Blog

  • Customer Story - Mr Casling "I cannot praise Sight & Sound enough"

    Customer Testimonial
    Mr Dennis Casling

    As the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software to the blind and partially sighted, at Sight and Sound Technology we pride ourselves on working with our customers all of the way, from initial assistance right through to lifetime support.

    We are passionate about the levels of service we provide our customers, so we were particularly excited when Mr Dennis Casling contacted us to share some praise he wished to pass on to a member of our team for some outstanding customer service he had received.

    Mr Casling explained, “James Butler set up my computer. My old computer was falling apart, so James set up the new system in a way that was very accessible for me as a visually impaired user. Since then I’ve been back to them on several occasions either to solve issues that I have come across by using the new Microsoft Word, or around my emails, or to help me pick up my scanner.  And they are just extraordinarily good, efficient, to the point…marvellous! I cannot praise them enough!”

    We are committed to making the difference to our customers through knowledge, care and understanding, so to receive Mr Casling’s feedback was fantastic because it demonstrates that Sight and Sound Technology, our products and our people are having a positive impact on our customers’ lives, something which as a team we all strive to achieve.

  • Customer Story: Mohammed Rashid

    We spoke to Mohammed Rashid – a user of JAWS, Open Book and Braille Sense.

    Mohammed explained to us how he uses these products, how they make the difference to him in his everyday life and why Sight and Sound products are a “lifeline”.

    http://youtu.be/6LmzfcuzpCM

  • How this newsreader used JAWS

    Here is a fascinating interview from BBC Radio 5 Live in which a radio newsreader from Australia explains how she uses technology - including JAWS - to help her read the news.

     

    To find out more about JAWS, please visit here http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/search/?s=jaws&x=0&y=0

  • Get the most out of MAGic screen magnification

    In this video we take a look at the screen magnification software MAGic, what it can do and how you can get the most from everything this product has to offer.

    To find out more about our range of MAGic products please visit http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/categories.php?category=Screen-Magnification/MAGic-Screen-Magnification

    http://youtu.be/VzWxLrb5C9k

  • Windows navigation and AfterShokz headphones

    At Sight & Sound we are passionate about innovative technology and solutions which can make the difference for the blind and partially sighted.

    So we were excited to read about the technology being developed between Microsoft and Guide Dogs that is designed to help the blind and partially sighted, navigate cities easier and safer. The technology relays navigation information to a user's Windows Phone, which then provides audio cues about their surroundings via a headset.

    Integral to this technology are the AfterShokz bone conduction headphones, which Sight & Sound are the distributor for in the UK.  These headphones are 'open ear' headphones - they hook above the ears and relay sound via the jawbone to the inner ear where the vibrations are interpreted as sound. The headphones mean the wearer can receive audio from a device whilst also being able to clearly hear the sounds from the environment they are in.

    A picture of bone conductive headphones

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    To find out more or to place an order for bone conduction headphones please visit our website at the following link: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/products.php?product=Aftershokz-Bluez-Bluetooth-Bone-Conductive-Headphones

  • 10 things I like about my U2 Mini

    BY GUEST BLOGGER JACKIE BROWN.

    The U2 Mini is so much more than just a note-taking device with 18 Braille cells.  In the few months I have had it, the Mini has become an integral part of my daily life, so I would like to share with you 10 of my favourite features.

    1.  Light, compact and fast - I fly to Scotland frequently from where I live in Northern Ireland, and find the Mini small and neat to carry in my hand-luggage.  And while waiting at the airport, I am able to delve into its many features to pass away the time.

    2.  Connectivity - using WiFi on the go is now essential, and the Mini is prompt at connecting within seconds of being turned on.  Similarly, I use Bluetooth to pair the Mini with my iPhone so that I have Braille at my fingertips whenever I want it for reading books or writing text messages.

    3.  Media Player - with 32gb of on-board storage, and the ability to use an SD card, I am also able to turn my Mini into a great music player that supports several file formats.

    4.  Epub files - the Mini supports this file format, which gives me access to titles I cannot open on my PC without additional software being installed to read them.

    5.  Email - when my PC is turned off for the evening, and I am relaxing in front of the TV, I can sit with the Mini on my lap responding to any Emails.  Similarly, when I am away from home, I can access my Email accounts using the Mini without being tied to a computer.

    6.  RSS Reader - if you are like me and love a variety of news and other information to be delivered when it becomes available, then this is possible to achieve on the Mini.  I browse on the device for the RSS feed of my choice and subscribe to it.

    7.  Excel Viewer - this is a very useful tool when I have an Excel spreadsheet I want to study as the Mini makes it possible for me to open and read such files.  This is a worthy function not available on other note-takers.

    8.  YouTube - a simplistic way to listen to a favourite clip or old programme.  I can open the application and search for what I am looking for.  Video content is stripped, leaving me with the audio that is streamed steadily to the unit.

    9.  DAISY - I can copy Talking Books onto the Mini and navigate within them to give me the full DAISY experience.

    10  Twitter - saving my favourite feature till last, this simple client is really great.  I can reply to, forward, search for and save tweets, as well as send Direct Messages, or click on links within posts.

    All in all, a great little box of tricks that costs £2,895, sold by RNIB and Sight and Sound Technology.

    --

    With thanks to Jackie Brown.
    To find out more about the U2 mini please visit our product page.

  • Making the difference for the Braille Guild

    We spoke to Freda, June and May from the Braille Guild to find out how Sight & Sound Technology and the Index Braille Embosser has made the difference for the Braille Guild when it comes to producing children's story books and much more.

    http://youtu.be/f4yE_g6iWtQ

  • Get the most out of Zoom Text

    A short instructional video showing you how to get the most from Zoom Text - an advanced screen magnification program making your computer easier to see and use.

    http://youtu.be/2H5sPH1bVdY

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

  • The winner of the Sight Village Leeds Prize Draw!

     

    At each of the Sight Village events we hold a special prize draw for all attendees who sign up. Simply by entering a few details on a slip of card and putting into the competition box could put you in line for an amazing free prize!

    The winner is granted a choice of any one of the 5 prizes on offer (pictured below). A free upgrade for JAWS, Magic, Zoomtext, or Kurzweil 1000 or a Ruby handheld electronic magnifier!

    competition

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our winner from Sight Village Leeds in September was Joan Staves from Yorkshire. Joan was delighted to hear about winning the prize draw, and chose the Ruby handheld magnifier as her prize.

    The next, free to enter, prize draw will be taking place at Sight Village London in November! You can register as a Sight and Sound special guest below - or call us on 10604 798070.

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

     

     

     

     

     

  • Computers and Laptops for the Blind and Visually Impaired

     

    Losing your sight or a severe decrease in the quality of your sight does not mean the use of computers and laptops is out of the question. In fact technology has made some fantastic leaps forward over the past 10 years providing us with intelligent software, specifically designed to facilitate the use of computers and laptops for the blind and partially sighted.

    As a company we are passionate about everything technological for the blind and partially sighted. That’s why we have created this useful guide to give you some valuable information to consider when buying a computer or laptop.

     

    What now?

    To begin with you will need to establish how strong your sight is.

    -          If you can read what is on the computer screen, but in order to do so you need to get very close or view one thing at a time in isolation. Or perhaps the clarity on the screen is not there for you, which could be down to the colour of the text.

    -          It may be that with some adjustment to the setting within the Windows operating system that this will be enough magnification to meet with your needs, however if this is not the case.

    -          Then Screen Magnifying software is what you would need for your computer or laptop, this will also give you the option to change the text colour, foreground and background colour of web pages and the like to assist you in the use of the PC.

    -          If in fact you cannot make out anything on the computer screen clearly whatsoever, with or without magnification – then Screen Reading software is what you would require for your computer or laptop.

     

    What is best for you?

    Screen Readers

    Screen Reading software is for those with very little or no sight. Essentially the software works audibly, a synthesised voice will read out anything which the computer user navigates to on the screen, so instead of seeing where they are on a screen, the user can hear where they are. Naturally with all screen readers some training is needed before hand to learn how to interact with the software – this would involve learning a number of different commands or keyboard shortcuts.

     

    We would recommend the most popular screen reading software, JAWS. You can get a demo version of JAWS to try it for yourself by giving us a call on 01604 798070.

     

    Screen Magnifiers

    Screen Magnification software, as previously mentioned, is for those with some useable sight. The software will magnify everything on the screen of the computer or laptop to a size of the users choosing – whilst ensuring the quality of the magnified text or image is not compromised. Many screen magnifiers also have options to alter the colour of the mouse pointer and screen colours, allowing you to choose the screen to be displayed in the colours which are the easiest for you to see.

     

    The market leading Screen Magnification software is ZoomText from AI Squared, and this is what we would recommend. Once again, a trial version of the software is available if you would like to test this software out. Please either give us a call on 01604 798070 or visit the website to download here: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/products.php?product=ZoomText-Free-Trial-Software

     

    The Full Package

    Here at Sight and Sound, we are not only able to offer you the Screen Reading and Screen Magnifying software but also the entire computer system and training as well. We are one of the only companies in the UK which is able to offer such a complete service for the blind and partially sighted.

     1. All you would need to do is start by telling us if you would like to purchase a desktop computer (something a bit more permanent that stays in one place), or a laptop computer (a completely portable computer).

    2. From there we will guide you through the different options of computers and discuss which software options would be best for you and your level of sight.

    3. Once we are certain that you have all of the specialist assistive software and hardware you need with your computer – we will then go about installing all of it onto the computer for you so that when your computer system is delivered all you need to do is plug it in and turn it on.

    4. Finally, we have our own team of highly experienced trainers. The trainers can either come to your house and train you there, meet you at a local place of your choosing, or provide training online through the use of the internet.

    5. Once you feel confident enough to go alone, we will leave you to it. Although if you ever run into any problems, we are the only UK supplier to offer a free telephone support service to all of our customers – so help and assistance is always just one call away.

    If you would like to arrange a demo in any of the aforementioned software or computers systems then you have a couple of options at your disposal.

    Either give us a call on 01604 798070, or get in contact.

    Visit us at one of our many exhibitions we hold all over the country (the details of which can be viewed here: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/p/category/events/)

     

  • Get the most out of your Topaz...

    A short instructional video which aims to show you all the features and benefits of the Topaz, the market leading electronic desktop magnifier for the blind and partially sighted.

     

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

  • 10 Sports for the Blind and Partially Sighted

    Being diagnosed as blind or partially sighted does not mean that you have to give up on your favourite sports, or sports altogether. In fact there are many sports which have been adapted for those who are blind or partially sighted, as well as entirely new sports only open to people with a sight condition. With that in mind we have put together a short list of 10 potential sports available to the blind and partially sighted, as well as all the details of how and where to get involved:

    1. Football: Football is still fully accessible and there are many sports clubs and schools all over the country who field competitive teams. Brought to the fore quite recently by the London 2012 Paralympic Games. It can be played either indoors or outdoors, using an audible ball and standard five-a-side goals. British Blind Sport (BBS) organises national competitions for both partially sighted and totally blind teams.

     

    British Blind Sport (BBS)

    Contact: George Ferguson

    T: 01926 424247

    www.britishblindsport.org.uk

    sportdevelopment@britishblindsport.org.uk

     

    2. Golf: Golfing for the blind and partially sighted has been one of the more popular sports over recent years. Sight and Sound even sponsored the Blind Golf Championships in 2010. The same equipment is used and the rules are almost entirely the same. All blind golfers are assisted by a sighted guide who ensures the club head is correctly positioned behind the ball, provides a description of the hole and the distance to hit the shot. The handicapping system for blind golfers also allows for full competition between blind and sighted golfers. There are 3 separate organisations who organise golf for the blind and partially sighted:

     

    The England and Wales Blind Golf Association

    t: 02476 414166

    www.blindgolf.co.uk

    enquiries.blindgolf@gmail.com

     

    Scottish Blind Golf Society

    5 The Round, Dunfermline, Fife, KY12 7YH

    Contact: Robin Clayden

    t: 01383 737 717

    www.scottishblindgolf.com

    robin@scottishblindgolf.com

     

    Northern Ireland Blind Golf Association

    Michael Gardner (NIBG Secretary)

    t: 028 9065 8593

    www.nibg.co.uk

    michaeljgardner@hotmail.com

     

    3. Tandem Cycling: Tandem cycling has also been rapidly increasing in popularity following the home nation’s success in the Commonwealth Games this year and can be pursued recreationally or as a competitive sport. There are a number of clubs and organisations in the UK for blind and partially sighted people. The best port of call is the Tandem Club who would be able to introduce you to contacts at a local level:

     

    The Tandem Club

    Contact: Peter Hallowell (Disabilities Liaison Officer))

    www.tandem-club.org.uk

    disabilities@tandem-club.org.uk

     

    4. Table Tennis: Table Tennis has been described as one of the easier sports to adapt to following a loss in sight. For many partially sighted people, table tennis can be played without any need for specialist equipment or modification to the rules. To find out more:

     

    British Table Tennis Association for the Disabled

    Contact through the website at www.bttad.org

     

    5. Swimming: Many swimming pools welcome swimmers with sight loss during public sessions, and will also provide special sessions for organised groups. As swimming for the blind and partially sighted becomes more and more popular there are an increasing number of regional, national and international competitions held every year. British Blind Sport (BBS) hold a swimming gala annually In Worcester for people of all ages. The Amatuer Swimming Association is the best port of call for those looking to get involved for the first time:

     

    Amateur Swimming Association

    Sport Park, 3 Oakwood Drive, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3QF

    t: 01509 618 700

    www.swimming.org

    customerservices@swimming.org

     

    6. Polybat: This is a sport designed specifically for totally blind people and is quite similar to Table Tennis. Polybat uses a rectangular table with raised edges and a wooden bridge stretching across the centre, from side to side, with enough room for the ball (small, with plastic beads inside) to pass underneath. Bats are square pieces of wood with a handle extension and the ball is struck from end to end, each player trying to defend their own sunken goal and score points by dropping their ball into the opponent’s.

