Friday, November 23, 2007

5 Video Magnifiers In 5 Days: Day 5 The Vertex

The last unit that we take a look at is one I have only seen at shows like CSUN. I am interested in seeing the production model but until then here is a pic and a link to another new unit in the desktop game.

Telesensory Vertex

Here's a link to the product page..

Thursday, November 22, 2007

5 Video Magnifiers In 5 Days: Day 4 The Strix

If you remember my CSUN coverage from earlier this year I swooned about this unit and it's ability to see across the room. I've been working with it for a few months now and it may not be right for some who don't want to cary a 7 inch display with them from place to place. However that distance viewing feature in an all in one device is something that is unique. So take a gander at the Strix.

The Strix

Image of the STRIX in the Stand for Far Viewing

Key Features

  • Auto-focus
  • Magnifies 4 to 22 times
  • 3 Viewing Modes:
    • Color
    • High Contrast (Black on white)
    • High Contrast Negative (White on black)
  • 7" TFT screen
  • Output for TV
  • Connection for computer/notebook
  • Freeze mode to capture images
  • Built in Writing Stand
  • Dimensions: 238 x 139 x 55 mm
  • Weight: 1 kg
  • Operational time on batteries: 2.5 up to 3.5 hours
  • Includes carrying case
  • One-Year Manufacturer's Warranty

To know more about the Strix see the link below.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quick News: Pac Mate Update, Victor Reader Stream Update And USB Kurzweil K3000

Consider some of this news as me being fashionably late to several parties. As you can tell I am cleaning out my Inbox again during my vacation. And so I post some of this stuff a week.. or a month.. later than usual.

Pac Mate: Something that I think is always worth a mention is when a company releases an update to existing older products when the update or new version looms right around the corner. And dropping that update for free is a cool bonus to boot. Check out the newly posted PAC Mate updates for battery improvements at the link below.

Victor Reader Stream: not many people I know who have this little device have bad things to say about it when I corner them in dark alleys to take their units from them. Uh.. okay they usually say that they wished it supported Audible content right before I try and reach for the little box. So I use that point to try and buy the unit off of them for the cheap when my stealing tactic doesn't work. Well now it looks like it does support Audible in the latest update from Humanware. Drat! Foiled again..

K 3000 USB: I assume that this new version of the kurzweil K3000 Pen Edition is aimed squarely at the Education market. Of course you know what they say about "assuming" don't you? See the details at the link below to know more.

5 Video Magnifiers In 5 Days: Day 3 The I Stick

Please remember that this series of posts are designed only to let you know about Video Magnifiers that either have just come to market or who might not get the fanfare you might hear from a big marketing push. I urge everyone to always seek one of these units out and see it for yourself before you EVER! purchase these or any Video Magnifier. Think of them like shoes. Only you know what will fit you best.

Yesterday I mentioned how the smaller units have just exploed onto the scene. Today I throw the focus on another growing segment. The computer assisted Video Magnifier options seem to be changing all the time. One you may not know about, unless you are in Europe, is the I-Stick.

Optron I-Stick

OPTRON i-stick

Some Key Features include:

  • The i-Stick’s swivel arm folds for easy packing,
  • It sits at an angle for a large magnification area.
  • And can be straightened to a very high camera position for a better view of the blackboard and a 360 degree surround view.

Learn more from the product page..

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

5 Video Magnifiers In 5 Days: Day 2 The Looky

A long time ago there were maybe 2 or 3 hand held, or 3 to 5 inch screen models by industry speak, on the market. In less than half a decade the Hand Held market sports more than 9 choices off the top of my head. Today we throw the spotlight onto Rehan's Looky.

Rehan Technologies "The Looky"

This unit has a folding handle, removable batteries and a freeze frame feature. Other features include:

  • Can be used at home, at work, at school or out and about.
  • LCD Display size of 3.5 inches.
  • Magnification between 3 and 8 times.
  • Only 200 grams in weight.
  • Full Colour and contrast modes available: Black/white - White/black.
  • Folding handle.
  • Only 2 buttons, so it is very user-friendly.
  • Camera in the middle of the monitor; you see immediately what you want to examine.
  • A special freeze function.
  • Can be easily adjusted to a position which aids the user is writing.
  • Equipped with rechargeable batteries, which are also very easy to replace.
  • Also works with normal batteries.
  • A wonderful price.

Here's the product page for "The Looky".

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Boat Load Of Zoom Text News

Ai Squared has been very busy in the past couple of months with lots of announcements. Many of them I have known about for awhile but that old friend the NDA kept me from running on at the mouth about things. Then when it all went public I didn't post the news. So in an effort to catch up on both old and new announcements I plop this post down today. Oh and big shout out to all my peeps down in Vermont. The changes on the Ai2 news page are worth crowing about. See what I am talking about at this link.

