A few other places to find downloadable books for free include:
For convert text books in to braille, check out
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A few other places to find downloadable books for free include:
For convert text books in to braille, check out
thanks a lot! I really have not got a clue in how you use braille blaster, I tried but was not successful but I will definitely bookmark these.
I also found this review which has a recording of the refreshing sound and it gives you an idea of how fast or slow it is. For me, its pretty darn fast and a bit less loud than what is heard here, but still.
Thanks for those Braille book resources, I have to say I haven't heard of the vast majority of them. I'm going to check them out.
Sorry for the double post, but I'm curious to know if there's such a thing as a batch converter which will convert .brf files to text, or even word documents, but text would be preferred. I had a look at Braille Blaster today, and it seems that you can't convert from brf to text, only the other way around, which is a real pity. The only other program I know of which does this is WinBT, and the reason I don't care for that one is because you literally have to type in the full path and name you want your converted file to have in order for it to work properly. This isn't so bad if you only need one or two files converted, but it quickly becomes very tedious if you want to do more than that.
Wow, thanks so much for this! I never in a million years would have guessed this program could do that. I'd heard of it in passing over the years, but never actually looked into it much, thinking it was nothing more than a Notepad replacement for the blind or something. So thanks for setting me straight on that.
You're very welcome!
I, Trenton Matthews, very glad I am able to help.
oh wow, I didn't know edSharp had a new version! very interesting find indeed, you deserve a thumbs up.
And now that I have finally an official and definitive guide for the contracted Spanish Braille, its time to see if I can get it to be a part of libLouis
stenography, even if not used officially anymore, can be a worthy asset for reading and writing any language in braille. And I would believe that robobraille, (I posted a link in post 53) has yet the best free conversion available. I choose braille and then the target formatting that has work wonders for me with the orbit so far is the option right above octoBraille. I think its called formatting 4029 . meaning 40 cells per line, 29 linesper page. Its got some of the most accurate conversions, I have not run into any problems with it. It can do batch converting too, but the files you submit must be of the same type or extension and format in order to convert them to Braille.. or text.
I do like EdSharp, now if only they'd fix some of those commands that broke in later versions, like the elevate to latest version command by pressing f 11 and maybe give people a choice of program for spellcheck, rather than rely on microsoft word.
Not everyone uses, or has word.
Jarte does a pretty decent job with spellchecking, maybe if you had that installed you could have that as an option.
I'd get intouch with him, but I have no idea what his email is these days.
There's two versions of EdSharp floating around, the latest version is on github now for better collaboration, not that it gets many updates.
There hasn't been a stable release since may 2017.
I'm not sure what it's like these days for converting, some of the converters I think may be broken, I use to be able to convert HTML into text, but I think that broke a while back.
A bit of maintaining and EdSharp could be as good as new.
Ok, so I have been using the orbit for a week now. So here are my impressions. First post is a description, second one is connectivity notes for pc (I owe you the bluetooth android one), and third is the impression of working with it in standalone mode. So skip or read at your leisure.
1. Description: To start off, I must say I really love the bold, clear, firm braille in this one. I don't think anything comes close (that I know of) in technological terms that matches the quality of the braille, so its definitely the strong selling point. There are very discrete tic marks above the braille, for indicating every five dots, but too bad they are rather hard to notice.
The device is a thick rectangle, a bit larger than a vhs tape (from front to back, that is). ON the upper face there is every control. The arrow keys and select button are similar to what you have probably found on remote tv controls, a circle sliced into 4 parts (those are the arrows) and a round button which is the select one and this is located int he exact middle of the device. Slightly above and to the left and right are the oval, springy keys for typing with slightly raised plastic edges (probably so your fingers do not slip when typing fast) Below the navigation pad is the space bar (long oval key) and dots 7 and 8, no raised edges on these. Then finally still on the upper face at the lower corners for each side there are the panning keys, curve little cute springy sticks, right on the edges.
Then on the corners directly below these are what appear to be square shaped ventilation holes, but they are actually deceptively clever key ring holders, so it would be very easy to build a strap for yourself. Then on the back left there is a square power button, but alas its too small and it would be probably difficult to find it if you need to get to it fast. Then there is the sd card slightly sticking out, and finally there is the USB micro b port (the one you find on smarphones etc) for charging and connectivity. It has a bump on the bottom which I was too excited to find because I thought it was a light but ... its just an orientation dot to tell you which way the cable goes in. On the bottom face of the display, not really equidistant from each other, there are ruber feet (uh, dots) that are meant to prevent the orbit from moving but you can slide it with little effort so I doubt a bit on their real usefulness. Finally, there is a dip into the plastic that leads to what I would believe is the compartment for the battery. Unfortunately its confusing to take out when you want to change the battery--there are two screws located at each side of the dip but you have to pick them very carefully. I would assume those screws used are tiny, star shaped ones.
