Tuesday, February 21, 2006

February 06 Tech Update: The Calm Before The Storm Edition

All is somewhat quiet as most of the big names in AT are in sales meetings for the gearing up to CSUN next month. But I found some neat info to pad this issue out to a “cup of coffee” reading length.

Steve’s Word Of The Month
Definition: Not Safe For Work. Files that could get you into serious trouble at the work site will have this phrase listed in the header so you don’t accidentally open them. Or, if your really bold, you can at least turn your screen around to the wall and lower your computer’s volume.

Fragmented by Sharon
A delightful and insane co worker of mine asked me if she could contribute to the Tech Updates on a regular basis. And I, desperate for good and somewhat original content, relented and said “Yes!”. So I bring you the first of Sharon’s take on Assistive Tech.

Alternatives to Audible?

As a 5 year member of Audible.com, I was excited when they revamped their website and, for the most part, it was still accessible. The combo boxes that replaced having to go to different WebPages for each library listing were a much better solution, in my opinion. However, the website and price increases for new accounts and updating existing ones, wasn’t the only change they made. The different packages one could subscribe to in the past were a nice economical way to get books not offered by NLS, in a professionally recorded audio format that could be played on your computer and/or Audible-ready players. Legacy accounts are still honored and you can still, if you are presently a member be pretty satisfied with things as they are, just beware of updating to a new account. The catch now is that the new packages offer you the same amount of credits (1 or 2 per month or some yearly packages as well with roll over options) depending on the price you want to pay. What they don’t seem to be making clear to folks is that the credits are not worth what they were before. You could get an unabridged book, divided into several parts to make the “download faster”, according to Audible, and you would only use one of your credits. Now, when some of the books are divided into “parts”, the cost is 1 credit per part. This is not true all the time, but it seems to be a trend with Audible, so be aware if you subscribe or have consumers that do. Some alternatives to Audible are Simply Audio Books


And, Recorded Books.com


You will want to check out the pricing on these sites, but they offer some alternative solutions and several pricing plans both for rent and download.

Lightning Round

iZoom: The new USB enabled iZoom2 Go edition ships on the 27th. To learn more go here:


Victor Reader/Recorder: The new Victor Reader with Recording features is now available. Around $400 it’s far cheaper than a Plextalk. And there’s a new one of those shipping as well. See the Victor at:


Freedom Vision: The Fusion, the unit to replace the Liberty Solo 7 Inch, is officially listed on the web site. And so is the return of the Opti. The Opti was the first of the Laptop Assisted CCTV units on the market but it had a major issue with video drivers and Zoom Text which stopped it’s production cold. See all of the units at the link below:


SAL 2: The SAL was an amazing Braille teaching tool that I thought was going to just take off. It didn’t and Freedom Scientific dropped the unit a few years later. It seems that others have picked up the torch now as here’s a release on SAL 2:


Firefox Memory Feature: Remember that joke that goes “that’s not a bug it’s a feature!”? Looks like for Firefox the joke is on them.


Mactacular: A major player in the Screen Reader field was contacted directly by Apple recently. Looks like Apple is well aware of ITunes not being accessible and they have asked for help to get it there. And if that wasn’t enough here’s a link on a Daisy Player for those Mac users in your life.


~ “As Clear As Windows”

It looks like the feature complete beta of Vista will be available sometime in April. But I know your itching to know more about all the changes in Vista and Office. You may want to bookmark a few of the links below [like the FAQ] as they will be updated often over the next few months.

Windows Vista Features

IE7 Beta Review

Office 2007 FAQ

Office Live Article

Windows Defender Article

~ “Time Flies At The Speed Of Light”

I saw this on the Screen Magnifiers home page and a co worker said it belonged here this month. I think he is bucking for a belated Xmas present.


~ “The World Of Work Needs More Ramps”

As we are all well aware our primary goal is to aid others with their search for employment. Below is a Blog that has an interesting story about someone who lost their job due to access issues. And the other link is a detailed look at what new HR rules go into effect for job searches and how to be good at doing them.

Job Access Issues Article

Job Hunting article

~ “When Is A Virtual Postage Stamp A Real Postage Stamp?”

A lot of people have asked me about this whole AOL Goodmail thing. Below is an article and a blurb from Ai Squared on what to do to keep getting their bulk mail. With some modding you can apply this to other mailing lists as well.


From Ai Squared’s newsletter

Add Us to Your "Approved Senders" List

Many email providers are beginning to crack down on unsolicited email or "Spam". In the process they are making it more difficult for legitimate companies like ours to communicate with our users. To make sure you continue receiving your copy of ZoomNews, we ask that you add our email address, sales@aisquared.com, to your address book, thereby validating us as an approved sender.

Accomplishing this task differs depending on your email provider and how you receive and read your email. Below are instructions for the top three email providers. If you use a different email provider, check the help system of the email client software you are using.

To add us to your list of approved senders:

AOL Logo For AOL Users: While reading this issue of ZoomNews, you’ll see a row of buttons on the right hand side of your window. Click the "Add Address" button. This will display the address entry and editing screen. You don’t need to make any changes here, just click the "Save" button and our address will be added to your approved list of senders.
Yahoo Logo For Yahoo Users: While reading this issue of ZoomNews, you’ll see address information at the top of the message. The "From" field should display our address – "sales@aisquared.com". To the right of the address, click the "Add to Address Book" button to display the address entry and editing screen. You don’t need to make any changes here, just click the "Add to Address Book" button and our address will be added to your approved list of senders.
Hotmail Logo For Hotmail Users: While reading this issue of ZoomNews, you’ll see a row of buttons above the "From" field. Click the "Save Address" button to display the address entry and editing screen. You don’t need to make any changes here, just click the "Add to Address Book" button and our address will be added to your approved list of senders.”

1 comment:

Ester said...

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Some at home security
It's not exactly what I was looking for but it was nonetheless interesting to read.