Sunday, December 31, 2006

December 06 Tech Update: The Down N' Dirty Edition

My real list of links was left at work. So the following is a poor cobbled edition. I look at it this way. We have a bonus January 07 update on hand for next week.

Steve's Word Of The Month
Definition: I can't beleive that some out there still don't know what this one is but I do run into several *non wired* individuals who don't know this one. Vaporware is the term used for a product that has either been..
A. Rumored to come to the public for years but hasn't yet.
B. A product so great in scope that there is no way it can meet it's own hype.
C. A product who flies into production, stalls, resurfaces a year or so later, stalls again then disappears into the void never to be seen again unless it is on one of those Vaporware Countdown articles like the one listed below.,72350-0.html?tw=rss.index

BTW: I saw this on the origins of famous phrases and sayings. It kinda fits in here so I will just drop this below.

!! Lightning Round

*Ttop Tech Tid Bits for Dec 28th: Like Dean Martineau over at Top Dot I am enjoying a bit of a holiday. Unlike Dean I am doing it in the same city I live in every day. Still it's a break from the hustle of the AT rat race. Rather than me try to list a ton of news I think it's better to link to Dean's list of links for AT news. Besides he linked to me so it's only fair that I link back.

* Alt Key Symbols: With me in three private and three public betas at the moment it's easy to forget keyboard commands and features. Here's a page on doing odd characters on 104 styled keyboards.

* Vorizon To Distribute Ads On Your Cell Phone: The title says it all. Hope Talks and Mobile Speak come with ad filters in the next releases. If not .. time to argue out of your cell phone contract.

* 100 Things We Didn't Know Last Year: I can't stand Countdown articles yet I still read a few and .. I am working on one now. Yes.. start your groaning and cries of hypocrocy now. Most of the entries on the link below, however, were worth a mention though.

* Firefox Creator No Longer Trusts Google: The problem with companies that asert that Microsoft is the "great evil empire" is that they too become so popular that they also become part of the problem rather than it's solution. Enter Firefox, Google and their real Big Brother Apple.

* 30 Years of Apple Rumors: Speaking of Vaporware, evil and Apple .. hold for quiet applause at an actual theme for a last second Monthly Update.. Here's a telling article on what has and hasn't happened in Macland.,39029477,49286508,00.htm

* Mac Volume Control: Oh and I don't know if this works or not until we have our Mac back up at work. So just pretend this is one of those notes under a fridge magnet for Pizza Hut until I can verify the tip.

~~ Vista corner

Maybe it's the fact that Vista is out in the wild that has me not all crazy that the consumer launch is now less than a month away. Or maybe it is the fact that I have to spend a lot of money I don't really have on upgrades that I hope will be considered work related come tax time that has me down. Either way the Vista stuff can take a bit of a break for now. Here's some semi interesting links I had floating around through my travels on the net.

* Arrow and Vista slowdowns: Hype that Arrow REALLY DOESN'T eat up tons of resources on your new shiny desktop or laptop. Note I said *new* system. Older systems.. eat RAM upgrades at will!

* Beyond Vista: I posted a link to an article a few months ago about the new code names for the next lines of Windows in the V series. Well here's some concepts that may or may not be vaporware.

More of this update next week when I clean out the inbox and dig up the other stuff I had set for this month...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Public Domain Audio Books

Want to read a classic but don't want to do it through a DAISY or other such synth? Then have a real live person do the recording. Check out this link to download some classics fully read by human beings.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Freedom Scientific Has A Podcast

Take a look at what just came into my Inbox..

"Fee free to pass the word that Freedom Scientific now has a podcast RSS feed from our Web site. The first episode of FSCast can be accessed from a link on the home page <> or from the FSCast page <>.

Merry Christmas and have a great week!

Rosemary Kleske"

New Stuff Coming Next Week.. No Really!

Many people off line have said to me "Hey.. you were adding stuff like crazy in October and November. And now .. zip. What happened?". Ah what happened indeed.

