Friday, December 23, 2005

The Mysteries Of Life And Reading Zones In Zoom Text

One of the newest features in Zoom Text actually turns out to be one of the more complicated ones to master. Here's some info from an Ai Squared newsletter that has some points on how to use this new ZT technology.

Optimize Your Work with Reading Zones
Whether you use a computer at home, at school or in the workplace, many computing tasks require that you look at the same fields of information again and again. Tasks of this nature are particularly common in spreadsheets, databases, and banking applications. If you use a screen magnifier or screen reader, locating the desired field can be time consuming and challenging, requiring that you scroll the magnified view in search of the field, or tab through a series of controls until the field receives focus. To solve this problem, Ai Squared has added Reading Zones in the new ZoomText 9.0 Magnifier/Reader.
Screen shot of a Reading Zone with the dimming option enabled
A Reading Zone with the "Dimming" Option enabled
Reading Zones let you instantly see and hear selected locations in an application window. For example, your database application may display a dozen or more fields of information. In your normal work flow you may be interested in only a few of these fields. With reading zones, you can instantly see and hear these select fields with the press of a hotkey.
You can create up to 10 reading zones for each of your applications. As you open and switch applications, zones that you have defined for the active application are automatically loaded and ready to use (referred to as ‘triggering’).
Creating and triggering reading zones is quick and easy. Here’s how to do it.
To create a reading zone
1. Open the application in which you want to create a reading zone. Make sure the desired application tab, view or window is displayed.
2. Press the New Reading Zone hotkey: CTRL + ALT + Z.
The appearance of your mouse pointer will change, indicating that the New Zone Tool is active.
3. Move the mouse pointer to scroll the new zone area into view.
4. Hold down the left button, drag the selection rectangle over the desired zone area and release the button.
When you complete the drag the Reading Zones dialog appears. This dialog allows you to name the zone and select zone options.
5. In the Zone Name box, type a descriptive name for the new zone, then press the TAB key one time.
The new zone name now appears in the Zones list. The new zone is automatically assigned a zone number. The corresponding hotkey for triggering the zone appears beneath the ‘Zones’ list.
6. Under Zone Actions, choose whether you want the zone to be spoken, displayed, or both.
7. To create additional zones, click the New Zone button and repeat steps 3 through 6.
8. When you’re finished creating zones, click the OK button.
Once you’ve created reading zones for an application, you can use them any time the application is active. You can trigger a single zone at a time (via menu or hotkey), or enter a mode that allows you to navigate through all of the reading zones.
To trigger a specific reading zone
1. Open the application that contains the reading zones you want to trigger.
2. Press the List Reading Zones hotkey: CTRL + ALT + L, then select the desired reading zone from the menu.
The selected new zone is displayed and spoken according to the selected zone settings.
The above steps describe the basics of creating and triggering reading zones. There are additional reading zone features, settings and methods that you can use to further optimize your work flow. To learn more about the power and convenience of reading zones, see the Reading Zones topics in the ZoomText Help system or user’s guide.
Help Make ZoomText a Better Product
Did you know that you can help make ZoomText a better product – and all it takes is clicking one simple checkbox? That’s right, by turning on ZoomText error reporting you can automatically send information that helps us diagnose and fix potential ZoomText problems before they affect end users.

woman with clipboard
How does ZoomText error reporting work?
As ZoomText runs it constantly monitors itself to check for problems that it has encountered. ZoomText takes care of most of these problems by itself – which is why you’ll rarely see an error message or other problems. However, we have built functionality into the program that allows ZoomText to send information about the problems it encountered to our servers here in Vermont. ZoomText sends this information over the Internet the same way that you browse the web (via an HTTP connection for all you techies out there). Once it gets to us we store it in our database for later analysis.
What exactly do you do with the information?
On a daily basis we analyze the error reports that we have received from all over the world. Most of the errors are innocuous and require no investigation. However, occasionally we spot a trend that indicates a problem; such as trouble with a ZoomText feature, an application, or web page. When we find something that needs further investigation we look at our program code and when necessary, contact users directly to see what problems they are experiencing.
So how can I turn on ZoomText error reporting?
You can turn on ZoomText’s error reporting during the setup process or after you’ve installed the program.
To turn on ZoomText’s error reporting during the setup process:
* During the setup process, you are presented with the option to "Report Severe Errors". When this option appears, check the Enable error reporting option and then proceed with the installation.
To turn on ZoomText’s error reporting after you’ve installed ZoomText:

