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brianhartgen's blog

An Invitation to a J-Say 15.1 Webinar!

Hartgen Consultancy would like to extend a warm and welcome invitation to our J-Say 15.1 special event! This is a Webinar to be hosted in one of our virtual conference rooms on June 7 at 7 PM in the UK which is 2 PM Eastern Standard Time in the United States of America.

The purpose of the Webinar is to reveal the latest exciting features and improvements within J-Say 15.1 to be released in June of 2017. The Webinar is open to anyone who is interested in the technology. You do not need to be a J-Say user.

In addition to providing some new features, J-Say 15.1 changes some of the central concepts of the program which people have been using for many years. We felt this was the best way of demonstrating the new improvements, particularly to existing users and Trainers, as there may well be questions as a result of the demonstrations. This is your chance to talk to us about the new improvements. J-Say 15.1 will be freely available to version 15 users, of which there are many, so coming along to the Webinar could be important to you.

We also extend an open invitation to any of our product distributors who may care to join us, and if you're a potential J-Say user, it's a good opportunity to perhaps meet some of those too.

We will also be letting people know about a new product which will soon be entering the voice input/output marketplace

The J-Say Event will be hosted by Brian Hartgen, who during the past 14 years has worked extensively with people who need to control the computer with voice recognition technology while receiving speech feedback from the JAWS for Windows screen-reader.

The Webinar will be recorded and made available for download, however this is your first opportunity of learning how J-Say is changing and you can ask questions during the event.

We look forward very much to seeing you on 7 June if you would like to join us! Also look out for our Leasey event in July.

How to Access the Conference.

The J-Say Event will be held in one of our Talking Communities rooms. If you have not used Talking Communities before, there is a small conference PlugIn you need to install. A link to it is clearly displayed on the conference page. There is a small program which, when run, will install the conferencing software on the computer.

The conference page is Located here.

When the PlugIn is installed, simply enter the conference room using the link provided.
It is the first link on the conference page which is entitled, "Enter the Conference Room".

You are asked for your name. Please type or dictate your real name here so we know who you are.
Then press Enter or say "Confirm That".

After a short pause, you will be connected, and you should see yourself in the tree view of participants. You may need to tab once to the Tree View as the text chat entry field may be in focus. You can also press F7 to reach it directly. Pressing F7 is the preferred method. You can say, "Press F7".
If you need assistance with any aspect of this, please let us know.

The room is not open as yet, but the PlugIn can be downloaded and installed any time prior to the Webinar.
The room will be opened 30 minutes prior to the Webinar.

You do not need to say anything during the Webinar if you do not wish to. You can just sit back and listen.

Forging Ahead with Sound Forge Pro and JAWS for Windows!

Introduction.

At the moment, we seem to be one of the "go to" places for courses on audio production with screen-reading software, so we're very pleased to be able to bring you some training in the use of Sound Forge Professional!

SOUND FORGE Pro is the application of choice for a generation of creative and prolific artists, producers, and editors. It is used extensively within many professional organisations responsible for creating high quality audio through to recording enthusiasts working at home.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink.

There are many advantages to using Sound Forge. These include:

  • Being able to undertake extremely precise audio editing.
  • Keystrokes for playback and selection are logical and similar to those used within word processing applications so the learning curve is made much easier.
  • Comes complete with many effects and tools to give your audio projects a high quality pristine sound. These include tools for restoring vinyl records and noise reduction.
  • Additional audio effects can be used to simulate room ambiences, such as large halls and churches.
  • Tools exist to improve the overall sound of audio, such as to limit audio clipping and to raise sound to specific levels. Moreover, you can also give your master that extra punch if that's what you're looking for.

In summary, If there were a lifetime achievement award for audio editing software, Sound Forge would be the favored candidate. The good news is that as blind people we can access the majority of its features too! We'll show you how to use Sound Forge to its best effect within our new training course.

Sound Forge, the Master.

There are plenty of audio production tools around. Indeed as we established in our training course for GoldWave, we were not only able to undertake some fairly precise editing but also mixed songs together ensuring the beat was constant. However, we did have to undertake some JAWS scripting work to ensure essential components of GoldWave could be accessed, (such as reading level metres), and to construct a logical keyboard interface. In addition to the range of PlugIns offered as part of the package, we would suggest that Sound Forge is the tool you need if you are serious about the end result of your audio. It is crowded with features to add the professional touch to your content, and certainly if you work in broadcasting or in a high end audio environment, this is the software to work with. What is particularly impressive is the ability to undertake very tight editing even in circumstances where you do not think you will be able to do so.

