Tuesday, October 31, 2006

October 06 Tech Update: The "Ghost Of LP Windows Walks Amongst You" Edition

Honestly there’s just so much news coming in November that a short, sweet and far less verbose update just seemed like the thing to do this month. And no I haven’t figured out what I am doing to the format yet. Maybe by Xmas I will have it figured out. At least my good friend Steve gets his feature back this month.

Steve’s Word Of The Month Za Definition: Pizza. The phrase is often used in text messaging and you can see really quickly who used the one handed typing method to text on their phones when they say things in code like Za.

* Kurzweil 1000 v11: Here’s the official press release on the new version shipping really soon.


* Trekker 3.0: Here’s the low down on the new GPS software for the Note Family of products from Humanware.


* Hadley Distance Learning: Hadley On Line what a world we live in these days!


* Audible and Mobile 2005: Blind Confidential has a wild tale about using the new Audible Manager on the new Mobile Speak Pocket.


* Mobile Speak Pocket 1.0.8: Speaking of MSP here’s the official release on that update.


* Windows Media Player 11: The final version is out and available for download now. Grab it from this Microsoft site…


* IE7 Keyboard Commands: Just about everyone else has linked to Kelly’s blog but Desert Skies had a bit more on the subject. And I don’t think I have shown Jeff love in a link yet. Shame on me.


* Firefox 2.0: Some say it’s a dud and others say it’s as good as it ever was. Still version 2.0 is out now with version 3 looming for non Windows 9x machines. To get more info on the Firefox debate check out the ZDNet page.


* W3C: The group has come under fire by many in the Web 2.0 league of developers who wish not be constrained by a little thing like standardization. Read more on this issue in the link below..


* Apple Boot Camp 1.1.2: A new Beta of Boot Camp is now on line. Some in the know say running in Parallels is better though. Still you can find the Beta download links here:


* Instant FM: A new USB dongle allows you to record FM and Web Radio straight to your computer. See the article from Slashdot here.


~ Vista Corner

Well several Betas have begun for Vista testing with Assistive Technology. And while I can’t speak about that because of Non Disclosure Agreements I can at least say that all this blathering on about Vista for the last 18 months will finally come to pass on January 30th 2007. Expect some more hardware musings from me when I take a look back at the infamous NFB presentation I did back in July in a post to be coming very soon. Some 4 months later I still get a little flack over that one. Go fig! Until then here’s some bits on Vista. The “Road To Gold” being a fascinating read by the way.

` Final packaging revealed-


` Road To Gold:


Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Truth About Windows Vista And The Assistive Technology Industry

So this morning I was drinking my new favorite coffee "Almond Joy" [a blend of chocolate, cocanut and almond slivers] and jamming to some unreleased song from Disturbed via their My Space site when I came across this article from Peter at Magnifiers.org.


I have read this site for years, liked the old format more than the new redesign, and I have to say I was a little shocked at the tone of that post. And it takes a lot to get me motivated to write pages of stuff on a Saturday morning, however, I stopped everything to compose the opinion piece you see below. Breakfast will just have to wait!

Now before I respond to this post I want to say that I am not looking to start a flame war. Nor am I wanting to pick a fight steal internet cred or capitalize on this post. But I have seen many posts like this on the Yahoo groups and other places where we users of Assistive Tech congregate and I feel moved to speak out about these views that Microsoft is not trying to meet the needs of you and those like you.

The most important thing I want to say is that those folks at the Microsoft Accessibility Group are human beings and they do care deeply about making MS products accessible to all. Anyone who has heard or read what Kelly Ford has said in the last few months knows that he is a blind user of this technology first and a Microsoft employee second. To say that he and others like him within the company don't have a valid stake in making the world a better place for users of Microsoft products would be very off base.

I have met, spoke with and presented alongside Robert Sinclair who is the Director of the Accessibility Group and I can say first hand that he is very dedicated and knowledgeable of what it takes to make a Screen Reader and Screen Magnifier work. He has demonstrated Vista running with Window Eyes 5.5 Beta publicly at the NFB National Convention in July of 2006. And on Vista's launch date you can be rest assured that G.W. Micro will have their solution up and running for those who are crazy enough to join up with many of us in the early adoption launch phase of Vista.

