Monday, November 30

Minor Talks update released

Greetings. I received this from a friend. Below is news about the current minor update for the Talks and Zooms software for many Nokia cell phones. There doesn't look to be anything major in this release, but I'll probably update anyway just on principle. Read below to see the release notes and what's been fixed or changed and other information. This update should only be made to 3rd edition phones. Enjoy.


Dear All,

Now available for download from the TalkNav FTP site;

Nuance Talks & Zooms version v4.11.3, note that this is only an update for
3rd edition handsets.

The release notes follow:
TALKS&ZOOMS Version 4.11 - Release Notification

1. Introduction

We proudly announce the release of the Nuance Accessibility Suite - Nuance
TALKS and Nuance ZOOMS - Version 4.11 for Series 60 3^rd Edition for
November 30^th , 2009.

This version includes an updated version of Eloquence (6.1.123) that can be
used on all phones. In particular, it /must/ be used on all phones with
noise-cancelling audio (e.g. Nokia E52), or crashes will occur when trying
to make a call.

Version 4.11 is a free upgrade for all Premium Edition licenses generated
after November 13th, 2007.

2. The new handsets

2.1. Changes to the list of supported phone models

The following handsets are newly supported (please see section 4 "Known
Issues" about some limitations):

* Nokia E52
* Nokia 6710 Navigator
* Nokia 6720 classic
* Nokia 6730 classic
* Nokia 6790 Surge

We also assume the Nokia 5630 XpressMusic, E55 and E72 to work without
major problems. However we have not got enough test results yet to
definitely confirm this.

3. What's New?

This section lists the improvements of TALKS 4.11 compared to the
previous version (4.10).

* Eloquence is switched to 8kHz on E52,E72,6710,6720,6730,5630,E55
to prevent crashes (only works with Eloquence 6.1.123 or later)
* Fixed occasional speech cutouts on E52, e.g. when moving through
* Improved support of new web browser (found for example on E52, N86):
o Page title is now read (after "Page has xxx links"),
o Support for continuous reading of web page on [Talks],[Down]
o Pressing [Select] on an Edit field in a web page opens a
pop-up to allow entering text, which was not possible in
previous versions of TALKS.
o Fixed "Type error" when exiting some text fields on a web page
o Fixed cases where pressing digit in browser would not
execute TALKS quick key
* Browser: "Find next link" now also stops at buttons with type
"button" (rather than "submit")
* Fixed: keyboard echo would fail after the 4th digit when dialing a
phone number on a US-variant firmware
* Fixed incorrect item count in Calendar for todos/anniversaries and
entries with long descriptions
* Fixed: When using "*" to cycle through the list of words offered
by T9, changes in the softkeys (e.g. "Spell") are no longer
announced (since TALKS 4.0)
* TTS can be chosen again before a license key has been entered
(like TALKS 4.0 and earlier)
* Nokia 6121,6124: fixed model detection for edit field workaround
in browser
* Dictionary: fixed hangs caused by replaced text (typically in
Arabic) with non-printing characters

4. Known Issues on specific handsets

. Not all icons are labelled on newer phones, so some status indicators,
like 3G or GPRS, may not be read in all situations.

. 3rd Edition (FP1 and FP2): "Search" application is not supported.

. Nokia E52, E66, E71, E75: The new calendar application is not yet

. 3rd Edition FP2: Some status indicators (e.g. Bluetooth) cannot be
read while the phone keyboard is locked.

. 3rd Edition FP2: Built-in Help screens are not read because they use
the web browser in a way that is not yet supported by TALKS.

. 3rd Edition FP2: You will notice a slow response of voice recognition
"beep" after holding [Key 2] when TALKS is not muted

. E75: When using ZOOMS, moving around the screen by holding down the
cursor keys is currently not possible. The magnified portion of the
screen always follows the current focus position.

. N96: "Photos" application (and "Photos" submenu of "Gallery") is not

. N96: Daisy2Go does not support firmware versions prior to 20.x of this
phone. This is expected to be fixed by a future firmware update.

. Nokia N86, E72, E75: The e-mail application is not accessible with TALKS.

5. FAQ

Q: Your software does not install on my E-Series handset or branded
device, and reports a Certificate Error! Why?
A: While TALKS&ZOOMS for S60 3^rd Edition itself is certified, and thus
can be installed on any supported S60 3^rd Edition handset, the
installers for the TTS engines (Eloquence or RealSpeak Mobile) are not
signed. E-Series handsets and some branded devices do only accept the
installation of signed software, unless you turn of the corresponding
option inside the Application Manager:

. Open the phone menu.

