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April 17, 2024 BT Speak® System Upgrade
Posted By: BT Development Team

Blazie Technologies is pleased to offer our newest update for the BT Speak and BT Speak Pro. It features an appointment calendar, a media player, the ability to record voice notes using the built-in microphone along with many other exciting new features and enhancements. Keep reading to learn more.

As always, this update is free of cost to all BT Speak owners.

How to Install the Update

  1.  Ensure that you are connected to Wi-Fi and that your battery charge is higher than 50%. To be safe we recommend that you have your unit plugged into either a wall outlet or a USB device capable of charging the battery during the upgrade process.

  2. Press O-chord to open the Options menu.

  3. Press S for the System menu.

  4. Press S for the System Administration menu.

  5. Press U for “Upgrade the System.”

  6. You will be asked if you want to perform the upgrade. To proceed press the letter Y (for yes) followed by the enter key (dot 8.)

During the update process your device will issue short vibrations. It will also provide you with status updates as to what components are being downloaded. During this process you don’t need to do anything; just sit back and let your BT Speak install what it needs for the update. When the update is complete your BT Speak will restart. Once you hear the familiar “BT Speak Ready” message you’ll be able to enjoy the new improvements we’ve added.

Adgenda-style Calendar

We have added an appointment calendar to the BT Speak. With this calendar you can add or remove events as well as browse or search for events by day, week and by month.

The Calendar Menu

The Calendar menu is available from the Options menu, with the letter L being its shortcut. Therefore, to open the Calendar menu you would press O-chord, press dot 4-chord until you get to the Calendar option and press dot 8 or enter to open it. Alternatively, since L is the shortcut you could just press O-chord followed by the letter L.

Adding an Appointment to the Calendar

To add a new appointment to your calendar, go to the Calendar menu and navigate to the “Add an Entry” choice. As a shortcut you can press O-chord, L, A.

Your BT Speak will announce “date.” The date can be entered in several different ways. We’ll show you examples of different ways of entering a date into the calendar in the next section. Enter the date in Computer Braille; this can be changed in a setting we’ll describe later.

After entering the date press dot 8 or enter.

After pressing dot 8 your BT Speak announces “time.” Enter the time for the event, followed by dot 8. See the next section for different ways of entering the time of an event. Note: if you don’t enter a time for the event the calendar assumes that this is an all-day event that doesn’t start at a particular time. Also, if the time is written incorrectly the calendar may treat the event as an all-day event that doesn’t begin at a specific time.

Next, your BT Speak will say, “event.” Enter a description of the event, followed by dot 8. The event will then be entered in your calendar.

How to Enter the Date and Time in Your Calendar

There are many different ways the date can be entered. As an example, here are different ways of entering January 1, 2024.

  • January 01, 2024

  • (defaults to the current year when year is not specified),

  • 1-1

  • 01-01-24

  • 1/1

  • 1/1/24

  • 1/01/24

  • Jan 01

  • Jan 1

  • Jan 1, 2024

  • January 01

  • January 1, 2024

There are also different ways for entering the time. Here are some examples.

  • 1pm

  • 1:30pm

  • 1 am

  • 1:30am

  • 0200 pm

Browse Appointments for Today

From the Calendar menu you’ll find a “Today” option with T being the shortcut. Pressing dot 8 on this option shows you any appointments for today. If there are no appointments for today you will be told this.

Browse Appointments By Week

From the Calendar menu you’ll find a “Week” option with W being the shortcut. Pressing dot 8 on this option shows you any appointments for the current week. If there are no appointments you will be told this. In addition, you will also find options labeled “Next” and “Previous” for showing you appointments that you have entered for the previous or next week.

Browse Appointments by Month

From the Calendar menu you’ll find a “Month” option with M being the shortcut. Pressing dot 8 on this option shows you any appointments for the current month. If there are no appointments you will be told this. In addition, you will also find options labeled “Next” and “Previous” for showing you appointments that you have entered for the previous or next month.

Editing or Deleting an Appointment

Pressing dot 8 while pointing to an appointment provides the following options:

Edit Event: allows you to edit the event text describing the appointment.

Edit Time: allows you to edit the time for the selected appointment.

Edit Date: allows you to edit the date for the selected appointment.

