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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
Figure Figure Assistive technology

Caption: Assistive technology for making music and for making photocopies are some of the products evaluated in this issue.

In This Issue . . .

Editor's Page

Feel the Music: A Review of Music Production Software

Gordon Kent and Mike Mandel

One State's Solution to Getting More People Online

Deborah Kendrick

Another Look at the Pitney Bowes Universal Access Copier System

Mark M. Uslan and Kevin Dusling

The Tools of the Trade: Advanced Screen Reader Features

Crista Earl and Jay Leventhal

Questions and Answers

Crista Earl

AccessWorld News

Calendar


Editor in Chief Jay D. Leventhal
Senior Contributing Editor Paul Schroeder
Contributing Editors Crista L. Earl
Deborah Kendrick
Mark Uslan
Managing Editor Sharon Shively
Marketing Manager Sharon Baker-Harris


Editor's Page

A primary message that assistive technology advocates try to convey to mainstream technology companies is that accessibility should be built into their products from the beginning. This approach leads to products that can be used by the widest possible market and saves time, money, and aggravation in the long run. Retrofitting accessibility into an existing product, as Microsoft did with Office 97, leads to solutions that are incomplete.

In this issue, we are excited to feature an article by Gordon Kent and Mike Mandel—two professional musicians and music producers who are blind—reviewing accessible music production software. Gordon performs regularly and has done production work for groups including The Village People and Ashford and Simpson. Mike's credits include production work for ABC television sports, HBO's "Sex in the City," and Fox's "America's Most Wanted." They both worked with the developers of one program, Cakewalk, to greatly improve its accessibility to screen reader users. They also review two other programs—Sound Forge and Cool Edit—as well as cover several utilities that come packaged with the Sound Blaster sound card. They provide instructions for using these packages with JAWS for Windows and Window-Eyes—the two most popular screen readers. This article will be of interest to anyone with fantasies of making musical sounds come out of their computers, as well as to professional musicians who have been wondering whether they should "go digital."

Mark M. Uslan and Kevin Dusling evaluate an office machine that was designed with accessibility in mind from the beginning—the Universal Access Copier System from Pitney Bowes. It incorporates speech recognition to communicate with workers who cannot read its display and includes controls that are placed low enough to be reached by wheelchair users.

The chances are pretty good that at some point you have purchased a software package that was not totally accessible (a description that, unfortunately, covers just about all the Windows software out there). Crista Earl and I list some of the most useful advanced screen reader features. We present situations in which using these features will improve your access to Windows, and we list the appropriate screen reader keystrokes.

Assistive technology can be the bridge to a new job, a promotion, an infinite amount of information on almost any subject, and more. But, many people are denied these opportunities because of technology's price tag. Deborah Kendrick reports on a program in Missouri that uses a state tax surcharge on telephone lines to fund assistive technology for its residents. Perhaps the "Show-Me" state is giving us a sneak preview of the future of assistive technology funding.

In February, some of you received the first issue ofAccessWorld Extra, the new e-mail edition we send to sbuscribers of all formats at the beginning of each month in which AccessWorld is not published. It includes a lot of assistive technology news, a Q&A column, previews of upcoming articles, and feedback from readers. Don't miss the April issue! To receive the next edition of AccessWorld Extra, 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.

Crista Earl was recently promoted to AFB's Director, Web Department. She will continue to write web-related articles for AccessWorld.

Jay Leventhal

Editor in Chief

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Product Evaluation

Feel the Music: A Review of Music Production Software

Cakewalk. Sound Forge. Cool Edit. These terms may not be familiar to you, but for those of us who either make a living recording music or who write songs and record music as a hobby, the terms represent indispensable tools of the trade. They are computer software packages, just like Microsoft Word or Qualcomm's Eudora. Like every other Windows program, they present many difficult challenges to the blind user. In this article, we are going to offer quick overviews of these software products, as well as the GOODFEEL braille notation program, and discuss some solutions to the particular problems they present to the visually impaired user. We'll also take a look at some of the utilities that come with Creative Labs' popular Sound Blaster Live sound card. These programs can all be operated successfully with both JAWS from Freedom Scientific and Window-Eyes from GW Micro.

A Piece of Cake

When it comes to recording musical compositions on a computer, sighted users can choose from among many different packages. Most of them, however, are extremely graphical and offer no alternatives to dragging the mouse around to activate functions and edit their results. So, if you want to record a musical performance on a computer and add other instruments to it to produce a finished product with vocals, drums, keyboards, and other instrumentation, in our opinion there is only one piece of software that allows blind users to be as productive as their sighted counterparts when using the program independently: Cakewalk. The roots of Cakewalk's accessibility can be traced back to its DOS origins. Although the Windows version of Cakewalk has undergone many changes over the years, much of its basic design is very similar to its DOS-based, keyboard-driven predecessor, whereas other software packages were converted to Windows from Macintosh. Although Cakewalk is a Windows application, it still retains a lot of keyboard shortcuts to complete nearly every task. Once you become comfortable using Cakewalk, it's actually not too far-fetched to consider using it with no screen reader on the system, making it possible for a blind musician to work in a sighted colleague's studio.

JAWS and Cakewalk

There are two ways that JAWS for Windows users can run Cakewalk. The powerful scripting language of JAWS makes it possible to really get Cakewalk talking. If you buy Cakewalk Pro Audio 9.01 or higher, you can use it with JAWS 3.7 right out of the box. JAWS will load the necessary scripts when you start Cakewalk. There is help documentation in the "Help with Specific Applications" section of the JAWS help system that will give you tips for setting up Cakewalk to work with JAWS. The bundled scripts are reasonably stable and comprehensive, but you will need to read through the Cakewalk manual, which comes on the installation CD in either PDF or text format. If you want to use the PDF version, you'll need to first use the access plug-in that is available on the Adobe web site at www.adobe.com to change the file into an accessible format. Quite a few users have been very successful using Cakewalk Pro Audio with the included JAWS scripts.

