Top Tech Tidbits - Volume 176
The Week's News in Adaptive Technology
Distributed by Flying Blind, LLC
For questions and comments regarding Tidbits, please e-mail Dean Martineau at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dean Martineau provides adaptive technology training by phone, online, and in person, with flexible arrangements, and at affordable prices.
As you know, I seldom repeat items in Tidbits; if you miss an issue, you might miss something useful! So this issue, I'm going to repeat, at the bottom, for the benefit of subscribers who may have missed them over the years, some of the best gems to appear since the beginning.
1) Beta 3 of Window-Eyes version 7 is now available, with more scripts coming all the time to extend the usability of the program. In addition, the company has divulged that it is building in suport for iTunes and the iTunes store with this version.
2) Jamal Mazrui has taken time out of his extensive script development for Window-Eyes to convert the documentation for JAWS version 10 into text for more portable and versatile access.
3) This blog post and comments resulting from it can give you some information about the pros and cons of the current place marker-related legal action going on
4) A recent e-mail message stated that the management software for the Prodigy Glucose Monitor now works with Window-Eyes.
5) The latest maintenance release of the Talks screen reader for Symbian phones gives more feedback during theinstall process, fixes bugs and enables more phones.
6) All in Play and ACBRadio are combining to sponsor free online game weekends throughout September. Each free game period runs for 24 hours starting at 19:00 GMT on Saturday. On 13 September, it's Crazy Eights; 20 September, Texas Hold-um; 27 September, Anagrams.
7) $50 two-hour online trainings from Assistive Technology Center for September, starting at 20:00 GMT, include: "MobilEyes Basic/Professional" on Friday, 19 September, "Podcasts" on Tuesday 23 September, and "Intermediate JAWS Training"on Tuesday 30 September.
8) We draw information from Fred's Head Companion constantly in this newsletter, so here's a chance to hear from and talk to the creator of that blog: It will be the subject for Tek Talk on GMT Tuesday 16 September at 00:00. Remember, these sessions are recorded and archived within a few days of the live get-together.
The rest of this issue contains gems from the past:
9) Above we learned of Jamal Mazrui's handy text collection of documentation for JAWS version 10. If you use an earlier version of JAWS and want the documentation in text for it, Jamal has also made it available, beginning from version 6. You can't get these from a web site, but you can choose these links to download documentation for versions 6, 7, 7.1, 8 and 9:
Jamal has also assembled text documentation for various programming languages. Among those likely to have the widest appeal are packets on html:
and Visual Basic 6:
10) Jamal's file manager FileDir remains the most powerful and accessible program for managing files under Windows, with vast numbers of keyboard shortcuts:
11) A lot of people find Jamal's pdf conversion program to be a much more effective way to deal with pdf documents than Adobe Reader:
12) For our last mention of Jamal's contributions for this week, his text editor EdSharp is powerful and versatile. Both this and FileDir are customized to work with all screen readers:
13) If you'd like to receive any of several newspapers or magazines, including Slate, the Sunday New York Times and Washington Post, or Thursday technology columns from various magazines, sent to you as text via e-mail, write to Will Smith for his list of free publications to which you can subscribe:
14) Development continues on the open-source screen reader NVDA. You can read developments on their blog at
and you can download the screen reader at
15) Thanks to grant funding, NVDA works especially well with the Firefox browser, and one of the strengths that browser offers comes from a plug-in called Webvisum, which, among other things, allows blind users to solve most CAPTCHA barriers.
16) K-12 students in the US can get a free copy of the System Access screen reader on a thumb drive,
and anybody with a an Internet connection can use that screen reader through its Accessibility is a Right Foundation
17) Ian Humphreys offers several solitaire games, cribbage, Hearts, Uno, Boggle, Yahtzee, Word Target, and others as free self-voicing games.
18) This site contains over 10,000 old-time radio programs and costs $5 per month, though they offer free membership to blind and disabled folks.
19) TinySpell is a freeware spell checker that beeps when it detects a misspelled word. They continue to enhance the product, and a paid version ($10 minimum contribution) lets you use multiple dictionaries and build your own "autocorrect" feature.
20) Students in the US can have free membership in Bookshare, with its collection of over 40,000 books, and other residents of the US can pay for the access and can volunteer to earn credits to reduce or eliminate the cost. For people living outside the States, the available collection is considerably smaller, though it is growing. For those interested in computers, particularly advanced topics, the O'Reilly book collection is growing rapidly these days, and those books are available worldwide.
21) Those looking for electronic books in Spanish, German and to a lesser degree in other languages can explore Tiflolibros, a growing library from Argentina. Their German collection is growing very rapidly! Here is the English information page, with links to the main page in Spanish:
22) John Wilson created many guides for using software from the perspective of the blind user. He used to sell them, but now he has released them to the public for free use, not for resale.
23) Optasia Ministry offers free electronic Christian resources to US residents; some of these resources are not available otherwise in free electronic format, and some are particularly formatted for use on legacy and current portable reading devices.
24) If you wish you had a simpler way to select text in Microsoft Word, here are some easy-to-install macros that can help you do it:
25) 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.
26) If you want a comprehensive listing of Radio Reading Services, here is the listing. Some of them don't broadcast online, and others require a username and password to access them:
27) Some people may be able to obtain a refurbished computer for $100 through the Texas Center for the Visually Impaired. These are computers running Windows XP, and come with a 7-cassette tutorial and demo copies of Window-Eyes screen reader and ZoomText magnification software.
28) I'm sure I have missed several "gems" from the past, but they're all readily available through the Top Tech Tidbits Text Archive. As I glanced at parts of it to find items I should include here, I see that there are literally hundreds of fun or useful items that are still as relevant as they were when they were first mentioned. The archive is available as a text file or as a zipped text file for faster download. You can load it into any text editor or word processor and browse or search. Here is the link to the text version:
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