Monday, March 31, 2008
Of course.. If I *were* to post something like that it might.. look like this..
Ai Squared Develops GPS And Finds Their Way Out Of Vermont
Freedom Scientific Announces New PAC Mate Ultra Running Windows 7
GW Micro Acquired By Microsoft. Narrator To Be Subscription Based!
Dolphin Debuts Support For Apple’s Safari
From The Makers Of J-Say Comes J-Zune..
But I would like to think I am above all this chicanery… Ha!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Vista SP1: Install: The Super Site for Windows has some steps and screens of the SP1 install process via Windows Update. You can find the link below.
SP1 FUD: Fear, Unknown and Doubt. Whenever anyone releases an update of just about anything you can find someone complaining about something in regards to that update on the web. The Super Site blog highlights some of those people in the industry would must have sprained a hangnail in the mad dash to post just about anything on Microsoft .. first!
XP SP3: Along with that bit’o’fun we can expect more of the same with XP SP3 right? Why sure.
XP Timeline: The funny thing is that Vista isn’t all the evil that others make it out to be AND! All operating systems must fade into oblivion eventually. This article discusses the dates from the past and now the future for Windows XP as it ventures off into the sunset come 2014.
7 years old for OSX: Mac fans get it worse though. In the last 7 years OSX has updated 5 times. That means it was a $119 to $129 throw for each upgrade. Not to mention the hardware upgrade if you were a G4 user. Here’s an Ars article noting the historic milestone.
Apple Anti Trust: A few weeks ago I mentioned the words Apple and monopoly in the same post. A commenter responded by saying that iPods do not constitute a monopoly because they don’t require you to use a specific format. Of course I can counter that by saying that you are tied to the Apple Updater which is tied to iTunes which also then forces you to stay with Apple hardware if you ever bought anything from iTunes. But there are others out there who also see what I see and better yet they researched their points a little bit better than I. Again I point an Ars article.
Everyone Is Evil Sone Day: Still to be fair everyone gets their time in the sun. The article below talks about how at one time Microsoft was not the “evil empire”. And it even speculates that one day Apple and Google could themselves in the exact same boat as the Redmond giant.
Fanboys: Finally I say that it all depends on that darned old water glass. Half empty, half full or what not. As the great Canadian rock band says “if you choose not to decide.. you still have made a choice”. However I’m excluding that we all have freewill. Ha! The link below discusses just how crazy some people can get in these debates.
• Unmagnified dialog no longer appears when installing in Windows Vista SP1
When installing ZoomText in Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1), an unmagnified dialog would appear during the installation. This problem has been fixed.
• Fix for system hang when using 'Film View' in Windows Explorer
When using ZoomText in Windows Vista, using the 'Film View' mode in the Windows Explorer could cause the system hanging. This problem has been fixed. • Fix for hidden mouse pointer when starting ZoomText
On some systems the mouse pointer would disappear when starting ZoomText. Once ZoomText was fully initialized, moving the mouse would cause the pointer to reappear. This problem has been fixed.
• Design Science MathPlayer now supported
ZoomText now supports reading math equations displayed using Design Science's MathPlayer in Internet Explorer. • Switching user interface languages now supported in ZoomText USB international products
When using international versions of ZoomText USB, you could not switch the user interface language (selected in the Preferences dialog box). Switching languages is now supported.
• French Eloquence speech synthesizers now fully supported in ZoomText
When using ZoomText's AppReader with French Eloquence speech synthesizers, AppReader would randomly skip over words and/or lines of text. These problems have been fixed. • New Setup command line override for minimum hard disk space
By default, to install ZoomText you must have a minimum of 100MB of free hard drive space. To accomodate users who want to override this requirement, a new SETUP command line parameter (/SDSC) has been added to allow the installation to proceed even when the default minimum hard drive space is not available. This parameter is used as follows:
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
HumanWare Innovation Continues in 2008 by Building on Strong Successes of 2007
March 19, 2008 -- HumanWare's participation in last week's 2008 CSUN Technology and Persons with Disability Conference, where they made two new product announcements, demonstrates HumanWare's continuing global leadership in developing and providing assistive technologies for the print disabled.
The CSUN conference offered the opportunity to listen to and talk with international attendees from around the world, including Europe, Asia and Australia. Town Hall meetings with customers and round table discussions with education technology leaders allowed HumanWare to hear firsthand customer needs and product requirements. This feedback helps HumanWare continually update its current products as well as plan for future products to meet specific customer needs.
As recently stated by Gilles Pepin, Group CEO of HumanWare, "The BrailleNote Family is our flagship product and we are committed to investing in its future development and innovation. Our goal is to create a more mainstream approach to product development. We will continue to have innovative and successful products for the BrailleNote family in the future, just as we have done with the Stream, ClassMate, and Breeze." In addition Mr. Pepin announced a new KeySoft upgrade for the BrailleNote later this year.
HumanWare Announces 2008 Launch of Two Innovative Products:
Last week, at the 2008 CSUN conference HumanWare unveiled a new talking GPS for people who are blind. The Trekker Breeze was designed for use when travelling in familiar surroundings and provides talking GPS directions that help users know where they are and where they are going whether on foot or in a vehicle. This new model is an addition to the popular Trekker and BrailleNote GPS systems, which have thousands of users worldwide. HumanWare offers the most complete line of GPS tools for visually impaired people.
HumanWare, in partnership with the Washington State Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH), has developed the Deaf Blind Communicator (DBC) which provides three types of communication for deaf blind users: face-to-face, TTY, and SMS Texting. The DBC consists of two separate components that deaf blind users can easily carry wherever they go. These two components communicate wirelessly with each other using Bluetooth.
HumanWare Builds on Innovative Products Launched in 2007
Since last summer's launch, HumanWare's Victor Stream has sold thousands of units worldwide. This versatile, powerful NIMAS, DAISY-MP3 and NISO player lets users read and navigate through complex reference manuals and school books, as well as novels and magazines. Members of NLS (National Library Services) and RFB&D (Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic) enjoy an enhanced reading experience. With the latest release of Version 1.2 on March 10, 2008, Serotek customers with a subscription to their System Access Mobile Network services can now listen to most content from that network. No other DAISY player offers so much in such a small package and at an affordable price.
