Hello everybody

Although this started off as a private one, I’m opening this up for public 
discussion as I think it is an interesting topic on which others might like to 
express their opinions and views.

Perhaps I'm looking at this from the wrong perspective, but it seems to me 
rather like you’re putting the cart before the horse.        Who said anything 
about giving up on anything?  All I said was that it’s quicker and more 
convenient to simply look at the box or packaging.  Nobody can deny that fact! 
Why worry about Google if it isn’t necessary? Why is it faster to lob into your 
computer and then take all the time google finding stuff if you can simply whip 
a device out of your pocket, turn it on and then read what you want to know?  
That said, and maybe I should have made it clear before I started. Maybe that’s 
the reason you’ve taken this a little out of context. I do not for one moment 
dispute or contest the value of Google. It’s a fantastic resource, and I 
totally and utterly agree with you that it’s a mine of information just ready 
to be tapped into. I would never dispute that for a second. But sometimes, just 
sometimes, there are things which don’t appear on Google. For example, I just 
did a Google search for Asda branded beaf and ham burgers and, goes what, I cam 
up with nothing relevant at all. So, let’s put this into context. The value of 
Google not being discounted, contested or disputed for a moment. Let’s see. 
First, I need to wait while my machine boots. That doesn’t take long, I grant 
you. Then I have to go on to the Google website. Again, not particularly a 
lengthy process. In total we’re probably talking about a couple of minutes. And 
yes, if the machine is already turned on and ready for use, that cuts down the 
waiting time by quite a bit. So let’s see, say maybe 60 seconds or so to go on 
to Google and do the search. Then another minute or two to find the presence of 
an item on screen. As you know, there are things like the Item Chooser menu 
under OS Sierra, and there’s things like the JAWS Search and I forgot what they 
call the NVDA equivalent. So yes, I don’t dispute that it can be done quite 
quickly. If you find something relevant, then great, you’re off and running.

But then again, I have my Blaze ET now, or my iReader+, my Sara CE and if set 
up, my OpenBook and Pearl camera system. So let’s assume for the sake of 
argument that I opt to go with the Blaze ET. I can quickly take a snapshot of 
the box, then have the relevant information read out to me. The suggested 
cooking time, temperature and any other information I need is all there in 
front of me. I just don’t get your point. Surely, the most convenient and 
quickest method is to simply look at the box label’s contents.

Again, to be clear. I do not dispute or underestimate the value of Google and 
Bing or whatever other search engines may be out there and ready for use. Nor 
do I dispute the fact that most main stream items are probably listed. It may 
be also that I just didn’t look hard enough when I went on to Google. My only 
point here is that it’s quickest and more convenient if you have access to it 
to simply go directly to the information you want.

I don’t really understand why you’re disputing that fact. Nor do I get it as to 
why, just because it isn’t your own way, everything else seems to be ridiculous 
to you. But there again, maybe I am being ridiculous, and just don’t understand 
that fact. I welcome any input either from you yourself or from others. Am I 
really being so ridiculous to suggest that looking at the packaging of a 
product which, after all, is exactly what somebody with vision would do as the 
first port of call, rather than trawling through Google’s undisputedly 
extensive and exhaustive online resource, would significantly speed up the 
process? If I have the ability or the technology right there in my pocket, 
what’s the problem with using it? Sure, look on Google as well, maybe you’ll 
find something relevant, t to your search. But I’m sorry, I just don’t 
understand why you’d advocate doing things in reverse.  But I guess it’s horses 
for courses.


My compliments and kindest regards
Gordon Smith:
<gor...@mac-access.net <mailto:gor...@mac-access.net>>

Accessibility & Information Technology Support Specialist.
+44 (0)7907 823971


> On 12 Oct 2016, at 22:11, Dane Trethowan <grtd...@internode.on.net 
> <mailto:grtd...@internode.on.net>> wrote:
> I’m sorry mate but that’s just an absolute ridiculous way of looking at 
> things suggesting that perhaps some of what you eat isn’t listed under 
> Google, in other words you’re defeated before you start or you’re going to 
> give up without trying.
