It's all in the title my friends. This stuff has been clogging up my inbox and I am in a mood where everything must go. And I pass the savings on to you.
Clarity Introduces the JUNIOR!
Press Release For Immediate Release
Minden, NV - March 27th, 2007 - Introducing the new Junior ultra portable video magnifier. Offered at the lowest price in its class at only $695. The Junior enables you to read on the go or perform simple household tasks with ease. You will clearly see price labels, menus, phone numbers, prescription labels, favorite recipes, bus schedules, or bills and receipts. Writing with the Junior is easy, too. Simply tilt the camera to the stable "Writing" position, and begin writing anything from checks to Christmas cards. The small size fits easily onto your belt or in a handbag.
* Weighs only 11 ounces
* Lowest price on the market
* 4 inch viewing screen
* Video output for use with larger screen of your choosing
* 3x to 9x Magnification
* 4 viewing modes (including 1 color select)
* Tactile Controls allow for ease of use
* Includes wrist strap and carrying case
* 3 hour battery life
* One year warranty (optional two year)
* 30-day money back guarantee
To find out how to place your order, contact your local Clarity dealer or call us at 800-575-1456.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
IBM Makes Software, Web, Accessibility Push
By David Needle
You might take using a computer for granted, but for millions of people, it's a challenge. One in five individuals, or over 54 million Americans, has a disability that makes it difficult to see a computer screen or navigate the Web, according to IBM.
Specialized, usually expensive, software and hardware solutions have long existed. And in recent years, certain helpful facilities have been built into mainstream software, like magnification for the visually impaired.
But IBM wants to broaden development for the needs of the disabled at a fundamental teaching level. A recent survey of 200 two and four-year U.S.
universities commissioned by the computer giant found that the majority of faculty do not teach accessibility in the classroom.
Today IBM announced an initiative to give teachers wider access to learning material about assistive technologies. Six university partners have signed on to start and the U.S. Department of Education is also supporting the initiative. IBM is building a worldwide repository of materials it said will enable student developers to make software more accessible to those with disabilities and the aging population.
"To create a truly inclusive society, all forms of information technology need to be more accessible," said Dr. Bonnie Jones of the U.S. Department of Education. "If we can't do this, people with disabilities land on the wrong side of the 'digital divide.' We have to capture the intelligence and imagination of our next generation of IT developers now."
The University of Illinois, California State University at Long Beach, Georgia Tech, University of Toronto and the Rochester Institute of Technology are some of the universities who are already working with IBM to build a repository of repeatable learning materials to incorporate into everyday computer programming classes.
In one example, the University of Illinois recently added an online course out universal Web site design that includes accessibility for people with disabilities.
"What's so exciting to me, and so important, is trying to get ahead of the curve and influence colleges around the world to change the way they teach,"
said Benjamin Kepner, program director, marketing and strategy for the IBM human ability and accessibility center.
"The result is going to be that IBM, or let's say AT&T, Verizon and other companies, will be able to employ people who understand accessibility, it's not an afterthought. Once you build accessibility into your products, that means giving millions of people, productive, fulfilling work," Kepner told internetnews.com. "It can also mean more Web sites will be created that consumers can access."
Kepner spoke during his attendance at the 2007 Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference at the California State University at Northridge.
IBM awarded prizes to three students who won a contest related to the Open Document Format for interoperability.
Daniel Millington (Capitol College), Chase Pritchett (University of Oklahoma), and Yang Liu (Tsinghua University in China), wrote computer code that checks word processing documents that adhere to the ODF to determine whether they are accessible. The students contributed their code to the open source community via sourceforge.org.
Separately, Kepner mentioned other accessibility projects in which IBM is involved. For example, one software/hardware product IBM co-developed with another firm is designed to help people with tremors better control a computer mouse. Another, ViaScribe, is being used by 15 universities worldwide. Used in conjunction with a microphone, ViaScribe is speech recognition software that course instructors can use to get their spoken words on a computer screen so the deaf and hard of hearing can follow along.