HumanWare's ClassMate Reader, a new portable and affordable digital audio book player announced in the fall 2007 continues to prove helpful to students in increasing their reading speed, comprehension and vocabulary. The ClassMate reads aloud and simultaneously displays and highlights text on its full color screen. It also includes helpful study tools that enhance learning through bookmarks, recording and a speaking dictionary. With built-in text-to-speech, the ClassMate Reader works with e-text or NIMAS files. The ClassMate is a completely portable stand-alone solution.
HumanWare (www.humanware.com) is the global leader in assistive technologies for the print disabled. HumanWare provides products to people who are blind and have low vision and students with learning disabilities. HumanWare offers a collection of innovative products include BrailleNote, the leading productivity device for the blind in education, business and for personal use; the Victor Reader product line, the world's leading digital audiobook players, and SmartView Xtend, the first fully modular and upgradeable CCTV-based video magnifier.
For more information about these or other HumanWare products, please contact us:
call toll free 1-800-722-3393 or (925) 680-7100
call toll free 1-888-723-7273
Tel: +44 1933 415 800
Tel: +61 2 9686 2600
Tel.: (450) 463-1717
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Here is a link to the Super Site Blog who just happens to have the links to the 32 bit and x64 stand alone installers.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Darrell over at Blind Access Journal has links to the CSUN Keynote and a whole lot more. Like his induction into the Motor biking culture. “Get your motor runnin’” Darrell and head out down that highway..
I’ve heard some good stuff about the WebAIM talks pre CSUN. But since I don’t have a direct link for those talks here is a read on their take so far with IE8.
I also heard some good things about how NVDA was working with Firefox. Check out the NVDA Happenings blog to know more about that product’s upcoming changes.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
When I was 7 years old I thought that my future was going to be in Radio. I read, studied, dreamed and consumed a ton about Broadcasting in general. And most of the things I learned were from .. well.. Hippies. Real live Grateful Dead following accross the country Hippies. So my young mind was forever warpped at an early age when they introduced me to things like Jack Flanders and his magical worlds that were entered by Jack sitting in his green bean bag chair and inducing a form of transcendental meditation. I was already hooked on Radio Dramas but these were more Sci Fi and Fantasy slanted. And the guys making them were very much in the experimental side of audio. It was here I learned about technologies that were called Binaural Recordings. And I did all this before I ever knew what recreational drugs were or how they affected those I was learning from at the time. I led a very sheltered life.
Back in the late 70's and early 80's I looked forward to the weekends where I could put on a big bulky set of headphones and be whisked away to these stereophonic delights. True I had a hard time figuring out the symbolism or the jokes or even the plot. But for what I didn't get i found so much more in the way that ZBS recorded and presented their stories. Adventure with a real love of puns laced with dry wit is a statement I can make about how ZBS approach their craft. They also find incredible methods of performing plot gymnastics with characters from long ago whispering one sentence off handedly but then it becomes the entire reason for one episode's plot later on in the series. Therefore dedicated fans can find much more story on repeat play sessions.
Jack's expanded universe and mythos is quite vast. Several of his sidekicks went on to get their own series. And now all of them are available for purchase either on CD, tape or via MP3 downloads. There is even a podcast service where you can try some of the episodes for free. Plus there are newer adventures for sale for long time fans who may have lost touch with Ruby and the others.
If you are interested and you don't mind listening out of order .. i highly recommend "Jack Flanders and the 4th Tower of Inverness". It is regarded by many fans to be one of the best of the ZBS collection.
To learn more about Jack and the other dramatic audios at ZBS hit the link below.
I'm still getting info back from my friends and spies at the show. Here is some of what I can talk about.
Eye-Pal: ABISEE, known for their Zoom EX and Zoom Twix products, has shown the Eye Pal at their booth. This is a smaller way of performing mass book scanning. It also has some Deaf Blind features as well. The product page is linked below.
Freedom Scientific: Here are some highlights from the last few days from FS.
Onyx Deskset 19'inch Edition: The 17 inch version of this portable Video Magnifier now has a bigger brother.
PAC Mate Omni Update: This is an optional update to the new Omni units. Note the announcement of the 6.1 edition in 2nd quarter by the way.
Magic Free Trial Until August 2008: 40 minutes and a reboot sound annoying? Weel try Magic for free until August.
Trekker Breeze: I've talked about this earlier in the week, however, here is the official product page for the Breeze.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
CSUN Press Releases: GW Micro Shows The Power Of Window Eyes 7,, Sense View Duo, Braille Sense v5.0 And The New Braille Sense Plus
Window Eyes 7.0
Sense View Duo
Braille Sense Firmware 5.0
Braille Sense Plus
Wednesday 12th March 2008 marked the launch of the eagerly anticipated version 9 of Dolphin’s screen readers and magnifiers; Supernova, Hal, Lunar and LunarPlus.
Development has focused on usability and performance when browsing the web and feedback from our early adopters says you’ll love the improvements:
As dolphin rightly said... a lot of work has gone in to Hal's performance on the Internet. My experience so far is that this is a vast improvement and I unreservedly congratulate dolphin on their achievement. I would encourage all customers to download a demo and take a look. Well done Dolphin!!
Request a trial CD or download the SuperNova version 9 demoRequest a trial CD or download the Hal version 9 demo.Request a trial CD or download the Lunar version 9 demo.Request a trial CD or download the LunarPlus version 9 demo.
Learn more about Dolphin’s new “Swap to a Dolphin Pen” offer, where existing Supernova, Hal, Lunar and LunarPlus users can swap their CD license for the portable USB pen edition for only twice the price of a standard upgrade.
So what’s new in version 9 for you?
