Raised Dot Computing is pleased to announce that we are close to finishing the very special software we mentioned last month. It will make the production of textbooks in standard braille format much easier. The "Code of Braille Textbook Formats and Techniques-1977" lays down a fairly strict and complex set of rules. A brief example: the first line of each braille page must contain the running head. The end of the first line has to hold both a reference to the print page number and the braille page number. A special indicator is required to note the change to a new print page in the middle of a braille page.
The software will allow a user to write commands like:
This translates to: "use textbook format, starting on print page 5, use a running head of "LATIN AMERICA". And that's all that's necessary for the bulk of the textbook.
We plan to introduce the program around the first of the year. We haven't yet decided on a price or a name for the software; but this will be a separate program from BRAILLE-EDIT. It will definitely NOT be "just another update".
In the meantime, we invite any interested folks to write us for a copy of our working (draft) documentation. We invite and will welcome your comments to help us write better instructions. Please specify whether you want print or braille literature.
We blush to admit to errors in Newsletter 21. We blew the phone number for the Hadley School for the Blind (800) 323-4238 (That's the right number!)
We also misreported the address for the National Braille Association 1290 University Avenue Rochester, NY 14607
Please forgive us our trespasses.
We've recently become a United Parcel Service shipper. It makes us feel more secure about what condition your merchandise arrives in. And it also gives us a way to track down lost packages. And, it is also cheaper! Wow! But there are two things we need to ask of our customers to make UPS workable:
Do not give us a box number. UPS is forbidden to deliver to postal boxes. What UPS needs is an ADDRESS. Even if you are living in harmony with nature, and have a rural route box number, we need to have some geographical references. (For example: "2 miles west of Grant Road and County GG".)
Please give us your phone number with your order. The phone number comes in handy in many ways. If you have a difficult-to-locate address, UPS can call you to accomplish delivery. If there is something unusual about your order, we can get things straight easily. Thanks for your cooperation.
"I've read the literature on computer aids, but I am still in a quandary."
Hearing this again and again from both consumers and counselors prompted us to write this paper. We'll attempt to fill in some gaps in the literature and in courses on the state of access technology for the visually impaired. Some familiarity with computer aids is assumed. This is not an evaluation of any particular aid. Our purpose is to present a theoretical framework for comparing the aids; we do use some brand names in our illustrations. We want to discuss the expertise needed to implement this challenging access technology, and the reasons why computers can be a mixed blessing for blind people.
There are three categories, roles, or "personalities" for computer aids. Understanding this is crucial for anyone issuing, teaching or using the aids. They can serve as "stand-alones", as the "heart" of a system, or as "peripheral devices".
Both the VersaBraille and Kurzweil Reading Machine are billed as "stand-alone" devices. That label does fit the KRM fairly well. It is designed as a dedicated system; it is inefficient as a peripheral talking terminal at present. Unfortunately it will never serve as a word processor or run a database. As a reading machine, it does stand alone. However, when it is used to scan print and then send data to a computer for processing and reprinting, it is technically a peripheral device.
The VersaBraille, due to its useful overall design, fits into all three categories. It has enjoyed success despite its small computer, slow operating system, limited keyboard and the fact that it does not send its commands to its port. Let's examine these three roles in detail:
The VersaBraille can stand alone for taking notes and record keeping. Paper braille and recordings are nearly as useful for those tasks. The VB would not be fully exploited if it was only used as a stand-alone device.
But when it is used as the heart of a system, the VB becomes more valuable. You can connect a keyboard, drive a printer and a speech device. Then you can create, edit and print texts without retyping and losing control of your material. It does require a lot more training and study to use the VB at this level.
Using the VB as a peripheral can be even more effective and requires yet a higher level of training and teaching skill. Remember, however, that if it were nothing but a peripheral, it would lose much of its value. You are using it as a peripheral when you interface it with a main frame computer, either directly or through a telephone modem. Many jobs now require that capability. It is a peripheral when you use it with a personal computer running special software. The VB really shines when the user learns all three of these roles. If the only instruction is "how to use the VersaBraille as a stand-alone device" then both the user and the machine are shortchanged.
