[Blindmath] superscript on an APEX question

Mike Jolls mrspock56 at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 2 00:56:02 UTC 2013


With all these solutions out there ... and people have been working on them for a lot longer than I have .. perhaps I should just bow out of this.
The thing I hate to see is that people have to buy 3 or 4 programs (expensive programs) to translate from one thing to another to another to another.
The program I was working on I was going to maybe make SOME money, but offer it at a very reasonable price ... maybe $50 a copy.  Not $500 a copy.  The point is to help people, not gouge them ... even though as a software engineer myself ... I do understand that a person writing software wants to make their money back after they invest a lot of time.  But in my mind allowing a blind person to have access to the math ... to maybe have an opportunity that they didn't have before ... is fundamental right.  Not something for someone to be denied because they can't afford the software that would let them do it.  That's why I was going to try and do it cheaply.
 
It seems to me that ... and this addresses one of the previous respondents ... the computer SHOULD be able to do all these translations flawlessly ... provided of course that all the rules have been defined.  That's really the key to being able to do something like this.  The rules HAVE to be defined.  And the standard formats that you are going to generate and translate.  All of that has to be known for people to provide solutions which will work on any platform.
 
What I had in mind would be .....
 
1. Teacher enters the math problems into MS Word or some other software they use
2. The math program reads the MS Word file, identifies all symbols by their ASCII (or other) code, and has a translation algorithm to translate them to a Braille file.
3. The Notetaker, or software running on a PC or Mac, reads the translated Braille file and represents them on a Braille display.
Heck, you could even have the math program in step 2 write out an intermediate language which is a standard non-braille file that defines what is being represented.
Then with this intermediate file, another program such as would run in a Browser could translate it to browser HTML ... or an app on a PC could translate it so it could be displayed on a Braille display.
 
And I was planning on just having all the translations in one program, or maybe a series of programs.  But offer them all in a system that didn't cost a lot of money.  After all, we're talking about making knowledge available to people ... not "sticking it to them".
 
I won't go into all the details about the back and forth translation or work that has to be done.  Anybody who's done programming understands that.  But I'll just cut to the chase and say that this is all about "defining the standard formats that will be used, and the rules" ... whether it's computer Braille, Nemeth, whatever the experts agree that blind students should learn to use.  That's something that needs to happen if it hasn't already.  I get the real idea here that some say Nemeth, some say LaTex, others say ABC... how does anybody get anything done if someone doesn't evaluate the requirements and say "XYZ is the standard everyone should write to"?  And maybe they have and I just haven't been flying in the right circles.  Maybe I need to get educated and go to some of these conferences that I'm sure go on out there.
 
Enough said.  I obviously wouldn't mind working on something like this .. I have the math background, and I understand about writing software.  It just seemed like a neat idea to maybe try and help blind students who want to explore math.
 