· All New Internet Explorer Document Object Model SupportDolphin's developers have completely re-engineered Dolphin's Microsoft Internet Explorer Document Object Model (DOM) support. This major overhaul provides superior responsiveness when browsing web pages using the Dolphin Virtual Focus. The new Microsoft Internet Explorer support improves navigational consistency and accuracy for users relying on Virtual Focus speech and/or Braille output on web pages. The new support also enhances stability on more complex and poorly written web pages.
· New Internet Explorer Quick Navigation KeysA number of new and intuitive quick navigation hotkeys have been added to version 9 to enable you surf the web quickly and easily. These much requested keys allow you to move the focus between the next and previous element such as button, edit area, heading, link, table, etc within a web page.Choose from the following extensive list selecting CAPS LOCK + letter as listed below for forward navigation through the webpage. Alternatively SHIFT + CAPS LOCK + letter as listed below to navigate backwards through the webpage.
· B: Button
· C: Check box
· D: Different
· E: Edit area
· G: Graphic
· H: Heading
· L: Link
· N: Text block (blocks of text divided by non-text objects such as links, graphics etc.)
· P: Paragraph
· R: Radio button
· S: List box
· T: Table
· U: Unvisited Link
· V: Visited Link
· X: ControlsWhere an element is not present the screen reader prompts with an appropriate error message and retains the current focus position. For example “not found.”Download a list of the Internet Explorer Quick Navigation Keys in a format of your choice
· Improved Support for Office 2007 RibbonVersion 9 offers enhanced support for the Office 2007 Ribbon bar including the ability to identify group boxes and super tooltips. An all new Dolphin online tutorial for Office 2007 will be made available for Dolphin users upon the release of version 9.01.
· Cut, Copy and Paste AnnouncementsWhilst in Live mode the version 9 screen reader announces text cut, copied or pasted from the Windows clipboard. Should that data be write protected version 9 will announce the failure to cut or copy text. Copying or moving folders or files? Version 9 will also announce the number of objects you cut, copy or paste.The Speech Preferences dialog now includes a checkbox which can be used to disable clipboard announcements. The new Clipboard key mappings dialog allows users running non English operating systems that don't use the default key assignments of CTRL C, CTRL X and CTRL V, to adjust the hot keys to their local cut, copy and paste settings.
· New Dolphin List UtilityVersion 9 offers a consolidated list of popular document elements into one handy single multi-page List Utility.To launch the new multi-page dialog with a single hot key press CAPS LOCK +TAB from all the applications that are currently supported, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word. The new dialog can easily be navigated using standard Windows conventions CONTROL+TAB and CONTROL+SHIFT+TAB to move between the various tab sheets.These Tab sheets offer the user a convenient list of the following document elements:
· Spelling errors
· Grammar errors
Each of these lists can be sorted in document order or alphabetically. In addition the user can choose to perform a variety of actions on each element including route Virtual Focus, Left Click and Right Click. The utility can also be launched on the expected page with legacy hotkeys such as CAPS LOCK + 1 for the list of Links etc.
· New Braille TablesIn addition to Dolphin's existing substantial list of Braille tables, the following Braille tables have been added or updated for Braille output and Braille input.
· New and Updated Braille Output Tables
· French Code for the UK (for English students studying the French language)
· French Grade 1
· French Grade 2
· German Code for the UK (for English students studying the German language)
· German Grade 2 (updated)
· Norwegian Grade 1
· Norwegian Grade 2
· Spanish Code for the UK (for English students studying the Spanish language)
· Swedish Grade 1
· Swedish Grade 2 (levels 1 and 2)
· Unified English Braille Grade 1
· Unified English Braille Grade 2
· New and Updated Braille Input Tables
· French Grade 1
· French Grade 2
· Norwegian Grade 1
· Norwegian Grade 2
· Swedish Grade 1
· Swedish Grade 2
· Unified English Braille (Grades 1 and 2)
Note, Unified English Braille has been adopted in Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria and South Africa and is scheduled for consideration in the UK in April 2008.
· Support for Terminal ServicesVersion 9 reintroduces support for Windows Terminal Server and Citrix MetaFrame operating systems, allowing blind and visually impaired computer users the same excellent access to applications running on remote thin clients, as well as Windows desktop terminals.Order your upgrade online or contact Dolphin’s Sales Department.
Like a few other Bloggers this year I can say that I am not attending CSUN, however, I do have friendly spies there feeding me back info. There are two main reasons for me not going to L.A. this year. One is that I am going to NFB National Convention in Dallas. That show is here in my backyard and with gas prices the way they are this show will be far cheaper for me personally. The second reason is that most of the big named stuff I either already have or I am working with now or I was playing with it during the Beta process. Yeah I know "Cry me a river Ranger". I'm sorry to say that this is an occupational hazard more often than it sounds. Keeping it all straight in my head, and remembering when I can officially blog about it without me being carted off in the night, is another one of those *hazards*.
Anyway, I'm looking on the web a lot this week for others to post things that I am under NDA or "Gentleman's Agreement" not to blog about. Today I want to point out and thank Blind Bargains for posting on the new all in one Trekker Breeze. Because now I can talk about it a bit more openly. the link below will take you to the BB site. Then the paragraphs below are just me talking sarcastically about industry stuff. If you don't want to be bored to tears by that just read the link below and skip the rest. And a shout out to all the gang at BB for their great ATIA, and now CSUN, work. Keep'em flying guys!
The Breeze is one of those devices that we will start seeing in earnest as two markets within Blindness AT are growing far more faster than other traditional segments of the industry. The Older American/Baby Boomer market was always a big part of who we serve but now you can add the rapidly growing Veterans Administration to the ranks as well. Where some of us Blind Geeks will find our selves in the position of doing over the next few years is looking at these newer and entry level devices from a more advanced user stand point. Hey we are Blind .. 'ahem Enthusiasts.. it is what we do right? Well not to go all Star Wars on this post today but.. We aren't the Droids they are looking for with the Breeze.