Any computer worth its chips for sighted people will also perform those three roles. But most of them are not accessible to blind people. Fortunately for us, there are specialized hardware and software application that do perform these three crucial roles. (Examples include the Brailink, the I.T.S., the Avos System, the IBM PC, and the Apple.)
For example, when we play games or run a talking database in a microcomputer, we are using it as a stand-alone device. When we boot a talking terminal program and telephone a data bank, we are using it as a peripheral. The same is true when we interface it (as a talking or large-print terminal) to another microcomputer. In that case, the other micro runs the applications programs. When we run a multi-media word processor such as BRAILLE-EDIT and generate texts in braille, speech, and print, we are using an Apple as the heart of an accessible computer system.
Training is the least understood aspect of computer aids for the blind. Vendors and users often sabotage their own long-range interests by claiming that sophisticated aids can be learned easily from manuals. Some people can do that, but we have all had enough experience to know that many people cannot learn to use their first computer aid from any manual. People's ability to learn how to use any computer-based system varies widely. At one extreme, there are those who can work from a list of commands on a reference card. At the other end of the scale, many need several weeks of training before they can make any sense of their manuals. Teachers are no different. Most lack the requisite experience to train students in the new access technologies.
The fear, awe, and hostility surrounding computers is a serious handicap. We only exacerbate the problem if we try to dazzle people with an illusion of simplicity. The bald truth is that both the teachers' and the users' needs are not met by the existing manuals.
Any training center considering adding "computer aids" to its list of prosthetic devices should ponder four things:
-- Computers and related equipment must be evaluated as they become available. Funding for evaluators, as well as for equipment purchases, is needed.
-- Most centers do not now have sufficient staff to teach computer literacy and use to their clients. In the past, the Living Skills department taught the use of sensory aids (such as the Optacon and Kurzweil Reading Machine). It's wrong to assume the same staff will be able to teach Versabraille, Visualtek, Viewscan etc. in addition to their regular duties. We recommend that one full-time position per VA center be added for the express purpose of teaching computers and other sensory aids as they become available. Centers with no such program will need additional staff. These same people can also be responsible for helping out the Living Skills and Research departments if computer training slows down.
-- We need to develop a computer literacy course that can be an established part of a training Center curriculum.
-- A team consisting of training center personnel should be developed to help evaluate requests for equipment. It is important to match the proper equipment with the needs of the user.
There are two types of expertise needed to prescribe effective computer aids. Right now, few people are experts in both areas.
(1) Rehabilitation skills must be brought to bear on the problem. We must have someone well-versed in "human engineering"--the knowledge of what can be done with special computer aids. The mode of input, the media of output, the devices, and the software must be matched to the client's abilities and the tasks to be done. However, rehab personnel still lack both general computer literacy and knowledge of the function and operation of individual special aids. Complete knowledge of the access technology is currently possessed by only a handful of people. The computer field is constantly changing, and it is a challenge to maintain up-to-date evaluations of the aids available. The country needs several centers (super centers) which, in addition to training, are dedicated to evaluating aids and committed to sharing results with developers and local trainers. At present, many aids are being developed in partial vacuums. Local trainers, where they exist, cannot keep up with the technology.
(2) Computer applications technology is currently the realm of applications engineers and systems analysts. They must begin to coomunicate with administrators, office personnel, programmers and technicians to implement their work. Knowledge of the spectrum of applications technology is even more diffused in the sighted world than in the blindness community. Most placements of visually impaired workers require teams of five to ten people to implement.
Five different skills are needed in the interfacing process. To be successful, you must find people who know how to use the special devices, how to interface that special technology, how to use the regular office equipment, and how to interface it, too. Last but not least, there must be a person well versed in the real needs of the office environment. It may make more sense to create a parallel, accessible computer system, rather than trying to make the main office system itself acessible. Any blind person who is persistent enough and lucky enough to get a piece of appropriate technology, must be even luckier and more persistent to get it interfaced and working.