But to accuse MS of blatantly ignoring the issues surrounding Vista's accessibility is just plain absurd. Mainly because they did back in the days of Windows 95 and it got them royally sued. Since then the company has always been open with Freedom Scientific, Ai Squared, Dolphin and the like. I have been in long discussions with Eric on Vista back as early as the launch of JAWS 7.0. I was involved in some high level talks with Doug and the gang in Vermont during the Zoom Text 9.0 beta. These companies have no choice but to make their products work in Vista because that's where the money is if they want to continue to exist.

When Vista comes on line it will be the fastest roll out in computer history. It's estimated, and not by MS by the way, that 400 million computers will be running Vista by 2008. That's a far shorter time frame than the same number with Windows XP. And that many computers is a virtual gold mine of upgrades and new product sales to companies like Kurzweil Education Systems and VisionCue.

Nobility in the Assistive Technology Industry as a whole is in short supply these days. Yes there are more blind and visually impaired people in the world than say five years ago. And yes there will be even more in the next five years. That doesn't equate to more money for these companies however. A quick glance at the CCTV arm of the industry shows us that there is four times the amount of serious players in active distribution than there was ten years ago. You have more choices, sizes and types of monitors. And the same goes with Braille displays. But that doesn't mean that all of them sell well and it doesn't mean that these companies are just rolling in the dough.

The majority of Humanware's sales, 97 to 98% I believe, are exported out of New Zealand. The NZ dollar is gaining on the US dollar. Therefore they are losing money every time they export a product to the US. Freedom Scientific on the other hand will have to develop JAWS 8.0 for Vista and still support 7.1 for the thousands of Windows 98/XP users who won't make the jump to a new operating system. This will cost truck loads of money in many hours on the technical support lines not to mention the time and resources spent on doing fixes and patches for both over the next 18 months. And while you ponder that think about the number of new programs these companies have to find ways to support as well. Skype, Firefox, Lotus Notes, Oracle, Remote Access, Citrix and a dozen or so AJAX Web 2.0 initiatives that have no web standards at the moment. Not to mention Governmental requirements for these programs and hardware to work with any Government purchased equipment under Section 508 as a part of the US Americans with Disabilities Act. To be quite blunt I am amazed that they get more of all this right than wrong with every sub sequential update and version of each product.

Making JAWS work with IE7 is one thing. You know at some point if a program is in 90% of the households in any given country these companies have and will find a way to make their products work. Where the gray areas become wider spread is in things like In House or Private software and Mash Ups. That's a different discussion entirely though.

To set the record straight Microsoft offered several meetings on their Main Campus to all the AT Venders. At these meetings they were told about the changes that would come in Vista. They were shown UI Automation, Mirror Driver models and the new "Ease of Access" center that would replace the "Accessibility Options" icon in XP. They were told that the former way of using DCM, MSAA and other hooks would not work with Microsoft's pledge to provide more security and stability with the Vista engine. Microsoft offered grants, resources and other materials to everyone all they needed to do was ask. Some Venders balked, some jumped on the bandwagon and others just sat noncomittal. Those who chose neither side were probably the ones who made out best for the short term because Vista, at that time code named Longhorn, would end up being delayed another year.

The companies that balked did so with good reason. The changes in Vista forced some Assistive Technology Venders to rebuild their programs from the ground up. That kind of development is not easy to come by and boy is it not cheap. Free lance programmers were sought out and the bids were pricy. Still like I said above there was no choice. The bad part in all this mess was every time Vista had a delay it cost these companies more time and money. At some point the investment will pay off but remember the time was pre $3.00 a gallon gas back then. No one knew what was coming. And when the announcement hit at CSUN that Vista would be delayed again there was open and visible anger on the floor of the Exhibit Hall at the prospect of not having a stream of cash coming in at the end of summer 06 [one of many Vista promised launch dates]. And as we see now the need for that revenue was too great for them to wait around for Microsoft to finally ship Vista. What is falling through the cracks a bit is that if you upgrade with some products now you will be covered when Vista does finally ship. You are not paying double if you go to JAWS 8.0, Window Eyes 6.0 or others that release in November.