Simplicity, ease of use and even a limited feature set will be the waves of the future on some emerging products. Because that is what those parts of the audience ask for in a program, device or accessory. Taking a step back and putting my mind in the role of the newly Blinded or newer user is a difficult process for this old jaded guy who remembers when Video Magnifier manufacturers dared to call their units weighing 50 pounds "Portable". Talk about your heavy lifting job requirements.. and *hazards*.
Humanware set off to make the new Breeze smaller and far less complicated than their current edition. They also looked at cost as well because that is certainly one of the more attractive factors about the Victor Reader Stream. But, and I hate to characterize this unit this way, it kind of reminds me of that old line of Fisher Price "My First.." types of products. Say like "My First Record Player" and the like. My crude description not withstanding, the Breeze is set out to be the unit that can introduce someone to the wonderful liberating world of GPS. Or a tool that can be shown to early travelers who are just starting out in learning their Orientation and Mobility. Humanware has been conducting a pilot program with O&M Specialists for the last few months prior to this announcement and I am told that the feedback has been very positive so far.
The unit has fewer buttons, a far more simpler menu system and it still can be updated with the latest maps like it's older brother. I was told a few months ago that the older Trekker is still going to be around for advanced users who need more in a GPS. Also there is the Braill and Voice Note versions too if someone finds that they need a whole lot more info than the Breeze will provide.
Still, there is that old adage "You gotta start somewhere" and the Breeze may be another of those Humanware products that are the right device, for the right time and for the right price. We're just six months away from the Holiday Shopping season and I could imagine a few brightly colored trees being swayed by a cool Breeze..
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Clarity: I think I have mentioned the Rio before, however, I don’t think I have seen the Lynx. And don’t forget to see the Junior that debuted last year.
Telesensory: Last year it was the Vertex. This year it is the Vertex and Apex Pro.
Freedom Vision: Last year it was the QuickLook Zoom. This year.. the QuickLook Focus.
I don’t have a link to it, however, you may also want to go by Magnisight as they have a new unit that may be well worth your *Journey*. I’ll post more when I have a direct link to the unit I speak of somewhat cryptically.
Serotek CSUN 2008 Announcement
We cordially invite you to join us at booth 357 at the Marriott LAX for the annual CSUN conference, March 12 through March 15. We’ll be showcasing several exciting new features of System Access and the System Access Mobile Network that you won’t want to miss.
First, we are proud to announce the addition of magnification to our System Access software. Magnification ranges from 1.25X to 6X, and can be increased in increments of .25. This update is available in all paid System Access packages as System Access version 2.4, and it is also part of the free online version of System Access to Go. There is absolutely no charge for the update, and it will automatically be downloaded and installed for all current users of System Access.
Serotek continues its commitment to the accessible digital lifestyle by introducing features for portable devices that will ensure that you have access to all your favorite content from the System Access Mobile Network, even when you aren’t near a computer. Supported devices include the Victor Reader Stream from Humanware using the latest firmware update, and the Icon from LevelStar. You can send your email, news, podcasts, radio dramas, and even your favorite movies right to your portable device. Just plug in to any available USB port on your computer, and any content from the network that you’ve added to your sync list will be downloaded to your device and ready for you to take with you on the road. If you haven’t yet upgraded the firmware on your Victor Reader Stream, no problem! We’ll automatically detect which version of the firmware you’re running and initiate the update process for you. Note that you will not be able to transfer content from the SA Mobile Network to the LevelStar Icon until a few weeks after the CSUN conference, but we will be demonstrating this feature at CSUN.
We are also excited to announce that we have partnered with De Witt and Associates to produce a line of TrainingWare™ designed for use by individuals and training facilities to increase independent living skills through the use of a computer. In just a few hours, users will learn how to send and receive email, surf the Internet, participate in online shopping, utilize Microsoft Office applications such as Outlook, MS Word and Excel, and perform many other computer-related tasks for personal and business needs.
Packages including a printed teacher’s manual and student workbook, along with a CD containing these materials in MS Word and Braille-ready formats will be available both for individual use and as a site license for use in training facilities. A copy of the student workbook in Daisy format will also be available for purchase, and can be downloaded for use on a computer or portable device such as the Victor Reader Stream.
To find out more about the latest from Serotek, visit us at http://www.serotek.com/ or call
Hello from RJ!
Here I am again with more Assistive Technology (AT) news from my little company. This time, I need to tell you about a new product and the updating of 2 older ones, so that they are now Vista-compatible!
1) WordComplete is a Windows-only (Vista also) product and is a helper for slow typists, people with LD, poor spellers, and/or those that need word suggestions. I really tried to integrate the design *into* the writing *process*, rather than being a distractor. Please read my thoughts on this at:
2) OnScreen was one of the first on-the-screen keyboards for Mac and Windows from the early 90's (there were a few others, but not many!). I just updated it for Windows Vista (still 'backward' compatible all the way to Windows 95!). And I put switch scanning right in the software! That's right. Now 1 or switches can completely, and auditorily (even blind!) control OnScreen. It talks up a storm, has all the sizes you need, scrolls left to right, even auto-sizes your application window!
3) CrossScanner, my 1-2 switch mouse emulator (control the mouse via switch) has also been updated for Vista-compability (also backward compatible). Same great program. I'll be following this email up shortly with a *great* article by AJOT journal concluding that CrossScanner beat all other methods!
The above web addresses should be clickable and take you right to my pages. This is my first crack at these updates so if anyone finds any glitches in the installers or programs, please, please let me know ASAP.
More to come shortly.
Thanks for listening.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Ford [MSFT] said... Hello Everyone,This is Kelly Ford from the IE team at
Microsoft. IE8 beta 1 is definitely out. If you do opt to take it for a test
spin, please take note of the assistive technology section of the release notes.