     

    Overall it can be a fast and exciting game, played as singled or doubles, for fun or competitively. For more information get in contact with:

     

    English Table Tennis Association

    Norfolk House, 88 Saxon Gate West, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 2DL

    t: 01908 208860

    www.etta.co.uk

    judy.rogers@tabletennisengland.co.uk

     

     7. Rowing: Rowing is a fantastic sport which can be enjoyed by the sighted, partially sighted, and blind alike – without any need for any specialist rules or equipment. There needs to be only one sighted person in the team and that is the cox. Rowing is one of the few sports in which people with sight loss can compete with sighted people on equal terms.

     

    British Rowing

    6 Lower Mall, Hammersmith, London, W6 9DJ

    t: 020 8237 6700

    www.britishrowing.org

    info@britishrowing.org

     

    8. Goalball: Goalball is another game designed specifically with the blind and partially sighted in mind and over recent years has been growing hugely in popularity with both men’s and women’s annual national competitions and involvement at international and Paralympic level.

    The game is played indoors on a rectangular “pitch” that has dimensions corresponding to a volleyball court. The goal posts are positioned on each team's base line; a heavy audible ball is used. Each team has three players who alternately throw the ball along the floor with the aim of getting it across the opponents' goal line. The defending team tries to prevent this by diving across and behind the ball. In competitions, all players must wear eyeshades that are impervious to light.

     

    Goalball UK

    t: 0114 223 5670

    enquiries@goalballuk.com

     

    9. Archery: This is another sport which has been successfully adapted for the blind and partially sighted audience. The equipment required is the same for fully sighted archers but there are a number of extra aids available if necessary. These vary but those commonly used are a block and board for positioning the feet and a vertical stand which grips an adjustable horizontal point of flexible material, for example, paint brush bristles for guiding the position of the hand of the forward aiming arm. Electronic aiming aids have also been developed but are yet to be adopted extensively.

     

    British Blind Sport Archery

    Contact: Peter Price (Secretary)

    www.bbsarchery.org.uk

    secretary@bbsarchery.org.uk

     

    Archery GB

    Lilleshall National Sports Centre, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 9AT

    t: 01952 677888

    www.archerygb.org

    enquiries@archerygb.org

     

    10.Mountaineering: Rock climbing and mountaineering are very physically demanded sports and are quite the step up from rambling, however there are some less challenging routes in the UK. A number of blind and partially sighted people take part in this sport with the help of sighted instructors and leaders. The Milton Mountaineers is a charity that specifically caters for visually impaired people from all over the UK and organises a yearly mountaineering expedition.

     

    Milton Mountaineers

    Contact: David Carrington-Porter

    5 Shelwick Grove, Dorridge, Solihull, B93 8UH

    t: 01564 779 233

    Mobile: 07814 844 227

     

    There are of course a vast range of sports for the blind and partially sighted other than the 10 listed above, everything from Cricket to Water Skiing. In order to find out more the best port of call is British Blind Sport, please find their details below:

     

    British Blind Sport (BBS)

    Contact: George Ferguson

    T: 01926 424247

    www.britishblindsport.org.uk

    sportdevelopment@britishblindsport.org.uk

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

  • How JAWS and Sight and Sound Made the Difference to Me...

    We went and spoke to Marcia Holder to find out just how screen reading software JAWS and support and training from Sight and Sound, made the difference in her life for the better.

    Sight and Sound Technology: Making the difference through knowledge, care and understanding.

    To find out more about JAWS please visit our online store here: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/index.php

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

  • Get the most out of your Ruby HD...

    Do not forget to sign up to become a Sight and Sound VIP at the upcoming Sight Village London. 

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

  • The Blind Orchestra

    Have you ever heard or seen a blind orchestra?  The Inner Vision Orchestra are a group of blind and partially sighted musicians from all over the world who make up Britain's only blind orchestra.

    Watch the trailer (with audio description) below. Meet the cast and read more about these musicians who are celebrating the power of music to transform lives by visiting their website (link to Inner Vision Film website).  Audio description will help people with sight loss access the finished film.

    Blind Orchestra Link to Trailer with Audio Description

     

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

  • 10 things I need to know about losing my sight

    Finding out that you are losing your sight can be a challenging and uncertain time. However there is a lot of support and advice available which is why we have put together a short list of ten different notes for those who are losing their sight, which could be useful or encouraging to know. At Sight and Sound we embody the responsibility this industry demands, aiming to help make a difference to our customer’s lives, through a combination of knowledge, care and understanding.

    1. What support groups are available for people with sight loss?

    There are a large number of different types of support groups available to people who are blind or visually impaired across the UK. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is the UK’s leading organisation for blind and visually impaired people – they have one aim, and that is to be there for everyone affected by sight loss (either directly or indirectly).

    There are also more specialist societies and charities such as Blind Children UK, Action for Blind People, the Macular Disease Society (MDS) and Sign Health (a healthcare charity for blind-deaf people).

     2. What can I get to help with my sight loss?

    Although it depends on the individual and their diagnosis whether there are any forms of medication which can treat sight loss – there is an extensive range of technology available which can help make those things that have become more difficult since sight loss has set in, become easier once again.

    3. Registering for Sight Loss

    Registration is entirely voluntary and confidential – even if you chose not to register it will not bar you from receiving help from social services. In order to register you would need to visit your ophthalmologist who will certify you as either severely sight impaired (blind) or sight impaired (partially sighted).

    You may be asking, why would I want to go to the trouble of registering my sight loss? Well there are some very significant advantages to be gained: There are a range of concessions available to help make life more affordable. In addition to this you may be entitled to some particular welfare benefits.

    If you have any questions whatsoever about certification or registration we would recommend calling the RNIB helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email helpline@rnib.org.uk.

    4. Do I need to notify my employer?

    It is important to notify your employer upon being diagnosed with any form of sight loss, although it depends on the job you are doing, for the most part the technology available today enables those who are blind or partially sighted to continue work as normal. Although you are not legally obliged to inform your employer – it is your choice. Additionally, you are protected by the Equality Act which protects you from different kinds of discrimination in the workplace.

    A fantastic tool for those who have questions about starting, or staying in work, following a diagnosis of sight loss is the Staying in work checklist.

    5. Are there schemes or support that exists to help me stay in employment or find employment?

    There is a range of support available, such as Access to Work - a scheme designed to provide advice and practical support, such as help in funding equipment, to people with any disability.

    There are also more specialist schemes available such as Work Choice and Work Programme – government run initiatives which help people prepare for, find, and stay in work.  For more information on all the government support that is available to you in relation to employment please visit the specially designed RNIB page: http://www.rnib.org.uk/information-everyday-living-work-and-employment-practical-support/government-support.

     6. What sporting and recreational activities are available?

    British Blind Sport governs most blind sport competition from local to international level and are the best point of contact to find out what is going on in your area. There are all sorts of sports available to blind and partially sighted people such as football, cricket, golf (via the English Blind Golf Association), and cycling – through to sports specifically designed for and played by blind and visually impaired people, such as Goalball.

    There are also a wide range of recreational activities available such as photography, music, pottery and crafts, drama and dance.

    7. How can I help make a difference?

    Everyday thousands of people across the UK are campaigning for local, national and international change. The RNIB has a network of over 5,000 campaign supporters across the UK – in order to get in contact with your local campaign officer and find out how you can make a difference for people with sight loss please visit this web page: http://www.rnib.org.uk/campaigning/campaign-your-area .

     8. How can I maintain my independence?

    Maintaining independence is at the forefront of the thoughts of many with sight loss. And here at Sight and Sound the preservation of your independence is the principle concept behind everything we do.

    As previously mentioned, we have an extensive range of solutions designed specifically to maintain independence, as well as a fantastic team of trainers, and an unmatched technical support team in the UK.

     9. Looking after your eyes moving forward…

    Regular visits to your optometrist (optician) are the best way to make sure your eyes are healthy. Although some sight-threatening conditions, such as Glaucoma, have no symptoms prior to sight loss, the majority of sight-threatening conditions do.

    The RNIB suggests 5 steps to ensure your eyes are healthy and you are at little risk of developing an eye condition:

    • 1. Regular eye tests - as suggested above, regular visits to your optometrist.
    • 2. Stop smoking – Smoking can double the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, the UK’s leading cause of sight loss.
    • 3. Eat healthily and watch your weight – A well balanced diet can help delay the progression of cataracts or AMD. Whereas avoiding obesity can reduce the risk of developing diabetes, which can cause sight loss.
    • 4. Keep your eyes covered in the sun – UVA and UVB rays in sunlight can harm your eyes and can increase the risk of cataracts or AMD. Sunglasses, contact lenses with a UV filter or a sun shield are recommended by the RNIB.
    • 5. Safety first – DIY causes thousands of eye related injuries each year. Investing in protective goggles for these sorts of activities and also for certain sports is recommended in order to reduce that risk.

     10. Are there any events held specifically for people with sight loss?

    Sight Village is the biggest UK based event designed specifically for people with sight loss. Sight Village is held at 5 locations each year – Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, and London.

    • Many exhibitors from around the world take part in showcasing their products and services.
    • Thousands of people attend each event throughout the year, and entry is completely free, guide dogs are also welcome.
    • Sight and Sound will be exhibiting at Sight Village London, which is next on the calendar on November 4th at Kensington Town Hall, London.

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

     

  • Luke Hawes, raising money for Cancer Research UK

    One of Sight and Sound’s newest employees, Luke Hawes, has had all the hair on his head shaved off in order to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Luke, who works in the Workshop as a Workshop Engineer Apprentice has only been with the business for 6 weeks but has really taken to the Sight and Sound ethos, involving everyone in the business,  as well as his friends and family, in raising money for a good cause.  So far Luke has managed to raise over £240.00 for this fantastic cause. Congratulations Luke!

    Luke

  • Case Study - Michael and Daniel Smith 'Inspirational, identical twins'

    We spoke to a variety of our customers to see how Sight and Sound’s products helped make the difference in their lives. In this edition we focus on identical twins Daniel and Michael Smith, who within a year of each other were both diagnosed with Leber's Optic Neuropathy. Specialised technology such as the Topaz desktop screen magnifier and the portable Pearl scan and read camera were provided in order to help them finish their studies and ultimately enter the workplace.

    Michael and Daniel also took part in a Sight and Sound sponsored charity tandem bike ride to raise money for Blind in Business, you can read that full article here: Visually impaired twins cycle tandem towards their future.

    Click on the image of Michael and Daniel below, or the link beneath that, to discover the entire case study:

    Case Study - Twins

    02794 SAS Case Study Template_17_Twins

  • Case Study - Nicola King 'An entirely bespoke solution'

    We spoke to a variety of our customers to see how Sight and Sound’s products helped make the difference in their lives. In this edition we focus on Litigation Officer Nicola King, who needed to make the transition from Zoom Text screen magnifying software to Jaws screen reading software, following the complete loss of her sight. This proved to be an entirely bespoke solution due to the specialised systems Nicola had to use in her everyday work - with the selection of the product best suited for her needs and some very specialised training Sight and Sound made the difference.

    Click on the image of Nicola below, or the link beneath that, to discover the entire case study:

    Case Study - Nicola

    02794 SAS Case Study Template_17_Nicola

  • Case Study - Ian Ketteringham: 'Without Jaws, I wouldn't have this job'

    We spoke to a variety of our customers to see how Sight and Sound’s products helped make the difference in their lives. In this edition we focus on Ian Ketteringham and how screen reading software, Jaws, makes such a huge difference to him in his every day working life. Ian was diagnosed with Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, however Ian soon discovered that with the right technology and support at his disposal he was able to lead a fully independent life once again.

    Click on the image of Ian below, or the link beneath that, to discover the entire case study:

    Case Study - Ian

    small SAS Case Study Template_17_Ian

  • Case Study - Jilly Goddard: 'Good training and good products were my enabler'

    We spoke to a variety of our customers to see how Sight and Sound's products helped make the difference in their lives. In this edition we focus on Jilly Goddard and specifically how a combination of the right product (voice to text software) and a thorough training program enabled Jilly to excel in her role as a Coordinator of Individual Learning, at a secondary school in Twickenham.

    Click on the image of Jilly below, or the link beneath that, to discover the entire case study:

    Case Study - Gilly Goddard

    02794 SAS Case Study Template_17_Gill

  • Welcome to the all-new Sight and Sound Blog!

    Sight and Sound Technology have launched a brand new blog that will look to provide useful and involving content for the blind and visually impaired.

