[tabi] Fwd From DBS: Access Info Newsletter MTTL

  • From: Lighthouse of the Big Bend <lighthousebigbend@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: tabi <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2011 12:20:38 -0500

From: Access Info [mailto:Access.Info@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2011 10:04 AM

Access Technology Newsletter
(February 1, 2011)
Accessibility Software Links
Below is a list of links that will guide you to information concerning
the latest available versions of accessibility software.  The list is
incomplete and others can be added upon request.

•        AiSquared Inc.  800-859-0270
•        ZoomText 9.1
•        ZoomText Express
•        Freedom Scientific 800-444-4443
•        JAWS 12.0
•        MAGic 11.0
•        OpenBook 9.0
•        GW Micro 260-489-3671
•        Window Eyes 7.2
•        Kurzweil Educational systems 800-894-5374
•        Kurzweil 1000 v12
•        Serotek Corporation 612-246-4818
•        System Access

The Benefits of a Global Position System (GPS)
"It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive."
Mike Mae Sendero Group

Global Positioning System (GPS) is especially beneficial to
individuals who are blind.  Sighted persons can pick up a map and
figure out where things are or how to get somewhere.  It is only fair
and reasonable that those individuals who are blind and who aspire to
become independent be given the opportunity to develop skill in the
use of this valuable technology as it may lead to complete
independence and employment.  GPS is a very important tool since it
liberates blind individuals from dependence on others and serves to
increase their self esteem.  Knowing where you are and what is around
you gives a person a tremendous psychological advantage over not
knowing.  The GPS system allows individuals who are blind to become
adventurous and, in the process, opens enumerable doors to the outside
world.  The benefits of having a GPS far outweigh the costs involved.
However, a blind individual’s mobility skills should also be taken
into account before purchasing a GPS system.  GPS is no substitute for
good mobility skills. And an individual should be able to justify how
a GPS system will be beneficial before making that expenditure.

Featured Technology
This Article was taken from the NFB Access blog,
Written by the Access Technology Team,
Edited by Clara Van Gerven.

The Book Port Plus

The Book Port Plus is one of the latest additions to an ever-expanding
line of portable digital talking book players. The device is a small,
flat, rectangular unit about the size of a simple candy bar type cell
phone. A numeric keypad comprised of round, dome-shaped number buttons
takes up most of the front face of the unit. Arrow keys flank a large,
round enter key. Four buttons surround the arrow keys for opening the
menu system, navigating to specific pages and headings in DAISY
titles, managing bookmarks, and choosing which media is to be played.
Buttons also exist for power/sleep timer, and recording functionality.
Those familiar with the Plextalk Pocket will recognize the Book Port
Plus as both units are based on the same hardware. One major
difference between these two units is that APH has written the
software for Book Port Plus and has included human-recorded speech for
system prompts. Book Port Plus's software also changes the behavior of
some keys as you use number keys on the keypad to navigate through
sections of a DAISY book.

The Book Port Plus does not contain internal memory. Therefore, books
and other content must be stored on Secure Digital type cards. The
device can also be connected to USB flash drives or the NLS digital
talking book cartridge using a small cable that comes with the unit. A
wireless networking chip is built into the Book Port Plus, and future
enhancements will utilize it. Supported file types include wave, MP3,
unprotected Windows Media Audio, and music CDs through an external CD
drive. Books from audible.com can also be played, as well as DAISY
(Digital Accessible Information System) talking books. Protected DAISY
titles from the National Library Service for the Blind (NLS) and
Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic are also supported.

One of the unique features of the Book Port Plus is its recording
capabilities. As with most other DTB players on the market, recordings
of varying lengths can be made on the unit in a number of formats.
Both the Plextalk Pocket and the Book Port Plus provide the capability
to create a DAISY book from recordings. One can do this as the
recording is occurring by pressing a button to add a heading, or
headings can be added later by editing the recording after the fact.
Once this has been done, a DAISY 2.02 type book can be created from
the recording. Book Port Plus also has the ability to detect spaces
between tracks when importing cassette tapes, records, or music from
an external source. This allows the device to separate these tracks
into multiple files at the time of recording.

Note taking capabilities have been recently added to Book Port Plus.
Though one would not want to write a great deal of information, this
function might be ideal for entering simple addresses, phone numbers,
or quick notes regarding a phone call while traveling. Text can be
entered either using A, B, C entry, pressing the number key that
corresponds to a specific letter, or through the use of thumb Braille.
Thumb Braille uses number keys on the keypad to mimic dots in the
Braille cell. 1, 4, and 7 serve as Braille dots 1, 2, and 3. Dots 4,
5, and 6 are represented by number keys 3, 6, and 9. Keys 2, 5, 8, and
0 represent multi dot combinations for dots that are not close
together on the cell, and thus would be difficult to enter with one
thumb. For example, dots 1 and 3 are represented by the number 2, and
the number 5 represents dots 1, 2, and 3 held simultaneously.
Similarly, the number 8 represents dots 4-6, and 0 represents 4, 5,
and 6. Brailling in this way can only be done using uncontracted
Braille. The editor also allows you to review files in formats like
HTML and plain text.

