[Blindmath] Math editing and conversion

John Gardner john.gardner at orst.edu
Wed Feb 4 20:36:27 CST 2009


Graphing is the final unsolved problem for blind people.  Well at least as
far as information reading/authoring is concerned.  You can create graphs on
the computer in many ways, including Excel and the ViewPlus Audio Graphing
Calculator (full disclosure - ViewPlus is my company).  And you can make
those accessible with a ViewPlus embosser.  There are several low tech ways
to make graphs by hand, such as using the APH Quick Draw paper, priced at
only $3/page.  Or with a Sewell drawing kit from Howe Press.  

The problem with all these methods is that you cannot erase and correct the
graph without redrawing the whole thing.  At this time, my best
recommendation is velcro and string for something "erasable".  Or with a bit
more work, a felt pad and velcro strips.  I have heard of people using
tactile graph paper and some sticky string called something like sticky
wickis or wicki sticks that is purchased at art stores.  I've never used it
myself though.

Whatever you do, if you are required to produce graphs for the benefit of
the faculty, you must be able to see those graphs.  Otherwise you have no
idea whether your sighted assistant is doing it right.  If the university is
short on resources that are essential to your doing this, well, lack of
resources is not an excuse.  They must provide the minimum for your needs.
Happens to be a law in the US.

John Gardner


-----Original Message-----
From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Blind Collegian
Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 4:23 PM
To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Math editing and conversion

Hello everybody,
I greatly appreciate the various suggestions on how to make doing math
effective and less time-consuming.
Does anyone have an idea what to do when your instructor wants you to work
with a sighted person on the portion of the course that deals with graphs? I
told the professor I cannot do the drawing, all I can do is answer the
assigned problems in the textbook. But he wants me to find a way to
represent my answers in a graph. It just doesn't seem to be possible, is it?

Does LaTeX support graphing?
The biggest challenge is that none in the Math and Science Division seems to
recognize LaTeX; instead, most utilize MathType only. Any suggestions? It
does not seem like there is a more uniform and efficient solution other than
to struggle with various approaches. Additionally, what works for some
students does not work for others, in large part because not all
universities/colleges have the resources.

----- Original Message -----
From: "P. R. Stanley" <prstanley at ntlworld.com>
To: "Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics" 
<blindmath at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Monday, February 02, 2009 2:58 PM
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Math editing and conversion


> \Alternatively, typeset the whole thing in LaTeX using a simple text 
> editor and, using the tex package from www.miktex.org, convert the code to

