All Ears Audiobooks discussion

General Discussion > Library of Congress players and cartridges

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message 1: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 47 comments This might be a bit off-topic, but I just got my new Library of Congress cartridge player in the mail, and an audiobook to go along with it! The book that came was at random: Third Strike: A Charlie Fox Thriller by Zoe Sharp. Not one I would have picked, but I'm really enjoying it. For starters, the narrator, whoever it is, doesn't sound bored (a pretty rare thing), does accents for different characters, has good pacing, and gets any humor just fine. That's pretty nice to have, especially when it's not all that unusual with these things to have a narrator bored to tears reading for you. I'm very happy with it. I could do a review on what I love and dislike about this new player as well...but if you have this player, I'd recommend you request this book from NLS. It's nice to listen to.

message 2: by 4th-8th (new)

4th-8th | 17 comments I would love to hear about the new player from the Library of Congress.

message 3: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 47 comments Hi 4th-8th,
Glad you're interested in the new player. I got mine from the lottery...if you qualify, you send them your name to be on the list, to get a player free just like the old 4-tracks.
First off, when this player comes in the mail, be aware that it talks. None of the buttons are tactile like the APH 4-track. It's nice to have talking - for instance, you click on the buttons and they tell you what they are and what setting they're on -- but when it comes out of the box, it is charged and ready to go. Mine had the volume turned all the way up so it shouted at me when I first turned it on.
The good things are the player remembers where it left off in a story, announces book and author when you first turn it on, along with battery life and the number of hours left to listen to. I really like this feature because it gives me an idea of the length of the story. The other good thing is the sleep button, the only button with a distinctive moon goes up or down by 5's, and will shut down the player when the preferred time limit is reached. This means you don't need to worry about wasting battery life by falling asleep anymore.
The problems I've found so far is, although the buttons are labeled in print and braille, because they aren't tactile otherwise, I do find myself roaming the player at random, hitting buttons. Also, speed and tone can be manipulated like the 4 track and the player will announce when "Normal" is reached...but you have to listen for it, and I'm finding it's not quite as easy as sliding the 4-track button all the way to the left was.
NLS has a new download program for the computer...I've either tried it or RFB&D's downloads unsuccessfully. The paper that came with the player said I can use a 1 GB cartridge or flash drive to download, so I went looking for a USB drive. The problem was that I took the cartridge with me, because I needed to find a USB drive about half as long as the cartridge. The location of the USB drive on the player, is the cartridge slot at the even though it's easy to slide a cartridge in, I wouldn't be able to get my fingers in to manipulate the USB drive. I bought one, but haven't tried it yet.
The player also comes with a place in the back for a folded electrical cord, a retractable handle, and any cartridge has a hole for your finger to yank it out.
I have some problems with the new player...but I'm listening to it every night too.
Now if I can just get a hold of a DAISY player for RFB&D...great new technology, but sometimes having a 4-track for everything was easier.
Hope that helps! It was fun to write the review.

message 4: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 47 comments Dawn wrote: "Hi 4th-8th,
Glad you're interested in the new player. I got mine from the lottery...if you qualify, you send them your name to be on the list, to get a player free just like the old 4-tracks.

Also, the player is a little more portable. Not as small as a Handi-Cassette, but definitely easier to carry around then the standard 4-track.

message 5: by 4th-8th (new)

4th-8th | 17 comments Hi Dawn,

How much do you think the player weighs? I have trouble with downloads in general. It is a good thing I can still get CDs from the library for recreational listening. I stay interested in the avenues of listening. My kids are dyslexic and are not currently using any audio to get school work completed, but I think that it could be a possibility later on, so I really apppreciate your review. Does it seem like many of the new developements of DAISY and AIM are difficult to access? I hope time and money can be allocated to work out the kinks, because the premise is long overdue.

