Friday, August 31, 2007

KeySoft 7.5 Now Available From HumanWare

HumanWare is pleased to announce that KeySoft 7.5, the newest upgrade to the KeySoft software for the BrailleNote family of products, is available for download from the HumanWare web site.

What's in KeySoft 7.5?

Improved SD card and USB Drive support (mPower only) KeySoft 7.5 supports a much broader range of models and sizes of SD cards and USB drives and provides improved speed and performance in accessing and saving information.
SSL Email Encryption
A number of major internet service providers have announced that they will require this new security standard. KeySoft 7.5 delivers full SSL support as a part of its improved KeyMail application.
RFB&D AudioPlus DAISY Books (mPower and PK) KeySoft 7.5 includes fully integrated support for the special AudioPlus formatted books provided by RFB&D to its members in the United States. The enhanced KeyBook application will automatically recognize an RFB&D AudioPlus book and will now prompt the user to enter their personal identification number to access the book.
Bookshare Support for Institutional Accounts The existing support for unpacking electronic books from has been enhanced to include full support for both individual and institutional accounts. KeySoft 7.5 provides everything necessary to wirelessly access the web site, download the text, braille or DAISY electronic book and unpack and read the book, without having to use a PC.
Built-in Playlist Support for Media Player (mPower only) New with KeySoft 7.5 is the ability to select multiple files in any file list and have them automatically queued and played in KeySoft's built-in media player application. Select your favorite music tracks or chapters of an audio book and let KeySoft 7.5 play them for you automatically.
Multilingual Foreign Languages Now Available Multilingual speech and braille support is now available for the entire BrailleNote family of products running KeySoft 7.5 or later, at no additional cost. Languages offered are Spanish, French, German and Italian. Documents, web pages and email messages can all be read in their original language with the correct speech pronunciation. Documents and email messages can be composed, read and spell checked in multiple languages and quickly changed on the fly.
Unified English Braille.
KeySoft 7.5 gives you the option of using Unified English Braille (UEB), the new braille code for English that has been developed by representatives from English-speaking countries, including the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Email addresses, web addresses, mathematics and all sorts of signs and symbols can be written and read directly without resorting to computer braille.
Upgrade to the Duxbury Braille Translator KeySoft 7.5 incorporates the latest version of the Duxbury braille translators.
New Visual Display Application (KeyView) KeySoft 7.5 delivers a completely new visual display application for the PC called KeyView, eliminating the need to use Windows HyperTerminal. It is fully accessible and Windows Vista compatible. Using KeyView, a sighted teacher, parent or colleague can view in real time the work being done on the BrailleNote, including the braille on the braille display and an immediate translation from braille to text.
Outlook Synchronization Improvements
The KeySync PC application has been improved with greater accessibility for screen reader users and has a number of stability enhancements. KeySync allows a professional or student who is on the move to have a fully synchronized calendar and contact list always available. Changes made on the BrailleNote or the PC are synchronized with a quick connection.

NOTE: KeySync will be available later in September as a separate utility that will be compatible only with KS 7.5.

NOTE: Users that currently are using KeySync should not upgrade to KS 7.5 until the new KeySync is released. KeySync 2 or earlier will not be compatible with KS 7.5. Only KS 7.5 or later will be compatible with KeySync 3.
KeySoft 7.5 requires one count of a Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA). An SMA is available for $195 through HumanWare.
This will be the final KeySoft upgrade for the BrailleNote and VoiceNote Classic models.
KeySoft 7.5 can be ordered through HumanWare by calling 800-722-3393. The serial number of the BrailleNote, VoiceNote or BrailleNote PK will be required. To download KeySoft 7.5, go to
You will need a previously purchased SMA and the serial number of the unit.

175 Mason Circle
Concord CA 94520

Going Broke.. Nero 8 Pre Orders Begin..


Apple: Not As Universal In Their Access As They Would Like You To Believe

Some of you must be saying to yourselves "Oh great another Ranger Apple Bashing Post". But honestly I would rather point you to two articles today that can better some up on how Apple does not consider blind or physical access concerns by their own conscious design.

First up is an article in the Wall Street Journal that discusses how much Steve hates buttons. It explains much about the Apple philosophy and the decision to go touch screen only on the iPhone.

Next, here's an Ars Technica article about a law suit filed today that claims that the Apple Stores are not handicapped accessible. A lot of these issues mentioned are commonly found in many of the Apple Stores I have seen over the years and I believe many of the complaints are really valid.

Now here's my mini rant. Apple's popularity in MP3 Players, downloadable content and recently laptop sales takes it beyond the niche company status. And now it's time to be more realistic and more common denominator in your design choice Steve as not everyone shares your ability to enjoy the esthetic over basic functionality. It's a good thing today is Friday because a mini rant is all I have for this subject. But rest assured I'll be back sir.. just sometime after a three day weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Vista Service Pack 1 Is Coming Out.. No REally!

Looks like MS is actually discussing times, dates and just what SP1 will have in it's code when it comes to it's release in Q1 2008. Check out this Ars article for more.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Magic 11.0 Public Beta Begins

Freedom Scientific has released a public beta of their Screen Magnifier product Magic for use with Windows 2000, XP and Vista machines. Get the beta and read the release notes at the link below.