They talk about two reg keys you will likely need to set to avoid some
compatibility issues we are working on with various assistive technology
vendors. The release notes can be found at
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/949787. There's a heading titled Assistive
technology that goes into more detail.You can read the blog post talking about
IE8 from the IE team blog at
and a post talking about various feedback options at
technical side you can read about some of the accessibility changes at
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc304059(VS.85).aspx. Perhaps most
notably is that IE8 beta 1 contains our initial support for Web ARIA. This is a
way to make web applications more accessible. You can learn more about ARIA at
http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-wai-aria-20080204/.Finally, if you are interested
in an exciting career opportunity to join the IE team and help with our
accessibility testing, you can read about an open position we have at http://members.microsoft.com/careers/search/details.aspx?JobID=EDC85083-8FD9-4E16-BE2B-1B736C30E3AC.
f you do decide to take the plunge then you can expect an install shield very much like those found in IE7. I like that there are a few more options with checkboxes offered to customize IE8 during the install. One of the things I wasn’t thrilled about with IE7 was that you had to go to that opening page to make selections on some particular browser options. With IE8, so far, this isn’t as big deal for me. Low vision users may not be totally thrilled with the default layout of the toolbars. You have your standard File menu, the address bar, the Tabs and now a Favorites bar. If you have ever met someone who has 5 million add ons or gadgets for Firefox in the menu areas then you already know what a nightmare it can be to make a precise and accurate mouse clic on a small unrecognizable icon for a sea of small unrecognizable icons. Speech users won’t notice this much unless you tab a lot out of the address bar during web navigation. Not to worry though as all of the bars can be customized. Just a heads up on the current defaults in case anyone is interested.
Speaking of Firefox.. Here is a link to the latest version, Beta 4, of Firefox 3.0. This is also another “Downloader Beware” kind of thing. But I bet you already knew that before I said it right? http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/all-beta.html
Monday, March 10, 2008
Dear Victor Reader Stream Customer:
HumanWare has released the latest Stream software version 1.2.18. This is a free software upgrade that can be downloaded and installed on your Stream. To download the software visit:
Select the link to download the new software version 1.2.18. On the same page, you will also find a What's New document describing installation procedures and listing all the features of the new version. Among the new features you will find the following:
- Support of NIMAS text books in United States
- Support of System Access Mobile from Serotek Corporation (http://www.serotek.com/)
- Go To Time feature for non-structured audio books and recorded audio notes
- Faster data transfer rate when the Stream is connected to the computer with the USB cable
- Increased volume on the built-in speaker
- Bass and treble control for music
- Control over announcement of music folder and file names
- An optional built-in SD formatting utility should your SD card ever require reformatting
Please refer to the What's New document on the Stream page for a complete description of all new features and improvements. An updated FAQ document (frequently asked questions) can also be found on the web page. It provides answers to frequently asked questions about Audible, battery, Bookshare.org, CNIB, NLS, Recording, RFB&D, SD cards, and Serotek.
With this announcement, version 1.2 is available in English and Norwegian. As other version 1.2 languages become available they will be posted on the same download page. Currently, the previous version 1.1.15 software is available in Dutch, German, French, and Swedish.
We are also working on a second English U.S. male voice (Tom) and a U.K. male voice (Daniel). These will be posted as alternate version 1.2 software downloads as soon as possible. We will announce their availability on this News Wire.
The next Stream software release project will start soon and is intended to provide support for WMA and BRF. We are also planning an update to the Stream Companion software.
HumanWare values your continued support of the Victor Reader Stream. We remain committed to existing and future customers to make the Stream the most powerful, flexible, and enjoyable product used for listening to books, computer files, and music.
The HumanWare Team
OPTELEC INTRODUCES THE FIRST EVER CLEARVEW+ 22" WIDESCREEN DISPLAY
Vista, California – Optelec US Inc, the world leader in innovative and assistive technology for visually impaired people, showcased its new Clearview+ 22” widescreen at the ATIA Conference 2008 in Orlando, United States, January 30th – February 2nd, 2008
From one button simplicity to endless possibilities. Optelec’s new 22” widescreen complements the existing ClearView+ line of 17” and 19” CRT and TFT displays. Optelec’s screens are highly valued because of their unique screen technology offering now a choice four different displays. Each ClearView+ features a glossy display, providing more vivid colors and deeper blacks, resulting in perfectly crisp and clear images. In addition, these unique Optelec glossy displays provide about fifty percent more light than a standard off-the-shelf matte display.
The ClearView+ with 22” display combines the well known user-friendly one-button-simplicity with stylish widescreen technology, making reading and writing more comfortable than ever before. With only one button, the user can increase or decrease magnification and switch from text mode to photo mode and back. Users that require more features can upgrade the system anytime by selecting one of the Feature Packs.
Through our continuous focus on versatility and modularity, we are able to deliver a solution that meets today’s and tomorrow’s requirements of customers with different lifestyles, and thus requiring different features, stated Ivar Illing, International Product Manager of Optelec B.V. “Whether a customer is seeking for simplicity or extensive features, our attractive and user-friendly ClearView+ line of video magnifiers is ready to meet requirements of each individual user.”
The Clearview + 22” display will be available soon on ShopLowVision.com. The additional of the 22” display along with other Optelec engineered products brings top technology with easy-to-use simplicity to ShopLowVision.com, truly making the company the leading one-stop shop for low vision and daily living products. All Optelec Video Magnifier products are featured on ShopLowVision.com.
About ShopLowVision.com ShopLowVision.com is the first e-commerce website with the most comprehensive line (4000+) of low vision solutions with daily living products, video magnifiers, optical products, and professional tools. It is also the first ever low vision e-commerce store with business to business, business to consumer, and business to professional interface all-in-one, and to be aligned with best practice model for low vision rehabilitation (AOA, AAO, AOTA, AER). Our sister company LowVision.com serves professionals and consumers with education, resource information and materials on living an active life with Low Vision. With the launch of both sites, ShopLowVision.com and LowVision.com serve the world as the one stop shop for all low vision needs. Visit us at http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=0016RTPDbrv1t4LSUCH5H2QCTMXmg765FjOlJXoxvHy1PS6euUaIEUrEAoHgsE81sMoi4AkHXA4rW3rVn5R_ulZzKxj4SQieX1pYlo5KSFz9NJjTU-WA9m1QA== and http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=0016RTPDbrv1t640Zn2DPDacEDQRGJo5ZdJXy_dInECdstDMdj0ZpwI4DazgnTxoPCPHWC7v4NygraiF-zidvX0biJGh0JQYfEpi15n-FDcEEq6gHjEj5TSag==. ShopLowVision.com and LowVision.com feature premium products from Optelec (http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=0016RTPDbrv1t7oVq0ALAdSS2UTXGaC9lgHStpH8kO3l1todQSSfKrwLmQQ1mQNRZSQPq4jZgRhtwv8RJhHEWkhcaQ4Yc8oIZZldwmGapEYt4yPDjwt8jLQOg==), and are owned and operated by Optelec U.S., Inc.
