Dolphin Newsletter - July 2003
- Top Ten Tips for Using Internet Explorer.
- Support Announced for Terminal Services.
- New Map Files Released.
- Dolphin Incorporated.
- Supernova put to "novel" use.
- Hal User is Top of the Class.
Some companies make a lot of noise about their screen readers on the Internet, but Supernova has come a long way. If you want magnification and screen reading on the Internet, it's the best product at the best price - and it couldn't be easier!
If you are trying out Supernova on the Internet, try these top ten tips.
- Supernova is more intelligent - there's no need to decide which cursor to use. Supernova recognises a web page and chooses Virtual Focus automatically.
- Filling in forms is easy! Press Left Shift + Left Ctrl + Home. Supernova will jump the focus to the first edit area on the web page. As you tab around the form, Supernova choose the correct focus automatically - there's no need to pick a different cursor. To Enter text in an edit field, simply press Enter. When you tab out to a button or other control, Supernova will automatically select Virtual Focus.
- Magnification, speech and Braille track together, even if the control is at the bottom of the page. Try cursoring down a long web page really quickly! Not only does Supernova keep up with you, but it scrolls the web page down. No other screen reader can do this. Why is this important? Because most blind computer users have sighted family, friends and co-workers. If you are looking at a web page together, the page must scroll down for you both to see it.
- Supernova highlights your position on the web page - again, this is helpful for sighted teachers and trainers. It even remembers your position so if you go back to a previous page your focus starts where you left it.
- For low vision users, click anywhere on the web page with your middle mouse button, then press Num Pad +. You can start and stop Document Read from any point. Use Document Read with any magnification view. No other screen reader or screen magnifier can do this!
- Press F3 to search for any word on a web page, even below the visible screen. Type your word, then press Enter. Supernova will jump the focus right to it. Press F4 for next and F2 for previous. The "Find" feature will even find images with alt-tags. If you're looking for "Sport" or "Weather" on a busy news site, this is really useful!
- Use the Dolphin List Utility to announce the number of links, frames or headings on a web page, and jump right to the one you want.
- Skip past annoying adverts by jumping between text areas with hot key Left Ctrl + Left Shift + Cursor Left/Right. Jump to the next paragraph or large text block with Ctrl + Cursor down.
- If you come to a table, announce the number of columns and rows with Left Shift + Num Pad 0. Use Caps Lock + Cursor keys to move around the table. Supernova is intelligent enough to ignore the "invisible" tables used by web designers for layout purposes and just read tables with borders.
- Supernova's colour smoothing makes any colour combination of text smooth and easy to read. If a web page uses colours you have trouble with, simply replace it with one you prefer - it will even replace the "problem" colour in pictures! Of course this does not affect the computer for anyone else in your family - simply toggle the colour changer on and off with Left Ctrl + Num Pad 0. Try out our full Internet Tutorial online.
And don't forget, if you want speech and magnification, you'll be £400 better off choosing Supernova instead of a separate screen reader and magnifier! (Price comparison based on UK published prices of nearest competitors). If you already have a competitive product and want to upgrade to Supernova, we'll give you a 35percent trade-in discount. Contact us on 0845 130 5353 for more details.
We're delighted to report that initial compatibility testing of Hal Screen reader with Terminal Server has proved successful. Terminal Server is essentially a network environment where the operating system, all the data and applications are stored on the server. The client machine is a "dumb" terminal or "thin client" and is entirely dependent on the network server. Microsoft's terminal server technology is called Windows Terminal Server (there are NT, 2000, XP and 2003 versions). A company called Citrix also make an add-on application called MetaFrame which is typically installed on top of Windows Terminal Server and enhances it's functionality. Terminal Server sessions have been completely inaccessible to people with a visual impairment until recently, so this is a real breakthrough! Microsoft have been working with Dolphin and another vendor to make sure the systems can be made accessible.
