Friday, December 21

Seeing Eye Announcement

Greetings. I received the following announcement in my email Inbox. Note the date and time that the show below is on in your area. Enjoy.

Contact Teresa Davenport (973) 539-4425 ext. 1761
December 17, 2007

The Seeing Eye Provides Clues for Popular Game Show

MORRISTOWN, N.J. – Question: “This organization, based in New Jersey, has matched over 14,000 specially bred and trained dogs as guides for persons who
are blind or visually impaired.”
Answer: “What is The Seeing Eye?”

On December 26, “Jeopardy! America’s Favorite Quiz Show®” will feature The Seeing Eye as part of its popular “Clue Crew” segment.

The Clue Crew is a group of energetic correspondents who travel the globe bringing clues to life by visiting places that are informational and entertaining.
Past Clue Crew destinations include the pyramids of Egypt and ancient Greek ruins.

“We were delighted when the producers of ‘Jeopardy’ approached us about filming clues here at The Seeing Eye last summer,” said The Seeing Eye’s Communications
Associate Bonnie Lannom. “We were able to represent all aspects of the Seeing Eye program, from puppy raising and dogs in training all the way up to a
working dog.”

“Jeopardy!” airs locally at 7 p.m. on WABC Channel 7, but check your local listings for the time and station in your area. Tune in and test your knowledge
along with 23 million other viewers.

The Seeing Eye, established in 1929, provides specially bred and trained dogs to guide people who are blind. Seeing Eye® dog users experience greatly enhanced
mobility and independence, allowing them to retain their active lifestyles despite blindness. The Seeing Eye is a philanthropy and is supported by contributions
from individuals, corporations and foundations, bequests, and other planned gifts.

The Seeing Eye is a trademarked name and can only be used to describe the dogs bred and trained at the school’s facilities in Morristown, N.J.

If you would like more information on The Seeing Eye, please visit the website at or call (973) 539-4425.

VR Stream goodies

Greetings. HumanWare has been busy today, for they have released a couple of notable things. Note that you can know about releases and other Stream announcements when they are initially made by subscribing to the Stream News Wire on the VR Stream home page. This is an email announcement only list that is used whenever any announcements need to be made. I'll make the effort to inform you when these things are released, but I might miss things, either because I'm busy myself, or because I don't think they're worthy of a post here. So subscribe to the News Wire and stay up to date.

Here are a couple of things that are worthy of a post. The first is a tutorial that HumanWare has put out for the Stream. The tutorial is hosted by Jeff Bishop, from Main Menu fame and other things. The direct link to download the tutorial as a zip file is There is a Stream Tutorial folder within this zip file that you can copy to the $VROtherBooks folder on your SD card and play within the Stream. If you're like me and are a bit more selective, you can open the folder on your computer and select and copy only the files you want to put on the SD card. Either way will work. The tutorial covers topics from the basic (bookshelves, navigation, etc), to the advanced (using NLS digital books, BookShare material, and Audible).

The other announcement is the Companion Software that will start to be included on all CD's that come with new Stream orders. The software allows you to use a file transfer utility that HumanWare has developed to move files back and forth to yourStream, and to convert the proprietary audio note files into Wav format. Incidentally, the transfer utility is covered in the tutorial mentioned above if you want to know how to use it. The download link for the Companion Software is Or you can download the Stream Companion Software User Guide in DOC format.

One other quick note. We learned from the Stream presentation on this week's Tech Talk, from the Accessible World website, that the Tom synthetic speech male voice of the Stream, for reading non-Daisy files, should be released within the next week or two. You cannot have both the Tom and Samantha voices on the Stream at once. You have to choose one or the other. This Tom voice is the same Tom voice that came with the SAPI 5 voices that FS released for JAWS 8, if that gives you a reference. There will be a download link on the Stream page from HumanWare when the voice is ready. Or, you can be notified from the Stream News Wire. Frankly, I'm looking forward to installing this voice on my Stream since I don't like the Samantha voice as much. Its this female voice that has prevented me from reading as many Book Share books of late. The Tom voice version of the Stream software can be installed just like a software upgrade. If you're interested in this voice, then follow the instructions from HumanWare on how to perform the upgrade.

Merry Christmas and enjoy all these new goodies! Here's looking forward to the future software versions from the Stream in 2008!

Tuesday, December 18

PM Omni released!

Greetings. For those faithful PAC Mate users who have been patiently, or perhaps not so patiently, waiting for the Omni to be released--your wait is over, partially. Freedom Scientific has officially released the PAC Mate Omni today. On this page, you will find a what's new link with much of the information that we've been told up until now. You will also find information on how the upgrade process will be handled, including sending your unit in for the upgrade. Remember that this is both a hardware and software upgrade, so it will be necessary to send your unit in. Since the Omni has been highly anticipated, I'd recommend filling out the upgrade form to send your unit in, as soon as possible. Also, make sure your hardware/software agreements are up to date. Prices range from $299 (if your agreements are up to date) to $699 (if you have no current agreements). Refer to the link above for more details. When filling out the form, FS promises to get back to you within one business day, so be sure you provide them with a valid email address.

Note that it will be possible to send your unit to FS in plenty of time before the date you receive back from them in the email. If you miss this date, it will make your wait longer, and in essence take you out of the order, or of line, and you will have to wait a longer time after many others have their units upgraded. In other words, save yourself the time and trouble by sending your PM in within a reasonable amount of time before the date it will be upgraded. I'd recommend at least a week before so you can ensure enough leadway.

Though it will be hard to be without my beloved note taker, it will be worth the upgrade. Also, it looks like there's a great effort to have the unit back to the user in as short amount of time as possible, which is good. When I filled out the form, I chose to have my unit sent back via 2 day UPS Ground, which had a nominal cost with it. There was an over night/one day option, but that was too expensive. The default is 3 day UPS Ground. Any way you choose, you'll have it back within probably 10 to 14 days or so from when you send it to Florida, which again is good. Enjoy, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!