Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BrailleNote: An overview of KeySoft Part 5: Switching to and exiting out of a task

In this last installment at a brief tour of KeySoft, let's take a look at how to switch tasks and exit from current activity. Exiting a task was briefly demonstrated on the first post in this series. Now, let's examine how we can actually switch to a different task.

Just like Windows Mobile's Task manager, BrailleNote's Task Menu allows you to switch to another task - but not shut it down. To access this menu, either go to Options Menu then press M for "Move to another task," or press the hotkey for this menu - SPACE with DOTS 2-3-5 (FN+S). KeySoft will announce, "Task menu." The items in this menu are similar to that of Main Menu. The difference now is that once you choose an item, keySoft goes directly to a likely task you'll perform using that program e.g. switching to the media file you are playing, asking the user to open a file, etc., unlike Main Menu, which opens the application menu upon selection of a program.

In addition to using Task Menu, KeySoft programs have dedicated shortcut keys, just as Windows Mobile devices have hardware buttons to move to different programs. These are not covered here due to amount of text, but a general overview is that, on braille keyboard models, the shortcut is the first letter of a program with BACKSPACE and ENTER. For instance, if you want to add a new contact, press BACKSPACE with ENTER with A for Address List, then if you want to continue with a chat you were having with someone, press BACKSPACE with ENTER with C for Chat. On qWERTY models, the numbers 4 through 0 in conjunction with FN key is used to open a select list of tasks e.g. FN+4 for word processor, FN+5 for calculator, FN+0 for web browser and so forth. Other tasks use FN with either a letter e.g. FN+B for braille terminal mode or FN+Shift+the first letter e.g. FN+Shift+D for Database manager.

As always, you can use exit command (SPACE with E/ESC) to quit the current task or a program. To close all programs except media player and web browser, go to main Menu (SPACE with DOTS 1-2-3-4-5-6 or MENU key).

Thanks for enjoying a brief tour of keySoft from Windows Mobile perspective. I'm sure you've learned something from this series...
// JL

BrailleNote: An overview of KeySoft Part 4: Brief tour of Options menu

The Options Menu on the brailleNote can be thought of as a combination of notification bar/Settings/Taskbar. On Windows Mobile screen, the top portion of the window is the Taskbar, containing items such as Start button, icons for clock, volume and so forth. Just like WM users can set their preferences under Settings dialog, BrailleNote users use Options Menu for this same task - configuring their preferences.

To access Options menu, from anywhere in KeySoft, press SPACE with O(DOTS 1-3-5) or FN+O. KeySoft says, "Options Menu." Just like any other menus and lists, use SPACE to move forward, BACKSPACE to move backward and ENTER key to select an item. To exit Options Menu, press the exit command (SPACE with E/ESC).

The Options menu comprises number of groups of functions, including:
* Status messages: Date and time, next appointment and battery status.
* General settings: Braille display options, keyboard settings, review voice, connectivity, activating/deactivating visual display.
* Contextual settings: Changing keyboard braille brade, using another language.
* Understadning current prompt: Spell the current prompt, hear text with maximum punctuation.
* Miscellaneous items: Inserting date/time/calculation, accessing user guide, reminders on speech settings and thumb-key toggle.

It'd be hard to describe all functions under Options Menu, so I'll describe notable items and a brief description of them:

  • Date and Time: Used to find out date and time, as well as access Stopwatch (via Time item), similar to clock icon on the taskbar.

  • Braille Display Options: used to configure the way a user reads braille, similar to configuring a PDA's screen/reading functions.

  • Keyboard settings: Used to configure keyboard echo and other settings.

  • Review voice: used to change speech characterisitcs, such as delete alert tone volume, turning speech on or off and so forth.

  • Connectivity: Used to configure connectivity settings, including creating a new connections, connecting to a Wi-Fi network, searching for Bluetooth devices and so forth.

And many others. For more information on Options Menu, I suggest looking up the user guide (I'll provide the link on a separate post).

