Equipment that Looks “Special”

I’m using the word special slightly out of context. In this instance I mean special as in specially adapted for special needs.

I have just taken delivery of the new PTX1 talking book player as part of a pilot group of users who will be asked to evaluate the player by RNIB. I’m very disappointed.

it has LAN and Wireless capabilities, but these have been disabled in the current firmware.

The player still has a battery with a relatively short life of around 6 hours.

The player is heavy and slow to respond when buttons are pressed.

My biggest gripe of all though is that it looks so bloody “special”. sighted people carry books around with them, read them on the train, at the hairdressers, by the pool. I’d be embarrassed to take one of these players anywhere, assuming that I had a back pack big enough to take it!

Why do designers of adaptive technology assume that we all want or need big, highly contrasting, different shaped buttons? the thing looks like a toy and completely unacceptable in my opinion in terms of mingling into the background and looking stylish.

I’m fed up with having to hide my technology away because it makes me look so incapable. someone plese wake up and smell the coffee!


About Mel Griffiths

I live and work in Nottingham, England and am blind. This blog is often centred around things that happen to me because of being blind. This is my space to write and sometimes people will disagree with what I write, but its the one place I have in which to be frank and honest. I also like to reflect on the funnier side of life from time to time.
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15 Responses to Equipment that Looks “Special”

  1. bloody hell
    please don’t let me touch that thing. i know what you mean though, it’s like the oasys 22c mobile phone i had, without a screen and massive big buttons. i’m so glad, i got rid of that thing.

  2. ezzie_j says:

    yukka doodle doo!
    Sounds utterly revolting, glad I don’t have any kinda daisy player, they all look revolting anyway, except the victor reader stream, which as far as I know doesn’t use CD’s anyway. Very nice, well designed piece of kit that is …
    But yeah most RNIB players, yuurrg!

  3. fleurette67 says:

    I see your point
    Hi Mel! Although I don’t share your embarrassment about being seen with special equipment for the blind in public, I can totally see your point about not wanting a bulky Daisy player. I have never used a Daisy player in my life, in fact I’ve never even seen one, but I really wonder why they have to be made so bulky. I mean, this machine is basically a CD player, isn’t it, in spite of the CD’s being in a special format? Therefore shouldn’t a Daisy player look similar to an ordinary portable CD player, rather than being bulky? AT least Daisy players have batteries, something those old-fashioned and very bulky talking book players with the big tapes never had! I know that a lot of blind people are elderly and cope better with big buttons, and perhaps they want a machine which will just sit on a table somewhere, but the manufacturers of Daisy players should also be able to come up with less bulky and more portable and mainstream-looking models for those who want them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    There are viable alternatives
    This post is remarkably unfair. I’ve actually purchased one of these players and they serve different markets. If you wanted small, buy the PTP1 player. It seems that many blind people are ungrateful in the extreme. The PTX1 machine is intended as a desktop player. It’s main usefulness is in bed or in a specific place. If you wanted to carry it around, you should look at other alternatives but of course you won’t as you’re obviously another blindy whiner!
    Finally, before you will no doubt complain about my post, i’ve ben a user of Daisy technology for a good 6 years or so, with BookCouriers, Bookports, Streams, Victor classics, the PTP1 and now the PTX1 for at night. We need to be aware that not everyone wants technical devices all of the time. In fact, i’d never use a PTP1 player in bed for the fear of killing myself with the headphones. Also, the elderly will never get to grips or will certainly find it harder to use the smaller devices, but of course you want to lock them out of the technology.
    Nevermind, another ungrateful fuck.

    • melspooner says:

      Re: There are viable alternatives
      Of course you are entitled to your opinion and it was good to red it from another angle.
      However, what a shame you chose to make personal comments but be such a coward as to do it anonymously.
      I suspect you’re one of those blindies who just sits there and does nothing and is oh so sickeningly grateful for every little hand-out you get.

