can you tell me how much this unit cost?
On 8/6/2017 11:31 PM, Gordon Smith wrote:
OK, this came as a pleasant surprise on Friday. I’ve been loaned an
ElBraille to play with by a local school’s V.I department who want me
to conduct training after the summer recess with some of their 11 to
18-year-old students, to teach them how to use the platform.
As I say, I received this on Friday and my initial impressions are
that I have made a great choice when opting to buy one of these things
at the time of Sight Village in the UK when the price was reduced by
£220.00 as a promotion by the UK dealership of Freedom Scientific.
Anyway, to the point. I am finding that the JAWS command set is really
very easy to memorise. Navigation using Braille commands isn’t
something I’ve done much of until now under Windows. But I can’t
believe how easily I’ve taken to it, and although I’ve only had the
thing for 72 hours or so, it’s already seeming like such a natural and
easy way to work.
Regarding the device itself, it’s just over 7-and-a-half inches long
by 4 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep. The Focus 14 Blue fits snugly
into the front of the device and, when it’s in its Eco-leather carry
case, the device and Focus just looks like one solid unit. There’s
absolutely nothing clunky about it at all.
The SD card and Micro-SIM cards are easy to access, as are the host
USB 3.0 port, mini HDMI slot, 3.5MM headphones/line out and Mic/Line
Somewhat disappointingly, although definitely not a show-stopper, is
that the mini HDMI interface does not appear to carry audio, although
I will check that just to be sure. That would have been quite nice. I
own a monitor with internal speakers which would have been terrific as
a second sound device. But as I say, it’ isn't the end of the world if
The stereo speakers on the front of the device have a very nice sound
to them, given the size of the device – much better than I was
expecting. The systemic sounds and the vibration motor employ a
totally separate system speaker, so that nothing interferes with audio
playback. Speech is easy to disable and enable with just one keystroke.
The boot sounds, beeps and vibrations can be configured via the
ElBraille main menu. Which is great for me personally. I often find
myself working in environments where beeps and buzzes would be
intrusive. So having the option to disable those is a plus.
The device takes about 20 seconds or so to boot from cold back into
the Windows interface, and there is constant Braille and audio
feedback throughout. In fact, the whole system is totally accessible.
It comes supplied with an SD card backup of the base level system so
that, should you find yourself really stuck and have to reinstall from
the ground up, then you have a totally accessible means of doing so.
The ElBraille Emergency menu is reassuringly easy to access, and it’s
self-Brailled and self-voiced. You do need to be careful if JAWS is
running when you access that menu, as you’ll get double speech in that
Regarding network support, the device has full support for
802.11/a/b/g/N/AC protocols, with dual band 4.2 and 5.0GHz support.
The Windows interface is in no way hacked or cut down. It’s just like
a full-blown system. When I get mine, I plan to upgrade the OS by
changing the product key, assuming that is possible, to give me access
to all features of Windows 10 Professional. That said, I’m not sure
that is actually necessary any longer, but I’m already enquiring about
Battery life is truly, truly excellent! I have the device connected
directly to a Bluetooth® speaker, and also to WiFi. The manufacturer’s
claims of 17 to 20 hours battery life, even under these conditions,
are in no way exaggerated. Although I would obviously expect just a
little less when connecting a USB 3.0 hard drive and high speed high
capacity SanDisc SD media. But assuming that reduces life to
approximately 15 hours, I could quite happily live with that as it’s
way in excess of a normal working day.
One very small gripe is that the divide is not chargeable via USB.
That said, there’s no need for a USB client port, so I guess that
functionality would be superfluous.
Office support has been extremely well designed. The ElBraille menu
incorporates options for all Office 2016 (Office 365), 2013 and 2010
applications. So it’s really a breeze to run your production tools and
to access reading materials.
There is direct support for audio listening modes, and there’s no
reason whatsoever why one cannot install recording software such as
the very excellent Sound Forge Professional. JAWS and NVDA have very
good support for that software anyway, although I would imagine that
for really advanced editing such as multitrack projects, dedicated
JAWS scripting would be required.
I have been asked whether NVDA runs on this device. My response at
this time is, I don’t know. I am not fully convergent with the Braille
command interface that NVDA supports. Since that support is
screen-reader specific, I would need to make further enquiries
regarding NVDA or, for that matter, any other screen-reader.
The same is true of Supernova and System Access, although I believe
that both do have direct Braille command support. In which case, there
should be no issues constraining their use.
I personally could totally understand it if NVDA were problematic.
Since this device is developed specifically by Elita, which is now a
member of the VFO group, it seems reasonable to me that they would not
provide documented support for a rival software title. Although the
flip side of that particular coin is that, were they to do so, the
ElBraille might sell to those people who, either voluntarily or
otherwise, do not use JAWS. But that’s a question to which I have no
answers just at the moment.
I plan to install the very excellent Vipre Internet Security on to my
own device when that arrives. Although it has been claimed that such
measures are not necessary because of the simple recovery mechanisms
within the device, I would counter that claim by suggesting that if
one’s external data files were to become infected with malware of any
kind, then all the recovery in the world of systemic RAM would be
totally vacuous. As soon as you went to access those data files again,
you would find yourself in the same situation, once again stricken
with malware. Prevention is, in my view, better than cure.
Finally, for the moment,, although there is only one onboard USB
interface, I own a couple of high-speed 10-port USB hubs. I also own
USB sound hardware, including a digital mixer desk. I use this when
broadcasting or preparing other audio materials. When my own device
arrives, hopefully, later this week, I shall be putting the ElBraille
through its paces with software such as my personal favourite
broadcast software, “RadioBOSS”, and also I will try the latest
incarnation of Station Playlist Creator Pro to see how well it
performs. But I’m confident that it will work just fine. And the
ElBraille could find its way into my broadcasting environment as well.
All in all, I’m very favourably impressed with what I’ve seen of the
device so far. There’s an ElBraille 40 under development at the moment
which, so I am told, is scheduled for release in the last quarter of
2017. So when that model hits the streets, if the price isn’t too
steep, I may just invest. I see so many uses for that, and I already
have the Braille displays.
I will be happy to answer questions if anybody has any. I’ll also let
the group know when my own model comes, so that I can start
experimenting more with other software.
My compliments and kindest regards
Accessibility & Information Technology Support Specialist..
This Message Was Created Using 100% Recycled Electrons. If you can
avoid printing it, please do so. Think of the environment, save a tree!
• UK Free Phone: 0800 8620538
• UK Mobile/SMS: +44 (0) 7907 823971
• Vic. Australia: +61 38 82059300
• US/Canada: +1 646 9151493
• UK Geographic / Global: +44(0) 1642 688095