To IBM's surprise, ViaScribe proved valuable to more than those with hearing loss. "We've created a mine-able resource that students can use look up lectures on the Web," said Kepner. "As we develop more of these technologies, there will be a larger societal benefit."
ZoomNews customer edition, March 2007
New ZoomNews Audio Edition
Give your eyes a break! Try out the new ZoomNews Audio Edition and the ZoomNews Audio Player on our website at http://www.aisquared.com/News/zoomnews.cfm.
ZoomText 9.1 – Expanding Your View and More
Picture of ZoomText 9.1 product box
With the domestic release of ZoomText 9.1 just a few weeks away, we want to remind you of the exciting new features coming your way – features that will allow you to improve your productivity in all of your applications. If you’re the type that just can’t wait, you’re in luck. The ZoomText 9.1 beta is still available for you to download and use. And it’s free!
Want to try it out? Click here to download the free ZoomText 9.1 Beta software <http://www.aisquared.com/beta> .
Here’s what you can look forward to in ZoomText 9.1:
* New Dual Monitor Support. ZoomText’s new dual monitor support allows you to utilize two monitors to “expand your magnified view”. At any magnification level you can now have twice as much information in view at all times. You can also use the second screen to share a magnified or unmagnified view of your desktop with another person or group. Note: Dual Monitor Support is available in Windows Vista and XP only.
* New Focus Enhancements. The new Focus Enhancement feature makes it easy to locate and follow the control focus when you tab and arrow key through menus, dialogs, tool bars, and other application controls. When a control has focus, a bright, colorful rectangle or underline is placed around or under the control, making selection of controls much clearer.
* Support for Windows Vista. ZoomText 9.1 offers robust support for the new Windows Vista operating system, allowing you to take advantage of Vista’s improved security, stability and of course, it’s fresh, eye-catching user experience.
* New Windows Vista Logon Support. ZoomText's new logon support provides essential magnification and screen reading features when logging into Windows Vista.
* Support for Microsoft Office 2007. ZoomText 9.1 is ready for the new look and feel of Office 2007. In Word, Excel and Outlook, all of the new user interface components are tracked and spoken with the clarity you’ve come to expect in previous versions of Office.
* Support for Adobe Acrobat 8 and Adobe Reader 8. ZoomText's reading tools, including AppReader and DocReader, allow you to create and read documents in the latest releases of Acrobat and Reader.
* Support for Mozilla Firefox 2.0. ZoomText offers advanced support for Firefox 2.0, allowing you to accurately navigate and read complete web pages. In addition, you can use ZoomText’s Web Finder and Text Finder to quickly locate the links, controls and text that you’re interested in.
Dual Monitors Are a Wish Come True.
by Cathy Gettel
I’ve been using ZoomText for two years and like many of you, I’ve always wished I could see more of what I’m working on. I want to have the text large enough to read, but I want to see more of my work at one time. You might think it sounds like I want to have my cake and eat it too. Well, yes; that’s exactly what I want!
To my delight, Ai Squared has granted my wish. With the advent of ZoomText 9.1, I can now connect two monitors to my computer and see twice as much as I was able to see before. And let me tell you, it makes a huge difference in my life. I have monster spreadsheets I use to keep track of sales, including columns for the company names, monthly sales, year-to-date sales and notes. It makes for a lot of panning back and forth. But with ZoomText 9.1, I can use the new Dual Monitor feature in what is called “Span View”, and see all of the columns at once. Note: I use ZoomText at 2 times magnification.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of dual monitors, you may be thinking “How does that work?” Imagine two monitors side by side on your desk, together displaying a wider magnified view of the screen. ZoomText takes care of splitting the magnified view between the two screens automatically. All you have to do is appreciate the difference. The image below will help you picture what the dual monitor Span View can do for you.
