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Brltty, anything new

 

I used NVDA with brltty on Windows 7, but when I switched to Windows 10, I didn't want to install Brltty because there was already a version that got installed when you enabled Braille with narrator. 
Does anyone know if there's a way to just get NVDA to use that Brltty? Do you think I'll mess something up if I do install another BRLTTY for NVDA and where's the latest version compiled for Windows 10?
And lastly, has anyone had success reading BRF files (already translated embosser-ready files) using NVDA with Braille? The last time I tried, it seemed like NVDA or maybe Brltty was inserting a lot of extra clutter even if I set my preferences to not use any contracted Braille.

David Csercsics
 

I don't know about BRLTTY for NVDA or narrator, because I've only ever used it on Linux. Hower, I do know that you can use the braille extender add-on to read .brf files. I just open them in wordpad or notepad and put it in .brf mode and that works beautifully. You don't even need to twiddle your braille settings in NVDA to do this. It's just a quick toggle while you're in the .brf file. Maybe the braille extender add-on will help you. I'm not sure what braille display you have, but I might be able to help with BRLTTY. I've just never used it under Windows because the Brailliant BI 40 works great with NVDA and HumanWare's drivers.

 

Not sure, but the brltty narator uses is probably the same version everyone else uses.



On 18/07/2019 10:18 AM, Deborah Armstrong wrote:
I used NVDA with brltty on Windows 7, but when I switched to Windows 10, I didn't want to install Brltty because there was already a version that got installed when you enabled Braille with narrator. 
Does anyone know if there's a way to just get NVDA to use that Brltty? Do you think I'll mess something up if I do install another BRLTTY for NVDA and where's the latest version compiled for Windows 10?
And lastly, has anyone had success reading BRF files (already translated embosser-ready files) using NVDA with Braille? The last time I tried, it seemed like NVDA or maybe Brltty was inserting a lot of extra clutter even if I set my preferences to not use any contracted Braille.

Brian Tew
 

www.brltty.app
for all versions. I never could get it working on win 10.

 

Maybe you can't get it working in Win10 because of the hooks already there for the Brltty Microsoft hacked up for Narrator.  I'm afraid to try adding Brltty for NVDA because I have Narrator working fine with Braille right now. But it has the same problem NVDA does: there are a lot of weird characters it displays even if you turn off all translation and want to read a BRF raw. 
I can at least try the Braille extender add-on using an old Windows 7 PC but I do wish we could figure out if we could get NVDA to use the Brltty that's already available in Windows 10.
As for Linux, I agree, I've used Brltty in Linux for years. That's off-topic though and there's a whole list for discussing that.
My displays are PowerBraille and Navigators from TeleSensory. They are serial and I have several. I use a USB-To-Serial cable and have had no problems getting Narrator to talk to any of these displays. Some USB-To-Serial cables don't have Windows 10 drivers, but when you have one that does, Brltty supports many old displays.

David Csercsics
 

You could try the Linux for Windows subsystem, but again that's for another list/topic. I'll poke around. I don't have an older display to test with exactly, but I can mess around with BRLTTY with what I have and see if we can get something to work. I don't see why we couldn't just use what narrator has already installed. I may ping Microsoft and see if there is a solution to this that's easy. From poking around a tiny bit, it looks like Narrator uses the latest BRLTTY, so it's just a matter of how do we get NVDA to use that. I'll try the Microsoft folks and see if I can get a decent response out of them. I used to use an old PowerBraille too, and I quite liked it.

 

Well I discovered a few things.
 
On an old Windows 7 machine, which has a real serial port, I installed the latest Brltty which is
brltty-win-6.0-1-libusb-1.0
it's an .Exe file and a typical Windows installer. I picked TSI for my Braille display which loads the driver that supports both the PowerBraille and the Navigator.
 
Immediately Brltty loaded and displayed "no foreground window" which is typical behavior since the interface is graphical and Brltty only works at the console level.
 
Next I updated my NVDA to 2019.1 and after restarting it, I went to Preferences-Settings-Braille and picked Brltty as my Braille display. Before I could even select OK or apply, NVDA was communicating with my PowerBraille just fine.
 
So that worked flawlessly.
 
But when I set the output table to U.S. English 6-dot computer Braille, it is stillshowing dot 7 for anything capitalized. That of course makes BRF files look very funny because many translation programs show upper case letters for those characters.
 
I can always write a SED script to convert case, but I'd rather not spend the time to convert all the brf files I'd like to read. 
I think this is a bug or maybe a flaw with the table.
 
The other weird thing is that for non-printing characters, such as the form-feed, Brltty shows the equivalent in hex "0x00C" which is annoying to have to read on the Braille display. I don't find a preference to suppress the display of non-printing characters, nor a way to suppress extra spaces or blank lines. Doing all this would make it easier to read BRF files, though for working with ordinary text, Word XLS and other types of files, NVDA on Windows 7 is doing great with Brltty still.

One thing that did reduce the number of weird characters was unchecking the box for "expand to computer Braille for the word at the cursor". If that box is checked the word at the cursor contains extra gibberish if you are looking at that word in a BRF file and you are using either the 6 or 8-dot computer Braille table. This seems unintuitive, but there you are! 

Next I'll try Windows 10 and see if I can get brltty to work there. I also need to try that Braille extender add-on, thanks for the recommendation. I had used Brltty with NVDA extensively at work until my old Win7 machine was replaced with a shiny brand-new all-in-one running Windows 10. So, I  was glad to find an old one lying around I could test with.

 
--Debee
 

David Csercsics
 

Yes, the braille extender add-on has a specific .brf mode as well as a keystroke to hide dot 7 and 8,  but I just toggle the .brf mode on when I am in a braille file and it works fine. I just realized that I cannot replicate your exact configuration here anyway, because this box has a serial port as well as a bunch of USB ports even if I had a serial display, but I'm glad you were able to get BRLTTY working at least, because that really helps you out. If you don't have the Windows 10 app essentials add-on, and the add-on updater I'd recommend those as well, as I find they help.

George Bell <george@...>
 

Talking of a “real serial port”, I recently purchased a new DELL OptiPlex7060 desktop.

 

I was amazed to find this has a Serial port, as well as 8 USB ports.  But even more surprising – it has a pair of the older PS2 ports for keyboard and mouse which I am happily using.

 

George

 

From: nvda@nvda.groups.io <nvda@nvda.groups.io> On Behalf Of Deborah Armstrong
Sent: 18 July 2019 22:58
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] Brltty, anything new

 

Well I discovered a few things.

 

On an old Windows 7 machine, which has a real serial port, I installed the latest Brltty which is

brltty-win-6.0-1-libusb-1.0

it's an .Exe file and a typical Windows installer. I picked TSI for my Braille display which loads the driver that supports both the PowerBraille and the Navigator.

 

Immediately Brltty loaded and displayed "no foreground window" which is typical behavior since the interface is graphical and Brltty only works at the console level.

 

Next I updated my NVDA to 2019.1 and after restarting it, I went to Preferences-Settings-Braille and picked Brltty as my Braille display. Before I could even select OK or apply, NVDA was communicating with my PowerBraille just fine.

 

So that worked flawlessly.

 

But when I set the output table to U.S. English 6-dot computer Braille, it is stillshowing dot 7 for anything capitalized. That of course makes BRF files look very funny because many translation programs show upper case letters for those characters.

 

I can always write a SED script to convert case, but I'd rather not spend the time to convert all the brf files I'd like to read. 

I think this is a bug or maybe a flaw with the table.

 

The other weird thing is that for non-printing characters, such as the form-feed, Brltty shows the equivalent in hex "0x00C" which is annoying to have to read on the Braille display. I don't find a preference to suppress the display of non-printing characters, nor a way to suppress extra spaces or blank lines. Doing all this would make it easier to read BRF files, though for working with ordinary text, Word XLS and other types of files, NVDA on Windows 7 is doing great with Brltty still.