1. From the ZoomText user interface choose Settings > Program…
2. Check the option Report ZoomText errors to Ai Squared via the Internet.
3. Click the Ok button.
After I’ve turned on ZoomText’s error reporting, what can I expect to see?
Well… nothing different. ZoomText’s error reporting occurs in the background and puts no perceivable load on your system. You won’t experience any decrease in performance or change in how your system behaves. Best of all, by turning on ZoomText’s error reporting you’ll be doing your part to help make ZoomText the best product it can be.
Where Do You Live On Planet ZoomText?
Have you ever stuck pins in a map to show all the places you’ve visited? If you’re a seasoned traveler, you’d be amazed what a visual representation of your travels look like.
We’ve been wondering what a map would look like that showed all the places where people are running ZoomText. While we know where all of our dealers are, we don’t have a good picture of where all of our ZoomText users are.
With the help of two cool Internet services – Google Maps and Frappr, and a little help from you, we can all get and idea of what "Planet ZoomText" looks like.
Take a look at the map below. It’s centered over Ai Squared headquarters in Manchester Center, Vermont. Each one of the small flags indicates where one of our ZoomText dealers or users lives. If you click "Add yourself! <> " and enter your own location you can help us grow this amazing mosaic of ZoomText users around the world. You can even attach a picture of yourself using ZoomText.

ZoomText Users <> Photos <>
Add yourself! <>
Image of map from frappr.
Please note that we have no control over Google Maps or Frappr. We just thought it was a fun diversion and an interesting perspective on ZoomText users worldwide. Also, you can enter your information without creating a Frappr account, so there are no risks in participating.
Stop by the Ai Squared homepage from time to time to see how the mapping of Planet ZoomText is coming along. Just take a quick trip to
Thanks for participating.
Ai Squared Holiday Hours
During this holiday season, Ai Squared will close their doors for a few days, allowing our hard-working employees extra time to be with family and friends. Should you need to contact Ai Squared during the holidays, our business hours will be as follows:

December 19th – 23rd Normal Business Hours
December 26th Closed
December 27th – 30th Normal Business Hours
January 2nd Closed
We like to thank you all for your continued support. Have a great holiday season.
The Ai Squared Team
Join Ai Squared at ATIA 2006
Ai Squared will be exhibiting at the ATIA Conference – January 18th through the 21st in Orlando, Florida. The conference will bring together leading experts and manufacturers of assistive technology. Attendees will take in four days of presentations, workshops and product exhibits.

The ATIA conference will be held at the Caribe Royale Resort & Convention Center.
Visit us at booth 518 to see the latest features in ZoomText 9.0 and pick up a free trial CD. You may also join us for our presentations:
* ZoomText 9.0 User Training
Friday, March 20th at 8:00 am – Curacao 6 Meeting Room
* ZoomText 9.0 New Features and Overview
Friday, March 20th at 9:15 am – Curacao 6 Meeting Room
* ZoomText 9.0: Overview for the AT Trainer
Friday, March 20th at 1:15 pm – Curacao 6 Meeting Room
We look forward to seeing you there. Learn more about ATIA 2006 <> .

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

New Humanware Audio Newsletter Out And Keysoft 7 Featured On Main Menu

Jonathan is talking about the new release of Keysoft set for launch in mid January. You can hear it on the ACB Radio Replay or wait for it to arrive on their On Demand section of the web page. In other Humanware news .. Check out what was sitting in my Inbox today.

