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Re: [vox-tech] group effort configuring a system
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Re: [vox-tech] group effort configuring a system

On Tue, 25 Sep 2001, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:
> we've been contacted to install linux for a blind programmer.
> i'm out of my league here, and need some help.  i'd like to form a short term
> committee to look into available options for him and to help in the
> configuration of the system.
> is anyone interested in helping out with this project?

It is a good thing to do, but I am too far to really help with this. I
have not done this kind of work for Linux, but have done this for a PC or
two running Windows/DOS.

Things to look at to help you with this:

There is hardware out there that you can get to have console based text
converted to speech with an on-board card. Some are integrated with sound
cards, and some are separate units. I have played with these in DoS
(Denial Of Service -heh) and set them up to read all text on the screen.
I would expect that might be able to do the same thing with these units.
(Example for this may be found in kernel docs
/usr/src/linux/Documentation/Configure.help with the name CONFIG_DTLK for
one, but I have not used this in Linux.)

On some systems you can connect and use Serial based Braile printers.
These are rather standard and OS-independent. You hook them up, and
configure them as serial printers and they just work - so long as you only
send them ASCII text. PDF, PostScript, Word Docs, etc do not print well as
they are mostly binary or contain printer instructions to make the
original "text" unreadable. (Braile printers are mostly LOUD and many
should be encased to prevent premature deafness. I am not joking with
this. The one we used here was so loud, we had to encase it in a heavy
printer box and then put it in a padded room. My ears would end up ringing
if I listened to it print with the case open while in the room. I hope
they have become quieter now.)

You can also get "brail monitors" (they probably have another name like
terminals or ttys or ?) which can be connected to serial ports (not sure
about USB) and with the proper drivers, raise and lower small divits (one
line at a time) to offer output of a line of console text. Since many of
these use serial, I would expect you could use a predefined major/minor
for the serial port, and mangle a getty config to accept input from the
keyboard and output through the special serial link instead of the
console. Other vendors (at the time I checked) also offered proprietary
hardware that combined video, keyboard and braile into one unit, but
finding driving in Linux for such things may be impossible unless you code
your own. :-/

Obviously, graphics are the most trouble. A lot of blind people just use
consoles to do work. I have done zero work with X and ADA for the blind,
so I cant offer suggestions for that. :-/

If the person is legally blind, but can still see very large text in
graphics, you can often set up X to have a scrolling desktop at ~320x200
and then use a huge monitor or use the xmagnify or both.

I am busy with full time work and school as well as physically too far
away to offer much more help than that, but would have found a great
amount of fun in something like this. :-)

Other things:
lynx instead of netscape
catdoc instead of wordview/offcie replacements

If you get a good setup, why not throw a page up for others?


Version: 3.12
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t@-(++) 5+@ X@ R- tv- b++ DI+++ D+ G--@ e+>++>++++ h(++)>+ r*>? z?
decode: http://www.ebb.org/ungeek/ about: http://www.geekcode.com/geek.html
     Systems Department Operating Systems Analyst for the SSU Library

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