Selecting aids is not a trivial task. Few counselors know where to start. It has often required three days of work to confer and prescribe computer aids for a complex office environment. Sometimes, even then, applicability cannot be fully assured.
Computers can be a mixed blessing for us. If the cost of prescribing, interfacing and training goes unrecognized, chaos and frustration can result. Blind people must approach computer use in a different way from sighted people. Voice output is not exactly comparable to screen output. Computer software is becoming more and more screen oriented. It's easy for a sighted person to quickly skim a "help menu" on the screen to locate commands. If standard software is merely made to speak, the user may have to listen to a long list of commands, trying to remember the right one. Braille reference cards can be helpful. But there is still a need for specialized software designed for efficient voice output. Of equal importance is the fact that sighted people using computers at work need to know much less about their machines. There's usually lots of reference material available in print. Some programs are so popular that there are literally scores of books aimed at beginning users. For the average sighted worker, "interfacing" is a verb they'll never encounter! Until the blind person learns the intimate details of a particular system, they are likely to need a lot of ongoing technical support. Remember that software changes even faster than hardware. We can't assume that systems support people will continue to help blind workers and their equipment adapt to changes in a computer-oriented work environment.
Functional computer aids (both software and hardware) can range in cost from $500 to $15,000. A successful prescriber will keep in mind all the possibilities; the various roles a device can play; and the susceptibility of any device to obsolescence due to the rapidly changing technology.
We estimate that for every success story in this field, there is one inefficient application, another inadequate one and two or three more unmet needs. This is an uphill road, a pioneering trail. Can we reverse the trend of lost jobs and educational opportunities? Cooperation among researchers, service providers, and users is essential. Each state needs a computer aids center. At the few existing centers, the few staff are struggling to learn and apply the basics. The computer aids centers or clinics should give literacy training to rehab staff, train and assess clients, and interface equipment for clients.
The manufacturers and vendors cannot keep up with the application or interfacing of what they sell. As a result, it is often catch-as-catch-can for the blind user. Sometimes a helpful, persistent colleague takes the initiative in getting the user's equipment working. But this AGAIN places the blind user in a dependent role.
Computers are billed as "friendly", but their power and swift evolution make them bucking broncos. If we harness their power and mold their multiple personalities to meet our needs, we can achieve competence and parity wherever our society chooses to use computers.
The ability to use the Kurzweil Reading Machine as a data entry device has been a possibility since the model III was introduced. The KRM has a Text Output mode, which allows the KRM to send text to an external device. Until recently, complicated page formats have made using the KRM as an optical scanner for data entry difficult at best. Pages that contained columns or pictures required extensive editing in order to put it in a usable form.
The recent introduction of the 2400 series software has changed this. Several functions have been added to make both reading and data entry easier:
1. Automatic Contrast Setting. This feature adds considerably to the KRM's character recognition capability. It is important to note that it may take longer for the machine to recognize letters.
2. Report Features. These have been made much more reliable. Columns and pictures are reported more accurately by the KRM.
3. Skip Term. This feature skips unwanted items on the page such as pictures and unreadable fonts. This feature greatly reduces the time it takes to edit text.
4. Xon/Xoff Protocols. The Kurzweil will now stop scanner movement when the Apple's memory buffer is filled. In other words, the KRM will pause while the Apple is saving text to disk.
Here at the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind, we have some students enrolled in outside high school classes. They needed quick access to a textbook that was not readily available in braille or audio. In addition, several students selected materials in the print library for reports. This seemed like a good opportunity to test automated data transfer using the KRM.
The students use the VersaBraille extensively to record class notes. They use the BRAILLE-EDIT program to print class assignments from VersaBraille tape.
First, the KRM and the Apple must be connected through their respective serial ports. Refer to the Interface Guide for the details.
