Thursday, January 22, 2009

7: Keys, Bars And MED-V

The 7 information train has just left the station and here is what I found interesting over the last two days of *site* seeing.

Keyboard Commands: Maximum PC has put together a good list of the new hotkeys that revolve around the Windows key. Most of these commands only work in AERO though. So some of them may not apply to some Assistive Technology. But, hey, it gives you a chance to check out the new version of Narrator right? Oh, and just typing “Narrator” in the Start Menu edit field will launch it by the way. It is faster than dealing with Windows Key + U in my opinion.

Taskbar Vs. Dock: It was bound to happen sooner or later I guess. The inevitable comparisons between Windows 7 and Mac OSX were coming and Ars Technica has one of the first debates on the subject.

MED-V: Hyper-V is the current technology that MS uses for Virtualizing applications in Vista and Server products. Med-V is the next step in the road of Virtual Machines and App Compatibility. I mention it here because I’m interested in seeing how this will work with major employers legacy software and AT’s ability to work in this virtual environment. Check out the Super Site article at the link below if you would like to know more.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Open Book And Kurzweil Patches Online For Recent Bookshare Changes

The changes to Bookshare have been a welcome change for some and a bit of a surprise for others. Along with that, OCR programs that interface with the service have released patches for compatibility with the new designs at Bookshare. Below are links to the Kurzweil and Open Book patches for those who don’t use Auto Updates or who like reading the release notes before they jump into a technical predicament.


Open Book

Friday, January 16, 2009

Vote Now For The Blind Bargains Access Awards

J.J. and Co. have started the voting up for the Access Awards of 2008. and I am shocked and honored to be on the ballot for Best Blindness Related Blog. The other nominees are all great blogs that I also read to keep up with what is going on in the world of Blindness and I highly recommend that if you read this blog then you need to check out the others in the category as well. Here are the links to the other blogs that are up for the award.

Mobile Space 

Fred's Head Companion 

Blind Access Journal

Access Ability

Again, that's an awesome list to be in for sure. And much love and respect goes out to those other blogs. Keep’em flying guys..

Now if you would like to see what other categories there are to vote on you can hit the link below that tells you about the rules and links you to the voting form. Voting ends on January 25th. So hop on over and speak your mind.

And thanks to all of you who voted for this blog in the nominations stage. I am so not going to quote Sally Field’s famous Oscar speech right now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pac Mate Version 6.2 Online Now

Freedom Scientific has posted the update to the Pac Mate Omni. To read what is new and download the update hit the link below..

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

December’s Poll Results And January’s Poll Added

This is kind of neat. We have a tie on the question I was asking and a real winner in the area of paid radio. See the results below.

December’s Poll Question: Do You Like The New Combined Serious XM Radio?

Yeah 2 (25%)
Nope 2 (25%)
I don’t hear a difference 0 (0%)
Dude.. the radio is dead, I gave up and only listen to MP3s 4 (50%)

So the winner was MP3s and User Generated Content I guess. I’ve met many who have stopped their subscriptions to both services who say that they don’t like the music changes to their fave stations. Others who I know still hang in there with Serious because of the sports content. Personally I tend to listen to XM more because the music channels are on my DirecTV. I haven’t been a big fan of the changes at all. Although I have heard some new music I didn’t hear on XM pre merger. In fact that is how the new Metallica disc ended up as a link on the right side of the page. XM plays it a lot and it gave me a good look at the thing because prior to the merge I had no plans on buying it at all.

And now another mini poll for January…

January’s Poll Question: Are You Excited About Windows 7?

Yes, I’m there on launch day!
No, I’m fine thanks.
Yes! I’m running the Beta right now..
What? I don’t use this Windows thing you speak of..

Thanks and a shout out go to Rick who’s comments in the last post inspired this month’s question. Well that and I don’t want to make a Assistive Tech question this close to ATIA. Still, this is a valid discussion topic. And I have already committed myself to jabbering about it in 2009 anyways.

Friday, January 09, 2009

7: The Public Beta Of Windows 7 Begins Today

At the beginning of the summer of 2008 I looked back at my NFB Vista presentation and I speculated that Windows 7, not knowing that would be the name at the time, would be out by the Holiday Season of 2009. I got a lot of flack for that offline. I got even more from some major players in the AT Field at convention. And I held true to my convictions that all companies like money and the purchase cycle rules all. What I didn’t really think about at the time was that Microsoft would be out for blood to undo the damage caused by Vista and those Apple Switcher ads. But, nevertheless, I still held stead fast to Vista’s replacement coming to store shelves no later than Spring 2010.

Well… today Microsoft will move forward with those plans to release the next version of Windows within that timeline by issuing out the Public Beta of Windows 7 today. Major computer magazines and media outlets have been more than positive about the look and feel of 7. And I have to admit that this “happiness is a warm puppy” outlook from some earlier Vista detractors has refueled me a bit at the concept of another round of beta testing, article writing and hours of speeches on yet another version of Windows. Rest assured, like Vista before it, 7 is going to be a topic I cover a lot here over the next year. And that coverage begins in earnest at 12:00 PM PST when the Public Beta goes live on

To learn more about what to expect from the beta, and remember there is no AT companies with public betas for 7 at the moment, go to the Windows Super Site link below. Expect a few people at ATIA at the end of the month to talk about new product versions for 7 compatibility this year. And you might want to check the status of your SMAs as well. Hint Hint..

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

More On 64

Led Zeppelin sang “When the levy breaks you have nowhere to go”. Well the levy has broken and now just about everyone has rolled on to the x64 bandwagon. Today I got this from G.W. Micro..

GW Micro is pleased to announce the current development plans for Window-Eyes 7.1 include full support for 64-bit versions of Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008 operating systems. The computer industry adoption of 64-bit CPUs has been swift, and we're working hard to make sure those customers who need access to 64-bit operating systems will not be excluded. The Window-Eyes development process is moving ahead rapidly. We expect to provide a release date and additional feature information for Window-Eyes 7.1 in the near future. In addition to 64-bit support for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, Window-Eyes 7.1 will continue to support the 32-bit versions of Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows Server. The 32-bit version of Window-Eyes 7.1 will be a FREE download for all Window-Eyes 7.X customers. The 64-bit version of Window-Eyes 7.1 will be available on CD only for a minimal charge for all Window-Eyes 7.X customers (a CD is required for the 64-bit version due to new installation procedures required for 64-bit operating systems). Stay tuned for more information.

Then Ai Squared went Public Beta on me shortly after I last wrote on x64. You can find this on their main page.

“Ai Squared is pleased to announce the beta release of ZoomText for 64-bit Windows Vista. If you need 64-bit OS support please contact us via e-mail for instructions on downloading this release”

And a commenter posted in the last x64 post that I forgot about Issist and their version 3.0 product lines going 64 as well. I have to admit that I haven’t looked at this product in over a year and I wasn’t a fan of the amount of memory it used in the past. So I’m going to have to look at this new version sometime soon. You can learn more about Issist by going to their site at the link below.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Ray Kurzweil Speaks On The Year 2009

In 1998 Ray Kurzweil made some predictions about what he thought may happen in the year 2009. His predictions were outlined in Chapter 9 of his book “The Age Of Spiritual Machines”. And they ranged in topics from sex and print and rock’n’roll. This excerpt is a fascinating read for the first week of 2009 and those of you out there that like to play amateur Futurist or Armchair Analyst will find lots to talk about from the link below.