Here is a cornucopia of news in one big post.


ZoomNews customer edition, September 2007

Table Of Contents

New ZoomText USB

ZoomText Survey and Prizes

User Story: Susan Reed

The Ai Squared Forum

In The News

ATIA 2008 Conference

ZoomText USB Coming Later This Month

ZoomText USB Drive Image

Computers have become increasingly ever-present in our lives, and so has our need to access and use them everywhere we go - at home, school, work, and even in libraries and other public facilities. This need for public computer access is no different for users of ZoomText. To make ZoomText readily available to individuals that need it, Ai Squared is introducing the new "ZoomText USB" - ZoomText delivered on a USB memory drive that users can conveniently carry with them, install, and use at any time.

ZoomText USB provides these important key benefits:

  • Access on any computer
    With ZoomText USB you can plug in and run ZoomText on any system without having to purchase additional licensing.
  • Portable and always within reach
    The ZoomText USB drive fits in your pocket or around your neck (on the included lanyard), so it’s always with you when you need it.
  • Easy to use
    Just plug in the ZoomText USB drive and ZoomText automatically starts up. If ZoomText is not installed, the friendly setup program is launched and you’ll be up and running in minutes. Note: Admin rights are required for first time installations.
  • Plug-and-Play license management
    Since the serial number is tied to the ZoomText USB drive, there are no serial numbers or license activations to worry about.
  • Take your settings with you
    Your personalized ZoomText configuration settings are saved to your USB drive and are automatically loaded each time you plug in and start ZoomText.

ZoomText USB is set to release later this month. Once we are officially set to release, we will be sending out another email which will explain ZoomText USB more in depth and include pricing information. Stay tuned!

ZoomNews Survey & Prizes

Picture of MoneyThe last survey was such a huge success thanks to YOU! We value your opinions and feedback highly and hope that you will find this second survey just as interesting.

In this issue, we are surveying about portable magnifiers. Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a drawing to win one of two $50 VISA check cards AND as a bonus, you’ll receive an email containing a coupon for $50 off any order placed in the month of November that includes one of the portable magnifiers that we carry – the Nemo or the Max!

You have until November 21 to complete the survey so get started now and good luck in the drawing!

Launch Survey

Results of Previous Survey

Lynn Evans ImageThe September survey polled our users about their ZoomText settings. Almost 700 people completed the survey! If you are interested in the results, please visit the survey results (PDF FILE). The results are also broken down by eye condition here: Results by condition. You can see the results in graphical or in text form.

We'd like to congratulate both Bowen Dees and Lynn Evans for winning the September drawing. Each won a $50 gift certificate to

The picture to the side is Lynn hard at work at the computer, teaching in his computer lab. Fill out the survey above and maybe your picture will be the one to appear in the next issue!

Driving With Stargardt's


Almost 20 years ago, Susan Reed started to notice that her eyesight was deteriorating. Soon after that, she learned that her failing vision was due to Stargardt’s Disease, a hereditary macular (central retinal) degenerative disorder. Even though Susan is considered high functioning, she had to leave her job as a nurse because she couldn’t see well enough to perform her job properly. In the early 90s, she went back to college and pursued a degree in business.

Susan was left disheartened when she had to give up driving shortly after leaving her nursing job. She began seeing a low vision specialist in Baltimore who informed her that there was a law in the works which would permit certain low vision people to drive with the help of bioptic telescopic lenses.

With a renewed sense of hope, Susan applied to the program, earned a learner’s permit, was tested and passed the daytime driving test. In doing so, she became the first person in Maryland to get a license under this law! As long as she stayed violation free for a year, she could then take the nighttime driving test. This more intense test involved driving for 45 minutes on the Baltimore Beltway with 3 examiners in her car – to think I was nervous during my driver’s test! Susan passed with flying colors, but doesn’t like to drive at night and feels much more comfortable during the daytime. The law requires that she be retested every year and thus far, her eyesight has remained at a level that permits her to keep driving.

“I tend to view my eye condition as more of an inconvenience than an impairment,” says Susan. “It’s a stumbling block to work around, but I don’t let it stand in my way.”

She truly hasn’t let her condition get in her way – Susan worked for 7 years as an office manager for the fundraising company Joe Corbi’s Pizza Kits. In fact, this is where she was introduced to ZoomText and has been a user ever since. She motivated herself to relearn the computer skills that are vital in the business world, now that she could see the screen again.