Then, have the KRM read at least a page to allow the system to adjust the contrast. Use the "Top of the Page Reports" to ascertain the format of the page. It is possible to skip over difficult areas. If the KRM is silent for awhile, this is an indication that the page has a picture. Press the "Report Key" to find out the status of the page format.
In its raw form, the text saved to disk is littered with line feeds and carriage returns. Use the transformation chapter on the BRAILLE-EDIT main disk called KRM to clean up the file. It is also possible to set up your own transformation chapters to repair any systematic errors made by the optical scanning.
Once the text has been cleaned up, it can be translated into grade two braille. Then we transferred the braille file to a VersaBraille.
For the purposes of reporting this data transfer, I timed the process from start up to final product. I used a chapter which contained 9 printed pages and averaged 2,500 characters per page. That is equivalent to 23 braille pages. The process took 30 minutes. This seems to compare favorably with data entry by hand. The quality was good, averaging 2 mistakes per page. Time (not complete accuracy) was the overall concern.
There are several things to keep in mind:
1. The new software for the KRM is a must. Unlike the other updates, this version of the software is not covered by the service contract. The update costs $100 to contract holders. Even if such a data transfer is not contemplated, the features on the software are worth the monetary investment.
2. The operator must be sufficiently trained in the use of the new software for the KRM to take advantage of its new features. Of particular importance are the new reporting and skip item features.
3. Be aware that all printed material is not alike. We were lucky. The print quality of the books we chose was good enough to make the transfer successful. Some materials which are verbalized passably by the KRM are not suitable for braille production due to character recognition errors. If it takes longer to edit the text than to enter it, the time was not well spent. The students I worked with were able to do most of the input independently. They required some sighted assistance with difficult page formats.
4. Copyright rules apply to the materials. I treated the materials copied as reproductions and only "copied" what was necessary rather than produce entire books.
This process has far-reaching applications. We are lucky to have all the necessary equipment in place. In fact, few schools have the same facilities. However, more and more libraries have KRMs and Apple computers available. With proper management, the capability exists to be able to "Xerox" books into braille on a demand basis. In addition, using the large print features of the BRAILLE-EDIT program, the size of print can be varied for low vision users.
The addition of this process put the equipment to greater use and increases its cost effectiveness. When the KRM is not being used for reading, it takes on another function important to visually impaired users.
Please feel free to contact me at the New York Institute at (212) 519-7000 ext. 331 if you have any questions. In addition, Gayle Yarnell is an excellent resource at Kurzweil.
I was so excited to obtain David's software package that enables the Cranmer Modified Perkins Brailler to print a picture from the Apple screen in raised dots. After drawing many pictures with glue, beans, string, pin dots, etc. as an itinerant teacher of visually impaired students, I instantly appreciated the potential of the Super Cranmer Graphics Package (SCGP) to quickly produce braille pictures for students.
First of all I printed all the samples that are on the SCGP. Everyone was so impressed by them. Then what? I felt like David had done the hard part--enabled the Cranmer to print a picture from the Apple screen. I was stuck on the easy part--how to get pictures on the Apple screen in the first place. I had experience with LOGO (turtle graphics), but directing each little movement hardly seemed like an efficient way to create pictures. Then a secretary in our department told me about the Power Pad. I found out it was just what we needed. We bought it at a local computer store for $99. An additional $25 bought the "Starter Kit"--a cable that connects the Power Pad to the joystick receptacle inside the Apple (also available for the IBM/PC) and the "Illustrator" software. (Editor's note: there is a simliar device, called the Koala Pad, which may be more readily available. However, I cannot recommend it: the drawing surface is only 4 inches square. This makes for extreme difficulty when drawing details. If the Power Pad is not available locally, you can contact the manufacturer directly: Chalkboard Inc., 3772 Pleasantdale Road, Atlanta, GA 30340. 404/447-6711.)