Vista Corrner: A/V Issues, RAM and DVD Maker Spotlight At Winsupersite

I have been using Vista on a regular basis since April 06 and I believe I have said already on this blog that I won't go back to XP. If I haven't well then I just declared it today then. Vista's ease of use, it's security features and it's speed in my daily tasks have all proven to me that Windows XP just isn't my bag anymore. I notice the hacks that have come about over the last 3 years for IE6 and XP more when I have to use my Windows XP Pro box at work. Malware, applets and other annoyances that load by design in XP are blocked by default in Vista. And I have really grown to respect UAC over the last year as I had a few programs try to load themselves only to be stopped by the little gray stop sign in Vista.

With all that said..

I have seen some little bugs that just drive me crazy. The constant updating and rather unstable performance of my NVIDIA and Creative X Fi drivers for instance cause me to surf for drivers weekly. The thing is that I may have been looking for a problem in the wrong place. It looks like a posting on Slashdot today seems to point to some Audio and Video issues I've been having are .. um buggey when you use your network connections. See the link below for more..

And if that isn't disturbing then take a look at this article where 4 GB of RAM isn't 4 GB of RAM in 32 bit flavors of Vista.

We had a lot of questions during Vista training on how the DVD Maker in Home Premium and Ultimate worked. I haven't tried to make a disc with Assistive Technology running yet, however, this is still a good overview for when I do get around to trying the feature. Mostly I just use Nero by the way.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sandisk Joins In With Their Own $40 MP3 Player

A MP3 player with 1 gig, a FM Tuner and it's all for $39.99? And this one is Shuffle sized as well? Hmmm... "This cold war just got hot!".

Sorry for the 1990's "Lost In Space" movie refrence.. it's a Monday.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Some Detailed Details On Vista Service Pack 1

I usually stay away from Digg on the weekends. Oh sure the odd rant, weird social networking fad of the moment or that extremely vague conspiracy crackpot theory is occasionally fum to read but most of the time it's all fluff. So on a whim I read the headlines of the day and saw this article, link listed below, on some poor but brave soul who took his copy of the Private Beta build and analyzed the hell out of the registry settings to see what changes lay in store for the eventual official full on release of SP1 in ... um .. 200.. 7? Maybe 08? Eh whatever.

In the detailed article below the writer mentions a new feature called "Make a Recovery Disc" which will possibly make my life a lot easier when doing testings and restores at work. There is a long list of what programs within Vista see an update and chances are your favorite bug may be among the ones slated for revision. Just remember this is still Beta and anything can happen between now and the actual public release. Oh and there is a bit of registry info paths and server redirect info markers discussed so this may not be an article I would categorize as "light reading".

However the article also is very helpful beyond the SP1 subject matter. The author actually lists the changes in those two Vista Compatibility updates I posted about earlier in the week. I ran those updates by the way and I had to go back to a restore point after I had a bad issue with an Assistive Technology product who disliked some of the changes my video card experienced with the patch. These issues I mention are probably system specific, in other words I probably caused them not the AT software, and I don't think anyone will have problems with the new patches. I made a change in my install order and used a different AT program to install the patches a few days ago and now all is well. If you do have problems I would be interested to hear about them in the comments section of this post though.

Find the article at..

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hot New Vista Patches Released Before Patch Tuesday!

There are two major patches discussed in the link below and I have experienced one of them .. a lot. I move files off a flash drive all the time. Mostly beta software and podcasts with the occasional 1 GB ISO file. Well I used to think it was an U3 problem. Then after a few dozen Vista installs, research and forum readings later I found out it was Vista instead. I haven't downloaded these patches yet, however, considering the nature of one of them I will do so tonight.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Serotek Has A Makeover For Summer Swimsuit Season

Just kidding about the swimsuits. Serotek relaunched their website today and the changes include some new navigation options, new colors and the renaming of the products that we all knew were coming down the pike. To see the new view hop on over to their home page at..

Vista Tip: Driven To Insanity

This one may seem more like a no brainer, however, if you are one of the bold and daring who performed a Vista upgrade on an older computer this one may have slipped your mind. Vista drivers for older hardware were just plain awful in the beginning of the Vista public beta cycle. And sadly that status continued during the first few months of Vista's release at the start of 07. Now things seem to be firming up fast and if you don't check for the latest driver upgrades on hardware and software for Vista you may be losing out on better performance.

For example I have a Dell XPS 400 series computer. Dell has finally posted their first updates to the system's video and audio drivers. While these were a welcome sight indeed it was the update to my networking card that was the key to unlocking real system nirvana. This new driver actually had me taking back some of the nasty things I had said about Road Runner as my downloads are much much faster now with the latest Vista driver.

Hardware is not the only component you should be on the look out for when out surfing the interwebs. Nero has updated it's self a ton and other programs that you may use all the time might also have new Vista updates to deal with all those new drivers we talked about earlier.

You may want to add a driver roundup to your monthly maintenance schedule as drivers for NVIDIA and Creative Labs tend to update at least once a month. Older X Fi cards saw an update to the Creative Suite of audio programs too which require you to download an ISO or go through and find the individual programs through the support site. And I have a notepad file on hand with lists of version numbers when I do this each month. Sometimes the only way to tell if an update is ready for me to use is to look at the release date as the numbering system for some companies defies all logic.

Just remember, as if I don't say this enough, to set your Restore Points before playing around with new drivers. With Vista you don't have to worry as often about killing your Assistive Technology as Vista's mirror drivers don't usually eat it for breakfast, however, this isn't a hard and fast rule to go by. Hence the call for Restore Points again.