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Top Tech Tidbits - Volume 145
Distributed by Flying Blind, LLC
For questions and comments regarding Tidbits, please e-mail Dean Martineau at
Dean Martineau provides adaptive technology training by phone, online, and in person, with flexible arrangements, and at affordable prices.

We have a lot of ground to cover, so we'll get right to it. There's a long explanation about the Tidbits "vacation", and about the new distribution arrangement at the end of this issue. Remember that if you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me at Now, on with the news!

1) The Fred's Head Companion tells us about this page which contains many podcasts from the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

2) This article from the Fred's Head Companion tells us about a couple of reliable ways to keep up with the steady stream of Internet discount codes available through many shopping sites.

3) This posting to the Gw Micro blog contains a very coherent explanation regarding web- based dynamic content, and how it can best be made accessible to those of us who use adaptive technology.

4) Freedom Scientific has released the latest beta version of the MAGic screen magnification program. They have also released an update to JAWS. The primary new feature in these releases allows users of both programs to receive more accurate visual information when using the web.

5) Two new articles have been added to the Sound Computing article series. The first one is a 1.5 dash our multifaceted article entitled " a keyboard junkey's tips for Windows Vista, office 2007, and other programs." You can receive this and all the other articles in the package for a one- time outlay of $9.00. This link provides subscription information as well as a list of available articles.

6) The Hadley School offers another in its series of free online seminars: Accessible Technology from HumanWare to take place on Tuesday, 5 February, at 21:00 GMT. Preregistration is required.

7) The Levelstar and Braille Plus linux - based PDAs are soon to be equipped to play NLS downloadable audio books. A presentation on this topic took place on 29 January, and should soon be in the archive here:

8) Two recent free Tek Talk audio trainings to be added to the archive are presentations entitled Examining the Hidden Programs Within Kurzweil 1000, and Harnessing the Power of Google.

9) A two-part course entitled Computer Hardware 101 will take place on GMT 7 and 14 February starting at 02:00. Free membership in the VIP conduit voice chat community is required in order to participate.

10) Jamal Mazrui has updated his JAWS scripts for the programming languages Visual Studio 2005 and 2008.

11) The January, 2008 issue of AccessWorld, from American foundation for the Blind, features a review of the Victor Reader Stream, evaluations of new and accessible blood glucose monitors, a discussion of the challenges of technology in call center jobs, and more.

12) ViewPplus has received a grant to make scientific journals from the American Physical Society fully accessible to the blind using the Daisy format.

13) The free Tek Talk training, set for GMT Tuesday, 5 February, at 01:00 will feature an overview of Microsoft office 2007. Here is the direct link to the conference room:

14) From the Fred's Head Companion, we learn of this site, which has a small collection of books which they will send in installments using rss or e-mail. Public domain books are free, others carry a small charge.

15) Undoubtedly, the piece of adaptive technology news to receive the most buzz lately has been the impending release of the new version of the KNFB Reader, expected to ship around February 15. The Reader software will run on a Nokia N-82 phone, making it a very portable and convenient way for those on the go to scan print material. The Reader software will cost $1500, with the phone costing around $550. Here's an audio link to the NPR news story on the topic:
and here is the official page:

16) The second Sound Computing article to be made available is a demonstration/mini-tutorial on using Windows Vista speech recognition software with System Access. We demonstrate some surprising capabilities of the software, including a macro capability that I have not seen documented elsewhere. Much of this newsletter is being created using Windows Vista speech recognition.

17th) Fred's Head Companion directs us to Storyline Online, a site containing children's stories read by Screen Actors Guild members. Along with the story, a video of the actor reading it and its illustrations is available, and there are downloadable activity guides.

18) Additional details have not yet been disclosed, but when Gw Micro finely unveils WindowEyes Version 7.0, it will contain a scripting capability which many of us have requested, for those programs where the program's set file capabilities are not sufficient to create access.

19) Walgreens has announced an initiative to hire a sizable contingent of disabled workers at its headquarters facility.

Dean Martineau is available to provide adaptive technology training online, by phone, or in person, at very affordable rates.

New Distribution system for Tidbits

We've made some changes with Top Tech Tidbits for Thursday, so some words of explanation are in order. I've had a nice vacation, but the biggest reason for the non-appearance of Tidbits over the last several weeks has been the fact that I am unable to send it using my otherwise adequate Internet Service provider. Fortunately for us all, Larry Lewis of Flying Blind, LLC, has offered to distribute the newsletter using distribution mechanisms which he already has in place. Let me make three initial comments about our collaboration.

1. I highly respect Larry's business ethic, and am impressed with the choices he has made in the adaptive technology field. He is very selective about the products he sells and recommends.

2. Larry and I have no financial or business relations at all.

3. Had Larry not made this generous offer, it is likely that Tidbits would have come to an end.

We're working out the kinks in the Tidbits distribution process, so if you have any difficulties with the look of Tidbits, or with any other technology-related matter, don't hesitate to e-mail me, Feel free to call as well, but this gives me a chance to publicly announce that the Top Dot Enterprises phone number has changed. It is now (425) 296-1744.

This means however, that for many of you, there will be a couple of changes.

First, for a couple thousand of you, this will be the first issue of Tidbits that you will receive in your inbox. A lot of people find Tidbits to be a concise and handy summary of what's new in adaptive technology and online and audio information for those with vision loss.

Veteran Tidbits subscribers will begin receiving the Flying Blind, LLC E-News. These are mostly informative mailings. At this point, it is most convenient to join the Top Tech Tidbits and Flying Blind, LLC lists together, but if this becomes a problem for many, we can try to separate them.

Feel free to forward individual Tidbits, or the entire tidbits issue, to interested people (but make sure they don't already receive it; a lot do!) When doing this, please have the courtesy to cite your source, perhaps directing them to the tidbits web site (see below.)

Tidbits is intentionally concise, but I know a lot of people don't understand many of the items because little explanation is given. If a Tidbit brings up a question in your mind, feel free to ask, and I'll answer as time, knowledge, and inclination permit.

Visit the Tidbits page at where you can subscribe to the rss feed and grab back issues. All that welcome information for future issues can come to me at

People can subscribe to Tidbits via e-mail: (make sure to get all 4 t's into the address!)

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