moderated Re: Questions from someone who will soon be a Focus 40 Blue owner.

Kevin Minor

Hi Bill.

I really appreciate all the information you've given me concerning the ElBraille. I've done some thinking, however, and I think a laptop is a better solution with the Focus. The reason I say this is I have things hooked up to my laptop via USB, such as two sound cards and a large external drive. One thing I like about the Focus Blue is just that, that you can pair it with a PC over blue tooth and totally control it from the Perkins keyboard. In my case, this would be more portable than having the ElBraille with cables running from it to my devices. Also, for me, the Focus 40 5th Gen is half the cost of it and the ElBraille, so for now I'll just settle for the display.

Thank you again for all the information you've shared. It's very much appreciated, and if you have any ideas on how I could have the ElBraille and not all the cables hooked to it while I'm wearing it around my neck, I'd appreciate learning about them.

Have a blessed day and don't work too hard.
Kevin and Jilly

-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of Bill Tessore
Sent: Saturday, June 22, 2019 7:24 PM
Subject: Re: Questions from someone who will soon be a Focus 40 Blue owner.

Kevin, I just read a fairly new article that reviews the newest ElBraille focus 40 blue generation 5 (part of the transcript up to how much the processor part of the ElBraille costs). Yes, a complete unit would be about $5,700, but the processor alone is around $2,700 and is now fully dockable (unlike the original focus 40 blu prototype.) So, if you get a generation 5 display now, then you can theoretically get just the processor at another time down the road. Of course cost is a big factor, but it seems like the companies that’ve partnered to produce this device have been listening to those that want an all-in-one portavle computing device with the familiar Perkin’s style input system we’ve come to expect from a note taker, but with much of the computing capabilities that have, til now, only been available in a lap top environment. And they’re being more responsive, in my view, to those desires than other companies have been. Please don’t take my enthusiasm wrong. You do what’s best for you. i just hope if something I wrote here helps, then it’s been worthwhile.


Bill Tessore
On Jun 22, 2019, at 2:15 PM, wrote:

I think I should add to my comments regarding my statement about lack of communication on the ElBraille and in general. The elBraille was talked about for release last year, but we're now in June of this year. I wrote FS last week about problems with the Mail app and I heard nothing back from support. If you go to the News link on FS's web site, you'll see that there have been no updates since December of last year. The Training Department has been busy and communicative, but not sure about other departments.


-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of Bill
Sent: Saturday, June 22, 2019 11:04 AM
Subject: Re: Questions from someone who will soon be a Focus 40 Blue owner.

Hi folks, for what it’s worth, the ElBraille is a device that couples the attributes of a computer with the focus 40 blue. That way one need not go through all the set up and blue tooth connection procedures some have discussed here. i’ve been following it for some time now and have recently learned it’ll be upgraded in July.

This will include a shift from the Focus 40 blue generation 4 to the newer generation five display. Furthermore, it will include a larger processor, from 32 to 64 bit. The ElBraille 14 and 40 are sold through a partnership with Elita group under the Freedom Scientific umbrella. So if you have a pre-existing JAWS license, then you can download a copy of it to the ElBraille instead of needing to buy a full package. Likewise, if you already have a focus 40 display, generation four or five, you can send it in to have it coupled with the processor portion. The downside is this makes it a solid-state device. Thusly, if you wish to use The display with a laptop or computer, then I assume the entire device must be used to do so. I’m looking forward to getting one myself and then using it in my literary Braille transcribing. As I said earlier, for what it’s worth, I hope this will be of help.


Bill Tessore <>

On Jun 22, 2019, at 5:17 AM, Chris Hill < <> > wrote:


I can help with some of this. I've not bothered to install my Focus with bluetooth on my computer, seems kinda pointless so far. To know if your laptop has bluetooth, there are several things you can do. One of the easiest is to hit windows plus r and type in devmgmt.msc and press enter.

Hit tab once and arrow down. If you have bluetooth, there will be a section in device manager that says "bluetooth".

Now, as far as the com port, that is for bluetooth. I never needed that when installing my braille display via usb, I think all I did is plug it in with jaws running and I went and selected it in the braille section of jaws options. I think that was all there was to it.

On 6/21/2019 18:06, Kevin Minor wrote:


I’m not sure when, but in a couple of weeks to a month or so I will be getting a brand new Focus 40 Blue 5th Generation, and I have questions concerning it. Since this is a JAWS list, I’ll keep most of them to using it with JAWS. I have used a Focus 40 before, but it was one that used USB to hook up to the PC, and that was over ten years ago, and this technology has sure changed. So, here are my questions.

