[Blindmath] UEB again (was Braille code urgency)

John Gardner john.gardner at orst.edu
Sun Dec 4 17:39:36 CST 2011

Hi Steve.  I do not intend to get into an argument, particularly with people
like Sina and Michael, who are good friends.  I do not pretend to have a
direct line to God, so I am just stating my own opinions.  We certainly are
not gonna agree on everything.  If we did there wouldn't be a lot of point
to a discussion!  You asked me some questions, and I am happy to answer them
interlined below.

-----Original Message-----
From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Steve Jacobson
Sent: Sunday, December 04, 2011 1:34 PM
To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] UEB again (was Braille code urgency)
John, I am curious to get your perspective on a couple of things.  Let me
say clearly that I have looked at both UEB 
and NUBS samples and I can't say that I see a clear winner.  You said that
people would not accept dropped 
numbers because punctuation occurs more often.  I think that there is some
truth to this, but I find that position to be 
inconsistent with the dot 6 numbers that would have to replace many signs.
What am I missing?  
JAG: Good question Steve.  The Unified Braille Code committee was instructed
by BANA to make minimal changes to Grade 2 braille and to expand the
noncontracted code to its heart's content.  The symbols used for dot-6
numbers are unused in noncontracted braille.  Dropped letters are
punctuation marks in non-contracted braille.  So noncontracted braille would
need to have its numbers changed whether one adopts dot-6 or dropped
numbers, but the latter would cause punctuation to be changed as well.  If
one adopts dot-6 numbers, one way to change grade 2 would be that the
symbols following the number sign would not be a b c but would be those
letters with an additional dot-six.  Basically the number sign would be a
"switch to grade 1 for this string" indicator.  Of course it is also
possible to keep grade 2 as it is and just have a number non-uniformity
between grade 1 and grade 2.  In my opinion this is a pretty minimal
non-uniformity and one I'd be happy to accept.  Adopting dropped numbers
would either result in a major change to grade 2 braille or a major
non-uniformity.  Maybe you now understand why the vote against dropped
numbers was 7-1.  I would have voted that way myself.

Please understand 
I'm not saying that dot 6 numbers are necessarily a bad idea, only that it
is an example of why I don't see a clear path 
forward.  You mentioned 95 ASCII symbols, but Unicode raises that number,
JAG: Of course there are many more than the 95 printable ASCII symbols, but
computer software is almost universally written using only those 95
characters.  The computer braille code is supposed to be a 1-1
representation of computer braille.  We may argue about whether math braille
code numbers need to be unique, but there is no argument when you are
talking about computer braille.  UBC was supposed to be a uniform code for
literary, math, and computer braille.  The latter goes right out the window
if there are no number symbols.


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