On my system, when I use the dual monitor span view, the ZoomText user interface is split across the two screens. If I were working with only the left hand monitor, I’d have to pan the magnified view to see the right half of the ZoomText user interface. With two monitors, I can see the whole ZoomText program at one time.
With two equal size monitors set to the same resolution, the image split is seamless. I usually have the edges of my monitors touching so there is no space showing between the two. In no time, my brain adjusted so that I can ignore the monitor frames and concentrate only on the work in front of me.
Occasionally, I work side by side with one of my coworkers writing articles for ZoomNews and copy for our product brochures. With a simple hotkey, I can switch to “1x View”, allowing me to have one screen magnified for my needs, while the other is unmagnified for my fully-sighted coworker.
I can also set the dual monitor feature to “Clone View”, which is very useful when I’m training other ZoomText users. With Clone View, both screens display identical magnified views. I can spin one monitor toward my audience and have the other monitor facing me. This helps me maintain the student/teacher feel rather than having everyone gathered around me trying to see one monitor, and making me feel as if I’m in their way.
In order for ZoomText to work in dual monitor mode, you must have a system running Windows Vista or Windows XP. You must also have either a dual-head video card or two video cards. To run two external monitors on a laptop you’ll need a docking station that accepts two monitor cables. I can tell you from personal experience, it’s a joy to go from only viewing my laptop screen, such as when I’m traveling, to my desk where I slip the laptop into its docking station and turn on both of my monitors.
If you’ve been wishing for more of what you buy ZoomText for, check out the new dual monitor feature in ZoomText 9.1. In “span view” you’ll see more of the magnified image. And for greater productivity in sharing situations, whether you share with people who are fully sighted or low vision, the “1x view” and “clone view” options is just what the doctor ordered.
The ZoomText 9.1 beta is available now for download from the Ai Squared web site, http://www2.blogger.com/www.aisquared.com. The official product will begin shipping in the U.S. and Canada in April. Look for the International version in May. Perhaps Ai Squared has granted your wish too.
Editors note: Cathy Gettel is Ai Squared’s Dealer Network Manager. She is not a person with low vision, but rather a person with “over 40 eyes” who appreciates working with the world-leading magnification software.
Scott Webb Gives Nickelodeon A Creative Vision
In 1981, Scott Webb was a new college graduate ready to take on the world. One morning while reading the newspaper, he covered one eye and realized he couldn’t read with the other. He scheduled an appointment at an eye clinic and was told there was nothing wrong with his eye. Technically, that was right. It was the optic nerve that was causing the 23 year old to lose his central vision. Within a month’s time, Scott was unable to drive.
Working as a free-lance production assistant in the fledgling cable TV business, Scott had a dream job: reporting to Fred Seibert, who was the first creative director of MTV (Music Television). Scott was encouraged to learn as much as he could about all aspects of video production. Suddenly, faced with rapidly failing eye sight due to a diagnosis of Leber’s Optic Atrophy, he had a decision to make. Filled with dread, Scott went to Fred’s office and explained, “I have an uncorrectable problem. I cannot read, drive, really do anything.” Scott was ready to give up. Looking back he was unsure about just what he was ready to give up. Perhaps his job, maybe his life. Things were looking pretty bleak.
Scott was shocked when instead of commiserating and saying goodbye, Fred told him in no uncertain terms, “You have a lot of problems. You’re lazy, disorganized, and irresponsible. Go work on those things, if you have trouble with your eyesight after you solve those real problems, let me know.” Suddenly, hopelessness was replaced with determination and drive. Knowing Fred believed in him and would do whatever was necessary to help overcome his eyesight problems, Scott set out to prove Fred did the right thing that day.
In the mid-80s Scott’s mentor, Fred Seibert, was asked to rescue the floundering children’s network, Nickelodeon. Again Scott was able to lend his talent to Fred’s mission. Together, the Nickelodeon team turned the lowest rated cable network into a first place phenomenon. This time Scott honed his skills at writing and producing on-air promotion.
