Thursday, January 31, 2008
Here are two links to the official press releases for ATIA.
Freedom Scientific ..
As the show begins this week we should see at least one or two more companies talk about their upcoming products.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Bookshare.org and Code Factory Announce Partnership To Introduce Mobile Technology for Print Disabled Readers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ann Harrison - Benetech - 001 415 637-5262
Contact: Caroline Ragot – Code Factory - 0034 93 733 70 66
Palo Alto, CA - Barcelona, Spain, January 30, 2008
Bookshare.org and Code Factory have announced the formation of a partnership to introduce technology that allows Bookshare.org members to read digital books on their mobile devices. Code Factory will demo V2.0 of its Mobile Speak for Windows Mobile at the conference of the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) at the Caribe Royale All-Suite Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, USA. The demo will be hosted at the Benetech booth (Lobby 2) on Friday, February 1 from 4:30 to 5:00 pm.Code Factory launched V2.0 of Mobile Speak for Windows Mobile Smartphones in November of 2007 and will soon release V2.0 of Mobile Speak for Pocket PCs. Both products feature a built-in software application for reading Braille formatted (BRF) files with synthesized speech output, Braille, or both, as well as a Bookshare.org unpacking utility. “For a long time we’ve admired Bookshare.org for its great achievements in increasing access to books for the blind and visually impaired,” said Eduard Sanchez, Code Factory CEO. “Our American users constantly tell us that the excellent Bookshare.org services have changed their lives.” “We are excited about the possibility of Bookshare.org subscribers reading books on their mobile devices using Code Factory’s screen readers. We will examine the Mobile Speak product line closely and test features that allow users to access Bookshare.org on the move, anytime and anywhere,” said Jim Fruchterman, CEO of Benetech, the nonprofit organization that operates Bookshare.org.
Bookshare.org is an online community that allows people with print disabilities to legally download books and periodicals to be read as Braille, large print or synthetic speech. Offering the world’s largest accessible library of scanned books and periodicals, Bookshare.org received a $32 million five-year award from the U.S. Department of Education to significantly expand the availability of accessible electronic books and software for reading those books. Bookshare.org is operated by Benetech, a Palo Alto, CA-based nonprofit technology development organization that creates social enterprise projects for the disability, literacy and human rights communities.
About Code Factory
Code Factory is a software company committed to the development of products designed to remove barriers to the accessibility of mobile technology for the blind and visually impaired. Code Factory is the leading provider of screen readers, screen magnifiers, and Braille interfaces for a wide range of mainstream mobile devices including Symbian-based and Windows Mobile-powered Smartphones as well as Pocket PC phones and PDAs. Code Factory is the only accessible software provider to support close to two hundred different phone models working on the GSM, CDMA and WCDMA networks. To learn more about Code Factory and its mission of bringing complete accessibility to mobile devices, visit http://www.codefactory.es.
You may have noticed that some of us on the web who usually droll on and on about AT are kind of quiet as of late. For me some of this pause between posts comes from several factors. The first being that I have some ideas about what many companies are planning for ATIA and I don't want to accidentally break my embargos by sputtering out something too soon. Along with that the beta cycles for some are also in full swing as we draw ever closer to CSUN as well. And then the other factor is burn out because there just seems to be new releases in waves. Recently every time I close my eyes I have a message that a version number of something has changed or been updated. Motivating myself to expound upon the worries of the AT world just can't seem to be nearly as desirable as eight or more hours of sleep. There.. I said what some of my co-workers already suspected of me. And now it is in print forever. So my sincere apologies for the sporadic number of musings. I'm sure that will change in the next month or two.
I also want to thank those of you who have emailed me about some very interesting articles out there on some very well known non AT sites. I appreciate the links and I thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I also ran into someone who knew of my blog via a recommendation from a friend. It was exciting to talk to someone who is reading from the industry outsider perspective. I can sometimes lose my focus when I stay in my little jaded world and to hear a viewpoint from a person who is new to Blindness or the tech surrounding it pulls me refreshingly back to reality.
