[Blindmath] Reading, Doing and Writing math for a newcomer
Tamara Smith-Kinney
tamara.8024 at comcast.net
Thu Jun 4 11:41:58 CDT 2009
Hey, Michael,
Thanks for the comprehensive rundown and informatin! I'm new to the list,
but have been lurking sine I'm still trying to lay the groundwork to get
back into doing math and software development and the like. I've wanted to
eavesdrop on how others -- especially math students and those in
math-related professions -- use the available technology and how they prefer
to process math and scientific/computer notation. And, of course, graphs!
You've just answered a bunch of questions I've had and saved me hours of
future research. /smile/ It may be quite some time before I can round up
what I need, since I live in one of those states where voc rehab has been,
er, disappointing for quite a fiew years and is not in the process of
becoming non-existent. Sigh. But I do love to hear how the technology is
advancing and what works for people and why.
Tami Smith-Kinney
-----Original Message-----
From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Michael Whapples
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 5:48 AM
To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Reading, Doing and Writing math for a newcomer
Hello,
Firstly welcome to the list, I hope you find it useful.
I will discuss some of the things you have heard of and explain how they
may fit in.
InftyReader is some OCR software for converting maths in an image file
(IE. that image can have come from a paper source being scanned into the
computer) into an editable for such as LaTeX or mathml (I will discuss
these formats later).
ChattyInfty is another product from the infty project, it is a self
voicing maths editor for maths and can handle the output from
InftyReader. ChattyInfty is a wysiwyg (What you see is what you get)
editor like Microsoft word is. This type of editor may fit in with your
style of working for producing and editing documents, but many do prefer
working with things like LaTeX.
Wintriangle is another editor like ChattyInfty, but I believe that
wintriangle uses its own format/notation which isn't quite standard
(although it is meant to be very easy to learn and readable by sighted
people familiar with maths notation.
I have mentioned LaTeX, this is a plain text format where you insert
commands into the text to tell the LaTeX software what to do (eg. for a
fraction x over y you would write "frac{x}{y}"). The format is commonly
used in mainstream scientific communities so output is very professional
looking and you will find plenty of information on it on the internet.
Obviously for this you need to know the command you want to use, so it
certainly has a steep learning curve at the beginning. You will have to
decide whether the initial learning time is worth it for you, and you
may feel such a way of working is not for you.
Related to LaTeX you probably will want to find a good text editor, one
for windows which has been mentioned here is edsharp (sorry I don't have
a link for it). I believe edsharp has some scripts to make jaws speak
LaTeX more naturally, these scripts are from the latex-access project on
sourceforge (http://latex-access.sf.net).
MathML is a standard for putting maths on the internet, it is not
designed for users to hand edit. If you have MathPlayer from design
science installed you can read maths in MathML in internet explorer with
the main windows screen readers.
Daisy is a format for audio books and recently it has had maths added to
the standard. To read a daisy book you will need a daisy player, only a
few support maths, I think some are listed on the daisymath page.
DaisyMath is a plugin from design science for exporting word documents
to the daisy format. DaisyMath only deals with the mathematical part so
you will need to also install the daisy plugin for word (info about this
required plugin I think is on the DaisyMath web page).
You may have heard of dots plus and the tiger printer. This is an
alternative to standard mathematical Braille. Dotsplus uses raised
graphic like symbols for the mathematical notation and lays the maths
out as in print. Dotsplus is meant to be fairly easy to learn and
symbols are close to the print version. Due to the graphical nature of
the symbols this is why a tiger printer would be needed for dotsplus.
Also a tiger printer can produce graphs and other raised line diagrams.
One drawback in my mind with dotsplus is that you have no way to write
dotsplus or view dotsplus on a computer Braille display. This makes it
purely a reading format and so you probably would want to learn standard
maths Braille for making notes/working out.
Braille, well you know what it is, from what you said you have only
started reading it. Due to it being different to print significantly
(eg. requiring symbols to show changes which would normally be a
positional thing in print like superscript) it may take some time to
learn. For myself where print of any size is not possible I feel Braille
is the best format for making notes and for working out. Also as I know
Braille it also is my preferred reading format for maths, although if it
was purely for reading I think dotsplus is a tempting option. Braille to
me wins over speech by along way as Braille allows me more freedom to
skip about and refer to particular parts of equations, read down columns
in tables, etc. One problem with Braille is that translation software
isn't always reliable (particularly for non-US codes, I am in the UK
which is a different Braille code to the US one).
I think that covers quite alot of what there is and gives a good general
overview, I am sure there is plenty of other things people could mention
but I don't want to go through them all in one go, it may be best if you
ask about specific things if you have further questions, then I/others
can cover the things important to you.
Michael Whapples
On 04/06/09 03:10, Philip So wrote:
> Hello All,
> My name is Philip. I am rather new to this and would appreciate it
> very much if you could advise me on how to make math texts accessible
> by ear, do math and write math with the computer. I began using JAWS
> and reading very simple Braille 2 months ago. Previously for many
> years, I was able to read large print and had been using Zoom-Text.
> My Bachelor's degree is in Economics, and I don't want my most recent
> vision loss to stop my plan to pursue a graduate degree in a
> quantitative-leaning social science field in the near future.
> I have come across names like Infty Reader, Abby Fine, Chatty Infty,
> WinTriangle, Daisy, Math Daisy, etc. and would especially appreciate
> if you could share with me how all these work together to do the 3
> tasks: read math texts, math equations and tables by ear, do math, and
> write math.
> Thank you very much for your very kind help.
> Best regards,
> Philip
> Email:pcs2001 at caa.columbia.edu
>
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