Monday, October 31, 2005

Zoom News For October


ZoomText 9.0 in the Real World
The release of ZoomText 9.0, featuring xFont and NeoSpeech, has created a wave of excitement throughout the low vision community. New and old users alike have been amazed by how ZoomText 9.0 has made it easy for them to see, hear and use their computer. Many are so thrilled that they felt the need to share their stories with Ai Squared. We'd like to share a few of these stories with you ...
Tom Evans owns a vending company in San Jose, California. A one-man operation, Tom splits his work day between servicing vending machines and researching potential vending opportunities on the Internet. Tom also has Stargardt’s disease, the most common form of inherited juvenile macular degeneration.
Being visually impaired, Tom admits that he is slow to notice changes in the world around him. It once took him a month to discover the two pieces of furniture he bought for his home were not the same color. But when Tom tried out the new ZoomText 9.0, he noticed the changes immediately.
Tom told us, "I’ve been a user of ZoomText for over 15 years and have purchased each upgrade along the way. With some of the upgrades the changes weren’t immediately apparent to me. This was not the case with ZoomText 9.0. I noticed immediately that the text was clearer, way better than any of the previous versions. The new xFont is great!"
Tom reports that with ZoomText 9.0 he can now use his computer for longer periods of time before his eyes become tired.

Prior to receiving ZoomText 9.0, Carol-Ann would alter screen colors and contrast, and bold her fonts in order to improve the clarity of text. But doing so gave her a distorted view of her applications and documents. Carol-Ann now reports that with the new xFont magnification in ZoomText 9.0, she can easily read text without having to make any color, contrast or font adjustments.
"ZoomText's new xFont magnification is remarkable!" says Carol-Ann. "My eye strain is all but eliminated by the improved clarity. And I can type email in a regular font without my recipient interpreting my message as shouting."
Why not see for yourself what these three users have seen? Download a free 30-day trial of ZoomText 9.0 from When you are ready to purchased ZoomText 9.0, call us toll-free at (800) 859-0270.
NeoSpeech Gives ZoomText a Friendly Voice
By definition, speech synthesis is the artificial production of human speech. These words bring to mind an artificial human or a robot. In the past, that’s all text-to-speech technology could offer the assistive technology industry. If you wished to make a computer speak, you could do so only in a robotic manner. Lately, the trend in computing is to make everything friendlier, and the new NeoSpeech synthesizer brings that friendliness to ZoomText 9.0.
With NeoSpeech, ZoomText reads all of your applications and documents with voices that are clear and enjoyable to listen to. Whether you’re navigating menus, typing text, or reading your email, the human-like voices of NeoSpeech make it easy to understand what’s being spoken.
NeoSpeech also improves on the way numbers, symbols, acronyms and abbreviations are spoken. With these improvements, phone numbers, addresses, dollar amounts, and dates are read in a more natural and contextually correct manner.
ZoomText 9.0 ships with two NeoSpeech voices – Paul and Kate. If you haven’t already upgraded to ZoomText 9.0, we encourage you to download the free 30-day trial from and give a listen to the amazing clarity of NeoSpeech.
Already downloaded the ZoomText 9.0 trial without NeoSpeech?
Perhaps you downloaded a ZoomText 9.0 trial from our web site and in the interest of time, you selected a smaller download without NeoSpeech. No problem, you can download and install the NeoSpeech synthesizers using ZoomText’s "Download Program Components" feature. Here’s how ...
1. Start ZoomText 9.0.
2. In the Help menu, choose Download Program Components...
The Ai Squared web site opens with the ZoomText Program Components page displayed.
3. In the NeoSpeech Synthesizers (English only) section, click the link for the desired NeoSpeech Installer:
NeoSpeech Full Installer (Paul and Kate)
NeoSpeech Kate Installer
NeoSpeech Paul Installer
4. Once the download is complete, double-click the file to install the voice(s).
5. Follow on screen instructions and reboot when asked.
6. Start ZoomText.
NeoSpeech is now the default synthesizer.
Setting NeoSpeech as the Default Synthesizer
In the initial run of ZoomText 9.0 CDs, ZoomText was not configured (as intended) to use NeoSpeech as the default speech synthesizer.
We want to be sure that users experience the clear, human-sounding voices provided by NeoSpeech, so we are providing the following instructions for setting NeoSpeech as your default synthesizer.
1. Start ZoomText.
2. In the Reader menu, choose Synthesizer...
The Speech dialog appears with the Synthesizer tab displayed.
3. Make sure the Enable speech output box is checked.
