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Freedom Scientific Suing Serotek, Claim Trademark Infringement

May 17, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

We have just learned that Freedom Scientific filed suit against Serotek on May 14 claiming trademark infringement for use of the term “FreedomBox”. This development raises several potentially interesting, if speculative, questions:

  • FreedomBox has existed as a product of Serotek Corporation for seven years. Why is Freedom Scientific making this move after all that time has passed?
  • This lawsuit was filed one day before the Wafra acquisition was made public. Is there any relationship between the two events?
  • Serotek’s products are evolving in some rather innovative ways, covering some of the same territory as products manufactured by Freedom Scientific. Now that Serotek’s recognition and standing is rapidly increasing within the assistive technology industry and the blind community, does this lawsuit represent an anti-competitive move on Freedom Scientific’s part to attempt to delete a player from the field?
  • The name “FreedomBox” and the name “Freedom Scientific” have only the word “freedom” in common. There are many other company’s with names including the word “freedom” including Freedom Communications, Inc. and Freedom Technologies Corporation. Given these and probably many other facts, how does Freedom Scientific have a case? The movie Jaws was made in 1975, long before either Henter-Joyce or Freedom Scientific existed. Should Steven Spielberg sue Freedom Scientific for trademark infringement over the name “Jaws”?
  • Why has Freedom Scientific demanded a jury instead of simply allowing a judge to handle this matter expeditiously?

We at the Blind Access Journal are deeply concerned about the possible ramifications of this development, even if Freedom Scientific does not win their case. We are continuing to research this story with our sources in the assistive technology and legal fields and will report frequently as new details become known. Please feel free to post a comment or e-mail us at any time about this or any other item.

Categories: Serotek

Visual Verification: CAPTCHA Prevents Blind People from Signing Up at

May 17, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

I wrote the following note to Mike with after learning that they are now using a visual only CAPTCHA (visual verification) that prevents blind people from signing up for their services.

Dear Mike,
I am a blind user who is trying to create an account on  Unfortunately, your visual only CAPTCHA prevents me from completing the process.  Please consider removing the CAPTCHA, replacing the CAPTCHA with another form of protection such as e-mail confirmation or implementing an audio CAPTCHA that will play back the characters so that blind people may listen to the code to be entered.
I anticipate your prompt response on this important issue that currently locks out blind people simply on the basis that they are unable to see.
Best regards,
Darrell Shandrow
Accessibility Evangelist

Serotek Announces Remote Incident Manager (RIM) Pricing

May 17, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

This is fantastic news! Serotek’s CEO, Mike Calvo, has just announced the pricing for Remote Incident Manager. This technology promises to totally revolutionize the business, employment and educational opportunities for any blind person requiring anytime, anywhere mobile and remote access to computers running modern Windows operating systems. Pricing for Remote Incident Manager will be $99 per month. This requires a Key to Freedom equipped with System Access Mobile at a price of $499 and an annual $60 update plan. The pricing plan, scheduled for official public release on May 18, easily competes with similar offerings in the mainstream market and will place this technology into the hands of assistive technology specialists, consultants, help desk technicians and others who require the ability to remotely administer computers owned by sighted people who do not already have assistive technology installed. For answers to your questions, or to place an order, please contact Serotek. Let’s all get behind Serotek as a blind community and support this critical technology.

Categories: Serotek

Accessible Currency for All

May 17, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Karen presents all of us with a KDD (Karen's Daily Dose) poem asking you
all to visit and sign the Accessible Currency
petition if you have not yet done so.

If you want to independently Identify cash,
Please, do dash,
On over, to ACB Radio,, is the site to go,
Sign your name,
if you do, life, will not be the same,
So make the move,
The quality of life for all the blind will improve.
despite what you may have been told,
You will not have to fold,
Your bills in different ways for easy identification,
Go listen to the promo on the ACB station.

The Accessible Currency issue affects all, no matter what race or
Can significantly change the world,for all who can not see,
You and me.
No matter, young ,old or what your Heritage,
Don't burn the bridge.
Don't allow there to be a barrier, we don't need a wall,
We need accessible currency for all.
Even if your retired, a student or employed,
This issue you can not avoid
Whether you march with a consumer organization,or walk alone,
Let your voice be heard, your opinion be known.
Give us all a hand,
Take a stand,
If we have accessible money,, more independence, for us, understand?
Upon others, we will not have to depend,
Not a family member, co-worker or friend.
Nor the Clerk in your favorite neighborhood shop,
The stranger on the street,or the city cop.
To identify the denominations, wouldn't you like to read them
Does notmatter,if you have wealth.
Live in poverty, or are a cashier in a BEP program,
Employed for SSA or work for Uncle Sam,.
No matter if you are employed at a large corporation and the CEO,
If you, run the show.
Or have your own small business,
Wouldn't you want access?
Why spend the resources on a talking money identifier??
Complete access, don't you desire?
Why ask for sighted assistance,if it,you do not need?
With accessible currency, you can read.