    Each week we will have a couple of new updates for you covering all sorts of industry views, news, and product reviews.

    Although this blog is new, one thing that will never get old is our commitment to making a difference through knowledge, care, and understanding.

    Watch this space.

    Blind person navigating path with white cane

     

  • Experience the redesigned TOPAZ 22 inch Desktop Video Magnifier

    For a limited time only and whilst stocks last, the TOPAZ 22 inch desktop video magnifier is now at a promotional price of £999.99 (excluding delivery and VAT, if applicable).

    Shop Now

    The TOPAZ XL is designed to provide the clearest, true-colour magnification possible for reading, making out cheques, writing letters and working on crafts and hobbies, while bringing the utmost efficiency when working with documents and a computer.

    • Comes with a 22-inch LCD flat panel monitor
    • Clear, vivid image
    • Ergonomic design with easy-to-use controls
    • Directed LED lighting for a bright work surface without glare
    • 8.25 inches of workspace under the camera
    • Extra large reading table for newspapers, oversized books, and handcrafts
  • Important Announcement from Ai Squared

    ZoomText 10.1 / Windows 8.1 Compatibility

    Microsoft will be releasing the Windows 8.1 update tomorrow (Thursday, 17th October). The current release of ZoomText 10.1 is not compatible with Windows 8.1 and will cause severe problems, rendering your system unusable and challenging to resolve. Therefore...

    • Do not install the current release of ZoomText 10.1 in Windows 8.1.
    • If you already have a Windows 8 system with ZoomText 10.1 installed, do not update your system to Windows 8.1 without first uninstalling ZoomText 10.1.

    Fortunately, Windows 8.1 is not an automatic update. You have to go into the Microsoft Store, search for it, and download it so this won't just happen to you out of the blue.

    And there’s more good news. In the very near future, we will be releasing a ZoomText update that includes support for Windows 8.1. We will let you know just as soon as it's ready.

    If it's too late and you have already updated to Windows 8.1 with ZoomText 10.1 and encountered this problem, please read our knowledge base article for steps to resolve the problem, or contact our support team 01604 798070 option 3.

  • Blind Trio conquer highest mountain in Great Britain

    Sight and Sound Technology Three Peaks Challenge

    3 Peaks

    An incredible amount of team spirit, hard work and determination was behind the successful ascent of Scotland and England’s highest Peaks; Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike. Sadly we were forced to abandon the final leg (Snowdon) due to unexpected, atrocious and dangerous weather conditions.

    The 3 Peaks challenge ended earlier than expected when the weather closed in whilst we undertook the 2nd leg; the ascent of Scafell Pike in the Lake district. Driving rain and 70mph winds made Scafell almost impossible and on more than one occasion we were close to turning back. A number of the team were blown to the ground by the force of the wind and the horizontally driving rain reduced visibility to a few metres at times. The same weather system was over Snowdonia and together with the fact that our final peak ascent to Snowdon would be in darkness, the team decided that it would be too dangerous to be on the mountain in those weather conditions.

    Day 1 began well, the weather at Ben Nevis was good and the team reached the highest peak in Great Britain roughly on schedule after 3 ¼ hours. The descent was a different matter, darkness had fallen and the steep rough terrain made it hard for some of our visually impaired team members to see the paths. At times it took two people to guide. We made it down in 4 hours, two behind schedule but raring to go for the 2nd leg. By the time we arrived in Cumbria conditions had worsened and they continued to deteriorate as the team made the tricky ascent over loose shale and rock at the summit.

    It was still a massive challenge, great team bonding exercise and a tough test even for the experienced climbers in the team. Most importantly we raised almost £4000 for the Blind in Business charity and we all arrived back safe, if not a little disappointed that we could not complete the challenge. We plan to return to Snowdon as a team to finish the last leg as soon as we can get back together.

    Now time for some rest and muscle rejuvenation – Well done to all who took part, the drivers that clocked up over 1,000 miles and had hot meals at the ready after each descent and of course to all of those who have supported us with their good wishes and kind donations. There is still time to donate, just visit our Just Giving page.

  • Sight and Sound Technology celebrate BVCA Management Team Award

    BVCA Management Team Award

    Sight and Sound Technology was delighted to receive their BVCA Award for the ‘Venture Capital Backed Management Team of the Year’. The award was accepted after a wonderful evening at the award ceremony in Marriot Grosvenor Square Hotel in London on July 4th 2013. Recognising the positive impact that the company has had on the British and Global Economies, the award commends the achievements of the management teams and appreciates their creativity and leadership.

    Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology commented:

    “To even be shortlisted was exciting - winning it was another thing entirely, and the whole team at Sight and Sound Technology is immensely pleased with this recognition.”

    BVCA Management Team Award

  • Northampton Herald and Post - Blind trekkers to take on Three Peaks Challenge

    STAFF from Northampton company Sight and Sound are assisting a group of visually impaired people taking on the Three Peaks Challenge.

    The trek organised by the Moulton Park-based business will be undertaken on August 16 in aid of Blind in Business, a charity dedicated to helping blind and partially-sighted people into work through training and employment services.

    The event is being organised and supported by Sight and Sound Technology, the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software for the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties.

    A team from Sight and Sound Technology will also be embarking on the Challenge. To read this article in full, please visit http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/News/Northampton-News/Blind-trekkers-to-take-on-Three-Peaks-Challenge-20130706090005.htm

  • Freedom Scientific Announces New RUBY XL HD Handheld Video Magnifier

    (St. Petersburg, Florida – May 16, 2013) – Freedom Scientific today announced a new version of its popular RUBY handheld video magnifier, the RUBY® XL HD. The new magnifier has a larger screen, high-definition image, and enhanced functionality to meet the needs of today’s low vision consumers.

    The RUBY XL HD has a 5-megapixel camera to produce a high-definition image displayed on the 5-inch screen, so more text can be displayed at one time, making reading easier. Weighing in at just 10.5 ounces, this ultra-portable device can go anywhere with ease. Use the built-in tilt stand to read books, magazines, and mail. Use the flip-out handle as you would a traditional magnifier to view cans, medicine bottles, package labels, and even items high on a shelf or notices on a wall. With its 3-hour rechargeable batteries, continuous magnification from 2x to 14x, and a wide range of viewing modes, the RUBY XL HD combines convenience and flexibility as the leader in the next generation of handheld video magnifiers.

    “The RUBY XL HD extends the functionality of the previous generation of RUBY,” said Brad Davis, Freedom Scientific’s Vice President of Hardware. “It has more of everything people love about our video magnifiers, including a bigger screen, sharper image, and more video modes, while still weighing only 10.5 ounces. It’s easy to save magnified images for later reference, such as phone numbers, serial numbers, or pictures of your grandchildren. You can save up to 80 pictures and even send them to your computer via USB.”

    The RUBY XL HD is priced at £595 and is available for purchase now. For more information including specifications, visit RUBY XL HD or call 01604 798070.

    The RUBY XL HD is part of Freedom Scientific’s complete line of low vision products, including:

    About Freedom Scientific

    Freedom Scientific is the leading worldwide provider of assistive technology products for those with vision impairments. The Company sells its products worldwide and has offices in Florida and Switzerland. The Company’s products have been translated into 24 languages and are available in 55 countries. Freedom also has a line of software products for those with learning disabilities.

    Freedom Scientific®, TOPAZ®, MAGic®, RUBY®, SAPPHIRE®, ONYX®, SARA™, PEARL®, and OpenBook® are trademarks or registered trademarks in the United States and/or other countries.

    The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

  • Blind team take on Three Peaks Challenge

    A team of blind participants will undertake the Three Peaks Challenge on 16 August 2013 in aid of Blind in Business, a charity dedicated to helping blind and partially sighted people into work through training and employment services.

    The team will include Daniel and Michael Smith, 21-year-old twin brothers from North London, who, whilst studying at university, lost their sight within a year of one another after developing a rare genetic condition called ‘Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy’ (LHON). Alan Lock is also set to join the team. Alan is a former Royal Navy Officer who has worked with Blind in Business for a number of years. In late 2003 he began to suffer from Macular Degeneration which rapidly destroyed much of his vision and cost him his military career. Despite this, Alan has completed 10 marathons including the 151 mile Marathon Des Sables in the Sahara Desert and in 2008, set a Guinness World Record, raising over $80,000 for charity when he became the first visually impaired person to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

    The event is being organised and supported by Sight and Sound Technology, the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software for the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties. A team from Sight and Sound Technology will also be embarking on the Challenge.

    Daniel and Michael said: “We are excited about embarking on this challenge. An integral part of our respective rehabilitations has been giving back to those who have helped us over the past 12 months. Proving to ourselves that we can find our limits whilst not being able to see that well has proved to be a great confidence boost."

    Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, commented: “We are thrilled to be part of the team taking on the Three Peaks Challenge. Completing the climbs will be a tremendous personal achievement in itself for us all and it is hoped that we can raise a substantial amount in aid of Blind in Business.”

    Split into two sub-groups, the first team aim to complete the trek in sub-24 hours and the other team in plus-24 hours.

    The team is scheduled to complete a trial walk on 10 May 2013 prior to the Three Peaks, which will involve climbing Mount Snowdon in a target time frame of four hours.

    -ENDS-

    Notes to editors

    Sight and Sound Technology is the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software to the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties. They work in unison with private individuals, charitable organisations, educational establishments and commercial enterprises to help users fully realise their potential. Their product solutions have been specifically designed to improve quality of life at work, at study or in the home.

    For more information on Sight and Sound Technology please visit: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk

    To arrange an interview with Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology or any of the team, please contact cassie@zoodikers.com

    To sponsor the team, please visit: http://www.justgiving.com/sightandsound3peaks

  • Sight and Sound Technology announced as winners of Midlands BVCA Award

    The award for Venture Capital-Backed Management Team of the Year has been  won by management buy-in buyout of Sight and Sound Technology limited, the Northampton-based provider of hardware and software to the blind, which was backed by Catapult Venture Managers.

    Sight and Sound Technology Ltd, the UK’s largest distributor of assistive technology for the blind and visually impaired, strive to provide the best solutions and support to improve the lives of those who have a sensory or age related disability and today are a leading player in a highly specialised market, looking after over 35,000 customers with a range of needs.

     

    Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology commented: “We are thrilled to have been selected as winners by the judging panel at BVCA. We are dedicated to providing support to our very special client base and this award recognises the effort that the management team and employees put into doing the right things in the right way, every day.”

     

     

    -ENDS-

     

    Notes to Editors

    For more information on Sight and Sound Technology please visit http://www.sightandsound.co.uk

    Sight and Sound Technology is the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software to the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties. They work in unison with private individuals, charitable organisations, educational establishments and commercial enterprises to help users fully realise their potential. Their product solutions have been specifically designed to improve quality of life at work, at study or in the home.

    To arrange an interview with Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, please contact katie@zoodikers.com

     

  • Sight and Sound Technology shortlisted for BVCA Awards

    Thirteen companies from the region are among those battling it out ahead of the national awards taking place on 4 July 2013 at the Marriott Grosvenor Square hotel in London.

    "The BVCA Management Team Awards, in association with Clearwater Corporate Finance, is a recognition of the achievements of British companies that are backed by private equity and venture capital," Tim Hames, deputy chief executive of the BVCA, said.

    "By celebrating the hard work and dedication of management teams across the country, we are both applauding their success and illustrating the impact they and the industry have on the real economy. The awards paint a picture of an enterprising Britain with private equity and venture capital at its heart."

    There are a total of six regions competing: Scotland & Northern Ireland, North East (including Yorkshire), North West, Midlands, South West & Wales, and London & South East.

    In the midlands region Sight and Sound Technology have been nominated in both the Venture Capital-Backed Management Team of the Year and Community & Environmental Action Award categories.

    View the original article on InsiderMedia.com

  • How Old Age Technology could help stop a demographic time bomb

    Sight and Sound CEO Glenn Tookey talks to the BBC regarding assistive technology.
    Original story on BBC Business news website.

  • Sight and Sound Technology Train Isle of Man Teachers on Assistive Technology

    Sight and Sound Technology, the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software for the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties, have begun their training programme with 37 schools in the Isle of Man.

    Training will take place in clusters of 5 primary schools and 1 high school, with an aim of training teachers how to use every feature and function of the Kurzweil 3000 computer software for Mac and PC.

    This initiative aims to provide a solution to students who require assistance in reading, writing and learning, with the main goal of the initiative being to improve grade attainment and employment prospects of students on the island.

    Funded by The Department of Economic Development of the Isle of Man Government, the scheme will also include training teachers on the use of the Universal Library which is based “in the cloud” and can be accessed from any web browser or through an Apple iPad “app”. This allows students, teachers and communities to share Kurzweil documents and content. The iPad application, also allows access to K3000 documents whilst on the move.

    Joyce Monroe, Senior Educational Psychologist, comments: “This is a versatile and flexible technology that has great potential for all students. It will be particularly useful for students who have any degree of literacy difficulty, because it will help them to access the content of text by removing the barriers to their learning. This technology fits in well with the Island's new Dyslexia Policy, which emphasises the need to remove the barriers to learning that text poses for some students.”

    Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, said: “We are thoroughly enjoying training teaching staff at the schools in the Isle of Man. We truly believe that this initiative will improve the quality of life for all users. We are looking forward to carrying out our second phase of training very soon and continuing our support to the Isle of Man’s school literacy initiative.”

  • Sight and Sound Technology Shortlisted for BVCA Management Team Awards

    Sight and Sound Technology are delighted to announce that they have been shortlisted for the Venture Capital-Backed Management Team of the Year Award and Community & Environmental Action Award for the BVCA Management Team Awards in the Midlands region.

    The BVCA Management Team Awards are based upon a year-long process of regional and national nominations followed by a rigorous judging process. The awards have been established to celebrate the achievements of private equity and venture capital-backed portfolio companies.

    These are the only awards to recognise the positive impact that these companies have on the British and global economies and to commend the achievements of the management teams that create, nurture and lead them.

    Following a series of regional heats, the national award winners will be announced in July 2013 at a black tie dinner and ceremony in London.

    Winners of the regional heats for seven categories will be automatically put forward for selection at the national stage.

    Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology said:

    “We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for these awards. It is great to be recognised for something that we are so passionate about. Our teams work extremely hard to help improve the lives of our clients which often involves training on how to use the assistive technology most appropriate for them.”

  • Sight and Sound Technology to Support Isle of Man School Literacy Initiative

    Sight and Sound Technology - the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software to the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties – are to support an integrated literacy initiative for schools on the Isle of Man.

    The initiative, which is jointly funded by The Department of Education and Children (EDC) and The Department of Economic Development (DED) of the Isle of Man Government, aims to provide a solution to students who require assistance in reading, writing and learning, with the main goal of the initiative being to improve grade attainment and employment prospects of students on the island.

    Sight and Sound Technology will provide ongoing support to students and teachers on a day-to-day basis through their assistive technology helpdesk, at the company’s headquarters in Northampton.

    The initiative will provide all schools on the island with Kurzweil 3000, a best in class literacy support screen reader application that supports learners in reading, writing, organisation and other activities of their study. Students will have access to the software at home and also be able to access the latest “Cloud” (internet) based version of Kurzweil 3000 called “firefly”.

    The DEC’s five secondary schools will also be provided with Dragon Naturally Speaking – a digital dictation solution that integrates with Kurzweil 3000, enabling students to perform tasks on their computer through speech recognition.

    The initiative aims to improve students’ skills for employment and achievement in later life.

    Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, comments: “Improving the quality of life for users with literacy and vision difficulties is at the forefront of what we do, and we’re therefore very proud to support the Isle of Man’s school literacy initiative which shares the same goal. Our core strength at Sight and Sound Technology is making assistive technology accessible through providing training and support, and our involvement in this initiative will enable the Isle of Man Education and Children Department, its Teachers and Students, to make best use of this significant investment and to achieve positive learning outcomes for all those involved.”

    Alex Saltonstall, General Manager of Kurzweil/IntelliTools, Inc., comments: “We are excited to offer our customers a fully web-based literacy support tool. firefly will enable us to reach more students, increase the frequency of students’ usage of our products, and ultimately improve educational outcomes and change lives, which is our mission as a company.”

    Tony Wild MLC, Political Member for the Department of Economic Development with responsibility for Employment and Skills, said: “If students leave the education system with a better developed set of literacy skills, they will have a much better chance of maximising their employment opportunities to help them achieve their life ambitions. This project is a great example of how the Department of Education & Children and the Employment and Skills Group of the Department of Economic Development can work together in the best interest of all parties.”

    Graham Kinrade, IT Head, Department of Education and Children comments: “Kurzweil 3000 and Dragon Naturally Speaking software provides an integrated literacy solution for all age groups on the Island. The technology naturally supports the curriculum and we expect to see the benefits reflected in exam results over the coming years.”

    Sight and Sound Technology’s involvement in the initiative follows their previous work in the Isle of Man in assisting with the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act (2006) in November of last year.

  • What's New in MAGic 12

    This page describes the new features and improvements available in MAGic 12.

    MAGic 12 Features

    MAGic 12 offers several new features and improvements as described on this page. To learn more, read the entire What's New, or, if you are a MAGic user, press INSERT+F6 to open a list of headings and then jump directly to a specific item.

    All New User Interface

    The MAGic user interface has been completely updated and now places visual, speech, and tools features into logical ribbon groups. This new design makes it easier to quickly find and use the enhancements that you want without having to navigate through numerous menus.

    MAGic user interface - Visual tab

    Features are laid out using split buttons where you click the top half to toggle the feature on or off, and click the lower half to display a list of standard schemes. This eliminates the need to navigate down into multi-layered settings menus. If you want to fine-tune or create new schemes, you can select the Settings option in the list, which displays additional enhancement settings for that feature.

    Top half of split button

    Bottom half of split button and schemes list

    All MAGic menus have been consolidated under the Main menu located in the upper left corner of the user interface.

    Main menu button

    Finally, the focus indicator has been added to the user interface making it easier to find your place when moving through the user interface. The indicator is represented by four corner brackets that display around the current item that has focus.

    Mouse enhancements button with focus indicator

    HD Text

    Text and images can become blocky and pixelated as screen magnification is increased. MAGic 12 introduces High-Definition text smoothing. It takes advantage of the True Type fonts installed on your computer to provide the clearest and sharpest magnification of text and images on your screen. Text smoothing is on by default.

    To change text smoothing settings, choose Display from the Visual menu in the MAGic user interface.

    Main menu, Visual menu, Display dialog box

    2.5x Magnification Level

    MAGic now provides 2.5x magnification, which can be selected using the Magnification Level buttons in the Visual tab of the user interface.

    2.5x magnification level

    Smoothing Fractional Magnification Levels

    HD Text is provided for ALL magnification levels, including the nine previously unsmoothed incremental magnification levels between 1x and 2x magnification, and the new 2.5x incremental magnification level.

    HD Mouse Pointer

    The Mouse Enhancements feature in MAGic lets you modify the appearance of the mouse pointer so that it is easier to locate in both magnified and unmagnified areas of your screen. With the new High-Definition mouse pointer styles, you can further customize your mouse pointer for improved visual recognition. These changes can help reduce eye fatigue that can be caused when following a low quality mouse pointer on a magnified screen. Mouse pointer improvements include:

    • Four High-Definition mouse pointer styles: standard, Aero, 3D, and bolded pointers
    • Continuous mouse pointer sizing from small to large
    • The size of the mouse pointer is no longer magnified in a one to one proportion when changing magnification levels allowing the mouse to be visible, but not take up the whole screen at high magnification levels

    Mouse Enhancements Improvements

    In addition to adding HD mouse pointers, the following improvements have been made for the mouse pointer:

    • Continuous non-HD mouse pointer sizing from small to large
    • Open center area of the pointer makes it easier to read information under the mouse. For example, crosshairs no longer meet in the center. This open design makes it easier when selecting items with a mouse.
    • Eight selectable enhancement styles

    Speech On Demand

    Speech On Demand™ is a new feature that allows you to limit the amount of speaking performed by MAGic as you navigate windows and documents or perform other actions using hot keys. By default, when using Speech On Demand, MAGic only announces actions that are associated with a limited set of hot keys. Also, mouse echo is still available, which allows MAGic to read the text that you point to with the mouse pointer. You can always restore full speech by clicking the top half of the Speech button in the Speech tab.

    Speech Level button

    Why Use Speech On Demand?

    Using speech with MAGic can reduce eye fatigue by helping to focus and find your location on the screen. However, there are times when too much speech can be overwhelming, which is where Speech On Demand can be very helpful. The new Speech button replaces the traditional Full Speech/No Speech toggle, and now toggles between Full Speech and Speech On Demand.

    When configured for Speech On Demand, speech associated with things such as switching applications or using ARROWkeys to move through a document are silenced. Speech is only triggered when using reading commands or pointing to text with the mouse. This is the speech functionality when you select All Designated Reading Commands in the Speech On Demand Settings dialog box. You can also choose to use mouse echo or typing echo by selecting settings in the same dialog box. Note that you can still toggle these features using Speech tab buttons or keyboard commands.

    Mouse Echo and Typing Echo buttons

    Designated Reading Commands

    The preset designated reading commands include Say Unit commands (such as character,word, or line), Say All, and voice rate adjustment commands; however, you can change the speech commands available in this mode using MAGic's Keyboard Manager.

    Preset designated reading commands for Speech On Demand are listed below.

    Description Command
    Say All From Location INSERT+DOWN ARROW or
    MAGic Key+LEFT MOUSE BUTTON CLICK
    Alternate Say All INSERT+ALT+DOWN ARROW or
    MAGic Key+ALT+LEFT MOUSE BUTTON CLICK
    Say Character NUM PAD 5
    Say Word MAGic Key+ALT or
    INSERT+NUM PAD 5
    Say Line MAGic Key+L or INSERT+UP ARROW
    Say to Cursor INSERT+HOME
    Say from Cursor INSERT+PAGE UP
    Say Sentence MAGic Key+S
    Say Paragraph MAGic Key+P
    Say Selected Text INSERT+SHIFT+DOWN ARROW
    Say Window Prompt and Text MAGic Key+TAB or
    INSERT+TAB
    Say Window Title MAGic Key+T or
    INSERT+T
    Say Bottom Line of Window INSERT+PAGE DOWN
    Increase Voice Rate Permanently WINDOWS Key+ALT+CTRL+PAGE UP
    Increase Voice Rate Temporarily ALT+CTRL+PAGE UP
    Decrease Voice Rate Permanently WINDOWS Key+ALT+CTRL+PAGE DOWN
    Decrease Voice Rate Temporarily ALT+CTRL+PAGE DOWN

    All New Mouse, Cursor, and Color Schemes

    New default schemes for mouse, cursor, and color enhancements have been added for MAGic 12. These schemes use intuitive names to indicate colors and style, such as Big Green for the mouse pointer or Little Red Triangle for the cursor. To select a scheme, click the lower half of the Mouse, Cursor, or Color split buttons and select an item from the list. Note that you can also use these new schemes as a starting point for further scheme customization. To quickly do this, click the lower half of an enhancement button and choose Settings. In the dialog box that opens, make changes to the magnified area settings, the unmagnified area settings, or both, and then select the schemes tab to save the modified changes or save as a new scheme.

    Application Specific Voice Profiles

    For MAGic 12, voice profiles have been modified to make it very easy to select, create, change, and save voice settings for use with MAGic or specific applications. Previously when changing voice profile settings, you had to choose between making a Global Voice Adjustment or an Individual Voice Adjustment, and then decide if the changes would apply as the default setting for all of MAGic or just the current open application. Now when modifying settings, you open one dialog, Voice Adjustments, configure the profile, and save it. Next, using the MAGic Context Menu (MAGic Key+RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON) you can select Voice Profiles and choose any available profile to use as the MAGic default. You can also select the same or a different profile for the current application open on your computer.

    Voice Profiles

    MAGic ships with several factory voice profiles based on the synthesizers installed on your computer. This makes it easy for you to use these settings as a template for future voice profiles that you create and save for MAGic and other applications. To create a new profile from a factory default profile, choose Voice Adjustment from the Speech menu in the MAGic user interface. Select any of the available factory settings from the Profile Name combo box, make the necessary voice adjustment changes, and save the profile using a name that can easily be identified with the profile.

    Note, if you like, you can still use the traditional Voice Profile keystroke (MAGic Key+F11) to select a voice profile as shown below.

    Voice Profile dialog box

    Enhancements for Multi-Monitor Users

    When configuring Windows for multiple monitor operation, it is no longer necessary to place the primary monitor in the leftmost or topmost position. In addition, you now have the option of showing both visual enhancements and the mouse in the unmagnified view when using Overview mode.

    Overview mode has been enhanced with PowerPoint presentations in mind. In MAGic 11, visual enhancements, such as mouse, color, and focus, were available in both magnified and unmagnified views. While this remains the default in MAGic 12, you now have the option to turn off enhancements in the unmagnified view. This means that when giving a presentation, you can see the visual enhancements on your laptop's magnified screen while the audience sees an unmodified presentation projected on a screen, wall, or whiteboard. Additionally, the mouse can also be hidden in the unmagnified view, thus eliminating the distraction to the audience as you use the mouse to navigate through the presentation on your magnified screen.

    Multi-Monitor Settings

    All New Basic Training for MAGic 12

    The MAGic 12 basic training has been completely rewritten and recorded in Window 7 using Microsoft Office 2010. It clearly explains how to use the new user interface, and includes over four hours of training, including step-by-step instructions and sample practice documents to help you make the most of your experience using MAGic 12. The training is available in text, audio DAISY format, and individual MP3 files. For more information about these and other DAISY and MP3 training files, visit the MAGic Training Web page.

    Research It

    Research It is a feature that provides quick access to information while also making it easy to return to your primary task. By default, Wiktionary is the primary lookup source. This means that while the cursor is on a word in a document or Web page, you can start Research It and quickly lookup the Wiktionary description for that word. You can always change the primary lookup source at any time using the Options button in the Research It dialog box. When you are finished reading the results, just close the dialog box to return to your earlier task. All that is required to use Research It is an Internet connection.