We should have a few more, and very cool, product announcements still to come this week. And who knows I may actually finish one of the four articles I am working on too. Either way I should have more content up during this week. Also I will be changing out the poll. These "Questions of the Month" have been fun to watch. If you have a poll suggestion feel free to email me or place it in the comments section.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
As 2007 wound down, Ai Squared was still cranking away. Just weeks after the release of the highly anticipated ZoomText USB, we've now released the powerful new ZoomText Scripting Edition, allowing ZoomText and most application tasks to be customized to create the most productive work environment possible.
ZoomText Scripting Edition software allows a script writer to create scripts that improve workflow and efficiency for the ZoomText user. Scripting Edition makes it possible to customize the behavior of ZoomText and other applications, providing enhanced magnification and screen reading functionality, and automation of routine tasks. With the power of ZoomText Scripting Edition, users can experience greater productivity and success, especially in workplace environments.
What can ZoomText Scripting Edition do?
Good question. So, here are a few examples of how a ZoomText script can optimize your work...
• Create a script that announces the contact fields you're interested in when opening a database.
• Create a script that instructs ZoomText to automatically read each email that you open.
• Create a script that announces new text that's delivered into your chat window.
You know what you need. Let your imagination run wild.
ZoomText Scripting Edition is not your typical out-of-the-box software product-you will need someone with script writing experience to create your scripts. If a person with these skills is not available to you Ai Squared can provide you with this service. We are also recruiting a stable of script writers to fill the already growing demand for ZoomText scripting.
Our first ZoomText Scripting user!
Al Goncer of Virginia was one of the first to purchase a copy of ZoomText Scripting Edition, and he was happy to share his enthusiasm with us. Al uses repetitive forms on a daily basis, and he found himself always clicking the same things. "[ZoomText Scripting provides] the opportunity for new usage possibilities."
With ZoomText Scripting Edition, Al has already written custom scripts that save him from repeating the same series of clicks every time he has to fill out a form. In his free time Al also does day trading, so he uses a software program that provides him with continuous running quotes throughout the day. He wrote scripts for ZoomText to check prices and track the value of his stocks, asking ZoomText to provide alerts to let Al know where his trades stand. "You guys have helped me out tremendously - I would not be able to work without it."
How do I purchase ZoomText Scripting Edition?
ZoomText Scripting Edition is available through Ai Squared dealers or directly from Ai Squared. Pricing for new single-user licensing starts at $999. Upgrades as well as multi-user licensing are also available. To kick-off the new product, Ai Squared is offering a 20% discount for all purchases of ZoomText Scripting Edition through the month of February 2008.
For more information and to place your order, contact Derek Bove at (802) 362-3612 x108 or email@example.com.
Are you or someone you know an experienced script writer?
Are you interested in offering your services and expertise to ZoomText customers that are in need of a script writer? Ai Squared is currently compiling a list of experienced script writers around the country to provide their services to those who do not have access to a personal or company script writer.
Contact Ai Squared to join our list of scripting providers. Ai Squared will make this list available to our ZoomText customers looking for a script writer to help them customize their ZoomText needs.
Solutions for those who can't speak
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In This Issue
Getting to Know You
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New Year's Resolutions <http://mk1.netatlantic.com/t/3257721/15258499/9781/0/>
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Be an inspiration to others, share you own Success Story! Just send an e-mail with your contact information and a brief description of your story to firstname.lastname@example.org
This month's story...
Justin Birch <http://mk1.netatlantic.com/t/3257721/15258499/9626/0/> is using his DynaVox V to educate others about the benefits of speech technology.
A reminder that our warehouse clearance sale is going on right now on our website. More than twenty-five products are on sale for up to 50% off. Choose from Communicators such as our 12-Level One Take N’ Talk (#8708-L); Adapted Toys such as the Tulip Puzzle (#9017); or Capability Switches such as the Button Click Switch with Clear Cover and Locator Light (#781). Hurry, supplies are limited! Just go to the sale announcement box on our homepage at www.enablingdevices.com to see the list of sale items. All sales are final. Thank you for your support!