There's two other points I want to address while I am on this rickety old soapbox. The first is this notion that AT in general should be cheaper than it is for the customers of these products. Let the word go far and wide that the largest purchaser of Assistive Technology is the US Federal Government. And while you may want to make jokes about $600 for a hammer remember that when you get right down to it there really aren't many copies of Magic, Open Book or Zoom Text being bought each year when compared to say Office 2003. The Assistive Technology Industry is a very small market. They have little wiggle room when it comes to creating, updating, marketing and shipping product. It takes a lot to keep the lights on in any business let alone one that may see a limited number of sales with a worldwide distribution model in place. Some Venders even rely on being back ordered on their most popular products because at least that way they know for sure just how much money they will get in the next month's budget. An upswing or dip in sales for these guys can be catastrophic and most people in the industry remember the recent rise, fall and rise again of Telesensory in 2005. So supply and demand dictate X number of dollars for any given product. Hence the reason why software Y has to sell 100 copies a quarter at a given price if they want to pay everyone's salary and keep the lights on along with research and development for something like Vista. And if you don't believe me about the daily operations and expenses of a global business just ask your favorite Vender how much it costs to make one Braille cell. The answer may surprise you.

While Governmental purchases via the Veteran's Administration and Vocational Rehab Agencies make up the bulk of purchases the number of private prchases is very very low in comparison. It's not due to the price either. It's mainly due to the size of our population and the skill level involved. I hate to use generalities but older people don't like using computers. Throwing them on Windows and the internet is scary enough but tell them they have to learn this other thing in order to make it work? Furthermore explain to them the amount of time needed to master all of this just to send their grandkids an email with a JPEG attachment? I work with populations like these for a living and I know that the numbers that can or who are willing to learn are just a fraction of those who are blind or visually impaired.

The way that the business model works is that your initial product, say Lunar Plus, is bought by the Government. As a part of the perception of rehabilitation in the US the responsibility of keeping Lunar up to date for your job is up to you. Upgrades and SMAs are far cheaper and easier to purchase than the original cost of the hardware or software. And in some cases, say the $95 that it takes for you to go to the new Kurzweil 1000 version 11 shipping this November, the cost is not so unreasonable that it will break your piggy bank. Some Dealers even have installment plans. But more importantly you have TO

PAY for good access. That's why the subsidized or open source model doesn't work for us who use this technology daily for maintaining their jobs. It's only as good as the money spent and community based projects, for me, are not reliable enough for me to base my needs for access on completely. Those who don't like the current way things work are just going to love the subscription based model that looms on the horizon. The software costs will come down but you will have to pay monthly or yearly for this concept to work.

The second point I want to make is this.. Microsoft is not the evil empire that some make it out to be in the blind community. If it wasn't for Microsoft leveling the playing field by giving us all a place to start when learning computers then more than likely a lot more of us would be unemployed. Before Windows 3.11 there was DOS and it wasn't as good as some would like to think. There was MSDOS, IBM DOS, Compaq DOS and about 16 others I can easily remember at this sitting. The command structure was not universal by any rate. Two or three standards emerged, just like Linux, and the rest just kind of sat there. Windows dominance forced NFB and others to act and demand equal access. This would have been much harder to do in a multi platform development cycle. So as much as people complain about Windows they forget how much it has done wonders for us in the areas of communication, entertainment and opportunities for work.