    To open and use Research It,

    1. Press and release INSERT+SPACEBAR followed by R, or click the Research It button in the Tools tab. The Research It dialog box opens with Wiktionary as the default lookup source. (See figure at the end of this procedure.)
    2. Next, type a word or expression of interest in the edit combo box. This text can be a zip code, or city and state, or city and country that can be used with the Weather lookup tool to read a forecast, or a date that is used to view baseball or football schedules and scores, or a word to use with the Wikipedia search query to view its meaning or description.
    3. Select a lookup source from the list, and choose OK. The Results Viewer opens with the results of the lookup.
    4. After viewing these results, press ESC to close the Results Viewer, and return to your original focus point.
    5. ResearchIt dialog box

    Skim Reading

    The Skim Reading feature lets you quickly browse through long documents by reading the first sentence or first part of each paragraph. You can also create your own rules to search for lines, sentences, or paragraphs containing specific words, phrases, text or background colors, and other formatting elements. To begin skim reading in a document, click the Skim Read button in the Tools tab, or press CTRL+INSERT+DOWN ARROW.

    Skim Read button in Investigate group

    Layered Keystrokes

    MAGic 12 includes layered keystrokes that offer a fast and convenient way to perform actions such as navigating tables, muting speech, starting Research It, or performing screen captures. These keystrokes eliminate the need to have to hold down several keys at once to perform an action. To perform a layered keystroke, press and release MAGic Key+SPACEBAR or INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by the appropriate keystroke for that action. For example,

    • To switch between full speech and Speech On Demand, press and release MAGic Key+SPACEBAR, followed byS.
    • To jump to the last cell while in a table on a Web page, press and release MAGic Key+SPACEBAR, followed by T, and then CTRL+END.

    For a list of keystrokes, refer to the Layered Keystrokes topic in the MAGic help file.

    New beginning with MAGic 12 is the ability to navigate in virtual environments using Navigation Quick Keys. These keys allow you to move easily and quickly around Web pages, Adobe Acrobat PDF files, and HTML help files.

    Press the letter assigned to the Navigation Quick Key to move to the next element or SHIFT plus the letter to move to the prior element. The following Navigation Quick Keys are now available.

    • A - Anchor
    • B - Button
    • C - Combo box
    • E - Edit box
    • F - Form control
    • G - Graphic
    • H - Heading
    • L - List
    • P - Paragraph
    • R - Radio button
    • T - Table
    • X - Checkbox

    Quick Settings

    Quick Settings is a replacement for the former Adjust MAGic Options dialog box, and it has been designed to make it easy to change settings in applications such as Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer. To open Quick Settings, press MAGic Key+O. The Quick Settings window contains a search box, a tree view and configuration pane that display settings, and a help message pane.

    Quick Settings window

    Multiple Sound Card Support

    You can have multiple sound cards connected to your computer. The addition of a second internal sound card, an external USB sound card, or a USB headset are examples of multiple sound cards. As a rule, Windows makes the last sound card added to your system the default sound card. This means that MAGic speech automatically goes to the new audio device, which can be frustrating if you want to use that device for something other than MAGic.

    With this release of MAGic, you can now override the Windows default selection, and choose which sound card to use for MAGic speech. If you are editing music, you can let Windows direct your music through a higher-end audio card while MAGic directs its speech output to an inexpensive sound card in your computer.

    To select which sound device to use for MAGic speech, open the Sound Cards submenu, which is a new addition to the MAGic Speech menu, and choose a card from the list. If you later remove that card from your computer, MAGic will automatically fall back to the Windows default sound card. If you restore the sound card to the system, MAGic will again send speech to that card instead of the Windows default sound card. For more information, see Sound Cards in the MAGic help file.

    ARIA Support

    Improvements continue to be made to MAGic and its support of ARIA and industry standard ARIA tool kits.

    Enhanced Citrix and Remote Desktop Support

    Citrix XenDesktop 4 and later is now supported by MAGic 12. Like the Terminal Services and Citrix XenApp support, MAGic uses advanced technology that minimizes the use of available bandwidth, maximizes speed, and provides the full array of synthesizer configurations.

    Certified Display Drivers

    DirectX 9.1 display adapters with the WDDM 1.0 driver or later are supported by MAGic 12. DirectX 10 or later is recommended.

    Sounds Indicating Forms Mode On or Off

    Forms Mode is a MAGic function that lets you type text in edit fields or select combo box values in Web pages and Adobe Acrobat forms. MAGic automatically enters this mode when you use the mouse to click in a form control, or press TAB,SHIFT+TAB, or ARROW Keys to move to a form control.

    MAGic 12 uses sounds to indicate when it enters and exits Forms Mode. For example, when you first click or navigate to a control, such as the Name field, you will hear a sound to let you know that you are in Forms Mode. As you move to subsequent controls, such as an Address field, you will not be alerted by a sound. However, when you reach the end of these form fields, for example, a Submit button, you will hear a slightly different sound. This indicates that MAGic has exited Forms Mode.

    By default, sounds are on, but can be turned off using the Forms Options in Quick Settings (MAGic Key+O) for Web browsers and Adobe Acrobat.

    Navigation Quick Key Delay

    Navigation Quick Keys, as described earlier, are available to quickly move among controls in a form. You can set MAGic to use a 0.5 to 5 second delay between you pressing a key, and MAGic activating Forms Mode. For example, when you press E to move from one edit box to the next, a three second delay gives MAGic time to announce the name of the current box, while also giving you time to decide if this is the one that you want. If you press E again within three seconds, MAGic moves to the next edit box. Once you move to the edit box that you want, MAGic will automatically enter Forms Mode after waiting for three seconds. At this point, if you press E again, it is typed in the edit box. Note that you can always press ENTER to immediately activate Forms Mode and skip the delay.

    By default, the delay is always off when using Navigation Quick Keys, which means that you must press ENTER to start Forms Mode. However, as described above, you can set the length of the delay so Forms Mode turns on automatically after a given period of time when using Navigation Quick Keys. To do this use the Forms Options in Quick Settings for Web browsers and Adobe Acrobat.

    FSReader 2.0

    FSReader, the $79 Freedom Scientific software DAISY book reader, is now included free of charge as part of the MAGic 12 installation. Even if you do not have a MAGic 12 license, you can still install and run FSReader directly from the MAGic 12 Demo. In addition to reading all of the DAISY training material provided for free from Freedom Scientific, you can use FSReader to read DAISY books from other sources such as BookShare.org. (Some DAISY book providers, such as Learning Ally (RFB&D), require a valid account to access certain DAISY material.)

    When installed, the full version of FSReader places a shortcut on your Windows desktop and has its own entry in the Programs menu.

    FSReader 2.0 shortcut

    MAGic Large Print Keyboard

    MAGic 12 continues to provide full support of the MAGic Large Print Keyboard. In addition, the Research It key is now available. Press it to start Research It.

    Research It key

    Adjusting Reading Rates

    MAGic now includes a Speech Rate slider in the Speech tab for quick and easy access. Move the slider to the left or right to adjust how fast or slow MAGic speaks.

    Speech Rate slider

    Marking and Selecting Text in Word

    The Mark Place feature makes it easy to select large blocks of text in a Word document. Just mark a starting point in the document by pressing CTRL+WINDOWS Key+K, read and navigate until you reach the end of the text that you want to select, and then press MAGic Key+SPACEBAR, followed by M. This acts the same way as clicking and dragging a mouse over text. Once selected, feel free to copy, cut, or paste the text anywhere you like.

    PowerPoint Support

    MAGic includes scripts for full tracking, navigation and speech support while editing slides and presenting slide shows. Also, when using Multi-Monitor Overview mode, you can hide visual enhancements and the mouse pointer on the unmagnified monitor. This way you can navigate the presentation on your magnified screen while your audience sees the presentation on a second display without the added distraction from the visual enhancements or the mouse moving on the screen.

    Thunderbird Support

    MAGic 12 includes full support for the Mozilla® Thunderbird® e-mail application. It offers users an alternative to Windows Live Mail.

    Firefox Support

    MAGic 12 supports Mozilla® Firefox® 13 or later.

    UTF-8 File Support

    MAGic script files now support UTF-8 format. In Script Manager, the File menu has the new UTF-8 Format command. When you open a UTF-8 encoded script file (JSS), the command has a check mark. If you open an ANSI encoded script file, the command does not have a check mark.

    You can save an ANSI encoded file as UTF-8 by simply selecting, or checking, the UTF-8 Format command in the File menu. Likewise, to save a UTF-8 formatted file as ANSI, clear, or uncheck, the command. Note that the script’s header and message files (JSH and JSM) can be in a different format. This means that a UTF-8 script file can include ANSI header and message files or vice versa.

    Back to top from MAGic 12 Features

    Download MAGic 12

    The following briefly describes how to download and install the latest MAGic release.

    1. Select the appropriate MAGic download link that appears at the end of this procedure.
    2. When the dialog box opens, choose Save and select a location where you can easily find the downloaded executable file.
    3. Run the executable file and follow the talking installer.

    Note: If your corporate firewall prevents you from downloading files using FTP (File Transfer Protocol), use the HTTP(Hypertext Transfer Protocol) links instead.

    Note: The MAGic 12 USB thumb drive download will be available December 2012.

    Check for Updates

    To check for updates after installing MAGic, do the following:

    1. Open the MAGic application window.
    2. Open the Help menu.
    3. Select Check for Updates. The update feature determines if you have the most current release. If you do not, select one or more items from the list and then select INSTALL to begin the update. All enhancements since the initial public beta release are included in the update.

    MAGic Large Print Keyboard Driver

    The MAGic Large Print Keyboard driver is available on a disk that ships with the keyboard. It must be installed to provide full MAGic functionality when using the keyboard. If you need the driver, visit the MAGic downloads Web page.

    Demo Software

    To try a free demo version, select the appropriate link from the above Download MAGic 12 section and run MAGic in 40-minute demo mode.

    Back to top from Download MAGic 12

    Dusty Voorhees, MAGic Product Manager, Discusses What's New in MAGic 12

    You can download and listen to an interview with Dusty Voorhees, product manager for MAGic, in which he discusses the exciting new features available in MAGic 12. The interview is available in DAISY and MP3 format. If you download the DAISY version, you will need a DAISY reader (such as FSReader) to listen to the interview.

    Back to top from Interview

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Question: If I download the MAGic 12 release from the Web, should I install MAGic from the DVD when I receive it?

    Answer: No. You only need to install the training materials that are on the MAGic program DVD. This information is available in a digital document format known as DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System). To install these files, do the following:

    1. Insert your MAGic program DVD into your disk drive.
    2. When the MAGic Setup dialog box appears, press TAB to move to the Training Materials button, and then press SPACEBAR.
    3. In the MAGic Training Materials dialog box, select the check box next to each DAISY book that you want to install.
    4. Choose the Install button.
    5. When the installation is finished, remember to put your MAGic program DVD in a safe place so you will have it for future use when needed.

    Note: If you download MAGic from the Web, the training materials are not included. This is to reduce the size of the download. If you like, you can download and install the MAGic training files from the Freedom Scientific Training Downloads Web page.

     

  • JAWS 14 Released

    What's New in JAWS 14

    This page describes the new features and improvements available in JAWS 14.

    JAWS 14 Features

    Flexible Web

    Frequently, you will encounter Web pages that contain a lot of excess content which can make it difficult to locate the actual content you want, or interupts the flow when reading. For instance, many sites contain Google ad frames. These can be troublesome for JAWS users as they disrupt the reading order of surrounding content.

    Flexible Web enables you to take more control of Web pages by allowing you to quickly find the content you are looking for, as well as hide content that interrupts the reading experience. You can hide sections of content, such as Google ad frames or other types of unnecessary content, for a smoother reading experience. In addition, you could have JAWS begin reading at a level one heading, or ARIA main region, as these may contain the most interesting content.

    To use Flexible Web, open a Web page you want to customize in Internet Explorer or Firefox. Then, move the Virtual PC Cursor to the page element you want to hide, or from where you want to start reading when the page first loads. Activate the Flexible Web wizard by pressing the layered keystroke INSERT+SPACEBAR, X. Alternatively, press INSERT+F2 to open the Run JAWS Manager dialogue box, then choose Flexible Web.

    Through several easy-to-follow steps, The Flexible Web wizard that opens provides you with two options: hide or start reading at the selected element. The wizard then guides you through the process of creating a temporary customization by giving you various choices about the selected element and how you want to hide it or from where exactly to start reading. Once the customization has been made, it is immediately applied to the page. For instance, if you choose to hide all frames containing advertisements, you will not see any advertisements when navigating the page after making this temporary customization.

    If you are not happy with how a customization is working, you can open the Flexible Web wizard to undo the last customization you made. When you return to the page, you can choose a different element or the same one, then reactivate the Flexible Web wizard to retry the customization again perhaps with different criteria. For example, in the case of hiding those advertisement frames mentioned earlier, you probably want to hide all of them, not just the first one on the page. The wizard will provide you with choices about whether to hide just the first one or all of them.

    You can create as many customizations for a page as you want. Once you have created one or more customizations, you can save them as a rule, which is applied every time you load the particular page or site. To indicate that a rule has been applied to a page, JAWS plays a sound after the page loads. Rules can be applied to the current Web page, entire Web site, or globally for all Web sites. Otherwise, customizations are only temporary and are lost as soon as you navigate away from the current Web page or close the browser. If you have made temporary customizations and you attempt to navigate to another page or close the browser, a dialogue box opens asking if you want to save your customizations as a rule.

