Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Update To Zoom Text Refer-A-Friend

I got a nice email asking if I could update the info so those who didn't get the eamil could take part in the program. I've edited the older post and I'm placing the same info here as well.

"How to sign up . . .

1. Reply to this email (rproskin@aisquared.com) and send us
your name, phone number, and valid email address that you'd like your Amazon
rewards emailed to.
2. We'll reply with an email message that you can forward to your friends
containing your personal code - this is how your friends receive their 10%
discount and how we'll track when to send your rewards.
3. That's it!"

Thanks Beca for the email.

7: More Win 7 From The Win Super Site

I’m brushing up on things before May 5th. Microsoft has confirmed that as RC Download Day this morning by the way..

RC Review: Paul does a good job at comparing some of the surface changes from Beta to RC.


XP Mode: Want to know more about the new XP Mode and and how it works? Put on your Propeller Hats because this one goes very much into the world of tech.


Setup: And Paul, once again, gives us the setup screens in the order you will come across them in photos and text descriptions.


Random Goodness: Super Users, Software Services And Green LCDs

Here are some articles that all peeked my interest on today’s run through the net.

Super Users: Companies are now relying on “Super Users” to aid their tech support calls. These unpaid people with a heart of gold aid others in their times of need. Just like we do for Assistive Technology in forums, lists and other arenas. But now we have a cool name to go along with it .. just don’t step on any capes. That can hurt you know..


Software As A Service: Fear mongering, FUD or denial? Some would say all three could apply to this article that tries to discuss the bad things in the Software trend.


Green LCD: Now motion detectors can turn off your monitor when they detect you aren’t there. But how much power does it take to spin up the motion detectors? Plus, if I remember right, I think the Mac had a program for doing this with Mac and Power Books already.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Windows 7 RC Surprises Come Early

I’ve been reading and talking with AT companies a lot on Win 7 for a while. And I have also been reading those blogs and Tweets and what have you about those of you who have bravely loaded your programs of choice and ran boldly with the Beta release. I admire all of the Blind Enthusiasts out there for running on the Razor’s Edge. But the main reason why I haven’t gone into too much detail on the Beta here was that I had inside info that said for me to wait for the Release Candidate before writing in earnest. And so I wait for May 5th, rumor still says that is the day for the download to go public, with breathless anticipation. Build 7100 has now leaked and embargos are being lifted all over the net. Sure these leaks are like someone telling you the ending of “The Empire Strikes Back” before you see the movie, however, I’ll still be in line on download day none the less.

The big one first. A full virtual Windows XP in Win 7 Pro, Enterprise and Ultimate. Check this link out for more.


And here is another link from the Super Site about the new interactive setup for 7.


Okay just go to the Win Super Site blog for tons of more info about IE6 v IE8, Security Software in 7 and much much more.


Paul also had discussed the Windows Media 12 streaming bits last year, however, Gizmodo has a new screenshot gallery of a more polished version of that feature.


I also want to give a “Shout Out” to Rick and the Blind Geek Zone. He has a Tech Talk coming up and you don’t want to miss it if you want to know more about Win 7. Here is the link to the time and place.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Press Releases: Promotions From Ai Squared, Serotek and Handytech North America

When times get tough you will see companies get creative. Here are three offers which indicate some old and new trends are still alive and well. Even in a downward economy.

We're unveiling a new Refer-a-friend program - it's a chance for you to share ZoomText with friends, earn rewards for yourself, and give your friends a discount all at the same time. **

How it works . . .

For every friend you refer who purchases a new ZoomText product (Magnifier or Magnifier/Reader), you will receive a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate emailed right to your inbox.
Your friends will receive a 10% discount at the time of purchase.
There is NO LIMIT to how many people you refer so spread the word.

How to sign up . . .

1. Reply to this email (rproskin@aisquared.com) and send us your name, phone number, and valid email address that you'd like your Amazon rewards emailed to.
2. We'll reply with an email message that you can forward to your friends containing your personal code - this is how your friends receive their 10% discount and how we'll track when to send your rewards.
3. That's it!

If you have any questions, feel free to reply to this email. Sign up today and start earning rewards for spreading the word about ZoomText, a product you know and love.