Next and final installment: Switching to and exiting out of a task.

BrailleNote: An overview of KeySoft Part 3: Getting help anywhere

Where would you get help if you get stuck - the user manual, online forum or somewhere else? On windows Mobile, to get help in an application, you would go to Start Menu and tap Help. While, there is a similar thing under it, KeySoft has one advantage: context-sensitive help.

From anywhere in KeySoft, if you need help with anything, just press the help key (SPACE with H (DOTS 1-2-5) or HELP key on QT). BrailleNote will inform you about what the prompt is and how to interact with it. In KeySoft programs such as Internet and planner, you'll get a dedicated help menu with list of commands organized into categories. For example, under word processor, if we invoke help key, BrailleNote will open keyWord Help Menu with command categories such as review commands, edit commands and so forth. Just like using a list, in this type of menu, press SPACE to move to the desired command category, press ENTER, then browse through the availible commands in that category.

Just like Windows Mobile, a help documentation - rather, the entire user guide, is availible. As described earlier, Windows Mobile users would tap Start, then go to help. Under KeySoft, there are two ways: via Options menu and using the dedicated command for accessing the user guide.

To use Options Menu method, from anywhere in KeySoft, press SPACE with O (DOTS 1-3-5; FN+O on QT), then press U (DOTS 1-3-6). BrailleNote will prompt to choose table of contents or index. Or press BACKSPACE with ENTER with H (READ+HELP keys on QT), then select table of contents or index (T or I).

For this tutorial, let's say you want to look up how to configure your braile display using table of contents. After selecting table of contents, press SPACE to move down through the chapters; when general Functions is displayed, press ENTER to access sections of that chapter. Then using the spacebar, go to a section labeld Braille Options then press ENTER. BrailleNote will start reading or display section 5.4, which is all about configuring the braille display.
'When you are done reading a sectionn, press BACKSPACE to move back to the sections list. To read a different chapter, press exit command (SPACE with E or ESC), then use the lsit commands to move to a different chapter.

Note that if you exit the user guide using the exit command while you were reading a section, you'll be returned to the activity you were in; however, if you return to the user guide( using the above methods), BrailleNote will ask if you want to continue reading the section you were reading or choose a different topic. If you say Yes, KeySoft will resume at the section you left; if you say No, keySoft will ask you to choose table of contents or index to look up.

Next: A brief overview of Options menu

BrailleNote: An overview of keySoft Part 2: Interacting with prompts

Let's discuss how a BrailleNote can interact with prompts, or input controls.

In Windows Mobile, we use dialogs, controls and fields to interact with a PDA or a phone. Similary, BrailleNote uses prompts and lists to interact with users. Unlike WM, KeySoft does not have graphical features; instead, it uses text prompts, such as edit fields, lists and selection prompts.

For instance, suppose we want to create a new document on a BrailleNote, write few things then save it. From Main Menu, press SPACE to go to word processor. Press ENTER to select it. Now from keyWord Menu, press C (DOTS 1-4) to select Create a Document. BrailleNote prompts, "folder name?" This is an edit field where a user can type his or her text using prefered braille, press BACKSPACE to step backwards at a prompt (in this case, to select drive list) or press SPACE to go to a list (in this case, a list of folders). in this case, press ENTER. BrailleNote then says, "document to create?" Here, one can type the name of a document e.g. test, then press ENTER. BrailleNote says, "top of document."

Here you can write anything, since this is a text field. To exit and save what you've entered, press SPACE with E (ESC). BrailleNote says, "KeyWord menu." To return to Main menu, press the exit command again.

