was only just recently emulated on Mame. An emulator is very much a maybe at this point.

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You know, I do not recall if I have any of the games laying about. Will have to do a search of my harddrives to see some time. So, the BNS files were in C? Anyway, do we know what OS the thing runs? I am assuming that it was some kind of modified version of DOS or something. I have seen a BNS 2000 wich was kind of small, and a braille lite 40. I think I once seen a braille light 2000. All ran the same type software, if I remember right. If we grabbed a dump of the rom, how will we deal with the fact that we do not usually use a bns type keyboard on our PCs. LOL. Also, how do we go about grabbing a dump of the rom in the first place? Sorry for such crazy questions. LOL. Yes, I would like to play some of the old games though. Another question, I know that I used basic some on the braille light, what version of basic was that?

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IT was Quality Basic and it was adapted for the notetaker to accommodate the speech chip as well as the braille display of the Braille Lite. It was running on modified Dos, yes. I would assume that if you couldn't actually use the keyboard on a bns rom, you'd have to dump a type-n-speak rom since it's the qwerty variant anyways.

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I never really had the games when I had mine.

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7 (edited by Munawar 2018-06-05 23:43:47)

Fond memories of playing Bongo in Math class...

And making games in Math class...

Why did all these things happen only in Math class?

Although, I did take note of the fact I was in Math class and wrote a factorial program to solve factorials for me. big_smile

I think I wrote a program once to also solve B and m in y = mx+b given y and one of the other variables.

And then I got into a lot of trouble (I was in middle school at the time) for getting a computer to solve this stuff for me.

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lol

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Too bad they didn't give an A for effort since you did the programming of the application yourself. Lol!

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10 (edited by slender 2018-06-06 07:00:00)

@5 Modified DOS? I thought it was a custom OS...

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face of ice as they did before the fire.
from The Book of Ice, 10:13

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@Jack, haha, I wish! I was pretty proud of myself and no one realized my genius. I was so sad. (Sarcasm)

They just took my Braille Lite away and I had to start working out the problems by hand again. But when I got it back, I wrote a program to solve the quadratic equation for me; and, yes, you guessed it, they took my Braille Lite away again. big_smile

The funny thing was, they wouldn't have known, if we didn't have to show work. And we all knew back then that graphing calculators didn't exist that were accessible. So that's how they came to the conclusion that my Braille Lite was doing it for me. Of course nowadays those are the types of people that get on the news and Microsoft picks them up to help them "realize their potentials" but I was labeled as a kid with too much time on my hands xD.

Ah middle school...

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Re: keyboard, what's stopping you from mapping keys to the Braille keyboard? I've done it, Aprone's done it, Pontes Games did it, Duxbury does it. I'm not sure why this is an issue? Especially since the BNS only typed when all keys were released, and you can always map more than one set of keys, so the "keyboard doesn't like this combination" problem is little more than a mild annoyance.

I only ever got the games that came with the update they installed when fixing my power supply. So I played a lot of solitaire and Simon. Mostly during acoustics, for some reason.

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It's just that there's no telling how a possible emulator would react to a standard qwerty keyboard. And ahh yes, graphing calculators or lack thereof. We had graph=it, but that was when APH came in with the Scholar, and you needed an embosser. Yeah, that wasn't gonna work full-time. Lol!

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Umm, game console emulators? Do they not do the exact same thing, by mapping qwerty keys to controller keys?

Some of my games
Keep up to date by following @Jeqofire on twitter!
Ear Ninja?

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Yup graph-it was nice. I liked the ViewPlus solution better though. But it came out too late for me to really use it in a serious academic setting. By that time I was already on my way to university so didn't have need for a graphing calculator anymore (I know, ironic, isn't it?) I guess by that time they already know you can graph stuff...lol.

