Future Reflections Spring 1992, Vol. 11 No. 2


by David Andrews

[PICTURE] David Andrews is director of the International Braille and Technology Canter located at the National Center for the Blind  

    With more and more Federationists and blind children using computers, speech synthesizers, refreshable Braille displays, Braille 'n Speaks and modems, there has been increased interest in the National Federation of the Blind offering a bulletin board service. We have met this demand with the creation of NFB NET.

     NFB NET is the official computerized bulletin board service of the National Federation of the Blind. A bulletin board system, or BBS, is a computer system which contains files and messages on various subjects. A person using his/her computer and modem can access the bulletin board from home or work.

     The NFB NET files include past and current issues of Future Reflections, the Braille Monitor, other NFB Literature and state affiliate and local chapter newsletters. The system also has files of interest to blind computer users, such as demo copies of various screen review programs and Braille translation programs. Further, there is a selection of public domain and shareware software. Finally, there is a file area for NFBTRANS-related files. (NFBTRANS is the Braille translation program developed by the NFB.)

     Messages on NFB NET are categorized by topic. There is an area called Blind Talk for the discussion of issues, both computer-related and noncomputer-related, of interest to blind persons. Another area, NFB Talk, is for the announcement of timely information and discussion of matters concerning the NFB. These discussion areas are also carried by a number of other bulletin board systems around the world. There is also a discussion area for NFBTRANS and Charlie Cook, its author, has agreed to call in periodically to answer questions and offer advice.

     NFB NET is a part of Fidonet, a worldwide network of bulletin board systems that exchange electronic mail and discussion areas or conferences called Echoes. NFB NET will carry a variety of Echo Conferences on job hunting, employment listings, home-based entrepreneurial opportunities, WordPerfect questions and solutions and more. NFB NET also belongs to another network called ADANET which contains a number of disability-related conferences, including one which discusses the raising of disabled children and another which discusses the education of kids.

     The parameters for NFB NET are 8 data bits, no parity and one stop bit. The system has a U.S. Robotics 9600 HST dual standard modem and can handle baud rates of 300, 1200, 2400 and 9600. The modem can also handle V.32, V.32BIS, V.42, V.42BIS, and MNP level 1-5 protocols. What all this means is that NFB NET should be able to connect with most anything around.

     NFB NET is the official BBS voice of the National Federation of the Blind and exists to disseminate news and information of interest to Federationists, other interested blind and sighted persons, and persons working in the field of blindness. It is also our goal to facilitate information and idea exchanges via computers and modems.

     The success of NFB NET will ultimately be determined by your participation. If you have a computer and modem, give us a call, leave messages in the different message areas and please contribute files and upload your state or local newsletters, if they are available on disk. We look forward to seeing you on-line.

     If you have questions about NFB NET or the National Federation of the Blind, please leave a message to the SysOp as you sign off (our number is 410-752-5011) or write to us at:  
National Federation of the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230