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for the Blind

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Finally, an mp3player for the blind

As a blind person, I like to feel that I am more than capable of doing anything a normal sighted person can. Most recently, I came across what I will term a problematic situation. As we all know, every problem has either one of two things: a temporary solution, or a permanent one. As it is, the situation was this: sighted people were able to use off the shelf mp3players that fit comfortably in the palm of their hands. Blind/visually impaired people have had to rely on companies such as Humanware to release items like the Victor Reader. Such Devices are out of reach with a price range of $370.00, much more expensive than your regular off/the/shelf Ipod which has an average price of $180.00, a more convenient price for someone looking to obtain the same entertainment provided by a DAISY reader such as the PTR1/PTR2 otherwise known as the Plex Talk.
the problem: with such media players like the Ipod, Zen's Creative mp3Players, and most other audio devices that read mp3/wma/DAISY files, (and files provided by Audible.com,) accessability is very limited. It is almost impossible for a blind person to create a playlist to his or her liking. It is even harder to select music by a particular artist and get it to play as it is selected.
The temporary solution: if you have $64.00 to spend, go down to your nearest Best Buy and grab the Sansa Clip. They come in 1GB, 2GB, and if still available, the Sansa Clip Silver with a capacity of 4GB for that person who has a vast collection of music he or she would like to take with them on the go.
The Sansa clip was designed to be sutible for a person going to the gym, and because of such a design, it was necessary for the manufacturer to create an interface that allowed for easy operation without having to glance at it too often. Because of this, the mp3player is something I like to term, "BLIND USER FRIENDLY", truly a device that can be used in the dark. As the tracks play, the user has the ability to switch tracks at ease, have the player play/pause, and easily tweek Equalizer settings by simply using a circular, four-way control pad located below the screen. Centered inside this circular pad is a select button, and above and to the right of the control pad is a small home button which cycles between the main menu and the playback screen. While in the menus, up/down on the control pad cycles through options and left/right will take you deeper or back out within the highlighted option. Once on the playback screen, pressing up on the control pad will play the selected item, down opens a context menu, left is used to move back a track, and right will jump a track forward within the list.
The Sansa Clip will play files in MP3, WMA, WAV, and it also supports files provided by audible.com. the player has even integrated Rhapsody DNA, meaning you can transfer Rhapsody Channels (dynamically updating radio stations/playlists). It is also possible to organize tracks by using programs installed on a computer such as Windows Media Player and Winamp. the FM radio sounds decent and allows for one to preset his or her favorite radio stations with the help of a sighted person so that one could easily cycle through the presets by simply pressing the select button. A built-in mike is provided, allowing for recordings saved in WAV format. This feature will be useful for the average blind college student looking to record lectures and small voicenotes for personal use.

Also worth mensioning is that the player has an autoresume function allowing the player to pick up right where you left off. This feature is quite useful for a person listening to an audio book or a podcast because it will give the user a chance to start off at his or her stopping point, even if the player is paused before it is turned off.

Sound quality is surprisingly good for an inexpensive player, and if one is using the earphones provided with the player, one will hardly notice the difference between the most sophisticated player and this one. all of my tracks are converted into mp3/128K stereo but still manage to retain a superb sound quality. When tested for recording quality, the mike was muffled, and the sound produced was quite audible using the standard ear buds that came with the device.
All in all, the Sansa Clip seems to be the best temporary solution I have found so far, as even Apple's Ipod shuffle does not offer this much custumization and flexibility for a blind person. This player is a great looking player sold in a variety of colors including sleek
black, candy apple red, hot pink, and ice blue. With an average battery life of about 14 hours, (nothing to write home about,) a recording quality which is a little less than superb, (this can be fixed by simply placing the recorder closer to the sorce,) and an organomically easy feel, the Clip is perhaps the best comercially sold MP3 player I have seen available for blind and visually impaired users. With a bit of learning, some tinkering, and a little patience, it is possible for a blind person to obtain the most out of its functionality.

Questions/comments: feel free to email me at salemnights@aol.com and I will be more than happy to answer/help in anyway possible.
Salem Sapphire Nights

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Re:Finally, an mp3player for the blind



I purchased an accessible Sansa Clip Plus from this site: http://www.talkingmp3players.com/sansa-clip.html
It has Rockbox on it which it makes it talk and makes it work great for a blind person's needs to play audio books, listen to music etc..
I was told that if you already have a Sansa Fuze or Sansa Clip Plus you want Rockboxed, you can send it to them to have it done.


Re:Finally, an mp3player for the blind



Sorry about the duplicate posting, JAWS was giving me a hard time.


Re:Finally, an mp3player for the blind



I read this thread with much interest, but I have to say that the Clip is not what I would consider accessible for the blind. One has to navigate through the menus which are not read out, and one is stuck with the same situation as with a Creative Zen Stone or similar screenless MP3 player, having to guess what file is going to play, but worse because of getting lost in a menu structure. I know, I have a Clip on my desk and never use it.

After doing much research, I finally decided on putting Rockbox on a Sansa player. It was not as simple as some would have you believe, as the instructions were layered in different places on the site and worst of all, it was written by geeks that expect you to already know what they know.

I was finally able to figure it out though, and after hearing the results, I decided to make these available affordably to other blind/vision impaired folks.

I offer these completely set up and talking, and offer free tech support so that you can get used to using it and get to the point where you're enjoying using the talking MP3 player. I currently offer the E200 Series and the Fuze players by Sansa. Best of all, all of our players are under $100!

These are a much better deal than spending hundreds of dollars on a highly-priced mp3 player, and one doesn't even need to spend $75 for scripts to be able to use a less than blind friendly music management software program just to use your MP3 player!

