On 1997-10-08 firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
>Stevie Wonder spoke a bit about this at the recent TEC Awards.
>As an equipment designer, we're experiencing an increased
>requirement for more front panel functions -- especially in our
>digital products. Little LCD displays or banks of single switched
>LEDs are not usable for the non-sighted. Yet fully mechanical
>interface/positioning (mechanical feedback) is not feasible on
>in crowded and complex package.
>One solution might be a simple serial output which maintains a
>steady stream of code which corresponds to the current front panel
>settings; perhaps the NFB can develop a universal code which allows
>a conversion of serial panel pointers into a common speech program?
>Maybe an AES committee can consider this for the MADI spec? Such
>code could be used in many areas besides pro-audio.
There are even easier solutions, but this is being discussed in some
circles. ONe of the things that can be done is to use such things as
detents on knobs which set parameters, or an alternate method of
moving a pointer, such as an up-down or backward/forward key which
moves one unit at a time.
Anything that is numeric in nature can be set with a keypad as well.
Oftentimes, it isn't so much a matter of being able to read the
display's output as repeatability. If one, for example, wishes to set
midi sync or sympte sync on a multi-track unit, and knows that midi
sync is set by hitting up-arrow three times from the main display,
it's easily repeatable without having to read the display.
The serial interface idea has been discussed, and is being discussed,
but standardization, as we all know, is difficult at best.
I solve the problem somewhat by having a reader handy when I start a
project for a client.
As for daws, etc, there are a few things can be done. One doesn't
always have to see the waveform, just hear the audio. There are
plenty of screen access programs for the Pc which will run under
windows 3.1 and 95. Using standard hooks and icons can help our
screen access packages do their jobs.
For the Mac, it isn't that simple, as there is only one access package
for that platform, which was originally produced by Berkeley Systems.
Protools uses nonstandard methods of depicting icons and controls, so
this doesn't work for blind folks who would choose to use a Mac.
We've come a long way for the PC in the last five years. IN 1994, I
was working for a small studio which was still analog, and got a dat.
The dat was no problem, as my audible vu metering still was workable.
Then, we got Saw for the PC. Screen access for windows was still in
its infancy, and I tried a couple of early shareware products, and a
beta of another screen access product. Neither allowed me to be as
productive as I should with saw.
These days, blind folks in the industry are using Sound Forge and
Cooledit with off-the-shelf screen access packages.
I believe same is true for saw.
For more information, contact NFB by regular mail at 1800
Johnson St. Baltimore, Md. 21230. You can see more information at
When I started in this business over 15 years ago, access needs were
simple to implement. SOme form of audible indication of vu meter
readings were all I really needed. As technology marches onward,
though, I find myself constantly needing to hassle with more than just
usual performance and specs data. Others find themselves in similar
situations and don't have the resources to check out a piece of
equipment before purchasing it, or before taking a new job.
Many of us get started in this business because of our enjoyment of
making good music. This coupled with the easy adaptations made for an
enjoyable career. It still is, but now we have to exercise a little
more care in selecting the products we buy---oftentimes without
adequate information beforehand. Someone such AS Stevie Wonder or Ray
Charles can probably contact manufacturers and possibly get a hands-on with a
product before plunking down our money, but those of us in the
hinterlands must either order by mail sight unseen, or hope we can get
feedback from other users of the product in a similar situation.
Thanks much for your reply. Discussion of such issues within AES
and other appropriate organizations would be most welcome by many of us.
Electric Spider Productions,
Net-Tamer V 1.08.1 - Test Drive
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