The Deafblind Techies Newsletter Number 14..
2 March 2001.
IN THIS ISSUE
++ 1, Editorial.
++ 2, The DB Techies Newsletter is Closing Down.
++ 3, WeMedia Talking Browser.
++ 4, New deafblindness.com Web Site.
++ 5, The DB Techies Bits n Bytes News File.
++ 6, Download the past issues of the DB Techies.
++ 7. The Archives of the DB Techies Newsletter.
++ 8. To unsubscribe from the DB Techies.
++ 1. Editorial.
Hello to all of you, And welcome to another DB Techies Newsletter. I hope that you are all in good health and that all is OK with you all.
I have been a bit busy over the past two months since the last DB Techies newsletter with trying to help other Deafblind people on the net and helping webmasters to make there sites a little more accessible for Deafblind and Blind net users, This is not an easy thing to try to do as sighted hearing webmasters don't really understand much about this. But with a little time they get the idea how easy it can be to make a web site accessible for all.
My sister Annemarie got married in January and we had a great time at the wedding Annemarie and my new Brother in law Duncan have been getting ready for this day for some time so the Big Day did come at last And we all had a great time. All the family where there My brother and sister in law have Triplets and they are almost two years old now the triplets are very hard to try and keep a control on them.
They are every where doing things that they should not be doing. Two nannies and us and we still find it hard to keep up with them. And they also have little Ciaran who is five years old and he is full of fun, So it was a busy wedding just trying to keep up with the children.
So my brother and sister are married now and it just me and mother at home keeping each other going. I am too used to the home cooking to go anywhere so me and mother are very happy to have each other together for keeping each other going.
Right less of me going on and on, I have a little important thing to say about the DB Techies that I will explain later in the Newsletter but This is going to be the Last DB Techies, I am sad it this..
++ 2, The DB Techies Newsletter is Closing Down.
This is going to be the last DB Techies newsletter because the membership is going down and it's not worth all the work that I put in to the Newsletter with so few people on the list, so it time to call it a day with the DB Techies. I am a little sorry about this after buying the DBTechies.net domain name it takes a lot of work to do the newsletter and no one is really interested in it so it time to walk away from it and say to my self I did try to write the first online newsletter for Deafblind people by a Deafblind person
It is very hard for me to give the DB Techies up after all the time and work I have put into it but the interest in it is just not there. I thought that with getting the DBTechies.net domain name would bring more Deafblind people interested in it, but this is not happening and it is a sad one for me. The membership is not moving up and has been going down over the past months.
Maybe one day another Deafblind person will try to write a Newsletter for Deafblind people online, that person I really hope coming from within the online Deafblind community.
For me it's time up trying to help others with a Newsletter for Deafblind people, maybe I was a bit too boring for others to read my findings of software or web sites I thought where interesting to Deafblind or Blind people. So after 14 Issues the DB Techies is coming to an End. And I am a little sad at that because I really thought that fellow Deafblind net users would be interested in a newsletter just for them online, one that was not part of an organization so had nothing to sell or to ask anything from them, It was Just trying to bring Deafblind people together But that never really happened and only Gwen was willing to help me out with writing an article for the newsletter and I would like to Thank Gwen for that.
Maybe it was really me that did not push the DB Techies or myself on to others making them aware of the Newsletter, But I have never been a forward person, I have been for so long just keeping in the back ground on the net and also within the Deafblind or Blind community where I live, so maybe I didn't push the DB Techies Newsletters as hard as I should have done. To make a site like A-Z to Deafblindness which is getting about 20,000 people coming to it a month was hard, but I can hide behind a web site and let it do my talking for me. with a Newsletter it is a lot harder to try and hide within it. And i have done so much hiding in my life keeping out of the way for such a long time.
I will be going up to the newsgroup site some time soon and will try to unsubscribe all the members of the DB Techies so that you will not have any trouble from the egroups.com or this new yahoogroups.com site.
I will keep the DBTechies.net web site running and not pull it down from the net until some time next year so that the old issues are still there for us to read.
So it's a farewell to all of you and I hope to meet you all again on the net. Take care And thank you for staying with me on the DB Techies I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did, I am grateful for you taken the time to read this.
Take care of yourselves.
++ 3, WeMedia Talking Browser.