Let's see I have been up to my ears in updates, betas, repairs and trouble shooting all that stuff as well. Mind you I am not complaining one bit. Bubble wrap is just as cool as gift wrap for me. But what I am saying is that time is something I need to be delivered to me by elves rather than more toys. For once i can say honestly I have enough toys.. for now. Although a New Year's Resolution for 07 may be to take on fewer betas. I actually said no to one major vender recently and it felt bad/good at the same time. Or maybe that was just the relief of one less bug tracking system to learn talking.

While I am on about this beta cycle mess let me say this. I am very excited about what products are coming in 07. There is some crazy competition going on the Screen Magnifier world the likes we have never seen before. There are real viable alternatives in Screen Reader land as well. And I think the Note Taker PDA universe is going to be even more exciting by ATIA or CSUN. In short there are some real good things in Assistive Technology ahead. And that ain't me blowin' smoke either.

So I used to say many years ago in radio "Please Stand By". Next week will be the December 06 Update, some thoughts on Hand Held/4 inch CCTVs and a fond look back at the big stories of 06.

Until then I wish you and yours a Happy Holiday season!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Microsoft: New Home Page, Windows Weekly Podcast and "Pay As You Go" Windows?

Either for the holidays, Vista, Windows Live or just because they felt like it, Microsoft has changed their front page.

One of the ways I stay in touch with tech is through that old time radio now known as a Podcast. Or as Leo at TWIT says "Netcast". Leo, in fact, has Paul from the Windows Super Site on a Weekly Netcast that is all about Microsoft and Windows. Check the latest episode out from the TWIT link below.

Remember when I said that the subscription model was coming for Windows and then AT? Well it looks like those days are closer than they appear in the rear view mirror.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Beautiful Vistas Means More Windows On The World

No I am not being poetic. What that tagline above refers to is the new trend for Microsoft to release versions of Windows that are tied to vistas. Before it was Whistler, Longhorn and Blackcomb. All were spots near ski resorts that the Seattle crowd like to hit on vacation. Now they have opened up their travel brochures to include other places they like to visit. Learn more about what vistas are ahead of us in the link below.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Upgrade Insanity.. And A Vista Story

Thought I dropped off the planet? Well it sure feels like it from here. I am so tired of watching progress bars. I have installed, uninstalled and trouble shot upgrades like crazy. And then there are the three betas I am in at the moment. Email piling up like unwanted Holiday Fruitcakes. It's not pretty. Here's some of the fun I have seen with some of the new, now shipping, versions of AT.

Kurzweil 11 says that it's Neospeech is newer than that of Zoom Text.
Kurzweil 10.5 won't let go of Dolphin's old synths when shutting down.
Magic 10 won't authrorize on a newly reformatted system running JAWS 8.0. They did once but now no longer friends I guess.
JAWS 7.1 Video Interceptor changes display resolution thereby knocking out the Merlin Plus Panel CCTV in the process.

And I still have to test a few Laptop CCTV units with the newly minted Zoom Text 9.04 update.
Run JAWS 8 and Magic 10 in some nasty applications like Firefox.
Install, test and optimize three systems with IE7 and sorted Assistive Technology..

Whew.. and then I have Vista and those three betas. Believe me I love my job but all these programs all at once has me thinking vacation for sure.

Oh and here's that Vista story on Sound Management BC will enjoy.

Hopefully in the next week or so I can catch up and post more interesting stuff. Just bare with me.. and wish me luck!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Window Eyes 6 Is Released!

G.W. has moved past the public betas and is now offering the full fledged versions of Window Eyes 6.0.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Adobe Issues Security Alert For Products 7.0 - 7.08

If there is one thing more than I dislike in this world more than Apple's stupid cries of "a world without choices" that would be just about any product from Adobe. PDF especially so. But during the holiday season it just feels so wrong to gloat. Okay maybe just onece.. snicker.

Below is a link to an Ars Technica article that shows that some hackers could use Acrobat Reader, Active X and Internet Explorer to do bad and nasty things to your compputer.

Where was this article yesterday when I was looking up good stuff for the update. Sigh...