. Open the App. Manager inside the Tools folder

. Press "Options", then select "Settings".

. Set "Software Installation" from "Signed only" to "All".

. Press "Back" to close the Settings dialogue, then "Exit" to close the
App. Manager.

. Now, you can install the TTS engine.

Another reason could be that the date on your phone is not set correctly
- as 3^rd Edition software is digitally signed, SIS files can only be
installed if the phone is set to a valid date.

Q: Can I install the new release of TALKS&ZOOMS, while a previous
release is active?

A: Yes, if the new version is installed to the same memory location as
the previous release. If you would like to change the memory location,
you have to remove the previous release first!

Q: Why do I get an "Upgrade error" when installing the S60 3^rd Edition

A: The most likely reasons are that you have used a beta release, or
already have the Nokia TTS driver available that was installed as a
separate file with version 3.10. Please remove any beta version, as well
as the Nokia TTS driver or the Nuance Speech2Go Reader application,
before upgrading to TALKS 4.10.

Saturday, November 21

Seeing Eye honored in Congress

Greetings. I received the following note from the Seeing Eye. Now this is cool! Enjoy.


On Tuesday, November 17, 2009, U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen stood before Congress to enter a proclamation of appreciation to The Seeing Eye into the Congressional Record. Rep. Frelinghuysen is the Congressional representative of the district that includes Morristown, N.J. His kind remarks, which follow, reflect his history of support for our organization, including attending the dedication of the Morris Frank Park and sculpture in 2005. His remarks follow:


Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor the very dedicated employees, volunteers, and graduates of The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey, on their 80 years of service.

Dorothy Harrison Eustis and Morris Frank had a dream to make the world completely accessible to the blind and visually impaired, and in 1929, The Seeing Eye was established to make their dream a reality. Since its inception, The Seeing Eye has enhanced the independence and self-confidence of the blind and visually impaired.

The Seeing Eye pioneered the use of dogs to guide the blind, and today, the organization has successfully trained over 15,000 Seeing Eye dogs and matched them with more than 8,000 blind or visually impaired owners. Additionally, many area families have volunteered to rear generations of Seeing Eye puppies--nurturing them to accomplish their special destiny.

Twelve times every year, up to 24 visually impaired students from the United States and Canada come to Morristown to enter a twenty-seven day instructional program and are matched with a dog. The instruction includes traveling through high traffic and residential streets, shopping malls, and bus routes. Upon the completion of the program, the graduates are able to safely navigate their hometowns with the support of their Seeing Eye dogs.

In fact, most every day on Morristown streets, The Seeing Eye trainers, students and their remarkable dogs can be seen training where pedestrians and drivers alike respect their presence. The Seeing Eye also provides follow-up care and even visit graduates' homes to aid them in adjusting to their new accessibility to their environments.

Today, The Seeing Eye is a pioneer in canine genetics and medical research. It also advocates for the concerns of those with visual impairments--such as pedestrian safety and the dangers of quiet cars--by working with legislators, writing letters on behalf of those experiencing discrimination, and researching technologies to make crosswalks safer.

Madam Speaker, for the past 80 years, The Seeing Eye has provided an unprecedented service to the blind and visually impaired community, and I hope it can continue its invaluable service for many years to come. I urge you, Madam Speaker, and my colleagues to join me in congratulating all of those involved with The Seeing Eye on its 80th Anniversary.

Tuesday, November 10

ACB Radio premiers new product

Greetings. I received the following announcement in my email earlier. Those in the blindness community who are also into AT have doubtless been seeign announcements and emails from HumanWare regarding a new product. Though the official word is expected to be tomorrow on November 11, ACB Radio will have a show this Friday night all about this new product. Read on for details on the live show, but unfortunately not what the product is going to be. It sounds like you will want to listen to the show live or download the podcast later though. Enjoy.


ACB Radio is proud to announce a special live event where you will learn about a
fabulous new product being launched by HumanWare. Read on and be a part of the live, call-in event!

what is it? Well, something great has just become smaller and better!
HumanWare is soon to launch an exciting new product. Is it a new DAISY player? A new Braille device? A new
scanning or low vision aid?

We can only tell you that the device is small enough to be inserted into a #1 size envelope.

Be among the first to find out about one of the most exciting products to be announced.