**This program is for end users only, businesses and agencies are not eligible.

Ai Squared Manchester Center, VT (800) 859-0270 http://www.aisquared.com/

Now through April 30, Serotek is offering $200 off System Access Mobile™ for anyone whose software maintenance agreement has lapsed, or who is not entitled to any additional upgrades with their SMA for Jaws® for Windows® or Window-Eyes™. Break away from the tyranny of price gouging for trivial updates. For just $299, purchase System Access for two computers that you can change at any time, plus one license for a U3 Smart Drive that you can use to make any computer come alive with speech, Braille, and screen magnification. And with free upgrades for life, this will be the last money you will need to spend for regularly-updated and innovative screen reading and magnification.

Are you wondering just how cost effective this decision would be for you? Let’s take a look at cases where an individual owns the latest software version of their screen reader, noting that an upgrade path would be even more expensive for those who are behind on their upgrades. You could choose to purchase a software maintenance agreement for JAWS 10.0 standard edition for $180, entitling you to two software upgrades, at which point another SMA purchase would be necessary. You could choose to purchase a software maintenance agreement for WindowEyes 7.1 standard edition for $299, entitling you to three software upgrades at which point another software maintenance agreement purchase would be necessary. Or, you could just provide your serial number as proof that your SMA is past due, and System Access for two computers and one U3-enabled USB license is yours for only $299, that's $200 off the regular price of $499.

To get started, simply visit the “my account” section of an existing SAMNet account. You can do this by opening the System Access menu with modifier+f and choosing the “My account” option, or by choosing option 16 from the SA Mobile Network Home screen. If you do not yet have an account with Serotek, you may create one by visiting http://www.satogo.com/ and choosing the “create new account” option.

Once you have logged in and accessed the “my account” option, choose “buy more products and services” and follow the prompts in the buy wizard.

You can also receive assistance from a Serotek sales representative by calling (612) 246-4818.

The Serotek Team

Sales contact:Earle Harrison651-636-5184mailto:Harrison651-636-5184earle@handytech.us

Now Offering: Mobile Access Payment (MAP) Program

Handy Tech North America is pleased to now offer a new program by which consumers may pay for specific Mobile Software products over time and interest-free. The Mobile Access Payment (MAP) Program takes the sting out of your pocket book and in spite of a struggling global economy, makes this life changing technology attainable by people for whom the lump sum expenditure is prohibitive even in the best of economic times.
United States residence may now purchase Mobile screen readers from Code Factory and Nuance Communications as well as popular GPS navigation solutions such as Way Finder Access and Mobile Geo and have the freedom of paying it off over 6 or 12 easy installments.
This program is being initiated by Handy Tech North America, known for their work in modifying mainstream off-the-shelf technology for use by people who are blind or have low vision and their high level of service and support.

Customers may choose from several mobile software solutions, make monthly payments equal to a proportionate fraction of the cost of the software plus a $100 administrative fee and spread the payments over 6 or 12 months time, interest-free.
For example, the MobileSpeak screen reader and Mobile Geo GPS navigation software bundle has the combined retail value of $1,190.00. The pricing for this package under the MAP
program breaks down as follows:

$1,190.00 plus $100 administrative fee equals 12 easy monthly payments of $107.50.
We're sorry, we are not able to offer hardware products such as mobile phones or GPS receivers on the MAP Program at this time.

For more information about the MAP program, visit the Handy Tech North America Web site.
Although we are always happy to speak with you on the phone or communicate by e-mail, it is important to emphasize that the MAP program is only available online and that Handy Tech North America employees may not under any circumstances assist in the submission of the MAP form or be instrumental in the act of purchasing products offered on the MAP program over the phone.

Note that the MAP program is being offered by Handy Tech North America on an experimental basis and may be discontinued without notice. All sales are final and under no circumstances will adjustments to payments be made due to changes or fluctuations in retail pricing of products being offered on the MAP Program.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

And Sun Will Come To You With Once Open Arms

Fallout from the Sun and Oracle deal is still the top stories around the web. Below are some factual and some speculation about how things will shake out for Microsoft, SQL and even the Open Source Movement itself.

To start take a look at the Win Super Site’s look on how this puts the new company on even footing, or even higher ground, with Microsoft.


Open Office: The Open Office project was already running into Mission Creep and Development Woes. But the new deal may end up having an even more direct consequence on matters.


My SQL: and then there is this bit of news where SQL may see a fork in the development tree. That would mean that My SQL would compete technically against another version of the program on a commercial and open model level. Confused? Me too.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quick News: Smart HAL, Texplosion And NDU

It figures. I now sooner say something about my “Quick News” label and then a bunch of Quick News actually plops right down in my lap. Timing is everything I guess.