Even if you are using a Digital audio Workstation such as Reaper, it is quite probable that you will want to use software such as Sound Forge, either to do some initial work on the files you wish to import onto tracks or perhaps for some post-production at a later time. It is often helpful to learn about a number of audio editors, particularly if creating it is your core business or you use it frequently.

Access All Areas.

Sound Forge contains many keyboard shortcuts so you can access the key areas of the application, so theoretically it can be used with no special adaptation. But what makes the program the leader of the pack is the set of JAWS scripts created by Jim Snowbarger, a long-time Sound Forge user and an ardent audio enthusiast.

Not only do the scripts provide blind users with functionality above and beyond that which the program offers, but they deliver pertinent information available on screen which is immediately visually accessed by a sighted person. If you really care about the quality of your audio, these scripts are essential.

What Will I Learn?

The course is divided into four lessons, each of which will last approximately 90 minutes. Topics covered include:

  • Optimising Sound Forge for use with JAWS.
  • Installing the JAWS script files.
  • Customising Sound Forge for audio recording and playback.
  • Making recordings.
  • The importance of level metres and how to check them.
  • Saving files.
  • Opening files.
  • Playing, and navigating through, the audio.
  • The differences between Absolute Mode, Relative Mode and Blip Mode.
  • Selecting Audio. This will be an extensive section as there are not only many ways in which to select audio depending upon the situation, but there are useful techniques to explore when doing so.
  • Playing the Selection.
  • Pre-Role to Cursor.
  • Audition cut.
  • Cut, Copy and Delete.
  • The "Go To" dialog.
  • Working with Markers.
  • Working with multiple files.
  • Changing volume levels and normalising.
  • Mixing speech with music, creating an introduction to a Podcast.
  • Fading.
  • Blending songs, creating a promotional item for radio.
  • Inserting silence.
  • Pitch change.
  • Graphic equalisation.
  • Stereo panning.
  • Reverb.
  • Mirror Impulses.
  • Wave Hammer.
  • Audio repair.
  • Noise reduction and vinyl restoration.
  • Using external plugins.
  • Working with CD's.

Who is the Course For?

This course is suited to anyone who has an interest in creating or working with audio content. You should be familiar with how your screen-reader functions together with Windows concepts, such as how to navigate around applications.
Even if you are a long-time Sound Forge devotee, you are likely to pick up some useful tips and tricks!

The course is fast-paced. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions regarding the topics under discussion, however this is achieved in a structured manner. This ensures that you can focus on learning the concepts being taught and refer back to specific topics at a later time.

What Happens If I Do Not Have the Sound Forge Software?

Sound Forge can be purchased online. If you purchase prior to the end of May, you can gain a substantial discount. The price is using £299 (UK), however it can be purchased for £229. Prices and offers may vary according to country and region.

If you have a copy of Sound Forge version 8, many of the topics will be very relevant. Version 8 is still the most accessible version of the program including the Mix Paste dialog box. However, there are some workarounds for later releases which will be explained to you during the course.

The JAWS scripts for Sound Forge can be purchased from this website. The cost is 30 US dollars.

If I Purchase the Course, What Will I Receive?

The course will be delivered online via our accessible Talking Communities server. If you have not used this conferencing software before, you will receive instructions prior to the commencement of the course. This software allows for the delivery of the presentation, including the output from the screen-reading software.

The course will give to you:

  • Four lessons starting 14 June 2017. Each lesson will begin at 7 PM UK time, (2 PM Eastern), each Wednesday;
  • An audio recording of each lesson in MP3 format;
  • Sample files which you can use in your Projects and to work with at a later date.
  • A text keystroke summary and setup requirements.
  • An email list active prior to (and during) the course so you can ask questions outside tuition time.

The proposed dates for the course sessions are as follows:

  • 14 June;
  • 21 June.
  • 28 June.
  • 5 July

All recordings, documentation and the Talking Communities chat room are accessed through a secure area of our website which is only available to course participants.

Costing.

The cost of the course is £60 which is currently 72 US dollars.
This is a slight increase from our usual rate due to the production of sample files which are required.
The course fee can be ppaid at any time between now and 7 June 2017.

Purchase Forging Ahead with Sound Forge Online.

Alternatively, anyone who would like to take part in the course should register their interest by sending an Email to jaws@hartgen.org, whereupon a fully accessible electronic invoice will be sent to you which can be paid through PayPal or any major credit or debit card. Orders can also be placed by telephone:

  • Call us (from within the UK): 02920-850298.
  • Call us (from the United States): 415-871-0626.
  • Call us (from any other country): (+44)2920-850298.