“I choose to focus on things that I have control over,” states Susan. “Since vision loss is not something that you have power over, it’s important to take things in your own hands and turn your life around. ZoomText has let me do just that.”

While she was working as an office manager for Joe Corbi’s, Susan and her husband Steve set up their own construction business run out of their home. Her husband and son Greg did the construction work while Susan managed the office.

About three years ago, Susan changed jobs and started work at Lily Pons Water Garden in Adamstown, MD. Susan had always enjoyed water gardening as a hobby, so this job was perfect for her. She has 2 water gardens at her own home – a small 600 gallon pond and a much larger 1600 gallon pond – both with waterfalls.

She still kept up with all the bookkeeping at their construction company until last year when her duties as Sales Manager and Events Coordinator at Lily Pons began to take up most of her time. Lily Pons is an aquatic plant farm with a showroom stocked with everything you would need to put in a backyard water garden. Susan is in charge of a sales staff of 5 and is the go to person for technical questions about the mechanics involved in water gardening. She definitely keeps busy – what with planning weddings on the grounds and coordinating the annual British car show, among many other activities.

Currently, she is working on the new Lily Pons website which is set to go live very soon. Susan credits ZoomText and says that there is no way that she could do her job without it. While Susan uses ZoomText at 5x magnification every day at work, her normally sighted coworkers love to use it at 2x power. It relaxes their tired eyes, a result of working at the computer all day long. “At Lily Pons, I’m really in the public eye,” says Susan. “It’s a great opportunity for me to be an advocate for the visually impaired.”

Water gardening is a seasonal business and Lily Pons closes for the winter and reopens again in March. During the off time, Susan switches gears to basket weaving. In fact, after our phone interview, she was headed to her mom’s house in Pennsylvania where they both teach basket weaving classes together. Their work is often displayed at craft fairs as well. “I’ve always been an ‘artsy' person,” says Susan. “When my vision went, basket weaving was perfect for me because it’s big enough for me to see.”

In her spare time, Susan enjoys four wheeling and loves riding around on ATVs. In addition to their son, Greg, Susan and Steve also have 2 daughters, Jennifer and Meredith and two grandchildren, Ethan, 5, and Lexi, 2. Pictured above with Susan is Garnet, their Doberman that they recently rescued and they also have 3 cats! Life is certainly busy at the Reed household, and we are glad ZoomText has allowed Susan to work at a job that she enjoys so much. If you are interested in learning more about Lily Pons, please visit their website at

Ai Squared Forum

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day

Have you been to the Ai Squared forum lately? It’s been around for a while – of course, not quite as long as the Roman Forum pictured over there – it’s been up on our website since 2004. Maybe you visit it often or perhaps you have no idea what I’m talking about.

The forum is an online meeting place for ZoomText (and BigShot) users. It allows you to interact with Ai Squared employees and your peers in order to share knowledge and news about Ai Squared products. When you post questions or comments about our products, you’ll receive feedback directly from us. Additionally, you can contact your fellow users through instant messaging and email.

You can read all the topics posted without registering, but as soon as you’re registered, you can post new topics and join in the many ongoing discussions. There are a variety of different topics of conversation including Technical Issues, ZoomText with Other Programs, ZoomText and Vista, Legacy Products, and the Large Print Keyboard, among others. The forum is a great place to talk about ZoomText issues and features, and a place to get help.

You can explore the forum at Registering only takes a few minutes and it will give you access to the additional features not available to guest users such as private messaging, emailing to fellow users, Usergroup subscription, and more. If you’re already a registered user and haven’t visited the forum in a while, take a look at all the ongoing discussions and join right in.

Whether you’re the one with the questions or the answers, check out the Ai Squared forum today!

New announcement imageIn The News

In every issue of ZoomNews, we will present a few links to articles that we’ve come across that would be of interest to our users. Check them out:

Cooking Without Looking – a television show that teaches people about low vision cooking.

Smart TV Remote For Visually Impaired - An Australian inventor has come up with a new universal TV remote control designed for those with declining eyesight or disabilities.

New $5 Bill – Scroll down the page to see the low-vision feature of the new bill.

Different Visions at Space Camp – 115 kids with vision impairments spend a week in space-camp training.

It’s Better in the Dark – Read a review of the restaurant O.Noir located in Canada where all the wait staff is visually impaired and eaters dine in the dark.

ATIA 2008 Conference

Don’t miss the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2008 Conference, January 30th through February 2nd, 2008 in Orlando, Florida – the premier educational and networking event in assistive technology.

The ATIA 2008 Conference features the latest products and services, showcasing more than 125 exhibitors, in one of the most comprehensive exhibitions in the industry. If you attend this event, you’ll have the chance to learn about products available to help those with low vision, hearing loss, and learning disabilities among others.

