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NLS-REPORTS  August 2003

NLS-REPORTS August 2003

Subject:

Machines and Accessories Report No. 03-11

From:

National Library Service for the Blind <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

NLS Documents for Network Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 13 Aug 2003 11:36:46 -0400

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (457 lines)

        Machines and Accessories Report  No. 03-11



        Date: August 8, 2003


        Subject: Audio Equipment Advisory Committee recommendations and NLS
        responses, 2003



        Attached are the recommendations made by the National Audio Equipment
        Advisory Committee members at the annual meeting held April 2-4, 2003.
        Following each recommendation is a response by NLS.

        The following members attended the meeting:

        __Consumer representatives__

        American Council of the Blind                Barry Levine
        Blinded Veterans Association                 Frank Merendino
        National Federation of the Blind             Aloma Bouma
        Midlands Region                              Irwin Hott
        Southern Region                              Linda Broady-
                                                     Myers

        __Network library representatives__

        Midlands Region                              Robert Jones
        Northern Region                              Richard Riddell
        Southern Region                              Teresa Lacy
        Western Region                               Bonnie Olson

        __Telephone Pioneers representatives__

        Midlands Region                              Jerry Adamson
        Northern Region                              Paul Blomster
        Southern Region                              Joseph Bernal
        Western Region                               Stephen Austin

        __Elfun representative__

                                                                        Robert Smith



      __NATIONAL AUDIO EQUIPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE 2003
      RECOMMENDATIONS FROM CONSUMERS AND NLS RESPONSES__


1.   We recommend that the simplified and full-featured versions of the NLS digital
     talking book players be both portable, smaller than the C-1, and yet designed to
     meet a variety of consumer needs and capabilities.  We think that a two-piece
     design should be considered, where a full-function, compact portable player is
     standard equipment, and it is recharged and connected to a somewhat larger
     "docking station" for less portable use.  The portable player might drop into the
     docking station, like a cordless telephone drops into its base station/charger.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     Moderate size, portability, and versatility will be design objectives for the DTB
     player.  While a two-piece design may pose challenges in complexity, logistics,
     and patron acceptance, it will not be ruled out by our design RFP.  The advantages
     noted in recommendation 2 may offset challenges enough to motivate adoption.

2.   We recommend that NLS consider a docking station for the DTB player.  The
     docking station concept removes the power transformer and power cord from the
     portable player, reducing its weight.  When the player is mounted on it, it provides
     greater stability. It could act as an anchor for extension levers.  It could hold a
     better speaker than can fit in a portable unit.  The docking station should include a
     headphone jack in addition to the one provided on the portable player.  A docking
     station could interface to other digital connectivity in the future.  The portable unit
     should remain attached to the docking station when the whole assembly is carried.
     It should have a handle.  The docking station would have an internal power
     transformer and power cord, not be powered from a wall wart.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

      NLS will examine this approach, but we have concerns about the reliability and
      maintainability of the docking station itself, as well as the need for patrons to find
      two pieces of equipment to operate the machine periodically.  The docking station              concept also makes it impossible to charge the player without taking the docking
      station along, which would be cumbersome, or require obtaining a second power
      source.


     __NATIONAL AUDIO EQUIPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE 2003
     RECOMMENDATIONS FROM CONSUMERS AND NLS RESPONSES__


3.   We recommend that the DTB player have a DC input with a nonstandard
     connector.  That input could be used to charge the battery by an after-market AC
     or DC adapter.  Don't lose the functionality we have now, being able to run a
     portable player and recharge or power it from a small source.  Although the
     docking station is a good "home base" for the player, it would, as envisioned, be
     too large to conveniently take on a trip.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     The design of the power supply system for the DTB player will be a complicated
     process involving tradeoffs between weight, safety, complexity (number of items
     for patrons and libraries to manage), and portability.  We will certainly ensure the
     player is portable and rechargeable and will look for the solution that best
     balances the tradeoffs.

4.   We recommend that the DTB player have a sleep timer button.  It is annoying to
     fall asleep and lose your place.  This becomes a more significant problem than for
     cassettes, because the average 11-hour book can play continuously without user
     intervention.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     NLS is exploring inclusion of a timer in the player that would stop playback at a
     preset interval to allow patrons to more easily return to where they were last
     reading before being interrupted by (for example, a phone call or sleep).

5.   We recommend that the DTB player have two help modes.  A "learn mode"
     would provide Context-sensitive help when a help button is pressed while a
     cartridge is in.  With no media in the player, the player is in key describer mode.
     A help button would be better than multiple presses of other buttons, first to
     identify and second to activate a function.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     NLS plans to have a help button in the machine. We have not defined its complete
     features but will keep your recommendation in mind.

6.   We recommend that the DTB player have large buttons; many people have
     dexterity issues.  There should be color and texture differences among controls, as
     long as the colors aren't too far out.  The colors for the five transport controls on
     the C-1 are acceptable and would provide some continuity.  Check on what color
     distinctions are commonly lost by people with macular degeneration.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     NLS plans to have all of these features in the new machine.