Introducing Transformer! The next generation of portable electronic magnifiers!
Experience the most flexible and portable solution for reading,
writing and viewing magnified images in the classroom, at work or at
Key Features:
•        Weighs less than 3 pounds
•        Magnification up to 30x
•        Auto install software
•        USB connectivity for laptop/computer
•        Battery operated - up to 4 hours
•        Camera rotates 330° for reading, distance & self viewing
•        Compatible with popular magnification software and the latest
*Windows operating systems
•        Includes soft carrying case & cloth sleeve
For more information call (888) 811-3161 or
Click Here
Tech News
This Article was taken from the NFB Access blog,
Written by the Access Technology Team,
Edited by Clara Van Gerven.

CES Wrap-up

The night before the official opening of the Consumer Electronics Show
(CES) typically features a pre-show keynote address headlined by the
Microsoft CEO. This year was no exception. Following a brief
introduction by the Consumer Electronics Association president, Gary
Shapiro, who gave a brief rundown of the Show's statistics (including
2,700 exhibitors, and 2,000 new products being launched), Steve
Ballmer took the stage and along with a few Microsoft team members,
touted the company's accomplishments over the past year, and
demonstrated what's in store for 2011.

Ballmer recapped Microsoft's convergence of full-powered computers
with the central living room presence of the television. He
demonstrated the voice control, and air gestures, of the xBox 360
Connect sensor platform. Connect allows one to preface a command with
the keyword, "xBox," and follow it up with an instruction to play
music, suggest a movie, or another media related task. Air gestures
allow the user to control the playback, pausing, skipping forward,
rewinding, etc., by waving their hand in the air. Ballmer announced
that in spring, 2011, Netflix and Hulu Plus (both subscription
services) will be supported by the Connect interface. For blind users,
were Microsoft to incorporate speech output for menus, and media
listings, this would represent a change in the way blind users could
access media and control their entertainment experience. As of now, we
are not aware that speech output is available on the xBox platform, as
in Windows, but our discussions with Microsoft will certainly raise
the question and encourage this development.

The presentation next moved on to showing off Windows Phone 7,
Microsoft's new operating system for mobile phones and portable
devices. Ballmer said, "Once people see [a Windows Phone 7 phone] they
fall in love." Unfortunately for the blind, in its current release,
sight is a required factor in utilizing the platform, since Microsoft
has failed to include either built in speech, or hooks to allow third
party developers to provide speech enabled interfaces. It is hoped
that this will be remedied quickly, because as of now, Windows Phone 7
represents another consumer platform the blind are excluded from.

The final portion of the presentation focused on the future of
Windows. So far, the work has mostly focused on hardware integration
for System on a Chip (SoC) technology, which allows system
motherboards to be built into a framework about 2 inches tall and an
inch-and-a-half wide. We can only speculate at this point, but this
could represent a giant leap forward in portable computing and Braille
notetaker technology. The demonstration PCs shown, which are using the
current interface with the underlying hardware code changes to allow
for these micro PCs, were capable of rendering high resolution video
in a computer no bigger than the size of a user's hand. If notetaker
manufacturers were to take advantage of SoC technology, and integrate
built-in Braille displays, then full-powered computing in a handheld
device, with full accessibility, could be a reality for blind users.

During our final two days at the Consumer Electronics Show we observed
a number of emerging technologies that may be promising for blind
users, had discussions with manufacturers about improving
accessibility to appliances and other consumer electronics, and spoke
to a number of higher education textbook producers about the
importance of making their books accessible.

Control Your Appliances with Your Smartphone

A number of manufacturers, including LG and Kenmore, showed off the
ability for their appliances to talk to a smartphone. Originally
created to allow someone to preheat their oven on their commute home,
or tell your drier to fluff your clothes while you're out enjoying
life and not wanting to fold laundry, this capability could offer the
blind an intermediate solution to the problem of flat-panel, non voice
guided, appliance control. Provided, of course, that the smartphone
app is accessible, users could control their stove, washer and dyer,
or even check the contents of their refrigerator while at the grocery
store. Representatives from both companies expressed an interest in
accessibility for the blind, and we will be scheduling follow-up
meetings to that end in the near future.

Tech Tip
The Power of the Windows Run Box

Many users enjoy control of the computer by typing commands like in
the old DOS days.  Many functions can be executed in windows by typing
commands in the run box.  Here are a few that might be helpful for
quickly accessing programs and features.  The command to bring up the
run box is WindowsKey+r in any version of windows.  You can type any
web address and it will load in your default web browser such as
Internet Explorer.  Another useful shortcut that is not that well
known is to type a period “.” in the run box to go directly to your
home folder and quickly access your personal files such as documents
and favorites.  Here is a small list of other commands that may be

     calc - opens the windows calculator program
     winword - if any version of Microsoft word is installed will open word
     control - opens the control panel
     notepad - opens the basic text editor note pad
     any drive letter such as c: will open windows explorer for that drive
     cmd - opens a command prompt (note, type exit to close the command prompt)
     MSInfo32 - runs a program that shows details about your computer
     jawsXX - where XX is a version number of JAWS (assuming you have
JAWS installed will load that version of JAWS, for example jaws11 will
run that version.

You can use up and down arrow keys in the run box to list the history
of commands entered in the run box.  There are many other commands
that can be run from the run box.

Tech Support Information and Referral

Freedom Scientific
Pack mate

Human ware
Braille Note Products

GW Micro

System Access
Sa to go
Sam Net

AiSquared Inc.  800-859-0270
ZoomText 9.1
ZoomText Express

Kurzweil 1000

Kerswal Mobile Reader
Mobile Reader

Level Star

Braille Plus

Enhanced Vision

 -- End of Newsletter --

 Michael Elliott
Rehab Engineer Technology Consultant
Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI
and please make suggestions for new material.

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