Thursday, November 30, 2006

November 06 Tech Update: The "Vista Lives!" Edition

Some people love opening gifts. Me? I have enjoyed opening boxes and boxes of upgrades. Ah the smell of a newly printed bifold package. The rumble of three tape cassettes in a box. Mmm.. the super slowness of a progress loading bar as it just won’t freaking get to 100% fast enough. Oh the holidays are full of such wonders!

Steve’s Word Of The Month:


Definition: This is a term used to describe the watching of a TV program, or listening to a radio program as well, through a device like a DVR [Digital Video Recorder] at a completely different time and place than it’s usual airing. A Tivo or Slingbox are two such devices that allow you to view your media on the road or from different places in your home. A new cool thing is the ability to see Direct TV from just about anywhere in the US as long as you face South. See what I mean from the link below.

Direct TV On The Go:

~ Roy’s Toy Box

Submitted by yours truly.. Ranger1138.

Internet Explorer 7 in No Add On mode.

This tip is for those of you who use Internet Explorer 7. And it’s really important for those of you who use Zoom Text.

Kelly Ford offered that if you are having problems reading web pages in IE7 you can try and view those pages with all the “Add On” modules disabled. Macromedia Flash got you down? Bam! It’s not loaded when using this option. Here’s how to do this cool feature.

From the Desktop:

Right click or use your application key on the Internet Explorer icon. Select “Start with no Add Ons”.

From the Start Menu.

Choose All Programs then Accessories. From there go to System Tools and find “Internet Explorer with No Add Ons”.

Now this is very important for Zoom Text users. ZT reads Internet Explorer via an Add On module known as the AHOI system. Running IE7 with no Add Ons means you have no speech, App Reader or any other advanced functions in IE7. The same thing happens to you if you disable the Add On in IE6 by the way.

Blogging resources.

Lightning Round!

Everything is just in a Hodge Podge lump in the list below. Vista stuff is at the bottom on top of the Apple stories.

` JAWS 8.0: Here’s the process I used with some success for updating JAWS to 8.0.

* Use the program CD to load JAWS then restart.

* Keep the program CD in the disc tray and load the Training Materials when prompted. I have seen it ask for ILM right after boot as well. Your call on which to do first.

* Load the Realspeak CD. The Typical install option will load all the voices. You will have to restart the machine.

* Now start the new copy of JAWs .. and update it with the new patch that came out Monday.

` Norton Anti Virus: Check out this article on the fix to a fix on backing up your system.

` Sony’s sound through skin: I wanted wireless headphones but this just sounds creepy. Use your own body to conduct the signals from the player to your headphones. See more in the link below.

` Talking Crayons Perfect for the Blind parents of children or Blind Children themselves.

` Vista Adoption: An analyst predicts that the Vista adoption rate will be faster than Windows XP. Read more from Ars in the link below.

` Direct X 10: This is more of an information article on DX10.

` Apple Prototypes: See what never made it past the planning stages. And no they are not all Newton knock offs.

Side Note- I felt so bad about the bad press for the Zune that I almost bought one for my new Hard Drive player. It had a big bright back lit screen with color schemes quite like a hand held video magnifier. But Dell said one price and then try to charge me another. With my new found discount to make me be happy that I was still buying a Dell I chose the Archos 604 instead. For just pure entertainment value I give you a review of the Zune, that doesn’t work with Vista yet by the way, and the Archos unit I did purchase.

Zune Review:

Archos 604 Review

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Quick News: WE6 Public Beta 3, A Warning For JFW8 and Win 2000 And LOC Grants Copyright Exemption For Blind

WE 6: Window Eyes users need not feel left out of the whole buzz surrounding all these updates and upgrades. The third public beta release is out now and a little bird told me in a dream that the actual final release could be in Santa's bag or a little bit before his flight leaves the North Pole. Get the new release at the link below.

JFW 8: The Deseart Skies has posted a warning about JAWS 8.0 and Windows 2000. See the post about the conflicts in the link below.

LOC: Several copyright exemptions were granted yesterday by the Library of Congress. There are a few that are closely directed to "fair use" but the one that is really of note for Blind users is the ability to use electronic books with Access Software. Take a look at the link below to learn more.

Friday, November 17, 2006

JAWS 8.0 Released!

As I said yesterday.. JAWS was coming and now it's on line to download for those with updated SMAs. Remember that you can't use the new Realspeak synth until you get your CDs in the mail though. Happy weekend you early adopters!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

JAWS 8.0 "What's New Page" Up And Release Soon

The "What's New" page showed up today on the main FS web site. Expect the download links for 8.0 to go live very very soon.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Patch Tuesday Brings 5

For those of you reading via dial up be warned that this will be more than 10 MB depending on which ones apply. Learn more from this Ars Technica article.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Quick News: Apple, JAVA And

Apple: All of this talk from Adobe, Symantic and McAfee is really funny now that Apple has closed down and reconstructed their ULA. But as you know it's not a problem because OSX doesn't have any viruses. And as addition to that humorus note Mr. Long the "Mac Guy" in those commercials was found to be too smug. So now he gets to sit on the sidelines with the Dell Dude I guess. Can you see it now? Geek Conventions with autograph lines for these men and the grown up Star Wars Kid? Nope me either. Read more from Slashdot..