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What's ironic, at least with the APH scholar which was one of the last BNS moddels to be released, back in 2004, which was litterally just the original BNS, you know the one where you only had your 6  dots of braille and space, where to backspace you pressed b chord. The scholar was that, but with doubletalk instead of the artic/votrax synth, and more rom storage. Well, that had kind of a graphing calculator. One thing that I liked about the BNS, well several things, that modern note takers can't do, 1, you could put passwords on individual files, kind of like in iOS with notes, 2, as soon as you turned it on, boom, you were in whatever file you were in, when you had last turned it off. 3, at least with the compact ones with no display, you could fit it in a large pocket on your coat, or cargo shorts, if you took it out of the case. And, finally, in the file creation screen, you could litterally create a file with any extention you wanted, so, if you didn't want people opening your files, if they were smart enough to figure out how to use serial, hopefully they weren't smart enough to know that you could just click open with... So, yeah, those things were truly amazing for the time. I mean, who else could say, back then, that they had an MS dos PDA, when regular laptops of the time were almost as big in size as some small desktops  today, 10  years before the palm pilot was even thought  of, and it had almost everything the pilot had, contacts, notes, calendar, timer and stopwatch, alarm clock, calculator, and of course, games... Yeah, the BNS will and has been missed.

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@techmaster20: Agreed. We also can't forget the awesome calculator on there. Even PACMate's calculator didn't match up. I feel like we've regressed because the Braille N Speak series set the bar so high that nothing has come close, to this day. it was truly meant to get things done, fast.

And, we can't forget the durability! You could have probably thrown it off of a cliff and it'd survive. Haha.

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I remember the APH Scholar, one of the first ones I had as a kid back in Kindergarten. Actually, I had a version of one that had the Artic SSI-263 instead of the RC-8650. Man, those were good times.
As for games, I only ever played Simon, as I never got the objectives of the other games I had on the unit that my teacher gave me.

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I had a loaner one time when mine was out for repair, it was one of the earliest models from 1989 that mispronounced, well... everything, but even so, it was way way ahead of its time.

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It's too bad they never got the thing running under Linux. I know that was one of the things Blazie wanted to do, that was before FS acquired them and moved on to the PacMate which pretty much killed the BNS as we knew it. A Linux Braille-n-speak would've been even more of a powerhouse than it already is.

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21

Can I get a bns on ebay or something?
I can not search now, cause I am on the phone, so.

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There are a few that come and go on ebay, but often times people don't know what to charge for them, because typically they're thrift-stores that users probably brought their unit into. I'd watch out for those, because typically those haven't been tested because often times they don't know what the thing even is besides the name of the product itself. My advice is to not spend $100 or more on one unless they give details like a replaced and improved battery or anything to that effect. I prefer buying from actual users, to be honest. There's the blind-bst list which is basically Craigslist for the blind. a lot of us on that list from from the US, so international shipping could possibly mean a higher price for you naturally since that could be more expensive.

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Well, probably because my mother bought me this expensive laptop will not want to buy another thing just for writing because I am using the laptop for writing too

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Hi.
@Angel
To follow up somewhat on Jack's message, some of the Braille 'n Speak ads that you'll find on eBay, as he stated, might say something like "Untested" on the ad. Sometimes I'm not sure if the included accessories and cables (like the power adapter/charger, serial cable) are included, though the serial cable may not be needed if your computer has mostly USB ports, as you probably only need a Serial to USB cable if you want to use it to connect to a computer for many things like, I dunno, to use it as a speech synthesizer, perhaps?

Hello. He-he-he-he-have some respect and don't spoil the game. It's impossible to have mysteries nowadays, because of nosy people like you. Please keep all of this between us. If you post it online, I won't make any more secrets. No one will be impressed. It will be your fault! He-he-he-he-ha-he-he-ha-he-he.
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Nope. There's some storied complications regarding the serial cables. Braille-n-speak640 cables are a lost cause, that's a proprietary pin configuration. The Braille-n-speak2000 has perhaps the most open standard there was, comparable to that of the Apple2 series. What you'd be looking for is an 8pin mini-din male to db9 female cable, as well as a usb serial port.

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