Ruth Loebl, Senior UK ICT Development Officer at the Royal National Institute for the Blind confirmed the importance of the announcement. "Many employers are implementing thin client technology in the workplace, and we at the RNIB have been monitoring the situation for some time," said Ruth. "Until very recently, applications delivered this way have been completely inaccessible to access technology users, so we are delighted that Dolphin are now developing magnification, speech output and Braille solutions for this platform. This should enable employers to hire and retain more blind and partially sighted employees in jobs where thin client technology is used, and should offer new opportunities for employment and career development to people who rely on access technology to do their job."
Both the new versions of Hal and Supernova are due to be released in November 2003 and will provide a combination of magnification, speech and Braille access to terminal server sessions via thin and thick clients. Dolphin has a number of operational test sites with corporate partners in the UK and USA, details of which will be posted on our website.
The latest set of map files is now available for download free of charge to registered users via the Internet Updater, or from the web site.
New Maps are available for the following applications:
Final Draft 6, lprecedit, lpSimpleRec, LpStudio/Pro, Microsoft Access XP, Microsoft Word 2000 Swedish, MSN Messenger, No MSAA, Outlook 2000/XP Swedish, Outlook 97 Swedish, QuickBooks, Sibelius Demo, Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 6, WinBraille2.04 and WordFinder Pro
The following maps have been updated:
EaseReader, Win Help and MS Works 2000 (including 2003 Calendar, Database, Spreadsheet, Task Launcher & Word Processor)
Established as an independent distribution company in 1998 as Dolphin Computer Access LLC, Dolphin's US office has now been incorporated into the Dolphin Group as Dolphin Computer Access, Inc. The two companies have always worked very closely together, so the name change will not affect customer service in any way. Instead clients in the United States will hear more news from Dolphin around the world, and vice versa!
Congratulations to Supernova user Patricia Young, who has just had her novel "Season of the Hedge Gypsy" published by Gazelle Books. Patricia's novel, which first started out life as a screenplay, was about a year in preparation. All Patricia's writing was done using her computer and Final Draft Professional Scriptwriting software, made accessible with Supernova. When Patricia struggled with the Final Draft software, Dolphin support engineer Chris Hunt came to her aid with a specially written map file.
Patricia is delighted "Supernova is a marvelous product and I've had brilliant service from Dolphin." Patricia's husband Jim agrees, "Without Supernova, Pat would never have finished Season of the Hedge Gypsy on time!"
Patricia's book tells a contemporary story of the countryside. When a hunting man meets the wild yet vulnerable "Hedge Gypsy" their bizarre encounter teaches him a lesson about humanity and about nature. The book's first edition is in print, however Patricia hopes to see an audio or DAISY version released later in the year. For details, or to reserve a copy call 01963 31903.
Congratulations to Malcolm Parfitt, who wrote to tell us of his recent success gaining an HNC with a little help from Hal, and his guide dog Innis.
"Knowing how dedicated Dolphin are to us the users I thought you may like to read about my recent achievement. In November last year I qualified with my new Guide dog Innis. Shortly after I enrolled on a course run in Tredegar as part of the University of the Valleys project run by University College Newport. This course is at HNC level. The course title was PC Maintenance and Repair. The course ran for about 12 weeks. I took my portable each week with Hal loaded onto it. I also downloaded a demonstration copy of Supernova so that other people could see the effectiveness of Dolphin's software. Fellow students and staff were impressed!
At the end of the course we sat two assignments. The first assignment we were presented with the scenario that we were to complete the build of a machine on which a junior technician had been working but had not completed. We had to check this machine, install Windows 98 and join a network and set-up a network printer. The second assignment we were required to install Windows NT4, join a domain and set-up a folder on the server with certain permissions.
Thanks to Dolphin's diverse products I was able to complete both assignments. I am delighted to report that I achieved an A15 grade. This I am told is around 90percent."
On behalf of all the team at Dolphin, we wish Malcolm (and Innis) every success! If you have a computing success story you'd like to share please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.