BlindMoose 2 (BM2) is a tool for the blind intended for work with text containing mathematical symbols. It is a MS Word extension. It allows users to write, edit and further work with text containing mathematical symbols, and to read them either visually or using a tactile Braille display.
Mathematical notation is written linearly according to the standards of six-dot Braille; only upper case letters and numerical digits are displayed with eight dots. Symbols are displayed in a visual form that is as close as possible to traditional mathematical notation. In addition, symbols have been added which replace the spatial structure of formulae (e.g. upper indices are indicated by an up arrow). Braille prefixes are displayed as black rectangles with a visual symbol of the prefix.
Minimum system requirements
- MS Windows 98 or higher
- Microsoft Word 97 or higher
- Refreshable Braille display and screen reader
In order to correctly install the program in Windows XP you must be logged in as administrator. In order to successfully install the program you must return to the user account with which BlindMoose is to be used, and select Settings in the BlindMoose 2 folder accessible via the Start menu. Here you may choose if the BlindMoose template is going to be used permanently, or if you want to manually set it up before each use. These settings can be changed at any time using the Settings menu.
Working with BlindMoose 2
If the BlindMoose 2 template is available and the use of macros is enabled, BlindMoose 2 will appear in the menu. With it you can insert mathematical symbols, or start up conversion macros. If you would like to insert characters using keyboard shortcuts, you must first activate the mathematical keyboard – either from the menu, or with the keyboard shortcut Alt+q+m (by holding down the left-Alt key and simultaneously pressing the q and m keys). You can deactivate the mathematical keyboard using the same keyboard shortcut.
When activated, some mathematical symbols can be inserted using the "dead key" section sign. You must first press the section sign key followed by the key corresponding to the character you wish to insert (you can find corresponding keys in the menu). If the character does not have a key listed, you cannot insert it using the section sign key; you must insert it from the menu.
Examples of mathematical notation using BlindMoose 2 see below.
Differences to version 1
- In order to work with mathematical symbols there is no need to switch the screen reader table; BM2 uses its own standard table that is only slightly modified (the modifications concern positions that are not generally used). If using Jaws, the table does not need to be modified at all.
- In order to visually display data correctly seven new fonts must be installed (in BM1 one font sufficed).
- Keyboard macros are no longer registered separately using the "Activate mathematical keyboard" command; instead they are saved to the BM2-keyboard.dot template, which is connected. Thus, activating the keyboard takes a significantly lesser amount of time.
- In BM2 upper case letters and numerical digital prefixes are not inserted in six-dot form; instead capital letters and digits are displayed as one eight-point character. All other characters however remain strictly in six-dot form. This marks a shift in the original idea of notation identical to Braille, but it also has many advantages (especially in saving space). This is a fundamental change in concept and it will certainly result in more discussion.
- Characters can still be inserted using the dead key section sign or using the menu. The CapsLock key is no longer used to switch to mathematical mode (this function was not well received, although it may be added if desired).
- BM2 does not support deleting entire symbols; every character of a multi-character symbol must be individually deleted (for example to delete a subset symbol you must press the Backspace key twice, once for the right character and the second time for the prefix). Functions for deleting symbols including prefixes can be added if desired.
- Now prefixes are visually displayed as small black rectangles, so that upon visual reading they are less distracting.
- BM2 documents can now by converted to html format and be displayed using common Internet browsers. In order to display data correctly you must have tables modified for screen readers (except Jaws) and in order to visually display data correctly you must have the appropriate fonts installed; these are the same issues for working with Word.
- BM2 and BM1 formats are different. Files saved as BM1 files therefore must first be converted to BM2 format, so that they can be worked with. In the BM2 menu, tools for converting BM1 files to BM2 files are available and vice versa.