4. In the Synthesizer list, choose NeoSpeech English.
5. In the Voice list, choose the desired NeoSpeech voice: Paul or Kate.
6. Click the OK button.
7. In the File menu, choose Save As Default.
Maurie's Corner: ZoomText on the Web
<> It’s hard to imagine using a computer without taking advantage of the infinite "World Wide Web". From the comfort of my desk, I can research any topic, comparison shop, set up travel plans, and read a newspaper from anywhere in the world. Once, I even ordered groceries online and had them delivered to my very rural doorstep.
Because of my visual impairment, I used to dread going online as it was difficult to find what I needed, especially when visiting new websites. For me, this really defeated the purpose of using the web, because for the most part you are always visiting new websites. Fortunately, with continued improvements in ZoomText, and particularly in the new ZoomText 9.0, I’ve become a proficient web surfer.
Here’s how ZoomText 9.0 helps me navigate and read on the web…
The new xFont text magnification makes it easy for me to read any text on any web page. Regardless of the font type, size or color, the text is always straight and clear, a tremendous improvement over previous versions of ZoomText. And when I enable the xFont bolding option the text really pops out, allowing me to work at a lower magnification level. This is a real bonus as I can now see more content on my screen.
Colors on web pages have always been an issue for me. Who selects those low contrast muted colors anyway? Are they blind or what? To work around this problem I start with my favorite ZoomText color enhancement scheme - ‘Invert Brightness’. This greatly reduces the glare and improves contrast. To enable this option, from the Magnifier toolbar, choose Color > Scheme > Invert Brightness. Next, I adjust the color of links in Internet Explorer. From IE’s menu bar I select Tools > Internet Options > Colors. In the Colors dialog, I select higher contrast colors for visited and unvisited links. No more light blue links for this web surfer!
Reading web pages with ZoomText has improved by leaps and bounds. I can now sit back and let ZoomText read to me. For reading long passages of text, such as newspaper articles, I use AppReader. Just press the AppReader hotkey: ALT + SHIFT + A, and then click where you want ZoomText to start reading. When you want ZoomText to stop reading, just click again. For reading small blocks of text, such as tables and sidebars, use the SpeakIt tool. Press ALT + SHIFT + I and then click and drag over the text that you want ZoomText to read.
Finding links on a web page used to be a real pain. But with ZoomText’s Web Finder, I can find the link I’m looking for in three quick steps. First, I press the Web Finder hotkey: ALT + SHIFT + W; the Web Finder dialog displays a complete list of links in the current page. Second, I type what I’m looking for in the Search For box and the list of links automatically shortens to matching items. And third, I select the link I’m interested in from the shortened list and click the Execute Link button to navigate to the new page. I can now get around on the Internet much faster.
Whether you’re researching, shopping, planning a vacation or reading a newspaper, ZoomText can help you get the most out of your web experience. If you haven’t explored the web much because of your vision problem, I hope I’ve given you sound advice and the confidence to go surfing.
Quick Tips: Adjusting ZoomText’s Reading Rate
<> With ZoomText Magnifier/Reader you can select separate reading rates for screen reading and document reading. This added flexibility allows you to adjust the reading rate according to the task you are performing, so that you can work faster and more efficiently. For example, you can choose a faster reading rate for screen reading related tasks – such as navigating menus and dialogs, and typing text; and a more moderate rate for reading documents, web pages and email with ZoomText’s AppReader and DocReader.
Setting up separate screen reading and document reading rates is quick and easy. Here’s what to do…
To select a screen reading rate
On the Reader toolbar, adjust the level in the Rate spinbox.
To select a document reading rate (for AppReader and DocReader)
1. In the Reader menu, choose Reading Options...
2. Uncheck Use screen reading speech rate.
3. Adjust the level in the Rate spinbox.
4. Select the OK button.
Note: If you would like screen reading and document reading to share the same rate, check ‘Use screen reading speech rate’ and adjust the Rate setting on the Reader toolbar.
To adjust reading rates using hotkeys
Whether you are in a screen reading mode or document reading mode, you can adjust the reading rate using the Speech Rate hotkeys:
To increase Speech Rate, press CTRL + NUMPAD PLUS
To decrease Speech Rate, press CTRL + NUMPAD MINUS
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Tel: (802) 362-3612
Fax: (802) 362-1670
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