While this is a professional industry show, it is open to consumers who are interested in exploring innovative assistive technology products and participating in hands-on workshops. Attendees span a wide array of professions including business, government, education and consumer market professionals from across the globe.

If you are in the area, the exhibit hall is open to the public with free admission from 2pm to 5pm on Friday, February 1st and again from 9am to 12pm. on Saturday, February 2nd. If you are interested in attending the entire show, please visit for more information on the ATIA 2008 Conference and for registration information. Register by November 26th and save!

Stop by Ai Squared’s booth #1012 to see our new and soon to be released products: ZoomText Lite, ZoomText USB and ZoomText Scripting Edition.

Ai Squared company logo

Ai Squared
P.O. Box 669
Manchester Center, VT 05255
Tel: (802) 362-3612
Fax: (802) 362-1670

© Copyright 2007, Ai Squared, All Rights Reserved.
Ai Squared and ZoomText are registered trademarks or trademarks of Algorithmic Implementations, Inc.


ZoomNews customer edition, September 2007

Ai Squared has teamed with EVAS to create the NEW ZoomText Workstations!

Ai Squared Partners with EVAS and Dell to offer ZoomText WorkstationWe are excited to announce a new product line of ZoomText Workstations, created by EVAS, for home, work or school. Ai Squared has teamed with EVAS to offer a complete plug & play low vision workstation solution for the visually impaired.
Each Workstation is ready to use and comes fully integrated with ZoomText, application software, and peripherals installed and configured!

EVAS ZoomText Workstations: Quality, Performance, Prompt Delivery, Outstanding Value, all in a total solution that runs right out of the box.

ZoomText Workstations are sold and supported by EVAS

Serving people with disabilities since 1979.

Standard ZoomText Workstation

ZoomText Workstation with one Monitor

Click Here for more details.

Click Here to Purchase a Standard Workstation.

  • Dell Optiplex PC
  • 19" Flat Panel Monitor
  • ZoomText Magnifier/Reader 9.1
  • ZoomText Large-Print Keyboard
  • Microsoft® Office 2007 Basic
  • EVAS Classic Menu for Office
  • All-In-One Printer
  • 3 Year Warranty
  • AVG Anti-Malware

Dual-Monitor ZoomText Workstation

ZoomText Workstation with Dual Monitors

Click Here for more details.


Click Here to Purchase a Dual Monitor Workstation.

  • Includes all above features with 2 - 19" Flat Panel Monitors

Box shot of ZoomText Magnifier/Reader

Every ZoomText Workstation is pre-installed with ZoomText 9.1, and features Dual-Monitor Support.

Ordering Information
* Offer Valid Until December 24th, 2007

EVAS company logo

Phone: 1-800-USA-EVAS 800-872-3827

  • Click Here to Ask Questions about the ZoomText Workstations.

Ai Squared company logo

Ai Squared
P.O. Box 669
Manchester Center, VT 05255
Tel: (802) 362-3612
Fax: (802) 362-1670

Blue Banner

© Copyright 2007, Ai Squared, All Rights Reserved.
Ai Squared and ZoomText are registered trademarks or trademarks of Algorithmic Implementations, Inc.


ZoomText Scripting Edition Beta available

With great excitement, Ai Squared has recently started work on the newest edition to the ZoomText product family - ZoomText Scripting Edition, scheduled for release by early next year. ZoomText Scripting Edition will make it possible to customize the behavior of ZoomText as well as other applications, providing for enhanced functionality and automation of complex and routine tasks. With the power of ZoomText Scripting Edition, users will realize greater productivity and success, especially in workplace environments.

We have just reached code complete and need feedback from experienced scripting professionals. If you have scripting experience and are interested in testing the ZoomText Scripting Edition, go to to learn more about the project and how you can participate.

On the ZoomText Scripting website, you’ll be able to interact directly with our development team to guide us in our efforts to make this project the most beneficial to you. Visit now. We look forward to working with you!

5 Video Magnifiers In 5 Days: Day 1 The Acrobat LCD

Just in time for the holidays your fave companies are releasing new or refreshed versions of their main product lines. Today we look at the Acrobat LCD

Acrobat LCD by Enhanced Vision

Acrobat LCD User

Key features as taken from the EVS web site:

  • 3 in 1 camera technology with memory for favorite settings
  • Arm slides to the right and pivots to the front for a full inline position offering an optimal viewing experience
  • Dual keypad for easy to access controls
  • Detachable camera rotates 340 degrees
  • 5ms high resolution 19" LCD monitor
  • Auto focus
  • Seven (7) viewing modes
  • Up to 65x adjustable digital magnification
  • Rolling carrying case for easy transport (sold separately)
  • Set-up is easy - just plug and play
  • Computer toggle capability
  • 2 year warranty
  • Line markers, object locator, remote control and more.....