> Your boat of course but that’s not the way I operate.
> I’ve actually used Google to find all sorts of things that I thought were 
> impossible to find or couldn’t have imagined I’d find and 98% of the time I 
> usually come up with the results I’m looking for or something close that 
> might point me in the right direction.
>> On 13 Oct. 2016, at 8:04 am, Gordon Smith <gor...@mac-access.net 
>> <mailto:gor...@mac-access.net>> wrote:
>> Did you mean to terminate your message there? I guess this is all about 
>> different ways of doing things. But some of the stuff which I am using is 
>> probably not listed on Google or anywhere else for that matter because it’s 
>> a store’s own brand.  I refuse to pay top prices just for a badge. The 
>> actual food tastes just as good, (if cooked properly), as the main stream 
>> brands such as Bird’s Eye.  Take their beaf burgers, for example.  The 
>> Bird’s Eye box would cost £2.49 GBP for 6 burgers. The store’s own brand 
>> burgers cost just £1.49P for 8 burgers. Same ingredient list, and the 
>> burgers are bigger and thicker.  So it just goes to show how these 
>> manufacturers are ripping off the public.  Those of us who care about what 
>> we pay for things, but who also demand top quality, shop with care.  Put 
>> simply, I cannot afford to allow them to rip me off like that.  Therefore, 
>> when we shop, my sister Pam and I go very carefully through the listings of 
>> what we buy.  It takes us longer to do our twice weekly shop.  But we come 
>> out of the store well satisfied because we’ve got what we went in there for, 
>> but we’ve probably paid about 50% of what we would have paid if we’d bought 
>> the main high street brands.
>> The problem here being that the cooking times and sometimes the method as 
>> well are different from that which we’d have applied if we’d been cooking 
>> the main brand products.  Thus, it’s  easier for me to have some kind of 
>> OCXR solution available in which I can quickly scan the box or packet and 
>> find out how long I need to cook the product for, and at what temperature.  
>> Food is something that you need to take a great deal of care with.  Cooking 
>> something like chicken, beaf or sausages, one has to tread very very 
>> carefully.  Over-cook something and it’s just inedible.  Under-cook 
>> something, and you run the risk of botulism and a host of other bacteria. 
>> Those bacteria are often only killed by cooking at extremely high 
>> temperatures. So it pays to get this right! I for one am not prepared to 
>> take pot luck with food.  Cooking for myself, as I have to do now, I want to 
>> make sure I get things right. So I’d rather go by the package itself than 
>> put my trust in a remote database, however handy or convenience others may 
>> find it. I grant you that it’s a simple process with main stream brands, and 
>> if I were using those I’d agree with you. Actually, I add to my own little 
>> database every time I buy something new. If I cannot get reliable results 
>> using OCR, I turn to a pair of real eyes, and take notes as to what they 
>> read for me.
>> This leads me nicely back to the subject of OCR.  I’m still awaiting the 
>> opportunity to test the Blaze to see just how good it’s OCR engine really 
>> is.  Meanwhile, I now actually have a number of different solutions which 
>> I’ve collected over the years.  I am fortunate to have the Freedom 
>> Scientific solutions, both OpenBook 9 and the Pearl camera, and also the 
>> Sara CE; which is just about the same thing, but stand-alone and all 
>> self-contained.
>> I also bought an EyePal Roll just before Freedom Scientific swallowed up 
>> Abisee, and put their own prices on to the products.  Everything Abisee took 
>> a 25% leap in price once Freedom Scientific got their hands on the company.  
>> Naturally, they withdrew all of the reseller options from people like 
>> HumanWare, preferring to handle all of the marketing themselves and use 
>> their own dealership networks.
>> Quite recently, I also acquired an iReader+ which is a nice little machine 
>> that’s made by a company based in County Wicklow in the Republic of Ireland. 
>>  The machine does have some disadvantages but I will talk about that device 
>> in more detail in a different thread if there’s any interest.