Regards,Steven E. Kanor, Ph.D.President
Monday, January 28, 2008
K-NFB Reading Technology January 28, 2008
-- Cell Phone Can Read Documents for Blind
Handy Tech North America is pleased to be an authorized dealer of K-NFB Reading Technology products. We are now taking orders for the newly released K-NFB Reader, version 2 software which runs on the Nokia N82 Symbian phone. The cost of the K-NFB Reader bundle from Handy Tech North America is $2,495. This package includes the Nokia N82 phone, K-NFB Reader software and your choice of either Talks or Mobile Speak screen reader. Note that the K-NFB Reader is a self voicing application which does not require the use of a third party screen reader; however, a screen reader is necessary to access the other features of the phone such as contacts, messaging, calendar appointments, caller ID and call logs. We are pleased to offer the newly released KNFB Reading system to our customers.Here is a link to a demo of the reader
The following is the press release of the K-NFB Reader announced earlier this morning:
Cell Phone Can Read Documents for Blind
By ALEX DOMINGUEZ BALTIMORE (AP) - Chris Danielsen fidgets with the cell phone, holding it over a $20 bill. "Detecting orientation, processing U.S. currency image," the phone says in a flat monotone before Danielsen snaps a photo. A few seconds later, the phone says, "Twenty dollars." Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind, is holding the next generation of computerized aids for the blind and visually impaired.
The Nokia cell phone is loaded with software that turns text on photographed documents into speech. In addition to telling whether a bill is worth $1, $5, $10 or $20, it also allows users to read anything that is photographed, whether it's a restaurant menu, a phone book or a fax.While the technology is not new, the NFB and the software's developer say the cell phone is the first to incorporate the text-to-speech ability."We've had reading devices before," Danielsen said, noting similar software is already available in a larger handheld reader housed in a personal digital assistant. Companies such as Code Factory SL, Dolphin Computer Access Ltd. and Nuance Communications Inc. also provide software that allows the blind to use cell phones and PDAs.Inexpensive hand-held scanners such as WizCom Technologies Ltd.'s SuperPen can scan limited amounts of text, read it aloud and even translate from other languages.However, the $2,100 NFB device combines all of those functions in one smart phone, said James Gashel, vice president of business development for K-NFB Reading Technology Inc., which is marketing the phone as a joint venture between the federation and software developer Ray Kurzweil."It is the next step, but this is a huge leap," Gashel, who is blind, said in a telephone interview. "I'm talking to you on the device I also use to read things. I can put it in my pocket and at the touch of a button, in 20 seconds, be reading something I need to read in print."Ray Kurzweil, who developed the first device that could convert text into audio in the 1970s and the current NFB device, said portability is only the first step. Future versions of the device will recognize faces, identify rooms and translate text from other languages for the blind and the sighted.The inventor plans to begin marketing the cell phone in February through K-NFB Reading Technology. The software will cost $1,595 and the cell phone is expected to cost about $500, Kurzweil said.Dave Doermann, president of College Park-based Applied Media Analysis said his company is working on similar software for smart phones that could be used by the military for translation and by the visually impaired."We don't anticipate ours being that expensive, but unfortunately we're not quite to the release yet," said Doermann, who is also co-director of the University of Maryland's Laboratory for Language and Media Processing.Doermann said the company, which has received funding from the Department of Defense and the National Eye Institute, hopes to have its software ready in the next 12 to 18 months.Kurzweil's device uses speech software provided by Nuance, said Chris Strammiello, the director of product management at Nuance, who said the company has also developed a director of product management at Nuance, who said the company has also developed a prototype reader that uses the Internet to access more powerful server-side computers."As you can harness the power of remote environments and do that so quickly with the Web technologies, it gives a lot more capability, flexibility and options to the way you solve these type of problems," Strammiello said.There are about 10 million blind and visually impaired people in the U.S., a number that is expected to double in the next 30 years as baby boomers age.Kurzweil said those with vision problems are not the only ones expected to benefit from the technology. Dyslexics, for example, are expected to be among the users of the current device because of its ability to highlight each word as it's read aloud, helping them cope with their disability, which affects the ability to read.
