Portia Scott, San Jose, CA, USA
Hello all, My name is Portia. I am 24 years old, and have been using the BrailleNote since the BrailleNote Classic. When I was in school, the BrailleNote enabled me to write, read and do much more efficiently. When I was at the California School For The Blind, I got to learn Sendero GPS on my BrailleNote mPower. I must say, that was a wonderful experience. Finally a while after I left CSB, which was when I was 18, my mPower's braille display started fading, and I knew I would eventually need a new BrailleNote. Just recently, somewhere in June or July, my friend Michelle expressed how she dearly wanted an mPower back, and that she would give me her BrailleNote Apex. I was beyond excited, and extatic. I kept asking her if she wanted it and she was like no, no, you have the Apex. So I took it, and made it my own. Now I have the latest version of Sendero GPS on it, and use it in my daily life for emailing, reading, and I'll even use it with my Android phone. Right now it is in the shop getting repaired, but I tell you, the Apex has been a huge joy to use. And unless I really had to, I could never live without a BrailleNote. Thank you Humanware, for a wonderful product. You always seem to amaze me with your products. I can't wait to try the new KeySoft!
Roanna Bacchus, Oviedo, Florida, USA
Thanks so much for creating this product Humanware. I have enjoyed using this product since my eighth grade year of middle school. I can't wait until the next version of KeySoft is released verry soon. thank you for putting the support for docx files into the last version of KeySoft.
Alyssa Clelland, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
I will never forget the day I first saw a BrailleNote Apex. I was at school, and 2 of my friends came over. I had only been told by my vision teacher that there was a demonstration that afternoon. I hoped it was something to do with technology, because I love equipment, especially something I can use. When they arrived, they started to show me the BrailleNote. I explored the main menu. When I got to book reader, I squealed with excitement! A book reader! I couldn't believe it! When I heard games, I stopped. Woe! Games! I could actually play games! I knew right then and there that I loved this product. "What do you think?" my friends asked me. "I think I'm in love!" I said. When I went home, I said to my Mom, "I want a BrailleNote Apex!" "What's so good about it?" she asked. "Well, you can play games on it, and you can read books!" I exclaimed. I got one for school, but no one would let me explore it. In July of 2012, Mom got me one for home. My BrailleNote has helped me with so much. Me and my brother can actually talk about books, which has made us a lot closer. It's especially helped me with reading. For years, that's been my area of struggle. But because of the auto advance feature on it's braille display, I have increased my reading speed. Web browsing is so much easier. When I do a research project for class, I always use the BrailleNote, because I know I won't get random images that have no discriptions. My BrailleNote has simply given me freedom I've never felt with equipment. I never will take reading books and playing games for granted because I know I can only do it on one device independantly. I will also never take emailing for granted, because the Apex is the only device I can email on with ease. Thank you HumanWare.
Aaron Linson, United States
The mobile market has exploded within the past few years and has really changed the way blind people work and play. With a big emphasis on iOS devices like the iPhone and the iPad, many people are wondering if dedicated devices for the blind are even relevant anymore. When I say dedicated devices I mean anything from GPS devices to note taking devices with braille displays attached. In this article I want to give you my opinion on why I still choose to use a dedicated device.
Let me clarify one thing really fast from the beginning. I use and own an iPhone and iPad. I also have a Braille Note apex from HumanWare that I carry with me all the time. Now that we got that out of the way let's hit the main topic. Why I still choose to use a dedicated note taking device.
I remember getting introduced to the braille n speak in middle school and not understanding why the device existed. I used it all through middle school but never really felt the need to use it beyond an educational setting. During my seventh grade year I was transferred to a school for the blind in Kentucky. Along with getting a better social life than I had in public school I was introduced to a lot of the latest in blindness technology that I never knew existed. The first time I held the BrailleNote classic I fell in love with the crisp braille cells that felt like actual braille paper to me and the sturdiness of the device. I was still unsure of what the device could do for me beyond school, but I gave this new device a chance. After using it for only a week I carried it with me where ever I went. I was even given permission to use the BrailleNote classic over the summer. Before GPS was around I used the BrailleNote to create a little book of instructions for my O&M classes. I used the BrailleNote in English class to work on papers. I used every aspect of the BrailleNote from the address book to the book reader. I even used it for presentations and for teaching the BrailleNote to other students at the school. As the software improved and the BrailleNote got faster and even more powerful I gained a better understanding of what the device was capable of doing.