HumanWare's Audio Newsletter 4 is now available online at In this edition of the audio newsletter you may:
Listen to Kurzweil Technical Support Engineer Paul Henrichsen discuss mPower and share his insights into which accessibility solution might be right for you.
Learn how Jim Halliday plans to utilize feedback from end-users to shape the future of HumanWare's product portfolio.
Meet Phil Rance, new CEO of HumanWare US, and hear first-hand how he anticipates the development of the new HumanWare.
Attention BrailleNote users! KeySoft 7.0 is just about ready to ship. Learn about Keysoft 7.0 with Jonathan Mosen, Blindness Product Manager.
Also, one lucky user will get the first copy for FREE! Enter yourself in the drawing for one FREE copy of KeySoft 7.0 at
175 Mason Circle
Concord CA 94520

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Welcome ACB Radio Users!

Boy was I ever surprised to open my browser to read the news of the day only to find my little ol’ Blog on the main page. Very Twilight Zone over a cup of coffee if you know what I mean. I say Twilight Zone because, if you noticed, the Outer Limits never really ended on a high note in most of it’s episodes. Kind of depressing and HP Lovecraft if you ask me.

This Blog is a Hodge Podge of info on Assistive Technology that I have found on the net, through Press Releases or through my direct contact with the Assistive Technology companies themselves. It’s also an unofficial account of some of the hands on experiences we have here at the Unit.

And by Unit I mean I work for a State Government Agency that has it’s own Assistive Technology Department. In our Unit we have over 45 CCTV units of various types, 6 braille displays, 5 braille embossers and all the leading products in the Screen Reader and Screen Magnifier categories. We also have the Pac Mates, Voice/Note mPowers and the Braille Sense. But, of course, that’s not all. We have several products that we are evaluating for companies at any given time.

We see people around the state who need technology to help them with their access of work or school and we make recommendations based upon their experiences with the equipment housed here. So we are like one big free focus group for AT companies which works out for the people we serve and the companies themselves.

So if I tell you something here about a piece of technology it is generally either based on a personal observation of that equipment or it came from an industry player. And with that said you want to pop back here for when I hit LA in March. I will be doing some real time updating if I can find a wireless connection.

Oh and by the way..
Please feel free to link here or tell others about the site. I know it’s not much to look at but I am trying to remain PDA and Blind Friendly. I created this site for the sole purpose of posting my info in one place rather then seeing myself plagiarized all over the forums and list serves. I mean that’s still going to happen of course but at least I know that I posted it here first and hey I might get a link out of it .. maybe. Still this thing was designed to be a helping hand and that’s why I am honored that I made the splash page at ACB.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

December 05 Tech Update: The Out Of Stock Edition

Update: Hi to all the people reading this archive from ACB Radio. Check out the regular postings of this Blog at

Good grief. Every time I went to finish this one something new would come out. And here I thought everyone would wait for ATIA next month. Whew!

Steve’s Phrase Of The Month
“Drive By Upload”
Definition: A DBU happens when someone uses your wireless network to upload a file. It is also used for when someone who uses your system to do something illegal leaving all records to point to you doing the wrongful activity. This is mentioned often in cases with the RIAA or the MPAA. Recently a Chicago mother of two stated that she was a victim of a DBU when a friend of one of her children uploaded the movie “Coach Carter” to a file sharing site.

Roy’s Toy Box
Clear Type Is Not Always Your Friend.

Now a days AT will disable the Clear Type function in Windows XP, however, we still see it causing problems with Screen Readers in the field. To disable Clear Type do the following:

Go to Display Properties in the Control Panel.
Select the Appearance Tab.
Choose the “Effects” button.
From there look for the check box that talks about Font Smoothing. Remove the check box to make sure XP won’t use Clear Type or place a check in the box and select “Standard” from the combo box that is below the Smoothing Options.

~~ Lightning Round!

So many people like this segment that it may just end up being a regular feature.