The highlighting function can also help them improve their reading skills, he said."What's new here is both blind people and kids can do this with a device that fits in their shirt pocket," Kurzweil said.Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said the device and its PDA predecessor are a "form of hand-held vision" that will make the visual environment "much more readily available to the blind."
phone: (651) 636-5184
Flying Blind, LLC E-News - Volume 7To make certain you receive each Volume of the Flying Blind, LLC E-News,please add email@example.com to your address book. If you experience any problems viewing this E-Newsletter, such asmissing images, please view Volume 7 of the Flying Blind, LLC E-Newson the web at:http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=0012qrHZRbdbZ0Aa2JlxIAJ_w4ZmEq1biETXjFltRlRTa4RN5DhKifLJYrVz1dN5AoM3VTKDxen0b3Wx3CD86k6paY7iO9ngEESHvM2PrFzfSeL-tTJiBpMg_Q0VAfm4wpSlZcYhvNfrQP4XSg_co23aUR1HUy28z88 Current Information on the Adaptive Technology Industryis always available on the Flying Blind, LLC Website at:http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=0012qrHZRbdbZ3FkhTca0cC1g5aZfFifYoun4ea7LWsz2gAIO3PalxRMIPn-w-FabCM1wzO85s-_2ca4WKtIyBt93aXWfUslATA55DszQWRhRXf__gMAQ8_4a8LRmbp-jixMPE3rMoXZZQ=
Come Join Baum at ATIA 2008!
RELEASED: January 28, 2008
It is my privilege to announce that I will be assisting Baum Retec with a number of efforts at this year’s ATIA Conference, to be held Wednesday, January 30th through Saturday, February 2nd, 2008. BAUM Retec is a German company and industry leader specializing in the development, manufacturing, and sales of products and services for persons who are blind and visually impaired. Since 1980, this company has set standards in product innovation and will be showcasing its entire range of Braille Displays, Braille Organizers / Notetakers, Desktop Video Magnifiers (CCTV’s), and Screen Reader / Magnification Solutions. Visit us in Booth NR. 121 where Baum will be collecting your names and e-mail addresses and conducting a drawing for its 12 Cell VarioConnect (BrailleConnect), the industry’s smallest Wireless Braille Display that interfaces with a number of accessible, mobile solutions. I will be assisting Baum in its booth throughout the conference, and would be most pleased to spend some time with you demonstrating Baum’s line of Wireless Braille Products. I’ll also be formally presenting Baum’s Wireless Braille product line in my presentation: TITLED: "A Step Beyond Notetakers: Wireless Braille Solutions in Action!"WHEN: Thursday, January 31st from 2:30 PM - 3:30 PMWHERE: Room: Curacao 4 KEY POINTS:
See a wireless Braille display controlling a Mobile PDA/phone as well as a laptop PC.
Discuss alternative strategies for independent task completion beyond the scope of a traditional notetaker.
Gain an understanding of how refreshable Braille increases a user’s efficiency when completing a specific task.
I’m looking forward to conducting this presentation, for it is Baum’s Wireless Braille Solutions that make it possible for me to successfully conduct business within my own company as well as outside the Adaptive Technology Industry. The staff from Baum, and Yours Truly are really looking forward to seeing you in Orlando, and wish you a great start to your week and safe travels to ATIA! Respectfully, — Larry L. Lewis, Jr. Larry.Lewis@Flying-Blind.com President and Founder Flying Blind, LLC
Flying Blind, LLC 955 Pembrook Road Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44121
I wanted to draw your attention to a new look and a whole lot of new content on my web site including sea trial reports on the world’s first fishing boat for the “blind” http://www.blogger.com/www.BlindFishingBoat.Com.