The other alternative for JAWS users is to buy the Caketalking program from Dancing Dots. Developed by David Pinto, a California-based music educator and programmer, Caketalking is the closest thing to having a custom-made computer program for blind musicians. David has used the JAWS scripting language to add features and functionality to Cakewalk that sighted users can only dream about. Add to that a very comprehensive set of tutorials that will get even the novice user making music in practically no time at all. For $195, Caketalking is a real bargain.

Unfortunately, although Cakewalk offers several flavors of its program, some of which are quite inexpensive or even come prebundled with sound cards like the Sound Blaster Live by Creative Labs, only their flagship product, Cakewalk Pro Audio, has been scripted to work with JAWS. Whether you are using the bundled JAWS scripts or Caketalking, the many features of Cakewalk are too comprehensive to go into in detail within the scope of this article. We're just going to touch on a few key points.

Recording 101

Let's use an example to show how you might accomplish some basic recording and editing tasks in Cakewalk. There are two types of recording, MIDI and audio. MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface and is a standard protocol that was adopted in the early 1980s by nearly all major manufacturers of electronic musical equipment and software. MIDI recording is done by playing a music synthesizer, drum pads, or other suitably equipped device that has been connected to your computer through a MIDI interface. Audio recording is done by connecting a microphone or mixing board to your computer's sound card. Once you've decided which type of recording you want to do, you need to set up a track in Cakewalk so that it will receive your input and allow you to hear what you've recorded. This task is done in the track view, which is the main work area in Cakewalk. The track view is set up like a spreadsheet, with each cell representing a different control on a different track. You move from cell to cell with the arrow keys, or, if you're using JAWS, you can move directly to a specific horizontal cell in a track with keyboard shortcuts. The column headings and cell contents will be spoken. If you're using the Caketalking scripts, you can also move directly to a specific track, which is very handy when you are working on a large project.

If you are starting with a new file, all you will see on the track view are the column headings and the track numbers on the left side of the screen. To set up a track, move to the source column and press Enter. This opens a dialog box where you fill in information about the track, starting with the input source. Most of the fields in the dialog box have lists of available options that can be scrolled with the arrow keys. Some fields require typed input, but others open up nested dialog boxes when you hit Enter. When you're done with this dialog box, pressing Enter will take you back to the track view, where you'll notice that all the cells on the row of the current track are now filled in.

Arming for Recording

Directly to the left of the source column is a letter R. Depending on its background color, this indicates whether a track is armed for recording or not. If you press Enter when you are in this cell, JAWS will say either "armed" or "unarmed." This process is similar to putting a track into record mode on a conventional tape recorder.

To get ready to record your first track, you may want to set the tempo and time signature or set up a reference click—similar to a metronome—to help you keep time while recording. All of the functions can be accessed within menus or by pressing key combinations to invoke JAWS scripts. When you press R, you'll hear the click and you can start playing or singing. Once you're done, press the spacebar to stop, and press W to rewind to the beginning. Press the spacebar again to hear what you've recorded.

Is That Me Singing?

It is easy to fix mistakes. You can either "punch in" by pressing R while the track is playing and rerecord the part you messed up, or you can go into the event view and edit notes and other events individually. The event view is another spreadsheet, in which you can edit the pitch of a note, the start time, how hard it was played, and several other parameters. All of these functions are accessible with speech. Holding down the shift key and repeatedly pressing the spacebar will let you step through and hear each note, making it easy to find what you want to edit.

Tuning Up Window-Eyes

Window-Eyes users need to do a little preparation before accessing Cakewalk. You can go to the GW Micro web site and download "mCakewalk. zip," which contains set files for the track view and event view, set file documentation, and the Gord standard layout (a special window layout that you load into Cakewalk to make it work properly with screen readers).

Adding Custom Controls

Cakewalk has a customization feature in the options menu, called key bindings, which allows you to assign a Cakewalk function (there are over 200 presented) to either a computer keystroke or a key on your MIDI controller. This feature is helpful if your MIDI controller is some distance from your computer keyboard. You could assign a pedal and note combination to record and playback and not have to move from your instrument.

Additional Editing Features

There are many other features in Cakewalk that make it possible to edit music just like you would edit a text file. You can cut, copy, and paste selected portions of selected tracks with standard Windows commands, and the process of selecting what you want to edit can be accomplished with a few easy keystrokes. The Caketalking program even makes it possible to "scrub" through an audio track, which, for those who might remember, is like rocking an open reel tape back and forth to find where you want to cut the tape with a razor blade. The only difference now is you don't need to draw any blood in the process. You can also apply a wide range of effects to your audio tracks to give your songs that polished studio sound, and all of these tasks can be done from the computer keyboard.

Printing Out the Music

Cakewalk is also the closest thing to having an accessible score-writing program. Although the developers make no pretense about making Cakewalk a publishing-quality music printing package, it is very possible for a blind person to get notes, chords, and lyrics down on paper for sighted musicians to perform, especially when using the Caketalking program. If you're using Caketalking, it's even possible to hear lyrics read back by JAWS while a melody line is playing.

Looking Ahead

Cakewalk has assured us that the company will continue to be aware of screen reader access when developing future versions. This means that an investment in Cakewalk Pro Audio won't become obsolete in the near future.

Feeling All Right with GOODFEEL

Many blind musicians, especially those involved in the performance of choral, orchestral, or classical piano music, rely on braille music notation. The braille music code consists of a special group of braille symbols to represent printed notation. Until recently, the only way to get braille music was to either order pretranscribed scores from a braille library or, if the score you needed wasn't available, it would have to be transcribed by hand.

GOODFEEL, a software program developed and marketed by Dancing Dots, allows a person to turn music that has been played into a sequencing package like Cakewalk into a hard copy braille music score. Braille music can be custom made for specific situations. A student in a high school band or orchestra can now have his or her part brailled out in advance so that it can be learned ahead of time. The same can be done with choral music, making it possible for a blind person to "sight sing" with the rest of the choir.