` Freedom Scientific: FS has added a line of CCTV units to their portfolio of AT offerings. Check out the Topaz line here:

` Open Book: An Open Book Mini Patch is now available for 7.02 users. We had some trouble with it and other competing products so be warned that you may want to set a system restore point before using this 35 MB patch. Find it here:

* Keysoft 7: KS7 will be a paid upgrade and it will be available on 1/15/06. More on this lower down on this mail.

* Jawboned: The popular bridge between JFW and Dragon is no more. J-Say 3.0, Standard and Pro, would be the logical substitute for this product. At this time, however, it is not on the APL.

* Skype: For those who don’t use JFW 7.0 you may want to check out this product upcoming from Wizard.

* Nuance: The makers of Dragon have a product that puts them in the same arena as Talks and Mobile Speak.
* Trekker 2.7: The GPS solution has been updated.

* Dektalk: Version 4.6.5 sports Windows Mobile features.

* Braille Sense: Recently the unit has a new update available to Version 3.0 Build 20051124. We are waiting on release notes but just be aware that there is an update for this unit.

* Easy Link: Optelec has lowered their prices on this competitor to the Maestro.

* Sighted Electronics: Looks like Braille support for Mac is back.

“Please read announcement at we have Braille translation for the new Mac OS10 applications. This means we have Braille translation for all Windows and Mac applications as well as Braille graphics for Microsoft applications, all for a fraction of the cost of the nearest competitor's Braille device.”

* Clearview CCTV: We had another issue with power supplies and overheats on the new PC unit. Make sure you let Chrystal Vision know if you have any issues with these units.

*Top Tech Tid Bits: There’s some info on Dancing Dots, education and voice email.

~~ “Keying You Softly With His Song”

Keysoft 7 is cool. Yes I said cool. You have games and some fractional math stuff. . . and a FM Radio for mPower users. Oh yeah there’s some thing about a data base for importing and exporting Excel but honestly it’s the radio that is the key right? Anyway, we saw a demonstration of the update and it’s worth it if you really need the data base functions for your job. Otherwise mPower users get the bigger benefits here. See the PR release at the bottom of the mail to read all the changes in 7.

~~ “Support This!”
Contributed By Robert Mejia

How many licks does it take to stop supporting older products? Check out the funny language from this Ai Squared back pedal.

“Effective November 30th, 2005, Ai Squared will reinstate phone and email support for registered ZoomText 7 users. Support for ZoomText 7 had been discontinued earlier in the month.

"We underestimated the number of people that are still using ZoomText 7", said Ben Weiss, President of Ai Squared. "The product is over 6 years old and does not have support for Windows XP, but a surprising number of people are still using it. We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused."

As a special offer to our customers, if you have called requesting phone support for ZoomText 7 between November 1st and November 29th, you qualify for a special discount on an upgrade to ZoomText 9.0. Please contact our sales department at (800) 857-0270 for more details.”

~~ “HALacious Pocket Sized Goodness”

Dolphin seems to be going crazy with releases. Creator, Publisher and Professor have all been released and it’s great for those who want to do more with Daisy. Now you can use a fully operational copy of Supernova on a PDA. Check out more here:

~~ “It’s Tigerific and Vistastic!”

Many are in the age old debate of who stole who from whom when it comes to Microsoft and Apple. Truth is they all owe Xerox Park almost everything that said to be stolen from one or the other camp. But the debate will roll on a new as you can see from this early comparison between Tiger and Vista.

~~ “Browser War 2: The Phantom menace”

It’s being wildly regarded in the computer industry that Mozilla has hit it’s saturation point. Of course it does this right when all the AT products provide support for it of course. Being that as it may here’s a look at Internet Explorer 7.

Press Releases

** Whal Mart

Dear members of the blind community:

As of December 1, Walmart has installed at least three point of sale
units with tactile keypads in every store in the country (over
10,000 units!) The new units allow blind shoppers to enter their
PIN confidentially; tens of thousands more units will be installed
by Walmart over the next three and a half years.