Delete Event: allows you to delete the selected appointment

Search by Date

From the Calendar menu you will find the “Search by Date” option with D being the shortcut. Pressing dot 8 on this option allows you to search for appointments by entering a specific date. Enter the date followed by dot 8. You will be in a list of any appointments for that date.

Search by Event

From the Calendar menu you will find “Search by Event”, with S being the shortcut. Press dot 8 while pointing to this option and you will hear “event to search.” Type in some text that appears in the event text of an appointment, followed by dot 8. If there are appointments containing this text you will find them in a list.

The Calendar Options Menu

From the Calendar menu you will find an item called “Calendar Options”, with O being the shortcut. Pressing dot 8 on these items provides a menu with the following options.

Braille Input: Enabling this option allows you to type your entries in contracted Braille.

Save Calendar as Text: allows you to save your calendar entries as a text file.

Gregorian Date Calculator

The Gregorian date calculator has been moved to the Calendar menu. Its shortcut is still G.

Playing Wav or Mp3 Files From the File Browser

When in the File Browser, if you open a file that has an audio extension, such as .mp3 or .wav, that file will begin to play in the background. This means that you can not only listen to an audio track but you can continue to work on other tasks with your BT Speak while

that track is playing. You can control the player via the (new) Media Player submenu of the Applications menu which we’ll describe in the next section.

The New Media Player

The media player can be found from within the Options menu, with P being the shortcut. It provides commands for controlling a media file that you opened from the file browser. This submenu contains the following options, along with their shortcut keys.

 

Pause/Resume: P

Stop: S

Previous Track. < (dots 1-2-6)

Next Track: > (dots 3-4-5)

Restart the Current Track: R

About the Current Track: A

Move Back 10 Seconds: B

Move Forward 10 Seconds: F

Decrease Media Volume: ( (dots 1-2-3-5-6)

Increase Media Volume: ) (Dots 2-3-4-5-6)

Decrease Media Rate: - (dots 3-6)

Increase Media Rate: + (dots 3-4-6)

Reset Media Rate: = (dots 1-2-3-4-5-6)

The New Voice Notes App

A Voice Notes app has been added to the Applications menu. It allows you to record new notes and to listen to existing ones. For now, other actions like renaming or removing a note need to be performed using the file browser or the file manager.

The Voice Notes app can be accessed by opening the Options menu and then going to the Applications submenu. Its shortcut key is N. Therefore, if you like using shortcut keys you can open the Voice Notes app by pressing O-chord, A, N.

The Voice Notes menu contains the following items.

Record a Note: R

Play Note: P

Set Recording Format: F

Recording a Note

When you activate the option to record a voice note you will hear two short ascending tones and the BT Speak will then say, “Recording.” When you’re ready to stop recording press Z-chord. You will hear a series of two descending tones and you will be told that your recording has been saved in your Voice Notes directory. This directory can be found in the BTSpeak directory from within the file browser. The name of the file containing the recording consists of the date and time the recording was saved. As an example, the title of a recording might be 2024-04-17_10-29-43.mp3. In this example, this means that the voice note was saved on April 17 at 10:29.

Playing a Voice Note

To play a voice note select “Play Note” from the Voice Notes menu. You will be in a list of all of the voice notes that you have recorded. You can navigate the list just as you navigate other menus. When you find the voice note that you want to play press dot 8 to play the voice note.

Setting the Format of Recordings

To set the recording format, select “Set Recording Format” from the Voice Notes menu. You will find two choices, MP3 and WAV.

Quickly Find Specific Files by Typing the First Letter or Number From the File Browser

From the File Browser you can now quickly locate a file by typing the first character of the file's name. This capability only supports letters (A through Z) and numbers (zero through nine). A Letter needs to be entered in uppercase by either adding dot 7 to it or by first typing U-Chord before entering the letter. This is because lowercase letters are already being used as shortcuts for file browser commands, such as the letter c for creating a file.  

Each time you enter a character you'll be moved to the next file that starts with that character. The search wraps from the end back to the start of the file list. If the BT Speak fails to find a name that starts with the character you entered you will hear a beep.

