Thursday, October 12

Highlights of JAWS 8.0

Greetings. As noted on The Ranger Station, here are a few things to look forward to in the upcoming release of JAWS 8.0. In case you want to hear a program previewing the new version, you can find the appropriate link on The Ranger Station entry dated 10/11/06.

* The new “What’s New In JAWS will feature both Eric and Jonathan Mozen. It’s going to be released as a MP3 on the FS site and it’s about 90 minutes long.
This will also be included on the CD in DAISY format.
* JAWS 8 will be downloadable off the web, however, this version will not contain the new Realspeak synthesizers. As a result of JAWS now being able to
use Realspeak it will be shipped on CD to all current SMA holders.
* The version of Realspeak shipped is over 700 MB and it comes on it’s own CD. The JAWS bi fold package will contain the Realspeak CD on one side and the
JFW program disc on the other. Nothing was said about the ILM disc though.
* Public Beta releases, like those with 7.1, will return after the release of 8.0.
* JAWS will now use the Automatic Update feature more often. The plan is to update JAWS every 6 weeks.
* 8.0 no longer supports older versions of Windows. Windows 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, XP Media Center Edition and Windows Server 2003 are supported.
* The older versions of JAWS will still be available on the web but not supported by Freedom Scientific. The archives go all the way back to version 2.0
by the way.
* Eric has stated that a version of JAWS will be available on the day and date of Vista’s release. His comments seemed to be directed at the January 30th
retail versions rather than the upcoming Enterprise release.
* 8.0 will work with Office 2007, however, that program is still in Beta and better support will arrive in future updates.
* Realspeak is being adopted to give JAWS better international language support.
Bi Fold package with Realspeak CD on one side and JFW program disc on the other.
* The Realspeak English territory release will contain 3 American, 2 British, 2 Australian, 1 Castilian Spanish and 1 Latin American Spanish voice.
* Other languages will be sold regionally such as Italian and German.
* The new Realspeak voices can be used with the new Say All feature. This will allow you to navigate with Eloquence and switch on the fly to Realspeak
for document reading.
* 8.0 will support IE 7.
* Some keystrokes have changed to avoid conflicts with IE 7 but nothing that as not already been seen with Firefox support
* Virtual Buffer and Document Server loading of dynamic HTML and other content has been improved from 7.1. You can actually read pages with tickers in
real time .. and this is said to be amazing with a Braille display.
* Skim Reading will now recognize attributes and colors when searching through text
* The Startup Wizard will allow you to customize JAWS when you first launch the program after a new install. This is added from Magic and it allows you
to set your preferences without you having to sort through many of the menus in the Configuration Manager.
* The JAWS Find Dialog now has a History list of the last 20 items searched
* Application Management from Magic makes the leap into JAWS. You can go into this tool and turn off JAWS scripts in say Firefox to see if the program
is the problem or is the application specific scripts are an issue. Great for trouble shooting your computer.
* Lots of Office 2003 improvements in Excel and Outlook.
* Web Resources has now been added to the Help menu. This will take you to the JAWS HQ and other places where you can find up to date information on JAWS.
The search engine now used by Freedom Scientific for web based searches of their site is now Google based.

Though no release date has been made public, since the new JAWS will work with IE 7, and since IE 7 should be out by the end of the month, I'm thinking that that might be when 8.0 comes out, or somewhere around that time. Also, the What's New MP3 mentioned and appropriate documentation should be on the FS site about a week or two in advance of the official release. All in all, it looks like a great release. I know I'll be checking the FS site quite often between now and the end of the month.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds exciting! I listened to an ACB Radio Main Menu program where Jeff Bishop interviewed Eric Damory about the upcoming release of JAWS 8.0. Eric also talks about what it's like having Jonathan Mosen at FS. Then Jeff Bishop goes through some of the new features himself, and he also talks with Kelly Ford of Microsoft about IE7. Check this out if you haven't already done so. I just did a search for "JAWS version 8.0" in the On-Demand section at www.acbradio.org .

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