>> Now, I have the Blaze ET., in whose case, the jury is still out.
>> And finally, I have the KNFB Reader in my two Samsung phones, and Oh yes, I 
>> forgot to add, I also have the OCR solution in the Synaptic software on one 
>> of my Android Samsung tablets.
>> So yes, I do have quite a bit to choose from.  Enough options, I’d guess, to 
>> handle most all circumstances.
>> ========================================
>> My compliments and kindest regards
>> Gordon Smith:
>> <gor...@mac-access.net <mailto:gor...@mac-access.net>>
>> Accessibility & Information Technology Support Specialist.
>> Mobile/SMS:
>> +44 (0)7907 823971
>> ————————————————————
>>> On 12 Oct 2016, at 15:07, Dane Trethowan <grtd...@internode.on.net 
>>> <mailto:grtd...@internode.on.net>> wrote:
>>> Hi Again!
>>> I'm replying to this email just once more, there was some information I 
>>> forgot to include in my first reply so I'll mention it here.
>>> I spoke of using Google to find out cooking instructions for food but we 
>>> can actually simplify the process even further than that.
>>> I know Gordon has a Samsung Galaxy phone? Okay, that phone is a hand held 
>>> miracle make no mistake about it, Download the Google Now Launcher and set 
>>> this to default.
>>> In the top right hand corner - under the notification On 12/10/2016 10:48 
>>> PM, Gordon Smith wrote:panel is a "Voice Search" icon, double-tap this and 
>>> the phone will beep.
>>> Now say something like "How to cook Pork Chops" and Google will actually 
>>> tell you how to cook pork chops, yep that's it and what could be easier 
>>> than that.
>>>> Hello Dane, and all
>>>> Regarding the mail, in the UK, our "Royal Mail" used to be a public owned 
>>>> company until quite recently. But now, the private sector is moving in and 
>>>> the government only intends to retain a 20% stake in the business.
>>>> Yas, they do have an arm which delivers parcels etc. It's known as "Parcel 
>>>> Force". But they've cut so many jobs recently in an effort to make it more 
>>>> competative. But they're struggling because of the fact that there are so 
>>>> many private courier companies which offer more efficient and 
>>>> competatively priced options. For example, DTP, which is a new company 
>>>> formed when Interlink and City Link merged. That company just delivered my 
>>>> Blaze actually, and they now provide delivery services to anywhere win the 
>>>> UK, seven days a week excluding public holidays.
>>>> Apple, Amazon and most of the accessibility dealers use that company now. 
>>>> So Parcel Force is getting squeezed out and there long term future doesn't 
>>>> look toe bright.
>>>> Regarding OCR, maybe I used the wrong word when I said "redundant". But 
>>>> actually I have lots and lots of uses for it. Not only do I use it when I 
>>>> transcribe Braille, but also when I need to read things such as the 
>>>> contents of  an item which I'm using to prepare a meal, to read how and 
>>>> for how long I should cook something, that kind of thing. To be honest, 
>>>> even ic it were available via a website, I think I'd find that method too 
>>>> slow and sloppy.
>>>> Also, I use OCR quite a lot when Sam and I go shopping. I also have a 
>>>> Quest ID bar code scanner, so that I can identify tins, packets, boxes 
>>>> etc. in the supermarket. I try to be as independent as I possibly can, and 
>>>> to this end, OCR is a tool which I use every single day for one reason or 
>>>> another.
>>>> Having it available right out of my pocket will be a hube huge plus for me.
>>>> Actually, the same applies to Braille. I cannot deny that my outlook in 
>>>> that regard has changed radically over the last year or so.
>>>> My Blr Sense used to go everywhere with me. But now, it's my BrailleNote 
>>>> Touch instead. Although I do still use the Sense for some things, having 
>>>> an Android tablet which also has an OCR package installed is another 
>>>> reason why I am oh so glad I opted to buy myself one of these devices. It 
>>>> goes everywhere with me. The only thing I have not yet got around to doing 
>>>> is finding a better GPS solution than Google Maps. Google is OK up to a 
>>>> point. But it isn't 100% accessible and I'm looking for an app which will 
>>>> let me enter a post code, and then walk me over the route to my 
>>>> destination. That is one area where the Sendero Sense Navigator excels on 
>>>> the Braille Sense.