message 6: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 47 comments Hi 4th-8th,
I'm glad my review was helpful! I'll get back to you as far about the weight of the's not listed anywhere in the packaging, and I think I need to find an ounces scale to get it properly. I agree with you about the CDs at the library for recreational listening. I've tried to use audio for schoolwork, but I don't have as good a memory for auditory homework, apparently. I think you might be right about using audio more as school advances though.
As an update, there's also another version of this player with a user's guide built in and more abilities to bookmark etc., something I wasn't aware of until a friend described her player with entirely different buttons. She says it is possible to exchange if I want.
What's AIM? Is it what Bookshare is using?
I like that technology is advancing in the book player area, but I'm not happy with the three different methods. The 4-track worked for RFB&D, Books Aloud, and NLS. Now I think DAISY is a great idea because a book could fit on one disk, but I also thought right off that it would limit its own use because you have to purchase your own player. I've only seen one once at a promo show, so there's not a lot of places for me to learn before buying. I've been keeping my eye on one that allows you to record DAISY onto CDs, watching ebay. It's amazing it's even on ebay, since they wanted to make a restricted type of player with the 4-track, for example. But I think you're right -- the price is going to limit a lot of people from using it, the 3 different methods will limit more, waiting to see if this method is going to stick around. As the ability to get more information distributed increases, I think it's a shame that the access to it might decrease dramatically at the same time.

message 7: by 4th-8th (new)

4th-8th | 17 comments Dawn,

You know I think AIM is linked to Virginia and NIMAS, so I was probably mixing up acronyms that were disappointing to me.
Once again it sounded good when it first came to light, but I have not heard of the trickle down at the student level. Anyway here is the premise of AIM:

VDOE, through George Mason University’s (GMU) “Accessible Instructional Materials – VA” library, has developed an alternative system of providing accessible educational media under standards set by NIMAS to students who meet the federal requirements for print disabilities and who are eligible for accessing educational media under individual IEPs, as required under Part B of IDEA and Virginia law. AIM-VA, in conjunction with partnering agencies, will provide required accessible educational materials to students with an IEP at no cost to Local Education Agencies in a timely fashion.

You seem to have a good handle on the new programs and technology. I look forward to hearing more about your experiences,

message 8: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 47 comments Thanks!
AIM sounds something like RFB&D for education or services in college, in terms of providing accessible materials to students.
Also, there's a promotional show or conference coming up in San Diego, CA. (If you're in Virginia, though, it's even further). I mention it because I guess they're demonstrating the DAISY player...

message 9: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 47 comments Oh, thought of something else.
Not sure how widely RFB&D is distributed...they might not be in other states. Where I am, they are one of the local sources for DAISY disks and players, particularly for educational materials like textbooks on tape, especially for IEP level students.

message 10: by 4th-8th (last edited Mar 23, 2010 11:11AM) (new)

4th-8th | 17 comments My son does have a membership from RFB&D from D.C. which is only ten miles away. They have been so helpful. They let us demo one of their CD players. My son had difficulty enjoying fiction through them. During one long audio book they changed readers 5 times, including a gender change. I had to agree with him, that it was starting to change the context of the book. He starts out a bit more sensitive to the audio experience, but this could be difficult for anyone. He will not listen to the synthetic voices at all.
I have hope that with advances and tinkering much of this will become very desirable and become part of the mainstream someday. One fellow told me he uses his iphone to download audiobooks on the fly. He is severely dyslexic and will sometimes take a picture of a document and have it converted to audio if he needs translation immediately. He also said sometimes you can find an iphone on e-bay for under $10. I have also heard a smidgen about software that allows downloading a variety of voices. Does this mean that you can substitute the synthetic narrator?
Again I am keeping my ears and eyes open for any technology that could help my future college bound sons in case the reading bogs them down.

message 11: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 47 comments Hi,
Well, I have to agree with you. RFB&D here is very supportive, I've tried their DAISY players at promo shows too. But the use of volunteers does sometimes change the book...I've had one where, like you said, the narrators change constantly. I've also had a wonderful story where the narrator was so clearly bored I had to stop listening. I listen to synthetic voices sometimes for things like Word documents, using Dragon Naturally Speaking, but that really can change the story. Have you heard of this software? It drives me crazy most of the time, but is useful for some things (this may be how I trained it too). I've tricked it so that it can sometimes read etext synthetically.
I haven't heard about using the iphone, or taking a photo of something to be translated. I've taken photos to avoid having to write down info. Makes me wonder if they OCR the photo and then allow it to be read synthetically. Hmmm...
I haven't heard about software that allows downloading of specific voices...though many years ago, probably outdated now, the Kurzweiler machine at the library had the ability to let you choose which voice you wanted things read in. It was useful.
I'm thinking if a lot of the software capabilities came together for a machine (an etext, audio, synthetic, OCR'ing concept)...that it would be very useful for universal design. And, while I'm putting together stuff that doesn't exist, a voice recorder would be nice too, to leave memos to yourself.
Now you've got me thinking...

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