The group Dyer Straights sung a song titled Money for nothing,
So, drive on to the information highway,
And sign the online petition today.
And ACB, Accessible Money we would like to bring,
So, don't wait, do not stall,
Go online and help gain access to currency for all.

Categories: Uncategorized

Coming up on Main Menu and Main Menu Live for the week of May 16

May 15, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker
This week on Main Menu, Rick Harmon from the Blind Geek Zone web site reviews the use of gadgets and Ready Boost on Windows Vista with JAWS for Windows Public Beta 2. Darrell and Karen Shandrow from the Blind Access Journal demonstrate the use of Serotek’s Remote Incident Manager, a potentially revolutionary new technology that allows blind technicians to gain access to and remotely administer Windows computers belonging to end-users even when no screen reader has been installed.

During the second hour of Main Menu Live, we bring on Mike Calvo, CEO of Serotek, to talk with us all about FreedomBox, Remote Access Manager, Remote Incident Manager and System Access. Mike will also be taking your questions about his innovative technology. This is a show you most certainly do not want to miss!

The number to call into the show is 866-400-5333. You can email your questions to You may also interact with the show via MSN Messenger. The MSN Messenger ID to add is

Would you like to interact with a group of Main Menu listeners about the topics heard on Main Menu and Main Menu Live? You can do this by joining the Main Menu Friends email list. The address to subscribe is Come join an already lively group of users.

Would you like to subscribe to podcast feeds for Main Menu and Main Menu Live? The RSS feeds to add to your podcatching application are:

Main Menu –

Main Menu Live –

Main Menu and Main Menu Live can be heard on Tuesday evenings at 9:00 Eastern, 6:00 Pacific, and at 1 universal on Wednesday mornings on the ACB Radio Main Stream channel. To listen to the show, just click this link:

Best regards,

Jeff Bishop and Darrell Shandrow

The Main Menu Production Team

Categories: Uncategorized

Wafra Pulls Press Release on Freedom Scientific Acquisition

May 15, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker
Shortly after we posted the initial article pointing to Wafra’s press release on the Freedom Scientific acquisition, it disappeared.  Fortunately, we were able to locate the text of the release, which you may read below.
Wafra Partners Announces Acquisition of Freedom Scientific, Inc.
April 25, 2007

Wafra Partners LLC and Wafra Investment Advisory Group, Inc.* are pleased to announce the acquisition of Freedom Scientific, Inc.
Freedom Scientific, Inc., based in St. Petersburg, FL, is the leading worldwide provider of assistive technology products for those who are low vision
or blind. Assistive technology products make information, whether in electronic or print format, and computing accessible to those who are low vision or
blind. The Company’s software products include screen reading software, screen magnification software and scanning and reading software. Hardware products
include handheld computers, Braille displays, scanning and reading machines, video magnifiers and Braille printers.
Wafra Partners LLC is a private equity firm focused on middle market companies based in North America that have enterprise values between $20 and $150
million. We are currently seeking acquisitions of companies in consumer products, outsourced business services, niche manufacturing, and consumer-driven
* Wafra Investment Advisory Group, Inc. serves as investment advisor to the investments referred to herein. Wafra Partners LLC seeks companies within the
parameters and sectors set out above.
Categories: Uncategorized

Winamp Version 5.35 is now Available

May 15, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Winamp version 5.35 is now available and one place where you can
download it from is at

are the changes in this version:

* Improved: Current translation support of core strings and dialogs
* Improved: Correct theming of tabbed dialogs on WinXP+
* Improved: Various misc tweaks/improvements
* Fixed: More tabbing fixes in UI and Preferences
* Fixed: [in_cdda] CDDB crash with non-English characters in user path
* Fixed: [in_cdda] Gapless playback of mix CDs with Sonic Engine
* Fixed: [in_flac] Genre field truncated in Flac Editor
* Fixed: [in_mp3] Incompatibility with musicbrainz tags
* Fixed: [in_mp3] Long stream urls truncated in Alt+3 dialog
* Fixed: [in_mp3] Tracklength not showing for mp3's with large embedded
* Fixed: [in_mp4] MP4 file parsing buffer overflow vulnerability
* Fixed: [in_vorbis] Cancel button in Vorbis Editor
* Fixed: [in_vorbis] Tabbing in Vorbis Editor
* Fixed: [in_wm] Artist and Title fields reversed in WMA Editor
* Fixed: [in_wm] Crash when attempting to play malformed ASX playlists
* Fixed: [ml_local] NOTHAS and != with empty fields
* Fixed: [ml_wire] (4294967295%) in sc wire downloads
* Fixed: [ml_wire] Podcast downloading bug (uninitialized variable error)
* Fixed: [pmp_p4s] Crash on sync/transfers
* Updated: [gen_jumpex] Jump To File Extra v0.99.1b

Categories: Uncategorized