Welcome to the CSUN special edition of the Dolphin Alert
· Alternative Format Workshops
· Presentations by Dolphin at CSUN
· Come and see Dolphin during the conference on Booths 317 & 318
· Meet the Dolphin team at CSUN
· Meet your local Dolphin Expert at CSUN
· Does your Community College want Free SuperNova licenses?
· American River College discovers the benefits of the Dolphin SMA
· Lunar the World’s best Screen Magnifier - celebration offer
· YourDolphin.com. NOW ready to accept your online orders
· Dolphin’s Paul Thompson joins the board of the ATIA
· Dolphin Sponsors the Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) Gala Dinner
· Come and see us soon
Alternative Format Workshops
DAISY, NIMAS, E-Text, Alt Format. Do you have more acronyms than answers when it comes to meeting the alt format needs of your students with print disabilities? Ron Stewart from Dolphin Computer Access can offer you some help. We will be setting up a full production station and providing FREE private hands on trainings using our Easy family of products at the CSUN conference March 13 & 14th. You will be taken step by step through the process from scanning to final production of the specific form of alt media that your students need to be successful.
These trainings will be offered on a first come first serve basis to a limited number of participants, ensuring each attendee is involved in the creation process. During the workshop why not pick Ron’s brain on everything AltFormat whilst enjoying the complementary croissants and bagels.
The trainings will be held in our training room at the Courtyard Marriott hotel just a five minute walk or a short shuttle hop from the conference location at the Marriott LAX. Please book your place today to avoid missing out on this opportunity to attend this workshop conducted by one of the world’s foremost DAISY/AltFormat experts.
Presentations by Dolphin at CSUN
During the 23rd Annual CSUN Conference, members of the Dolphin team will be showcasing a number of interesting and informative seminars. All of the presentations will be held at the:
Los Angeles Airport Marriott
5855 West Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Supernova Scripting: Powerful scripts for the World’s most flexible Screen-Reader & Screen Magnifier
Washington Room, 13th March 2008, 13:45 to 15:00
This session, by Mike Hill and Steve Bennett of Dolphin, will offer a live and technical demonstration of the new powerful Dolphin scripting facility for speech, magnification and Braille solution, within Supernova (Screen Reader and Screen Magnifier), Hal, Lunar and LunarPlus.
Seating is limited so please reserve your seat for the SuperNova Scripting presentation to avoid disappointment.
Accessibility of Next Generation Screen Reader Technology for Smartphones
Atlanta Room, 13th March 2008, 16:15 to 17:30
This informative and interesting session, by Gareth Collins of Dolphin and AFB Consulting, will offer a live and technical demonstration of Smart Hal. The powerful Dolphin Screen Read for Windows powered Smartphones.
Included in the session will be demonstrations on the Smartphones general features, contact, call status, missed call, text messaging as well as some third party applications.
Seating is limited so please reserve your seat for the Smartphone presentation to avoid disappointment.
DAISY Track: Demand DAISY OK
Scottsdale Room, 14th March 2008, 10:30 to 11:45
Find out what "DAISY OK" means for book producers, tool developers and most importantly, what it means to those who read DAISY books.
The following DAISY experts will be presenting: Ron Stewart from Dolphin, Lynn Leith, George Kerscher, Markus Gylling from the DAISY Consortium and Niclas Bergstrom.
Seating is limited so please reserve your seat for the DAISY Track presentation to avoid disappointment.
Accessible2 Development: An accessibility API that works for ATs and applications
Washington Room, 14th March 2008, 16:15 to 17:25
Mike Hill, Dolphin’s Development Director, has been invited to join a panel discussing the future of Accessible2 Development, alongside representatives from several world renowned companies in the Technology Sector.
The panel will consist of Richard Schwerdtfeger, IBM Software Group; Michael Squillace & Peter Brunet, IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center; Mike Hill from Dolphin and others from Sun Microsystems Inc. and Adobe Systems Inc.™
Seating is limited so please reserve your seat for the Accessible2 presentation to avoid disappointment.
Come and see Dolphin during the conference on Booths 317 & 318
If you require any product information, want to see a demonstration or simply want to have a quick chat regarding our easy-to-use, yet life-changing software solutions then we would be delighted if you joined us on our stand in booths 317 & 318 within the Los Angeles Airport Marriott.
Meet the Dolphin team at CSUN
This is the perfect opportunity for you to come and meet members of the team of your favourite Assistive Technology organisation.
Mike Hill, Dolphin’s Development Director, will be available on the stand for you to come and talk with. His knowledge of the future developments of Dolphin’s products offers you an incredible opportunity to perhaps influence the direction of our new software solutions.
Thanks to Mike, Dolphin has managed to develop a close working relationship with Microsoft’s Accessibility Team and the AIA (Access Interoperability Alliance), to name just a couple of world renowned organisations.
Through the relationship with Microsoft and the membership of the AIA, Dolphin (unlike other well known assistive technology companies who decided not to participate with the AIA) has the opportunity to steer the future development of Assistive Technology, ensuring that the end user is always at the forefront when considering possible future AT developments.
