Tuesday, June 27

KeySoft 7.2 Thoughts

Greetings. The following information came into my Inbox today and I thought I'd pass it along, with my thoughts on the content. Here's what HumanWare has to offer in the upcoming KeySoft 7.2 release:


HumanWare will be releasing KeySoft 7.2 early in the
4th quarter of 2006, making your BrailleNote or VoiceNote even more useful
and efficient.
Whether you have a BrailleNote or VoiceNote mPower, a BrailleNote PK, or a
BrailleNote or VoiceNote Classic, there is a version of KeySoft 7.2 that
will be available for you.  KeySoft 7.2 takes one count from your Software
Maintenance Agreement (SMA).  An SMA allows you to receive two major
versions of KeySoft for the price of one.  Remember, an SMA can only be used
for a version of KeySoft if it is purchased prior to the release of the
software concerned.  So if you are not yet an SMA holder, ensure you get the
best deal on KeySoft 7.2 by purchasing your SMA now.  Contact HumanWare or
your local dealer for KeySoft 7.2 pricing.   What's in KeySoft 7.2?
Working with Files Is Easier (available on all models)

KeySoft allows extensive manipulation of files from any file list.  Anywhere
you can see a list of files, you can copy, erase, move, protect, unprotect
and rename a file.  Now, it is possible to mark files for action.  Move
through a list of files, mark those files that you need to take action on,
and the file manipulation commands can be applied to the group of files.
Now, when you look through a file list using the Directory option in File
Manager, pressing ENTER on any file will launch its associated application.
Pressing ENTER on an mp3 file for example will immediately cause it to start
playing in the Media Player.  In any file list, it is now easier to get it
sorted.  You can still sort files alphabetically as you have always done,
however you can now also sort by date and by size.  Sorting by size is a
great way of finding those pesky large files that are consuming FLASH Disk
space.  Sorting by date makes it easier to trace the progress of a project
whose files are contained in their own folder.  e-mail Signatures (available
on all models)  KeySoft 7.2 adds the ability to set up two e-mail
signatures.  Configure an e-mail signature for messages you generate, and
another for messages you forward or reply to.  You can see the text of the
signature right in the body of any e-mail message you create.  Statistics
Support in the Calculator (available on all models)  KeySoft 7.2 offers
intuitive, powerful statistical functions in KeyPlus.  Create data sets
within the Calculator using a special data entry mode.  Enter your data into
a KeyWord document, and paste it into data entry mode from the clipboard.
Import data sets from many common applications.  Save data sets for later
use, and export them for use by other applications.  Perform a wide range of
statistical functions on a data set using an intuitive KeySoft menu, or with
hotkeys.  DAISY Support (available on BrailleNote and VoiceNote mPower, and
BrailleNote PK)  Your BrailleNote or VoiceNote is about to become your
digital book player.  HumanWare is the world leader in DAISY playback
technology, through our Victor Reader products.  Now, we have incorporated
Victor Reader technology right into KeySoft.  Listen to DAISY audio books,
with the flexibility to speed up and slow down the narration and change the
tone of the audio.  Set bookmarks, create text notes, and jump to any time
in the book.  Text only DAISY books are instantly translated into your
preferred grade of Braille.  With books that offer both text and audio, you
have the best of both worlds.  Choose to read in Braille for detailed study,
and let the narrator read to you when it suits.  Move through DAISY
elements, or use the familiar KeySoft sentence and paragraph navigation
commands in text DAISY books if you prefer.  Get ready!

Make sure you have a current Software Maintenance Agreement so you can
download your copy of KeySoft 7.2 when it is released.  KeySoft 7.2 from
HumanWare will change the way you work, learn and play.

Now, as promised, my thoughts. First off, after reading over this the first time, I immediately had the thought of, "Well, it looks like they're still playing catch up to the PAC Mate." The PAC Mate has the ability to do all of these things, and more. I'm sure this will be a step up for BrailleNote people though, mainly because they haven't had the ability.

Second, as for the manipulation of files, it's about time they got around to doing that in KeySoft. I was a BrailleNote user for about a year and a half to two years several years ago, so I feel I can comment on this. Even as far back as 2002 or 2003, people were requesting some way of associating files, or having them open in their respective applications. As well as the ability to rename and otherwise manipulate files. That's quite a gap from 2002 to mid 2006.

Finally, from the numbering of the update, you would think it was a minor update. If this is true though, then why are you charged an SMA count for getting the update? And, is it even called an update or an upgrade?

However, this last area can be considered to be peddy speculation. The fact remains that only a few months ago, they were distributing and promoting KeySoft 7. Now they're promoting version 7.2. Its good to see the development cycle and promotion of new versions decreasing from before. After all, it took them a full year to promote, and finally release, version 7.0.

Bottom line though, as a biased PAC Mate user, KeySoft still hasn't done anything that makes me go, "Wow!" Oh well; perhaps in the next update or upgrade.

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