Ok, so now that you know what I used the Braille Note for back then, what about now, when the world of technology is filled not only with dedicated devices but mainstream devices like android phones and iOS devices. I still think there is a place for the devices. Being in college I have a busy lifestyle. Keeping up with class assignments, logging notes and sessions with my sound engineering classes, to learning how to read braille music it can get pretty hectic. I find the BrailleNote a very useful tool even though my phone is right by my side. You may be wondering what can the BrailleNote do that your phone can’t. There are a lot of reasons to have a dedicated device.
1. Software that just works.
With mobile devices, apps and the system software get updated all the time. If you are not careful or the manufacturer of the phone you own breaks something that was working but now isn't you are stuck with that inaccessible part of your phone until it's fixed.
2. Keystrokes are quicker
gestures and learning the layout of your phone are essential in learning a mainstream product but if you are trying to be productive, flicking to a button or trying to find a control by moving your finger across the screen just wastes time. With a few key strokes I can jump in and out of apps on the BrailleNote and not have to worry about if I found the right control or button.
3. Right where you left off.
With dedicated note taking devices you can shut off the device without having to leave what you were working on and the device will remember what you were last doing and put you back in that spot.
4. Battery life
Battery life on the BrailleNote is better than on my iPhone any day of the week. I do have an external battery pack but even with that the BrailleNote still beats it.
Ok, some valid points were made but what about traditional braille displays versus note takers? I'm glad you asked. With a braille display you can only use it if it's connected to your computer or your Smartphone basically rendering it useless without a connected device. Whereas with a dedicated note taker you can be productive with your Smartphone as well while writing a report for instance. This functionality makes dedicated note taking devices like the BrailleNote apex from HumanWare in my opinion a win win situation for someone who wants functionality with the mainstream and blindness technology at the same time.
Michael A. Justice, Texas, United States
I use my Voice Note daily both at work and at home and frankly, I can’t live without it. After several months of using it, my supervisor allowed me to demonstrate it to other staff members to raise awareness of what adaptive tools can do to prepare the blind and visually impaired for various kinds of work. So it's been a win, win situation and I thank the people of humanware for my Voice Note Empower QT!
Robert Mead-Colegrove, New York, United States
Andrew had issues with taking his spelling test on a Perkins Braillewriter because the teacher could not score his test at the same time as other children. Now that he has learned how to use the Braille Note, Andrew takes his spelling tests in the classroom and when done prints his test out and gets it graded at the same time as the other kids. It is devices like the Braille Note that allow my son to be able to experience the classroom the same way his classmates do. It has helped his self-confidence and for that I am grateful! Thank you HumanWare.
Christopher Wright, New York, United States
I've been able to edit HTML code efficiently. -- When I call Dell's tech support line, I'm able to read off my customer ID. -- During my last year in college, notetaking was more efficient. -- As the webmaster for the National Alliance of Blind Students, I often use the Braille Note's braille display to read notes I prepare prior to board meetings. -- Dialing phone numbers is more efficient.
Ann Chiappetta, New York, United States
I rely on a voice note Apex, having retired the Empower for a newer Humanware model. I am just as pleased with it as I was with the first device and plan to use it for many years to come. It is an intuitive little machine, lightweight, portable, and able to interface with my personal computer with improved software tools. What impresses me the most is the improvements in internet accessibility and the ergonomic wrist rest below the QUARTY keyboard. This design improvement allows my hand to rest upon it so I have less wrist fatigue when typing for extended periods of time. Thank you Humanware for providing this great machine so people like me can continue to lead independent, productive lives.
Jennifer Roth, Maryland, United States
My success story is my daughter. Her name is Julia. She is 5 years old and attends Kindergarten at Battle Grove Elementary School. This school year, with the help of her teachers, she has learned the basic functions of the BrailleNote taker. She is such a smart little girl, she reads very well and is constantly challanging us to push her even harder. With all of the advances in technology, it is only a matter of "what can the world handle" when it comes to my daughter, not what can she handle.
Larry Johnson, Texas, United States
I love the Planner to help me schedule committee meetings and doctor appointments. I have used the alarm feature to wake me up in the morning. It works just great. The Address Book feature is wonderful for looking up telephone numbers and for sending emails. An excellent, very useful and fun product - the Apex. Thank you.
