[nfbwatlk] Perkins Braillers

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Wed Sep 15 02:59:52 UTC 2010

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.


----- 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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