I thought that this speech software may be useful to some members of the DB Techies who may have some useful hearing and would be able to put it to some good use.
But unlucky for those of us who have to use Braille Display because this software will not support our Displays, But you never know they may support it one day but I not think to my little self I will wait for that day to come it maybe a long time away..
Right this is what the WeMedia Talking Browser say about there software.
WEMedia Talking Browser is a PC software application that was developed in an effort to help blind and vision impaired people to experience the World Wide Web in a much more friendly way then is currently available.
Basically, this is a web browser that "speaks" (using Microsoft Active X Agent© technology) the text from web pages for the benefit of the blind or vision impaired person. Please do not confuse this as another "screen reader" as it is a totally different concept to make the Internet experience available in a more user friendly way. In fact, it has been designed to be used without the help of a screen reader. It is operated via keystrokes (mouse clicks allowed), and upon further development, via voice recognition. These features give the sight impaired user the ability to navigate (with the skills or senses available to them) within the program.
We have made a point of designing this software to be VERY simple to operate, thus giving a wider audience that can take advantage of it's use. In fact, after getting aquatinted with the operation of the software, it can be operated with the use of only 6 "hot keys" in a very efficient manner! Any additional software needed ( a text-2-speech engine) is supplied within the setup program to be installed on the system.
Includes the following features...
The application has the ability to be operated completely via user function keystrokes or user mouse clicks as to allow the blind or impaired vision person to execute program features without the need of a "helper".
The application "talks" all functions and the help menu so as to allow the user to rely on their hearing ability only (to extend their own self reliance).
Includes an "interactive" help system to guide the user at every step. Ability to announce where the focus is (within the program) upon demand via a "hot key" activation. All links included within the loaded web page can be accessed via a "user controlled scan method" that speaks the name of the link or in the conventional way.
Features a "favorites" function to add favorites for future use. Takes advantage and use of the Microsoft IE bookmark system but displayed and accessed in a different manner.
Includes a "Browser map" that the user can perform any function of the browser from this one stop via a single keystroke. Put the focus into the "browser map" via a "hot key", scan down the list of commands (via the down arrow key) until find desired function, press the Enter key and it's done! Includes several advanced features such as a text enlarger, option to change font size, option to change background colours, options to set the voice speed, tone, pitch, etc. Option the view the page in the normal view or text only (all graphics stripped out) for low sighted users.
Features a very complete and tailored help section with interactive features. Browser can be operated by the use of only 6 "hot keys" after getting acquainted with it's features. Last but by all means not least, a simple web browser that will "talk" the text that is displayed on most any web site.
The application will give the user the option of using voice recognition (i.e. the computer will convert the user's speech to actual computer commands that will operate just like a keyboard and mouse does now) and / or the user's keystrokes and mouse clicks to activate all the functions.
The "talking" web browser will allow the user to surf the web by means of the users function keystrokes OR speech recognition.
The application may feature a "live chat room" that will speak the contents of what the user has typed in and the response from the other client on demand. This will be limited to the other user having this software installed on there computer as well. Peer to peer communications. Also, we hope to have an e-mail feature added to the software that will not require sight to operate simply.
Windows 95, 98, 98 SE, ME, 2000 or NT
Windows compatible sound card and speakers
Microsoft Internet Explore 4.+
All other required software components supplied within the setup (VB6
runtime files, Text 2 Speech Engine, Microsoft Agent core files)
Due to the size (8.24 Mb) of this setup, we also offer the option of receiving the software on CD for a shipping / handling charge of $9.00Or send a request via snail mail to Customized Computer Software, P.O. Box 171, Midwest, WY 82643.
This is I believe a good way to get on the net if your speech software is not really up to the job of speaking web pages back to you.
So why not give it a try. At just over 8MB in size it would not take that long to download.
The WeMedia Talking Browser web site is at: http://126.96.36.199/atec/WeMedia_TB.htm
To go right to the download file go to: http://www.webtalkster.com/WEMediaTB.exe
++ 4, New Deafblindness.com Web Site.
As many of you may know I own deafblind.com and deaf-blind.com domain names to try and help other Deafblind people on the net and to also make sighted hearing people more aware what Deafblind people can do if only given a chance. So Deafblind.com was started to do this and also to keep my brain going. Last year the domain name deaf-blind.com became available after I have been waiting years for it, And I than pointed deaf-blind.com to deafblind.com so if one typed deaf-blind.com it would take you to deafblind.com.