Elizabeth Bowden, Florida, United States
The use of Braille Note takers revolutionized many aspects of my life, and brought Braille back in to my world in a new way. For myself, one of the most thrilling concepts about me and my BrailleNote is the idea that the Braille world, which I thought I had lost has come back alive, and will always be part of me, how I work, and who I am. The BrailleNote allows me to be competitive, and still keep using Braille to eternity. I am looking forward to exploring many more uses I have still not touched upon for my BrailleNote. Some day, should I need to get an iPhone; the good part will be that I’ll be able to use it with my BrailleNote.
Hannah Furney, Minnesota, United States
I have used the Braillenote for taking notes during Church, reading the songs that we sing during Church, taking notes at different conventions, reading the Bible, and reading books for enjoyment. Also, having the Braillenote requires me to practice my Braille, since I did not learn Braille as a youngster, I need to keep practicing the skill so that I do not lose it. The Voicenote and Braillenote both have made improved my life tremendously.
Rikki Chaplin, Queensland, Australia
I have used VoiceNote and BrailleNote products for the past ten years. Before that, the Keynote Companion saw me through university. I now use the BrailleNote Apex for wordprocessing, email, diary and recording phone records. It even gets a workout on my laptop as a braille display from time to time. When people see me working on an Apex, they are immediately assured that they can have confidence in my ability to get the job done.
Jake Olson, California, United States
In confronting my blindness, the one thing I wanted to do was stay in my same junior high school with my same friends and lead my normal life. The BrailleNote and Oratio have been instrumental in allowing me to stay on that path. I use the BrailleNote in all my classes and I have been able to maintain a near straight “A” report card over the past year. I have a hope that any child that is blind will be able to use a BrailleNote to help them advance in school and become a productive adult. In addition, my social life has not missed a step either in part to HumanWare's Oratio. You can probably imagine how important text messaging is to kids these days and having Oratio on my Blackberry has been a God send.
Fereshteh Khosroujerdy, London, United Kingdom
With my Braille notetaker, I now have a voice in the classroom and have been able to make a number of presentations. It has opened up so many avenues of communication.
Janine DeLaunay, Portland, United States
I am a totally blind United Methodist pastor. I use the Apex for almost everything I do: searching the internet for sermon resources, writing my sermon, referencing different Bible translations, connecting to my GPS to visit parishioners, writing the bulletin, and so much more. Everything I need for my work with people is on that Apex and strapped over my robe on Sunday mornings, it guides me through each part of the service, from the hymns to the scripture reading, from noting the prayer requests to reading the sermon outline. It frees me up to be fully independent and fully available to those I have been called to serve.
Jessica Snyder, Ohio, United States
I am thankful that the wireless internet process has been simplified and now such book formats as National Library Service digital books and Audible are recognized by this outstanding machine. With every new model of this impressive note taker the features I have come to rely on are only improved upon and the new features allow for even more accessibility to the ever changing technology of this day and age.
Brandon Tyson, Michigan, United States
I am an avid user of the BrailleNote Apex. I started out by using a BrailleNote MPower which worked well, but I quickly outgrew it. I am now using a BrailleNote Apex BT for my personal and school use. I can connect the BrailleNote Apex to the laptop and use it as a Braille display. I love how it supports many external devices. It's so fast and snappy on the internet! I can email, instant message with friends using the Keychat application, surf the internet and more.
Virginia Miller, SD, United States
My student was a Braille reader, but a very slow one and we were supposed to increase his reading speed as one of his goals. We started using the Braille Note to talk back and forth and then he was able to obtain a Braille Note with a Qwerty keyboard. This gave him so much more independence when out in the community, as he could write a message, use the speech to talk to someone, and they could respond by typing a message on the standard keyboard, and he could read the Braille display.
Brooke Cottrell, MO, United States
One thing I couldn't live without is my BrailleNote Apex. I can surf the web (with sites such as Google) when I am doing a research project or just to find information much faster than a regular computer.
Ted Lennox, Michigan, United States
I use my BrailleNote constantly. I love for the first time in my life to be able to read my own e-mail and to send out e-mail. I gave up teaching after only 48 short years. I then started following my interest in poetry. I started writing poems about many subjects. The result being that I published my book called DIE DAILY: Dream, Improve, Enjoy. The whole entire book was written with my wonderful BrailleNote. The book is exactly 200 pages long in print, and about 375 pages in braille.