How It Works

To use GOODFEEL, you first need to create a MIDI file in another program like Cakewalk. A sighted musician can play each instrumental part of a score into a separate track in Cakewalk. Or a blind composer can play in the parts to produce a braille score to use as a reference when conducting that debut performance. In either case, the music needs to be played in very rigidly to produce an accurate transcription.

If you are using the Caketalking program, it's also possible to put other notation symbols into your score, such as expression marks, dynamics, and lyrics. Caketalking has been specifically designed to be compatible with GOODFEEL.

Getting It into Braille

Once you're done recording and editing the music in Cakewalk, the process of producing the braille score is quite simple. Load the GOODFEEL program, which is a standard Windows application, and then open the MIDI file that will be used to create the score. When the file opens, you are placed in a dialog box that allows you to choose from among several options, the simplest of which is "automatic transcribe." If you hit the automatic transcribe button, GOODFEEL may present you with some helpful error messages if it thinks that something isn't right with the file, such as an incorrect key signature. If there are no errors, you can Tab over to a number of possible brailling options, including: "braille as score," "braille for keyboard," or "braille parts." Choosing one of these options brings you to another dialog in which you can choose to either make a hard copy if you have a braille embosser connected to your computer, or you can edit the braille if you have a refreshable braille display. If you choose to edit the braille, you are automatically sent to WordPad, with the newly created braille file open and ready for editing. There is also a braille font available so that a sighted user can actually see what the braille will look like on the computer monitor.

The GOODFEEL interface is very straightforward and speech friendly. There is ample online documentation, as well as very good customer support. We would recommend GOODFEEL to anyone who needs to transcribe music into braille for a wide variety of situations. Since the $795 price tag may be a bit high for the casual user, a GOODFEEL Lite version, priced at $195, is available.

Sound Forge Sounds Pretty Good!

Sound Forge is a digital audio recording program put out by Sonic Foundry, a software company based in Madison, Wisconsin. Its lite version is called Sound Forge XP and can be found bundled currently with several manufacturers' sound cards. The pro version, depending on the dealer, sells for about $359, and XP sells for $49. The XP version is a bargain, even though it won't give you access to Direct X plug-ins (audio processors developed by third-party vendors) or allow you to convert WAV files (its default format) to RealAudio or MP3. The good news is both these packages are very accessible to JAWS and Window-Eyes. JAWS 3.7 ships with Sound Forge scripts, and Window-Eyes set files can be downloaded from the GW Micro web site. Both programs allow you to record a stereo or mono audio file at sampling rates from 2000 to 96000 Kilohertz in either the 16 bit or 8 bit formats.

Getting Around in Sound Forge

The Sound Forge programs offer a number of bells and whistles that are both practical and entertaining, depending on the way you use them. You can perform complex editing functions or add effects, such as reverb, time stretch and compress, or even reverse all or a portion of the audio file with ease. What brings about such ease is that Sound Forge is loaded with keystroke equivalents for just about every task you would want to perform in the program. You can navigate through and select portions of your files using standard Windows commands. You can use Alt plus letter combinations to move around in the menus.

Both programs come with demo files you can load and practice on. You load a file by going into the Files menu and choosing Open, or by hitting Control-O from within Sound Forge's main window. You then choose your file from the list and hit enter to load. Once the file is loaded the spacebar plays from the time indicated by the position of the curor, the enter key pauses, and the right and left arrows move through the audio file in small segments.

To select a portion of a file for editing you can hit the shift key plus the right or left arrows, or you can place a beginning and end marker to determine the selection by hitting the left and right bracket keys, respectively. You can place markers in your file by pressing the letter M and then move among them by pressing control with the left and right arrows. Control-shift plus home will select from the cursor to the top of the file. Likewise, control-shift plus end will select from the cursor to the end of the file. These two commands are useful when you want to eliminate silence from either end of your file.

The Auto trim/crop function in the process pull-down menu (Alt-P) allows you to remove silence from both ends of a file. We have found, however, that if you have a decaying sound, such as a cymbal ring out at the end of a song, it will be clipped before the sound can fully decay.

Alt-O followed by P will bring up the preferences dialog box in the options menu. Here you're presented with a group of tabs dealing with the configuration of your program. You can select audio record and playback devices, a route directory for your files, and also get rid of the tip of the day screen on boot up!

Getting Information on the Screen

The status information (sample rate, bit rate, length of file, available disk space, and mono or stereo setting) is in the bottom right corner of the screen. The cursor location information is available in the same general area, but is not spoken as a part of the status line. It's a simple task to identify and include it in a user window if you're a Window-Eyes user, or a frame if you're a JAWS user. Window-Eyes users may find it useful to assign Sound Forge's navigation and selection keys to read this window. The JAWS 3.7 scripts already do this out of the box.

The most inaccessible feature, as it is in all other digital audio programs, is the waveform display, which is totally graphical. The wave display gives the viewer a visual representation of level changes in the audio file. By using the peaks and valleys in the wave form, a sighted user can easily identify edit points. There is one aspect unique to the Sound Forge waveform display that is accessible. The pointer changes as it moves through the waveform. It turns into the letter L for the left channel, R for the right channel, and gives you an I-beam when in the stereo part of the waveform.

Sound Forge Plug-ins

Sonic Foundry also offers several good plug-ins. Their noise reduction plug-in allows you to remove extraneous background noises from your audio file. These include hiss, hum, and—to a certain extent—sounds like fans and air conditioning. Sound Forge and its plug-ins are user-friendly and accessible programs on both the input and output sides. Their help systems are ample and clear, with downloadable manuals in PDF format. The Sound Forge 4. 5 manual is also available in braille from HotKey Systems; phone: 718-335-1788; e-mail: hotkey@pobox.com. You can also obtain from Freedom Scientific (phone: 800-444-4443; web site: www.freedomscientific.com) a four-cassette clear and fast-moving tutorial produced by Jonathan Mosen called "Forging Ahead with Sound Forge."

