I think we all need to pitch in and give this very ambitious fellow any
help where we can. As he will tell you, this is quite a lengthy posting
but please read through it as toward the end Jim really gets down to some
difficult problems he is looking for suggestions to in a field which I am
not certain has been adequately explored by totally blind professionals
working in his area of study. As I noticed he didn't send any CC's to
these loops which specialize in solving technical problems, I have
decided to do him that favor -- after all he is new to our way of life
and doing things but he does seem to be managing quite well.
Patty in Atlanta
-- Whenever one woman or man displays courage, they make a difference.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 13:24:50 -0600
From: Jim Richardson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: List Introduction
I am a new subscriber to the Do-It mailing list and would like to introduce
myself. My name is Jim Richardson, and I live in the rural countryside of
northwest Florida with my wife, Lisa, and two children.
Four years ago (1993) i was working as a nuclear plant operator, and lost my
eyesight due to a severe chemical injury to both eyes. Needless to say,
this event turned my life upside down for a while. In many respects, I now
feel somewhat like a cat, living my second life.
After two years of surgeries and rehabilitation, I reentered college to
begin rebuilding a career for myself. This time, however, I am pursuing the
career of my dreams: to earn a Ph. D. in the area of Planetary Science /
Geophysics. i have spent the last two years atending a small branch
university in my area, developing my study methods and knocking out general
and lower division requirements. Next Fall I plan to do an upper division
transfer to Florida State University (FSU) as a Physics major and Computer
Sciendce minor. Three years there and I will hopefully be off to graduate
For mobility purposes, I am a proficient cane user, although I prefer to use
a guide dog. Currently, my partner is a 4 year old male German Shepherd
named Usher (rather appropo), who comes from The Seeing Eye.
For note taking I use a Type 'n Speak, with a tape player backup. At home,
I use a speech adapted IBM clone which is also equiped with a scanner for
document reading. i generally work in the Windows 3.1 environment, unless I
get irritated enough with Jaws for Windows (JFW) to escape out to old trusty
DOS. Whether I like it or not, the switch to Windows 95 is coming.
For text books, I use three methods: RFB&D (when possible), student readers
(limited in time), and scanning (which is the most tedious).
While I have learnedBraille II and Nemeth Code, I am still extremely slow
with it, and find little use for it at the pace that college courses move
through the material.
I do all of my math in a word processor, using most of the same formats used
by computer algebra programs with a few modifications of my own. I also
work with Maple (similar to Mathcad), but do not use it for course work
unless I want someone sighted to look at and describe a graph for me.
I also have a good "talking" scientificcalculator, and a raised line drawing
kit (which was described for doing geometry yesterday).
1. I would love to find a print recognition program that can handle
symbolic equations. I currently have Archenstone's Open Book, and it can
even butcher a chemical equation, so forget something in Calculus.
I have many books and research papers/journals which are not available in
any format other than print. Rather than depending upon a reader, I would
love to be able to scan this stuff in on my own, and get more than just the
text portions of the material.
2. Graphs and pictoral representations. I need to learn more about what
methods exist for converting this type of material to a form i can work
with. For now, I am stuck picturing everything in my head, or using a
reader. As an example, if I am trying to do a "best fit" analysis at some
point down the road, how will i be able to tell what kind of data scatter is
being presented on the screen?
In addition to winding my way through school, I have been working with Dr.
David Meisel (State University of New York at Geneseo) on a project to
collect and analyze data on incoming meteors through forward-scatter radio
methods. The project is sponsored by the American Meteor Society, and we
will be submitting our first paper on the project to a professional journal
in the next few months., obviously, my contribution to the paper is more
technical than theoretical at this point, but I am learning. Dr. Meisel is
also acting as my mentor in pursuing my career field.
I apologize for the length of this epistle, and hopefully you haven't minded
my sharing a little about myself. I have encountered very few people in the
blind community who share my interests and goals, and rehab teachers are not
much help beyond learning basic skills. I have had to develope my own
methods as i have proceded, but I would love to learn from those who have
tackled these types of problems ahead of me. If someone else has invented
the wheel, I would like to utilize it.
AMS Radiometeor Project Coordinator
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