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Top Tech Tidbits for Thursday, December 18, 2014 - Volume 488 - 10th Anniversary Issue
The Week's News in Access Technology

A Flying Blind, LLC Publication

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On December 16, 2004 we launched this little information resource. A whopping 389 people were subscribed by the second issue, and now more than 6,400 people receive it each week. Larry Lewis absorbed the newsletter into Flying Blind, LLC, taking over marketing and distribution of the newsletter in 2008, and if he had not done so, Tidbits would have died. But here we are, still sending out concise news bits almost every week!

1A) We first mentioned the new phenomenon of podcasting in February 2005, and the fledgling NVDA project in July 2006. Now, a group is going to seek funding for a project to add a remote access module to NVDA, probably increasing employment and training opportunities for the blind. Hear a podcast about their effort here:

1B) And the web site for the project is:

2) Elsewhere in NVDAland, Acapela high-quality TTS voices are becoming available for NVDA via an add-on. The basic package costs 59 Euros and the more complete one is 99 Euros:

3) JAWS version 6 came out the day we produced the first issue of Top Tech Tidbits. Now, at version 16, Freedom Scientific has released a 90-day license of JAWS, enabling companies to use the screen reader for accessibility testing, and individuals to buy JAWS on a payment plan:

4) Apparently, when we launched Tidbits, JAWS was ten years old, because now it's twenty. Hear about this, as well as the Braille selection option in JAWS 16, iTunes 12 use, and JAWS with Windows Tablets on issue 101 of FSCast, (a podcast that has obviously had a pretty good run itself):

5) Meanwhile, Window-Eyes version 5 went into beta a few weeks after Tidbits was launched. Now they are offering a special deal on the price of version 9, due to appear soon. For particulars, email:

6) Winstaller is a paid utility for creating fully accessible Windows install disks:

7) Of course, accessible iPhones didn't appear until the fourth year of Tidbits' existence. Now, Lisa Salinger offers a six-session, $50 course, iPhone: Beyond the Basics, starting Saturday 10 January, 2015, at 17:00 GMT. For details, write to Lisa at:

8) Access to electronic books has increased remarkably for us over the past ten years, but as this article suggests, there is still a ways to go:

9) Returning to podcasts, starting in 2008, the Serotalk Podcast Network offered a range of very popular podcasts. That era is over, as none of the staff works for Serotek any longer. Catch the final issue of High Contrast here:

10) Learn How to Make Text Larger and More Readable on iPhone or iPad:

11) And in a similar vein, read "Partially sighted? Make your iPad easier to use:"

12) AFB was producing AccessWorld back in 2004, but the magazine was bi-monthly. Now, the December 2014 issue is out. It's worth noting that the first version of VoiceOver for the Mac appeared, with mixed reviews, in 2005, and Humanware as we know it had not yet moved its Corporate Headquarters to the North American Continent when Tidbits started. This AccessWorld offers evaluations of Echo Sense Network Glasses, OS X Yosemite for the Mac, the Prodogi Duo magnifier from HumanWare, the Orion T-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator, and the Mountbatten Braille Writer Learning System from Harpo:

13) Information about the courses to be offered by the Cisco Academy for the Visually Impaired starting in February are available, and registration is open:

14) J-Say has been going strong for over ten years, we first mentioned it in March 2005. The product is now owned by Hartgen Consultancy, and Brian has significant plans for development during 2015:

15) Kurzweil 1000 version 9 was coming out in early 2005. Now the owners of the company have announced the impending release of version 14:

And we'll finish out our 10th Anniversary Issue with a round-up of available audio and video content:

16A) Here is a demonstration of the StandScan Pro with Text Grabber:

16B) A demonstration of the new Leasey program is here:

16C) Incidentally, its user guide in Word format is here:

16D) Web Axe Podcast 100 feature Joe & Joseph on WordPress Accessibility:

16E) A far more auspicious anniversary than ours was celebrated in November, when Tiflolibros, the Spanish e-book library for the blind, celebrated its fifteenth anniversary. The library has nearly 48,000 books now. Videos of their celebrations are here:

16F) Our Place podcast #411 is ready:

16G) HIMS has a new three-part video series on their Blaze EZ:

16H) Eyes on Success #1451 consists of an interview with Goodle's Manager of Accessibility Engineering:

16I) And AppleVis brings us "A Review of the Soen Transit XS Bluetooth Speaker":

16J) And Test Your Reflexes and Concentration With Catch52 for iOS:

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QUESTIONS: Tidbits are intentionally concise. As a result we know that some readers may not always understand all of the items listed because little explanation is given. If a particular Tidbit brings up a question in your mind, feel free to ask, and we will try to answer as time and knowledge permit.

ARCHIVE: Visit the 2014 Tidbits Archive at: where you can grab back issues.

CONTENT: Any information for future issues of Top Tech Tidbits may be directed to our editor, Dean Martineau, at: