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Re: Emacspeak, Open Source Software, Free Software And Blind Users

I think I had rather similar experienhces to Anne when I started
learning Emacspeak. I also share you view, Anne, that concepts are
often more important that tasks. It's like learning a language. I'd
like to meet somebody who can completely learn a language and all its
intricacies by reading "Swahili for Travelers: Some Basic
Phrases". Probably they've learnt to ask where is the bank, the
post-office, and if they're lucky, the chemist, and on arrival their
passport is stolen and find they have to ask the way to the US (or
wherever) embassy. ***Nervous breakdown at line 0!***

Earlier this year I was teaching a 58-year-old blind friend of mine
with no previousw computer knowledge about using the Braille Lite
diskdrive. The notion of a wildcard had her completely flummoxed until
I realised she thought "listing the directory" and "finding out what
is on the disk" didn't mean the same thing. After that things went
well. The fact was we were making know headway with her new machine
until we worked on some absolute basics. 

I found my very first port of call was good ol' c-h t, then the Emacs
manual. Then I took a look at the Emacspeak command-documentation with
c-e cap-d. This wasn't so much to memmorise each and every command,
just to see what was on offer. Later, my memmory would be jogged if I
found myself in a particular situation and I could look up a specific
command again, or a subset of commands via apropos. I found the
emacspeak learn-mode to be particularly valuable, as it gives you the
chance to thrash around and hit keys without the danger of wrecking

I've had in the making for number of months a structured
command-list. It hovers somewhere between task- and
concept-orientation, and attempts to explain some of the Emacspeak
features, such as show-point and table-mode, which I discovered quite
by accident and do use for some things. Unfortunately, the freetime
I've had this year has generally been doing absolutely nothing as an
alternative to sinful university-work, so it's not as on-schedule as I
would like. 


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