> a pro standard PDF for your sighted recipients.
> It only takes one command, "pdflatex filename.tex", to produce the PDF. 
> It's that simple! No bug-ridden wysiwyg package, no need for a super 
> computer to drive the software engine. it's light, efficient, free and 
> there for the taking.
> Cheers
> Paul
> At 22:03 02/02/2009, you wrote:
>>The new version of MathType translates Latex in MS Word to displayed 
>>visual
>>math.  You can just write a Latex equation, with $ signs around it, and
>>MathType gobbles it up and inserts an equation in its place.  Once
>>converted, you can get MathType to export Latex to the clipboard too.  Not
>>really as usable as it could be, but better than nothing.
>>
>>
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] 
>>On
>>Behalf Of Alastair Irving
>>Sent: Monday, February 02, 2009 10:04 AM
>>To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
>>Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Math editing and conversion
>>
>>Hi
>>
>>I believe there exists at least 1 Nemeth to LaTeX translator.
>>Therefore, assuming you can save a braille file on your BrailleNote and
>>transfer it to a computer, (if it is saved as a .brf or similar then no
>>translation should occur), you could translate the nemeth to LaTeX and 
>>then
>>compile the LaTeX to PDF.
>>
>>I don't know what level of maths is involved in your class, but for fairly
>>simple algebra you could probably manage just using plain text, with ^ for
>>superscripts, / for fractions, etc.  The results obviously won't be as
>>pretty but its the most simple method provided things aren't too complex.
>>
>>
>>
>>Alternatively, you could look at Chatty Infty, or the lambda project.
>>Both of these are editors designed for use by blind people doing
>>mathematics, and I know that at least Lambda has Braille support.
>>
>>
>>
>>Personally, I work in LaTeX directly, using the LaTeX-access scripts to 
>>aid
>>in reading, so have no actual experience of the above software.  If you
>>intend to do more Mathematics classes then I strongly advise learning 
>>LaTeX,
>>it has a steeper learning curve than any of the above but the results are
>>definitely worth it, especially considering the volume of mathematical
>>documents written in LaTeX.
>>
>>Finally, I would suggest that if you're posting to the list in future 
>>about
>>a new topic then you start a new message rather than replying to an old 
>>one.
>>Even if you change the subject line, various mail headers are left which
>>refer to the initial thread, meaning that people using threaded 
>>mailreaders
>>and also probably the archive will list your message as part of the old
>>thread.
>>
>>Alastair
>>
>>Blind Collegian wrote:
>> > Hello,
>> > I registered for an Algebra class and my instructor is not familiar
>> > with LaTeX and wants to know if there are any means of doing math more
>> > efficiently using a certain computer program to create math equations
>> > and expressions.
>> > Is there a computer-based math program that does not have a lot of
>> > learning curve? I want to be able to use it in Braille and either
>> > print it or email it to the instructor.
>> > I have a BrailleNote, but at this point I do not have the ability to
>> > print Nemeth Code straight out of the device without any translation
>> > happening in the background. Any ay advice would be greatly 
>> > appreciated.
>> >
>> > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Robin Williams"
>> > <robster3 at hotmail.com>
>> > To: "'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics'"
>> > <blindmath at nfbnet.org>
>> > Sent: Monday, February 02, 2009 8:33 AM
>> > Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Spss 16 nightmare
>> >
>> >
>> >> Vincent,
>> >>  Yes, R can do everything that SPSS can do (almost certainly) and
>> >> probably more if you use the various freely-distributed packages
>> >> available. It is accessible to a large degree, especially if you run
>> >> the back-end terminal
>> >> (rterm.exe) found in the /bin directory.
>> >>  I don't know for sure, but there is almost certainly a plugin to
>> >> enable you to read SPSS files. Check out the r-project website. If I
>> >> am wrong and there isn't, just export the output to some common
>> >> format and import it with R.
>> >>  HTH
>> >>
>> >> Robin Williams.
>> >> Mobile:
>> >> 07525 809495
>> >> (Note: I have been giving an incorrect mobile number for the last
>> >> several months, please update your contact details).
>> >> Personal email and MSN:
>> >> robster3 at hotmail.com
>> >> University email (please use this address):
>> >> rmw205 at exeter.ac.uk
>> >> -----Original Message-----
>> >> From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org
>> >> [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org]
>> >> On
>> >> Behalf Of Jared Wright
>> >> Sent: 31 January 2009 22:20
>> >> To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
>> >> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Spss 16 nightmare
>> >>
>> >> Vincent, Is your instructor not using the standard JDK distributed by
>> >> Sun for developing Java? If that's the compiler being used, and I've
>> >> no idea why it wouldn't be, you should be able to just compile from
>> >> the command line with javac. Of course, if you like the interactive
>> >> environment of Eclipse, that's another story but if it's merely
>> >> because of compilation problems, this might be preferable.
>> >>
>> >> Will be happy to help further off list, but I venture beyond the
>> >> scope of this community now.
>> >>
>> >> Best,
>> >> Jared
>> >>
>> >> vincent wrote:
>> >>> Hello:
>> >>> I am taking a quantitative research methods and Engineering
>> >>> Psychology
>> >> class
>> >>> this semester and both are requiring me to use SPSS version 16 to
>> >> calculate
>> >>> results.  I have done everything imaginable to make SPSS talk enough
>> >>> for
>> >> me
>> >>> to use, but to no avail.  I have installed the old scripts and the
>> >>> Java access bridge.  It speaks somewhat, but not enough to truly
>>function.
>> >>> The
>> >>> disability services office took my advice and is going to provide me
>> >>> a reader to read the screen for me, so I can at least complete my
>> >>> homework.
>> >>
>> >>>
>> >>> Does anyone know if the statistical package "R: can do the same
>> >>> things
>> >> that
>> >>> SPSS will do?  Also, will it read a .sav Spss file or will I have to
>> >>> try
>> >> and
>> >>> export the data from the spss file.
>> >>> Any assistance would be greatly appreciated, because I just don't
>> >>> have the time to do all the research this weekend myself.  I have to
>> >>> spend time catching up in my JAVA programming class.  Of curse the
>> >>> compiler the
>> >> school
>> >>> is using was written in JAVA and does not speak enough to use.  I
>> >>> have
>> >> moved
>> >>> on to Eclipse and am happily coding away.
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>> "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs,
>> >>> you'll be
>> >> a
>> >>> Man, my son!"
>> >>>
>> >>> Rudyard Kipling
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>> _______________________________________________
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>> >>
>> >> mail.com
>> >>>
>> >>
>> >>
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