The first one is a general Windows question, but it is JAWS related, because The first thing I need to do is to get the Focus and the computer to communicate with each other, and then I’ll add JAWS to the mix. The first is how should you set up connections for the Focus to work. I want it to work with both USB as well as blue tooth, so is there a particular order to do these? I have read the User’s manual, and I’m not sure what to do. I’m pretty good at plug and play, but the documentation mentions to refer to the device manager in Windows and see what COM port the Focus is using. Does that concern USB or blue tooth? Also, I know that you can connect with blue tooth before setting up USB, but is it better to do it the other way? Finally, how do I find out if my laptop has blue tooth on it in the first place? I think I’ve seen it in a list or so, but I can’t find where to see if it is available or not. If it is, but it somehow got turned off, how do I get it working again? This is Windows 10 1803, and I’m not real familiar with network settings other than connecting to internet, so guidance would be appreciated.

Now for my JAWS questions. I’m using the most current update of JAWS 2019, so I know it supports the Focus. I think I understand how to get JAWS to connect with both USB as well as blue tooth, but is there an order to do it so both will work? Also, just how do use this thing with JAWS and Windows. I know that the Blue will let you control a PC using its keyboard, and I pretty well can figure out things like hitting JAWS and another key to do something, but I’m not sure about working in Windows itself. My main questions have to deal with working with Windows Explorer and files. First, how do you cut, copy and paste files? Next, I have Windows displaying in a list view with certain details of files that I’d like to check. This brings up two questions concerning this. First, how do you do a right arrow to move to something in the details you want to read. For example, I have a lot of music that I’m organizing, and I organize songs by year. In the details, I have the year of the file, and next is how long it is. How can I check this information. Also, with speech, when I check out these fields, JAWS will tell me the position in the list they are, for example, the file is 100 out of 379. Does the Focus display this as well, and is there a command I need to issue to hear it?

My final Windows Explorer question concerns moving through a list. When I tried to use a braille display way back when, I would have liked it to navigate through the entire whatever, and not just what was on the screen. How do you simulate pressing the arrow keys on a regular keyboard so that focus is moved to the next or previous item? This doesn’t just apply to Windows Explorer, but other programs such as Outlook, Word, and Excel. I know the Focus keyboard can do this, but I don’t know how, and I’ve read the Braille In help, and most of it makes sense, but some of it doesn’t. Can anybody tell me what to do, or give me a comprehensive tutorial concerning this?

That’s pretty much all I can think of concerning the Focus Blue
and JAWS. I do have a question about something that you can get to
work with Windows itself, as well as some other questions regarding
the Focus 40 Blue itself. I don’t know where else to ask right now,
but since the same company makes both, I figure here’s a good place to
ask. If this would be considered as off topic, or clutter on the
list, either let me know of a better group to join, or send your
answers directly to me. Let me put my email address here before I ask
my questions. My email address is <>

Now for my first question, and it has to do with translating a text file into contracted braille. Is there a good, inexpensive translator that works with Windows to do this? I have a .txt file that I want to work with on the Focus scratchpad, and if I just had it as a text file, when I opened it, it would be in computer braille. I’d like it translated to grade 2 braille so I can transfer it to the scratchpad to work with it. Any suggestions out there are appreciated on this one. The translator doesn’t have to be really fancy, doing things such as math or other languages, or even UEB. I just want good old grade 2 braille. Come to think of it, a grade 3 translator would be fun to have, and I would like to learn that form of braille just to know it. That way I could have stuff that hardly anyone else would understand, so any grade 3 tutorials or translators would be fun.

My next general question concerning the Focus concerns transferring files to it. I know you can export from the scratchpad to a file in Windows, but can you go the other way? Let’s say I get my nice file translated to grade 2 on Windows, and I want to work with it on the Focus. Can I do it, and if so, how do I do it?

I do have a final question, and that’s simply, where can I learn more about refreshable braille displays, and using them in general, and specifically the Focus 40 Blue 5th Gen. I want to learn how to use it completely. Another thing I want to do is to pair it with my iPhone X so I can control my iPhone with it. Where do I learn to do this?

That’s it from me. I’m so glad I happened to think of this group for most of my questions, and I figure people will steer me to Focus email lists, web sites, and other good resources. I’m one of those who wants to learn as much as I can before I get new technology, so I can be that farther ahead. I know, however, that you can do only so much without actually having something to work with, and I figure the Focus is such a device. I do understand panning buttons, and I have seen cursor routing buttons, but I’m not as familiar with these. Other things like select buttons, the menu button and navigator buttons really don’t make sense to me, and oh yeah, there are those SHIFT buttons that are used with the keyboard to do some JAWS stuff. I don’t understand a lot of this stuff, but I will when I get my Focus. I just wish I could find someone who could help me learn, but I don’t have that, so I’ll have to go it alone. That’s part of the fun, though. I know a lot about the Echo and Alexa, for instance, because I did find a great tutorial for it, and I just tinkered around myself to see what would happen, and now if someone has some questions about Lady A, I can tell what I know in simple terms. I want to do that with the Focus, so others can ask questions on the proper lists, and I can help.

Thank you all in advance for the help that I get. It’s much appreciated.

Have a blessed day, and don’t work too hard.

Kevin Minor and Jilly, my Seeing Eye dog, Lexington, KY

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