Walmart is training staff about the location of the new machines and
their importance to blind shoppers. As with anything else new in a
store, however, it is possible that not all staff may know where the
new units are located. If you encounter any problems in a Walmart
store in connection with the new units, or have feedback on their
operation, please let us know by email or phone using the contact
information below. You can also use this contact information to
let us know about other retailers with flat screen devices that
force blind people to disclose their PIN when using debit cards.

Phone: 1.800.332.6177 (please leave a message)

Thank you very much
Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian

** I.D. Mate

How do you use your i.d. mate II? We want to know! Participate and you’ll receive a free upgrade to your i.d. mate II database or a set of 100 barcode labels!

What do you use i.d. mate II for? How do you use it around the house? At work? With your hobbies? For household organization? We want to hear from you, our valued customers, how i.d. mate II has changed your life. We’ve added a new discussion area to our website. We want to hear your feedback on i.d. mate II and give you a chance to share your stories and ideas with other users. Do you have helpful information, great ideas or even a question? Share it online! Go to our website via the link below and tell us all about how you use your i.d. mate II.

Link to the discussion:

Please add your comments before the end of the year! We will contact you via email and send you a coupon for a free database upgrade worth $50. To share database information, suggestions for new products, or other general information, click on the ‘i.d. mate general discussion’ page.

We welcome your comments!

Anna McClure
Marketing Representative
En-Vision America
2012 W. College Ave.
Suite 200

Normal, IL 61761
309-452-3088 x116
309-452-3643 (fax)
309-212-7011 (cell)

** Keysoft 7

HumanWare will be releasing KeySoft 7 in mid-January 2006, and it's our
biggest and best release ever!
Whether you have a BrailleNote or VoiceNote mPower, a BrailleNote PK, or a
BrailleNote or VoiceNote Classic, there's a version of KeySoft 7 that will
be available for you. KeySoft 7 takes one count from your Software
Maintenance Agreement (SMA). An SMA allows you to receive two major versions of KeySoft for the price of one. Remember, SMAs only can be used for a version of KeySoft if they are purchased prior to the release of the
software concerned. So if you are not yet an SMA holder, ensure you get the
best deal on KeySoft 7 plus the next major release of KeySoft by purchasing
your SMA now. What a great holiday present for you or that special BrailleNote user in your life.Note that the cost of KeySoft 7 on its own is exactly the same as the cost of an SMA, so an SMA represents by far the best value for money. Contact HumanWare or your local dealer for KeySoft 7 pricing.

Please note that KeySoft 7 will not run on the original BrailleNote,
discontinued in 2002, that does not have a compact flash slot in the back of
the unit. The latest version of KeySoft that runs on these units is 4.02. By
BrailleNote Classic, we refer to the BrailleNotes and VoiceNotes prior to
BrailleNote and VoiceNote mPower that have a compact flash slot in the back
of the units. Original BrailleNote owners should contact Humanware about
transplanting to BrailleNote mPower.

What's in KeySoft 7?
We promised that KeySoft 7 would be our best release ever, and as you look
at this extensive feature list, you can see we've packed in a wide range of
features that will change the way you work, learn and play.Key Base, Available on All Models

With KeyBase, you've got it sorted! This new application, available from
KeySoft's Main Menu, is a powerful database manager allowing easy creation
of your own databases. KeyBase ships with many useful databases to assist
you in cataloging your music collection, keeping track of home inventory,
entering recipes, logging ham radio contacts and so much more. But the step
by step wizard-style interface of KeyBase makes it a snap to create your own
databases too. Simply tell KeyBase the names of your fields and the type of
data you want to store in that field. Be specific right down to the kind of
Braille you want to be entered into a field if you wish. Want to share your
database with others? Then you can even customize the messages users read
when they press the help key when entering data into each field.