Well in January I bought the domain name deafblindness.com And as before pointed it to deafblind.com.
Good Domain names are been taken up very fast and I believe that it won't be long before we will not be able to get the one's that we are after so I took the chance to buy deafblindness.com before it was taken. There is not that many Deafblind domain names available out there now. Not just because I have bought four of the Deafblind names which are deafblind.com, deaf-blind.com, deafblindness.com, and deafblind.co.uk
Large Deafblind organizations throughout the world are starting to move on to the net with a domain name that will be as near as there organization name is, but these organizations may have to use the ORG in there domain name like deafblind.org.uk which belongs to Deafblind UK. The ORG means organization.
Deafblind.net and Deafblind.org have been bought but they have not been put on the net buy the people who own them. Deafblind.org is owned by a Deafblind organization in Denmark, But Deafblind.net is owned by people who are just sitting on it But I know who really owns it They are in the UK.
More and more Deafblind organizations are going to come on to the net and this is going to be quite importantbecause this information will be at our finger tips about Deafblind organizations and what they offer to there members. This can only be a good thing for us all.
But much more important is that a lot more Deafblind people are starting to make themselves present on the net with having there own web sites, one of these people that comes to mind is the web site of Craig MacLean who has made a great site to help other Deafblind people. This is a site that should be a must for Deafblind people it is at http://www.PeerSupportDB.com
And another person who is doing a lot for Deafblind people on the net
is Randy Klumph the person behind
the Deafblind mailing list and having a part on The National Information Clearinghouse on Children Who Are Deaf-Blind site at: http://www.tr.wou.edu/dblink/index.htm And Teaching Research Division of Western Oregon University at: http://www.tr.wou.edu/
We are going to see a lot more people like Craig and Randy on the net starting there own sites and being a part of other sites, offering help to others, And I am pleased at this because we are able to do so much more than the sighted hearing think we can do. And with the technology of today the world is just starting to open up for Deafblind people with new equipment that lets us take part in the sighted hearing world at long last.
Well I better stop here before I start to go too deep into this subject and bore you all to sleep which I do very easily let me tell you all.
++ 5, The DB Techies Bits n Bytes News File.
Interliant Builds Web Site For The Blind.
ASP Interliant has worked with the American Federation for the Blind (AFB) to create a feature-rich Web site intended to make e-commerce accessible to the blind and visually impaired community. The site uses technology that can "read" graphics, among other things.
AFB President Carl Augusto wanted a site that was graphically appealing to those with sight but also highly accessible to the visually impaired. Augusto says the site should create a community for the blind, their care givers, and service providers and should also offer products for purchase. Interliant attached links to the site's graphics so that a screen reader can read the graphics as though they were text.
The site also has a color-change option for people with low vision, which Augusto says is important and a good example of how small changes can make any site more accessible to those with disabilities. Screen readers can translate online text into Braille or a synthetic voice but cannot handle the graphics that e-commerce sites frequently use to sell products or link to other applications. Interliant CEO Herb Hribar says that the AFB site is a prototype for public-service agencies, nonprofit organizations, and commercial sites. Augusto says that the AFB site could become a host site for agencies and schools that cannot afford their own sites.
+ Bits n Bytes, 25 per cent of Internet users will abandon CDs.
A recent MORI poll of Internet users, conducted for Creative Labs, has shown that the CD's days are numbered, with one in four expecting to turn to the Internet as the sole source of music. In the 15-24 age bracket the figure was as high as 37 per cent.
The survey reveals just how widely accepted and understood the concepts of codecs and streaming digital music have become. A massive 67 per cent were looking to store digital music on mobile devices and 72 per cent expected MP3 to remain the strongest format, with opinion equally split as to whether emerging formats such as WMA and others will replace the codec.
The main reason for downloading music given by those polled was that it is a cheap method to get it - witness Napster et al. And 72 per cent reckoned that the music industry will have to change how music is sold.
Of course the music industry is painfully aware of this, but the closure of the free music exchange section of Napster will leave it in the position of online distributor - something that the labels can easily take up themselves in order to out-price the competition. Labels can then add value to music files with screensavers and other bonus media, making them the music source of choice. Free music may die, but cheap music will thrive.