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2. Implementation (connecting to the pc)
I used this with NVDA is pretty solid, especially if you install this add on (I had to cheat using the computer for entering this URL because I frankly have no idea how brackets are typed in Spanish dot 8 braille)
The only thing that I find hard to do yet, is reading links, and underlined text and all of that. I find that when dot 7 is added for computer braille caps, I have a hell of a hard time reading a word but that is because probably I am not at all used to it. Also, I wish braille extender was a bit more clear on the key assignments.
I know b1, for example is braille dot 1. And d1, means press the select button plus dot 1. b9 is the space bar. But then we get to b10, b11, and b0, and that is not even possible to do on the orbit... so you should go to the gestures dialog in NVDA and reassign some of them, or all if you want. Oh right. I never managed to emulate say, shift plus something. Or control plus something. And there is a bug, because I like using grade 2 English (which I know quite well) and grade one Spanish (until I can get my own table being put into lib louis which is the official one for spanish grade 2) but I have not been able to even switch between tables because oh, surprise, when I go into the config dialog to select the tables only the second one gets selected, so the shortcut is useless, I would guess editing the .ini file or something would be a workaround. Oh, navigating pages with one letter presses is just a blast. And say, to go to the previous heading you would type the caps sign for your language, and then the letter h. That was a nice discovery. Finally, there are commands that you use with select plus braille letters to emulate alt f4, windows d, windows m, ETC. they are somewhat intuitive, but I still have to get used to those or assign and propose assignments for the orbit 20 exclusively, but despite all of those quirks I really like the add on so far... if only could we use custom braille tables at least to test them (the issue was brought to life and worked on for a really good while and then the author just threw the towell too fast)
Typing text with the braille keyboard lagged a bit, as promised.
The orbit compensates for this by having a special prompt invoked when you press select plus down arrow which opens an edit box so that you can type the text fast, then send up to 255 characters of text to any device and apparently speed up entry that way, but I have not tested that feature yet. Finally, its hard to say that roboBraille converts spanish accurately, it certainly has a very hard time with accented letters. So I would say, if there is no grade 2 support for your language (only the U.S. is the spoiled one in that department I am afraid) then simply convertting the files to unformatted plain text (UTF8 ) in microsoft word should work for any western language because you can open them directly in the orbit reader, it re-flows them auto magically for you.
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3. Internal or standalone mode Usage notes. Localization works just as it should. The user guide is a bit confusing at times, but totally doable. The find feature is probably the most useful when reading. Sometimes I found that panning the display took more time to complete than what I would have liked (sometimes the press of the panning key and the display actually responding was delayed a few tenths of a second and that made me believe it had locked up) but I am sure this is probably a firmware bug fix. I found it really convenient that the sd card is inserted with the whole thing, casing included, unlike smartphones or cameras which make you remove the card from the casing to put it into a tiny meager slot.
The commands are somewhat intuitive, but its just like with any other piece of gear.. either you work and commit to them and memorize them (there are thankfully not even many) or you just sell the display and go complain elsewhere. I would believe this is a software recomendation, but I would like to be able to use shortcuts in the options menu, or better yet, a shortcut that would allow me to switch between two braille tables since I read both contracted english and spanish and of course representation of things changes from language to language. As for the reader I feel it could use some more movement commands like move paragraph by paragraph, but that is just aminor wish.
As for managing files, its just a mtter of getting used to the way it works, and same goes for copying and pasting text. It is really similar to, and brings back memories of my braille lite.
Overall, regarding file transfer and such, I like the simplicity of the system.. it does just what you need and nothing more. And that is also a good thing.
Final and short berdict:
This device is impressive for its price, I have found very little to complain about... in fact, I really enjoy working with it. It would be a terrific aid for anyone who is still in school for a fraction of the cost of regular notetakers. The device is sturdy and no component feels weak or like its about to fall off at any moment.
I will use this to read read read (am on my second book already) and for taking braille music notes ETC. Its a well rounded suplement if you want braille in your life.
Right, I typed this all on the orbit 20.
Thanks for that review, it's much appreciated. I'm still strongly considering getting one, although I have a Focus 40, the main reason being it's a little bit stupid to have to pair a display to either my phone or computer in order to read a book, since the Focus lacks internal storage. I also have an aging Braille Note MPower, but it's pretty useless, because it needs to be plugged in in order to run, and the display has seen better days.
As for Braille Extender using an odd configuration, I think the commands that are assigned for use with the Focus are pretty intuitive, so if they differ with the Orbit if I buy one, I'll just change them to what I'm used to.
sure thing, if you want to ask anything just post here and I will be happy to answer things. I forgot to add regarding the bookmarks. I really like this feature, because you can have multiple bookmarks per book and navigate through them very easily. I just upgraded to the latest version of the firmware so I would believe some things would be improved, according to their change log which is a bit funnily written, especially on the improvised bit.
