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Top Tech Tidbits - Volume 225
The Week's News in Adaptive Technology

Distributed by Flying Blind, LLC

This Issue's Featured Advertisement:
Spectacular Blind & Low Vision Back to School Bundle from ABISee!
Photo of a full rig in action. Get Eye Pal, Zoom-Ex or Zoom-Twix + FREE Acer Aspire One Netbook with installed Zoom-Office software, ready to scan, read, and magnify right out of the box!
ABISee is offering a complete solution for blind and low vision that includes a FREE ACER NETBOOK when you purchase one of their popular computer based products. This promotion applies to Zoom-Twix, the student's favorite, as well as Eye-Pal and Zoom-Ex, but only this September and October, while supplies last. Plug these devices into a USB Port and they instantly read any printed material fonts 7.5 and bigger, even crumpled papers and junk mail. Each product can scan up to 20 pages per minute, so save as many books as your hard drive will hold.
Eye-Pal is a device for the blind that is integrated with Braille displays.
Zoom-Ex will both read and display text in large font.
Zoom-Twix adds a second camera to zoom up on the teacher or blackboard and captures images with a single keystroke, eliminating a lot of note taking. Students love that, and it is an advantage over sighted colleagues.
The captured text becomes accessible to the user in multiple ways. You can store it as image or MS document, cut and paste, or otherwise manipulate converted text. Display the text in the size and color of your choice utilizing "word wrapping" so it never goes off the screen reading aloud or through headphones. The result is much like a personal teleprompter that also reads. If you prefer, set the display to a continuous line while you control the speed, font size, and contrast. By giving away the Acer computer, ABISee is providing a practical, lightweight, and affordable solution that fits easily into a backpack or briefcase for both students and professionals.
For more information, contact ABISee, Inc. at 1 (800) 681-5905,, or visit us on the web at


1) There's still a definite need for a few sighted individuals, especially North American night-owls and those living elsewhere on the planet, who are willing to be available to help blind people access web sites by solving visual CAPTCHA's. It takes only a moment here and there while you're on your computer.

2) SeroTalk Tech Chat 31 is called Windows 7 "The Good, The Bad, and the Indifferent":

3) Some professors at John Hopkins University have devised a group of imaginary but challenging university courses, listed the books you would read to master the material, and called the list The Autodidact Course Catalog:

4) I haven't tried this, and it isn't a good solution for those needing to read a lot of material, but to read an occasional page or document, if you have a scanner on hand, you can have it turned into text free using this free OCR service:

5) AccessWorld magazine from American Foundation for the Blind is seeking input as to where it should go and how it should look from here. They'd like many people to fill out this survey:

6) You can bid on some tech items. and a lot of other things, and help the SeeingEye in its auction that closes on 13 September.

7) Mike Arrigo has made two podcasts on the new version of VoiceOver for the Mac: New Features In VoiceOver
Install Snow Leopard

8) Winboard 4.4 for JAWS is a free, advanced chess program. It uses any version of the JAWS screen reader to announce the chess moves and other selected content to the player. It allows access to Internet chess servers.

9) Online Networking for Success! is the next quarterly tech seminar held at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco from 20:00-22:00 GMT on Friday, 25 September. They will discuss professional development sites like MonsterDS, Abilicorp, LinkedIn and more as well as Twitter and Facebook. Besides attending in person, you can take part via phone conference or online.

10) The Apple iPod Touch (third Generation) now includes VoiceOver, as implemented on the iPhone. Meanwhile, version 3.1 of the iPhone is out with many accessibility improvements.

11) How times have changed! There are now at least five players capable of playing digital books from the National Library Service for the Blind. Robert Carter demonstrates and discusses five of them in this podcast:

12) Flying Blind, LLC has updated the "In Touch with ALVA" Tutorial for Optelec's ALVA Braille Controller to reflect updates to the Braille Controller's firmware, additional support for more screenreaders, as well as the release of the ALVA Braille Controller 680, an 80 cell addition to this product line. This tutorial can be downloaded in its entirety by visiting:

13) Humanware announces that its new electronic desktop magnifier, the SmartView Synergy is now shipping with either a 19-inch flatscreen or a distortion-free high-brightness 22-inch monitor.>

14) Humanware continues to collaborate with ReadHowYouWant to make new books available for purchase at reasonable prices. The Free Chapter Download Page adds new books to sample each month.

15) Those who have moved to Skype 4 and are having some accessibility challenges with it, Skype was released. This version fixes the system tray issue and some other accessibility issues.

16) Steven landau of Touch Graphics will speak on The Talking Tablet and other innovative products on Tek Talk on Tuesday, 15 September at 00:00.

17) It is still possible to sign up for the $75 Computer Essentials course from the Cisco Academy for the Visually Impaired. For information, e-mail

18) Perhaps you've observed that owing to a bug, one cannot enter accented letters into Microsoft Word using screen readers the way you're supposed to be able to. A new window-Eyes script fixes this problem for any version of Word back to Word 2000.
If you're wondering how you're supposed to be able to enter accented letters in Word, check this page:

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.

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