How Cool Is Cool Edit?

Cool Edit, produced by Syntrillium Software, is another sound editing and recording program similar to Sound Forge. There are two varieties of Cool Edit, a stereo version called Cool Edit 2000, and a multi-track version called Cool Edit Pro. The two-track version has many of the same capabilities as Sound Forge. The multi-track version is more expensive, but can be used to record audio similar to the way Cakewalk does. Unfortunately, the multi-track capabilities of Cool Edit Pro are not very accessible. Mouse clicks are necessary to move from one track to another, and you need to click on parameters like volume or pan to activate sliders that can be changed with arrow keys. You can also right-click on a track number to open a dialog box for setting properties. With some tinkering, we were able to record a few tracks of audio and have them play back simultaneously. If you don't need to record MIDI instruments, and you don't mind doing some experimenting, it might not hurt to give Cool Edit Pro a try, especially since Syntrillium has a very liberal demo policy. Both demo versions of Cool Edit will work for 30 days, and you can choose two features from a list to try during each session.

Editing in Cool Edit

The editing functions in both versions are quite similar. To select a portion of an audio file for editing, you use the left and right arrows to move the start point of the selection, and the shifted left and right arrows to move the end point. Pressing the spacebar will let you hear the selected portion of the file. We found this approach quite a bit more cumbersome than Sound Forge's approach of placing beginning and ending markers to make a selection, but quite a few users have been able to use Cool Edit to do a wide variety of audio editing projects.

Some Great Processing Features

One of the main strengths in Cool Edit lies in its included processing functions, which are called transforms. The noise reduction function, for example, is much easier to use than the one that comes with Sound Forge. All of the transforms come in the form of standard Windows dialog boxes, and most of the fields speak properly. Cool Edit also has the ability to map keystrokes to specific functions, similar to the key bindings found in Cakewalk. You can find demo versions of these programs at www.syntrillium.com.

Sound Blaster Live

Anyone who has tried to use a piece of modern outboard equipment, such as an effects processor or synthesizer, can understand the frustration in trying to control these beasts. Usually it comes down to memorizing procedures by rote (for example, "press button A three times, then press button B twice and turn the data wheel four clicks to the right.") The ability to do this sort of processing on your computer sounds promising indeed.

If you own Sound Blaster Live, you're in luck. Several of the included utilities are very speech friendly. They are found in the main Audio HQ utility, which is in the "sblive" submenu of the Creative folder on your computer.

A Word About SoundFonts

When you open Audio HQ, you'll be given a list of programs you can run. The first is called SoundFonts. SoundFonts are banks of MIDI instruments that are stored in your system's memory that can be played from a MIDI keyboard. You can load and edit SoundFont banks from within this program. There are many sites on the Internet that offer free SoundFont banks, and you can buy really good ones from companies like EMU Systems. All of the options in this program can easily be accessed from the computer keyboard, and you can even determine how much of your RAM (random access memory) you want to allocate for loading sound fonts with a slider that can be changed with the arrow keys.

Using Special Effects

Another useful application in the Audio HQ menu is called Environmental Audio. Here, you can add reverb, echo, and other effects to MIDI instruments or audio. From within a multi-page dialog, you can easily choose an effect, determine how much of it will be sent to a specific source, and even alter a wide range of parameters for the chosen effect. You simply choose the parameter you want to change from a list and then Tab once and use the arrow keys to change its value. It is then a simple matter to store the edited effect as a preset for later recall. We have never seen such a friendly interface for editing the actual components of an effect. Creative Labs should be commended and encouraged for offering such a useful interface.

Reprise

It is easy to see that there is a lot going on in the music and audio field when it comes to computer software. Although only a fraction of this software can be used by visually impaired people, even that fraction offers great potential for realizing your creative and productive goals. We hope that this article has shed some light on the ever-growing number of possibilities available to us.

Product Information

Cakewalk

Company: Cakewalk, Inc.; phone: 800-234-1171; Web site: www.Cakewalk.com.

GOODFEEL Braille Music Translator

Company: Dancing Dots; phone: 610-783-6692; Web site: www.dancingdots.com.

Sound Forge

Company: Sonic Foundry; phone: 800-577-6642; Web site: www.sonicfoundry.com.

Cool Edit

Company: Syntrillium Software; phone: 888-941-7100; Web site: www.syntrillium.com.

Sound Blaster

Company: Creative Labs; phone: 800-578-1258; Web site: www.creative.com.

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Access Issues

One State's Solution to Getting More People Online

Even if talking on the telephone and accessing the Internet are not yet seen as our inalienable rights, they are pursuits moving in that general direction. In the show-me state of Missouri, advocates and legislators took significant action last year to increase access to information and communication for people with a variety of disabilities.

For the past 10 years, the state of Missouri has imposed a 13-cent surcharge each month on every telephone line in the state. Whether business or residential, mobile phone, or land line, the surcharge is collected and moved directly into a fund for making telephone equipment accessible to Missourians unable to hold a conventional telephone or hear or speak on one.

"The money was growing," explains Dennis Miller, a disability rights advocate and assistive technology trainer, "but there wasn't much awareness of it, and it was seen as helping only deaf people." Last year, such organizations as the Missouri Council of the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind, and others worked in collaboration with the Missouri Assistive Technology Project to expand the purpose of the fund, and the rest is Missouri history.

Introduced and sponsored by Missouri State Senator Harold Caskey, S. B.-721 became law in August 2000, and is now of interest to anyone with a disability who wants to use a telephone or access the Internet. The Adaptive Telephone Equipment program provides telephone equipment to anyone with a speech or hearing disability unable to use a conventional telephone, and the Adaptive Telecommunications Equipment program provides certain assistive technology products to individuals unable to access the Internet with a conventional monitor or keyboard. The Adaptive Telephone Equipment program has already served thousands of consumers, and the Adaptive Telecommunications Equipment program is about to be launched.

