forwarded formatter msg from John Gardner

From: John Miller (
Date: Fri Aug 09 1996 - 10:06:50 PDT

Here's some forwarded mail from John Gardner.
He's a fellow lister now and plugged in to list postings.

I think John is right and 8 dot braille across facing
pages will do the job nicely.
Sounds like John's considering stepping up to the plate to build
the formatter, too.
Tell him if this would be helpful to you.
Any other features before we go off and build this thing?

>From Fri Aug 9 09:10:50 1996
Subject: Your dream translator

John, yesterday you invited me to join your Science/tech discussion
list, and a few hours later Larry Scadden forwarded me a message you
had posted asking for a "dream translator". May I give you my
thoughts and ask you to post this note on the list, since I have not
yet been added.

You do not need a translator. What you need is simply a Braille code
with a 1-1 correlation to the printable ASCII characters and a program
to print out wide lines in some sensible fashion. It does need some
formatting control for printing out headers, footers, line numbers,
and perhaps a few other things. May I suggest that the most
straightforward way to achieve the output is to print horizontally on
2 consecutive pages, giving a total character width of 80 characters
and 16 lines of 8-dot braille characters per page.

If this seems an acceptable solution, I think we could write a printer
driver rather quickly. My guess is that there are a lot of people who
could write a formatting program that would translate the file format
of your files to the ideal one to print out in this format.

This printer driver could work with any braille code that gives an
8-dot symbol for each ASCII character. As you know, there is no
standard for 8-dot braille. The American 6-dot code has been extended
to provide an 8 dot set, but I am not sure that all manufacturers
agree on all characters. Perhaps you could educate me.

Could I inject a (obviously biased) suggestion that you look at the GS8
code as a possible 8-dot braille set. GS is the uniform code that
Norberto Salinas and I have developed. It comes in two flavors, 6-dot
GS6 and 8-dot GS8. GS8 is just a compactification of GS6. For
example any double cell GS6 character beginning with dot-6 becomes a
single cell character with a dot-7 in GS8. This includes the capital
letters, but GS is a uniform code that contains all math/science
characters also.

GS is modeled on the uniform braille code and uses literary characters
for all letters and punctuation marks except the parentheses and
question mark. Grade 2 GS uses literary numbers, but we broke with
the ubc in grade 1 and used DIN dot-6 braille for the numbers. The
numbers are controversial of course and, for Americans, requires a
certain learning curve. However I know of no blind person who has
used these numbers long enough to read them comfortably that does not
prefer them to anything else.

I would like to hear if there are others on this list who could use
the kind of printer driver I suggest. I would also be delighted to
hear from people who would like to evaluate the GS code. GS is
described on our web site but we don't
have a pile of evaluation materials just yet. For people who have a
TSI braille display using Gateway, we can supply the GS8 table, and we
can also supply a downloadable GS8 table for the TSI braille printer.

John Gardner

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