KeyBase allows easy importing and exporting to and from many applications
including Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access and many on-line banking

KeyPlus Just Got Smarter with Fractions, Available on All Models
Work with fractions in the updated KeyPlus Scientific Calculator. As well as
performing standard mathematical operations, you can convert fractions to
decimals and vice versa, convert fractions to and from percentages, convert
a fraction to its lowest terms, and much more.

Let the Games Begin, available on all models
One of the most frequent questions asked of HumanWare about the BrailleNote
family has always been, "can you play games on this?" Now, the answer is a
resounding yes, as interactive fiction comes to KeySoft. Interactive fiction, also known as text adventures, will take you into mysterious worlds where you can look at your environment, move around, collect objects, talk to all kinds of strange creatures and sometimes find yourself trapped. There
are hundreds of compatible interactive fiction games available for download
on the Internet, ranging from educational titles for kids right through to
epic fantasy for the serious gamer, and you can play them right on your
BrailleNote or VoiceNote. Easily switch in and out of games when you need to check e-mail or make anote, play music in the background while you solve the latest mystery, or save games for later resumption.

Braille Input for JAWS for Windows, available on all models
Window-eyes users have for some time been able to control their Windows PC
from their BrailleNote in Braille terminal mode. Now, that feature is
available for JAWS for Windows users as well. Compose e-mail, write a
Microsoft Word document or work with your spreadsheets on your PC, all from
your BrailleNote's keyboard.

More Configurable E-mail, available on all models Some Internet service providers are now using non-standard POP and SMTP server ports as an attempt to increase security. While most users will not need to be concerned with this, those customers on Internet providers adopting this approach can now specify any port for both POP and SMTP traffic.

More Bluetooth Support, available on BrailleNote and VoiceNote mPower, and
BrailleNote PK The integrated Bluetooth support in BrailleNote and VoiceNote mPower and BrailleNote PK just got even more useful! In KeySoft 7 you can,

Use your device as a remote synthesizer for your PC with no wires attached. Take your BrailleNote or VoiceNote mPower or BrailleNote PK up to
10 meters (30 feet) away from your PC and still hear what your screen reader
>is saying.

Use your device as a wireless Braille display. With BrailleNote
mPower and PK operating as a wireless Braille display, coupled with the
keyboard input functionality, you have complete control over your PC as far
as 10 meters (30 feet) away from your PC. Take the BrailleNote outside on a
sunny day and keep on working on your PC using the keyboard input functionality. Control a PowerPoint presentation in front of your audience,
even when the PC is tucked away in an inconvenient place. The possibilities
are limitless!

Drive a wireless visual display. Want to give a presentation using
data on your BrailleNote? Are you a teacher who wants to be able to check a
student's work with no wires or fuss? The extension of the visual display
function to include Bluetooth makes all this possible. Use a range of devices for the visual display function including Palm Pilots and Windows HyperTerminal.

Voice Recorder for BrailleNote PK
The popular voice recorder for BrailleNote mPower arrives on BrailleNote PK
in KeySoft 7. Just press the handy record button on the front of your BrailleNote PK, and make recordings using the built-in microphone.

Eloquence Speech for BrailleNote and VoiceNote mPower
>HumanWare's BrailleNote and VoiceNote mPower becomes the first device of its kind to offer you a choice of speech synthesizer. Use the highly responsive
and accurate KeyNote Gold speech that has been one of KeySoft's strongest
features, or switch to the familiar Eloquence speech that is now widely available on access technology products. When Eloquence is active, you may also choose to have hyperlinks voiced in a different Eloquence voice when using KeyWeb, making the web really come to life.

Fm Radio for BrailleNote and VoiceNote mPower
That's right, your BrailleNote or VoiceNote mPower is now an FM radio too!
Scan the FM band for your stations and save them as presets. Read the
frequency on the Braille display or the station name if you've saved that
information. Listen to the FM radio while you work on other tasks. Control
the volume of the FM radio separately from the volume of the speech. Even
use the recorder to record FM radio stations.