So far we've dealt with text edit fields. There are other types of prompts, which are:
* Selection: Often, we want to step through a selection and choose the desired option. For instance, selecting the default file format, speech on or off and so forth, just like using radio button or a combo box. To step through the list of choices, press SPACE with DOTS 3-4 (CTRL+SPACE on QT), then press ENTER to make a selectio.
* Lists: Similar to list views in Windows Mobile. Step through a list by press SPACE, step back through it using BACKSPACE key, then press ENTER on a desired item. This is prominent in menus and lists of files and folders.
* Text edit fields: Mostly used to write text. You can use typical text field comamnds such as BACKSPACE to edit what you've entered. When done, press ENTER.
* yes or No: Mostly used for confirmation prompts and to activate certain additional prompts, similar to "yes/no" buttons and check boxes. On certain prompts, press the letter at hand (Y or N) will perform the action at hand, while on other prompts, you need to press ENTER e.g. braille display toggle to make your choice.

Next: Getting Help anywhere.

BrailleNote: An overview of keySoft from Windows Mobile perspective

With the basics of braille characters out of the way, let's talk about what KeySoft looks like and how BrailleNote users input commands.

First, let's discuss how BN commands work. BrailleNote uses the nine keys (DOTS 1 through 6, plus SPACE, BACKSPACE and ENTER) for using commands. For most of the time, one can press the braille letter or a symbol along with spacebar - same as pressing Alt along with a letter or a symbol. For instance, the command for getting help at a prompt is SPACE with H (DOTS 1-2-5), almost like pressing Alt+H for Help menu for most programs. Similarly, BACKSPACE and ENTER can be used alongside other braille characters for perfoming tasks. For instance, we press ENTER with T (DOTS 2-3-4-5) for time and press BACKSPACE with C (DOTS 1-4) to delete current sentence. Sometimes, both BACKSPACE and ENTER along with braille letters are used when switching to different programs in KeySoft or using various formatting options.

The above paragraph applies to units with braille style keyboard. However, the QWERTY style version of BN does exist, which has almost similar command rules as braille keyboards. The Alt key on the QWERTY (refered to as QT) is the READ key, which is the left most key on the third row (where CAPS LOCK is usually placed). The CONTROL key is at its usual location - the bottom left, while the FN key is to the left of the spacebar.

With the basic command structure out of the way, let's go into what KeySoft would look like from windows Mobile perspective. Windows Mobile was chosen among other operating systems such as Linux and Symbian for its similarity with keySoft and the fact that both share the same underlying operating system - Windows CE.

The starting point for keySoft is main menu, which is sort of a combination between Today/Home screen and Start menu. Here one can browse a list of programs and select which one to use, as well as providing reminders on accessing Options Menu and a shortcut to view device information such as firmware version and serial number. We'll come back to Options Menu in just a sec. For sake of this tutorial, I'll work with Word processor.

Once we select a program from Main Menu, a submenu type menu is displayed. This is actually the application menu for that program. When we select Word Processor, for example, BrailleNote goes toKeyWord menu, from which we can select to create a document, open an existing one or print a file. For most of the time, keySoft will enter this type of menu once a program is selected from main Menu. The exceptions are Internet (whereupon KeySoft will prompt for an address), calculator and such.

Just like Windows Mobile, a task menu does exist. However, one cannot stop all programs from this task menu - the KeySoft's Task menu is used to switch to different tasks. To stop all tasks, one must return to Main Menu (SPACE with DOTS 1-2-3-4-5-6 or MENU key on QT). Not all tasks will be closed - Media Player and Internet Explorer type browser will still run in the background.

Speaking of exiting tasks, one can use the exit command to close a task. Under Windows Mobile, tapping (or clicking) on close button would minimize the current window only, not terminate the program at hand. Under BrailleNote, once the exit comamnd is performed (SPACE with E (DOTS 1-5) or ESC key), the current program will be closed i.e. terminated. In most situations the application menu for a particular program will be displayed, or the user will be returned to the Main menu.

Next: Interacting with prompts.

Monday, June 28, 2010

BrailleNote: how does blind people type and read text?

Last time we looked at what the BrailleNote looks and basic features that it offers. This time, let us find out how blind people type and read information on a BN.