JAVA: Also linking from Slashdot who links to another article.. JAVA is now Open Source under the GPL.

iPod Shuffle 2.0: Ars Technica has a good look at the now shipping newly revamped iPod Shuffle. I know a lot of Blind people with this and the Muvo. And since I was talking Zune the other day I thought this might be of interest to some.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Launch Woes: Vista RTM Leaked/Cracked, Zune Street Date Broken and Playstation 3 Naked Plus Firmware Updated

Within a day I saw the leaked copy of Vista RTM on Digg. The comments section of the post ran up to 100 fast with the Pirates chattering away on how to circumvent the installation. And within another day the semi crak appeared along with Office 2007 Enterprise RTM. The fact that this happened isn't astounding. The speed in which it happened however is another story entirely. But of course there were more than 3 million people on the public beta cycle and that's probably where the homework began on this crack. The thing is that the activation hasn't been done in yet and I would even say that the crak may be a honeypot situation where MS tracks who, what and when on how this is all done. Anyway check out the details on the soon to be patched crack at the line below.

Zune: Speaking of products that came out a little earlier than expected. A few months ago I thought I wanted a Zune. I have since recovered and I think I want a cheaper iRiver Clix. But check your local Best Buy because some have started selling the Zune early. I really want a Hard Drive based player, however, this preview from CNET [and some other just posted amateur reviews] have me thinking Flash based players a bit longer. The killer on the Zune was that you can't use it as a portable drive for non music files. Read more from CNET below.

Playstation 3: What I love about launch day is the time it takes for someone to sit down and crack their system open for all of us on the web to see. Patrick Norton, at that time on the Screensavers, bought an original Xbox and opened it's casing on live TV just hours after it went on sale. The chip did say "Intel Inside" by the way. The below link is a series of photos of the internals of the $600 PS3. I imagine "" will be doing the same in even more detail before Thanksgiving.

And even more scary is the list of things added or modified from the base firmware of the launch units. See more in the link below.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

JAWS 8.0 "What's New" Now On Line

So much for me taking a three day weekend with no thoughts of Vista, JAWS, Window Eyes or just about anything else. Maybe I will shoot for some quiet time in April 07. Thanks to Jeff Bishop for posting this info. The link below let's you download a zip file with 10 MP3 files.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Quick News: New Access World, Window Eyes 6 Public Beta 2 and Braille Note Upgrade

Access World: The November issue of Access World is now on line. I haven't read this yet but I soon will because they have a review of the KNFB Reader. As many know I am not wild about this device for several reasons. About 3,500 at last count. anyway the link below will take you to the latest issue..

WE 6: The process is moving fast towards release that is for sure. And nothing says Holiday Shopping Season like a new batch of Assistive Technology upgrades. Mmm.. shipping bubble wrap. Pop.. pop.. pop! Oh yeah and here's the link to the new beta for Window Eyes 6. Sorry that I am so late to the party on this news.

Braille Note: Even later news that has been sitting in the Inbox wating to be blogged is the news that you can upgrade your Voice or Braille Note to use the Oxford Dictionary. Read more about this cool add on at the link below.

Vista Corner: Vintage PCs Under Vista, The Sounds Of Vista AND The First Ultra Detailed Review Of All The Flavors Of Vista

A few months ago I kind of made some points with my mentor but I may have made Microsoft unhappy in the process. If you go back to my NFB Presentation post from July you will see where I said that the RAM of a given system would work best under 2 GB. Robert Sinclair didn't really agree and if you listen to the audio of that faithful day you will hear that he came down and stood next to me for a bit of a "point-counterpoint" mini debate. Well some initial tests of older hardware NOT RUNNING AT have been rolling in as more and more can talk Vista because their Non Disclosure Agreements end with RTM. Most of them state that RAM is the key to avoid taxing the hard drive. 1 GB is the very least you want on board before you upgrade to Vista and for those of us who use Assistive Technology I stand firm still on my 2 GB stance from July. Check out this Ars Technica article to learn more about what did and didn't run in RC2. Oh and remember that this is still beta code in the review.

BC has posted in the comments section a few times about 3d audio and other neat aspects of Vista sound management. A few months ago, I believe in a tech update, I posted an article on just how much sound management has changed in Vista. But for now let's skip all that techy stuff for a moment and let's get down to the nitty gritty. Are you going to change your default sound schemes in Vista? To aid you in the decision I post the article where I got the link to hear XP vs. Vista sounds. The first link is the article while the second link is the direct file in Quick Time format.

Hear the sounds of XP and Vista side by side below..