Don't Miss KeySoft 7
We told you KeySoft 7 would be our most exciting release ever, and as you
can see, we weren't kidding. Make sure you have a current Software maintenance Agreement so you can download your copy of KeySoft 7 in mid-January. KeySoft 7 from HumanWare will change the way you work, learn and play.

Friday, December 09, 2005

My First Ice Day Off In Years Well Spent With My Materialism Worldly Goods

When in Houston we could expect to work through all the horrible weather we saw in the north. True we would have to swim to work in the spring but that’s not so bad as the slippery slimy ice. So one year in Austin and the ice comith. And I stayith my little rear end in the nice warm house with my newly nabbed goods.

You see I HAD TO go to Target the other night to pick up a Holiday Ornament for our party and gift exchange. And while I was there I just happened to notice the sales on DVD andCDs. And oh how did I spend too much money on gifts for myself. If there is any solace to be found it would be that the Wife was right there beside me. Okay she got some stuff too. Heh heh.

I grabbed the new Korn Dual Disc set “See You On The Other Side”. I am still playing around with that one because the second of the two album set from System Of A Down has not often left the speakers. “Hypnotize” is not as commercially friendly as this year’s earlier outing “Mesmerize”, however, it’s truly a follow up to their self titled release. I also found the new Gorilaz on sale for the Wife and it’s fair but I honestly have to stop playing SOAD long enough to recognize that I bout other things.

I went in with a hidden agenda of picking up Day 4 of 24 only to find out that FOX for the first time priced their TV DVD Sets out of what I would consider a good deal. $44? Nope. But $16 bucks for the Family Guy movie was right up my alley. And I found Aqua Teen Hunger Force Vol. 4 for $19. So that got in the pile.

Now getting back to the ice bit I mentioned earlier. For the first time in a long time I was able to have the time to actually play with my toys, including some quality time with the PS2, thanks to that cool little eighth of an inch of ice covering everything. Now I have to start learning about those superstitions for bringing on Snow Days. It’s true y’know we revert to our younger selves as we age.

Friday, December 02, 2005

New In The Unit.. Week of Dec 1st!

We always get tons of new toys to play with here in the Unit. It’s like Xmas but our gifts range in the thousands of dollars. Honestly it warps me a little just thinking how much is out on the floor. I mean just think about how much 42 different CCTV units cost and then keep adding up the Braille Displays for a third of what’s in our four walls.

This week we received the revamped Braille Voyager from Optelec. This unit is drastically improved from the first incarnations which had the power supply of death. Well death for your equipment at any rate. The USB and power management has been completely reworked but driver support is still a chore. We are looking at it now for a chance to add it to the throng of the other approved displays.

The Merlin series gets more complex every day. Now Enhanced Vision offers a Merlin with a 19 inch TFT/TV which also comes with all the bells and whistles of the Merlin PC Option. Now you can have your CCTV and Computer Monitor all in one from the base of your CCTV camera. It’s not the first unit we have seen that does this.. it’s just our newest.

Say It All claims to be a hand held Bill Identifier, Color Identifier and other Swiss Army Knife functions. Claims is the right term as it does do a ton of functions if just doesn’t do any of them well. Or accurately. Or understandably. Well you get the idea.

We also have gotten a redesigned Traveler Portable CCTV unit from Optelec, the newly redesigned Quick Look with Color Filtering options from Ash Technologies, Window Eyes 5.5 from GW Micro, a Voice Note QT mPower unit from Humanware and a Clearview PC Access unit [got it to work by the way] from Optelec in over the last few weeks. Like I said.. it’s Xmas all year round.

What we expect to see in the next month or so is:

JAWS 7.1
A new version of the Smartview2 8000
A portable CCTV from a vender I can’t talk about yet.
And eventually the US version of the Optelec Clear Note Laptop assisted unit. This thing is the answer to the LVI Magnalink Student.

Oh and Vista Public Beta 1. Can’t forget about that.