You can use either your finger or a stylus to draw anything on the surface of the Power Pad. As you draw, your lines, dots, shapes, etc. appear simultaneously on the computer screen. It's wonderful! After you've created the picture you want you use the storage option on the Illustrator menu to save your picture onto a data disk. Then you boot the SCGP to send your picture to the Cranmer to be printed in raised dots.
The Power Pad is large, about 18" by 24". The drawing surface is 12 inches square. It's plenty big enough to put a sheet of paper with a drawing on it under the Power Pad's plastic overlay and then draw over (trace) the picture.
The SCGP divides the Apple picture screen into 6 sectors. If your picture fills the whole screen, it will take six pieces of 11" by 11 1/2" braille paper to emboss it. On my Power Pad I've marked off a rectangle in the upper right hand corner that corresponds to one braille page. If I draw my picture within that rectangle, it comes out on one page of 11" by 11 1/2" braille paper.
I see this Power Pad-SCGP system as being useful mostly for teachers of visually impaired students. I have made tactile overlays corresponding to the Illustrator menu and to the rectangle that indicates the one braille page size, so a person who is visually impaired might use this system to produce tactile graphics. I would be glad to provide thermoformed copies of this overlay--contact me for details.
If I could provide further information, please write or call: Cathy Mack Box 328, Dept. of Special Ed., Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 37203. (615) 322-8165.
Recently I found out that an established company that "serves the blind" has been charging substantial premiums on items readily available to the sighted market. These premium prices would not be so bad if delivery was prompt.
My law office urgently needed a second printer. I needed a fast printer that could be driven directly by my VersaBraille. It did not take long to home in on the Star Micronics Radix 10, a dot matrix printer. Chris Gray of TSI has been recommending it, and with good reason. The print style is quite good for a dot matrix printer. It even has a "near letter quality" mode in which each character is overstruck four times, bringing the speed down to about 40 characters per second.
Because this printer is top of the line, I was not surprised at not finding it carried by local dealers. But I knew I wasn't stuck. TSI was selling a Radix 10 "turn-key" system for the VersaBraille, complete with the proper cable, overlay, and audio operating instructions.
I knew that TSI would charge retail, but that was okay. After all, I felt far better about dealing through the mail with a firm I trusted than with a random computer firm advertising in the back pages of a magazine.
For the better part of a day, my calls to TSI Customer Service found "service" supplied by an answering machine. My impatience was not reduced when I was told that delivery of the Radix turn-key system would take four to six weeks, and that the cost was $1,025. In contrast, I knew that some local dealers could get the printer on special order in just a few days. Further phone calls sharpened the contrast.
Several major mail order firms promised delivery in four days. One of these (from whom I bought the printer) charged only $489. Allowing $100 of the TSI price for the extra material still leaves $925, 90 percent above this competitive price. [Editor's note: $925 is the retail price, but almost nobody sells at retail in the sighted market. A cursory price check, using 800 numbers shown in the October Byte, found prices on the Radix 10 ranging from a low of $575 to a high of $710.] Is it through laziness, indifference, lack of knowledge, or all three that TSI, selling this printer to the already beleaguered blind community, cannot offer a competitive price or timely delivery? We do not need this kind of "convenience". One is left with the feeling that TSI, long the leader in blindness technology, has become one more company engaged in the fine art of "ripping off the blind", either by purpose or by practice.
That is how TSI lost a sale and a little of the respect that they built up over the years. It seems to me that the TSI sales focus is not on the individual. Rather it is on the agencies and companies which employ or provide service for blind people. But those organizations get some cues from blind consumers about what to buy.
Perhaps the top corporate management at TSI has become so isolated and in-bred that it is no longer in touch with the blind consumer. I am one blind consumer who is greatly disillusioned. This company, which was unequaled in reputation and product design in the blindness community, has now become just another mail-order firm. Like any other, it must be dealt with warily.