Phones, Phones, and More Phones

If you find the options for telephone equipment daunting, imagine how difficult it is to choose when the choices are as numerous as they are in Missouri. Diane Golden, director for the Missouri Assistive Technology Project, explains, "Now, we have about 10 people around the state who help consumers figure out what will meet their needs. If consumers didn't know what to choose, they chose nothing. Our service almost immediately doubled when it was moved over to our office last August. The reason is that we added this consumer support piece to help people make sense of the vast array of choices."

The Missouri Assistive Technology Project has identified phones in every imaginable configuration to solve the telephone access problem for people with hearing and other disabilities. TTYs (also known as TDDs)—telephone devices that connect to a phone line and allow the user to type messages that are read on a similar device at the other end of the conversation—are the most commonly known adaptive telephone devices. Add to this, however, phones with large buttons for easy visual identification; phones with braille buttons; phones that respond to voice commands for dialing; phones that have no handset, but are speaker only; phones that allow a deaf person with use of his or her own voice to speak output but read input on a two-line display; phones that amplify the voice of an individual with speech difficulties or minimal vocal strength; amplification at every level—some that can even damage the hearing of a listener without a disability; phones that can be dialed by puffing through a straw; and many more. Some telephones on the approved list can be obtained through prescription only, but all can be installed with accompanying training from the Missouri Assistive Technology Project.

Online Access

When the wording was drafted to expand the scope of the program, the initial idea was to assist blind and visually impaired Missouri residents in obtaining screen readers. The actual outcome goes well beyond those intentions. Although there is a list of recommended products, virtually any hardware or software that will make it possible for a person with a hearing, vision, speech, mobility, or other disability to access the Internet can be purchased under the Adaptive Telecommunications Equipment program. For blind people, in other words, this could mean Window-Eyes, ZoomText, or JAWS for Windows—programs that enable the consumer to read the screen—but would not include a braille printer or optical character recognition system, since these products are not directly related to Internet access. Screen readers, magnification software, refreshable braille displays, head pointers, voice recognition software, and alternative keyboards are all products on the approved list of purchases. Perhaps the best news is that if you are eligible for the program, you also receive training to get you up and running.

How It Works

To be eligible for the Adaptive Telephone Equipment program, a Missouri resident needs to have a standard telephone line and a disability that prevents conventional telephone access. Eligibility for the Adaptive Telecommunications program requires that an individual first have access to the Internet (an Internet service provider) and a disability that prevents online access through a conventional computer keyboard or monitor. "If you didn't have a disability, you'd need a basic computer," Golden points out. "What we're doing is just adding to that basic equipment whatever is required for access because of the disability." The program will fund the additional accessories required for going online, but not the computer itself. The Missouri Assistive Technology Project also administers a low-interest loan program, however, which can be used as a means to securing the basic computer.

As long as the applicant earns less than $60,000 annually and has a certifiable disability, no other criteria need to be met. Trainers are evaluated and certified by the Missouri Assistive Technology Project to work with program participants once equipment has been selected and purchased. A waiting list of about 150 applicants has already been approved (the majority of them blind or visually impaired), and as soon as purchasing contracts have been released, the first year of the Adaptive Telecommunications program will be off and running.

Although many states have programs to help people purchase telephone equipment, Missouri is the first to expand such a program to include the purchase of screen readers and other equipment for Internet access. In keeping with the "show-me" tradition, other states could learn much from this Missouri model.

For additional information, contact: Missouri Assistive Technology Project; voice: 800-647-8557 (in-state only) or 816-373-5193; TTY: 800-647-8558 (in-state only) or 816-373-9315; e-mail: matpmo@swbell.net.

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Product Evaluation

Another Look at the Pitney Bowes Universal Access Copier System

Photocopying today has become a part of virtually everyone's job. But what if you can't reach the buttons, can't read them, can't see them, or can't tell if the text is right-side up? Enter the Universal Access Copier System (UACS) by Pitney Bowes—one unique universal design solution, which we reevaluate here. How does the UACS do it? It incorporates speech recognition technology, a large touch-screen interface, a computer keyboard with voice output, braille labeling, and a control panel that is lower than conventional office copiers.

In 1999, an early production model of the UACS was evaluated by The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). Reprints of the product evaluation are available from AFB's Information Center (phone: 800-AFB-LINE; e-mail: afbinfo@afb.net.

Voice Commands

What's special about the UACS? Whether you have difficulty using the control panel because you can't reach it, can't see it, or have difficulty reading or pressing buttons, the voice commands option can help you and is perhaps the most innovative feature. As soon as the UACS processes a voice command, it repeats the command and it reconfigures the touch screen. Before the voice commands can be used for the first time, users have to enroll (enter information to add a name to the roster of voice command users) and voice sample (give the UACS samples of his or her voice to train it to recognize voice commands)—both one-time-only procedures.

Voice sample involves repeating commands into the PC's microphone and takes between 10 and 20 minutes. Voice sampling by users who are blind is designed to be done with a headphone set. Users listen for a command and repeat it, speaking into the microphone. To provide the voice output of screen commands the UACS uses DECtalk Access32, a Sound Blaster sound card, and GW Micro's Window-Eyes screen reader. People with low vision who can see the screen repeat the commands as they appear on the screen.

What Has Changed?

Because the 1999 field test was conducted on an early production model, an operations manual was not available for use during the evaluation at that time, so the enrollment and voice sampling procedures had to be implemented by a Pitney Bowes representative. The purpose of this product evaluation is to take another look at the UACS, this time following the operations manual ourselves to enroll users and conduct voice sampling procedures.

We recommend that at least one staff person in an organization learn how to set up the voice recognition feature so that Pitney Bowes does not have to be called every time a new user is added to the roster. The manufacturer will provide technical support as needed and especially early on, but the manual is essential because new users are continually added over time and the process requires considerable attention to detail. A good UACS manual is a necessity.

