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Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 September 2005 Issue  Volume 6  Number 5

AccessWorld News

Web Classes on Book Port

The American Printing House for the Blind is offering seven webcasts on using their popular reading device, Book Port. Sessions began July 12, 2005, and will run every Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. EST through August 30. Each session focuses on a particular aspect of using the device--from sending and organizing files, to navigating text files, to note taking or recording, and more. Sessions run about 45 minutes in length. To participate, send an e-mail to Maria Delgato at <mdelgato@aph.org> no later than noon of the Monday prior to the session for which you wish to participate.

BrailleNote in a New House

HumanWare introduced its latest addition to the BrailleNote family of products in July at the National Federation of the Blind and American Council of the Blind conventions. Called the BrailleNote mPower, the unit looks and feels much like the earlier BrailleNotes, but has an entirely new and updated package of features. Among them are additional storage capacity, connectivity that now includes USB ports, Bluetooth, a media player that boasts excellent stereo sound, faster Internet connections, and even an onboard voice recorder. Like other products in the BrailleNote collection, mPower will be available in both 18- and 32-cell versions, as well as voice-only units. A special option is being offered to customers who would like to "transplant" existing BrailleNote displays into a new mPower for a significant price reduction. For more information, contact: HumanWare; phone: 800-722-3393 or 925 680 7100; web site: <www.humanware.com>; e-mail: <us.info@humanware.com>.

Enhanced Conversations for Deaf-Blind Pac Mate Users

With the release of Pac Mate 3.0, Freedom Scientific has announced new solutions to communication for deaf-blind users. The ability to incorporate messaging and TTY software with the Pac Mate's refreshable braille displays can make communication easier "in the classroom, over the Internet, via telephone, and face-to-face."

With the new release, all AOL Instant Messenger features will be accessible with braille only. All features in AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) version 2.0, including message review and managing the Buddy List, are now available. With a Pac Mate's braille display, a deaf-blind user can hold a conversation over the Internet or across the room with anyone typing over a wireless connection or can contact a telephone relay service and communicate as a sighted deaf person would using a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD). For more information, contact: Freedom Scientific; phone: 800-444-4443 or 727-803-8000; web site: <www.freedomscientific.com>.

Technical File Available on FTP

The Smith-Kettlewell Technical File, a quarterly journal offering how-to and other information on technical and engineering topics for people who are blind or visually impaired, has been made available through an FTP site. Article topics include a series on soldering techniques, instructions for building basic electronics, information on integrated circuits, and other similar material. Eventually, the organization plans to put files in HTML (hypertext markup language) format for easier browsing, but says that the files are quite usable now-- if one takes time to read the readme.txt file. To access the files, go to: <ftp.ski.org/pub/Rehab/Fowle>. (Note that the address is case sensitive.) For more information or assistance in accessing these files, contact Tom Fowle at the Smith-Kettlewell Rehabilitation Engineering Center; phone: 415-345-2123; e-mail: <fowle@ski.org>.

PowerPoint Tutorial

The Iowa Department for the Blind's Project Assist has developed a tutorial for learning to use Microsoft's PowerPoint successfully with the JAWS for Windows screen-reading software. The tutorial provides JAWS keystrokes and step-by-step explanations for creating and running PowerPoint presentations, including such elements as how to insert sound and video clips, import data from Word or Excel files, make tables, create outlines and print handouts, and add text animation and slide transition effects. The tutorial promises to provide a comprehensive introduction to using this popular software for making professional, attractive presentations. For more information, contact: Project Assist, Iowa Department for the Blind; phone: 515-281-1305; TTY: 515-281-1355; e-mail: <ASSIST@blind.state.ia.us>; web site: <www.blind.state.ia.us/assist>.

Access Award Nominations

The American Foundation for the Blind is currently calling for nominations for the 2006 Access Awards. The Access Awards honor individuals, corporations, and organizations that are eliminating or substantially reducing inequities faced by people who are blind or visually impaired. Nominations are due by September 30, 2005. For more information visit <www.afb.org/AccessAwardguidelines.asp>.

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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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