If you would like to read the views from participants of our previous courses, please Visit our Training area.

Course Prerequisites.

It is important that you have:

  • Good keyboarding skills;
  • A computer with an internet connection;
  • A microphone so as to ask questions within the course;
  • JAWS for Windows screen-reader.
  • Ideally, the JAWS for Windows scripts for Sound Forge mentioned above.
  • Sound Forge Pro 8.0 or above.
  • At the very least, a microphone so as to make recordings with Sound Forge, or alternatively a more sophisticated environment, such as an audio mixing console. If you do not wish to make recordings, and are content with importing audio including our samples, this is acceptable.

Summary.

With a range of top-notch effects, easy-to-use keystrokes and giving you the ability to push the envelope that little bit further, Sound Forge could be for you and our training course will help you gain the most from it. Create that state of the art audio project today!

The StationPlaylist Workshop!

A Training Course for Users of JAWS for Windows and StationPlaylist.

Introduction.

For many years, the StationPlaylist software has been the tool of choice through which blind people broadcast their radio shows or even run their own stations. We know this because there are hundreds of StationPlaylist users on our customer database. If you use the software, are you getting the most from it or do you just work with the features you need?

The "Broadcast It" audio tutorial produced some time ago teaches a new user how to work with many aspects of StationPlaylist Studio (for broadcasting audio), StationPlaylist Creator (for managing schedules), and StationPlaylist Streamer (for sending output over the internet if external devices are being used). However, during the past year or two, the developers of this amazing product suite have created new features not described in the tutorial. This new training course is for people who are using any one of the StationPlaylist products who want to improve the quality of their radio output and station management.

Hartgen Consultancy are ideally placed to run this training course. The JAWS scripts we have created and sell, in our view, provide unparalelled access to many features of the StationPlaylist products. We both sell and support the entire SPL product range. Finally, our internet radio station, Team-FM, is hosted exclusively using StationPlaylist tools and we take advantage of the vast majority of the features on offer in that regard.

What Will I Learn?

The course is divided into four sessions, each of which will last 60 minutes. Topics include, but are not restricted to:

  • Changes to the Options Dialog.
  • Customising V5.2 settings for optimum use.
  • Creating Song Hooks for upcoming promotion, both manually and automatically.
  • Voice-Tracking: Remote versus local, advantages and disadvantages.
  • Using remote voice tracking to good effect.
  • Voice-tracking shows to be played on a local PC, including use of the SPL Recorder.
  • Replay Gain.
  • Customising Metadata to include what's coming next.
  • Preparing Cue Sheets and what they are.
  • Working with Break Notes.

Who is the Course For?

This course is suited to anyone who is familiar with many of the functions of StationPlaylist Studio and Creator if appropriate and who would like to build on existing skills. You should be familiar with how your screen-reader functions together with Windows concepts, such as how to navigate around applications.

There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions regarding the topics under discussion, however this is achieved in a structured manner. This ensures that you can focus on learning the concepts being taught and easily refer back to sections of the archive recording at a later date.

If I Purchase the Course, What Will I Receive?

The course will be delivered online via our accessible Talking Communities server. If you have not used this conferencing software before, you will receive instructions prior to the commencement of the course. This software allows for the delivery of the presentation, including the output from the screen-reading software.

The course will give to you:

  • Four lessons starting 19 April 2017. Each lesson will begin at 7 PM UK time, (2 PM Eastern), each Wednesday.
  • An audio recording of each lesson in MP3 format.
  • Text documentation to reinforce topics covered in the lessons. This will include a comprehensive list of keystrokes so as to achieve all tasks.
  • An email list active prior to (and during) the course so you can ask questions outside tuition time.

The proposed dates for the course sessions are as follows:

  • 19 April;
  • 26 April;
  • 3 May;
  • 10 May.

If you cannot take part on those dates, you can still gain plenty of benefit, since you will receive all the lessons in audio format and accompanying documentation, as well as being able to ask questions through the Email list provided to you.

All recordings, documentation and the Talking Communities chat room are accessed through a secure area of our website which is only available to course participants.

Costing.

The cost of the course is £50 which is currently $61. Payment should reach us by Wednesday 12 April.
Purchase The StationPlaylist Workshop Online.

