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

News

Extra! Extra!

In February 2001, the first edition of AccessWorld Extra was sent to all AccessWorld subscribers who have provided their e-mail addresses. AccessWorld Extra is a bonus e-mail update for subscribers that contains additional editorial content during the interim months when AccessWorld is not published. The first edition of AccessWorld Extra contained regular features, such as an Editor's Page, Q&A, and an expanded News section, and new features, such as preview summaries of the features in this month's AccessWorld, as well as an invitation to readers to provide feedback on a question-of-the-month. To receive the next edition of AccessWorld Extra, which is set for transmission in April 2001, send an e-mail message to accessworld@reu.com with the word "subscribe" in the subject line, and the name or account number to which your regular edition of AccessWorld is mailed in the body.

E-books for Everyone!

Microsoft and Pulse Data International signed an agreement to offer Microsoft's Reader software with the newest version of Pulse Data's BrailleNote, a personal data assistant based on Microsoft's Windows CE operating system. The free software is designed to provide immediate speech or braille output of e-books, which can be downloaded from online e-book distributors. For more information, contact the North American distributor of BrailleNote: HumanWare; phone: 800-722-3393 or 216-381-8106; web site: www.humanware.com.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department's Technology Administration, unveiled its prototype braille display at the Electronic Book 2000 conference in Washington, DC. The display, which was evaluated by members of the National Federation of the Blind, is designed to convert any text into braille. NIST estimates that the braille reader could be manufactured for a cost of $1,000 (most other braille displays cost between $3,500 and $15,000). For more information, contact: NIST; phone: 301-975-6478; web site: www.nist.gov.

The Next isSound You Hear

isSound discontinued sales and enhancements of its nonvisual desktop browser, pwWebSpeak on January 1, 2001 because of extensive changes in web site design since the development of pwWebSpeak in 1996. Current users will receive technical support until their user agreements expire. For more information, contact: isSound; phone: 609-637-0099; web site: www.issound.com.

Say What?

In December 2000, Bank of America continued its program to place 2,500 talking automatic teller machines (ATM) in Florida and California by installing two talking ATMs in Jacksonville, FL. The modified ATMs feature audio jacks that are designed to deliver privately spoken instructions to users. For more information, contact:Bank of America; phone: 1-800-ENABLE-U (362-2538); web site: www.bankofamerica.com.

Feel the Music

Dancing Dots announced GOODFEEL 2.5, GOODFEEL Lite, and GOODFEEL Lite with Scanning, its newest braille music translators for Windows. GOODFEEL 2.5 features a simplified user interface and support for the 1997 international standards for music braille and is designed to be compatible with screen readers and to transcribe MIDI or Lime notation files at a cost of $795. GOODFEEL Lite costs $199, and GOODFEEL Lite with Scanning costs $249. Each GOODFEEL version features a licensed copy of the Lime music notation editor. For more information, contact: Dancing Dots; phone: 610-783-6692; web site: www.dancingdots.com.

Opus Technologies released OpusDots Lite, its new software system for Windows that translates single-line music for band instruments, orchestral instruments, chorus, and sight-reading or music theory exercises. OpusDots Lite costs $299. For more information, contact: Opus Technologies; phone and fax: 866-OPUSTEC or 858-538-9401; web site: www.opustec.com.

Fair Game

ESP Softworks released an arcade-style game, Monkey Business, in March 2001, designed for people who are blind or visually impaired. The cost is $29.95. A free demonstration is available at: www.espsoftworks.com. For more information, contact: ESP Softworks; phone: 916-922-7808.

Independent Living Aids (ILA) offers two new video games for people who are blind or visually impaired: Little Red Riding Hood and Automobile Driving Simulator Game/Software Kit. For more information, contact: Independent Living Aids; phone: 800-537-2118 or 516-752-8080; web site: www.independentliving.com.

Read About Web Accessibility

The result of a three-year effort, WGBH's National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), with funding from the National Science Foundation, published guidelines for making software accessible to users who are blind or deaf: Making Educational Software Accessible: Design Guidelines Including Math and Science Solutions. It is available free in print and online at: http://ncam.wgbh.org/cdrom. For more information, contact: Mary Watkins, WGBH; phone: 617-3000-3700; web site: www.wgbh.org.

CMP Books published Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities by Michael G. Paciello, a primary organizer of the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). The book reviews WAI standards and provides specific instruction on how to evaluate and improve the accessibility of web sites. The 392-page book costs $34.95. For more information, contact: CMP Books; phone: 800-542-7279 or 408-848-3854; web site: www.books.mfi.com.

Training Seminars and Tutorials

The Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) at Baruch College, City University of New York, offers the following seminars and classes for spring semester 2001: Introduction to the Windows 98 Environment; Introduction to Excel 2000; Introduction to Access 2000; Introduction to Windows 98 for Beginners; Introduction to Windows Accessibilities; Power Seminars; Beginners' Course in Computers; Keyboarding 1; Surfing the Internet; MS Excel 2000; Windows98/MS Word 2000; and Access 2000. For more information, contact: CCVIP; phone: 212-802-2140; web site: www.baruch.cuny.edu/ccvip.

Freedom Scientific launched a new tutorial on using JAWS for Windows 3.7x with Excel 2000. Available on four cassettes and includes sample files on CD-ROM, the cost is $79.95 plus tax and shipping. For more information, contact: Freedom Scientific; phone: 800-336-5658 or 727-803-8000; web site:www.hj.com/training/tutorials/Excel2000.html.

Join in the Odyssey

Conference registration packets, course lists, and vendor participant lists are now available for 2001: A Technology Odyssey, the access technology conference jointly sponsored by AFB (American Foundation for the Blind) and AER (Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired). Keynote speakers for the conference are Richard Chandler, chairman and president of Freedom Scientific, and John Williams, assistive technology columnist for Business Week Online. For more information, contact: Mark M. Uslan, co-chair, AFB; phone: 212-502-7638; E-mail: muslan@afb.net; web site: www.afb.org.

Testing

Macromedia released free extensions to Macromedia Dreamweaver and Macromedia Fireworks. The extensions are designed to perform a test that analyzes web pages for their accessibility to people with disabilities, thereby enabling Web developers to evaluate their Web pages to ensure their sites meet the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Macromedia also expects to release, by the end of 2001, a Macromedia Flash Accessibility Developer Kit. An upcoming version of Macromedia Flash Player will be modified to allow access to the underlying data within a Macromedia Flash file. For more information, contact: Macromedia; phone: 415-252-2000; web site: www.macromedia.com/macromedia/accessibility.

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