Another reason to reevaluate the UACS is that it has been upgraded. According to Pitney Bowes, the voice enrollment process has been streamlined, and more voice output messages, such as error messages and instructional messages, have been added. These messages now have more explanatory content.

How We Evaluated

The second author of this product evaluation had not been involved with the 1999 evaluation and was totally unfamiliar with the UACS. He served as the evaluator, reading the operations manual and following instructions for enrolling and conducting voice sampling procedures for six users whose visual impairment required that they rely on speech output to read the screen. He is a first year engineering student who is sighted. Four of the six visually impaired users work in the AFB Information Center. All but one participated in the earlier evaluation and had experienced enrollment and voice sampling during the 1999 field test. The four Information Center staff were debriefed after having two weeks to try the UACS.

Can You Figure It Out?

The manual is available in large print and on disk. Although it is rich in detail, we have three criticisms of it. First, it could provide more overview information to help orient the user. For instance, the manual gives the keystroke detail for adding a new user, but it doesn't tell you that what you are doing is creating two user databases: one is a list of user names and the other is every user's voice samples.

Second, the manual should emphasize three corrective commands that are used during voice sampling. Since the blind user is listening to synthetic speech through earphones, there will always be instances of mishearing a word. The UACS also mishears a word now and then. The commands to deal with these problems are "said-wrong," which repeats the word; "skip-next," which is used when the word was said correctly but the UACS thought it was said incorrectly; and "pause," which is needed to halt the voice sampling for an explanation or a break. We found that to be successful at voice sampling, these three commands must be understood and used instinctively by the person conducting the training.

Finally, the manual's organization should be more logical. It would be easier to understand if topics were introduced in the sequence they are used; for example, the section on changing the user name should be discussed earlier because it is often the first command a user must execute, and the section on the proper shut down sequences of the PC should be moved towards the end of the manual.

"You Say Tomato … "

After the evaluator read and understood the manual, he enrolled and voice-sampled himself and a colleague. After that the enrollment and voice sampling of the blind users went smoothly. In fact, in all cases, voice sampling took less time and required less repeat sampling of words than in 1999. To a certain extent, the improved performance can be attributed to the fact that all but one of the users had experienced voice sampling in 1999. But, it was obvious that the UACS was also performing much more efficiently than the 1999 version. It was also quite apparent that the enrollment process had been streamlined.

We noticed that there is a time lag between when a word is first displayed on the screen and when it is spoken by Window-Eyes. Periodically, Window-Eyes does not keep up with the next word displayed on the screen. Once the problem is detected it is possible to get back in sync by simply using the pause command followed by the continue command. But, if you are a blind person conducting voice sampling or training another blind person, you can't see the problem on the screen.

What Do the Users Think of the UACS?

As in 1999, the users were very positive about the UACS. The blind users said that when they needed to make a photocopy, they would have to ask a sighted colleague to do it for them. Now that they can use the UACS, they feel more self-reliant and expect to do more photocopying.

The low vision user stated that she periodically does need to do an extensive amount of photocopying, and, when she does, the UACS enables her to do her job more efficiently. She further stated that the present version of UACS was responding better to her voice commands than the 1999 version did. She too appreciated the fact that the UACS makes her more self-reliant.

What Do We Think?

The new UACS is better than the 1999 version. The voice recognition feature is easier to set up than the previous version, and users report that it responds better to voice commands. As is so often the case with computer-related technology, the operations manual could be improved. In particular, the instructions for conducting voice sampling could be revised and enhanced so that it is easier to learn and so that blind persons could conduct the training. Overall, we remain positive about the UACS and its potential to provide access to photocopying for blind and visually impaired persons in the office setting.

Manufacturer's Comments

"Thank you for the fair and objective evaluation. We will be working on improving the manual."

Product Information

Universal Access Copier System (UACS)

Manufacturer: Pitney Bowes; Office Systems Division; 100 Oakview Drive; Trumbull, CT 06611-4724; phone: 800-290-7860; fax: 800-446-0760; Web site: www.pb.com. Price: Starting at $4,895 for the copier and $15,995 for the PC interface unit. A system can be leased for various terms.

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Product Evaluation

The Tools of the Trade: Advanced Screen Reader Features

"Hi, I'm Bob. I've been using a Windows screen reader for three years and haven't read the manual."

Another member of Screen Readers Anonymous testifies: "My name is Alice. My friend taught me basics, such as how to read the current line by pressing the down arrow followed by the up arrow. I find out what program I'm in at any given moment by exiting it. If I hear an error message and don't catch it all, I call someone over to the computer to read the screen to me."

Do you know Bob or Alice? Read on and find out what they, and others like them, are missing.

To Know Them Is to Love Them

If you bought your Windows screen reader four or more years ago and haven't followed changes in technology, you'll be glad to know that things have improved a great deal. Back then, if you could find out what was on the screen, you had a good screen reader. Now, the finest specimens provide you with relevant information automatically and give you great control over what is read and when. Still, no screen reader has all of the options necessary to make it an efficient tool for every user using every application. Some even lack basic configurability.

The following are a few features that every screen reader ought to have: automatic labeling of graphics, reclassing problem controls, listing links in the order in which items are spoken, and accessing the system tray generically. If yours has them, you'll enjoy using them. If it doesn't, suggest those that look interesting to you to the manufacturer!

An Ideal Find

Not long ago we thought we were doing well if the screen reader had a find feature at all. Even now, we think we're doing well if we know a user who knows how to use it. But, ideally a screen reader should have a feature that searches for a word, graphic, control, or other item and that doesn't cause the item searched for to disappear. Different screen readers handle the find feature differently. For example, if you have pulled down a menu and want to search for a word, the JAWS or Window-Eyes find feature causes a dialog box to appear, which snaps the menu shut. OutSPOKEN, however, displays nothing on the screen during the find operation, which may be annoying for sighted users, but is fabulous for blind people trying to find things. (The command to find an item using Window-Eyes is Control-Shift-F, using JAWS for Windows is Control-Insert-F, using Window Bridge is Shift-Control-F, and using outSPOKEN is keypad 1.)

