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AFB  ®
Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 January 2001 Issue  Volume 2  Number 1

News

CSUN Appoints New Director

Harry F. Rizer was named director of the Center on Disabilities at California State University at Northridge (CSUN), in late summer 2000. Dr. Rizer received the 1987 Humanitarian Award from the National Rehabilitation Association and was named a Switzer Scholar in Assistive Technology. Dr. Rizer served as director of the Technology Resources Office at Maryland State Department of Education's Division of Rehabilitation Services, for the past two years he served on the advisory board to the CSUN Center on Disabilities, and he is a founding corporate board member of the National Cristina Foundation, an international organization that recycles computers for use by people with disabilities. Dr. Rizer replaced Dr. Harry J. Murphy, who retired on March 31, 2000. For more information, contact: Jodi Johnson, associate director, Center on Disabilities, CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330-8340; phone: 818-677-2578; fax: 818-677-4929; e-mail: <jodi.johnson@csun.edu>; web site: <www.csun.edu/cod/>.

Schroeder Receives Award

Paul Schroeder, former editor-in-chief of AccessWorld and current vice president of Governmental Relations for the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), received the fifth Jacquelyn Brand Leadership in Assistive Technology Award from Alliance for Technology Access in October 2000. The award, which was established in 1997, was presented to Mr. Schroeder for his efforts to enhance the lives of people with disabilities by advocating the use of technology. Schroeder has served in many different capacities for various organizations, including: director, Governmental Affairs, American Council of the Blind; president, Alliance for Public Technology; and vice president, Association for Access Engineering Specialists. Mr. Schroeder also helped negotiate the disability access sections of the 1996 Telecommunications Act with the Technology Task Force of the Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities and provides input on technology access for nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, and private companies—including the Federal Communications Commission and Microsoft Corporation. For more information, contact: Alliance for Technology Access, 2175 East Francisco Boulevard, Suite L, San Rafael, CA 94901 ; phone: 415-455-4575; web site: <www.ataccess.org>.

Games for Kids

Crossword Fun for Kids, from MindsEye2, is an educational computer game for blind children aged 5-12. Designed by a blind programmer, the game uses a speech-accessible interface, operates with Windows 95 or 98, and features sound effects and 125 choices of background music. Crossword Fun for Kids features 70 puzzles, including: Under the Sea, Don't Bug Me!, and Trick or Treat! The cost is $35. For more information, contact: Drema Myers, vice president, MindsEye2, Route 1, Box 404-A, Bland, VA 24315; e-mail: <drema@mindseye2.com>; web site: <www.mindseye2.bigstep.com>.

Braille displays

Braille Voyager 44 and Braille Voyager 70 are the newest braille displays from HumanWare. The displays operate with Tieman Express, a program designed to drive Microsoft Windows directly from Braille Voyager. Braille Voyager 44 is the lightweight (1.2 kilograms), portable braille display for use with a laptop and Braille Voyager 70 is for use in a desktop environment. Among the features of Braille Voyagers are: eight command keys that are logically configured as braille writing keys and Tieman's new, smaller, low-power braille cells. The Braille Voyager 44 and 70 feature a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port that powers the display directly from the computer, without the need for an external power source. For NT networks that do not support USB, the Braille Voyager 44+ and 70+ feature USB to serial I/O connectors. The displays, which are available in January 2001, include print user manuals and print and braille installation guides. The cost is $4,999 for 44, $5,299 for 44+, $9,699 for 70, and $9,999 for 70+. For more information, contact: HumanWare, 6245 King Road, Loomis, CA 95650; phone: 800-722-3393; fax: 916-652-7296; e-mail: <info@humanware.com>; web site: <www.humanware.com>.

Tutorials

Listening to Word is a tutorial available from TECSO, a Montreal-based software development and marketing company. The interactive CD-ROM tutorial is designed to teach users how to create, manage, and format documents and tables, use Word Help, and personalize Word for Microsoft Word97 and 2000. The tutorial supports Jaws and Window-Eyes screen readers. Listening to Word includes a user's manual in alternate media and a tactile guide in braille and large print with reproductions of Word screen images. For more information, contact: TECSO, 1717, Rene-Levesque Boulevard East, 2nd Floor, Montreal, Quebec, H2L 4T3, Canada; phone: 514-590-4218; fax: 514-590-4228; e-mail: <info@tecso.qc.ca>.

Jonathan Mosen has produced a tutorial on Sound Forge and Sound Forge XP, professional audio editing packages designed for Internet, multimedia, and broadcast production. The five-hour tutorial is available on four tone-indexed cassettes. Freedom Scientific is distributing the tutorial for $79.95. For more information, contact: Freedom Scientific, 11800 31st Court North, St. Petersburg, FL 33716; phone: 800-444-4443 or 727-803-8000; fax: 727-803-8001; web site: <www.freedomsci.com>.

Scan-and-read software

OPENBook 5.0 English Version is the newest scan-and-read software from Freedom Scientific. OPENBook 5.0 is designed to convert scanned print materials into electronic information that is read by a speech synthesizer and is displayed on a screen in various settings for people with low vision. The 5.0 version includes a Low Vision Menu, which floats in the bottom of the screen and has settings to change size, color, font, and document spacing. The software is designed to provide information on text elements and the Page Layout Navigation feature is designed to allow the user to jump from one text element to another. OPENBook 5.0 operates on a PC with Microsoft Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0, and NT 2000 Professional. The cost is $995. For more information, contact: Freedom Scientific Blind/Low Vision Group, 11800 31st Court North, St. Petersburg, FL 33716; phone: 800-444-4443 or 727-803-8000; fax: 727-803-8001; e-mail: <info@hj.com>; web site: <www.arkenstone.org/OB5PR.html>.

Braille printer

Blazer Inferno is the latest wide-carriage braille embosser from Blazie. The Blazer Inferno features include: a speed of 50 characters per second; a lightweight (17.5 pounds), contemporary design; and a wider carriage designed to accommodate paper that is 11 inches wide. The cost is $2,795. For more information, contact: Freedom Scientific, 11800 31st Court North, St. Petersburg, FL 33716; phone: 800-444-4443 or 727-803-8000; fax: 727-803-8001; e-mail: <info@hj.com>; web site: <www.blazie.com/pages/inferno.html>.

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