Saturday, March 8

More things to put on your Stream

Greetings. To those that have been checking this blog, looking for a new post, my apologies for not writing lately. I suppose that I've just had nothing to say, :) It seems that I'm always thinking about new posts, but then there's that part about actually sitting down to write them.

This post is concerned with more audio content you can put on the Victor Reader Stream. I've recently discovered that some of the blindness related magazines and newsletters I regular read, have been made available in audio form. On the National Federation of the Blind's site, they've begun producing MP3 files for many of their regular publications, such as the Voice of the Diabetic and the Braille Monitor. Each article, starting with the Summer 2007 issue of The Voice and with the February 2007 issue of the Braille Monitor, has a link to listen to the article as an audio (MP3) file. The Voice even gives you the option of downloading the file to your computer. The main reason for doing this is to cut down on mailing costs for sending out the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of copies on tape, in Braille, or in print. Ok, for the record, materials in alternative formats can be sent via Free Matter for the Blind, but I'm sure the NFB would rather, provided the person has access to the Web and knows how to get around, them download/listen to the audio versions of the articles, rather than adding one more item to be mailed out. At any rate, it also gives those who may not be receiving the publication a chance to "sample" and see how they like it. For me though, it allows me to download any part or all of a publication, put it on my Stream, and then listen at my leisure. The advantage of this is that I'm listening to the same professional recording that is made on tape, instead of having JAWS read it to me. This is a great alternative to the tradditional magazines on tape, and I hope other entities switch from tape to digital formats, such as, well, Reader's Digest. As far as I know, the American Printing House is still sending out RD on tape. That magazine is loved by many, including me, and I can't wait until it comes out in a digital form, with appropriate mark-up made so I can jump from one article to the next. The difference between that sort of form and the NFB publications, is that the ones from the NFB are in individual files. In theory, you could choose how much, or how little, of the publication you wanted to hear. Having your entire magazine or publication in a readable DAISY format would mean downloading only 1 file, and being able to navigate from article to article or section within it. At any rate, if you're a fan of the two publications listed above, then welcome to the digital age!

Incidentally, the NFB has also started distributing their monthly Presidential Releases in digital form, as of December 2006, and it wouldn't surprise me to see their other publications offered as downloadable audio files. Enjoy, and happy Stream-ing.

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