Should I get an Orbit Reader?

Yesterday I stumbled onto Debbie Gillespie’s blog, surprisingly, by way of Editors Canada (actually Editors Toronto, even). I wish I had found this earlier, since what Debbie reported back in July 2014 directly contradicts what’s being taught in my program, and had I found it back then I’d still be able to change what I wrote.

Anyway, I followed the rabbit trail and eventually landed on the page to preorder the Orbit Reader 20. $50 would be easy to fork out, but I’d eventually need to pay $450 more, plus taxes (still much less than those other devices that I can’t afford, but still a significant amount of money). So should I get the device, or not?

Maybe not now? I should probably not hold up a device for people who really need it?

Lack of braille literacy… among non-blind people

I just saw this posted on a job board:
We would need help to have the three words below translated into Chinese and converted to Chinese Braille. The text is intended to be used on signs in an elevator.

When I saw this my first thought was: What country?

I looked hard and country was not mentioned.

I don’t know Chinese braille, but I know enough to see that the posting, as written, is completely meaningless; it’s like asking for a sign language interpreter for English.

Curious elevator button

While I was getting out of the Lassonde building I took a closer look at the elevator buttons and saw this: Photograph of elevator buttons found in the Lassounde building at York University. The embossed type on button for the ground floor (upper right) says ☆G but the braille says “main”. What caught my attention was the braille. I’ve seen buttons with star signs before, and what I’d been seeing had been having the star sign “translated” to the letter S—odd to me, but if this is an actual convention then actual blind people probably aren’t going to get confused. However, the first letter for the “ground floor” button was clearly not an S. So what is it? I took some time trying to decipher it and found that it read “main”. So to a blind person, the building doesn’t have a “ground floor,” but a “main floor.” I don’t know how others feel, but I think this is an inconsistency.

Looks like UEB is more semantic than Unicode

Unified English Braille distinguishes between many things that Unicode doesn’t distinguish. For example, UEB distinguishes between the seconds (of an angle) sign, the inch sign, and the double prime, whereas Unicode use the double prime for all three. How, then, can an automatic translator from Unicode to UEB be designed? Wouldn’t this require artificial intelligence?
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