The flipside of this debate is not "look at Apple and Tiger". It's true that Apple has a Screen Reader and Magnifier within Tiger. But what other choices do you have? Better yet if developers do not use the Universal Access tools given out freely by Apple then you have no Universal Access what so ever. That means your Screen Reader may work in Safari but the third party program that is completely community supported doesn't speak to you because those developers did not follow the Apple guidelines. Last I checked most Windows based AT finds ways of making their products work via scripting, set or map files. My point here is that you do not want just one source for your access and you really don't want it to be solely in the hands of the company who brings you only so far to leave you hanging in other areas. And the second Microsoft does make a built in Screen reader or other such tech the current Assistive Technology Venders will cry Anti Trust so fast that it will make your head spin. I also have to say that having Tiger in only 2% of homes and iPods in 80% of the MP3 player market makes one pause about which one needs Universal Access.

Finally the last thing I want to rant on about this day, and congrats if you stayed with me this long, is that the biggest error in Peter's post was that the options in Vista's accessibility have not changed. This is not true. Narrator is far diferent in quality and verbosity. Magnifier, although not a full screen model, allows for smoothing and other Zoom Text xFont like enhancements. You can even change the cursor's length and thickness through Vista's control panel. But the biggest changes in Vista's "Ease of Access" is the on board Speech Recognition and it's Cognitive modifications. Both are new additions to the Access Group and they will go a long way into introducing disabled users to the world of Assistive Technology. Microsoft has been accused of abusing their power so much that they may never offer a true alternative to JAWS or Supernova. But in Vista if you find that Narrator isn't enough or if you want to learn more about Speech the "Ease of Access" options will link you to Microsoft web sites that list all the AT Venders. Thereby giving everyone a choice rather than forcing you to use just what's on board in their operating system.

I mentioned nobility several paragraphs ago. I have another rant on this subject coming in November after everyone releases their upgrades and patches. As a preview of that diatribe let me say again that Assistive Technology is a business. It needs money to survive. There will always be new programs and formats to support and I for one think it's admirable that each one of the leading companies in this industry will have some version of their product on line when Vista ships at launch. We have never seen this before in the world of blindness and for that alone I am thankful that I can go and buy a copy of Vista just like everyone else and use it on the first day it's available.

Okay rant over. It's a little late for Eggos but never too late for more good coffee.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

IE7, Patches, Updates, Money And You

So it's been a week now of IE7 and you might be wondering when you may see official support from a non beta release of your fave AT software. Well here's a quick rundown of what I have gathered so far from those in the know ..

  • JFW- 7.1: Well it sort of works. Much has been said on the lists about Virtual Cursor, Links Lists and some other sticking points. But honestly I don't recommend using JAWS 7.1 and IE7 for your daily work on your main machine. You can .. but good luck.
  • JFW- 8.0: The real official support for IE7 comes with 8.0 now slated for a Novemberish 06 release. This is a paid upgrade and it's leaving the world of Windows 9x behind. Of course IE7 does that too so no big loss there.
  • Magic- 10.0: Again like JAWS you *could* use 10.0 for IE7 but I don't recommend doing that either.
  • Magic- 10.5: It's in beta now but it should release around the same time as JAWS 8.0. It's a free update and it's going to support IE7 when it comes on line on it's Novemberish release date.
  • Window Eyes- 5.5: For the most part WE5.5 can work in IE7. Later beta releases added better support for IE7, however, you can use your current version of WE if you feel so compelled.
  • Window Eyes- 6.0: So you know that the beta is out and you can use that for free in IE7. But the official release is a little on down the line and it will be a paid upgrade. Like others in the AT Industry this new generation of software bids a fond good bye to Windows 9x. So smoke'em if you got'em.
  • Zoom Text- 9.03.1: Um.. it sort of works. To be honest it magnifies and tracks fairly well. No App Reader or other advanced features support though. So prepare to read from the clipboard .. a lot.
  • Zoom Text- 9.04: This is a free update and it will support IE7. Now if it would just be released. Grrr. I'm told that it's a scant few weeks away though. Just not right this minute.. sigh.
  • Dolphin Products- 6.0x: Some are good enough with the map files that making this version work with IE7 is so not an issue. But even with that said Dolphin will do a patch to add some official support to this version of their product line. This would be a regular Map update for free or download via yourdolphin.com.
  • Dolphin Products- 7.0x: Same song different verse. Free updates are coming but no release dates have been spoken out loud.