Alternatively, anyone who would like to take part in the course should register their interest by sending an Email to jaws@hartgen.org, whereupon a fully accessible electronic invoice will be sent to you which can be paid through PayPal or any major credit or debit card. Orders can also be placed by telephone:

  • Call us (from within the UK): 02920-850298.
  • Call us (from the United States): 415-871-0626.
  • Call us (from any other country): (+44)2920-850298.

If you would like to read the views from participants of our previous courses, please Visit our Training area.

Course Prerequisites.

It is important that you have:

  • Good keyboarding skills.
  • A computer with an internet connection.
  • A microphone so as to ask questions within the course.
  • The JAWS for Windows screen-reader.
  • StationPlaylist software version 5.20.

Summary.

The StationPlaylist suite of products is the most accessible means of broadcasting to a very high standard. Get yourself into the studio and bring your radio shows and station to the next level!

24 Karat GoldWave! A Training Course for Screen-Reader Users.

Introduction.

Many blind people love creating audio content. It is something we can enjoy completely and independently. But how do you get started? Moreover, if you have knowledge of how to undertake simple recording or editing tasks, how do you build on those skills to add effects such as reverb, change the tone of the audio known as graphic equalisation, or apply noise reduction such as for restoring those old vinyl records and tapes?

Fortunately there is not only a training course which can teach these skills but there is also probably the most accessible audio editor we have ever seen: GoldWave.

Our training course, "24 Karat GoldWave", will be ideal for those just beginning to learn how to record and process audio content for the first time, through to those people who have some more detailed knowledge. If you use an alternative sound editor, you may like to purchase the training course to learn why GoldWave is streets ahead of the competitors, certainly in terms of accessibility. Put simply, despite its low price point, GoldWave is a simple, easy-to-use, accessible audio production tool, ideal for people who do not want or need to know about the more complex digital audio workstations. Read onto find out about the many features of GoldWave and what you can achieve.

What is GoldWave?

GoldWave is a highly rated, professional digital audio editor. It's fully loaded to do everything from the simplest recording and editing to the most sophisticated audio processing, restoration, enhancements, and conversions. It is easy to learn and use.

  • Play your favourite songs, fast forward and rewind, or change the playback speed so as to learn a song by ear or transcribe dictation.
  • Record from any source, such as microphone, line-in, turntable or audio streaming.
  • Record speeches or reports, music, your own voice, Set a timer to start recording at a certain day and time. Use level activated recording to continue and pause recording automatically whenever the signal is above or below a given value.
  • Edit audio with all the familiar concepts including Cut, Copy, Paste and delete.
  • Apply dozens of different audio effects. Adjust bass or treble with the Equalizer. Even out volume levels with Auto Gain. Easily fade in and out background music, add echoes, reverbs, flangers, and much more. Change the pitch of your voice or make it sound mechanical. Preview effects real-time before processing them. Most effects include presets for commonly used settings so you don't have to be an audio expert.
  • Remaster old vinyl or tape recordings. Use Noise Reduction and Pop/Click filters to clean up the audio and take out the buzz, hiss, crackle, and clicks.
  • Includes a collection of powerful tools. For example, copy audio directly from an audio CD with the CD Reader tool.
  • Contains many keyboard shortcuts for tasks which can be reassigned if necessary to suit your own tastes.
  • Freely available script files provide important information required for working on projects.

What Will I Learn?

The course is divided into four sessions, each of which lasts 90 minutes. The course not only teaches you how to work with GoldWave, but also to understand important concepts such as good microphone placement, poor and excellent editing, and effective audio mixing. Topics include, but are not restricted to:

  • Installing GoldWave and the accompanying script files.
  • Configuring GoldWave including the settings specific to recording and playback.
  • Customising GoldWave for use with screen-readers.
  • Making Your first recording.
  • Saving and opening files.
  • Playing and navigating through the audio.
  • Learning the location of the cursor in hours, minutes and seconds.
  • Moving to a specific time in the audio.
  • Selecting audio ready for editing.
  • Playing the selected audio.
  • Cut, copy, paste and delete.
  • Making very small audio adjustments.
  • Moving between a number of files which are open.
  • Copying audio from one file to another.
  • Adjusting playback speed.
  • Adjusting Volume and Normalising.
  • Checking the level metres.
  • Cue Points and how to use them.
  • Fading and Crossfading.
  • Mixing voice over music.
  • Creating a simple podcast intro with music, speech and sound clips.
  • Creating a promotional item for radio blending songs and speech.
  • Saving recordings to MP3.
  • Using Effects to alter sounds in a variety of ways. Changing pitch, volume, graphic equalisation, echo and reverb, Filter.
  • Noise Reduction and audio restoration.
  • Swapping channels and panning.
  • Using external PlugIns to enhance reverb and audio restoration.
  • Extracting the content of CD's.