Meet your local Dolphin Expert at CSUN
CSUN will also offer you the opportunity to meet or have a chat about your personal requirements with your local Dolphin expert. All of Dolphin’s dealers attending the conference will be within the Los Angeles Airport Marriott:
· Access Ingenuity will be on booth 271
· Adaptive Technology Consulting will be on booth 210
· Beyond Sight will be on booth 305
· EnableMart will be on booth’s 275 & 276
· EVAS will be on booth 224
· Optelec US, inc. will be on booth 323
· Vision Cue will be on booth 277
Does your Community College want Free SuperNova Licenses with an affordable Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA)?
SuperNova from Dolphin is the world’s only fully combined full Screen Reader and full Screen Magnifier with Braille display support available today. SuperNova offers total flexibility to its users by offering your visually impaired students their optimal and unique combination of Speech, Magnification and Braille.
The American River College in California is just one of many US colleges that have adopted Dolphin’s Annual Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA) promotion for US Education. It is this simple, your college purchases a 3 year SMA and we will give you the SuperNova licenses free of charge. There are NO catches.
Whether you are looking for SuperNova to support 5 students or 50 students, when you purchase Dolphin’s 3 year SMA, we will give you the software licences absolutely free.
Plus the great benefit of the Dolphin SMA is that you receive free upgrades and updates, supporting everything from new operating systems to internet improvements for the entire 36 months without any further cost to your organisation. Stopping the frustration when a new version of the software is released only a few weeks after your purchase.
For more information contact Dolphin or your local Dolphin Dealer.
American River College discovers the benefits of the Dolphin SMA
Over the past year ARC has taken progressive steps in its Assistive Technology facilities, in particular they have benefited from the use of SuperNova in conjunction with their Software Maintenance Agreement or SMA with Dolphin Computer Access.
“Our Software Maintenance Agreement has allowed flexibility to insure that any computer a student may use anywhere on our campus and its outreach centers can have Dolphin SuperNova (Screen Reader and Screen Magnifier software) obtainable, opening an era of universal access.” Shane Lake, Alternative Media Specialist at the American River College.
Read the full case study from Shane and the American River College to find out exactly how SuperNova and the accompanying Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA) is making a real difference to the lives of the visually impaired students in California’s Community Colleges.
Lunar the World’s best Screen Magnifier celebration offer
To commemorate Lunar’s victory in the “Magnify the Difference” group test of the world’s leading screen magnifiers during CSUN 2007. Dolphin is delighted to continue to offer to all of our customers who purchase Lunar or LunarPlus on a Dolphin Pen a FREE CD licence. Saving you an incredible $235 on Lunar and $355 on LunarPlus!
To order Lunar or LunarPlus on a Dolphin Pen and receive your free CD licence, simply select the Buy Online link, talk to sales or contact your local Dolphin Dealer. When buying online, simply enter the e-voucher code FREECD and a free CD license of will be included with your Lunar or LunarPlus Pen!
Discover how the Houston Colleges have increased their commitment to student’s access to education through use of the Dolphin Pen.
YourDolphin.com, NOW ready to accept your online orders
It’s with great delight that Dolphin can announce the official opening of http://www.yourdolphin.com/index.asp?utm_source=uscsunalert&utm_medium=email as a full e-commerce website.
Dolphin values its customer’s personal information and to this end we have incorporated a sophisticated security system within the site to ensure your purchases are safe and secure.
If you have any questions regarding buying online or the online security Dolphin has incorporated into the site, please feel free to contact us.
Dolphin's Paul Thompson joins the board of the ATIA
Dolphin is delighted to announce that Paul Thompson, Dolphin Sales Manager for the US, was elected onto the board of the ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association).
Find out more about Paul’s career at Dolphin in both the UK and the US.
Dolphin Sponsors the Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) Gala Dinner
Dolphin Computer Access is delighted to Sponsor the 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner of the Alliance for Technology Access (ATA).
The event, to be held on the 14th March 2008 in Los Angeles, will be a celebration of the people and companies whose hard and dedicated work has advanced the field of Assistive Technology during the previous 12 months.
Find out more about what the ATA hope to achieve with the support of Dolphin Computer Access
Come and see us soon
Don’t worry if you can’t make it to CSUN, as Dolphin will be criss-crossing the US to ensure we are at an event near to you. Just some of the events we are currently planning to visit are:
· California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH) Conference28th February to 2nd March 2008, Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel, 5855 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles, California
· Dolphin Drop-in Day at the College of the Desert7th March, 10am to 3pm, College of the Desert, 43 – 500 Monterey Ave., Palm Desert, California
· American Library Association Conference26th June to 1st July, Anaheim Convention Center, 800 Katella Ave., Anaheim, California
Dolphin are always adding additional events they are scheduled to visit, so please keep checking the events pages on YourDolphin.com to see when we are visiting a city near you.
If you have an event which you think Dolphin should attend please contact us and if it’s feasible for us to attend, we will.
Handy Tech North America Newsletter March 2008
in this issue
-- Apple Offers Support For Handy Tech Braille Displays
-- Handy Tech North America Now Distributors of Index Braille Products
-- Reading In a Flash
-- Handy Tech North America Offers Full Line of Serotek Products
Hi all from the staff at Handy Tech North America,
As we spring forward into the week of daylight savings time, we are also looking forward to meeting many of you at the CSUN Center on Disabilities' 2008 Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference in Los Angeles California. Please stop by booth #302 Marriott where representatives from both our North American and European offices are looking forward to visiting with you and answering your questions.
