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JAWS 7 Upgrade Demo

October 8, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker


What’s New in JAWS 7.0?

Learn all about the features and functions of this new release of the JAWS product as officially advertised by Freedom Scientific, download a copy of the software and more. Do not remove JAWS 6.2 after performing this upgrade as you may find yourself continuing to rely upon it for the near future. There is a potential for disappointment with this upgrade; please stay tuned for additional upcoming coverage of this product release.

Firefox 1.5 Beta 2

Download and install this most recent version of the Firefox alternative, open source browser in order to obtain the accessibility features required for use with screen readers such as JAWS 7.0 and Window-Eyes 5.5. The currently available final release of Firefox, 1.07, is not recommended as it does not yet incorporate IBM’s accessibility enhancements. Stay tuned to Blind Access Journal and other blind community resources for late breaking news on the development and availability of future accessible Firefox releases.

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All About Blogging and Snogging!

October 7, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

How about some humor for a Friday night? Our friend Tina contributes the following wisdom on the topics of blogging and snogging. Enjoy.

A Dog met a frog in a bog,

And then came running a hog.

Did you Jog, asked the dog?

In the fog? asked the Frog.

Said the hog, In the smog,

My mate did I snog,

but we were startled by the falling of a log.

So, said the hog,

to the dog and the frog,

Let’s leave this soggy bog,

and imbibe in egg nog,

and go write this tale up in a blog.

She also inspired the following additional wisdom on the subject:

You can snog on a log in the fog while writing a blog, but you had better
watch out for the dog, the hog and the frog!

Categories: Uncategorized

Tuesday Topics

October 5, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker


Check out Karen’s interpretation of all the deep meanings found in the song One Love by Hootie and the Blowfish and tell us what you think. Her interpretation is woven between the lyrics found in the following paragraphs.

Sunshine, on the horizon
Over two young lovers, while it’s going’ down

The first Stanza has an overt meaning, while the rest of the lyrics are more ambiguous.

Somewhere, the same sun rises,
On another two lovers, as the world goes around

People have much in common. All of us want & need love, to feel we
belong. This is universal, no matter whom you are, where you’re from, what
your background or beliefs are.

Same scene, played over and over
Same sweet passion, same warm blood
Softly speaking, the universal language
So many lovers ……….. One love

History repeats itself. Each of us, searching for the same thing; that one love. The one whom we can trust & be ourselves.

One love might make a difference
Might take the walls, and tear them down
One light might keep on shining
If we take one love and we spread it around

This stanza is clear, evident at first glance as well.
Yet may not be as apparent to some. Its multiple meanings are significant
on several levels.
If, we love each other, be kind to our neighbors, not just in our Country
but on Foreign soil, then, perhaps, the world would be more peaceful, & the
world as one.
Maybe, we would not have so many social problems, here in America or
elsewhere. If, we all took the time, energy & resources, to help others,
feed the hungry, help the homeless, employed the disabled or not be
prejudice of others of other races, religions or ethnicity. If, we stop,
look & listen, assist in any way, rather then, be caught up in our own life,
our situation, in our own corner of the world, we would express love,
kindness & happiness to others.
Then, another person, or group of people, would feel love, happiness
instead of malice or sorrow. He/she too, would see the light, have a glimmer of hope, and feel the sunshine so they can stand on their feet. Yet, some, many, live in poverty, are homeless, hungry & ill. They feel despair & rain, rather then the warmth of the sun providing comfort, strength & support.

Old religions, new generations
Caught in a struggle of righteous ways
Can’t see the forest for all the frustrations
Too many lyin’, too many dyin’ .. But only one love
One love might make a difference
Might take the walls, and tear them down
One light might keep on shining
If we take one love and we spread it around

Once again, History repeats itself. Its human nature to assume what one
person believes is correct & if another’s opinions, attitudes & beliefs
differ, then, he/she is wrong. Some do not support or acknowledge anyone
with an opposing view.
In fact, many are angry, bitter & filled with rage. This is evident in
world Affairs. The terrorists are trying to destroy America. thinking of the United States as Greedy, Selfish & hope to create fear & total distruction & havoc on our land, demolishing everyone & everything, turning our country into a pile of dust & ash. They at least, want to kill our spirit & willingness to live & survive.
This has gone on too long, too many generations, not changing, not learning from past mistakes, not accepting others for who they are, for their uniqueness.
This will continue for many years, for decades, for several generations.
Until, we, all of us, can & do become more accepting & supportive of our fellow man.
We may not agree nor understand their beliefs or culture. However, we need to at least listen & be more respectful of others, be more kind. Until then, there will be War & hatred. This will always exist & always be an issue.
Yet, sometimes, through War there is eventually peace, compromise &
understanding. It would be nice, to remove the walls, the barriers & have peace.

Too many stories share the same thread
Too many roads untraveled…
Same scene plays over and over and over now
Same young passion, same red blood
Universal language goes unspoken
Too much hatred, too much hatred now
.. But only one love
One love might make a difference
Might take the walls, and tear them down
One light might keep on shining
If we take one love and we spread it around
Sunshine on the horizon
Over two young lovers, while it’s going’ down

Here, in this last stanza too, it’s the same, same pattern. We all have our
own story. The people & places are different, yet similar. Change is not
easy, not for anyone. We often do not learn from our mistakes. It’s
difficult to alter your perspective. It often, takes much reflection, ponder
thoughts & to find commonalities in another, for when you do, one can not
hate, but, respect & perhaps love another despite their opinions.
No matter whom you are, if you are more accepting & loving to another,
then, they too, will see the light shining more brightly, giving him/her
hope & then, be more willing to share the hope & love around. Things
such as love & music are the universal language.
Furthermore, we do not always see the “forest for the Trees &
“procrastination is the thief of time” We do not have much time, don’t’
waste it. Life is precious! Take a moment & help another, for you, may
change their life in an instant, in a day or later down the road. It’s
often, easier to take the path often traveled, familiar & comfortable. Go
ahead, take the road, less traveled, & that, may make all the
difference, may tear the walls down & shine the light, altering History,
the world forever.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Ideal Digital Audio Recorder

October 1, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

I am currently using the Iriver IFP 899 as my digital audio recorder primarily for podcasting. Despite its use of defaulting menus, I am extremely frustrated with its lack of accessibility resulting in a frequent need to obtain sighted assistance to resolve serious problems. I have come up with the specifications for an ideal digital audio recorder for blindcasters:

  • All functions are usable by a blind person without need of sighted assistance at any time.
  • Stereo line in connection with option to activate amplification for external microphones.
  • Ability to adjust recording levels in an accessible manner!
  • Records in at least MP3 format at a sampling rate of 44.1 KHz, 128 Kbps bit rate at at least 16 bit stereo.
  • Unlimited recording time provided by CompactFlash card slots.
  • Allows live monitoring of recordings through headphones.
  • Can be connected to the PC using a standard mini-USB cable.
  • Operates as a USB mass storage drive for transferring files to and from the device without need of any proprietary software.

If anything close to a machine like this exists, please let me know. I’m getting very serious about this blind podcasting thing and want to be able to do it right! As always, all feedback is appreciated.

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Audio Discoveries

October 1, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Check out this sound seeing tour as I rediscover the difference between mono and stereo patch cables, wonder what to do about replacing my broken Nokia 3650 cell phone, warn about the use of the joystick control on the Iriver 899, cope with a driver-pedestrian situation and much more. I know my levels are not quite right. The audio is distorted. Attempts to correct it using Sound Forge were not successful. All ideas are very much appreciated!

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