[bksvol-discuss] Re: Become A Black Belt Submitter

Probably next year sometime. Though they usually announce that kind of stuff in the fall.


Shelley L. Rhodes, M.A., VRT
And Guinevere: Golden Lady Guide Dog
guidinggolden@xxxxxxxxx
Guide Dogs for the Blind
Alumni Association
www.guidedogs.com
----- Original Message ----- From: "Julia Kulak" <julia.kulak@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 8:56 PM
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: Become A Black Belt Submitter


Wow seriously. And all this time I thought openbook got finereader version nine and omnipage sixteen. And they say that they have the latest versions of recognition technology. I wonder how they can get away with that. I guess we'll have to wait for kurzweil version twelve for the latest in that department. Any word on that?
Julia
----- Original Message ----- From: "Monica Willyard" <rhyami@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 12:38 PM
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: Become A Black Belt Submitter


Hi, Julia. I hate to break it to you, but Openbook just got the
scanning engine Kurzweil 11 has had for a year. It's not new except to
Openbook users. It also lacks two features that I think are critical
for producing great scans. If my message sounds kind of negative, it's
because I'm pretty upset with the way FS has handled the content and
release of Openbook 8. I've used Openbook since the DOS days, paying
for every upgrade... until now!  Openbook 8 still doesn't let you know
immediately if a page has scanned badly. This feature in Kurzweil
allows a person to take care of the issue during scanning instead of
waiting until later when the print book may no longer be available.
Kurzweil has had this feature for years! The other feature Openbook 8
lacks is the optimization feature that helps a person choose the best
brightness, contrast, and resolution for each book since no two books
are the same. You just have to guess and scan a few pages to see how
you're doing. Openbook doesn't give you feedback, so you have to read
these scanned pages and try to figure out what's wrong if they aren't
coming out well. This is why many of the ark books on step 1 are in
such bad shape. The submitters got no help or feedback while scanning,
and they submitted a grand ol' mess. Mike, Lori, and Scott are
exceptions to this since they read their scans as they go. In general,
I groan when I see an ark book on step 1 because I know it has a good
chance of being messy. I also know that they will have to do a lot
more work to learn to scan well, and I feel sad about that. By the
time they learn about this, they're already locked into the product
and can't usually afford to switch to Kurzweil. This is what I
experienced when I started volunteering for Bookshare.

I own Openbook 7, and I was so disgusted by the features they chose to
add to version 8 that I didn't bother buying an upgrade. They added
eye candy instead of tools that help people get work done. According
to their own press release, over half of the changes they made were
for the benefit of sighted trainers. I was so annoyed with their
presenter that I left the presentation and decided that I won't bother
investing in Openbook anymore unless they get someone who understands
scanning to head up that project. Right now, the man in charge of it
is clueless about scanning books and even told me that documents over
100 pages are exceptionally large files for a blind person to scan.
What a twit!

I know that Jim, the CEO of Bookshare, created Openbook. It used to be
a flagship product worth owning. Freedom Scientific bought it several
years ago. It isn't keeping pace with our needs anymore, and I think
FS should be ashamed of charging so much for eye candy.

Ok, I'm getting off my soapbox now. Anyone want some hazelnut cream coffee?

--
Monica Willyard
Visit my blog at http://www.scannersguild.com
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