Apple Offers Support For Handy Tech Braille Displays
Handy Tech North America, leading providers of adaptive technology solutions for people who are blind or have low vision, is proud to partner with Apple computers in offering support for Handy Tech Braille displays in Apple's OSX 10.5 operating system, code named leopard. Imagine the ability to walk up to any Apple computer with your Easy Braille, Braille Star 40, or have an Apple desktop work station equipped with the elegant Braille Star 80 and have immediate, grade 2 access to your computer without spending a penny on a screen reader. Well, this most recent collaboration between Handy Tech and Apple has made this a reality. Now enjoy the ability to manage e-mail, browse the Internet, create and spell-check documents, synchronize your mobile device and so much more right out of the box using rich human quality speech and grade 2 Braille output with the integrated Voice Over screen reader. Read more about the impressive line of Handy Tech Braille products at:Handy Tech North America
Handy Tech North America Now Distributors of Index Braille Products
Handy Tech North America is now national distributors of the world's most popular, reliable, quietest and light weight Braille embossers from Index Braille. Whether you are looking for a personal embosser or a production model, Handy Tech North America now offers distribution, full service and repair for outstanding Braille embossers such as the Index Basic D, Everest, 4 wave and 4 wave pro. Read more about these outstanding Index Braille embossers at:Handy Tech North America
Reading In a Flash
The K-NFB Reader Mobile has arrived and people everywhere are reading in a flash! Handy Tech North America is very proud to offer the world's most portable reading solution, the new K-NFB Reader Mobile. This revolutionary advance in optical character recognition (OCR), runs on a Nokia N82 mobile phone and is intended for use by people who are blind or have low vision. It's sibling product, the K Reader Mobile, is intended for people with information processing disabilities such as dyslexia.
Handy Tech North America offers both products with accessories such as a Qwerty Bluetooth keyboard, choice of Talks or Mobile Speak screen readers as well as Way Finder Access GPS navigation software. For the first time ever, all of these products are available in one power packed portable device that easily fits in your pocket or purse. For more information, or to hear an audio demo, visit the Handy Tech Web site at:Handy Tech North America
Handy Tech North America Offers Full Line of Serotek Products
Whether you already own another screen reader, or are in search of a screen access solution that transcends the realm of conventionality, Handy Tech North America is proud to offer the full complement of revolutionary yet affordable Serotek products. Such products include System Access Mobile, the screen reader that not only makes access to any Windows XP or Vista computer possible from a U3 Smart drive regardless of Internet availability, but offers a host of access solutions such as Document Scan scan and read technology, Neo Speech human quality speech, E-mail, internet radio, chat and entertainment all from within one intuitive user interface. Add remote access from any computer with an internet connection, and it is clear to see why Serotek products offers something for everyone from the rank novice to the experienced technician.
Can't afford the upfront cost of an expensive screen reader? No problem. Handy Tech North America now offers a 48 month buyout plan for only $24.95 a month or a walk away with no penalty and no questions asked plan for the low monthly cost of only $39.95. Both plans include the System Access Mobile screen reader with free upgrades and access to the System Access Mobile Network. For more information, please call:651-636-5184
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
The new more Standards Compliant IE8 was on the fast track by all accounts back during the holidays. This seems to be one of those true rumor thingies as the Windows Super Site Blog has posted various links to stand alone installers for Beta 1 of the new web browser. A warning if you will though. Remember that this is a new browser and no one in Blindness AT is supporting it at the moment. Also Microsoft may redirect you to a page asking you to beta test Silverlight as well. On the page where it asks you if you are interested in trying the SL beta it clearly states that at this time the beta version does not support Access/AT products. Therefore "Downloader Beware!".
Here is the link to Paul's blog if you want to get the betas of IE8.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Well this one was a fun poll to watch. In less than 14 hours 10 people had posted their views. Then things were a little slow. Then, from out of nowhere, votes came in a big flury in just about all of the choices available.
February's Question: Do You Own Or Are You Going To Buy A Victor Reader Stream?
Yes, I own a Stream and I love it! 13 (52%)
Yes, I have one but I just don't get the hype.. 4 (16%)
Yes, I am thinking about buying a Stream 3 (12%)
No, I am not interested in getting a Stream 4 (16%)
No, I use another device kinda like the Victor Reader Stream 1 (4%)
More than 50% love their VRS. Then another 16% own a VRS but don't see the hype. And then you have 12% thinking that they will buy a Stream at some point. So 80% of 25 voters either have or are going to buy a VRS. I haven't seen this kind of product adoption in the Blindness community in years. The VRS really is the right price at the right time I guess. Oh! And I hope the 1 person who voted that they had something else isn't stuck with a first generation Plextalk or something like that.
Now this month's poll came out of the fact that you need a Screen Reader for the KNFB Reader/Cell Phone if you are going to access the other features on the phone. However, to make things a little less specific, let us just consider Smartphones/Mobile OS in general shall we? With mobile devices becoming the next emerging market in the AT industry..
Poll Of The Month: Which Cell Phone Access Program Do You Use?
Mobile Speak/Mobile Magnifier
Smart or Pocket HAL
I use the built in speech provided by the make and model of my cell phone
Personally I am evaluating each with my Motorola Q at the moment. I'm sure by the end of the month I will have some dog in this hunt. till then we will have to see who comes out the winner.
Back in my radio days I heard about this Blind musician who played his guitar in his lap. A friend of mine at the now defunct KLOL 101 FM in Houston told me about Jeff and his amazing talent. Another good friend at the time, Doug from King's X, told me that I had to hear this demo. Soon all of Houston rock radio knew of Jeff and his music. I was even asked backstage by bands "Do you know about this cat who is Blind and plays his guitar in his lap?". it was the second most asked question of me beyond "Do you have a Guide Dog?.. I love dogs!". Since Jeff came up into conversation a lot back then I naturally became aware of his recordings. I admit that I haven't heard any of his Jazz materials but I think I will seek them out when I trip back into a Jazz kind of mood.
The article link below is a well written overview of Jeff's career and illness.
DRM: This NY Times article discusses how some Book Publishers are dropping DRM as it isn’t stopping piracy.
Blind Hacker: Anyone who remembers the “Blue Box” era or knows anyone Phone Freaking or Spoofing should read this article in Wired about a Blind teen who has been caught for playing with the Telecoms.
GDC: Ray Kurzweil is a familiar name to those of us in the Blind community. However his contributions to technology don’t stop at the Kurzweil reading machines. If you want to really trip out on what Ray has done you should check out his Wiki sometime. But today I wanted to point to a blog recap of his recent Keynote speech at the Game Developers Conference.
I’m looking for a transcript or audio of this Keynote. If anyone finds a link please put it in the comments section below.