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Top Tech Tidbits - Volume 151

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.

Reminder: The Top Tech Tidbits for Thursday Repository is up to date, and is a very useful resource. It is a collection of all 151 Tidbits issues that have appeared to date. It is a plain text document, so it will open in any text editor or word processor. If you need to find a web address, or if you know you've seen something in Tidbits but just can't remember when, this is the place to look.

1) Exact Audio Copy is a high-quality free program for ripping CDs. VIPConduit will offer a multi-session class in its use, starting on GMT Wednesday, 19 March at 01:00. Supporting membership in VipConduit is required.

2) WGBH and American Foundation for the Blind are collaborating on a grant to determine best practices for description of science content within digital talking books. If you study or work in science, technology, engineering or math, you can take part in a study to help them, and receive a $75.00 visa gift card.

3) JAWS scripts have been developed to make the Napster music downloading service easier to use.

4) Blind informs us that Jim Kitchen has enhanced his already-great collection of free, self-voicing games. He has updated Golf and Trivia, and Homer on a Harley is up to version 4.0.

5) Speaking of Blind Bargains, J.J. Has expanded the scope of his Blind Bargains Auctions Gateway, so that users in Canada, the UK, and Australia as well as those in the U.S can search for blindness-related items on eBay and other auction sites.

6) The March, 2008 issue of AccessWorld is now available. Among other features, it contains a discussion of the challenges of access to Web 2.0, an interview with Bill McCann, of Dancing Dots, regarding his considerable efforts to make music composition software accessible to the blind, and a discussion of options for accessing virtual worlds.

7) Radio Shack is offering free online courses on home networking, home theater, digital photography, and GPS navigation. It is reported that the courses are well designed and accessible.

8) Dräger & Lienert will show an RFID-based system for locating and identifying objects, a guidance system based on the same technology, and the newest version of their Daisy-creation software at this week's CSUN conference. Their website is in German.

9) Version 1.2 of the firmware for the Victor Reader Stream is now available. As mentioned a few weeks ago, subscribers to the System Access Mobile Network who own a Stream can now download audio content from the network, including descriptive videos, for playing anywhere on the Stream.

10) Version 3.4 of the Mobile Speak screen-reader for Symbian phones is now available, and is a free upgrade for existing users. It includes support for 10 additional languages, full support for the Wayfinder Access accessible GPS System, and a dictionary tool.

11) Many of us have had problems with CAPTCHA, the diabolical authorization scheme used by web designers to distinguish people from computers, and which is totally inaccessible to the blind and to many others. A new site, CAPTCHAKiller, has generated lots of philosophical discussions on mailing lists this week. It purports to provide an accessible solution to all such authorization schemes. I don't know how well, or for how long, this will work, but this post from Fred's Head Companion gives a step-by-step guide for how to use it:

12) We also learn from the Fred's Head Companion about a comprehensive site to defend and rid us of phishing schemes, used by unscrupulous websites to try to gather our personal information.

13) Finally, Fred's Head Companion helps us save money and enhance our shopping experience in three ways. First, they tell us about a site which allows you to follow a product and know when its price drops:

Second, here's a site that lets you find retail outlets that offer free shipping:

Finally, you can use rss feeds to track products on Amazon:

14) An update for the vOICe program for Nokia phones is available. This program seeks to turn pictures into sound patterns.

15) Researchers at the Department of Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London are seeking subjects to test a system for constructing and editing diagrams in audio. They will travel up to an hour to your location if you can't come to them. They will pay 10 pounds. If interested, e-mail

16) Those of you who are seeking yet another audio presentation concerning the not-yet-released Window-Eyes version 7.0 and its highly-touted scripting capability are destined not to be disappointed. This matter will be the topic of the Tek Talk presentation to take place on GMT Tuesday, 18 March at 00:00.

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