     __NATIONAL AUDIO EQUIPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE 2003
     RECOMMENDATIONS FROM CONSUMERS AND NLS RESPONSES__


7.   We recommend that buttons for the simplest DTB player be play, stop, fast
     forward, fast reverse, eject, volume, tone, speed (above and below normal), jump
     back, jump forward, sleep, help, where am I?  Stop/eject could be combined, or
     play/stop.  There should be no bookmarks except automatic ones. Modes can be
     combined.  There must be a way to get back to where you need to be, whether it is
     by navigation keys or by always having the machine time out.  Controls should
     give some audible indication when they have reached their limits.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     NLS will explore these options in the design of the hardware DTB player.

8.   We recommend that the more complex DTB player add the following buttons:
     change of jump levels, user-settable bookmarks, follow link and retrace, menus
     for enabling and disabling footnotes and page numbers.  The more complex unit is
     needed because many people will want and need more flexible access to their
     reading materials, including materials from other sources.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     NLS will explore including these options in the DTB player.

9.   We recommend that the DTB player have an eject mechanism as follows: could
     be a button on the portable player, and/or a pull tab on the cartridge.  The C-1
     loading tray is a good feature; the ability to put the cartridge in a loading position
     without the need to grasp it.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     NLS will design such features which will be at least as good as the ones found in
     the C-1 machine.

10.  We recommend that the portable DTB player be about 6 by 6 by 2 inches
     maximum.  A smaller size is desirable, within ergonomic constraints.  The
     portable unit should include a speaker and a headphone jack.  Recommend a
     target weight of two pounds.  The units need to be this small because many people
     need to take a player to medical appointments, such as kidney dialysis.  The
     portable unit should accommodate a shoulder strap.  Portability will increase the
     usage of the equipment by a more and more mobile population.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     NLS believes the size is achievable and is targeting the proposed weight.  A
     shoulder strap for portability will also be studied.



   __NATIONAL AUDIO EQUIPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE 2003
     RECOMMENDATIONS FROM LIBRARIANS AND NLS RESPONSES__


Recommendations Related to the Attributes of the Digital Talking Book Player

1.   We recommend that the digital talking book (DTB) player be resistant to moisture
     and spillage in order to reduce the amount of damage to the player.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     NLS will work to ensure that the DTB is moisture and spillage resistant.


2.   We recommend that the DTB player be user-friendly and easy-to-use to meet the
        needs of our readers.

        NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     We agree and plan to build it that way.

3.   We recommend that the DTB player have an embedded and audible model and
     serial number to make it easier to identify and track the equipment.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     We agree and will work to build it that way.

4.   We recommend that the DTB player have an embedded and audible set of
        instructions for use for the convenience of patrons and to eliminate the necessity
        for a separate set of instructions.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     If feasible from a cost and design perspective, NLS will include this feature in the
     machine.

5.   We recommend that the DTB player be rugged and durable to meet the NISO
        standard.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     We agree and will build the player that way.

6.   We recommend that the DTB player have more than one level of function to meet
        the widest range of reader needs and for optimal utilization of machines.

        NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     A major aspect of the design contract will be to determine how to separate basic
     functions from the more complex to accommodate a wide range of reader needs.



 __NATIONAL AUDIO EQUIPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE 2003
     RECOMMENDATIONS FROM LIBRARIANS AND NLS RESPONSES__


7.   We recommend that the DTB player be compatible with current accessories, such
     as, remote control units, amplifiers and headphones.  Patrons will continue to need
     these accessories in order to use the program.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     The DTB will have modern digital accessories to match the player's technology.
     Accessories will not be identical to the C-1 accessories but will support the same
     functions.

8.   We recommend that the DTB players maintain tactile graphics on the control keys
     with color-coding for ease of patron use and consistency with the current
     equipment.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     NLS agrees and will do this.

9.   We recommend that the DTB player be readily portable with a rechargeable
     battery.  This option needs to remain consistent with the current equipment and
     patron's current pattern of use.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     NLS agrees.  The unit will be portable and will have a rechargeable battery.

10.  We recommend that the proposed flash card be larger and thicker than a credit
     card so that if dropped or misplaced it can easily be found, and have a shape
     which facilitates easy installation into the DTB player.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     NLS agrees and will do this.

Other Recommendations

11.  We recommend that the C-1 Service Manual be placed on the NLS website so that
     the current and updated issues are easily accessible to the regional, sub-regional
     libraries, and repair agencies.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     NLS will do this.

     __NATIONAL AUDIO EQUIPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE 2003
     RECOMMENDATIONS FROM LIBRARIANS AND NLS RESPONSES__


12.  We recommend that with the production of future mailing boxes for the talking
     book players that NLS places "Free Matter for the Blind and Physically
     Handicapped" in the upper right hand corner of the face of the box.

     NLS RESPONSE (Network Division):

     NLS is reluctant to spend money on equipment that will eventually be going
     away.  There are also mailing coordination concerns with the U.S. Postal Service
     about changing the design.  But we will consider this recommendation for the
     future DTB boxes.