>>>> But I'm getting off topic, and I want to start playing with my new toy!
>>>> ==============================
>>>> My Compliments And Kindest Regards
>>>> Gordon Smith
>>>> 'Accessibility And Information Technology Support Specialist
>>>> ------------------------------
>>>> On 12 Oct 2016 01:12, Dane Trethowan <grtd...@internode.on.net> 
>>>> <mailto:grtd...@internode.on.net> wrote:
>>>> I'm glad to hear you have a better postal system than we do.
>>>> Australia Post have made no bones about the fact that delivering paper 
>>>> documents - letters and bills - is not a profetable business these days, 
>>>> Australia Post will be introducing a system where everyone gets only two 
>>>> postal deliveries each week.
>>>> Paper Mail delivery has an exact description, Snail Mail.
>>>> On the other hand Parcel delivery for Australia Post is a booming industry.
>>>> In Australia every citizen has a profile on the Australian Government web 
>>>> site.
>>>> Every citizen has total control over that profile, they can add services 
>>>> such as Medical records, social security records and so on.
>>>> Security is always a concern and nothing is perfect and never will be 
>>>> perfect regardless of the system used.
>>>> I'm not saying that OC is redundant but its use isn't as necessary as it 
>>>> was not all that long ago.
>>>> I had to use KNFB Reader for a most interesting task a few weeks ago.
>>>> I don't know exactly what happened - perhaps I had m my VPN active when I 
>>>> was using Paypal at the time - but whatever the cause Paypal limited my 
>>>> account and the only way to remove the limitation was to provide some 
>>>> proof of ID, a physical document in other words such as my Birth 
>>>> Certificate or Passport so I had two options, send Paypal a copy via Snail 
>>>> Mail or Scan the document and then upload.
>>>> I took a chance, I used KNFB Reader on the Samsung Galaxy S6 and then 
>>>> uploaded the image KNFB Reader saved with the help of the S6 camera, 
>>>> Paypal seemed satisfied as I got notification four days later telling me 
>>>> all limitations had been lifted and apologizing for any inconvenience 
>>>> caused, yep a slight inconvenience but best to be safe rather than to be 
>>>> sorry.
>>>> On 12/10/2016 11:02 AM, Gordon Smith wrote:
>>>>> In terms of the public health system over here, some appointments are 
>>>>> made by the patient using a special website. But in terms of other 
>>>>> communications we are still using paper mail.
>>>>> I think the primary concern is security. Our postal system is not 
>>>>> perfect, that is true. But the majority of items are delivered within 24 
>>>>> to 48 hours, depending on where and when they were posted. But it isn't 
>>>>> totally perfect, and occasionally things do happen.
>>>>> ==============================
>>>>> My Compliments And Kindest Regards
>>>>> Gordon Smith
>>>>> 'Accessibility And Information Technology Support Specialist
>>>>> ------------------------------
>>>>> On 10 Oct 2016 22:17, Dane Trethowan <grtd...@internode.on.net> 
>>>>> <mailto:grtd...@internode.on.net> wrote:
>>>>> In our part of the world Snail Mail for letters and the like is being 
>>>>> fazed out, already its got to the point where if anyone sends letters via 
>>>>> Snail Mail then there's no real way of knowing when they'll turn up, a 
>>>>> week maybe or perhaps even longer?
>>>>> Thankfully all my bills and the like I can view online or receive via 
>>>>> email, just click on the attached PDF usually and there we are! a nice 
>>>>> accessible bill or statement laid out right in front of you to listen to 
>>>>> or - in my case - to read with my Braille Display.