The survey polled 1,629 of the UK general public between 15 and 65, a group of 320 people who download music at least once a month and a consulted panel of 60 of e-MORI's IT journalists.
+ Bits n Bytes, Wireless Industry Treads Carefully On Privacy.
Wireless phone companies will begin to implement location-tracking technology that will allow tracking cell phone users' physical movements, a move mandated by federal law and aimed at locating 911 callers. The technology will open a new marketing avenue for commercials targeted at consumers in the area of different stores and shops.
A person walking by McDonald's with a cell phone could receive a discount,
for instance. Wireless companies are already beginning to implement privacy
policies to ease consumer fears and forestall federal regulation. The wireless
industry plans to be proactive in protecting consumer privacy and setting
guidelines, unlike Internet companies that have been "reactive to privacy
issues," says Travis Larson, spokesman for the Cellular Telecommunications&
Internet Association. Internet privacy legislation is currently before
Congress, and recently the AeA endorsed highly focused federal regulation
on Internet privacy.
+ Bits n Bytes, Publishing Industry Aims To Establish Web Presence Without Getting 'Blindsided'
Even as literary publishers have created a new niche for themselves on the Internet, they have had to confront the traditional problems of piracy and hackers. Publishers are carefully laying the ground rules for their e-book Internet operations and keeping a wary eye on the potential for piracy.
"We want to deal with issues like intellectual property from day one, rather than try to get it back in the box after it is too late," says Pat Schroeder, CEO of the American Association of Publishers. Ignoring the potential market value of the Internet is not an option for publishers; the new technology has motivated them to develop different consumer goods based on content they already own. By starting with an unblemished record, unlike the music industry, literary publishers may well set the standard for online consumer interaction.
Digital Goods CEO Scott Griffith says the publishing industry is facing the Internet and e-book business with their priorities straight. "First you take care of your security and you protect your intellectual property" by constructing a well designed digital rights management system. After that, "you can go out and really sell."
+ Bits n Bytes, Bluetooth Readies For Its Close-Up.
This year could prove critical to the wireless networking system Bluetooth, which has been struggling for recognition since its debut two years ago. Bluetooth is designed to connect virtually any short-range communications device seamlessly, and Ericsson and Motorola are expected to premier Bluetooth-equipped phones. In addition, the Wall Street Holiday Inn in New York City will soon operate a wireless check-in system that runs on Bluetooth.
However, Bluetooth rivals such as HomeRF and 802.11B are challenging
the technology for control of the market. For example, original Bluetooth
backer Intel selected HomeRF for its new wireless Web devices because of
its cheapness and availability. MobileStar chose 802.11B to deliver streaming
audio and video to Microsoft PocketPC devices and laptops because "we require
something very robust and graceful, and Bluetooth just isn't
there yet," claims CEO Mark Goode.
+ Bits n Bytes, Once more unto the courts, dear Microsoft.
Or close the wall up with our legal dead! Yes, the 'case that will not conclude' resumes today. An appeals court in America will hear arguments over the long-running Microsoft antitrust action.
As you are no doubt well aware, Judge Penfield Jackson ruled back in the summer of last year that Microsoft had been acting in anti-competitive manner and should be broken up into separate elements. But this court-imposed remedy was suspended pending appeal... Which just about brings us back up to date.
Today a panel of seven judges will question both sides of the issue: whether Microsoft illegally sought to maintain a monopoly over PC operating systems through its use of Internet Explorer. Tuesday, the US Department of Justice (and the 19 states) will restate the position that Microsoft did abuse its dominant position, while Wednesday will see Microsoft's legal representatives argue that Judge Jackson has shown himself to be biased against the company and that his lower-court ruling was unfair.
And then - after what seems like a never ending legal process (the case was first filed back in May 1998) - a conclusion might just be drawn. It's definitely the beginning of the end. Almost certainly. Unless the appeals court could decides to send the case back to another judge to revise Jackson's rulings for a break up...
+ Bits n Bytes, Celera's Human Genetic Code To Go Online.
Celera Genomics Group will publish an analysis of the human genome, which it finished decoding last year, in the journal "Science" and will make the data supporting that analysis available on the company's Web site. The arrangement between Celera and "Science" is significant as it marks the alliance of research science's two competing wings: the academic and the corporate.