Opening Word and LibreOffice Documents From the File Browser

When in the File Browser, if you open a file with a .docx (Microsoft Word) or .odt (LibreOffice) extension, the file will now be automatically converted to text and presented for viewing as a read-only document. This not only lets you read those documents without going into desktop mode but it also allows you to copy text from those files to be pasted into other files.

Printing a File

You can now print the currently open file. To do this, open the Options menu and select “Print Current File” with P being the shortcut. The BT Speak will give you a list of the printers that it can see on your local network. It will then ask you which printer you want to send the file to for printing.

Adding a User-Customizable Menu

The Options menu has a new submenu called the User menu, with U being its shortcut. This new menu allows you to make a collection of your favorite items. To copy an item from another menu into the User menu, navigate to it and type Control C (either dots 1-4-7-8 or X-Chord followed by the letter C). As an example, from the Applications menu you could add Voice Notes or the Bible to the User menu for quick access.

You can also use the User menu to define your own shortcuts, although you will need to have a working knowledge of a menu file's syntax (see the Menu Files help topic). The file containing the information from your customized User menu can be accessed from the file browser. This file is named "user.menu". It is located in the "BTSpeak/" subdirectory of the home directory.

Finding Text Has Been Improved With More Spoken Prompts

The BT Speak’s editor has always had the ability to allow you to find text in a file. The problem was that some of the prompts or messages while executing these commands were not always being announced. This should now be corrected, making locating text much easier. If text is found the BT Speak now reads the line containing the located text.

New Audio Enhancements

The master and microphone volume levels can now be adjusted from the Audio submenu. To open this submenu, press O-chord for the Options menu and open the System submenu. The Audio submenu is located in the System submenu. It contains the following options.

 

Master Volume Down: < (dots 1-2-6)

Master Volume Up: > (dots 3-4-5)

Microphone Volume Down: ( (dots 1-2-3-5-6)

Microphone Volume Up: ) (dots 2-3-4-5-6)

Change Output Device: C

Reset Volume Controls: V

Reset Output Device: O

With each key press the level is changed by 5%, and the new level is announced after each adjustment.

  • In addition to these settings, there are four new chord commands for adjusting the master volume level. These chords work in both Traditional and in Desktop mode. You don’t have to be in a specific menu to use these commands, which makes adjusting the master volume level quick and convenient. The base chord for all four is dots 2-3-5-6-Chordwhich is a chorded low G. When typed as is, i.e. without adding dot 7 and/or dot 8, the current level is announced. Here are the new commands.

  • Dots 2-3-5-6-chord: announce the current master volume level

  • Dots 2-3-5-6-7-chord: Decrease master volume level by 5%.

  • Dots 2-3-5-6-8-chord: increase master volume level by 5%

  • Dots 2-3-5-6-7-8-chord: Reset master volume level to 90% and reset audio output to the internal speakers

  • Your current audio settings are now retained after a device reboot as well as after performing a deep escape (Z-7-Chord).

Improvements to BT Radio login

The BT Radio app now stores the user name and password for your Pandora account. This means that you will no longer need to reenter them each time you upgrade the system. After applying this upgrade, you will only need to enter them one more time. Also, you can now request Change Login which allows you to sign in to a different Pandora account.

Changes With Bluetooth Commands

  • The Bluetooth device list now only speaks the name of the device and omits the hexadecimal address. This should make pairing or managing a Bluetooth device much easier and more efficient.

  • When pairing a Bluetooth device, in addition to asking you if that device can be trusted, you will also be asked if the BT Speak should connect to that device.

  • Pairing a Bluetooth device has been removed from the Options menu. You will now need to go to the Bluetooth Administration submenu of the System Administration menu to do it.

Entering Function Keys

  • Function keys can now be typed from the braille keyboard. This is done by typing dots 2-3-5-Chord, (think of a low F for Function), followed by a letter. This command works in both Desktop and Traditional mode and supports function keys F1 through F26. For example, to type the F1 key you would type dots 2-3-5-chord followed by the letter A.

Various Changes and Improvements

  • Tablet mode has been renamed to Traditional mode. This new name  refers to the way that smart Braille devices often present features via a menu-based interface.

  • The option to paste from the editor's clipboard has been moved from the Delete menu (D-Chord) to the Paste menu (P-Chord).

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