    • melspooner says:

      Re: There are viable alternatives
      Just some thoughts. Interesting that Mr anonymous thinks that blind people should be grateful. To me, grattitude is something to be expressed for friendship, for a kind word or deed, for understanding or empathy. Not for a one-size fits all solution for which we have no choice. Non-disabled people are not forced to constantly be grateful, they go out there and find the best solution to meet their needs, they have choice.
      Secondly to mr Anonymous’s point about my wishing to lock elderly people out with technology. this is not the case. maybe this solution suits them. I don’t know as I don’t personally know any elderly people who use the player. however, young people and elderly people have very different needs. In the non-disabled world, not everything meets the needs of absolutely everyone. there are choices to be had and decisions to be made.
      And finally, no I won’t be purchasing a PTP1 player which is expensive in the extreme. I have found Daisy2Go which works on my mobile phone so no need for ridiculously ove-priced access technology.

      • Anonymous says:

        Re: There are viable alternatives
        I was whinging about talking watches last week. My dad is 62 (i’d say old) and partially sighted/registered blind and even he LOATHES the talking watches available to him. He’s quite happy to pay more for something with a bit of quality and style, but there doesn’t seem to be anything. It’s cheap, hideous tat or nothing…..
        If Mr (or Mrs) Anonymous had read your post without blinkers on then perhaps they may have noted you are using it as part of a pilot scheme and therefore your feedback is required. Just as people who like the technology should be able to choose it, those who don’t should have a suitable alternative. I’m sure the RNIB would much rather be aware of the different preferences; than to issue equipment that people feel isn’t functional for them or is embarassing to use. There’s no point in RNIB spending money on something that people will put in a cupboard and never use (for whatever reason).
        Kirsty (twitter)
        Why there was any need for the bitter and childish “blindy whiner” comment, I guess we will never know.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Further thoughts on replies
    Firstly, I am James Jolley. There! You have my name! Secondly, I am not prepared to create a live journal account just to post a comment to a blog post that’s essentially unfair to the very companies designed to help us. Thirdly, I am not one of those people who take handouts. How dare you!
    As to the device suiting the elderly, my point is that we have choices. Your initial post was bitchy in the extreme, lacking any common sense. I considered the post to be closed minded, and the personal attacks? Sorry, but I am not going to apologise. why should I? The very blind people responding are by and large the same ones who drove me to close my account with LJ in the first place. Why do you think I never get in with blind people any longer? Because most of you are retarded in the extreme, lacking any common sense. There are the odd few yes, the odd lot who are decent but most of you are arseholes. There we go, honesty, shove it!

    • melspooner says:

      Re: Further thoughts on replies
      Hello James,
      If I’m a retarded arsehole who you want nothing to do with, I suggest that you’re wasting your time in my LJ. So get the hell out unless you have something more constructive to say. Go out there in your blind persons free world and stop wasting space.

      • Anonymous says:

        Re: Further thoughts on replies
        Did you actually read what I said? I said that many blind people are retarded in the extreme. There are a select number of them who are decent but of course you neglected or have a selective memory. Funny, whenever I give my views, i’m shoved aside. My LJ turned into a bitching fest, i’m generally hated by blind people so thus hate them back. Constructive remarks about products are fine, being genuinely unfair towards companies isn’t really on. As I said, the very community of blind people could care what the hell I think, i;m not actually sure why I bothered writing a response, perhaps because I thought I have a view? Perhaps not. Ah well, forget I exist then, just like the rest!

      • melspooner says:

