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AFB  ®
Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 July 2001 Issue  Volume 2  Number 4


Short Holiday for Halliday

In early April, a particularly unsettling rumor began circulating that Jim Halliday, 13-year president of the Loomis, California- based HumanWare, Inc., had been relieved of his duties by the HumanWare parent company, Tieman Group. Sure enough, on April 20, the rumor was confirmed with Jim Halliday himself, who explained, graciously, that although Tieman was more "accountant driven," Humanware was more "human-driven," and the parting had been the best for all concerned.

Many would argue that changing the direction of HumanWare's leadership would certainly not be "best" or even good for blind customers who have responded so favorably to the company's newest line of products, the BrailleNote and VoiceNote notetakers. Apparently, that was also the attitude of Pulse Data International, the New Zealand manufacturer of those products.

Providing that all "due diligence" is satisfied, Pulse Data is purchasing HumanWare Inc. from Tieman as of May 18, 2001, and the erstwhile, talented president, Mr. James C. Halliday, will once again be in charge.

(Note: This item was reported by Deborah Kendrick.)

Accessibility Office at Compaq

Compaq Computer Corporation has created an Accessibility Program Office. Michael Takemura will head the Program Office, which will guide accessibility in product design, engineering, product development, documentation, web, and services and support. For more information, contact: Compaq Computer Corporation; phone: 800-345-1518 or 281-370-0670; web site: www.compaq.com.

CSUN Conference Report

The following is summary of four noteworthy sessions the editors of AccessWorld attended at the CSUN (California State University, Northridge) Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities:

"Making Educational Multimedia Accessible" was presented by Jan Richards and Wendy Porch of the Adaptive Technology Resource Center at the University Of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The session presented the process by which two science-related, educational, multimedia computer programs (Virtual Rainforest Field Trip and Chemistry Lab Simulation) were made accessible. For more information, contact: Jan Richards; phone: 416-946-7060; e-mail jan.richards@utoronto.ca.

"Building for Accessibility: An Exploration of Software Design Guidelines and Testing," by Ruth Loebl and Richard Orme of the Royal National Institute for the Blind, Coventry, England, illustrated the need for accessible software design guidelines and standards, listed various materials that have been developed by IBM, Microsoft, the Trace Center, and the U.S. Access Board, and demonstrated a prototype of a tool for helping developers design accessible applications. For more information, contact: Royal National Institute for the Blind: phone: 0845-766-99-99 (for U.K. callers) or 011-44-20-7388-1266; web site: www.rnib.org.uk/technology/.

The staff of the Science Access Project of Oregon State University's Department of Physics demonstrated the Audio- accessible Graphing Calculator. It includes the capabilities to compute and display visually either of two functions, their sum, or their difference; display the above as an audio-tone plot; permit piece-by-piece audio browsing; and compute statistical functions for tabulated data. For more information, contact: Patricia Walsh; e-mail: walsh@dots.physics.orst.edu.

Judith Dixon, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Washington, DC, explained and demonstrated Web- Braille, a library of over 3,200 braille books on the Internet. For more information, contact: phone: 202-707-5100; web site: www.loc.gov/nls/.

Talking Medicine

Three new products are designed to make talking prescription medicine bottles a reality for many blind consumers: Talking Rx, ScripTalk, and Aloud.

For information on Talking Rx, contact: John Dobbins, president and inventor, Millennium Compliance Corporation; phone: 860-681-9277; web site: www.talkingrx.com. For information on ScriptTalk, contact: En-Vision America; phone: 800-890-1180 or 309-452-3088; web site: www.envisionamerica.com. For information on Aloud, contact: 866-33-ALOUD (5683); web site: www.rxpartnerspharmacy.com.


The Trace Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, launched the Harry J. Murphy Catalyst Award to honor individuals in the fields of technology and disability. The deadline for nominations is August 31, 2001. For more information, contact: Trace Center, College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison; phone: 608-262-6966; web site: www.trace.wisc.edu/catalyst/form.htm.

Graphics and Braille Embosser

ViewPlus Technologies, Inc. released the Tiger Advantage Tactile Graphics and Braille Embosser for Windows 95 and 98. The printer is designed to emboss graphic images and braille simultaneously. The Tiger features a ViewPlus braille translator and DotsPlus braille, a tactile language that appears on the screen in standard roman text. The cost is $9,750. For more information, contact: ViewPlus Technologies, Inc.; phone: 541-754-4002; web site: www.viewplustech.com.

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

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