To see more go to the product page at:

And to read more take a look at the press release at:

JAWS 9.0 Released And Now Shipping

I kind of figured that the release was on it's way with Eric and others out on JAWS 07 World Tour this month. And it looks like you can pick up your copy of JFW along with your concert T Shirts. Just remember not to burn your fingers with your lighters durning the slow songs. [Rock N Roll joke implied here!]

Friday, November 16, 2007

Quick News: November Access World, ClassMate Reader and Open Book

I am getting ready to take a few days off from my day job. So less preamble and straight to the links today.

Access World: November’s issue of Access World just went on line. Check it out at the link below.

ClassMate Reader: A new press release is up from Humanware on their Video Magnifier/w more unit that is being targeted for the Education market. See the link below for more info.

Open Book 8.0: I know a lot of other places have already posted this link but I can never stop my fears of peer pressure. It is a high school thing I never really got over. It really explains why I feel so comfortable in Polo shirts I guess. Oh yeah. Open Book 8 ships in December. Here’s the link.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Follow Up: Firefox 3.0

I should have mentioned what Matt Campbell mentions in the comments of the earlier post on Firefox. He is right of course that this isn't an "official" release. Just a post of the nightly builds that Mozilla does on an regular basis.

Quote From Matt

Matt Campbell said...

The Digg post to which you link is premature and misleading. It doesn't point to an official beta; there is none on the FTP site. Instead, it points to the directory containing Firefox nightly builds. I would ignore any announcements of a Firefox beta unless they come directly from the Mozilla Corporation.

Thank you sir!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Firefox 3.0 Beta 1 Released

If you are following the poll for this month on the right side of the page you will see that there are some Firefox fans on the world wide webs. No doubt these fans will now have some divided opinions on some of the new looks and directions of FF3. To nab the beta and read what some at Digg are saying about it hit the link below.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

October's Poll Results And New November Poll Posted

Here are the results of October 2007's poll.

Poll Question: If you were to buy a new computer between now and this time next year you would choose which Operating System??

Windows XP for as long as I can get it 11 votes (28%)

Windows Vista Basic/Home Premium/Business/Ultimate 15 votes (38%)

Some version of Linux 4 votes (10%)

Windows Server Family of products 0 votes (0%)

I'm buying a Mac with OSX 10.5 Leopard 9 votes (23%)

There is a lot that could be read into those results. On one hand some could say that Vista isn't scaring away people. But on the other hand 11 people voted that XP is the way to go. And then there are the 9 who voted for Mac but will probably end up running a version of Windows on said Mac making the choice to go Mac even more confusing. Unless you go with the well worn concept that itunes and ipods are spinning off into secondary hardware sales for Apple. Like I said many interesting results.

The one number, that being 0, is not surprising. In all my latest discussions with the big wigs from most of the big named AT Venders Server and x64 support is on the eventual roadmaps for many of their upcoming projects. In other words.. not very soon will we see that support come right out of the box for most products on the market today. And this is purely understood as a market demand issue. When more of us general users become savvy enough to hang in those markets the AT industry will move their development from the older folks and Education markets to more competitive IT driven designs.

Now before you stop reading and skip right down to the comments section to tell me that these users already exist know that I totally agree with you. I'm just passing along what I know so far. If you want a particular feature you have to ask for it in kind, politely worded requests at Convention or in snail mail. Emails just don't cut it gang. Too easy to delete and all that. Remember that these companies are trying to make things work with a lot of platforms they have never had to deal with before. Multiple versions of operating systems, three zillion unique combinations of video and audio. . tons of web browsers. Ah! And here comes our next poll question.

Poll Question For November: If Stuck On A Deserted Island With Only One Web Browser I Would Choose?

Internet Explorer 6
Internet Explorer 7
Any Version Of Firefox

This one should prove to be as interesting if not more so than the last poll. For everything there is a "Fanboy". And so far in the last few polls we have not seen a decisive winner. I wonder if this one will break the trend..

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Magic Public Beta Updated

Like it's big brother JAWS the Screen Magnifier Magic has seen a few updates of it's own during the public beta cycle. The latest update came out yesterday around.. midnight. Boo! No it didn't but I didn't make a Halloween joke. So I am a day late and a Hershey bar short I guess. Learn more and get the latest public beta version of Magic at the link below.