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Did You Know Here's Lookin' At You Kid!

The Interdisciplinary Conference on Blind and Visually Impaired Children will take place at the Calgary Convention Centre on September 22 - 25, 1999.

The Alberta NWT Division of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind is pleased to announce that in the fall of 1999 they will be hosting the International Interdisciplinary Conference on Blind and Visually Impaired Children. Keynote speakers for each of the four main theme areas, Education, Medical, Technology and Role Models have been confirmed. Stephen Kuusisto, author of Planet of the Blind, and guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show will speak of his journey to adulthood. Terry Kelly, a very accomplished musician from Nova Scotia will bring forward his message, "We Can Do Anything," in a delightful combination of story and song.

Renowned children's author, Jean Little will enchant conference goers with her tales of growing up as a visually impaired child. Dr. Raymond Buncic from Toronto's Sick Children's Hospital will speak on fostering wellness as it relates to families with blind or visually impaired children. Dr. Cay Holbrook from the University of British Columbia, a leader in educating teachers of the visually impaired will present as well. Dr. Euclid Herie, CEO of the CNIB and current president of the World Blind Union, rounds out the slate of keynote speakers.

An additional 40 breakout sessions will provide a wide variety of sessions to involve all participants.

Henter-Joyce Announces Freeware Release of JAWS for DOS

We recently received the following announcement:

Henter-Joyce, Inc. has announced that JAWS for DOS 2.31, the product that brought the company to prominence in the access technology industry in 1988, is now available as a free download from the Internet. The company has now discontinued sales and shipments of JAWS for DOS. Those who wish to download and use the free software will require one of the many hardware speech synthesizers supported by JAWS for DOS.

"Most people who use computers, including those who are blind and visually impaired, have migrated from DOS to Windows in recent years, and that's where we have focused our development efforts," said Henter-Joyce General Manager Jerry Bowman. "The decreased demand for DOS-based software, coupled with the overwhelming demand for our Windows-based screen reader, JAWS for Windows, makes this a good decision for us and for our customers."

In order to better serve those using current versions of Henter-Joyce's JAWS for Windows (JFW) screen reader software, the company has discontinued technical support of JAWS for DOS. Technical support for JFW versions 1.X and 2.X will also be discontinued, with the exception of JFW 2.00.29 being used with Microsoft Windows 3.1. Support for JFW 3.2 and 3.0 will be continued as usual.

The discontinuation of support for earlier versions of JFW will ensure that users of more current JFW software will receive technical support in a more timely and efficient manner. A link to the freeware download (with installation instructions) can be found on the Henter-Joyce website at: www.hj.com/SoftwareDownload/JFDOSINSTDNLD.html

For more information Contact Wilson Craig, Marketing Manager at 1-800-336-5658. E-mail: wilsonc@hj.com***

The Visually Impaired Persons Electronic Resource--VIPER

We recently received the following notice:

Some of you may have been familiar with the Visually Impaired Persons Electronic Resource (VIPER) BBS located in Vancouver BC. During the past year-and-a-half, a team of programmers and administrators transformed the BBS from a DOS based BBS to a visually impaired friendly server offering several electronic features, both Internet and non-Internet related. Among other things, VIPER now offers a friendly menu-driven interface, Unix shells, e-mail, personal website space and much more.

To learn more about VIPER please see our web-site at www.wapvi.bc.ca. Once on our web-site, select the link entitled "VIPER Internet

Project." You may also connect via telnet to "wapvi.bc.ca" and log in as username "guest." For more information please send e-mail to support@wapvi.bc.ca or contact Monty Lilburn, Project Administrator: monty@wapvi.cm.nu

VIPER Phone: (604) 430-0532 WAPVI Phone: (604) 433-4937

New Listserv for Adventurers

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The Blind Venture Mailing List is an open unmoderated discussion list which was created to give blind and visually impaired people who seek to live an adventurous life a place to share experiences. There is no limit on topics. Suggested topics could include: independent travel, relationships, sports, independent living, etc. To subscribe point your web browser to: http://www.onelist.com/subscribe.cgi/blindventure and follow directions. For more information and disclaimer send e-mail to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.NODAK.EDU with the command INFO NEW-LIST in the body. URL: http://LISTSERV.NODAK.EDU/archives/new-list.html

OBR--Read Braille With Your Scanner

Optical Braille Recognition is a Windows software that allows you to "read" single and double-sided Braille documents at a standard A4 scanner. The retrieved information can be used in all types of Windows applications or directly on an Index Braille Embosser.

The scanning process is simple and quick; you can process two sides of a Braille-sheet in a single scan. Pressing the SCAN icon, starts the process of scanning. After less than thirty seconds the information is presented at the screen. Continue to scan the next page or start to use the information.

The Braille information in a small letter or a complete Braille Book can be retrieved into computer form in the same easy way, even if you do not read Braille at all.

The recognition from a good quality Braille document is excellent. But even when scanning an old worn-out Braille document, the fault frequency is surprisingly low. By using standard Windows functions your Braille handling system will be complete and effective.

Do You Need OBR?

Anyone who works with blind people and does not read Braille will benefit from OBR. For example: teachers who do not read Braille, public organizations communicating with blind individuals and Computerized Braille Libraries.

Read Braille in One Minute

The scanning and decoding of an A4 page will normally take about one minute. You can select scan single or double-sided, a single page or several pages and different Braille cell sizes. If the Braille document has been placed in a faulty direction at the scanner it can be corrected with a SWAP and ROTATE command without rescanning the document.

OBR software consists of the original software diskette, a manual in Braille and inkprint, and a special yellow correction filter to be placed on the scanner surface. It runs on a standard Pentium PC with Windows 95,98 and Windows NT.

Copy Old Braille Books

The recognition function of OBR is stable, even if the source Braille document is of low quality. In combination with spell checking and other Windows functions, almost all Braille document can easily be retrieved into computer format.

Double Sided Dot to Dot Embossing

The OBR Software can be used with any type of Index Braille Embosser for direct embossing of a scanned document. Independent of language or type of Braille code, the copy will be embossed without the involvement of any translation program.

Wide Braille Pages--OK!

A normal Braille page of 29 lines, 42 characters is too large for a A4 scanner. It, and even wider pages, can still be scanned by the MERGE function at the OBR. Start by scanning a part of the large page, continue with the rest of the page. The merge function will map these two pictures and present them as one document.

OBR Technical Data

Computer Required: PC with Pentium 90 MHz or better, min 32 MB RAM. Recommended: PC with Pentium 200 MHz or better, min 2 MB RAM. 2 MB of hard disk space.

Scanner: Scanner drivers supports all Hewlett-Packard models from ScanJet II. Check Index home page for new drivers.

Calibration: Automatic calibration using a calibration sheet is included in the software.

Editor: A simple editor with standard features is included in software.

Rotate, Swap: Functions for correcting a page scanned in faulty direction. Auto Rotate function--the program can automatically find the correct rotation of the page.

Direct Embossing: Dot to dot transparent embossing to Index brand of embossers.

Braille: Single and double-sided Braille 2.5, 2.2mm, and 3.2mm dot distance within the cell. Braille translation codes: 17 standard tables.

ASCII: The scanned information can be saved in an ASCII file for use by other applications.

Programmer: Developed by Neovision http://www.neovision.cz