The online data will be available to any academic researcher, but researchers must first agree not to share the data with other firms that have similar databases. Celera will let researchers use the data to support and patent their own projects. However, researchers from drug firms will not be allowed to use the data for commercial projects. Celera CEO J. Craig Venter explains that, while the company does want to adhere to the long tradition of data sharing among the research community, it must take steps to protect its data from piracy, which does not fall under any current U.S. copyright laws.
Not all of Celera's genome database will be available online. Researchers, with written approval from a university official, may order the complete database on DVD or CD optical disks. Although some researchers have criticized the agreement between Celera and "Science," many say it is a reasonable precaution to protect data.
+ Bits n Bytes, Colleges Focus On Making Web Sites Work For People With Disabilities.
The past three years have seen several government mandates seeking to improve the accessibility of college computer hardware and Web sites for people with disabilities. In 1998, the federal government invoked the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to require 11 community colleges in California to provide information in both electronic and traditional print format to students who have disabilities.
A new federal regulation pertaining to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is pending as the Bush administration reviews all new regulations enacted in the final months of the Clinton presidency. The regulation is meant to bring federal agencies into compliance with the ADA but also applies to state higher-education institutions. College officials say the issue cannot be ignored as more and more professors use the Internet and other multimedia tools as an integral part of their courses and the institutions themselves make the Web an indispensable part of recruitment and administrative activities. However, many of the new features are often difficult for those with visual or hearing impairments to access.
+ Bits n Bytes, Who's Afraid Of E-Books?
Textbook makers are feeling more comfortable about their future now that the dotcom fever has died down. In the midst of devising Web strategies in response to the looming threat that Web startups posed to their industry, book publishers have realized that they have all of the content. Newcomers to the textbook field, from upstarts like Coursewise.com to giants such as Microsoft, ultimately would have to team up with them to access that content. "Everyone's got partnerships with everyone else these days," says Henry Hirschberg, a senior publishing executive at McGraw-Hill.
Textbook and reference publishers such as Houghton Mifflin, John Wiley & Sons, and Thomson Learning nowexpress doubt that the technology will overhaul their business. Bedford Freeman & Worth COO Susan Driscoll believes that e-books cost too much to design and build, while Jim Behnke, director of the central media group at Pearson Education, believes that paper has too many advantages to disappear. The old economy textbook makers are in the drivers' seat, industry analysts say, and are likely to digitize textbooks at their own pace.
+ Bits n Bytes, Dial-Up Access Getting Faster.
The new V.92 dial-up modem standard promises to maximize the limited potential of analog connections. Once Internet Service Providers upgrade their hardware to handle the V.92 standard, the new protocol will shave a few seconds off of logon time, allow free Internet call waiting, and speed data conversion for faster downloads and uploads.
Actiontec's Lesley Kirchman notes that, while the future definitely belongs to broadband, the V.92 standard could be the last great leap forward in analog modem technology. ISPs America Online, EarthLink, and MSN have yet to adopt the technology because it is so new, but representatives have promised that the companies will soon test and debug V.92.
Among the new features are "Quick Connect" technology, which helps a modem to learn connection patterns and hook up more quickly, and the new V.44 compression protocol that makes text and Web pages move faster.
++ 6, Download the past issues of the DB Techies.
If you would like to read the other DB Techies that you may have missed in the past I have made an archive of all the past Issues available in text and in the BRL format for a Braille Note taker. These files are available at http://www.deafblind.com/dbtechies.html And they are dbttxt.zip this is the text version, and dbtbrl.zip for the notetakers.
You can go to the site to get them or use this method too.
Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
and on the Subject line put this. www.dbtechies.net/dbttxt.zip
Or for the BRL version put this in.
++ 7. The Archives of the DB Techies Newsletter.
I have included a page on my site which will archive this copy of the DB Techies Newsletter,and the last issue of the DB Techies has already been put on to my site, so if you missed the other Editions of DB Techies Newsletter you can get them at http://www.DBTechies.net
++ 8. To unsubscribe from DB Techies send e-mail to: email@example.com You must send the e-mail letter from the same e-mail address that you used to subscribed from.
This is the last Issue Of the DB Techies, Bye for now.
All the very best to you all.
End of The DB Techies.