13.  We recommend that NLS develop guidelines regarding distribution of the DTB
     players prior to the initial phase of the introduction of the DTB players to ensure
     equitable distribution throughout the network while ensuring program mandates
     such as veteran preference.

     NLS RESPONSE (Network Division):

     NLS agrees and will do this.

14.  We recommend that NLS continue to produce books on cassette through the
     period of conversion to digital talking books so that reader's needs are met.

     NLS RESPONSE (Production Control Section):

     NLS will continue to produce books on cassette for a yet-to-be-determined period
     during the transition.  NLS plans to do a study to ensure smooth transition from
     cassettes to DTBs.

15.  We recommend that NLS discontinue the production of machine inventory cards
     for new players.

     NLS RESPONSE (Network Division):

     NLS is completing a network survey to determine the need for these cards.
     Depending upon the survey results and the subsequent Engineering Change
     Control Board review, the card and its envelope will either stay or go.

16.  We recommend that NLS continue to investigate alternative methods of audio
     book and magazine delivery, such as Internet, cable, satellite and telephone lines.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     NLS will continue to do this.

     __NATIONAL AUDIO EQUIPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE 2003
     RECOMMENDATIONS FROM LIBRARIANS AND NLS RESPONSES__


17.  We recommend that NLS continue the development of a software player for the
     web magazines.

     NLS RESPONSE (Research and Development Officer):

     NLS will continue the development of its player.  But it may procure an off-the-
     shelf model if one that is better comes along.

18.  We recommend that transportation be provided from not only NLS to the hotel,
     but also from the hotel to NLS.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     We will examine this for next time and will do it, if it is affordable and
        convenient for
     NAEAC members.

19.  We would like to thank John Cookson and the NLS staff for presenting an
     interesting and challenging NAEAC meeting.

     NLS RESPONSE:

     You are welcome.

     __NATIONAL AUDIO EQUIPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE 2003
  RECOMMENDATIONS FROM VOLUNTEER REPAIR AND NLS RESPONSES__


1.   Request that NLS evaluate the design change to amplifier shields that reduced the
     width of the grounding strap.  The reduced width is causing excessive failure
     during servicing.

     NLS RESPONSE (Equipment Repair Officer):

     NLS will contact the manufacturer and will see what can be done to improve this
     component, if obsolescence is not an issue.

2.   We endorse the revision of criteria for declaring C1 machines to be Damaged
     Beyond Repair.

     NLS RESPONSE (Equipment Repair Officer):

     Thank you.  Machines & Accessories report no. 03-09 describing this subject is
     now available.

3.   We recommend NLS provide a comprehensive catalog of parts, tools, etc.
     available from NLS to repair facilities.

     NLS RESPONSE (Equipment Repair Officer):

     This project is underway.  Due to various technical problems, the original format
     has been delayed, but NLS will soon issue a text-only listing.

4.   Request NLS establish an open clearing house to match agencies having excess
     machines needing repair to repair groups needing additional work.

     NLS RESPONSE (Equipment Repair Officer):

     NLS will investigate the feasibility of this action.

5.   When filling orders that include small parts and drive kits, please separately
     package the collection of small parts from the drive kits.  Also, place the packing
     list on top of the parts, not on the bottom.

     NLS RESPONSE (Network Division):

     This can be done.  Two shipping/packing lists are sent with each shipment.  One
     is the address self-mailer placed in the plastic sleeve on the outside of the shipping
     container, and the other is placed inside the package.  We have put it on the
     bottom in the past to prevent tearing or damage when the package is opened.

     __NATIONAL AUDIO EQUIPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE 2003
  RECOMMENDATIONS FROM VOLUNTEER REPAIR AND NLS RESPONSES__


6.   Discontinue the use of styrofoam peanuts as packing material for parts orders.
     This material causes serious problems on the receiving end.

     NLS RESPONSE (Network Division):

     The impact of this change will be investigated.  We recycle packing material sent
     to us, and we will have to purchase additional supplies to replace this material if
     the styrofoam peanuts are discarded.  In the meantime, if you cannot receive these
     styrofoam peanuts, please indicate this fact on your order, and we will use other
     material.

7.   We endorse the new amplifier board repair project.

     NLSNetwork Bulletin No.



 RESPONSE (Equipment Repair Officer):

     Thank you.  I am sure that it will make worthwhile improvements in the board
     repair efforts as well as improve the quality of our working stock.

8.   Please take prompt action to remedy the problems we are experiencing using the
     Multistate Center as a centralized machine exchange point.

     NLS RESPONSE (Network Division):

     This can be investigated.  The problems are within the system and cannot easily
     be remedied.  Curtailing the use of MSCW as an exchange point is the surest
     remedial action.

9.   We wish to extend special thanks to Ms. Proctor and Ms. Smith for successfully
     hosting yet another excellent event.

     NLS RESPONSE (Engineering):

     Thank you.

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