Blind people throughout the world uses braille, a special character set that uses tactile dots to represent alphabets, numerals and punctuation. This involves a set of six dots on a paper's surface - two columns by three rows. From the top, these dots are called DOT 1, DOT 2, DOT 3 (left side), DOT 4, DOT 5 and DOT 6 (right side). These six dots provide 63 different combinations - enough to cover majority of the keys on a QWERTY keyboard. Thus, braille characters are entered and read using one or a combination of these dots. A list of basic alphanumeric characters and their braille equivalence are as follows:

CharacterBraille dot patterns/symbol
DDOTS 1-4-5
FDOTS 1-2-4
GDOTS 1-2-4-5
HDOTS 1-2-5
JDOTS 2-4-5
LDOTS 1-2-3
MDOTS 1-3-4
NDOTS 1-3-4-5
ODOTS 1-3-5
PDOTS 1-2-3-4
QDOTS 1-2-3-4-5
RDOTS 1-2-3-5
SDOTS 2-3-4
TDOTS 2-3-4-5
UDOTS 1-3-6
VDOTS 1-2-3-6
WDOTS 2-4-5-6
XDOTS 1-3-4-6
YDOTS 1-3-4-5-6
ZDOTS 1-3-5-6

For numbers, one uses number sign (DOTS 3-4-5-6) followed by letters A through J e.g. number 1 would be number sign, DOT 1, number 5 would be number sign, DOTS 1-5 and so forth. Punctuations are entered using special dot combinations e.g. DOTS 2-5-6 for a period, dots 2-3-6 for a question mark and so forth.

It would be hard to list all 63 different dot combinations and what they correspond to in print, but the above table gives you a general overview of how braille characters are entered.

using the method above, blind people use these characters when typing text, such as documents, email messages and forms on the web. Also, people use braille displays (see the below post for more information) to read braille symbols, which are arranged in groups of two-by-four pins (for a total of eight). The top six pins correspond to braille characters, while the two pins below them - DOT 7 and DOT 8 on the left and right, respectively - provides information about the cursor. Thus, in terms of electronic devices, if all eight dots are used, then a total of 256 different combinations are achievable - using the six dots, adding dot 7 and/or 8 - enough to cover ASCII characters and more.

So how does blind people use a device like this using a limited number of keys? This is achieved by typing the dot combination with SPACE, BACKSPACE A.K.A. DOT 7 and/or ENTER A.K.A. DOT 8 keys. Using this method, a total of 512 different combinations are possible - 64 for regular characters (including space character) , 448 for executing commands; thus the braille display can display up to 256 different combinations of eight dot braille (64 for six dot braille).

Up next: An overview of basic KeySoft operations (from windows Mobile perspective).
Note: ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange.

Explaining BrailleNote: What exactly is a BrailleNote?

Welcome to part 1 on a series on explaining BrailleNote - a detailed tour of BrailleNote and its operations - for from both blind and sighted perspective. In this article, I'll quickly go over what exactly a BrailleNote and how it looks like.

So, what exactly is BrailleNote? BrailleNote is a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) for blind people. It's a kin to using a smartphone or a pocket computer for blind people. Instead of a screen and a keyboard, BrailleNote uses a special type of input method, called "braille characters," and uses a device called "braille display" to ouput data using braile characters. On most BrailleNotes, a special type of program, called a speech synthesizer is used to speak whatever the user types and reads. Features sets on the BrailleNote is almost the same as any regular pocket PC or a PDA - a word processor, calendar and alarms, contacts manager, email, media player, calculator and so forth. Instead of using graphical menus and gestures, BraileNote uses a suite of programs called KeySoft, which is the user interface of the BrailleNote 9user interface is a set way of allowing people to interact with a computer).