    To learn more about using Flexible Web, refer to the Flexible Web help topic in the JAWS online help (F1).

    Microsoft Outlook 2010 and 2007 Virtual Buffer Message Support

    Microsoft Outlook uses Microsoft Word for viewing all read-only messages. However, due to the way Word supports table navigation, and since tables are frequently used for message layout, messages opened in Outlook 2010 and 2007 tend to be very difficult, if not impossible, to read fluently. While there is an option to view a message in the default Web browser, it is cumbersome and slow to have to activate for every message.

    This new feature enables you to open a read-only message and read it using the Virtual PC Cursor just like reading a Web page in Internet Explorer or Firefox. You can navigate messages by character, word, line, sentence, paragraph, page, heading, table, link, and graphic. By default, tables are presented in a simple layout with one cell per line and provide a much more efficient means of reading complex messages.

    While navigating a virtualized message, you can:

    • Activate links in the message by navigating to them and pressing ENTER.
    • Obtain a list of links, headings, tables, and graphics in the message as you would on a Web page.
    • Use Navigation Quick Keys to move to various elements in a message. For instance, use P and SHIFT+P to read by paragraph.
    • Route the JAWS or Invisible Cursor to the approximate location of the Virtual Cursor where possible.
    • Select text and copy it to the Clipboard.

    If you want to view the actual layout of a message as it appears on the screen, turn off the Use Virtual Cursor for Read-only Messages option in Quick Settings (INSERT+V) for Outlook.

    Vocalizer Direct Synthesizer

    JAWS 14 supports Vocalizer Direct voices from Nuance Communications. These new voices work exclusively with Freedom Scientific products. Vocalizer Direct offers many benefits including improved performance, especially in the areas of latency and speech quality, as well as support for more languages and dialects, including Hungarian, Thai, Irish English, and South African English.

    To download these voices, go to the Vocalizer Direct Voices Web page. Each voice can be downloaded as high premium or premium. The high premium voices are large files, but offer the highest quality speech. The premium voices offer very good speech quality and a smaller file size. Both high premium and premium versions of a voice can be installed on the same computer so they can be compared. After installing a voice, a Vocalizer Direct profile will be added to the list of JAWS voice profiles.

    Note: All the Vocalizer Direct voices will be supported in future versions of MAGic and OpenBook. Install them now for JAWS, and these other products will take advantage of them in the future without the need to install again.

    Windows 8 Support

    Freedom Scientific has been working closely with the Microsoft Windows team over the past year and we have made the necessary changes in JAWS 14 in order to make the Windows 8 experience a very smooth transition. JAWS will perform with all your familiar applications used in Windows 7 or XP with a few exceptions, outlined below. When using the new Windows 8 Start Screen, or the new style apps such as e-mail, browser, calendar, or even the store to shop for Apps, you will find JAWS 14 really makes it a smooth transition for experienced JAWS users and very easy to learn for first-time users. You can also install the new Vocalizer Direct voices and use them with JAWS on Windows 8.

    Windows 8 Start Screen and Search Tool Support

    When you press the WINDOWS Key, the Start screen opens. This replaces the Start menu from prior versions of Windows. Each program is represented by a tile. Navigation of the tiles of the Start Screen is supported. As you navigate with the ARROW keys, you will hear the name of the tile gaining focus, the row and column of the tile, and expanded state of the tile. Expanded means that the tile takes up twice the space as a standard tile. This is necessary because columns may be skipped when navigating when a tile is twice the width of a standard tile. If you navigate to another group of tiles, JAWS plays a sound to indicate when you have switched groups. You can also simply begin typing the name of the application you want to quickly move to it.

    The Search Charm (Search edit box) is activated as soon as you begin typing text after opening the Start Screen by pressing the WINDOWS Key. If you press TAB, you move to the Search Categories list. Pressing UP or DOWN ARROW speaks the name of each category and its position. When you press SHIFT+TAB to move to the Search Results pane, the name of the focused result is announced followed by its position. As you navigate in the Search Results pane using the ARROW keys, the name and position are both indicated.

    Screen Sensitive Help (INSERT+F1) is provided at all these points offering navigation tips and warnings.

    A few useful keystrokes specific to Windows 8 include:

    • WINDOWS Key+Q: Places you in the edit field for searching your applications. Note that while on the Start Screen, simply beginning to type moves you into this same edit field.
    • WINDOWS Key+F: Places you in the edit field for searching your Files.
    • WINDOWS Key+W: Places you in the edit field for searching your Windows 8 Settings.
    • WINDOWS Key+I: Places you in the Settings Charm.
    • WINDOWS Key+C: Places you in the Charms.

    JAWS Cursor Navigation

    Reviewing the screen with the JAWS Cursor works somewhat differently in Windows 8 than it does in earlier operating systems. This is due to Microsoft eliminating the use of Mirror Display drivers and instead switching to Accessibility Display drivers.

    The main change is that the JAWS and Invisible Cursors no longer have an unrestricted mode in Windows 8. In other words, it is not possible to review the contents of multiple applications at the same time. These cursors are restricted to the contents of the current application or dialogue box. In addition, due to Microsoft changes, the title bar of each window cannot be read by the JAWS or Invisible Cursor. To read the window title, use the INSERT+T command.

    Just like earlier versions of Windows, there are some applications that render their contents to the screen in such a way that only the PC Cursor will report information about them.

    View Clipboard Text

    JAWS now combines the power of Results Viewer with the Clipboard. If you have copied some text to the Clipboard, pressing the layered keystroke INSERT+SPACEBAR, C will display the contents of the Clipboard in the Results Viewer. This offers you a wide range of flexibility with managing copied data, allowing you the opportunity to copy and paste it into multiple locations.

    For example, you could use CTRL+C to copy text to the Clipboard, then use INSERT+WINDOWS Key+C to append text to the Clipboard from other sources. Once you have added all of the text you want, press INSERT+SPACEBAR, C to display the Clipboard contents in the Results Viewer. At this point, you can choose any portion of the text in the Results Viewer window and copy it to the clipboard. Once you do this, the clipboard text is overwritten and the text previously collected is no longer associated with the clipboard. However, the text is still available in the Results Viewer, as long as that window stays open. This means you can repeatedly copy any text to the clipboard and paste it wherever you want.

    Text Analyser Enhancements

    The Text Analyser, a tool which can be used to notify you of inconsistencies in a document such as mismatched parentheses, unintentional format changes, extra whitespace, and stray or missing punctuation, has been improved to provide even more information about font changes. When scanning a document for errors, the Text Analyser can now identify inconsistencies with the font name, size, colour, and attributes, such as bold, italic, or underline.

    To configure what font changes are identified, go to the Text Analyser page in Settings Centre, navigate to the Font Changes to Check group, and select or clear one or more of the check boxes. By default, Text Analyser will identify all font changes.

    Text Analyser is also now more language aware. If you have created a document in another language, for instance, Spanish, and the correct language code has been used to identify the document as being in another language, Text Analyser will apply the correct language rules when analysing the document for errors.

    Select between Temporary PlaceMarker and the Current Position in HTML

    You can now select text between a temporary PlaceMarker and the current position in HTML environments.

    Already used in Word, this method of selecting text is often easier than attempting to use SHIFT in conjunction with the ARROW keys to select large blocks of text. For instance, use CTRL+WINDOWS Key+K to set a temporary PlaceMarker on a Web page, then move to another location on the page. Press the layered keystroke INSERT+SPACEBAR, M to then select the text between the temporary PlaceMarker and current location. The text is then available for copying to the Clipboard.

    Removing Unwanted Flash and Frame Announcements

    In JAWS 12, a feature was added that allowed previously inaccessible windowless flash objects to become accessible. This allowed JAWS users to be less dependent on page designers that may or may not remember to make Flash accessible. In addition, some sites contain windowless flash objects that were declared as windowless flash in order to hide objects that only affect the presentation of the page like a background picture, an icon inserted to accentuate document content, etc. All these items were invisible to users prior to JAWS 12. Now, as you navigate in the virtual buffer, you hear only "Flash start", "Flash end", or "Flash start", "graphic ###", "Flash end." As you navigate, you may also hear "frame start", "frame end" since Web pages also sometimes contain empty frames, which can be used to improve the visual layout of the page.

    JAWS 14 filters out these unnecessary flash and frame objects to help make reading in the virtual buffer as smooth as possible. JAWS will no longer announce the start and end of flash and frame objects if the only object inside flash is a graphic or button, or if the flash or frame object is empty.

    If you press INSERT+F9 for a list of frames, empty frames are not included in the list. Also, pressing Navigation Quick Key M or SHIFT+M will only move to frames that contain readable content.

    ARIA Support

    JAWS 14 supports all of the latest industry standard ARIA tags and elements that can be applied to Web pages. For more details on how JAWS works with ARIA, visit the Screen Reading Software Documentation page and select the JAWS Support for ARIA document.

    JAWS Find Searches Convenient OCR Content

    After OCR has been applied to an unrecognisable image or text, a JAWS Find (CTRL+INSERT+F), can be used to search for recognized text.

    Move to Next or Prior Separator

    Frequently, Web page authors will use the <hr> HTML tag to insert a line of dashes between sections of a Web page. This is called a separator. You can now press Navigation Quick Key DASH or SHIFT+DASH to move to the next or prior separator on a Web page in Internet Explorer or Firefox.

    New Settings Centre option for Configuring Punctuation Level

    You can now use Settings Centre to configure the amount of punctuation JAWS will speak in all applications. To set the punctuation level, do the following:

    1. Press INSERT+F2, and select Settings Centre.
    2. Press CTRL+SHIFT+D to load the default JAWS settings.
    3. In the Search edit box, type "punctuation level" without the quotes.
    4. Press DOWN ARROW to move to Punctuation Level in the filtered search results in the tree view.
    5. Press SPACEBAR to choose how much punctuation you want to hear. The choices are None, Some, Most, and All.

    SAPI 5 64-bit Support
    JAWS 14 now works with 64-bit SAPI 5 voices. A SAPI 5 64-bit profile has been added to the list of default voice profiles and is available when using JAWS on a 64-bit version of Windows.

    New Keystrokes for Permanently Changing Speech Rate

    New keystrokes have been added to allow you to permanently change the voice rate on the fly. Press CTRL+WINDOWS Key+ALT+PAGE UP to increase the rate and press CTRL+WINDOWS Key+ALT+PAGE DOWN to decrease the rate. The new speech rate is saved to the active voice profile. You can still use CTRL+ALT+PAGE UP and CTRL+ALT+PAGE DOWN to temporarily change the speech rate if necessary. The rate will revert back to the last saved setting when you press ALT+TAB.

    If you are using the MAGic Large Print Keyboard, pressing the dedicated speech rate keys will permanently save the new rate to the active voice profile. Pressing the speech rate keys along with the CTRL key will temporarily change the voice rate.

    Append to Clipboard

    The command to append text to the Clipboard, WINDOWS Key+C, has changed due to conflicts with the Windows 8 operating system. The new keystroke is INSERT+WINDOWS Key+C. In Windows 8, WINDOWS Key+C opens the Charm Bar.

    Scripting Enhancements

    JAWS 14 includes a new scripting function for obtaining screen content in XML format. For more information on using this new function, refer to the Enhancements in Scripting Web page.

    Download JAWS 14

    The following briefly describes how to download, save, and install the JAWS 14 release.

    Note: If your corporate firewall prevents you from downloading files using FTP (File Transfer Protocol), use the HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) links instead.

    1. Select the appropriate download link that appears at the end of this procedure.
    2. When the dialogue box opens, choose Save and select a location where you can easily find the downloaded executable file.
    3. Run the executable and follow the talking installer.
    4. After installing software, always check for updates to make sure you have the latest release.

    During JAWS installation, the OCR engine for Convenient OCR is automatically downloaded and installed. If you will be installing JAWS on a computer that does not have Internet access and you wish to use the Convenient OCR feature, you will also need to choose the link to download the OCR engine. Place this file in the same location as the executable before beginning the installation.

    Check for Updates

    To respond quickly to customer issues, Freedom Scientific provides minor software updates throughout the year. The Check for Updates feature makes it very easy to keep up with the latest JAWS enhancements. If you maintain your software as updates are published, you can download incremental updates, or patches, to your computer. If several minor releases have been published before you check for updates, you will download a full software release, which includes all minor releases up to that point. You can manually check for updates at any time, or JAWS can automatically check for updates when it starts.

    Manually Check for Updates

    To check for updates after installing a release, do the following:

    1. Open the JAWS application window.
    2. Open the Help menu.
    3. Select Check for Updates. The update feature determines if you have the most current release. If you do not, select one or more items from the list and then select INSTALL to begin the update. All enhancements since the initial public beta release are included in the update.

    Automatically Check for Updates

    The Automatic Notification of Updates feature, which is on by default, alerts you when a software update is available. This is an easy way to maintain your software. If you decide not to install the JAWS update, you can always manually check for updates later as described in the previous section.

    To turn auto notification on or off, choose Basics in the JAWS Options menu, and select or clear the Automatic Notification of Updates check box.

