Monday, August 31

JAWS 11 beta released

Greetings. For those interested, the JAWS version 11 public beta was released today. Before you install it though, you might want to check out the FS Cast for August 2009 that covers JAWS 11 new features. For the record before anyone asks: betas are not officially supported by Freedom Scientific, so if you come across problems, don't call tech support. Rather, use the beta report form on the JAWS 11 beta page linked above to report errors. Give as much detail as you can. Unlike prior years, you have to have a licensed version of JAWS 10 in order to run the beta. I say unlike prior years because in the last few versions, FS has allowed anyone, whether currently licensed or not, to use the beta. This time though, you have to have a current license for version 10. However, if you don't mind the 40 minute demonstration mode, you can still use the beta. There's no official release date for version 11, though if the FS Cast is any indication, they hope to have it out around the October 22 release date of Windows Seven. I think the big thing that jumps out at me with this version is the Research It tool that they've included, where you can look up pieces of information from various news/sports/weather sources. It's similar to the functionality that the average Joe has with the various gadgets in Windows Vista and Seven. The improved ARIA support also looks interesting, mainly because I'm hoping it will help out more on some of the Google ARIA sites, like the Calendar and Docs applications. Time will tell if this is a good release or not. It will be interesting to watch what is fixed during the beta cycle and when the final release comes out. Enjoy.

Friday, August 28


Greetings. ARIA, or Accessible Rich Internet Application, is an emerging set of web technologies that allows people to interact more with the web in new and different ways than HTML was designed for. HTML, or hypertext markup language, was for a long time the language of the web, as I've told my Internet class students. It tells the text where to go and what to do on a web page. However, now that we've entered the world of growing applications or what many people are calling Web 2.0, such as Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, and even some of the Google apps like Calendar and Docs (documents), we need more from our WWW and we need it to act in different ways that HTML might not be able to do. Enter ARIA.

I'm focusing on JAWS here because that's what I'm familiar with, but given the dynamic nature of the WWW these days, in that it's always changing, and that many people want to keep up with those changes, I don't know for sure but it's probably safe to say that other screen reader manufacturers are also working on support for ARIA applications/sites. Though before you ask, refer to their documentation and versions of screen readers for more details.

As far as JAWS goes though, version 10 is where the ARIA support has started, and I'm sure it will be further developed and enhanced with future versions of JAWS. On the browser side, we saw some support for ARIA in Internet Explorer 7, but even more in version 8. And I've heard that Mozilla's Firefox was the first browser to "officially" adopt ARIA support.

For more on ARIA and how it will effect our daily lives in a short time, a colleague of mine predicts within a year we're going to be seeing it everywhere on the web, check out these resources:

In the January FS Cast (direct link to download the show)
ARIA was the topic of discussion. In that broadcast, Jonathan mosen spoke with Glen Gordon, the Chief Technology Officer of Freedom Scientific all about ARIA, then Jonathan did some demonstrations of how one might use ARIA on the web.

On May 26 of this year, Glen and Dan Clark appeared on a webinar, an online interactive seminar session, jointly hosted by FS and EASI, covering ARIA from a web developer standpoint. they also provided more of the history of ARIA. Download an dlisten to this broadcast at Click here to download the zipped HTML files from Glen's presentation on ARIA.

I'm sure that there are other resources out there, including some good ones mentioned in Glen Gordon's presentation linked above, but these will at least explain ARIA better and provide examples of where you might find ARIA applications/sites. Enjoy.

Booksense tutorial

Greetings. I came across a tutorial for the Booksense produced by Hims, the main manufacturer of the Booksense, that is around 2 hours in length and in 6 parts. The link below is for a zipped copy of the tutorial that has been put on Send Space. I learned of this from the Booksense list from GW Micro. This tutorial is for the Booksense XT, however users of Booksense Standard can still benefit from it. Remember that the only differences between the standard and XT models, aside from their colors, are: the XT has 4 gigs of internal storage, can be paired with a Bluetooth wireless headset, and has a radio. Other than these, all features are the same. The link is:


Thursday, August 27

Booksense audio demonstration

Greetings. Rick Harmann of Blind Geek Zone fame has recorded a podcast demonstrating the Booksense from GW Micro. Find the audio for this podcast and download using this direct link: The booksense demonstration is after the review of the Quitter program for using Twitter. Since I don't twit or tweat, whatever the wording, this doesn't really interest me, but some of you might find it of interest. At any rate, enjoy.

Wednesday, August 26

Site trouble update

Greetings. For those interested, I've fixed the issues with the Wayneisms and White Cane Day sites over the weekend by upgrading to a more expensive plan from my web host. This will not only give us the proper allotment of bandwidth, but it will also give the sites, specifically the White Cane Day site, room to grow for the future. Thanks to those that have been visiting lately and will continue to visit. On a personal note, the Wayneism site recent passed the 6800 visitors mark. This is notable since it passed the 5800 point back in March. I'm not sure I've ever gotten around 1,000 visitors in such a short period before! The White Cane Day site has gained around 2,500 hits in the same 6 month period. again, this hasn't happened before. Thanks again to those that are visiting these sites regularly. Remember to get those WCD shirt orders in by the deadline for your 2009 shirts. Enjoy.

Talks version 4.1 released

Greetings. For those interested, Nuance recently released version 4.1 of Talks, their mobile screen reader. Here is a direct link to download Talks version 4.1 from the Blind sea website. It looks like this is mainly a bug fix release, except for the added ability to switch between Talks voices. This seems kind of confusing to me since Eloquence is the main voice for Talks, but perhaps Nuance will be coming out with more voices for Talks in the future. Time will tell. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 20

My sites may be down

Greetings. For those that have been trying to access my Wayneism and White Cane Day sites today and who have gotten error messages saying that the bandwidth has been exceeded, I'm aware of the problem and hope to have it fixed in the next day or so. In the 7 years that I've had a site or sites on the web, this is the first time that this sort of thing has happened to me. It seems that the White Cane Day site is getting lots of traffic and that's likely the cause of the bandwidth demands.

