Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hello all,

Last Thursday I was working in the Genealogy Room and an old man came in. He wanted a history of Volusia County. I guided him to the shelf where he found the book he wanted. He sat down at a table and took out a magnifying glass. After a while he called me over and asked whether that book was available in large print. I said that I was sorry but it wasn't.

I sat back down at the desk and looked over to the old card catalog file. On top is the old magnifying glass which is lighted. I drew his attention to it. He went over and used the glass but I could see he was uncomfortable standing up for very long.

Suddenly I remembered what I call the "Big Eye". It is a home made device that we used to have on a desk over by the off-line computer. When Louise donated the microfiche reader we decided that there had been little or no use of the "Big Eye" and so removed it and put in the microfiche reader.

I thought that the "Big Eye" had been disposed of but when I looked in the back corner there it was. I didn't know whether it still worked, as a matter of fact I have never seen it work. Nonetheless I decided that it would fit nicely on the book cart. I rolled the cart to the back of the room and picked up the TV and it did fit on the cart. I wheeled it to the front of the room then realized that all of the device had not come with the TV. The "Big Eye" is actually two separate devices, the TV and the projector. I brought the projector up and slid it in place under the TV then plugged both units into the power block.

There was one cable coming from the projector that obviously should plug into the TV. It turns out the yellow, video, input on the TV is where the projector connects. I plugged it in and turned everything on and sure enough, when I placed a book on the tray under the projector the TV showed the page in very large and easy to read form on the screen.. The tray moves right and left and in and out. The only problem is that the magnification does not allow a small enough setting to show the whole page without scrolling.

I drew up a chair in front of the TV and showed the man how to use “Big Eye.” He sat down and began to use it to easily read the Volusia History he was interested in. He seemed to like it although he didn't say anything at all.

I went about my business and was at the off-line computer when I saw him walk by the window on his way out! No thanks, no goodbye, nothing ;-) Such is the life of a public servant I guess, he probably had a back ache.

Anyway I thought I'd write up what I learned in case anyone else is asked for help with a visually impaired customer. I don't know who built and donated the "Big Eye", probably someone like one of our departed members, Herbert Price.

I worked with Herb near the end of his life. He was nearly blind from macro degeneration and had torticollis which caused his neck to be bent forward to where he had a hard time raising his head to look at the computer screen. He had a braille-like overlay for his keyboard. I was impressed with his tenacity in pursuing his genealogy although he was suffering greatly and kept messing up his FTW database.

Herb could have used this device.


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