How does blind people type and read on a BrailleNote? On the surface of the device, there are nine keys, arranged like a braille writer. Each of the dots on a braill keyboard has a special value. For instance, the letter "a" can be typed using one dot, while the letter "Q" requires press of five dots. This may seem awkward, but there is a reason why it is designed as such. Each press of a dot or a combination of it, represents a letter or a punctuation, just like a regular computer keyboard would have labels for each key. From left to right, the keys are BACKSPACE, DOT 3, DOT 2, DOT 1, SPACE, DOT 4, DOT 5, DOT 6 and ENTER. We'll come back to how the commands on the BrailleNote works later. Note that there is a BrailleNote with computer-style keyboard.

On most BrailleNote models, there is a front panel with a line of pins. This is so-called braille display. Braille displays works by rasing the pin when there is a dot and lowering when there isn't. This utilizes piasoelectric technology where special crystals located under the display pins move upward when electricity is applied. Above the brialle display are a number of buttons called touch cursor keys that are used to route the cursor to the desired braille cell.

On the back of a BrailleNote, there are numerous connection sockets, just like any computer. There are a number of USB ports, an SD card slot, a port to connect to the monitor and a network (Ethernet) port. Around the sides are power charger port, UsB port for connecting to a computer, and on the left side, an array of audio jacks and a button, power switch and a Reset button.

On the front panel of the unit is a collection of four buttons. These are caled "thumb-keys", which are used to pan, or move the display by specific length or move vertically through a document, a webpage and so forth. In certain situations, these buttons are shortcuts for various tasks, such as exiting out of current prompt, select an item from a list and so forth.

On the software wise, BrailleNote family runs various versions of Windows CE, an operating system from Microsoft that is used on embedded devices such as cameras and cell phones. On top of Windows CE, a collection of programs known as KeySoft runs to provide the way of interacting with the BrailleNote (often shortened to BN). The hardware specs are just like any high-end PDA's such as Freescale i.MX31 processor at 532 MHz, 256 MB or RAM and 8 GB of flash storage, built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and internal microphone for recording memos.

More to come later...

BrailleNote: An explanatory article series

A popular saying says that if one wants to learn something, it is best to explain it to somebody. Hopefully the other person would come up with corrections, and the "teacher" would find easier ways of explaining things easily.

As I use my BrailleNote, a special computer for people with visual impairment, sighted people would often come up to me and ask, "How doed it work?" I usually tell them, "Well, just like any computer would." While some people were surprised that a device of this kind exists, others, with curiosity in mind, would ask me to demo the unit and explain more.

This series on Explaining BrailleNote is meant to answer common technical questions about BrailleNote and its operations - both for blind and sighted alike. I'll try my best to compare features and operations of a BrailleNote - more technically, KeySoft suite of applications - from both blindness and sighted point of view. So, welcome aboard to a cuise around keySoft. let's start the cruise, shall we?

// JL (UCR)

How did BrailleNote PBWorks came to be...

You may be wondering what I'm talking about from my previous post about some kind of a Beta for a website. Let's just say that it is just a part of a roadmap for creating a one-stop resource for a special computer that blind people like myself use everyday - the BrailleNote PBWorks page.

The BrailleNote PBWorks is a result of a one small suggestion by my tech teacher at LAUSD (Los angeles Unified School District). In January and February of 2008, I had a chance to work with my tech teacher, Ms. Lore Schindler at Frances Blend Elementary, an all-blind elementary school for blind children. I was a senior in high school (I attended John marshall High School) then with an ambition of studying computer science at whatever university accepts me. Thus, it was an opportunity to try out apprenticeship by being a technical support and an intern "helper" for elementary school students - and in extension, create a resource for those who are using BrailleNote, a special type of computer for the blind.

The first day at work, Ms. Schindler suggested that I create a web resource for BrailleNote so that her students can use it. Apparently she found PBWiki (www.pbworks.com), a company which helps educators and others create resources, or wikis for student use - with the goal of colaboration. I thought, "well, since other blindness PDA's have a web resource, wy not BrailleNote," thus began the development of a site that later became BrailleNote PBWorks.

