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AFB  ®
Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 November 2010 Issue  Volume 11  Number 7

AccessWorld News

AccessWorld News

Desire2Learn Offers Accessibility

According to the October 20, 2010, posting on the Access Technology Blog, the National Federation of the Blind has evaluated the Desire2Learn Learning Environment version 9.0.1 and is reporting it to be accessible for instructors and students. This software has not been evaluated by AccessWorld, but it reportedly provides access to tasks including checking grades, creating and taking quizzes, completing assignments, viewing course content, changing preferences, and navigation to courses, among others. To learn more, visit the Access Technology Blog.

GW Micro's President Announces Restructuring

GW Micro announced recently that, after nearly 6 years of working together, HIMS Co., Ltd., the Korean-based manufacturer of the BrailleSense, VoiceSense, BookSense, and SenseView products, has made the decision to restructure its sales strategy and will open its own U.S. office. As a result, GW Micro will no longer be national distributors for these products and within a few weeks will end nationwide technical support, related e-mail lists, and repair service operations.

GW Micro will continue to develope and support Window-Eyes.

If you have specific questions about this announcement please e-mail sales@gwmicro.com.

First Windows Screenreader Supporting Contracted Braille Input

On October 25, 2010, Freedom Scientific announced the release of JAWS for Windows version 12, including JAWS BrailleIn, a new feature that enables users who prefer typing in Braille to use contracted braille in common Microsoft applications, such as Internet Explorer and Word. JAWS 12 includes a new Virtual Ribbon feature, which provides a way to navigate the ribbon menus that Microsoft uses in Office 2007 and Windows 7. JAWS 12 also replaces the Configuration Manager with a new Settings Center. The Settings Center allows access to JAWS settings and includes a search box to locate and adjust the desired settings.

"This release represents a huge step in productivity for Braille users," says Eric Damery, Vice President of Software Product Management for Freedom Scientific. "Many expert Braille readers are much faster and more accurate typing on a Perkins-style keyboard than on a QWERTY keyboard, and they will be more efficient using JAWS 12 with applications like Word, Outlook, Internet Explorer, Notepad, and WordPad. The BrailleIn feature instantly back translates the Braille input, displaying text on the PC screen, so parents and teachers can follow along as their students type in Braille. The new Virtual Ribbon Menu has also been very well received by our customers during the beta phase of this release and will greatly reduce the learning curve for users upgrading to new versions of Office and Windows 7."

The upgrade is an SMA release and can be downloaded as either 32-bit or 64-bit versions from the JAWS downloads page. DVD shipments to SMA holders and new product customers will commence on November 2, 2010.

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