So are you missing out if your not running IE7. The answer may surprise you. It all really depends on what you do on line with the net. Rumor going around the web is that if you like to view your secured data on the Social Security website you will need to upgrade soon, if not already, to IE7. But the flipside is that some major banking and E-comerce sites are IE6 only. Going to some of these sites gets you a neat little screen that says your browser is not supported by this site holder and you need *the latest* version of IE, being IE6, to view this page.

This kind of thing is unavoidable and it will be around for at least another six to nine months as IE7 begins it's roll out to consumers in mass. Part of the issue is that some sites use and exploit IE6 in ways that just aren't possible in IE7. Some of this is due to security flaws and others are Active X in nature. Bottom line is that IE7 will be the standard eventually and those sites will have to brush the crumbs off the Web Team and redesign their sites at some point. Lucky for all of us that this isn't a flip of the switch Terminator 2 "Come with me if you want to live" moment. Otherwise you would be asking Santa to leave you a SMA in your stockings this year.

In a semi related story..
Firefox 2.0 was released yesterday. No really the official real non Release Canidate version is out now for download. So if you want you could skip all this IE nonsense and start your troubles anew with wondering if your AT software works with this release of Mozilla's web browser. Ah the joys of Technical Support. They too need some big presents in their stockings this year to deal with all the calls pre Vista. And yes I can find just about any number of ways to slip a Vista refrence into just about any post on this blog.

If you like Firefox or you are just curious you can download it from this site..


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Winodws XP Service Pack 3 Delayed Until 2008

I had to go out of town on business this week. so a highlights of Window Eyes 6 on Main Menu is coming. But until I can catch up on tech news from around the net, takes about two hours a day of sheer mass reading generally, I thought this would be one of the biggest stories to get on the blog first. XP SP3 in 08. Well at least that's one Microsoft product I don't have to worry about testing anytime soon.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Quick News: IE7 Hits Today, Vista Licensing and Window Eyes 6 Beta

Internet Explorer 7: Today marks the day where the quiet calm from Microsoft is broken with a storm of new product releases. IE7 is the first of several new products to be released over the next 8 months. And it's going to be out today via download. And then it will be added to November's Patch Tuesday list. Remember that your Assistive Software of choice MAY, KINDA, SORTA work with IE7 but the official versions that officially DO work with AT come over the next few weeks. Just keep that in mind if you are pondering the upgrade because going back to IE6 can be a messy process.

Vista Licensing: There's a ton on the web about this issue and I have hesitated in speaking my mind on it as it's still fluid until Vista's official release. But I have been reading the newly revamped Longhornblogs, called Windows-now.com, for up to the second info on this story that has sparked a thousand bloggers. Check out the new site at..


Window Eyes 6 Beta: G.W. Micro has released the public beta of their new upcoming version of the popular Screen Reader. I know a gal who has been in the beta program and she raves about the new functionality in Office. Plus you can download this version and start playing with IE7 if you so desire. Shout out to Jeff Bishop as well as Main Menu will feature the new Window Eyes 6 as this week's topic. To find and download the new beta go to this link..


Monday, October 16, 2006

Allinplay Gets Ready For IE7

Got this in the old inbox today..

"Dear All inPlay Members,

With the upcoming release of Internet Explorer 7.0 the way All inPlay games are launched will cause problems. We have addressed this issue and released a new installer that you *must* download and install. In the coming weeks we will be upgrading the web site which is incompatible with older versions of the games.

To get the new installer go to http://allinplay.com/download/allinplaysetup_3_01.exe

Download and install this file and you're done!

All inPlay Support"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Quick News: How To Stop The Automatic Update of IE7, Patch Tuesday and Happy Shinny Anti Virus Companies

* As you might already know IE7 is soon to be on it's way to you via the Windows Update feature. Currently very few Assistive Technology products support the new version of the popular browser. And in some cases you will have to obtain an paid upgrade for better support or compatibility to IE7. The danger of course is that you or your company may have Automatic Updates set on your computer or network. Which could be bad when you come into work and boot up to a whole new browser. Ars Technica has an article on a tool kit released way back in July that will prevent you from doing this little surprise. The Microsoft kit doesn't stop or prevent you from downloading IE7 manually though. so you can still use the browser once you are up to snuff with your AT product of choice. Find the article at the link below.


