So, with hours remaining on the auction, I put in a bid and wound up being the only bidder. That's how I came into possession of a PacMate QX400 with a 20-cell braille display. Refurbished versions of this item from the manufacturer, Freedom Scientific, cost about $1800 more than the closing price of that eBay auction, to give you an idea of what kind of saving we're talking about.
This is a used item and it's an older model of device, which is part of the reason WHY its price was low. But about 99% of it works just fine, and the VERY few glitches I've found so far are simple to work around. I can't get online with it yet, though, but I'm getting some advice on that from a PacMate mailing list I joined.
Anyuway, the long and short of it is that my second self-education project involves learning computer braille, which has some differences from the braille that appears on paper. If I intend to become an assistive tech trainer at some future time, then I am going to have to know this information. And I'm taking it one step farther. I created a text file, containing the text from this news article and then proofread it... tactilely. Yes, I am not satisfied with just being able to read braille visually. I feel like if I am going to really know a tactile alphabet, then I am going to have to have at least a passing familiarity with what it feels like. So I typed the article into a text file, muted the voice (which would have read the file contents aloud to me), and painstakingly went through the article letter by letter.
I know there are legit training courses for blind people who are learning to read braille, and there are exercise drills that, should I figure out how to track them down online, would make my life TONS easier. But I decided that proofreading a short article was still a valid form of practice, and guess what? I was able to identify some typos I made, via this method of proofreading. In fact, I found ALL of the three mistakes I'd inadverdently introduced into the document. I'm certainly nowhere near ready to run out and read War and Peace in a tactile fashion. Not even close. Not even CLOSE to being close. But I still feel like I've accomplished something by bringing some significant brand-new information into my brain. It's information that will help me, should I venture into the field of assistive technology, but beyond that, it's supporting my desire to Never Stop Learning.