1. The issue of jumping to the file names that were not working in certain cases, has been resolved
2. The ‘search response latency’ for UTF-8 files, has been Improvised for better results
3. Now, the users can do a ‘Back Search’ from the Find Edit Box, without requiring to do a ‘Forward Search’ first
The guide does explain how this back search is done anyway. The bookmarks though could be a bit more accurately placed, I believe they are placed on the actual line of text and not the real braille position you were in so you would probably have to scroll some to arrive at your exact position. Still, its better than nothing and its more a firmware thing.
Ah right, the battery percentages are indicated in 10% intervals only. So it will never read 85% or 57%. Again, I would believe another firmware quirk.
and the display has seen better days
is this regarding battery life or the quality of the Braille?
I'm not sure, to be honest. The battery won't charge at all, it needs to be plugged in at all times or it won't run. So maybe that makes the pins weaker. it doesn't make sense, but I always take good care of my things, and I really can't imagine that the pins would be as messed up as they would appear to be. Whenever I use the Braille Note, I have to sort of rub some of the pins that get stuck in the upward position so that they'll work properly, and after a little while they start to behave themselves, but it's not cool.
That battery issue on the Orbit would be a little irritating, honestly. I like to have exact percentages. I imagine it will be fixed eventually, though.
well, for me it's not a big of a deal that battery is announced that way (its pretty durable though) but sure thing would be nice exact percentages. Really strange issue you do have there though, its sad because those are really good technology pieces. As for the slight delay I described earlier when typing over usb or bluetooth and panning when reading in standalone mode, I think that has in fact, improved in latest software update, I can (literally) feel a difference lol.
so I just tried the buffering thing and the truth is that the lag is not really that bad when typing, in other words, the buffering timing is quite significant from the time when you are done typing in the buffer and then press send. It takes in average 5 seconds or so to buffer some text, not sure if this changes or depends on how full the buffer actually is but in my test I buffered around from 30 to 70 characters at most per buffer and this I felt was pretty slow. So typing with the slight lag is preferable to deal with the buffering of text to be honest... lets see if that gets addressed in a future update or whatever.
Your second link leads to a 500 internal server error. I had read the bad news a few days ago, and was seriously hoping that the Orbit Reader hadn't been discontinued. I'm glad it hasn't been, but since I can't get that link to work, how much more expensive are we talking here?
hi, page might be just buggy, it opened fine here. Its now selling for $599.00 shipping included and you should order it directly from the www.orbitresearch.com site
the nice thing about this way of ordering is that you do not need to go somewhere else to purchase the accessories like the case or extra battery, which I have.
ah, you're right, the link is working fine now. I'm seriously thinking of saving to buy one at this point, since the future of it looks uncertain at best.
No no. The product will not be discontinued. Remember: APH was only a distributor, after they had helped Orbit Research making the product. There are many distributors around the world, and I'm sure Orbit Research will find an other distributor in the US soon.
and just in time for Easter, orbit had come up with yet another upgrade to their firmware. I normally do not announce them here as its a bit irrelevant and the information can be publicly browsed, but this time it was a big surprise. I normally was just fine reading the way I was doing it, and then I upgraded just today that I had time (life does really get in the way of reading, sadly) and was delighted to find out that they now have done autoScrolling in stand-alone reading mode! (the screen reader handles this automatically when the display is connected to whatever device)
yeah, for the fancy expensive displays/notetakers this is probably a no brainer, and probably laughable at best, but I took it for a spin and it went really well. The only minor downside (that I could change myself but I am lazy lol) is the really poor translation they used in the displayed Spanish messages for naming the feature.
But, OK. Here is the quick review on it.
When you are reading a document and press space bar to start or stop auto scrolling, you have a default time of 10 seconds per line which I found to be way too slow, but its sensible if the readers are beginners. Pressing space to start will advance the display right away, as well. I had to shorten it to about 4 dot something seconds and it still gave me time to really double check what I had read (I say this because grade 2 in Spanish is still a bit difficult for me as we normally used grade one during pretty much all of our lives but I am enjoying it a lot)
so I think in terms of speed I can do pretty decently. I would really congratulate a person who could read with auto scrolling using the max speed which is every second, that would be amazing!
Setting the speed is a bit counter intuitive, at least for me, because if you think in number terms, pressing space bar plus up arrow should increase the number, not decrease it, but then.. well, it would increase the speed, so there is that. I really liked that you can actually use every command that is listed in the manual for the reading mode without interrupting the braille pacer feature as they call it. Which means that if you were reading something and were not quite finished yet but the display scrolled, you can scroll it back, and then either wait for the next 4 seconds to go by to scroll again, or scroll it forward again, and the timer gets reset each time you issue a command, so its pretty flexible.
As for checking the current speed besides the number you get when changing it, you can do so from the menu too, but you cannot modify it from there, and it is better if you change it with auto scroll disabled because if you change the speed when auto scroll is on, you will not get any numbers telling you the new value. Lastly, the value is saved every time it is modified, and it should be that way until you change it again or restore the display to the defaults.
So, I now will enjoy reading even more!
Yeah it is a great feature in my opinion.
Have you contacted the Spanish distributor about the translation? That would be a good idea if you have a better word for the feature in Spanish.
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