Tech Tips

Welcome to our Technology Tips section! The NFB Jernigan Institute Access Technology team is always on the lookout for new and better ways to give blind people access to technology, as the ever-growing International Braille and Technology Center attests. In these tips we want to share some of the pointers manufacturers and developers share with us to help you learn about new applications and new programs, and to help you find new functionality in familiar products. The Access Technology team works with the relevant manufacturers and developers to obtain the tips listed here, to make sure that you get the best and latest about anything new in the world of non-visual access technology.

 

If you have any feedback on the tips, please contact Clara Van Gerven at cvangerven@nfb.org.

Victor Reader Stream: FAQ

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Q. Are NLS books now available for download?

A. NLS has recently opened an expanded pilot download site of digital talking books and magazines for NLS patrons who are registered for NLS service by their local library, who have a computer and high speed Internet connection to download the books, and who also have an NLS authorized digital book player capable of playing the NISO books downloaded from the NLS server.    

Q. Who qualifies for NLS talking book service?

A. Only residents of the United States or American citizens living abroad who are unable to read or use standard print materials as a result of a temporary or permanent visual, physical limitation may receive NLS audio book services.  Each individual must be certified first before accessing the NLS audio book services. 

Freedom Scientific Braille Displays: Using Whiz Wheels for Greater Productivity

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Overview
Freedom Scientific's Focus 80 and 40-cell Braille displays and PAC Mate Portable 40 and 20-cell Braille displays are affordable, versatile refreshable Braille displays, and when used with JAWS' screen reading software, they are packed with advanced features and options. One of the unique features available on both of these Braille displays is the programmable Whiz Wheels. The Whiz Wheels, placed at either end of the line of Braille cells on each Braille display, have been positioned to promote the greatest comfort and economy of hand movement. Using the Whiz Wheels, it is possible to navigate quickly and efficiently through files, dialog boxes and menus without ever removing your hands from the Braille display.

Eliminating the Pains and Strains of Computer Use

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Most would agree that computers are not inherently user-friendly. Many find using a computer to be painful, while others find daily computer use requires significant effort. These pains and strains of computer use are even more pronounced when the user is dealing with low vision or blindness. 

Most programs, however, can be controlled with keyboard shortcuts which often simplify the interaction.  Of course it would be overwhelming to try and learn them all. Instead, start with the most useful shortcuts in your most used programs and as well as some basic desktop shortcuts.

The USDA TARGET Center will be presenting a series of these shortcuts in this space.  More detailed trainings are also available online and in-person through the TARGET Center. 

Victor Reader Stream Tips and Tricks

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Q. If I lose my reading place, how can I get back to it quickly if the DAISY or NISO book has no page numbers?

The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) in Microsoft Office 2007

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

With the introduction of the Ribbon in Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word 2007, Microsoft Office made a great change to the user interface of these applications.  To ease the transition of existing Office users to the Ribbon, and to provide an optimized experience for users who are already accustomed to the Ribbon, these applications provide a Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).  Any of the commands in the Ribbon can be easily added to this toolbar, allowing for easy access to commonly-used commands.  Below, we'll describe how to add commands to the QAT, and how to use them once they are there.

Adding a command to the QAT using the keyboard

Eliminating the Pains and Strains of Computer Use

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Most would agree that computers are not inherently user-friendly. Many find using a computer to be painful, while others find daily computer use requires significant effort. These pains and strains of computer use are even more pronounced when the user is dealing with low vision or blindness. 

Most programs, however, can be controlled with keyboard shortcuts which often simplify the interaction.  Of course it would be overwhelming to try and learn them all. Instead, start with the most useful shortcuts in your most used programs and as well as some basic desktop shortcuts.

The USDA TARGET Center will be presenting a series of these shortcuts in this space.  More detailed trainings are also available online and in-person through the TARGET Center. 

Dolphin EasyReader 2.31

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

General Information on supported formats

Dolphin EasyReader is a software tool that not only reads DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3 materials (including Bookshare material) it also reads HTML and text files. The EasyReader is available in more than 15 languages, including Spanish, Italian and German.

DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3 materials contain multiple files.  Both formats contain a control file, NCC (DAISY 2.02) or NCX (DAISY 3), which keeps the material together. The text in the material is stored in an HTML (DAISY 2.02) or an XML (DAISY 3) file. The audio is typically streamed in MP3 format and the synchronisation between text and audio is controlled by SMIL files.

DAISY 2.02 materials can generally be protected by the PDTB scheme, however, the EasyReader can open materials that are protected with PDTB version 1.

Dolphin EasyReader 2.31 Series 2*

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

EasyReader 201 - Playing your book

When the material is opened the playback will start automatically as default. If the material contains audio it will play but if it comes without pre-recorded audio, the text will be played by a speech synthesiser.

To start and stop playback, use the Start/Stop button or press Spacebar.

There are several ways to navigate once you open your materials in EasyReader. Depending on how well structured the material is you can use some or all of the functions described in this series.

An Overview of Freedom Scientific's PAC Mate Omni

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

PAC Mate Omni' is the latest version of Freedom Scientific's Accessible Pocket PC. At its heart are Microsoft's Windows Mobile' Operating System, and JAWS for Pocket PC'.

As with previous versions of PAC Mate, you may choose your model based on whether you prefer to work with a Braille or QWERTY keyboard. PAC Mate Omni can be purchased as a voice-only unit, or a Braille display can be fitted snugly and securely to the unit. Braille displays are available in sizes of 20 or 40 cells, and these may also be used as a USB Braille display for your PC. Simply connect the display, and JAWS for Windows' will detect the presence of the display and start sending information to it.

Victor Reader Stream - Some New Tips

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stream Undo Key

Have you ever accidentally pressed key 4 or key 6 on your Stream and jumped to the previous or next chapter when you did not mean to? Then you had to fast forward or rewind to find your way back to your reading place? Is there a better way?
Yes. If you press the Cancel (star) key within 10 seconds of the accidental move, the Stream will undo your navigation.

For example, suppose you were in the middle of chapter 5 and accidentally press key 6 and moved to chapter6. If you then press the Cancel key within 10 seconds you will be returned to your previous position in chapter 5.

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