Of course you can also go into Control Panel, Automatic Updates and set them to "Notify me but do not download updates". It's a bit easier but you will have to be on the look out for IE7 in the Critical Updates next time Microsoft issues a patch. For that you must strike IE7 from the list of available downloads in Windows or Microsoft update.

* Windows Updates: Speaking of Automatic Updates at Microsoft.. You may have noticed that Patch Tuesday was kind of more like Patch Someday. There appears to have been some network problems at MS which prevented the automatic distribution of patches. It's all better now and you may either manually download or auto update yor copies of Office and Windows XP. The 10 patches are all under 1.5 MB and you will need to restart your system after running these updates. ZDNet has more on a patch that was supposed to come but didn't by the way.


* Anti Virus Nay Saying: A ton of press has been all over the net from the leading Anti Virus makers on how Microsoft is hurting them and ignoring real threats in security. For a very long time I have been a bit of a conspiricy nut on this subject. Part of me, the I used to work in high pressure sales part, says that these companies create the problems that they then magically fix thereby holding you at the throat to continue to the never ending subscription model that makes up the very core of their business model. Another part of me can't stand the bloatware that comes from things like System Works. But many on the web who are far more technical than I have come right out and accused these companies of being wrekless in their arguments to exist. ZDNet once again today has another article on this subject and it's a good read to see how the bucket doesn't always hold all the water it says it does on the side of the retail box.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

JAWS 8.0 Featured On Main Menu

Jeff Bishop interviewed Eric from Freedom Scientific on Main Menu and you can hear some demonstrations of JAWS 8.0 if you go to the link below and look for the "Replay" for Wednesday.


But if you don't want to listen to the 2 hour presentation, and you really should give it a listen, you can find some highlights from my notes on the broadcast directly below.

* The new “What’s New In JAWS will feature both Eric and Jonathan Mozen. It’s going to be released as a MP3 on the FS site and it’s about 90 minutes long. This will also be included on the CD in DAISY format.
* JAWS 8 will be downloadable off the web, however, this version will not contain the new Realspeak synthesizers. As a result of JAWS now being able to use Realspeak it will be shipped on CD to all current SMA holders.
* The version of Realspeak shipped is over 700 MB and it comes on it’s own CD. The JAWS bi fold package will contain the Realspeak CD on one side and the JFW program disc on the other. Nothing was said about the ILM disc though.
* Public Beta releases, like those with 7.1, will return after the release of 8.0.
* JAWS will now use the Automatic Update feature more often. The plan is to update JAWS every 6 weeks.
* 8.0 no longer supports older versions of Windows. Windows 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, XP Media Center Edition and Windows Server 2003 are supported.
* The older versions of JAWS will still be available on the web but not supported by Freedom Scientific. The archives go all the way back to version 2.0 by the way.
* Eric has stated that a version of JAWS will be available on the day and date of Vista’s release. His comments seemed to be directed at the January 30th retail versions rather than the upcoming Enterprise release.
* 8.0 will work with Office 2007, however, that program is still in Beta and better support will arrive in future updates.
* Realspeak is being adopted to give JAWS better international language support.
Bi Fold package with Realspeak CD on one side and JFW program disc on the other.
* The Realspeak English territory release will contain 3 American, 2 British, 2 Australian, 1 Castilian Spanish and 1 Latin American Spanish voice.
* Other languages will be sold regionally such as Italian and German.
* The new Realspeak voices can be used with the new Say All feature. This will allow you to navigate with Eloquence and switch on the fly to Realspeak for document reading.
* 8.0 will support IE 7.
* Some keystrokes have changed to avoid conflicts with IE 7 but nothing that as not already been seen with Firefox support
* Virtual Buffer and Document Server loading of dynamic HTML and other content has been improved from 7.1. You can actually read pages with tickers in real time .. and this is said to be amazing with a Braille display.
* Skim Reading will now recognize attributes and colors when searching through text
* The Startup Wizard will allow you to customize JAWS when you first launch the program after a new install. This is added from Magic and it allows you to set your preferences without you having to sort through many of the menus in the Configuration Manager.
* The JAWS Find Dialog now has a History list of the last 20 items searched
* Application Management from Magic makes the leap into JAWS. You can go into this tool and turn off JAWS scripts in say Firefox to see if the program is the problem or is the application specific scripts are an issue. Great for trouble shooting your computer.
* Lots of Office 2003 improvements in Excel and Outlook.
* Web Resources has now been added to the Help menu. This will take you to the JAWS HQ and other places where you can find up to date information on JAWS. The search engine now used by Freedom Scientific for web based searches of their site is now Google based.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Vista Corner: RC2?, Startup Noises and Title Bars

