January 2008 Issue  Volume 9  Number 1

Editor's Page

In this issue, Paul Schroeder and I interview Frances West, director of IBM's Human Ability and Accessibility Center. West discusses IBM's new focus on tools and services, and what that means for people with disabilities. She also speaks about Lotus Notes, IAccessible2, Easy Web Browser, and open document format. Read our interview with a key player at a mainstream company with a long history of working on accessibility.

Darren Burton provides an update on the accessibility of blood glucose meters. He examines the SensoCard Plus and the new Prodigy Voice, both of which feature a high level of accessibility and usability. The article also briefly discusses the new Advocate Redi-Code and Prodigy Auto Code, both of which are similar to the original versions of those meters, but which eliminate the need to calibrate the monitor to each new container of test strips. Read about the newest accessible devices for managing diabetes.

Deborah Kendrick reviews the Victor Reader Stream, the new player from HumanWare Canada. The Stream can play DAISY books, MP3 music files and text files. It is the first player on the market to be able to play the new Digital Talking Books being tested by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). Read about this new player and all that it can do.

Bradley Hodges, of AFB TECH, examines the challenges of working in a call center. People who are blind or visually impaired are employed as customer service representatives in a number of industries. This article investigates the accessibility of the applications they need to use to do their jobs.

Tim Connell, president of Quantum Technology, writes about braille literacy. He states that, for people who are blind, braille is the foundation of written communication, and cannot be replaced by computer speech or audio. He argues that more low-tech products are needed to increase the teaching and usage of braille, now and in the future.

Rik Shepherd, of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), reports on the 2007 Techshare conference. Techshare was held at the Novotel in Hammersmith, London, UK, on October 4th and 5th. Over 400 people from 25 different countries attended. Read about the stimulating sessions that comprised this conference.

Jay Leventhal
Editor in Chief

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