[nfbwatlk] Perkins Braillers (fwd)

Frederick Driver wt329 at victoria.tc.ca
Tue Sep 14 08:27:43 UTC 2010

I liked your reply to Mary Ellen's question Lauren.

It sums it up.

You use more advanced technology fluently.  But you still use the Perkins
also.  In fact, using freely whatever is to hand, convenient and useful at
the time and in the circumstances.

No matter what technology comes along, and some of it like refreshable
braille has huge potential, nothing can ever replace the basics.  Like
slate and stylus.


Forwarded message

Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2010 22:43:43 -0700
From: Lauren Merryfield <lauren1 at catliness.com>
Reply-To: NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org>
To: NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org>
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Perkins Braillers

I still use my Perkins quite a bit, even though I have a computer.  My
Blazer seems to jam, so much of the time, I can't use it.

Sometimes I still write things down when I am talking to someone on the
phone and I am not at my computer or my computer is turned off, or the
person is standing there, waiting to read a number or something to me and I
don't want to take the time to start a new computer message.

I do all of these things with my BrailleNote, too; I still use both.  I also
still use a tape recorder to get messages down quickly, even though I have a
computer and BrailleNote.

I also use my Perkins brailler to braille out words to songs, poetry, etc.,
for church and for things that I put in a binder that I want to reread in
braille.  I still remember things better if I have them in braille.

And the biggy--technology can crash, batteries can be low, or the technology
might be sent away to be fixed.  I have rarely had to send my Perkins
brailler away to be fixed.  It doesn't crash.  It doesn't have batteries
that go dead.  It is, then, more reliable than technology.  So is the slate
and stylus, which is easiest to carry around.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mary Ellen" <gabias at telus.net>
To: <gabias at telus.net>
Sent: Monday, September 13, 2010 9:38 AM
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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