> From: mlewicki at bcsd.neric.org
> To: blindmath at nfbnet.org
> Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2013 21:25:42 +0000
> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] superscript on an APEX question
> 
> Interesting, Louis. My students use the Apex for most of their work, except hard copies for foreign language and math. I was told the update handles Nemith, but to what degree I did not want to experiment with at this point. As it is one student does enter her answers for math into the Apex, and she says she uses some computer braille so that it prints out correctly for her teacher. 
> 
> I am sure it will be eventually possible for my student to get these docs without the middleman of a person who enters it into Math type, Duxbury, then embosses, but we have a ways to go, and as I said, techie I am not...a plodder, I am and I can be taught!
> 
> Maureen Murphy Lewicki
> Maureen Murphy Lewicki
>  Teacher of Visually Impaired
> Bethlehem Central School
> 332 Kenwood AvenueDelmar, NY 12054
> http://bethlehemschools.org
> (518) 439-7460
> Fax (518) 475-0092
> "The real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight.  The
> real problem is the misunderstanding and lack of education that
> exists.  If a blind person has the proper training and
> opportunity, blindness can be reduced to a mere physical
> nuisance."Kenneth Jernigan
> 
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Blindmath [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Louis Bryant
> Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 5:18 PM
> To: blindmath at nfbnet.org
> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] superscript on an APEX question
> 
> Hi. This is interesting that you bring this up. I actually have a program running on the Braille Sense that explains addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, long-division, step-by-step as well as presents the steps in Nemeth Code. It also has other features, and will soon be cross-platform.
> I'm planning to also have the program present the steps and equations to a sighted user using proper notation. It will also soon have a guided mode and a test mode which each part of the problem is presented to the user and all the user has to do is answer questions. The application will take care of the format and presentation to blind and sighted users itself.
> I've actually wrote this app in a programming language I made up that takes care of translating anything sent to it into C++ code.
> The language is also portable across platforms so this same script can just be re-translated later.
> I'd definitely be interested in working with someone on this, either for other platforms, to talk about standards, or even print symbols used on the computer for writing and solving equations. Help could also be used by describing the types of problems you wish to see done, and your version step-by-step on how to do them.
> If anyone wants to see what I've done, I'd be happy to send you a beta program or even just do a podcast. Other platforms will be coming soon! I've been working on this for about 7 months now.
> Best, Louis
> 
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Mike Jolls <mrspock56 at hotmail.com>
> To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics <blindmath at nfbnet.org>
> Date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 12:43 pm
> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] superscript on an APEX question
> 
> >
> >
> >  
> > 
> > I'm currently investigating software that would allow a blind person to enter an equation, and have the computer solve it for them ... in case they didn't know how to do it.
> > The goal is to output to a multi-line window so the braille display can be used to peruse the solution line by line and see the exact solution .. how it was arrived at.
> > The software would first calculate the intermediate answer, then translate it to braille, and then send it the display.
> > I would also like to see the software translate it back to a solution that the sighted teacher can handle.
> > This is not a trivial application .. it's certainly taking a lot of work on my part.
> > It doesn't even use LaTex which I hear everyone talking about.
> > But the goal is to:
> > 1. have the teacher give the student the homework in a file in the teachers format.
> > 2. The blind student gets it, pulls up the file, and the problem is output in Braille to the display with a set of standard symbols (whatever the standard is).
> > Functions could be output as ... "sin", "cos", "tan", "ln", "log" "abs", etc ... and then you'd likely have to have special symbols for integration, derivation, etc ...
> > 3. As I say, the software should present the problem to the student, and allow him to try to solve it, or have the program solve the problem for him if he or she just can't do it.
> > 4. And, then back-translate to Word or other format that the teacher can just be given the answer file and pull it up and see the answer.
> >  
> > Anyway, that's whyI say there should be a standard.  If there was, then a lot of people could work on such software.
> > At this point, i have a program where you can submit a problem such as => (3+2)*5-singg30(+1 ... and the program will calculate the answer.  It doesn't do step-by step yet.
> >  
> > So that's why I say what I say.
> >  
> >  
> > > CC: blindmath at nfbnet.org
> > > From: sabra1023 at gmail.com
> > > Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2013 13:42:33 com0500
> > > To: blindmath at nfbnet.org
> > > Subject: Re: [Blindmath] superscript on an APEX question
> > > 
> > > There are very few blind people who know about math, and blind people haven't been doing high-levelacademic pursuits with their sighted counterparts for very long. Because of this, there simply isn't enough research to know which standards would benefit the entire population. Maybe, you could do some of this research and get back to us with the results.
> > > 
> > > > On Oct 1, 2013, at 12:13 PM, Mike Jolls <mrspock56 at hotmail.com> wrote:
> > > > 
> > > > I find it interesting that (apparently .. if I'm reading the replies correctly) that two different people use different methods to represent the same information. Not that someone couldn't do that, but it would seem logical to have one accepted and approved set of Braille characters to represent a certain piece of information. Then, if everyone saved to that syntax, you could have a universal standard program that could then translate and print it out for the benefit of a sighted teacher who didn't understand the Braille code.
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > I'm all about standards ... it just makes life easier when you want to leverage information.
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > > 
> > > >> CC: blindmath at nfbnet.org
> > > >> From: sabra1023 at gmail.com
> > > >> Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2013 16:54:17 com0500
> > > >> To: blindmath at nfbnet.org
> > > >> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] superscript on an APEX question
> > > >> 
> > > >> I don't use superscripts at all. They are confusing for me to read, and I show my work and math for my benefit as well as the teachers. I use parentheses if there are problems with clarification.
> > > >> 
> > > >>> On Sep 26, 2013, at 3:15 PM, Wilson_KC <Wilson_KC at asdk12.org> wrote:
> > > >>> 
> > > >>> Thanks for that info, Daniel. We'll give it a try. kc
> > > >>> 
> > > >>> ________________________________________
> > > >>> From: Blindmath [blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] on behalf of 
> > > >>> Daniel [danielgillen at rcn.com]
> > > >>> Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2013 12:07 PM
> > > >>> To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
> > > >>> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] superscript on an APEX question
> > > >>> 
> > > >>> Dear list,
> > > >>> 
> > > >>> I am Daniel Gillen, a college student majoring in physics who is 
> > > >>> a power user of the Apex. For the longest time, I've known that 
> > > >>> one needs to be in 8-dot Computer Braille to take advantage of 
> > > >>> the various plain-text and extended Unicode characters.
> > > >>> Hence, the caret (or beginning of superscript material) is most 
> > > >>> efficiently written in 8-dot Computer Braille using dot 7
> > > >>> (backspace) together with dots 4-5. The way in 6-dot mode is to 
> > > >>> first press space with U (U for uppercase), and then dots 4-5.
> > > >>> The option to switch to 8-dot mode is in Braille Options under 
> > > >>> the Options Menu.
> > > >>> (Just as a side note: I find it convenient to use the tilde 
> > > >>> character for the beginning of a square-root expression. With 
> > > >>> that, I would end all superscript material or material under the 
> > > >>> radical sign that has additional text on the base line with a 
> > > >>> double-quote mark.) I hope this was helpful. As I've been a 
> > > >>> member of the BlMath listserv for quite some time, I could help 
> > > >>> anyone with such questions as this.
> > > >>> 
> > > >>> Thank you,
> > > >>> Daniel
> > > >>> 
> > > >>> ----- Original Message -----
> > > >>> From: Wilson_KC <Wilson_KC at asdk12.org
> > > >>> To: "blindmath at nfbnet.org" <blindmath at nfbnet.org Date sent: Thu, 
> > > >>> 26 Sep 2013 17:57:17 +0000
> > > >>> Subject: [Blindmath] superscript on an APEX question
> > > >>> 
> > > >>> My student is in a Text Document on her APEX doing math problems 
> > > >>> in Nemeth. When she puts in dots 4,5 to produce an up arrow for 
> > > >>> a superscript, she gets a tilde instead. Do you know what she's 
> > > >>> doing wrong?
> > > >>> 
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