Seeing Eye on ABC Friday

Greetings. I received the following announcement from The Seeing Eye earlier. If you can't catch the initial broadcast/print story run of these stories, then check out the links below. Note that the time listed for the ABC World News program is eastern. Enjoy, and happy birthday Seeing Eye!


Breaking News!! Two stories on The Seeing Eye are about to hit the press!

The people and dogs of The Seeing Eye will be featured as the “Person of the Week” on Friday August 21 at 6:30 p.m. on ABC World News with Charles Gibson. The “Person of the Week” is a feature done every Friday at the conclusion of the network ABC news as a tribute to an individual that is making a difference in the world. The Seeing Eye was selected as this week’s honoree because of our 80th anniversary and the Graduate Reunion that is occurring this weekend. ABC News was impressed that about 200 graduates out of 1800 active graduates are returning to our Washington Valley campus, despite the economy.

ABC News was on campus yesterday, interviewing Jim and Ginger, accompanying an instructor training a dog, and filming a litter of black Lab puppies. They will return tomorrow to capture graduates at the Reunion. Look for the 2 ½ minute Seeing Eye segment on your network ABC news Friday, August 21 at the conclusion of the 6:30 pm broadcast.

The second news story will be a Friday, August 21 feature on the Graduate Reunion on the front page of the Star Ledger, the leading newspaper in New Jersey. The Star Ledger spent most of yesterday on campus interviewing our staff.

If you are unable to tune in or read the article, both stories will be made available on the Internet at

Monday, August 17

RFB&D now free for individuals

Greetings. I came across this announcement from Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic and hthought it worth posting here. The below message is what I sent to some work colleagues regarding this announcement, but for full details, check out the link below. It would appear that if you're an individual and have a compatible RFBD player, such as the VR Stream and soon to be the Booksense, then you can now download books for free! This is awesome news and I'm sure will be welcome news for any student, be they in school or students of life. Enjoy.


Unlike Book Share, there doesn’t seem to be any restrictions for being apart of any particular group, such as in school. It looks like as long as you can play the RFBD digital books, if you’re an individual then membership is now free.

*Aug. 18: here's an addition from one of my colleagues regarding the free memberships.
I spoke to RFB&D and the grant they received is for one year, so the free membership is just for one year.

When a individual consumer signs up online, the consumer does not have to pay the one time registration fee or the or annual fee for one year. If they have a portable audio book device such as the Victor Stream, the UAK (User Authorization Key) to download books is free also for the first year. If the grant is not renewed, the fee schedule will go back to what it was next year. Institutional memberships are not covered by the grant.

Read the following link for more details:

Tuesday, August 11

FS Reader now free

Greetings. For those interested, Freedom Scientific has announced a change in pricing for their FS Reader program that allows you to read Daisy material on the PAC Mate and PAC Mate Omni machines--in short, it's now free! Read the official press release regarding the free FS Reader. This is a good thing and will allow more people to be able to read Daisy content. Others would theorize why this was done; I won't. I'll just say this: I'm still waiting for a ntoetaker manufacturer to step out and add the ability to read the new NLS digital talking books with their Daisy program. Thus far, no one has done this. When this happens, I think that said company's Daisy program will see it's popularity soar! In the press release above, it is hinted that FS Reader will also be fre with the new JAWS 11 to be released later this year, and also for demonstration versions of JAWS. This is a good thing for students or those who may not have the funds to purchase a full license of JAWS. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 5

At 1 point her hind legs were on bottom and her front legs were trying to dog paddle.
Gucci got in the ocean yesterday. Not sure she liked it though.

Monday, August 3

Went to the beach tn and gucci got her paws wet. She still backed away from the waves that came in fast.
When Gucci saw water, she backed up and stood behind my mom. She stayed under an umbrella and watched from the beach.
Went to the beach earlier. Had fun. Gucci not sure of water.

Sunday, August 2

Got to gate for first leg of trip. Walking with a blind guy and not talking doesnt work :)

Saturday, August 1

Family vacation 2009

Greetings. Tomorrow I leave for Florida to join my parents and later in the week my other siblings, niece and nephews for a family vacation. For many years, we did semi-regular vacations in Colorado. However, thankfully we've switched states. Not that i have anything against CO; i love it up there. But what I get out of vacations and what other members of my family get out of it are different things I believe. Also, those long car trips driving upwards of 15 hours or more just to get there, have burned me out on long car trips. It's somewhat necessary in Texas, but anything too much longer than 3 or 4 hours is too long for me. So, while my parents and older brother and his family are driving there, both myself and my younger brother are flying from our respective cities. Besides, I much more like the idea of arriving in 3-4 hours verses 14 or more. Anyway, we'll be staying in a friends beach house, which from what I hear is pretty nice, with the beach a few blocks away. I talked with my mother a few times today and it sounds like the area around the house is nice, and like there are a lot of runners, joggers, bikers, and people doing other things nearby. OH, and there's the wonders of the beach, which I haven't partaked in for about 16 years or so. I'm glad i setup the ability to do mobile posting from my cell not long ago. I hope to do a few posts next week on what we're up to, so keep watching this space for periodic updates. Though it's only for about 6 days, I'm looking forward to it. We haven't done a real family vacation like this in several years, so it should be fun. Talk later, and see you on the sand, :)