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Top Tech Tidbits - Volume 161

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.

1) There must be a broad-based demand for people, and not just those with vision loss, to listen to content from the web that was originally only in print. This Fred's Head Companion post lists and briefly describes five services, most free, that enable you to use good-quality speech synthesizers to turn blogs into podcasts:

2) Fred's Head Companion also points us to, a directory of tv channels you can watch live from anywhere. You won't find the major US networks here, but there is said to be some three thousand categorized channels available.

3) Tek Talk for GMT Tuesday, 3 June at 00:00 presents Travel Made Easy With "The Breeze," about the Trekker Breeze, the new, less complicated GPS unit available from Humanware.

4) Code Factory has teamed with Sendero Group to provide high-quality GPS access to users of windows-Mobile-based Smartphones, Pocket PC phones and Pocket PC PDA's. The product will be called Mobile Geo, and the company is looking for beta testers who already own one of these phones and a license to Mobile Speak. An unspecified number of free licenses for the new product will go to active members of the beta test team.

5) The US Braille Chess Association has a web site which includes a library of chess-related materials, some of which may be available electronically, and promotes chess by e-mail among other media of play.

6) GW Micro wins the prize for first announcement concerning the upcoming consumer conventions in the US in June/July. They will be offering three-hour trainings on Window-Eyes and Braille Sense on Sunday, June 29, at the NFB Convention in Dallas. Trainings cost $10. Register by calling the company. For further information, e-mail

7) Jamal Mazrui has advanced his free PDF2TXT program to Version 3. This version allows you to turn password-protected PDF documents into text if you know the password, and to use the best available free OCR to convert those pesky PDF's that contain merely a picture of the text, into readable text.

8) Serotek has moved System Access to version 2.5. Among the changes they claim for this version are better acces to some Google services including GoogleDocs and Gmail and improved access to what are called Rich Edit controls in Windows, yielding improved access to programs such as the free word processor Jarte. Follow-up on this item reveals that Jarte is an excellent choice for users of any screen reader who want a free and powerful alternative to Microsoft Word.

9) The Chaos World of Assistive Technology Blog is a well-maintained blog which appears to be positioning itwelf as a good way to keep up with adaptive technology.

10) This post from the Access Ability blog discusses the positive move on the part of Xerox to implement a way whereby people with a variety of disabilities can gain access to their otherwise very hard-to-use copy machines.

11) The topic for Main Menu to air on GMT Wednesday, 4 June will be downloading and listening to music on your computer.

12) If you live in the Washington DC area and are available on 4 or 5 June, You can earn $100 for taking part in a 45-minute usability test of voting machines. If interested, e-mail:

13) If you are a student or speaker of one or more romance languages and want a serious electronic dictionary, and you use JAWS, Jerry Neufeld may have a solution to offer. He has scripted version 4.3.4 of Ultralingua, a specialized foreign language dictionary and grammar program for which multiple language modules are available. The scripts only work with this version of the program, which is not the current one but which can apparently still be had, and which is substantively as good as the prettier, newer version. So if you procure a copy of that version of the program and want the JAWS scripts that make it usable, write to Jerry at:

14) Technology writer Ed Bott has written a series of articles on how he repaired a Windows Vista installation so that the operating system works the way it is capable of working.

15) We end with another item from Fred's Head Companion, this time regarding a free program, Magic Transfer, that lets you back up some of your important system settings and files for easy restore onto a different computer.

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