        Re: Further thoughts on replies
        Perhaps if you weren’t so critical with your opinions we could have opened up a debate as our views differ considerably. Debate is always a good thing and I would have embraced it, but to be called names such as an ungrateful fuck can make one somewhat defensive. I too am entitled to my opinions and will continue to express them in these pages which until now have not been a bitch fest.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The theory of debate
    You’re post wasn’t exactly open to debate, “I think this, so it’s true, fuck off!” basically. Now, what really pisses me off no end is how many blind people get this kit, think they’re something because they have a little bit of the internet and use it to whine and complain. Basically what you’ve done actually but you’re going to deny it so don’t waste my time writing back.
    Also, if you were selected to be on this pilot program or whatever, surely the RNIB selected you for a reason? Perhaps lack of objectivity? That’s a good enough reason in this case at least, as considering you never actually paid for the player, you have a hell of a lot of things to say about it that are plainly wrong and ill researched. Let’s see:
    1. Lack of battery life. If you’re using Cds, the battery life is a standard 4 to 6 hours. If you’re actually doing what many will I expect, copying your data onto an SD card and listening from there, you’ll get 10 hours.
    2. The speed. Wrong again, the machine is perfectly fine here. You haven’t taken into account the fact that you’re using test software. When testing, debug checks are often made for specific operations, probably most of them for that kind of player.
    3. The internet connectivity. Now we get to see why many blindies jumped at this player, they see the word internet and jump up and down! although the software doesn’t include that feature yet, there’s a reason guys, they want a decent setup first. The idea is that they want to deliver books this way, but in order to do this you need things called servers folks, people qualified to test capacity etc,etc. This kind of technology doesn’t all happen at once, you were asked to test a player, not whine on the internet about it.
    Finally, a couple of responses to the other people who chimed in here. Grateful vs gratitude vs whatever they wanted it to mean. We use “GRATEFUL” to not only show gratitude for a product etc, but to show respect for a concept. I’m grateful canes exist or i’d die on the roads. I’m grateful that someone’s actually has given us books we can read. Gratitude isn’t just restricted to friendships.
    To the person who “wouldn’t touch one of those things”, Kay, considering we do know each other, i’m surprised at you’re lack of objectivity. You, and indeed many other blind people listen to each other to such a degree, lacking common sense to try things for yourselves.
    As to the person whining about watches? Buy one from, they’re stylish enough. I paid 40 quid for mine as I wanted style, it’s far from tacky, has real hands inside etc, but as per usual, it’s the “me to” attitude, jump in on the live journal comments as I follow personX and want they’re respect.
    A nice segue for my final remarks. Since the birth of internet technologies, my studies both from an academic and personal interests demonstrate that blind people have changed a great deal. They, I say this because although i’m blind I hate it, would have cameras today if they were there etc, etc, am derided by you, hated, shut out, ignored, wish i’d never even been born if I knew blind people generally were like this, etc, etc. Since the introduction of free journals, many blind people latch onto each other. There is this, “i’ve got a journal, all my friends follow me because I think i’m fantastic” mentality. I found this when I had my own one, when I was playing the “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” card to fit in. What tended to happen was this:
    1. James is frank and honest about his views.
    2.Someone starts.
    3. James replies.
    4. Someone else joins in and continues to belittle James etc, Wash, Rinse, repeat! for “EVERY!” post. Even postings related to AI, computing, quantum theory etc would either have this sort of response or nothing. Even Kay would admit to this, i’ve gone into hiding because i’m scared! Scared of having a voice, a view, a sense of identity. I lost that when I was younger, I was always different. Apparently a cheeter at school, being told you’re a waste of time, you’re thick and won’t amount to anything. Things like this. Either way, i’ve had more success in academia and with the sighted. Shame really as I have much to offer, just no sense of identity!
    Look i’m wasting your time, bye, if you want to email me it’s

    • melspooner says:

      Re: The theory of debate
      To conclude, I’d just like to say this:
      I don’t believe that my post conveyed that I felt I was right. I merely expressed my opinion. I’m not afraid to express my opinions and I’m also not scared to be challenged if other people believe I’m wrong. If only you’d challenged me constructively you and I might have got on just fine.
      Oh and I am on the pilot project because I volunteered to be. Doesn’t mean I have to like the player.
      For much better looking watches, go to A little more expensive but well worth it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    To import or not to import?
    Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. I am from the UK, and refuse to import watches that are going to cost me more from America. ILA are under investigation via the blind access journal generally as they market some products that aren’t fully accessible. Either way, if I can buy a watch, i’ll buy from Britain. It’s the American mentality here, i’m right, so tough. Either way, forget I posted i’m not wasting my time.

    • melspooner says:

      Re: To import or not to import?
      Its down to choice at the end of the day. I was merely giving you a suggestion as to where to source watches from. I’ve got a fabulous watch from the States which I am very pleased with, that doesn’t mean that’s the only option.
      Chill out!

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