[nfbwatlk] Perkins Braillers

Alco Canfield amcanfield at comcast.net
Sat Sep 18 17:17:44 CDT 2010


Coni, All,

I just tell people that the slate and stylus is like a pencil. "You wouldn't want to do without your pencil, now, would you?" I ask. That usually gets the point across. No one would usually carry a typewriter, but would find a pencil or pen much more portable.

Alco

-----Original Message-----
From: Mary Ellen <gabias at telus.net>
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:45 PM
To: 'NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List' <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org>
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Perkins Braillers

Thanks to all who have taken the time to respond, either privately or on
list, to my question concerning the Perkins Brailler. Ben, your article
about the use of the slate and stylus was part of the inspiration for my
query. Just as educators and experts abandoned the slate and stylus and the
Federation has had to fight for its recognition as a valuable tool, I fear
the unique place of the Perkins Brailler is also not fully understood by
those making decisions about which technology to recommend or purchase. I
think we won't have as much trouble explaining the need for the Perkins as
we continue to have with the slate because it's easy for those not fluent in
Braille to understand the mechanics of the Perkins. We won't have to listen
to a lot of silly talk about reversals and how difficult it is to learn.
I've received enough comments to begin a short article on the topic, but if
anyone hasn't commented and would like to, please feel free
  --  particularly if you have what you believe is a specialized or unique
use for your Brailler. 
-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Prows, Bennett (HHS/OCR)
Sent: September 15, 2010 2:22 PM
To: 'NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List'
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Perkins Braillers


Hi Listers,

If anybody cares, I too have at least two perkins Braillers.  I even bought
a new generation Perkins from APH.  (By the way, I'm not impressed with it,
and would as soon just keep using the older generation).  I use one at the
Office and mostly Braille notes on it.  I use 5 by 7 cards, and have a whole
pile, (I'd like to say organized) with case numbers, telephone numbers,
passwords, etc on them.  I also use 8 and a half by 11 braille paper on the
newer perkins at the Ofice to write l onger notes that need my attention.

I do of course use my computer and Braille embosser for long documents I
either draft or review.  At home, I use the Perkins for labeling as also
mentioned by  Chris, I use it to write notes on important documentnts, and
even use it for phone numbers, etc.  I wouldn't do without my Perkins.  I
also refer to an article I once wrote called, "Technology is not the answer"
to more generally argue that hand written Braille, with either the slate and
stylus and the Perkins is very important when the technology fails us.
Besides, sighted folks have never completely given up the pen and pencil.
So, while an "Underwood" may not generally be in use, old style tools
haven't been completely abandoned.

Mary Ellen, I took this route to respond, rather than writing to the address
you gave. Hope this is enough. /s/ Bennett Prows 

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Mike Freeman
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 8:00 PM
To: nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Perkins Braillers

Mary Ellen:

I have a Braille Sense Plus and a computer. I also have two Perkins
Braillers, both of which need repairs. I do not own a Braille embosser.

I don't use the Perkins much as I find a refreshable Braille display quite
satisfactory under most circumstances. However, were I still doing a great
many math calculations (algebra, calculus, differential equations, page-long
physics equations and the like), I would accept nothing else except a
Perkins. Spatial display of math elements (or poetry, for that matter) just
doesn't work with a refreshable Braille display and blind college students
are handicapping themselves mightily if they try to do math or other natural
sciences without use of a Perkins Brailler.

Mike

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mary Ellen" <gabias at telus.net>
To: unknown <gabias at telus.net>
Date: Monday, Sep 13, 2010 10:23:04
Subject: [nfbwatlk] Perkins Braillers

>
>
> I'm writing to ask what may seem to be an absurd question.
>  
> Is the Perkins Brailler still a useful piece of equipment?
>  
> The Perkins is obviously used by blind people who don't have access to 
> advanced Braille technology, but I'm particularly interested in the 
> opinions of those who use computer assisted Braille.
>  
> Though I have a Braille Lite and an embosser, I wouldn't want to give 
> up my Perkins. Its role has changed for me over the years, but I still 
> find it useful.
>  
> The question has arisen because of an accommodation assessment I just 
> read. The person doing the assessment described the Perkins as "akin 
> to a 1950's Underwood." He clearly meant to indicate contempt for such 
> an antiquated piece of machinery.
>  
> Perhaps I'm merely demonstrating my advanced age and Luddite 
> tendencies, but I cringe at the "If it don't have a computer chip, it 
> ain't no good," mentality.
>  
> I would like to compile a list of ways in which tech savvy blind 
> people still use the Perkins, as well as reasons why people have 
> stopped using it.
>  
> We're all familiar with "experts" who denigrate the slate and stylus. 
> We've done a very good job of countering their arguments, though the 
> "experts" still aren't listening very well. I believe it may be time 
> for us to pull together information and information on best practice 
> once again. If I'm right in believing the Perkins is still a useful 
> tool, technology consultants need to know it in detail. If I'm wrong, 
> then it's time for me to change my Luddite ways and "get with the 
> program." Please e-mail me at gabias at telus.net with your views.
>  
> Mary Ellen Gabias _______________________________________________
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