And, you'll hear about it first on ACB Radio Mainstream, just after Main Menu! Pass it on and tell your friends! It's way cool and worth hearing about!

when: Friday, November 13 at 9 PM Eastern, 6 Pacific; that's Saturday morning at 2 UTC.
ACB Radio's Marlaina will host this exciting program, and have as her guest
Matthew Janausauskas, HumanWare's Technical Support Manager.

Marlaina and Matthew will take your calls at 866 666 7926.

Remember, you'll hear it first on ACB Radio Mainstream, just after Main Menu.

So, join Marlaina and Matthew on Friday the 13th! It could be your lucky day!

To listen to the program on November 13 at 9 PM Eastern and 6 PM Pacific, point your browser to:

This is an event you will not want to miss!

Larry Turnbull
ACBRadio Managing Director

Google offers free Wi-Fi for the holidays

Greetings. I found this in my daily round of blogs, feeds and other such posts. Google is offering free Wi-Fi in airports across the country from now until mid January. Looking down the list, I was pleased to see my home airport of Austin on the list, along with several other Texas airports. No Dallas Lovefield unfortunately, but oh well. To read more about this or see the full list of airports, go to the following address and enjoy:

Monday, November 9

Google accessibility user study

Greetings. Those interested in perhaps participating in the Google Accessibility user study should go to the following address:

I have no additional information on the study other than what's there. After I filled out the form, the resulting page said that due to the high number of responses, that they may not take everyone but I would be contacted if I were selected. Since Google, along with other tech companies, have only recently started looking into making their products more accessible, anytime you get the chance to participate in said studies, grab them by the horns! Enjoy.

Saturday, November 7

Review of Microsoft Security Essentials

Greetings. Though this software has been out for a month or two, it's getting great reviews and showing good promise. If you're hesitant about trying it or currently using paid security software and want to see how MSE stacks up against competition, then check out this review from Ars Technica called First look: Microsoft Security Essentials impresses. To hear a review of the Microsoft Security Essentials software (direct MP3 download) then check out this podcast from Mary Emmerson. I've put this free software on my netbook and am considering doing the same with my Windows Vista home PC. Read the review to find out why. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 3

Seeing Eye hits matching milestone

Greetings. I received the following note from The Seeing Eye. AS is mentioned by the organization's president, it's not how many dogs have been matched, but rather the level of service that the organization gives to each match. While matching 15,000 dogs is certainly something to be proud of, that 15,000th team will get the same level of service and care from The Seeing Eye as the first 10 matches did oh so long ago. Enjoy.


The Seeing Eye Forges 15,000th Partnership for Independence

MORRISTOWN, N.J. – The Seeing Eye, the pioneer and innovator of dog guide services for people who are blind, announces its 15,000th partnership between human and canine ... Dr. Josephine DeFini of New York City and a black Labrador retriever named Zion.

The philanthropic organization celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, making this particular milestone especially meaningful. Zion is the ninth Seeing Eye® dog for Dr. DeFini, who has traveled through the past 52 years being led by these specially bred and trained canines.

"I can't show The Seeing Eye enough appreciation for what they've done for me," said Dr. DeFini. "Every time I return to The Seeing Eye, it's like a whole new experience because it's such a forward-thinking organization. They're always looking to make the training better, enhancing the ease with which a person with a visual impairment can enjoy movement and freedom."

A lifelong resident of New York City, Dr. DeFini returned home with Zion in September and already is back to her active life, traveling through the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. After retiring earlier this year from a career as a social worker and psychotherapist (most recently with Lighthouse International), she continues a small private practice.

Her experience as a Seeing Eye dog user is special, to be sure, but not at all unique. "Multiply the success of this new partnership by 15,000, and you begin to understand the magnitude of the impact made possible by all those who have supported our mission for the past 80 years," said Seeing Eye President & CEO Jim Kutsch. "In fact, the 15,000th dog is really no different than number 14,999. Our promise is the same for all of our graduates – to provide ongoing support and commitment to them by providing the best dog guides in the world."

Since her stay at The Seeing Eye campus in Morristown, N.J., where she trained with Zion, the team has been all over New York City, including regular trips to her Pilates class. "I can get to all those places with a cane, but it's the ease and confidence that's so different with a dog. After the experience of not having a dog for six months, I've regained my self-confidence and ease of movement."

The Seeing Eye 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.

Monday, November 2

Not sure how much I'll get into it. My students keep requesting it so here I am.
Created a Facebook account today. Now if I can learn how to use it.