One thing that did reduce the number of weird characters was unchecking the box for "expand to computer Braille for the word at the cursor". If that box is checked the word at the cursor contains extra gibberish if you are looking at that word in a BRF file and you are using either the 6 or 8-dot computer Braille table. This seems unintuitive, but there you are! 


Next I'll try Windows 10 and see if I can get brltty to work there. I also need to try that Braille extender add-on, thanks for the recommendation. I had used Brltty with NVDA extensively at work until my old Win7 machine was replaced with a shiny brand-new all-in-one running Windows 10. So, I  was glad to find an old one lying around I could test with.

 

--Debee

 

David Csercsics
 

Yes, this Dell has all of those as well. If I'd known that I'd have kept my doubletalk LT around when I moved.

 

Yeah I have thrown all my keynote and dectalk synths in the bin now.

A dectalk usb can be brought but its like 600 bucks.

If I got into hardware again, I'd get a double talk minni its only 200 bucks but who knows.

On 20/07/2019 2:24 AM, David Csercsics wrote:
Yes, this Dell has all of those as well. If I'd known that I'd have kept my doubletalk LT around when I moved.




 

Good news, folks! I installed the latest Brltty (filename in my above post) on two Windows 10 machines, one at work and one at home. The home machine is a slow, slow atom and the one at work is a superfast Intel CPU with six cores.

And NVDA communicates with it flawlessly. This is Windows 10 1903. On the slow machine of course Brltty is just a bit, um slow, but there have been no problems other than the lack of responsiveness on the slow machine.

After I insured all that worked, I installed the Braille extender, which works as advertised. It took me a while to figure out how to configure multiple Braille tables, you have to repeatedly press the Spacebar to cycle through the multiple settings similar to using the JAWS settings center.

I also discovered that the weird characters I kept complaining about were either unprintable characters, such as ASCII 12 for form-feed, or unicode characters for which there's no Braille equivalent in the current table.  For example, foreign language accents have characters that don't have equivalents in all Braille tables.

But Braille extender will suppress them all if you turn that configuration on.

As for Windows 10 and serial ports, I have some experience with this because we do ham radio packet. If your ancient display needs to connect via serial, try to get a usb-to-serial converter that has the FTDI chip. With others it is kind of hit or miss whether Windows 10 will support it. I have a few with the Prolific chip, and early Windows 10 supported them and the current Windows 10 doesn't.

With Braille extender the easiest way to find out how the keystrokes are assigned is to look under Input gestures. Brltty has some weird names for the keys on your display, but that's pretty easy to deal with if you press NVDA and the number 1 key and listen to what NVDA thinks your Braille display keys are named.

Explaining this more clearly: NVDA talks to Brltty and Brltty talks to your display. When you press a key on the Braille display, Brltty passes the keypress event on to NVDA, reporting say that a key named LNUP was pressed. So NVDA doesn't know what display you have, but it does know the Brlltty name for the button you pressed. So if  for example you want your leftmost arrow-shaped button to move back a line, you can go in to input gestures and change it by simply pressing the button where you'd normally add a keystroke.  And if you want to see what's already assigned to that button, you' press NVDA and 1 and then press that button to see what NVDA announces about the command that button press currently invokes.

As for Narrator and Braille, I haven't tried that yet but I did discover that the Brltty service is loaded when Narrator starts and unloaded when it is exited. So that's why probably NVDA can't use that Brltty. I don't know if two copies of Brltty running is going to confuse Narrator or NVDA, so far I've used some funky old laptops for testing out Narrator with Braille because I didn't want to mess up any computer I had to do real work on.
  Whether Narrator can use the Brltty I installed for NVDA is something I will fool with when I get the time.
Meanwhile, it is amazing how many old Braille displays show up on Ebay. If you hanker for Braille but don't have the budget,  Brltty supports nearly everything out there that shows up on ebay.  But get a sighted friend who has some tech knowledge, like a ham radio operator to take a look at the pictures before you purchase a display on ebay; you want to be sure it looks like it's in working condition.