[Editor's note: We welcome comments on this article. We here at Raised Dot are in a similar position to TSI. We sell items like Apple Super Serial Cards, and the Echo voice synthesizers. We can not afford to buy in vast quantities, so we do not get the best prices on our purchases. For example, our Super Serial Cards cost us between $95 and $105. We sell them for $150. We do add some value to the cards by setting the little switches for proper communication between the Apple, Cranmer Brailler, VersaBraille, KRM, etc. Is this worth the markup? However, we try to ship every order within a day or two.]
Personal Accounting is a new program for the Apple 2 computer and the Echo 2 speech synthesizer. I wrote this much needed program to bring the easy accessibility of this popular speech device to a very widespread and natural application of personal computers, keeping track of personal-sized accounts. For visually impaired people, personal accounting software promises more than convenience, error checking, and the like. It also offers greater opportunity for independence and for cooperation on an equal basis. I hope that this program will give both blind users and sighted comrades in ledgers the flexibility and reliability they deserve.
The program allows a user to keep track of several accounts. It makes it easy to enter and edit records in ledger format, and it keeps a running balance for each account.
It also gathers records in a budget file with up to 99 categories set up by the user. The detailed information made available about where money is coming from and going has many uses. It can make a great difference in preparing taxes or filing insurance claims. One can determine at a glance, for example, how much has been spent during the current period for medical care, how much was allocated for it, and what percentage of the allocation has already been spent. In general, the budget file keeps track of allocations, expenditures, and receipts and provides totals, balances, and percentages.
The system uses binary files to give quick access. For example, you are ready to load or enter files after just 40 seconds of booting. It takes about 20 seconds to load or save a full file. Each file gives the user access to up to 255 ledger entries. The only limit on the number of items accessible to the program is the disk space available. The program may be used with one or two disks. Since data may be kept on the program disk, use with a single drive system does not require disk changes.
The system allows quick searches through the account ledger. It will find any record in a given file within 30 seconds. I hope soon to add searches based on different items kept in the records. I also plan to let the results of a search be placed in a file for further analysis. Another coming attraction is the ability to print checks, with a format set up by the user or with a supplied format.
The uses of this program range from the individual maintaining a personal accounting system to anyone whose work depends on keeping track of finances. Vendors, administrators, and organization treasurers will find it a very useful and powerful tool.
Losses revealed by the program are not in my department. But I will fix programming problems reported to me. I will also provide assistance, where possible, in guiding individuals toward effective use of this program. Program updates will be free, with a disk exchange, for the first year after purchase. After that, owners of the program may obtain updates at a cost not to exceed 20 percent of the purchase price at the time of the update. The current price for the program with printed documentation is $125. Braille and taped manuals are available for $10 each. Suggestions for future updates are encouraged. To get more information or to purchase the program, contact < Keith Creasy, 1956 Mellwood Ave., Louisville, KY 40206; phone 502-896-0132. > [Editor's note: We at Raised Dot Computing cannot yet comment on this program, but we will be receiving a copy soon.]
(As promised in our October issues, here is the lowdown on interfacing the Apple 2c)
There are two serial ports on the back of the Apple 2c. These really are two built-in serial cards set up as if they were in slots 1 and 2. Of course, there are no actual slots on the Apple 2c, but the comparison holds. The serial ports have strange, circular, five-pin jacks. They use five-pin DIN plugs. Five-pin DIN cables are usually found in audio applications. Raised Dot Computing has an assortment of cables designed to connect the Apple 2c to a number of voice and braille devices.
These ports do not have any switches. Their behavior is determined by some internal memory locations. Ordinarily, these internal settings are very difficult to modify. Apple Computer Inc. wants users to use their special utility programs to set up the ports. I have put in some code in version 2.50 of BRAILLE-EDIT which make the 2c ports easier to deal with for the BRAILLE-EDIT user. I would like to discuss the ports in two contexts, with and without BRAILLE-EDIT.