Pasted below is a short article explaining why I do what I do, and please stay tuned for some really exciting news coming down the pipe!
Feel free to add a link to my web site or to use the below article as you see fit.
If you feel you have received this email by mistake, please reply with a request that your email address be removed from the list.
Following your Dreams and the Importance of Community
Leaving my home town and moving to the city to attend university signalled the beginning of a profound change in my life that was further magnified by my increasing loss of vision. Starting a family and building a career further distanced me from my hobbies that once dominated my existence -- being out-of-doors. More importantly however, successfully negotiating this transition in my life was possible because of the support I received from numerous individuals.
Having since accomplished many of my goals I’m once again able to focus on my hobbies. Even though I no longer have any residual vision, the unique experience I have gained over the years is allowing me to excel in ways that, I’m told, deserve to be shared.
The “Blind Fishing Boat” is my endeavour to transfer my knowledge and experience of fishing and boating as a person without sight to others. Being without sight can be tough, no doubt, but sharing what I’ve learned can save a lot of people from having to “reinvent the wheel”. I’m also not beyond learning myself, and having the opportunity to fish with others makes it possible to assess new fishing techniques from my own unique perspective as a fisher without sight.
There is a lot of fishing equipment being sold for just about every possible species of fish and method of catching them. Much of it is designed to catch the fisher first. Sorting out what works and how to best use it to ones advantage is just part of what I’m posting reports about on my website. Narrative descriptions on performing tasks without sight such as tying knots, netting and releasing fish, and even cleaning and cooking ones catch, are all areas I intend to thoroughly research. Educating others such as guides and fishing lodge owners on appropriate ways to interact with those without sight is also a service I’ll provide having written my undergraduate thesis on, “Etiquette When Interacting with the Blind”. Finally, responding to requests for information from fishers and boaters who are themselves losing their sight is probably one of the more challenging and potentially rewarding aspects of hosting this on-line service.
While my field trialing of various fishing and related technologies is important, I’m also going beyond what’s already available. It’s my dream to conceive new innovative technologies that will make fishing and boating more fun and safe for everyone. I had a fair bit of experience in this field already by leading on projects such as Web-4-All (see article: “Canada Stands Tall with Web-4-All”).
As much as I love fishing, I’m driven by my need to discover technologies and their application in creating the world’s first fishing boat that can be independently operated by a person without sight. After spending almost two years researching and trialing different devices, I can relate to the Wright brothers when their first attempts to fly ended less than satisfactorily. Like every seemingly obvious answer, the devil always seems to be in the details. Thank goodness for supportive friends and sponsors who share my dream.
Some might wonder if what I’m doing is safe, or even legal? I have my Pleasure boat operator’s certificate and marine radio license. I’m also not zooming around on lakes by myself. While I admit that I do go fishing alone on small isolated bodies of water in my 12-foot plastic folding Porta-Bote with the Minn Kota electric motor, even then there is always someone sighted who I can communicate with via radio, or visa versa, should the need arise. In the case of the larger 20-foot power catamaran research vessel, a sighted spotter will always be on board.
I’m fortunate in that I have an ever-increasing community of friends supporting me in realizing my dream. I know it’s not because they think there are millions of people without sight itching to fish from their own boats, and it’s not just because aging baby-boomers live in fear of losing their sight. People view this as good for everyone as we can all benefit from learning to better utilize our non-visual senses. After-all, if you think about it, fishing is really about pursuing the unseen. In the end though, it really comes down to just having the opportunity to get out on the water and go fishing.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Also there is a new update to JAWS as well. You can learn more about that at this link.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Humanware: More changes at the top as the company announces its new reorganization changes.
Freedom Scientific: The company has updated the PAC Mate Omni page to detail the registration process for upgrading your unit.
If you are interested in the update or if you just want to see the files and the fuss hit the link below.