Smart HAL: Back in the day Telesensory had two products called Vista, yes like the Microsoft Vista, and Vert. It was a very early form of Screen Magnification with a Screen Reader for the old 386 and up systems. When TSI abandoned the project they tipped their users towards Ai Squared and Zoom Text. At the time I thought that this was a real classy move. And I applaud Dolphin for doing the same thing with Smart HAL. Below you will find a press release link for the “good ending” for the Smart HAL program. Thanks to Hazel for sending me the Press Release.


Texplosion: A new blog on the scene that comes out of the gate swinging. Best of luck to you guys and good posting.


NDU: Here is an email that recently came to me about some new products on the scene. Well to me at any rate. I live in a cave .. with great broadband access you know.


My company is called NDU-- New Designs Unlimited, LLC. We manufacture assistive technology for the blind and visually impaired. Our mission is to make technology more accessible by increasing affordability while reducing complexity. We have two main products --with variations on the available packages based on individual needs. Below are brief product descriptions.

1. SpeakEasy Media System. This is a computer designed specifically for blind and visually impaired users. It uses audio menus and minimal keyboard commands to get users to different features of the system. Some of these features include: Scan & Read (works like a traditional reading machine), news article browsing, web searches, a talking reference section (dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia), e-mail, audio books (this includes a Daisy book reader as well as audio books and audio books on tape from the internet), radio, podcasts, weather forecasts, and many others that are listed on our webpage. The full Media System package costs $1795 and includes a laptop computer, flatbed scanner, iPod portable player, and 2 years of free upgrades on the software. 2. SpeakEasy Reading Machine. This machine is a very easy-to-use reading machine that uses an arcade controller to guide the reading of documents. Documents may either be scanned in or transferred to the computer via USB thumb drive, and can be saved to the Reading Machine's harddrive for later retrieval. The basic package also includes access to audio books from the internet. For reading on this machine, users can easily scroll through text, using audio cues to tell how close they are to the top or bottom, and can also move continuously, line by line, word by word, or letter by letter through their documents. We also have an option to upgrade this package which is intended for folks with low vision. The upgrade includes a Scan & Magnify feature that allows users to scan (or upload from a USB thumb drive) and zoom in on their text. The machine ensures that the text is displayed white on a black background. As the SpeakEasy reads, it highlights the line of text and boxes the word it is reading. The basic package costs $1395 and the upgraded reading machine costs $1595. Please contact me or check out our site if you would like more information. Thanks for taking the time to check out our products.

Joanne Hill


Wow, Quick News. Its been awhile since I’ve done that. Feeling dizzy, must go lay down for a spell. All that copying of text can tire one out.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tweet Weekly Rollup: April 20th Edition

I’m going to take the old “random Goodness” and “Quick News” formats and roll them up into this new post. Twitter has become my default way of posting information for things I don’t want to expand on but feel like they should get some attention on the blog. I’ll go back over the week and summarize the best of the best each Monday.

Mono vs. Stereo: A neat article on how some believe that the original Beatles mono recordings are better than the remixed stereo ones.


IT Power Up Myths: Should you power cycle your system to save energy or is it better in the long run to leave your system on for hard drive safety? This link gives more information on this and other IT Pro Myths.


Attack Of The Zombie Macs!: Take that Apple marketing..


Office 14 Is Now Office 2010: Paul at the Windows Super Site has updated his Office 14 FAQ to reflect all the news that came out this week about the next version of MS Office Suites.


Office 2007 SP2: Word is that the date for the next Service Pack for Office 07 is April 28th.


Firefox Looks Forward: XP support may fade in the next generation version of Firefox that is in early development.


Follow me on Twitter if you would like to see more information like this in real time. Or review the Tweets whenever you want at..


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Poll Results And April’s Mini Poll Added

Bet you thought I forgot about the poll eh? Quite the opposite really. More on that in a second. When you see a delay in the poll results, and I know that happens more often than not, it is chiefly due to my inability to think up a good question for the following month. Sometimes they strike like lightning and sometimes they come to me like a snail going uphill. For April the snail won by a wide margin. But there were no wide margins in our poll results on IE8. Take a look below..

March’s Poll Question: Are You Going To Update Your Internet Explorer To Version 8?