To find out more about these fully accessible, affordable, and talking Sansa MP3 players, please visit:
www.talkingmp3players.com


Re:Finally, an mp3player for the blind



I read this thread with much interest, but I have to say that the Clip is not what I would consider accessible for the blind. One has to navigate through the menus which are not read out, and one is stuck with the same situation as with a Creative Zen Stone or similar screenless MP3 player, having to guess what file is going to play, but worse because of getting lost in a menu structure. I know, I have a Clip on my desk and never use it.

After doing much research, I finally decided on putting Rockbox on a Sansa player. It was not as simple as some would have you believe, as the instructions were layered in different places on the site and worst of all, it was written by geeks that expect you to already know what they know.

I was finally able to figure it out though, and after hearing the results, I decided to make these available affordably to other blind/vision impaired folks.

I offer these completely set up and talking, and offer free tech support so that you can get used to using it and get to the point where you're enjoying using the talking MP3 player. I currently offer the E200 Series and the Fuze players by Sansa. Best of all, all of our players are under $100!

These are a much better deal than spending hundreds of dollars on a highly-priced mp3 player, and one doesn't even need to spend $75 for scripts to be able to use a less than blind friendly music management software program just to use your MP3 player!

To find out more about these fully accessible, affordable, and talking Sansa MP3 players, please visit:
www.talkingmp3players.com


Re:Finally, an mp3player for the blind



I have been using a Sandisk Sansa 2 GB player for almost 2 years now. It sounds like the menu structure and button layout is very similar to the Clip. It does have a small LCD screen which I find pretty useless. It has been fairly easy to use without looking at the screen. My Sansa is a C250 model. I got it from an online electronics liquidator for under $20.

Recently I discovered a project called Rockbox which develops open source firmware upgrades for certain MP3 players. Look them up at www.rockbox.org. My Sansa has version 1 of the Sandisk firmware so I was able to install Rockbox with no significant problems. The cool thing about Rockbox for us VI users is that it has speech output. All you have to do to enable the speech is to copy the voice files from the Rockbox website into the appropriate folder on the player. The instructions were very straightforward.

With Rockbox loaded I can now navigate my music collection much faster. And if I get stuck I can always get back to where I need to be because all of the menu options are voiced. For the first time I can know how much battery life is left as this info is voiced as well. If you are a hardcore audiophile there are very detailed adjustments you can make to the sound output. I really like the pre-loaded equalizer settings for rock, jazz, country, classical, etc.

The only real negative thing about Rockbox is that once you install it you will not be able to play protected WMA files. I'm pretty sure that Audible support is lost too but I no longer have a subscription to Audible. Of course protected WMA is the format used by the NLS Unabridged audio book download service.


Re:Finally, an mp3player for the blind



My wife has a Sansa Clip but she won't let me near it, so I haven't tried the Clip. I do use a Sansa C130 however and there are a couple of things about it that work pretty good for a blind person.

Chief among them is the fact that the Sansa C130 begins play on whatever was last loaded. This is great when loading a book from Unabridged. When I disconnect from the computer and press the play , the story automatically starts. Moving around in the book is quite easy too. The left side of the ring moves back a chapter, the right side forward a chapter and holding either side will cause it to go fast forward or backward in the current chapter.

Music works in a similar manner. I rename my music files with the initials of the artist followed by the name of the song. I further seperate the files into the particular genre that I collect. When I want to load a genre on the C130, I highlight all the songs I want and transfer them to the appropriate subdirectory on the Sansa. Then, like with a book, the C-130 will start to play the new songs I've loaded in the sequence I loaded them.

Now shuffle is a different matter. The C-130 shuffle is selected from a menu accessible when the bottom of the ring is pressed . Shuffle on / off is the second selection on the menu and pressing the right side of the ring, I think, will select it. Pressing the center button will toggle shuffle on or off. Knowing which state you have shuffle in is somewhat problematic. However, since my songs are alphabetized by artist's initials plus song title, it is usually possible for me to tell if shuffle is on or off. Now, if you try to play an Unabridged book with shuffle on, the chapters get shuffled and the story line gets hard to follow. For this reason, I do not recommend leaving shuffle on when reading a book!

et




Re:Finally, an mp3player for the blind



I find this interesting. I currently have a small MP3 player that fits into one's pocket, but it's getting damaged. I had to have help putting it to shuffle. And if I turned it off, it would play the song it was playing when I left off, but after that, it would start over and play the very same songs that had started the shuffle, in the very same order! That got tiresome, so I had to press Next a zillion times to get to a song which I couldn't predict was about to play. I had to press that button so much that it got stuck. It will still play, but if I try to press that button, I can't really tell that I'm pressing it anymore, and sometimes it fastforwards through a song, instead of going to the beginning of another one and staying there. Now I have to lock the keys so it doesn't accidentally get pressed.
Once, I had to format, or completely erase, the whole thing on my computer because the computer said it needed to be formatted, or something like that.
And now one of the sides is bent; there's a little cap sort of thing that goes over it, like an iPod. Now it won't completely fit because of the bend. I think it's gotten lopsided too.

So I read this thread and thought it was cool that you found one that was very "blind user friendly". Yay! :)


Re:Finally, an mp3player for the blind



It's really nice to hear that there are devices that are accessible for visually impaired users. Personally, I am still waiting for an mp3 player with a screen reader. I can keep on dreaming right? Until then, these gadgets will have to do.

I have to agree with one of the replies. All you have to do is a little bit of research and you will find a music player that is easy enough to operate with minimal sighted supervision.


Re:Finally, an mp3player for the blind



I've been looking for an mp3 player for some time now. I use the media player on my braillenote but when I have to sit in an aiport for hours i don't want to risk damaging my braillenote so i'll have to check this out.


Re:Finally, an mp3player for the blind



Check out the screen-less players like the Creative Zen Stone.


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