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Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 March 2005 Issue  Volume 6  Number 2

AccessWorld News

Window-Eyes Upgrade Promises Complete MS Word Support

Newly released Window-Eyes Version 5.0 breaks unprecedented ground, according to its manufacturer GW Micro. Promising 100% text accuracy, the company said that the screen reader's upgrade will provide "the most thorough and stable support" for Microsoft Word to date. Every text feature, including all columns, tables, and fields will now be read aloud in the word-processing program, and users will now be able to use Word's spell and grammar checking capabilities on the fly.

Another first with Window-Eyes 5.0 is its inclusion of a complete color dictionary, identifying screen colors with actual color names, rather than mystifying labels such as b51 or r204. Another improvement is increased support for the Mozilla web browser.

The program is being made available on a lease-to-own basis for customers who cannot or prefer not to pay all at once. With this plan, customers can purchase a 30-day evaluation copy for $50, and then pay $100 for 9 or 11 months, depending upon the upgrade plan they choose, to own a fully registered copy. For more information, contact: GW Micro, 725 Airport North Office Park, Fort Wayne, IN 46825; phone: 260-489-3671 or visit <www.gwmicro.com>.

The Biggest R&D Team in Our World

The news that had the most people buzzing throughout the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2005 conference and beyond is the merger of the Canadian-based VisuAide and New Zealand-based Pulse Data International into one company. Reclaiming the HumanWare name for the entire entity (the name was first coined in 1989), the company will be headed by Dr. Russell Smith, Pulse Data International's CEO, and will continue to carry the full line of products for customers who are blind or visually impaired from both organizations.

Both companies have pioneered in the use of global positioning system software for people who are blind, and both have been known for developing groundbreaking personal digital assistant products that are fully accessible. With the BrailleNote family of products, the Maestro, Trekker, the Victor Reader family, and a collection of video magnifiers and braille displays, the company plans to offer something for every consumer need in the blindness and low vision market. By joining forces, the company now boasts the largest research and development team in the blindness industry worldwide. To learn more, visit <www.visuaide.com> and <www.pulsedata.com>.

Web Browser Targets Companies and Organizations

Also released in concert with the 2005 ATIA conference was IBM's latest version of its self-voicing web browser, Home Page Reader. Home Page Reader Version 3.04 is particularly focused on individuals using the Internet in offices and organizations and those who are losing vision with aging. The product promises to read all text on web pages, enables you to enlarge text of an entire web page, and acts as a desktop application effective in some Microsoft products. Version 3.04 also claims to render accessible Adobe Reader 6.01 documents and Macromedia Flash 7 movies. The program sells for $142 to individuals or at a discounted price in larger quantities to organizations. For information, contact: IBM Corporation, 1133 Westchester Avenue, White Plains, New York 10604; phone: 800-IBM-4YOU or 800-IBM-3383 (TTY); web site: <www.ibm.com/able>.

JAWS at Ten

Freedom Scientific celebrates the tenth anniversary of Jaws for Windows this year, and to celebrate it has released Version 6.0 of the screen reader. One highlight of the newest release is the provision of training materials in DAISY format, along with a free DAISY reader for accessing them. A number of other features have been added, including "the introduction of Custom Labels, improved braille support, and superior access to the Outlook calendar."

Other recent announcements from Freedom Scientific include the launch of two new products, the SARA (Stand Alone Reading Appliance) at $2,595, and the new Focus braille displays (with $3,500 for a 40-cell display being the lowest price to date for such a device). Reduced prices for the PAC Mate 40 and PAC Mate 20 braille displays (to $3,200 and $1,400 respectively). Are also worth investigating. Contact: Freedom Scientific, 11800 31st Court North, St. Petersburg, FL 33716-1805; phone: 800-444-4443; e-mail: <info@FreedomScientific.com>; web site: <www.freedomscientific.com>.

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Copyright © 2005 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved. AccessWorld is a trademark of the American Foundation for the Blind.

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