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Top Tech Tidbits - Volume 155

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.

There's a slight chance that Tidbits won't appear next week because of my rather odd schedule, but odds are that it will.

1) You can read a unique comparison of the iPod and the Victor Reader Stream from the standpoint of a sighted user, who believes that the Stream could be successfully marketed to the mainstream public, here:

2) Songza bills itself as "The Music Search Engine and Internet Jukebox," and claims that "Songza lets you listen to any song or band." While this claim appears to be quite exaggerated, you can listen to a lot of music on the site for no charge, and users of the System Access Mobile Network from Serotek can play music, adjust volume, create playlists and switch tracks.

3) One mailing list subscriber recommends the music site Slacker for its variety of available stations.

4) What fun! This article from PCWorld hints that the next version of Windows could be released in 2009!,144152/printable.html

5) Radio Reading Services, or Radio Information Services, exist throughout the U.S. and in many other places, broadcasting readings of newspapers, magazines, books, and other programs of interest oriented to those unable to read standard print. Here are four of them whose broadcasts are available online:

New Orleans

Washington DC

San Diego, California

Tempe, Arizona

6) Anna Dresner has written another helpful book from National Braille Press: A Pocketful of Sound: A Quick-Start and Buyer's Guide to Accessible Book and Music Players, costing US $14 in electronic or braille format:

7) Here's a post from Fred's Head Companion which provides a variety of information about the history, use and accessibility of eBay.

8) Here are four more pieces of information from Fred's Head Companion: first, a well-organized page containing registry tweaks you can apply to Windows XP. They appear to be solid and well-tested.

9) ChaCha is a search site where you submit your search request and a human helps you. Fairly high screen reader competence may be required to get the most out of it.

10) You can listen to webcasts from the Library of Congress, dating back several years, on a range of interesting topics:

11) Here is a demo of a simple software-based calculator which might have some benefits for people with low vision:

12) This Braille Monitor article, entitled, An Accessible and Highly Usable Webmail Service, gives a very favorable review of the new free AOL site.

13) The producers of Tek Talk may have uncovered something here; at least, they've found something most of us haven't heard of yet, and might like if it pans out. On GMT Tuesday, 15 April, at 00:00, we'll hear about the Sirecognizer, a portable device made in Italy which purports to recognize objects, read TV and LCD screens, accurately recognize print material in a variety of formats, and read package labels. The company's web site, available in English and Italian, is:

And here is the usual link for the weekly broadcast:

14) BeaconSysInc is a new company, the outgrowth of a research project, which will produce accessible products that will run on windows smart phones. The first product will be a very low-cost currency identifier, to be available later this year. Other products on the drawing board include a barcode scanner and a system to provide real-time bus schedules.

15) The Chicago lighthouse for the blind reminds everyone that if you need technical support on any adaptive technology, you can call their toll-free number for free, unbiased tech support. They welcome calls from anywhere, but at present only offer a toll-free number easily reachable from North America. The number is (888) 825-0080.

16) Mark Taylor produces a blog in which he often provides useful information for blind and visually impaired users of smart phones. The feed address is:

17) Rick Harmon continues to produce tutorials concerning the popular sound editor Goldwave. His most recent one concerns the latest accessibility improvements to the program as well as some features of the JAWS scripts.

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