Automatic Labeling of Graphics

Let's say you just bought yourself an MP3 Player—a small, portable device to play all those files you downloaded from the web. You install the software on your home computer and prepare to start transferring files. But, all you hear when you read the screen is "graphic, graphic 11800, graphic."

Your screen reader probably has a tool that can help—the feature to automatically label mystery graphics. You hit the hotkey for the feature (Insert-G in Window-Eyes; Shift-Control-L, followed by Alt-A in Window Bridge, and Control-Insert-G in JAWS for Windows), wait, and then save the results so that they are there the next time you run the program. Results will vary from program to program, but this feature can save you the trouble of guessing what each graphic is by clicking on it with your screen reader's mouse keys and listening to what happens.

Reclassing Problem Controls

Imagine that you bought a baseball game recently, and most of it works pretty well with speech. But, when you tab to the list of players for the team you chose, it won't tell you the players' names. If your screen reader has a feature to reclass Windows controls, you can probably fix the problem.

Tab to the problem control and press the appropriate keystroke—Insert-7 in JAWS for Windows, Shift-Control-O in Window Bridge, and Insert-R. In Window-Eyes. By tabbing around, you will find the name of the current control and a listbox containing the other controls to which it can be changed. You make a reasonable choice—changing a ThunderListBox to a list box, for example—tab to the "OK" button, and press Enter. If the results are an improvement, save the configuration.

Listing Links on a Web Page

Let's say you want to go to broadcast.com to listen to your alma mater playing basketball. Faced with a navigation bar dozens of links long, followed by an alphabetical list of universities, you have two choices. You could hit the Tab key until you land on the link for your school. (If you attended Weber State it might be halftime before you got there.) Or you can use your screen reader's command to bring up a list of the links on the page. In JAWS for Windows, you hit Insert-F7 to bring up the list of links; the Window-Eyes command is Insert-Tab. Window Bridge users, use Alt-Control-PageUp.

Changing the Order in Which Items Are Spoken

You know that hitting the Tab key in Internet Explorer moves you from link to link. So why do you have to listen to your screen reader say "link" before reading each item that you tab to? Well, you don't if your screen reader has a function that lets you change the order in which items are spoken.

Reading System Messages After an "Illegal Operation"

Your computer has stopped responding to commands. Maybe it even played the familiar sound that tells you a crash has occurred. But, what is the problem? Can you do something to fix it? Maybe—if your screen reader is able to read the dialog that comes up after a crash.

Sometimes it's necessary to cause an application to shut down without going through the preferred channels (like pressing Alt-F4, for example). In Windows 95 and 98 you can do this by pressing Control-Alt-Delete. This string of commands brings up a window with options to shut down selected applications or the whole system and can be a lifesaver (at least a document saver). But, if your screen reader doesn't speak this window and its controls, it's nearly impossible to make use of it.

A Generic Way to Read the Status Line

Whether you are working in a word processor, an e-mail program, or Windows Explorer, you can find helpful information on that application's status line. You will find it instantly if your screen reader has a hotkey to read the status line. In Window-Eyes press Control-Insert-S; in JAWS for Windows press Insert-PageDown. If you use Window Bridge, press Caps-Delete. OutSPOKEN users should use Control-Shift-Keypad-Slash.

Reading Sentences and Paragraphs

Your boss asked you to edit draft nine of his memo on the department's priorities for the next fiscal year. His tortured syntax just won't stay in your head if you listen to the whole document, but your fingers will fall off if you move through the 207-page composition with the down-arrow.

Traditionally, most screen readers have not had the ability to read the current sentence or paragraph, and those that did could not read these units flawlessly. More useful than the ability to read the current sentence or paragraph, though, is the ability to move forward through a document by these units. However, screen readers find it quite challenging to be certain where sentences break and what belongs with the paragraph. Some screen readers can read these units only in certain situations and only in certain word processors. A partial solution to these problems is to use the word processor's command to move to the next sentence or paragraph and then persuade the screen reader to read the correct text.

Quick Access to the System Tray

You sat down at your computer last night to read your e-mail. First, you started playing your favorite CD, but you can barely hear the music. Why? It was loud enough the night before.

Your screen reader may be able to help. Access to your PC's System Tray—located below the Windows toolbar and not accessible normally from the keyboard—allows you, among other things, to adjust the volume of music played by your CD drive. In JAWS for Windows, press Insert-F11. In Window-Eyes, press Insert-S. Window Bridge users should press Shift-Control-S. When the list of items in the System Tray appears, arrow down to find "Volume." Hit Enter. This will bring up a "context menu" that allows you to do several things, including adjust the volume.

Copying Reformatted Versions of Web Pages

You have found your favorite radio station's schedule on the web. However, it is posted as a complicated table. Reading from left to right you have the weekday schedule, the Saturday schedule and the Sunday schedule. Reading from top to bottom, you have a list of the programs scheduled at different hours of the day. It's just too difficult to figure out what show is on at 11:00 AM on Saturday.

If your screen reader allows you to copy the reformatted version of the page, you are in luck. You would hit Control-A or Control-Shift-End to select the entire page. Then hit Control-C to copy the text. Alt-Tab to your word processor and paste the text there with Control-V.

An Imperfect World

In a perfect world, or even a pretty good one, it would be possible to install a piece of software and a screen reader, then get right to work. (Actually, a perfect world wouldn't involve installing anything and software would work without a screen reader.) In reality, a lot of "tweaking" is necessary. Beyond tweaking, the user must have a great deal of knowledge and skill.

