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Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 January 2008 Issue  Volume 9  Number 1

AccessWorld News

Sendero Site Changes

Sendero Group, the company that produces the popular GPS (global positioning system) software for BrailleNote mPower and BrailleNote PK, has released a patch, version 4.03, to correct a metric calculation problem in version 4.0. The company has also made some changes to its web site to make receiving upgrades a more efficient process. Licensed Sendero GPS customers can now download the maps and GPS software directly from www.mysendero.com. To download the new patch, simply go to the site and choose the link for mPower or PK.

For more information, contact Sendero Group: phone: 530-757-6800 or 888-757-6810; web site: www.senderogroup.com.

New BookCourier

Springer Design, manufacturer of the BookCourier, has announced that a new version will begin shipping in the first quarter of 2008. The new BookCourier will play several file formats, including WMA, OGG, and WAV, and will add the ability to play NLS Talking Books in an early firmware upgrade. It will offer variable speed in audio as well as text files, have a jack for an external microphone, and have the capacity to handle both SD (secure digital) and CF (compact flash) cards storing up to 8GB of material. The price has not yet been announced, but Springer Design says that it will be lower than the competition. A special trade-in deal will be offered to current BookCourier customers. For more information, contact Springer Design: phone: 925-242-0310; e-mail: sales@bookcourier.com; web site: http://bookcourier.com/WhatsNew.htm.

Leather Cases for Assistive Technology

Executive Products carries a number of leather cases that have been designed for specific assistive technology products that are used by people who are blind or have low vision. Cases are available for BrailleNote models, PAC Mate models, Book Port, BookCourier, canes, and a variety of cell phones. The latest addition is a customized leather fitted case that is designed to hold the Victor Reader Stream, which became available December 1. The case is designed so that the unit can be used while the case is on--offering access to the headphone jack, USB connection, SD slot, and so forth. It has a zippered case for additional SD cards, a six-inch wrist strap, and a belt clip. The case can be ordered for $35.99, from Executive Products: phone: 866-833-1444; web site: www.executiveproductsinc.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=278.

Microsoft Releasing DAISY Converter

A collaborative effort by Microsoft Corp. and the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) Consortium has developed a program that will convert open XML files to the DAISY format. This should be a significant step for people who use screen-reading software and need to access large documents and have the time-saving navigation features (jumping forward or back by page, chapter, section, and so on) that are provided by the DAISY format. To be released early in 2008, the XML to DAISY converter will be available from Microsoft as a free plug-in and will be compatible with Microsoft Office 2003 and Office 2007.

It All Makes Sense

GW Micro has added another accessible GPS product to the marketplace for travelers who are blind or have low vision. Called SenseNav (for Sense Navigation), the product is designed to work with the company's Voice Sense personal digital assistant. It includes the SenseNav software, an 8GB compact flash card holding all maps for the United States and Canada, a Holux M-1000 GPS receiver with an AC adapter, and an audio tutorial CD. SenseNav offers the ability to design routes for either vehicle or pedestrian travel and offers a virtual mode for exploring an area before one actually travels in it. As of January 2, SenseNav will sell for $1,549 or $3,944 if it is bundled with a Voice Sense. The company plans to offer a version that is compatible with the Braille Sense, but no release date for that version has yet been announced. For more information about SenseNav, Voice Sense, or other products, contact GW Micro: phone: 260-489-3671; e-mail: sales@gwmicro.com; web site: www.gwmicro.com.

National Conference

The American Foundation for the Blind's national conference will be held on April 4-5 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Hotel. This conference will bring together experts and beginners across the vision loss and technology fields for a rousing discussion about the present and future role of technology. We will attempt to answer the questions: How does technology affect the lives of people with vision loss? What are the latest changes in technology? Can technology be fun? For more information, contact: Caitlin McFeely: phone: 212-502-7674; e-mail: cmcfeely@afb.net.

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Copyright © 2008 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved. AccessWorld is a trademark of the American Foundation for the Blind.

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