At first, the content was just a list of helpful articles for troubleshooting common problems with BrailleNote, as well as a dictionary of connectivity terms and a tutorial style page for new users of KeySoft, a software suite that runs on the BraileNote. After many experiments with PBWorks editor and using my knowledge of HTML code, the website was finally born on january 15, 2008 with about 15 articles. Some of the startup articles included how to set date and time on a BrailleNote, using USB printers and a detailed note on using diagnostic modes for obtaining battery and power status information. Since then, the website grew tremendously - not only it houses nearly fifty articles on KeySoft, but houses links to useful websites create by and for blind community, and a series of podcasts (syndicated web content) for BrailleNote family of products - which includes chats, tutorials recorded by myself and other online presentations.

What was originally intended for student use by LAUSD became sort of a one-stop resource for all things about BrailleNote. From students to even HumanWare have visited the site, and many people sent me comments, telling me the website has helped them fix issues and was able to learn new things that users didn't know was possible on the BrailleNote. As the administrator and webmaster of that site, I'm really grateful for these comments, and am glad to say that the BrailleNote PBWorks project was the best thing that I've done before and after graduated from high school - an even in my college life. Imagine a website created by a user of a product for other users... And that's the beauty of BrailleNote PBWorks in the first place.

To enter the BrailleNote PBWorks site, click here. Hope you enjoy the site...
//JL (UCR)

BrailleNote PBWorks 7.0 Beta is now posted

Just a quick message to inform you that the Public Beta version of the BrailleNote PBWorks is now availible. Go to BrailleNote PBWorks link to enter the page.
For the benefit of those who may not know what I'm talking about, I'll post a history of how this website came to be in just a sec...

Tips for choosing a college major from blindness perspective

The following is based on my experiences...
To all new blind college students,
Around this time, students who have graduated from high schools would be starting a big transition period - adjusting to college life. From under the guidance of a teacher to being independent, it is not an easy for anyone, particularly those who are blind or visually impaired. Another chllanege for us - blind guys - is how do we choose a correct major to help us succeed in college, and in extension, get a job and succeed in life. Thus, I'd like to offer quite a few tips for choosing your major from blindness perspective:
Tip 1: Be sure to preview what you are going to study at college. Some majors may seem interesting at first, but upon listening to the first lecture, students would be tempted to switch to another major. I had friends who thought computer science would be an easy course - just sit down and think about amazing games to program. But upon listening to the first C++ or Java lecture and getting the assignments, they struggled to understand how to even write Hello World program. I had a friend who was going through the same episode - in the end, he changed his major to something else. So, be sure to preview your major - do some reading over the summer about what you'll studying, ask professors or older students who were in that major to see what they think of that major.
Tip 2: Choose a major that you definitely have a passion for. If you are passionate about humanities major, go for it; if it is sciences or engineering, go for it. If you don't have passion for your major, chances are that you might want to change your major.
Tip 3: If you really have to change a major, try out your major one more time, then switch to another one. If you had a bad professor or if you didn't understand the material on the first lecture, try the same classes 9maybe with different instructors) in the upcoming semester to really make sure that the major you've selected was indeed the one you want to study. For instance, there were instances in my own college life that I thought I should change my major to something else; however, after going through another quarter with my major (taking the same classes again) and getting confidence with programming, I decided to stick to CS for now.
Hope this helps out here... Good luck in college for new college students...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What is computer science?