    Demo Software

    To try a free demo version of JAWS, select the appropriate link from the Download JAWS 14 section above and run JAWS in 40-minute demo mode.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Question: If I download the JAWS 14 release from the Web, should I install JAWS from the DVD when I receive it?

    Answer: No. However, you should check for updates by pressing ALT+H from the JAWS program window, and then pressing P to select Check for Updates.

    Question: If I wait until my DVD arrives to install JAWS 14, should I also download the version that is available on the Web?

    Answer: No, but once you have installed JAWS 14 from the DVD, you should check for updates by pressing ALT+H from the JAWS program window, and then pressing P to select Check for Updates.

    Question: Should I remove my existing version of JAWS before installing the new JAWS 14?

    Answer: This is not necessary and many users choose to keep multiple versions on their system. Once you find that you are no longer using the prior version, and everything is working well with the new version, you may uninstall the old version but do not remove shared components.

    Question: If I recently received JAWS 13, how do I get JAWS 14?

    Answer: If you purchased JAWS 13 after September 1, 2012, you can download the JAWS 14 release for free from the Freedom Scientific Web site. To verify if you are entitled to the current version, visit the Freedom Scientific Software Activation page. You will need your serial number.

    Question: If my SMA expires, will I receive a notice?

    Answer: Customers in the U.S. will receive notification in the mail shortly after the JAWS 14 DVD arrives. The envelope will have a braille label on the outside, and it will contain an SMA Renewal letter explaining the process in print and braille. The JAWS SMA Renewal Form is also available for download from the JAWS Headquarters on the Freedom Scientific Web site.

     

     

  • Voiceye - A New Dawn in Accessibility

    Sight and Sound Technology – (http://www.sightandsound.co.uk) – leading UK provider of hardware and software for users who are blind, visually impaired and those with difficulties learning and reading, are delighted to announce another exclusive distribution in cutting edge technology with the launch of software product ‘Voiceye’.

    Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, explains: “Voiceye technology is really exciting as it embraces the new world of digital media and social networking but at a price that our customers can afford. It’s a cutting-edge piece of technology that will benefit anyone who requires an effective way to transfer text to electronic format.”

    Voiceye is a software product that becomes an ‘add in’ on Microsoft and Adobe applications and is the revolutionary way to access printed information for those who have reading difficulties and sight impairments. The Voiceye programme allows a number of pages of text within a document to be encoded into an image which appears in the form of a barcode at the top right hand corner of the document.

    When this image is scanned with an intelligent device (e.g iPhone, iPad, Android Tablet, computer) that has the Voiceye application installed, which is free of charge to download, the text that has been encoded is immediately transferred onto the device. After scanning the image, the text can then be viewed in different sizes, different colours and even read aloud if the device also has a text to speech application, which will enable those with a variety of reading or sight difficulties to choose the best method in which they wish to receive the document according to the nature of their disability.

    Customers of Sight and Sound Technology, Michael and Daniel Smith, comment: “We are extremely excited by Voiceye, and think that it will be a very useful tool in helping blind and VI individuals to embrace new social networking tools, for example, in the same way as their sighted peers”.

    An internet connected device can share via SMS, email or via social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Voiceye fits perfectly with the new age of digital media and social networking, allowing those with reading or sight difficulties to use these networks with ease and for a minimal cost. Text that is subject to copyright can be protected, disabling Save and Send options.

    -------Ends-------

    Notes to Editor:
    • Sight and Sound Technology is the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software to the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties. They work in unison with private individuals, charitable organisations, educational establishments and commercial enterprises to help users fully realise their potential. Their product solutions have been specifically designed to improve quality of life at work, at study or in the home.
    • For more information on Sight and Sound Technology please visit: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk
    • To arrange an interview with Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, please contact katie@zoodikers.com

  • Buy with Confidence at Sight and Sound

    Sight and Sound Technology, leading UK provider of hardware and software to the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties,  has reinforced their commitment to standards of excellence after being accepted onto the Northamptonshire County Council ‘Buy with Confidence’ scheme.

    The scheme provides consumers with a list of businesses who have made a commitment to trade fairly, and is Trading Standards approved.

    Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology Ltd, comments; “We are thrilled to have been accepted into the scheme, which recognises our commitment to delivering an excellent and fair service to all of our clients”.

    He adds; “At a time when the local authority is investing in schemes such as the Independent Living Initiative, it is really important for us to be recognised as a credible organisation that allows people to have a voice, choice and control over any support they need in order to maintain an active, healthy and quality lifestyle”.

    The scheme, which was launched in 1999 by Hampshire County Council, has since partnered with fifty Local Authority Trading Standards services across the UK.  In order to qualify for the scheme, organisations are subjected to a variety of rigorous assessments.

    Whilst approved by Northamptonshire County Council, the scheme stipulates trading standards and codes of conduct for practice nationally.

    In an industry where customer support is paramount, Sight and Sound Technology continually strive to provide Best of Breed products and unrivalled customer support.  One satisfied customer recently wrote; “…On a totally different scale was Sight and Sound Technology, who are a great deal more geared up to deal with visually impaired people, and have a better understanding of our needs.  I would personally recommend this company for any computer knowledge, as their after-sales and backup service leaves other companies way behind.”

    For more information about the scheme, please visit their website.

    -------ENDS------

    Notes to Editor

    • Sight and Sound Technology is the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software to the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties. They work in unison with private individuals, charitable organisations, educational establishments and commercial enterprises to help users fully realise their potential. Their product solutions have been specifically designed to improve quality of life at work, at study or in the home.
    • To arrange an interview with Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, please contact katie@zoodikers.com

     

  • Visually impaired twins cycle tandem towards their future

    Identical twin brothers Michael and Dan Smith, aged 20, recently cycled tandem 570km from London to Amsterdam to raise funds for UK charity Blind in Business.  The route started with London to Calais on day one, onto Gent, Rotterdam and Amsterdam over the course of 4 days. Michael and Dan were guided throughout their route by five sighted guides, all medical students at Barts and the London School of Medicine.

    The brothers were sponsored by Sight and Sound Technology, the leading UK provider of hardware and software for visually impaired and blind users, and managed to raise over £16,000 for the charity. Dan Mitchell, Training and Fundraising Manager at Blind in Business, said: “Cycling from London to Amsterdam is a gruelling challenge for any person, and an endurance challenge that many sighted people would steer clear of.  For two virtually blind twins, it’s shown their true determination to succeed.  We are extremely proud of the Smith Twins and the rest of the cycling team, and I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear from them!”

    In 2009, Michael Smith first noticed changes in his sight; “My symptoms came on suddenly – one day I was in a lecture and I could not make out the projector in front of me, it was really hazy,” he explains.

    Having lost 70%-80% of sight in his left eye within a matter of weeks, he was forced to leave university and discontinue his first year studying Medicine at Barts and the London School of Medicine. Following his decline in sight, Michael’s diagnosis was slow, however after a genetic test Michael was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition ‘Leber’s Optic Neuropathy’.

    Unfortunately less than a year later, his twin brother Dan suffered the same fate whilst in his second year of studying Aeronautical Engineering at University of Bristol. Although devastating for Dan, he was able to continue his studies due to the technology that was now available to him. At least now they knew which technology was available, how to access it and they understood all the processes required, thanks to organisations such as Sight and Sound Technology.

    Blind in Business directed the boys towards Sight and Sound Technology. As leaders in cutting-edge technology and revolutionary new ways to aid the visually impaired, Sight and Sound Technology have been able to give them the help they need with support from their highly skilled trainers and technical support desk.  Michael is now a Geography undergraduate at Kings College, London.  He plans to convert to Law and study the GDL and LPC within the conversion. He has an internship this summer with law firm Ashurst.

    Michael Smith comments: “At first I struggled to adjust to life without my sight, it was very difficult to come to terms with. But with the help and support of Blind in Business and Sight and Sound Technology, the transition has been made a lot easier. Dan and I are happy that we could take part in the bike race to thank the organisations for their hard work.”

    Sight and Sound Technology have been training Michael ever since in using technology and software programmes such as JAWS (screen reader software), ZoomText (screen magnifier software), TOPAZ (desktop magnification) and Kurzweil 100 plus scanner (text to speech software and scanner). Dan also uses similar technology with the addition of PEARL and Openbook, a text to speech software and capture.

    Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology explains: “It’s a privilege to work with such inspirational boys. They are determined to complete university and get good jobs despite being left almost completely blind.  Our technology is enabling them to regain some independence and continue their studies in a bid to fight the condition which has so heavily affected their lives.

    “We are very proud to have sponsored them for the race and will continue to support them in the future.”

    Ends

    Notes to Editor

    • For more information on Sight and Sound Technology please visit http://www.sightandsound.co.uk
    • Sight and Sound Technology is the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software to the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties. They work in unison with private individuals, charitable organisations, educational establishments and commercial enterprises to help our users fully realise their potential. Their product solutions have been specifically designed to improve quality of life at work, at study or in the home.
    • To arrange an interview with Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, please contact katie@zoodikers.com
    • For further information on Blind in Business visit http://www.blindinbusiness.co.uk
    • Blind in Business ask for one simple thing.  They want more undergraduate and graduates to work with throughout the UK, to help them into their first job.  All their services are free.  They have a proven-track-record of helping people into good jobs, in marketing, IT, law, teaching, anything but driving a bus.

     

  • Sight and Sound Technology form new partnership with world leaders KOBA Vision

    Sight and Sound Technology – (www.sightandsound.co.uk) - the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software to the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties, has announced a two year master distribution deal with KOBA Vision.

    KOBA Vision has been providing world leading solutions for the visually impaired for over 25 years.  Their acclaimed screen reader and magnifier solutions, Vocatex and Orabis, will now be exclusively available through Sight and Sound Technology.

    The ergonomically designed Vocatex provides a revolutionary step forward for high definition screen magnification and reading solutions.  Unlike other desktop CCTV magnifiers, Vocatex is the only solution that is able to read text in real time, meaning that the nuisance of having to switch between capture and live modes, as well as the confusion between page and on-screen text, is eradicated.

    Bart Peremans, Director of Sales and Marketing for KOBA Vision says: “This new distribution agreement with Sight and Sound Technology brings our leading read aloud video magnifier solutions closer to visually impaired people in the UK, enabling them to rediscover the pleasure of reading. Sight and Sound Technology presents the right platform to make this new technology available to those that need it.”

    CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, Glenn Tookey comments: “Our commitment to providing the widest choice of best of breed products to our customers is at the forefront of what we do, and we’re delighted to add KOBA Vision’s world leading Vocatex and Orabis to our already impressive range of VI and dyslexia solutions.”

    Other notable benefits of the Vocatex include its continuous reading feature.  Thanks to its intelligent reading function, entire pages can be read in real time without the interrupting pauses expected when jumping to different sections of text.  This faster, fluid, more natural reading experience provided by the Vocatex means that users can now enjoy both the independence and pleasure of reading.

    The Orabis shares many of the same features of the Vocatex, and is the entry-level solution.

    The new master distribution deal with KOBA Vision follows Sight and Sound Technology’s recent acquisition of Forcetenco, a major supplier of low vision aids and assistive hearing solutions, in January.

    Ends

    Notes to Editor:

    • Founded in 1985, KOBA Vision located in Leopoldsburg, Belgium, searches each and every day for new applications and technologies which make reading as comfortable as possible. Run by its visually impaired CEO, Johan Haagdorens, the company is the leading manufacturer of high quality products for the visually impaired and the blind. The world’s first read aloud video magnifier Vocatex (patent) and High Definition are the most important milestones in KOBA’s history.
    • Sight and Sound Technology is the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software to the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties. They work in unison with private individuals, charitable organisations, educational establishments and commercial enterprises to help users fully realise their potential. Their product solutions have been specifically designed to improve quality of life at work, at study or in the home.
    • To arrange an interview with Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, please contact katie@zoodikers.com

     

  • Sadness at the sudden death of PC David Rathband

    The team at Sight and Sound Technology was saddened to hear the news this morning of the sudden death of PC David Rathband.

    We understand that David was found dead at his home in Blyth, Northumberland.

    Since being shot in July 2010, David struggled to come to terms with his horrific injuries and the traumatic effect they had on him and his family and friends.
    David’s legacy will live on in the form of The Blue Lamp Foundation http://bluelamp-foundation.org which bears his name. The Foundation was started by David to help emergency services personnel injured in the line of duty as the result of a criminal act.

    We are privileged to have worked with David as sponsors of the Foundation first annual celebrity golf challenge.

    We would like to extend our sincere wishes of sympathy to his wife Katherine and to all of the family.

  • Kurzweil 1000 has all these great features

    Did you know that Kurzweil 1000 has all these great features?

    Kurzweil 1000 reads text aloud and delivers natural-sounding voices and quick access to virtually any content for people who are blind or visually impaired.

    A new User Wizard to walk first-time users through features and preference setups making it easy to get started.

    Recognition of simple forms to allow the user to fill in fields and insert a handwritten signature.

    The ability to create and search multilevel bookmarks.

    An auto rescan to get the best scan possible, saving time and effort.
    Compatibility with broad range of file types, including PDFs and ZIP files.

    Supports any device that emulates a disk drive, providing the ability to send a file to virtually any device type.

    Access to eighteen bilingual dictionaries and online encyclopedias, including Wikipedia.