Expect Build 5744 to show up in the next 24 to 48 hours if Ars Technica and the Super Site for Windows are correct. If your keeping score this is the second release in the 57xx catagory which is considered the road to RTM schedule for October 25th. It will be released to the public for a very short time. So keep hitting refresh and you might get lucky.

There was this big deal a few weeks ago about Microsoft pulling an Apple in that you could not alter your startup/boot sounds in Vista. The net outcry was so great on this issue that in RC1 it was revealed that you could indeed alter your startup sound schemes. However those not running this build still think that it is an issue. Oh the joys of beta testing and those who do not upgrade their builds.

And then there's this from the Classic for Classic Sake department. Some can now rest easy because title bars will now look like title bars. Screen Readers ignore the link below because it's like this visual thing.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

September 06 Tech Update: The "Better Late Than Never" Edition

What a month for news. It’s been feast or fanon lately. But I have cobbled together some bits of wisdom from around the net to make this update. Even if it’s a little later than I normally would like it to be.

Also after two years of writing this thing I am beginning to play with the format. So this month’s late issue is just my notes pasted into the blog. Sorry about that. Maybe by Halloween I will have figured out what I want to do next with the updates.

* September Stories: To catch up on Jonathan Mozen, Ai Squared’s sale and other big news hit this link for the mini updates I posted for September.


* More On Mozen: This is the article that has sparked debate on dozens of mailing lists since the Main Menu interview a few weeks ago.


* Telesensory: Baby steps? There’s talk that the revamped TSI has a new line under wraps for an 07 release.


Neat GW Micro article: Also take a look at some of their other great knowledge base articles for some good learnin’.


* Dragon 9: A great review from the awesomeness that is Ars Technica.


* New tool from Nuance


* Speech Recognition Chips? Speaking of Speech Recognition the future may be on a chip rather than a software approach.


* Happy Feet: Don’t like talking to your computer? How about dancing.. This article describes the mouse to foot interface. And no. I am really really serious.


* Sony gives away E Readers: Sony’s second attempt at an electronic book costs $349, comes only in black/white/gray scale, 800 by 600 resolution and will now play MP3 and AAC files. Oh yeah and it does some type of large print. Here’s an article about a give away of the product to Low Vision users.


* Windows Tools List: While a lot of these may not be completely AT compatible.. there are some here I haven’t ever seen before period.


* LCD Vs. Plasma: Ever wanted to know what the dilly’o was on why some like one over the other? Well I personally prefer DLP but for those others looking to buy this Xmas read this to know more about all these letters beyond those that make up TV.


~~ Vista Corner

* Vista Myths: This is a fantastic series of articles at ZDNet that tackles the rumors behind what Vista is and isn’t.


* RC2.. Sort Of:: Self explanatory when you read the article listed below.


~~ Apple Sauced

* Tiger 10.4.8: The new Tiger update, a big Security Patch and another Airport support download came out last month.


* Classic Mac OS on a Thumbdrive: Another file for that 4 gig USB drive of stuff you hope you never have to use in a bad situation.