When you boot Version 2.50 BRAILLE-EDIT, the ports are both set at 9600 baud, 8 data bits, 2 stop bits, no parity, and screen on. Port 1 is set for auto linefeed, port two is not. Both of these ports will work with the VersaBraille, the Cranmer Brailler, the Echo GP, the Thiel, and DECtalk. The Cranmer Brailler is best used in port one (with auto linefeed), and DECtalk is best used in port two (without auto linefeed). Both ports can be used for input and output. They are both internally configured as "communications ports". Since both ports direct output to the screen, answer "YES" to the configuration question "Do you need to suppress double display".
It is easy to re-configure the ports. You use special commands that start with a control/A to change the parameters on the ports. For example, to set a port at 1200 baud, send a control/A followed by "8B". A list of these commands appears later in this article. On the BRAILLE-EDIT main disk, there is a chapter called "KRMPORT" which sets a port at 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, and 4800 baud (the usual setting for the Kurzweil Reading Machine). When you use BRAILLE-EDIT, any changes in the parameters will be "locked in". You will avoid the problems discussed in the next section.
Port one is designated as the printer port. This means that it is output only. Port two is designated as the communications port. It can be used for both input and output. You can change the status of these ports by using Apple's Utility program.
When you power on, or use a PR#1 or PR#2 command, you reset the ports. They go back to their defaults. The initial default for port one is 9600 baud, 8 data bits, 2 stop bits, and no parity. The initial default for port two is 300 baud, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, and no parity. The default for both ports is to not echo material to the screen (i.e. keep the screen blank).
The command character for a printer port (port one) is a control/I. The command character for a communications port (port two) is a control/A. Any use of a PR#1, PR#2, or a IN#2 will set the port back to its defaults. This can be very frustrating. If after much effort, you set port 2 at 1200 baud, the Apple 2c will try to set it back to 300 the moment you do another PR#2. You can see why its easier with BRAILLE-EDIT. Only BRAILLE-EDIT and the system disk provided by Apple allow you to "permanently" change the parameters of the port.
Start a new chapter in data entry. Preceed each command with a control/A. [A "control/A" is the command character for a "communications port". A "control/I" is the command for a "printer port". BRAILLE-EDIT sets both ports as "communications ports"]. We show these commands with spaces between for clarity. Type them in without spaces. To type a control character into a BRAILLE-EDIT chapter, use the control/C command.
To set the baud rate, enter a control/A (typed as control/C A), followed by a number from 1 to 15, followed by an upper case B. The codes are as follows:
Code Number -- Baud Rate
For example, control/A 8B will set the baud rate to 1200.
To set the data format (data bits and stop bits), enter a control/A, followed by a number from 0 to 7, followed by the letter D. The codes are as follows:
Code Number -- Data Bits -- Stop Bits
For example, enter control/A 4D to set the port for 8 data bits and 2 stop bits.
To set the parity, enter a control/A followed by a number from 0 to 7, followed by the letter P. The codes are as follows:
Code Number -- Parity
For example, to set port one at even parity, enter a control/A 3P.
To turn on the printer output to the screen, enter a control/A I (BRAILLE-EDIT will automatically direct output to the screen). To disable automatic line feed after carriage return, enter control/A K. For additional commands, see the Apple 2c Reference Manual.
If you look at the back of the 2c, you will see the two ports. Each port has a notch on top. Each port has 5 pins, numbered counterclockwise 1 through 5 going from "10 o'clock" to "2 o'clock". For example, pin 4 is positioned at "5 o'clock". All the 2c cables supplied by RDC (except the 2c-KRM cable) have the same wiring diagram. It is a follows:
2C PIN RS-232 PIN
1 5+6 shorted
The RS-232 is either male or female depending on what device you are interfacing to. For those who are not interested in soldering, the following cables can be bought from Raised Dot Computing for $40 each:
2c to Echo GP
2c to VersaBraille model "B"
2c to VersaBraille model "C"
2c to Cranmer Brailler
2c to Thiel Brailler
For $50, RDC sells the 2c to Kurzweil Reading Machine cable, which has a special wiring diagram.