During his time at Nickelodeon, Scott’s hardware magnification solution failed to keep up with technology. A friend did some research and discovered ZoomText version 7. Not only could the software magnify what was on the computer screen, but ZoomText could read the applications that Scott used, and most importantly read his documents and email. In the years that followed, ZoomText added more features allowing Scott to increase his productivity. With ZoomText doing its job, Scott could concentrate on his. As a result, Scott Webb has remained a loyal customer.
Reminiscing about his Nickelodeon days, Scott remarked, “At the heart of Nick is the understanding that it’s hard to be a kid in a grown up world. We pulled that concept into every aspect of the business.” By the late 80s, Scott was the creative director and involved in everything that happened at Nick. He was the vision of Nickelodeon!
A lot of healing occurred during the Nick days, Scott recalls, “That time was very important to my own character building. It allowed me to process what had happened. That’s when I came to understand there is a difference between sight and vision. I have a real problem with my sight, but vision comes from someplace else. Recognizing the difference was transformational for me.”
There were times when Scott was afraid he’d never have a family. He was unsure he could be an adequate father. But then the learning and growth made possible by his years at Nick gave him courage. He and his wife Jessica have two sons; Noah, 12 and Joshua, 7. When asked about usable sight, Scott responded by saying, “I have enough sight to shoot hoops with my boys”.
In 2000 Scott opened his own media consulting company, Afterlife, specializing in branding, marketing and programming projects for cable companies. These days, while many media companies are moving to broadband, ZoomText allows Scott to stay connected to the evolving business.
One of Scott’s favorite ZoomText features is Mouse Wheel Zooming. By simply holding the Control key and moving the mouse wheel backward or forward, he can adjust ZoomText’s magnification on the fly in order to see the work of his artists, designers and video editors.
Assistive Technology has come a long way since that day in 1981 when Scott was diagnosed. More importantly, Scott Webb has come a long way from the man who “just wanted the problem to go away” to the man who has made the most of life in spite of being low vision. Nickelodeon fans are just part of a huge group of people who are indebted to Scott. He credits Fred Seibert for taking a chance on a young man with “a lot of problems” and helping him to succeed in the visual world of television.
Tech Tip: Getting Ready for Windows Vista and ZoomText 9.1
Picture of Windows Vista logo
ZoomText 9.1, now in beta and shipping this April, offers robust support for the new Windows Vista operating system, allowing users to take advantage of Vista’s improved security, stability and of course, it’s fresh, eye-catching user experience.
If you’re planning to purchase a new Windows Vista system, your system will be ready to run ZoomText 9.1 right out of the box. But if you’re planning to upgrade your current XP system to Windows Vista, make sure your system is capable of running the desired version of Vista and that you have the required hardware configuration to support ZoomText.
Can your Windows XP system run Windows Vista?
To find out if your current Windows XP-based system has the hardware required to run Vista, download and run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. You can get to the download page by clicking here
or by following these steps:
1. Go to http://www2.blogger.com/www.microsoft.com/vista
2. Select Can your current PC run Windows Vista?
3. Select Download Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor.
Once you have run the Upgrade Advisor and determined which versions of Windows Vista your system will support, go back to http://www2.blogger.com/www.microsoft.com/vista and select “Plan for an Upgrade” to learn more about your Vista upgrade options.
Can the system you’ve upgraded to Windows Vista run ZoomText 9.1?
To run ZoomText 9.1 in Windows Vista, we recommend that you have a system equipped with the following hardware:
* 1.5 GHz processor
* Minimum 1 GB RA
* Minimum 25 MB free disk space. Note: An additional 60 MB required for each NeoSpeech synthesizer.
If you have any additional questions about running ZoomText 9.1 in Windows Vista, feel free to contact Ai Squared’s Product Support Department.
Infogrip's Assistive Technology Update
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