And if this wasn't enough Vista news for today I link to the awesomeness of the Windows Super Site. Paul has a very long and very detailed review of Vista RTM. In it you see the product breakdowns and, for me, the extras that come with the Ultimate Edition of Windows Vista. At least I don't have to worry about Plus for Windows Vista this go around. Again this one is long so grab a sandwitch... a foot long from Subway will do nicely.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Quick News: JAWS 11/8 Update, Nemo and System Access

JAWS: The new live update for Internet Explorer 7 is now available. Use your Automatic Update feature via the Help menu or go to the link below.

Nemo: The product page for the new Enhanced Vision entry into the Hand Held 4 inch display CCTV field is now up. See it at this site.

System Access: The new version of System Access that allows you to remotely use another computer running JAWS or Window Eyes was demonstrated this week on Main Menu. To hear this week's show click the link below.

Replay Wednesday

Monday, November 06, 2006

Zoom Text 9.04 Now On Line

Finally.. Almost everything I use is either use for work is either IE7 compatible by release or in beta. I can now cast off the old and truly embrace the new!

Here are the release notes..

Version 9.04

Released November 2nd, 2006 for Windows XP, 2000, NT4 (SP6), Millennium and 98

Expanded support for Internet Explorer 7

ZoomText has been updated for compatibility with Internet Explorer 7, including support for tabbed browser windows.

ZoomText now supports USB CCTV's

ZoomText can now be used with USB CCTV devices, allowing for simultaneous magnified viewing from ZoomText and a CCTV camera. When used together, ZoomText's magnified view appears in one half of the screen while the CCTV camera view appears in the other.

The following CCTV manufacturers have added or are currently adding support for ZoomText in their USB CCTV products: Ash Technology, Clarity Solutions, Low Vision International, Optelec, Optron and SynSupport. For information on using your USB CCTV device with ZoomText, contact your CCTV manufacturer.

Note: Some ZoomText features are not available when a USB CCTV device is active on the system.

ZoomText now available in Turkish

ZoomText Magnifier and Magnifier/Reader have been localized (translated) for the Turkish language.

Incompatible screen rotation software now detected

ZoomText now detects and alerts the user when incompatible screen rotation software is present on the system, including Pivot, Pivot Pro, EZTune and Magic Rotation. When any of these programs are detected, the user is instructed to remove them from the system in order to use ZoomText.

Fix for Internet Explorer crash when clicking in Yahoo website

When ZoomText was running, Internet Explorer would sometimes crash when clicking buttons and other page elements on Yahoo's website ( This problem has been fixed.

Fix for errors in DCM chain

On certain systems, if a video card was added or replaced, the following error would occur when attempting to start ZoomText:

"An error has occurred in the DCM Chain"

The error was caused by failure of Microsoft's "Driver Chaining Manager" (aka "DCM") to detect changes to the systems video card configuration. The Driver Chaining Manager (installed with ZoomText) has been updated and now properly detects and adjusts to video card changes.

Fix for miscellaneous AppReader problems

On certain systems, a variety of AppReader problems would occur, including: random freezing, word highlight sticking on the screen, and inability to exit the AppReader tool. These problems have been fixed.

Fix for typing echo and tracking in Microsoft Excel

In Microsoft Excel, ZoomText's typing echo and tracking would sometimes stop working. This problem has been fixed.

Fix for loss of activation when switching regional settings

With domestic versions of ZoomText, if you switched Windows' regional settings to something other than "English (United States)" or "English (Canada)", ZoomText's activation license would be lost the next time ZoomText was started. ZoomText now preserves the activation license and instructs the user to select one of the supported regional settings.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Quick News: JFW 7.1 Vs. IE7, Dolphin and Firefox 2.0

JFW 7.1 and IE7: Well everyone else has posted this already but consider me just giving in to peer pressures at this stage. Courtesy of the Desert Skies.

Dolphin: If you happen to be running a 7.0x version of HAL, Lunar or Supernova then you may or may not have noticed the flury of updates recently. If you are set to Automatic Update you may have missed that Excel, Word and like 18 other Maps have been updated. There's one coming for IE7 as well but no date or time frame has been mentioned yet.

Third Party cookies in Firefox: Patrolling Digg today netted me this little morsel on Firefox 2.0 tracking and just how you can go about with disabeling some cookies that can be tracked.

Oh and Mozilla comes out to give their side of the security flaw issue in 2.0 as well.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Quick News: NLS Digital Player, New ITunes and WMP11 Review

Every time I put a Tech Update to bed the next day I can count on some good info popping up on line. Today is no diferent.

NLS Digital Player: The pictures and descriptions of the new player coming to us in 2008 are now posted on the web. My thanks to Dan Brown for passing along this link this morning.

Windows Media Player 11: I have already run into the bug with streaming media when I decided to play Main Menu from work this morning. There is of course a work around but those who sit behind a fortress of security software may wish to look at the read me before jumping to the final release. Oh and the Windows Super Site has a detailed review of the new media player as well.

iTunes 7.0.2: Man they are updating this version like mad. Hope those $50/$60 JFW scripts work with this new version. Learn what's changed in the software that I refuse to use because I don't believe in DRM at Ars Technica.