Thursday, December 2, 2010

Checking out the NLS digital player

I use several forms of technology to read. I subscribe to Bookshare, which allows me to use software to read books on my computer. I also get books from NLS.

For years, I had a cassette player from NLS. It wasn't of much use to me since it used 4 sided cassettes that had to be turned over repeatedly which meant that my reading would be interrupted at the end of a cassette when I needed help to do that. So I put my name on a waiting list about a year and a half ago for a digital player. I just received one yesterday.

The model I was sent is the basic model. The photo shows the machine, with controls for power on/off (red) volume (yellow) play/stop (green) sleep (halfmoon white button) and arrow shaped white buttons for rewind and fast forward. At the bottom of the machine is the spot to insert the digital book. On top of the machine are buttons for tone and volume, as well as a speaker. The advanced model has additional navigation features.

The digital player not only accepts digital books in physical form which only have to be inserted once, but also allows the user to download books on a jump drive. You insert the drive into the side of the machine and listen. There's a photo of the jump drive inserted into the side of the machine at right. The download process involves unzipping files and placing them onto the jump drive, but it's not difficult and the library sent instructions along to help.

I'm enjoying the machine very much. Once the book is loaded, I can read the entire book without having to do much of anything except hit the very large play/stop button. The power goes off on the machine after it's idle for 30 minutes and it charges up to 29 hours which makes maintenance very easy. All in all, it's a huge help for someone with quadriplegia to have these updated features.

If you or a loved one or friend have difficulty reading due to a disability, check out the National Library for the Blind's free services.

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