>>>>> Cooking instructions have gone the online route here too and usually a 
>>>>> Google search finds them if you don't know where to look initially, saves 
>>>>> heaps of time to look online rather than use OC to do that sort of thing 
>>>>> and - as we progress - more and more company's will be putting more and 
>>>>> more cooking instructions, bills and the like online, it benefits 
>>>>> customers - not just blind customers - having there bill accessible when 
>>>>> and where they want it on their mobile device or computer, its cheaper 
>>>>> for the company to produce documents online rather than send them out via 
>>>>> Snail Mail - and more reliable  - but most importantly in our case, the 
>>>>> documents produced are in 99% of cases accessible, even my local 
>>>>> newspapers which I subscribe to are incredibly accessible and easy to get 
>>>>> around.
>>>>> On 11/10/2016 7:19 AM, Gordon Smith wrote:
>>>>>> The new medel of Victor is called the "Stratus". The Stream still has 
>>>>>> static playlists which no long work.
>>>>>> But the Blaze has it ckvered all waxs. I disagree with your assertion 
>>>>>> about OCR being largely redundant. I don't know about your part of the 
>>>>>> world. But we still get a lot of paper mail, for exampbe, containing 
>>>>>> bank statements and hospital appointments, to name just two examples. 
>>>>>> Also, it would help me to be able to read preparation instructions from 
>>>>>> food items when I get something I haven't cooked before. Oh yes, I 
>>>>>> definitely see a lot of uses for OCR on the go.
>>>>>> Just changing subject, I'm quite immressed with the Rehan Electronics 
>>>>>> Ltd iReader+ I b"gh a week or two back. Accuracx is excellent and the 
>>>>>> voices are good
>>>>>> But back to the Blaue ET. Yes, the specs are far better than the EZ. And 
>>>>>> so are its range of uses. But even ing EZ has better specs than does the 
>>>>>> Stratus, so there we are. My Stream was effectively ditched some time 
>>>>>> ago. The only thing it will do now is play books, and I have other 
>>>>>> options for that. When I receive the Blaue, hopefully on Wednesday, I'lb 
>>>>>> give you my thoughts, for whatever they're worth.
>>>>>> ==============================
>>>>>> My Compliments And Kindest Regards
>>>>>> Gordon Smith
>>>>>> 'Accessibility And Information Technology Support Specialist
>>>>>> ------------------------------
>>>>>> On 10 Oct 2016 20:47, Dane Trethowan <grtd...@internode.on.net> 
>>>>>> <mailto:grtd...@internode.on.net> wrote:
>>>>>> I’m thinking of the Blaze ET myself, the specs look far better than 
>>>>>> those of the EZ so that’s why I’m looking at this particular model.
>>>>>> I know little about the current generation of Victor reader stream but I 
>>>>>> was interested to read about a case where the someone’s stream had 
>>>>>> broken down and the repair bill would have been nearly as much as a new 
>>>>>> unit? Naturally the person concerned didn’t bother with getting the 
>>>>>> stream fixed.
>>>>>> I’m quite surprised though to hear that the Stream’s radio functionality 
>>>>>> - on the whole - is useless now, didn’t Humanware go over to Tunein 
>>>>>> Radio or something similar for the Internet radio content, wasn’t the 
>>>>>> whole idea to use a professional database so the radio data would be 
>>>>>> kept up to date? Anyway as I say I know little about the Stream so I’m 
>>>>>> asking questions too.
>>>>>> So back to the Blaze ET, it does indeed have OCR built in though I do 
>>>>>> ask if this is really necessary? 10 years ago or perhaps not quite as 
>>>>>> long I would have said it was but now? Well, most everything we get is 
>>>>>> available online to download in an accessible format we can read so 
>>>>>> what’s the point of OCR? Even then, don’t most people have an iPhone or 
>>>>>> Android device? That the case then wonderful OCR Apps are at their 
>>>>>> fingertips including the KNFB Reader.
>>>>>> So be that as it m, back to the Blaze ET again and I’ve spoken to quite 
>>>>>> a few people about these machines given that - as I said earlier - its 
>>>>>> the machine I’ve been thinking about to use myself.
>>>>>> Those I I’ve spoken to have been extremely disappointed with the 
>>>>>> performance of the Blaze ET compared to other devices available, they 
>>>>>> say the machine is very sluggish.
