CES Day 1

Ces Day 1

As a first time attendee of CES I was thrilled by a great deal. The new shiny toys, the enthusiasm for all things technology, and the dancing... everything.  In our first day on the floor, we ran across dancing cat dolls, a human sized dancing robot, and a trio of parrots strutting their stuff.  These are not the highlights of the event, but, they certainly warm a geeky heart.

CES – first reports from floor

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is always an adventure, and this year it looks like one which will involve a LOT of new phones and new tablets. Given that our focus is not necessarily the same as everybody else’s, here are some of the highlights of the first day of exploring:

JAWS 13

 

After letting the dust settle, and now that Freedom Scientific has released two updates to the latest release of JAWS, it seemed a reasonable time to give a quick overview of what the new version has to offer blind users.

OCR

Freedom Scientific has implemented an Optical Character Recognition system in JAWS 13 that will recognize the text of controls and documents that are otherwise inaccessible. Using the layered keystroke model, introduced a couple versions back, INSERT+SPACE followed by O will activate OCR. You can then choose to OCR the current window (W), current control (C), or entire screen (S). When the OCR has completed, you will have the JAWS cursor activated and be able to move through the recognized text. Using the mouse emulation commands will correctly perform a right or left click.

Mobile PC Monitor

If you’re anything like me you’ve occasionally, and in some cases more often than you want to acknowledge, been staring at a completely useless computer. Your screen access package has frozen or another program has caused it to completely hang, and your only recourse is to hard crash and restart your system.

The DAISY Consortium Announces the Latest Release of the Save as DAISY for Office 2010 add-in

Zurich, Switzerland and Missoula, MT, USA - December 15, 2011 - Building on DAISY Consortium’s collaboration with Microsoft, Save as DAISY for Office 2010 helps Microsoft Word users convert Word Open XML files to the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) format.  This version supports Office 2003, 2007 and 2010. 

“We want to provide people with print disabilities equal access to the same information,” says George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium. “The blind person needs a mechanism to navigate the page as quickly as a sighted person.”

Robo Braille: enhancing the accessibility of documents

For many reasons, people who are blind  or deaf-blind find it necessary to convert files from one format to another. For example, converting a graphical PDF file to an accessible format such as Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), rich text format (.rtf), digital braille (.brf) or plain text (.txt). This is especially the case when textbook publishers send out books in PDF format. There are many software applications that can convert files from one format to another, but these must be installed in order to perform conversions for some of the above mentioned formats. That is, until a service called Robobraille came in to being.

Nexus 7

Recently, the access technology team received our brand new Nexus 7, the famous Google tablet running Jelly Bean OS.  Our curiosity got the better of us - we had to immediately open this new and shiny thing.  Here is what we discovered.  The tablet size and the form factor are extremely attractive and fits well in small hands. The tablet is light, so carrying it all day wouldn’t be a problem at all.  The button configurations are as follows – on the right side edge of the tablet is where both the power button and the volume control are located.  The headphone jack and the USB power plug are located at the bottom edge of the tablet.  Other than that the touch screen area is about 7 inches, a very nice size for touch typing.

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