Yes   8 (38%)
  No   2 (9%)
  I'll Wait For The Service Pack   6 (28%)
  Internet Explorer.. Never!    5 (23%)

I’m shocked to see that the “haves” beat the “have nots” on this one. Frankly so many people on the web bash Internet Explorer so often that I kind of think of it as a darkhorse in the Browser Wars instead of the market leader. I like IE8. I didn’t like the pre releases at all and I was fully prepared to drop this release like a hot rock at the first signs of odd behavior. Then the safety features kicked in on a couple of BBC and Sun websites.. and I thought to myself that this was a good thing because the page elements that were blocked or detected were very very bad. And I haven’t looked back since.

I’m not downing Firefox by any means but I’m not sold on the maturity of version 3 with all the AT programs yet. So I have it, it is installed and I do use it for testing. However, I’ve had great luck with IE8 for most of my work needs. It has become my default browser at home while my office computer is the test bench for IE7.. for now [he says ominously].

I have also adopted a little more than Internet Explorer 8 recently. You might have read the post about my slow moving self taking on a more Social Networking track a few weeks ago. Or you may have seen the Twitter and Facebook elements added to the sidebar. In either case, thanks to a particular person, I’ve jumped in and I’m doing a lot of Tweeting. Around “Follower” 24 this new poll question came to me.

April’s Poll Question: Where Do You Get The Most News About Assistive Technology?

Social Networks: Twitter, Facebook, Friend Feed, etc

Surfing A Company's Website

Email Lists


Word Of Mouth: Friends, Coworkers, etc

I do all of the above to some extent. But I work in the Industry and I kinda have to read up on these things. But I’m interested to see what all of you think is the big avenue for you in how you get your news on the products you use. I’ll roll this one into early May. Oh, I do have a May poll question already in mind. We may actually go back to a real monthly schedule! .. probably not though knowing me.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

CSUN/Press Release: Zoom Text 9.18 Released

Ai Squared has relaunched their website and they also have a spiffy new version of Zoom Text to go with the new web look. See the press release below for more details.


ZoomText 9.18 Now Available!
Improved performance, smooth panning, scripting and support for Vista 64-bit

Yup, this ones big! Its a ZoomText update thats packed with new features and enhancements that are too important to ignore.For starters, weve given ZoomText a major tune-up that provides improved performance across the board. How major of a tune up is this? Well, early adopters of 9.18 are telling us that ZoomText and their applications are running faster and that

weve fixed some nagging problems that we werent even aware of.

Next, weve added a cool new feature called Smooth Panning (patent pending) that allows you to comfortably navigate your applications without all that abrupt jumping around in the magnified view. As you type text, arrow key through menus and dialogs, and switch windows, ZoomText smoothly pans from one location to another.

But theres more: ZoomText Scripting is now included in every license of ZoomText Magnifier and Magnifier/Reader. With ZoomText Scripting, you can automate tasks in ZoomText and most applications, allowing you to work faster than ever before. Just imagine cutting 10 steps down to one or two! To learn more about ZoomText Scripting, go to www.aisquared.com/scripting.

Weve also added support for 64-bit editions of Windows Vista, which is rapidly becoming the standard on new laptops and desktops. With ZoomText 9.18, when youre ready to upgrade to one of these new systems, ZoomText is ready to go with you.

Get ZoomText 9.18 Today

Already own ZoomText 9.1 or later? If so, get on the fast track and download the free ZoomText 9.18 update right now. Just go to www.aisquared.com/updates.

Still using ZoomText 9.0 or earlier? No problem. Low cost upgrades start at just $75 for ZoomText Magnifier and $99 for ZoomText Magnifier/Reader. To place your order, call Ai Squared toll-free at (800) 859-0270.

Use Our New Easy Pay Plan

For those with vision impairments and who need ZoomText to use their computer, Ai Squared wants to help in any way we can. So if money is an issue, our sales staff will work with you to set up a graduated payment plan to make purchasing ZoomText easier.
Plans start at $37/month for Magnifer and $55/month for Magnifier/Reader and are available for end-user purchases of our domestic single-user products (U.S. and Canada only). To learn more about the Easy Pay plan and to place your Easy Pay order, call our sales department at (800) 859-0270.

Get More Information and a Free ZoomText Trial

Want more information on ZoomText and the new 9.18 release? Check out the ZoomText product page, 9.18 info page and product release notes. Better yet, take ZoomText 9.18 for a test drive and see for yourself. Download the free 60-day trial and check out everything that ZoomText has to offer on your computer.