    Download a free demo of Kurzweil 1000.


  • Sight and Sound Acquires ForceTenCo

    Sight and Sound LogoForceTenCo Logo

    Sight and Sound Technology build on their success with the acquisition of Forcetenco

    Sight and Sound Technology – (http://www.sightandsound.co.uk) - the UK’s leading provider of assistive solutions for the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties, are today pleased to announce the acquisition of The Force Ten Company Limited (Forcetenco).

    Forcetenco, has been a major supplier of low vision aids and assistive hearing solutions since 1989. This merger will see Sight and Sound Technology further enhance its already extensive range of technology for the visually impaired, adding further master distribution agreements to those of Freedom Scientific, AI Squared and Cambium (Kurzweil).

    Forcetenco recently won the BETT 2012 SEN Technology award with the acclaimed VOICEYE product, which provides a unique print text accessibility solution for users with print and visual impairments. Sight and Sound Technology will now acquire the exclusive distributorship of this acclaimed product.

    Sight and Sound Technology will continue to service and support all of the products previously purchased from Forcetenco.

    Norman Lilly of Forcetenco said:

    “For us it was time to pass the good work we have been doing for over 16 years into hands that could further develop the relationships that we have and build them into the UK's largest technology company for the blind, visually impaired and those with learning difficulties. We will still be involved and will help integrate the two businesses together to ensure that all of our customers have a seamless transfer to the new operation.”

    CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, Glenn Tookey comments:

    “The merger of the two companies integrates almost 50 years of knowledge and experience, creating a powerful operation in assistive technology for those with visual impairment. The benefits to customers of both companies is access to a wider range of solutions to meet their needs, all trained and supported under one roof. We can offer more value than ever before.”

  • Sight and Sound Technology to showcase latest Assistive Technology at BETT 2012

    Sight and Sound Technology – the leading UK provider of hardware and software solutions for visually impaired and blind users, as well as users with learning and reading difficulties, will be showcasing the latest cutting-edge assistive technology at BETT 2012 (http://www.bettshow.com).

    The latest versions of the world’s leading software solutions for the visually impaired, JAWS and ZoomText, will be showcased.

    JAWS 13, from Freedom Scientific, improves its reading sophistication and user experience with new features such as; Convenient OCR – advanced Optical Character Recognition for text in image formats – giving blind computer users access to PDF files, DVD menus, application setup screens and other material that were previously inaccessible; and Results Viewer which provides a faster and easier navigation experience of existing features such as Research It.

    ZoomText 10, the latest version from Ai Squared, includes a significant upgrade with four new features, including the; ZoomText Camera, which provides users with an inexpensive CCTV alternative; Background Reader, which allows spoken text to be read aloud in the background for multi-tasking; Enhanced Web Finder, which provides a faster, efficient web navigation experience; and the ZoomText Recorder, which lets users create audio files from any text on screen to be transferred to portable device(s) for access on-the-go.

    The latest version of the popular text-to-speech learning tool for users with learning disabilities, Kurzweil 3000 Version 13, which will also be on the Sight and Sound Technology stand, is now available to users with an unlimited web licence and a fully integrated simplistic ‘cloud’ service called Firefly.

    Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, explains: “BETT is well known for its long standing tradition of showcasing the best available assistive technologies to the public. Our reputation has been built on the same approach, working with customers to take advantage of technology to provide the right solutions and support. Keeping up with the fast pace of technology development is always a challenge, but we continue to build our Master Distribution relationships ensuring that we are able to offer choice, best of breed products and great support to our customers.”

    In addition to software, Sight and Sound Technology will be showcasing hardware solutions at BETT including The PLEXTALK Pocket, which uniquely provides portable DAISY playback, recording and tracking, as well the ability to record in MP3, WAV and other audio file formats, to users with print disabilities.

    Bruno Cozette, International Account Executive of PLEXTALK comments: “We are very pleased that our DAISY player and recorder, the PLEXTALK Pocket, is now available through Sight and Sound Technology. Sight and Sound Technology are a passionate team with expertise in innovative and high-quality products, making mainstream technology accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired and for those with learning and reading difficulties.”

    Freedom Scientific's Scanning and Reading Appliance/CE, or SARA™ and SARA CE™, the user friendly solution for users with low vision and little computer experience, now features the ABBY FineReader® in its OmniPage® OCR engine, increasing the accuracy and speed of character recognition and playback to the user.

    Freedom Scientific’s TOPAZ® XL HD, brings high definition to desktop video magnification. The TOPAZ® XL, which has become an indispensable tool for users with visual impairments, now offers High Definition clarity at below two times magnification levels, fitting more text on the screen, and removing the nuisance of repeatedly manoeuvring the magnified document under the camera. With Freedom Scientific’s optional GEM™ software, low vision users can bring the magnified image to their PC, control the TOPAZ XL HD from their keyboard, and see the magnified document and their application on screen simultaneously, enabling multi-tasking and increased productivity.

    The new TOPAZ XL HD line offers 20-inch, 22-inch, and 24-inch widescreen models, as well as 17-inch standard monitor and camera only models.
    Sight and Sound Technology will be exhibiting at BETT 2012 on stand SN40 in the SEN zone.

  • Freedom Scientific Announces High Definition Video Magnifier Line

    Crisper, Clearer Images for Those with Low Vision

    (St. Petersburg, Florida – December 2, 2011) – Freedom Scientific, the world leader in assistive technology for those that are low vision or blind, today unveiled another breakthrough in assistive technology with a line of high definition desktop video magnifiers called TOPAZ® XL HD.

    "Our TOPAZ XL has become an indispensable tool for many people, allowing them to once again read bills, bank statements, and other personal documents independently, and store them on their PC for later retrieval," says Brad Davis, Freedom Scientific’s Vice President of Hardware. “Now our new HD models offer improved efficiency, because the clear high contrast image, even at magnification levels below 2x, can fit more text on the screen than ever before. For many users, this means they can display an entire standard page of text across a widescreen monitor and read comfortably without moving their document back and forth under the camera."

    Other video magnifiers can share their monitor with a PC to save desk space, but the TOPAZ XL HD goes beyond that. With Freedom Scientific’s optional GEM™ software, low vision users can bring the magnified image to their PC, control the TOPAZ XL HD from the keyboard, and work in multiple split screen views so that they see their magnified document and their application at the same time. Users can quickly capture multiple images, review them with a single keystroke, and select which ones to save.

    The new TOPAZ XL HD line offers 20-inch, 22-inch, and 24-inch widescreen models, as well as 17-inch standard monitor and camera only models. The products are shipping in December.

    For complete specifications and pricing details, visit TOPAZ product page.

    Sight and Sound Technology also offer a broad range of Freedom Scientific technology solutions for those with low vision, including:

    • MAGic® screen magnification software
    • RUBY® and SAPPHIRE® handheld video magnifiers
    • ONYX® portable distance, document, and self view cameras
    • PEARL® OCR camera with OpenBook® and the SARA™ and SARA CE scanning and reading appliances for both blind and low vision users
  • JAWS® for Windows version 13

    Freedom Scientific today announced the release of JAWS® for Windows version 13, including Convenient OCR, a feature that performs Optical Character Recognition on text that is displayed as an image, thereby enabling blind computer users to read items that were previously inaccessible. Examples of such screens include a PDF file, the setup screen of an application, or the menu of selections on a DVD. JAWS now provides an opportunity to read and interact with these screens, including locating and clicking on text which may be required to activate a control.

    JAWS 13 also includes Results Viewer, a new HTML interface that displays the results of features like Research It. The new interface enables faster navigation with Navigation Quick Keys and switching to other windows without losing the results of your lookup. Sports scores have returned to Research It and are easier to navigate than ever before. The INSERT+V keystroke now opens the new Quick Settings, which replaces Adjust JAWS Options and matches the easy-to-use Settings Center style interface introduced last year in JAWS 12.

    “This release represents a huge step in accessibility for screen reader users,” says Eric Damery, Vice President of Software Product Management for Freedom Scientific. “Whether trying to identify and read inaccessible PDF documents that are just scanned images or interacting with graphical controls that could not previously be located, the new Convenient OCR option built into JAWS 13 has been described as a real game changer. JAWS 13 is also packed with other features and enhancements that have been selected and designed to improve access and ease of use for all users.”

    The upgrade is an SMA release and can be downloaded as either a 32-bit or 64-bit version from the JAWS downloads page. DVD shipments to SMA holders and new product customers will commence on Nov 1, 2011.

     

  • Sight and Sound Technology announce UK offer for launch of ZoomText 10

    Sight and Sound Technology, the UK/Ireland master distributor for ZoomText Magnifier/Reader, is delighted to announce the release of ZoomText 10.

    ZoomText 10 is made by Ai Squared - worldwide leaders in screen magnification software for the visually impaired, and it is the latest version of the popular screen magnifier/screen reader. ZoomText makes computers accessible and friendly for Windows users by magnifying and speaking what appears on the screen.

    In addition to the already versatile capabilities of ZoomText, the new ZoomText 10 release is full of new features designed to enhance users’ productivity by allowing them to multitask, navigate around the web faster and easier than ever before, take their work with them when they’re away from the computer, and access print material. Additionally, an HD webcam magnifier has been included in Ai Squared’s growing list of accessories.

    “In this day and age where everything is accessed online, it’s imperative that the visually impaired have the tools that let them surf the net as quickly as their sighted colleagues,” states David Wu, CEO at Ai Squared. “Not to mention that the need to have access on the go – ZoomText 10 offers so many new and robust features that it’s really going to be a game changer.”

    The four new main features in ZoomText 10 are: ZoomText Camera, which allows you to use a webcam along with ZoomText as an inexpensive CCTV alternative; Background Reader, which lets you listen to text spoken aloud in the background while you concentrate on other tasks; Enhanced Web Finder, the ultimate productivity tool for browsing the web and finding information; and finally ZoomText Recorder, which lets you create audio files from any text on screen which you can put on your portable device(s) for access on-the-go.

    Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, explains: “ZoomText 10 is a clear step forward for screen magnification and screen reading solutions. All the new features in ZoomText 10 continue to push the functionality of the world’s most popular screen magnifier above and beyond. This latest release of ZoomText reaffirms its position as the leading solution for visually impaired Windows users in the screen magnification/reading market.”

    Sight and Sound Technology is currently offering the newly launched ZoomText 10 at the same price as the previous, less advanced version of the software.

    For Sight and Sound Technology customers who purchased  a full boxed copy of ZoomText 9.1 after 25th October, the upgrade to ZoomText 10 is free.

    ZoomText at a Glance

    ZoomText is a powerful computer access solution for the visually impaired. Consisting of two adaptive technologies—screen magnification and screen reading— ZoomText allows you to see and hear everything on the computer screen, providing complete access to applications, documents, email and the Internet. Specialized support is provided for Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and Outlook), Internet Explorer, Firefox and Adobe Acrobat Reader.

    ZoomText is available in two versions— ZoomText Magnifier and ZoomText Magnifier/Reader—and available on CD and USB. Both versions include Ai Squared’s exclusive “xFont” technology, delivering perfectly clear text at all magnification levels (up to 36x). A variety of screen enhancement features make everything on the screen easy to see and follow. ZoomText Magnifier/Reader features powerful screen and document reading with human-sounding “NeoSpeech” voices that are pleasant to listen to all day long.

    ZoomText 10 supports Windows 7, Vista, and XP, and can be used with virtually any application. ZoomText is localized in 21 languages: Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and UK English.

    Ends

    Notes to Editor

    • To find out more about Ai Squared and ZoomText 10 please visit http://www.aisquared.com/

    • To find out more about Sight and Sound Technology please visit http://www.sightandsound.co.uk

    • Sight and Sound Technology is the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software to the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties. They work in unison with private individuals, charitable organisations, educational establishments and commercial enterprises to help our users fully realise their potential. Their product solutions have been specifically designed to improve quality of life at work, at study or in the home.

    • To arrange an interview with Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology, please contact katie@zoodikers.com

  • ZoomText 10 Storms onto the Scene

    The wait is over - ZoomText 10 is here and ready for sale! For those of you who pre-ordered, you're all set. For those who didn't, here's how:

    Today

    • Buy ZoomText "Digital Only" version. We'll give you a serial number so you can start using ZoomText immediately. The product documentation will be available online for downloading.
    • Buy ZoomText "Physical Shipment". We'll give you a serial number so you can start using ZoomText immediately. Your documentation will be sent to you at a later date.

    In the Coming Weeks

    • You can still choose to buy ZoomText Digital (and save yourself some money on shipping), but we will also be offering up the traditional shipped ZoomText box.

    Purchase ZoomText Magnifier or Magnifier Reader online or give us a call at 0845 634 7979.

    Even though ZoomText is just ready electronically, we've got camera packages ready to be shipped out!

    Want to try ZoomText 10 before you buy? Download a copy from our website download a free 60-day trial

    We've sent out emails with videos on each particular feature, but we have prepared a quick video that covers all the new and exciting features in version 10.

    Introducing ZoomText 10

     

     

     

  • Latest video from Sight Village London 2011

    CEO Glenn Tookey outlines the solutions available to the blind, visually impaired and those with reading and learning difficulties

    Latest video from Sight Village London 2011


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