We have found in our computer travels that even intermediate and experienced users don't know some of the wonderful efficiency features lurking in their most important piece of computer equipment. Although it may be fair to say that "we shouldn't have to know this," it is also true that those among us who do have the best shot at good jobs, interesting hobbies, fulfilling careers—maybe even happy marriages and healthy children! So start exploring all the advanced features discussed in this Product Evaluation, and who know what will happen next!

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Q and A

Questions and Answers

Question: How can I get web pages to show up in my choice of colors?

Answer: Many users can read the computer screen most of the time if they get the right colors. Perhaps you've found that one of the high-contrast color schemes in Windows works well for you. But, when you're browsing the web what you find is that many pages are designed with preselected colors of the author's choosing. One is yellow on white, another black on gray, and another orange on blue. If you struggle to make out the text in bright white on black, these wild or low-contrast combinations probably appear as invisible nothingness to you.

Internet Explorer 5 has a couple of features to solve this problem. The first thing to do is to get your Windows colors the way you like them. We'll suppose you've gone to the control panel and chosen "High Contrast Black" as your color scheme. It's very pretty. Now, go into Internet Explorer and go to a web site that does not show up as white on black on your screen. You're doing this so that it will be obvious when you've succeeded in changing Internet Explorer's settings, so pick a site that is conspicuously different from your preferences.

While in IE 5, bring down the Tools menu and pick Internet Options. This dialog should be fairly visible, since it will respect your Windows colors and show up in high contrast. Pick "Colors," which you can do by pressing Alt-O. In this little dialog, check the box labeled "Use Windows Colors," then pick "OK." For now, don't be distracted by all the color choices you find here.

Depending on the page you've selected as your test, you may see it change colors before your eyes. If not, don't worry. Pages that have "forced" colors will not be affected by this setting. To change the color of pages with forced colors, pick the "Accessibility" button in the Internet Options dialog. If you're following along step by step, you're already in the right place. Just press Alt-E. In the little dialog that comes up, the interesting option is "Ignore Colors Specified on Web Pages." Check this and pick "OK."

Now the page on the screen, partially obscured by the Internet Options dialog box, should be bright white on black (or whatever color combination you've selected in the Windows Control panel). Pick the "OK" button in the dialog box and enjoy browsing.

If you have any questions you would like to answered in this column, e-mail us at accessworld@afb.net.

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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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Calendar

March-June

Various Complete Courses on Assistive Technology.

New York, NY.

Contact:

Computer Center for Visually Impaired People, Baruch College, The City University of New York; phone: 212-802-2140; e-mail: judith_gerber@baruch.cuny.edu; web site: www.baruch.cuny.edu/ccvip.

March 19-24

California State University Northridge (CSUN) Conference on Technology and Persons With Disabilities.

Los Angeles, CA.

Contact:

Center on Disabilities, 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330-8340; phone: 818-677-2578; fax: 818-677-4929; e-mail: ctrdis@csun.edu; web site: www.csun.edu/cod/conf2001/index.html.

March 31-April 5

CHI 2001: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Seattle, WA.

Contact:

CHI 2001 Conference Office, 703 Giddings Avenue, Suite U-3, Annapolis, MD 21401; phone: 410-263-5382; fax: 410-267-0332; e-mail: chi2001-office@acm.org; web site: www.acm.org/sigchi/chi2001/.

May 1-5

Tenth International World Wide Web Conference (WWW1).

Hong Kong, China.

Contact:

IW3C2, P.O. Box 12, CERN, CH-1211, Geneve 23, Switzerland; phone: 011-41-22-76-75005; fax: 011-41-22-76-77547; e-mail: iw3c2@cern.ch; web site: http://www.10.org.

June 1-5

Inclusion By Design International World Congress.

Montreal, Canada. The conference is hosted by the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work.

Contact:

Inclusion By Design, Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work, 302-500 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5G 1V7, Canada; phone: 416-260-3060, extension 231, or 800-664-0925, extension 231; e-mail: info@ccrw.org; web site: www.ccrw.org/ccrw/worldcongress/sum-eng.htm.

June 22-26

Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) 2001 Annual Conference.

Reno, NV.

Contact:

RESNA; phone: 703-524-6686; fax: 703-524-6630; e-mail: info@resna.org; web site: www.resna.org.

June 25-30

Ed-Media: World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia, and Telecommunications.

Tampere, Finland.

Contact:

Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education; phone: 757-623-7588; e-mail: info@aace.org; web site: www.aace.org.

July 9-13

Interact 2001: 8th Annual Conference on Human-Computer Interaction.

Tokyo, Japan.

Contact:

Interact 2001 Secretaraiat, NOVAS, 9-5 Shinsen-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0045, Japan; phone: 011-81-3-5489-7471; fax: 011-81-3-5489-7472; e-mail: interact2001@eieeng.osaka-u.acjp; web site: www.interact2001.com.

August 3-5

2001: A Technology Odyssey.

Sponsored by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER). Pittsburgh, PA.

Contact:

Mark Uslan, AFB, co-chair; phone: 212-502-7638; e-mail: muslan@afb.net. Barbara McCarthy, AER, co-chair; phone: 804-371-3661; e-mail: mccartbn@dvh.state.va.us.

August 5-10

HCI International 2001: Ninth International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction.

New Orleans, LA.

Contact:

Kim Z. Gilbert, conference administrator, School of Industrial Engineering, Purdue University, 1287 Grissom Hall, West Lafayette, IN 47907; phone: 765-494-5426; fax: 765-494-0874; e-mail: kgilbert@ecn.purdue.edu; web site: http://hcii2001.engr.wisc.edu/.

September 12-14

Assistive Technology Conference 2001.

Topeka, KS. The conference is being held in collaboration with the Heartland Seating and Mobility Conference.

Contact:

Mary Dunbar, The Capper Foundation, 3500 South West 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66604; phone: 785-272-4060; fax: 785-272-1034; e-mail: dunbar@capper.org.

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AccessWorld, Copyright © 2002 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved.

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