Monday, January 07, 2008
But if you *did* run the SP1 RC1 for Vista then you can take advantage of the new Disc Defrag tool. One of the things I learned when catching up on podcasts during the holiday break was the newly revamped Defrag will now let you choose drives and other options not found in the original release of Vista. Never mind that you had this functionality in XP... but I digress.
And all that Vista bashing by PCWorld and others didn't seem to have an effect on Vista sales. Looks like the crys of Windows ME Part II may be for naught. It seems that the adoption rate, while not as high as projected, is still better than the detractors had speculated earlier in mid 2007.
On a side note. Office 2007 has outperformed expectations. In some of the figures I read in November and December it was said that 9% of all users of the Office Trial end up converting it to a full version.
Of course if you decided to skip Vista and Office 2007 I would like to remind you that the betas for Office 2009, IE8 and even possibly Windows 7 [thats the Windows to follow Vista] are all coming sometime in 08. Ah the software circle of life continues..
FREE Update to Version 8.02 for Version 8.01 customers
Dolphin is delighted to announce the release of version 8.02 of Supernova, Hal, Lunar and LunarPlus. These free updates are available to all existing version 8 customers and are packed with usability improvements and bug fixes. Plus we’ve sneaked a couple of extras features in there for you as well. Read on to find out what’s new for you.
What’s new in Version 8.02
How do I Upgrade to Version 8.02
Tell Dolphin what you think and win of five FREE SMA’s
What’s new in Version 8.02?
Below are just some of the new features and benefits you will discover with Version 8.02:
1. The user will now benefit from a huge advancement in Virtual Focus. Your Virtual Focus position will be remembered even when the browser window is covered up or minimized. This means that the Virtual Focus will remember your position when browsing web pages across the multiple tab function in Internet Explorer 7. It will even remember your position(s) if you are using multiple browser windows when comparing information across several different sites. This applies to SuperNova and Hal.
The Braille line displays in Word have been developed. Now when an area of text within Word is highlighted the Braille line will display this highlighted section. This applies to SuperNova and Hal.
The installation process has been redesigned to ensure a fluid and quick process of installing the software. This applies to SuperNova, Hal, Lunar and LunarPlus.
The default colour used for highlighting the Virtual Focus and Document Read position has been changed to create a higher contrast for the end user. This applies to SuperNova, Hal and LunarPlus.
A large selection of bug fixes have also been included that improve the user experience for XP and Vista users. This applies to SuperNova, Hal, Lunar and LunarPlus.
How do I Upgrade to Version 8.02?
This update will be available as an “Update from Internet” and should automatically download and update (For this automatic update please ensure that your update from internet option is enabled. This can be checked or turned on in your Dolphin Control Panel by clicking in Maps, Automatic Update Settings, then please set the upgrades option to check daily, weekly or monthly).
Tell Dolphin what you think and win one of five FREE SMA’s
If you are a Hal, Lunar, LunarPlus or SuperNova user and you would like the opportunity to win one of five FREE Software Maintenance Agreements (SMAs) for your Dolphin software, please fill in our questionnaire by linking to http://tinyurl.com/26snxa
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
I guess the results below just add more weight to that old adage "Its a Wintel world and we just live in it".
December's Poll Of The Month: My Next System Will Sport Which Processor?
Intel Based System - 13 (76%)
AMD Based System - 3 (17%)
It will be one of those OLPC or other Linux styled boxes - 1 (5%)
"Other" like Transmeda and the like- 0 (0%)
I wonder if some opinions will change when the ATI and AMD relationship continues in the multi core era. And just in case you were interested I am a NVIDIA Intel fan for many years. Although my recent issues with Vista support does have me on the fence for my next purchase.
This month's poll question came to me as I carried 300 CDs in 1 box up a flight of stairs during last month's move.
Poll Of The Month: At What Bit Rate Do You Archive Your Music?
Lossless .. I Have Gigs Of Space!
And while we are on the subject of music Ars has a not so surprising article on holiday sales.
Also Rolling Stone has a nice primer on dynamic range compression and the effect it has driven into our ears in the MP3 generation.