Oh brothers and sisters. Here we go again.
I don't have to tell anyone that the title is misleading. A small,
limited, mechanically clunky 20-cell strip will never replace a perkins
brailler. It just will not. Complement possibly, but never replace.
Especially in parts of the world were any already limited electronic
technology is made even more vulnerable and unreliable than it already
is. The tough perkins brailler allows that invaluable 2-D braille
layout just not possible on today's delicate braille displays. If a
sighted person is overly baffled by blindness, and overly impressed with
"that neat electronic braille thing in your lap there", then let them
use a 20-character single-line display on a backward phone with
out-of-date features, poor build, and we all know the other limitations,
and then see their reaction. I had that experience. A young I.T.
professional lady happen to meet me by chance, and she looked with
wide-eyed interest at the braille device I was using. It was a
BrailleSense U32 perkins style. After she actually looked at it more
closely, saw the display and its small LCD screen by way of comparison,
and she learned that it was a Windows CE version 6 machine, then she
understood not only from a sightling's point of view, but from that of a
professional I.T. woman, and even from a blind person's viewpoint. She
wasn't phased by blindness; she wasn't impressed by the braille albeit
she thought it was interesting and neat; and, she asked the right questions.
Blindness does something to people's minds, at least initially. this
combined with the incredulity they feel, and the wow-wee factor of
technology, and braille technology at that., generally rational people
can become irrational, and their decisions on our behalf reflect that
idiosyncratic, exasperating slide. If Orbit is being humanitarian and
not just making a grab for a vulnerable and innocent market, let Orbit
donate their displays which are limited by design. I remember years ago
the college's center for students with disabilities was so excited that
they bought a braille notetaker under the energized hand of the young
lady who was assigned to that office as a sidebar, along with her other
pressing roles and responsibilities. "We have a braille notetaker in
braille!" said the well-meaning and naive young lady delightedly. "Now
students who are 'visually challenged'" (feminine delight and feminine
tears and feminine solicitude in her feminine voice) "can take this
notetaker to class with them, and they can take their very own notes in
braille All by themselves! And then after they can bring this braille
notetaker back to the center for students with disabilities, and they
can borrow it nex time they need it, and it'll be here for them!"I'm
sure I do not have to explain the problems with her approach. Oui?
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