Plextalk PTP 1 Is Not Just a Book Reader

By Paul l. oberholtzer

22 Sep 2011


I just got off of the phone with my local BROS, who was trying to understand why I needed a Plextalk PTP 1 as opposed to the Victor Stream book reader that I already have. Unfortunately, this is probably a fairly common problem when it comes to dealing with regional VA hospitals that are not familiar with the growing information medium called the Internet.


I have never had a problem requesting a cassette tape recorder from the VA. VA hospitals seem to understand the need that a blind person might have for such an antiquated device. They have for years been issuing these to the blind veterans in their care, so never think to question the need. However, when it comes to technology that they don’t understand, they can’t seem to believe that a blind person might be able to use such a device. Never mind that many of the hospital and VA employees might be using an iPod to download music or Podcast from the Internet. They can’t seem to comprehend that blind people need information off of the Internet too, and can’t easily carry their desktop computers around with them.


While I guess that VA hospitals might soon , if not already, issue Plextalk’s as book readers, the Plextalk is much more than an NLS or Victor Stream book reader. It has high quality recording and wireless Internet connection capabilities. It is, in effect, an iPod for the blind. In an age, where the Internet is filled with information that would choke your local library, blind people need a portable way to access this information. Certainly a blind veteran can go to his VA issued computer and access the Internet while sitting at his desk, but those that are not blind are not tethered to a desk chair. It seems that everyone these days is using an iPod, iPad, or Smart phone to access information on the internet. Why should a blinded veteran be denied this ability? The answer is that they should not, not while there are devices like the Plextalk available to them, and for a change, at a reasonable price. At around $279, the Plextalk PTPP1 cost less than the modified Sony tape recorder that the VA issued me, without question, just a few years ago. If I were forced to travel with all of my information recordings on cassette tape, I would need a fairly large van to carry all of the tapes, and I have no idea how I could sort through such a mess to find what I was looking for. With a Plextalk, I could put all of the recordings on a small SD card, and have them organized in folders for easy access. The question to a veteran should not be, “why do you need the Plextalk?” but, “Why don’t you need the Plextalk?”