[bct] Re: JFW and W.E.

  • From: "Neal Ewers" <neal.ewers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006 13:29:37 -0600

Bill, My comments are in your message below.

-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Bill Belew
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 12:24 PM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: JFW and W.E.

Hi Neal,

I can't claim to be an angel who has never copied any software, but I do
think we all need to step back from these screen reader issues a bit and
perform a reality check.  

I am a dedicated Window-Eyes user and promoter, but I also use, train,
and support Jaws.  I have found that folks usually prefer the screen
reader they first learned and that very few people learn more than one
well enough to make an objective comparison.  
*** I think you are absolutely right.  I have been in this business a
long time and when I hear people saying that X is better than Y, it is
because it is the one they learned first and used the longest.  I also
was employed to use every screen reader I could to look at web access
issues, etc.  My goal was to learn to use at least JAWS and Window-Eyes
equally well.  Now, I think I am a reasonably intelligent person, but
the only way you can use a screen reader really well is to have it come
so naturally to you that you don't even have to think about what
keystroke you use for any given task.  I think this is almost impossible
to do with more than one screen reader, at least, it was for me. 

It is a fact that screen reader software is expensive relative to most
other software written for the main stream market.  It is also a fact
that given the limited market, without prices set at a level that keeps
the companies going, we wouldn't have anything near the access that we
currently enjoy.
*** Once again, I think you are right on.  I wish harder than you know
that people were able to afford any screen reader they wanted to use, or
that there was some program to use money to help people who want one to
get it if they cannot afford it.  We spent a long time wondering if we
should use research money to develop one that we gave away, but in the
end we realized that keeping up with the changing technology would not
make that at all a reality.  This is exactly why I am a big proponent of
not having technology that is developed for people who are blind if it
means that it can't be used by others.  There are just not enough of us
to drive down the cost.  This is why I spoke out about using the phone
with no screen.  Obviously, people can use products made for people who
are blind just so long as the company continues to make money and still
decides to develop the product.  However, screen readers don't make much
sense for people who can see, so we are stuck in a market that is too
small to bring down the cost.  I don't think either JAWS or Window-Eyes
are over charging for their product.  I know enough about both to know
that it takes as much money as they charge to make the product with a
moderate amount of profit left over.  Of course, there are less
expensive screen readers out there, but I don't know a lot of people who
use them because we have all come to depend on the screen reader company
keeping up with changes in the web, PDF, flash, Math Player, etc.  So, I
don't see the price coming down in the near future.

It is also very valuable to have several screen reader developers to
push the envelope through competition.
*** you're right about that as well.  As much as people swear by one or
the other, just think what the price would be if there were only one.

I certainly don't agree with all the business approaches adopted by
adaptive technology companies, but I know many of the folks involved in
bringing us accessible hardware and software and by far, the majority of
them aren't doing it because there's a good chance of getting rich, but
because they care about creating better access.
*** Yep.  I happen to know the people in both companies, and I would
agree that they are doing the best they can for the lowest price.  The
fact that they are designed differently once again gives us a choice
instead of having two that are so similar that we really don't have a
choice in how we want things laid out, what we want them to do, etc.

Thanks for bringing up these points.  



-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Neal Ewers
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 8:19 AM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: JFW and W.E.

You said, "I can hardly blame those who resort to such means in a

Well, I guess we now know why JAWS has an authorization scheme.  If
there are people like you who would condone pirating software just
because you couldn't afford it, I think you have answered your own
question about why JAWS has an Authorization plan.

-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of boomerdad
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2006 8:25 PM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: JFW and W.E.

All well and good, but what of those who don't have $900 lying about? At

least now, those who buy Openbook get Connect Out Loud for free, and
that at

least gives them bare-bones access to their computers ... but there
would be

a lot less piracy if prices were more affordable.  I'm usuallyu one who 
agrees with your stance on piracy, but in the case of adaptive tech, I
hardly blame those who resort to such means in a pinch.

Feel the power...
Wield the magic!...
Gaming at the speed of sound!
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Shane Jackson" <jack728@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:55 PM
Subject: [bct] Re: JFW and W.E.

> Hi, Mary.  As someone who has been in the adaptive technology field 
> since 1990, I must tell you this.  You would be surprised if you knew 
> how many pirated copies of Window-Eyes and other adaptive programs 
> that I and others have seen.  It is an outrage, and people ought to be

> prosecuted for it. These people who develop the programs we use are 
> trying very hard to make a living, and they are totally thwarted by 
> modern-day pirates.  It's
> not a good thing, but unfortunately, it will never stop.  You all have
> wonderful afternoon, morning, or evening; whichever it is where you
> All the very best from my family to yours!

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