"I wonder how Super Smash Bros! was created..."
"Is my computer safe from viruses?"
"How can I use my phone to listen to music?"
The universal answer to this is just one word - computers. From creating popular games to keeping government papers secure, computers help us live busy yet entertaining lifestyle. And the mehn and women who have made this "digital age" possible- we call them "computer scientists" and "programmers." And there is a discipline that studies how computers helps us - ironically enough, it is called computer science.
Computer science, according to wikipedia, is a study of information processing - how to retrieve, store and present information. In layman's terms, computer science is the study of how we can use computers to help us in our daily lives, and aspects of how information is processed so that a computer user can interact with a computer. A computer is essentially a "giant calculator" that acts upon a user's request, does what it does (given to it by programmers( and tells the user what it has done (via output devices such as screens and printers). For instance, we can use computers to post blogs, or use cell phones (a special type of computer) to send and receive phone calls.
Computer science is a huge container for various research topics and applications. Some people study how we can make sure that what we download is really safe for us (computer security), while others study better and more useful ways of doing tasks more quickly (algorithms). Still others study how we can correctly identify human genes and work with life sciences (bioinfomatics) and yet others work on how to make simple yet powerful way of giving computers instructions (programming languages). Yet all of these topics have one thing in common: we can tell computers, or silicon chips, exactly what we want it to do, and that's the basis for learning programming.
In my case, I'm interested in current trends in cell phones, PDA's and other products (including blindness computers, or notetakers) and how blind people use computers via special software and hardware (embedded systems and usability, respectively).

What exactly is Braille Challenge

A recent study (that I heard) says that less than ten percent of blind individuals read braile - a 40% reduction since half a century ago, according to the same reports. To me, this may sound quite something that I don't have any opinion on, but it connects to an event that I've attended as a participant in 2004 and in 2007 - The BrailleChallenge.
The National Braille Challenge, started in 2000, is an anual event of competitions for blind students with a goal of spreading braille literacy among today's youngsters. Hosted by Braille Instistue of America, this event draws blind students (from ages 6 to 19) to participate in a series of "challenges" - namely Speed and Accuracy, Reading Comprehension, Proofreading and Charts and Graphs (for older students). The winners of each student age group wins prize money and a special computer designed for blind people called PAC Mate.
As a participant, I attended this event three times (once I didn't made it to the national level, twice I did). In 2003, I tried the preliminary event, but couldn't make it to the national level. In 2004 and 2007, I did manage to make it into national level. Although I didn't win anything (I hope I got fifth or sixth place), it was an awesome opportunity for me to network with fellow blind students of my age group and learn how other students appreciates braille.
There is a Facebook group for current and past participants of Braille Challenge to join - I'll add the Facebook link in a later post.
For those who met me at Braille Challenge, you know how to reach me, right? (unless if I didn't send you my email address or my school info)... Hope to see my "friends" soon...

About me...

Thought I should introduce myself before I start rambling things...
My name is Joseph S. Lee, a blind college student majoring in computer science at University of California, Riverside. I was born in seoul, South Korea and moved to United States in 2001 (when I was 11). at first, I lived in Ontario, California, attending Haynes Elementary before moving onto middle school program for blind students at Ontario High School. Then after going to three middle schools (including OHS, Gage Middle in Riverside and Irving in Los Angeles), I graduated from John Marshall High School (in L.A.) in 2008 and enrolled at UCR studying computer science.
I was blind from birth (I forgot the name of the condition, sorry), and attended a special school for blind students in Seoul. In the United States, I attended mainstream schools and am now so far, and the first, blind engineering student at UCR - something that I am proud and feels responsibility at the same time.
My main interests are mostly computers and trends in cell phones and assistive technology, specifically how blind students use notetakers to accomplish their tasks, accessible cell phones and mobile screen readers, and advocacy in accessible in general. I use a special computer for the blind (called BrailleNote) and a screen reader (called JAWS for Windows) - in fact, I'm using JAWS to compose my blog and use my BrailleNote to read it on the go. My eventual goal is to become a computer science instructor at a high school - so that I can teach future students on how to program things. I also plan to be a music minister (using musical talents that God gave me).
Well, hope this gives you a big portrait of who I am... Now to the random ramblings...
// JL

An intro...

Hi. Welcome to Musings from a Blind Highlander. This blog is just a collection of news, opinions and some random ramblings from a blind college student from UCRiverside... So, hope you enjoy reading this blog - and, as always, please let me know if you have comments...
//JL - The blind Developer