>>>>>> I’m still not deterred as the ET offers some incredible functionality 
>>>>>> that - as you said - is probably not specifically designed for a Talking 
>>>>>> Book Player but having the ability to use Skype for example is certainly 
>>>>>> a huge plus in many ways, if a library has things set up appropriately 
>>>>>> clients using a Blaze ET could contact the library easily to order more 
>>>>>> books, with technical issues etc.
>>>>>> But again I question the need for all this stuff when iPhone and Android 
>>>>>> devices are there for the taking and - with the right Apps - they’ll do 
>>>>>> more than a Blaze ET or Stream could ever hop to do.
>>>>>> Voice Dream Reader is my favourite reader for the iPhone, its no longer 
>>>>>> developed for Android which is unfortunate and I must find out why the 
>>>>>> developer gave up.
>>>>>> I’ve mentioned KNFB Reader for OCR work with IOS and Android and that 
>>>>>> App is absolutely brilliant.
>>>>>>> On 11 Oct. 2016, at 3:20 am, Gordon Smith <gor...@mac-access.net 
>>>>>>> <mailto:gor...@mac-access.net>> wrote:
>>>>>>> Hello everybody
>>>>>>> I just took the plunge and decided to replace my now pretty much 
>>>>>>> useless HumanWare Victor Reader Stream.  I looked at the Victor Reader 
>>>>>>> Stratus, but I dismissed that option as it suffers from most of the 
>>>>>>> drawbacks which have effectively killed off the Victor Reader Stream.
>>>>>>> For example, the playlists for Internet Radio accessibility are static, 
>>>>>>> and most of them no longer work.  The BBC iPlayer killed off the old 
>>>>>>> style playlists for UK radio and even the US and Australian radio 
>>>>>>> services are largely no longer functional.
>>>>>>> There is quite a lot actually that I don’t like about the way 
>>>>>>> HumanWare’s devices work.  And what I’ve read about  the Blaze ET is, 
>>>>>>> to my way of thinking at least, a far better option.
>>>>>>> It also offers OCR built-in, which is the primary reason that I opted 
>>>>>>> to go with any solution.  The rest of it is nice, but not really 
>>>>>>> essential.   But I am a talking book producer now as well as a reader, 
>>>>>>> so I need to be sure that what I’m producing for my client is something 
>>>>>>> that will work on most devices.
>>>>>>> Actually, my client still insists on distributing their audio material 
>>>>>>> on CD which, to be honest, baffles me.  Most of today’s talking book 
>>>>>>> players don’t even handle CD’s at all.  So I was astonished when they 
>>>>>>> rejected out of hand my suggestion of moving over to USB thumb drives 
>>>>>>> and maybe even online download as a better method of distribution.
>>>>>>> They say that they use audio CD’s and the only suggestion of updating 
>>>>>>> that they have taken onboard is to allow me to produce the books in 
>>>>>>> DAISY format rather than plain old audio tracks.
>>>>>>> But be that as it may, my interest here is the Blaze ET which I’ve just 
>>>>>>> ordered.  Has anybody on list tried that unit? I’m told that it is a 
>>>>>>> superior option to the Blaze EZ, because it’s keyboard layout is 
>>>>>>> superior and it has more functions.
>>>>>>> As a point of discussion, comment welcome.
>>>>>>> ========================================
>>>>>>> My compliments and kindest regards
>>>>>>> Gordon Smith:
>>>>>>> <gor...@mac-access.net <mailto:gor...@mac-access.net>>
>>>>>>> Accessibility & Information Technology Support Specialist.
>>>>>>> Mobile/SMS:
>>>>>>> +44 (0)7907 823971
>>>>>>> ————————————————————
>>>>>> **********
>>>>>> Those of a positive and enquiring frame of mind will leave the rest of 
>>>>>> the halfwits in this world behind.
> **********
> Those of a positive and enquiring frame of mind will leave the rest of the 
> halfwits in this world behind.

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