How Does GoldWave Compare to Other Audio Editors in Terms of Accessibility and Functionality?

Undeniably, GoldWave is an inexpensive audio production tool and so you may be forgiven for thinking that it does not offer the sophistication of higher priced products. We would suggest otherwise. Not only are many features comparable to similar products, but in terms of accessibility GoldWave outshines them.

The later versions of some of the more popular audio editors are becoming more and more challenging to work with from an accessibility standpoint. Take "Audio Ducking" as an example, the process where a person's voice can be mixed over music. Many other sound editors do not give you the flexibility and control over this process which GoldWave delivers. Superb results can be achieved in this regard when using this program. Join us and see how it is done!

Who is the Course For?

This course is suited to anyone who has an interest in creating or working with audio content. You should be familiar with how your screen-reader functions together with Windows concepts, such as how to navigate around applications.

By the end of the course, you ought to be able to carry out the simplest of recordings through to creating audio for podcasts, PowerPoint presentations or perhaps to mix together a spot or promo for broadcast on radio. You decide!

What Happens If I Do Not Have the GoldWave Software?

This is not a problem. A fully functional evaluation copy of GoldWave can be downloaded and installed, details of which will be provided to you when you sign up for the training course.

Should you decide to purchase a copy of GoldWave, a lifetime license for home use is priced $45 or alternatively $15 per year.

Links will also be provided by us for the JAWS scripts mentioned above. Additional JAWS scripting was carried out during the preparation of this course to improve accessibility and usability.

If I Purchase the Course, What Will I Receive?

The course will give to you:

  • An audio recording of each lesson in MP3 format.
  • Sample files which you can use in your Projects and to work with at a later date.
  • Text documentation to reinforce topics covered in the lessons. This will include a comprehensive list of keystrokes so as to achieve all tasks.

Costing.

The cost of the course is £60 which is currently 72 US dollars.
This is a slight increase from our usual rate due to the production of sample files which are required.
Purchase 24 Karat GoldWave Online.

Alternatively, anyone who would like to purchase the course should register their interest by sending an Email to jaws@hartgen.org, whereupon a fully accessible electronic invoice will be sent to you which can be paid through PayPal or any major credit or debit card. Orders can also be placed by telephone:

  • Call us (from within the UK): 02920-850298.
  • Call us (from the United States): 415-871-0626.
  • Call us (from any other country): (+44)2920-850298.

If you would like to read the views from participants of our previous courses, please Visit our Training area.

Course Prerequisites.

It is important that you have:

  • Good keyboarding skills;
  • A computer with an internet connection.
  • JAWS for Windows or the NVDA screen-reader. Please note that our company is exclusively concerned with the JAWS for Windows screen-reader, however there is an Add-On for NVDA and GoldWave. NVDA has been tested extensively with the program and it works well. Note that the AddOn does not contain all of the functionality as provided by the JAWS scripts.
  • At the very least, a microphone so as to make recordings with GoldWave, or alternatively a more sophisticated environment, such as an audio mixing console. If you do not wish to make recordings, and are content with importing audio including our samples, a microphone may not be necessary.

Summary.

Over many years, GoldWave has proven itself to be a thoroughly usable, productive audio environment in which to work. It has a large feature set, great file compatibility, and plenty of effects and tools for audio restoration. Why not give it a try and learn how to use it from a blind person's perspective! It's a Golden Opportunity!

New Build of Leasey 3.2 is On It's Way!

Hi to all

On Monday we will be releasing the first new build of Leasey for 2017 with, we hope, more to come during the next 12 months. We hope you enjoy the new features in this build. Remember, if you haven't told your friends about Leasey yet, please do spread the word. As one user put it, "There are lots of amazing tricks hidden inside!"

The Outlook 2016 Calendar.

Since changes within Microsoft Outlook 2016 were recently introduced, creating appropriate access to it has been, to say the least, challenging. At the time of writing, if Leasey is not used, there are a number of distinct disadvantages. If you live in a country other than the United States of America, you will not hear the day of the week spoken as you move through the items in the calendar, only the date. This makes planning appointments very difficult. Moreover, a lot of unwanted information is spoken which does not provide a rapid way of moving through appointments and dates. Appointments are not always shown in Braille. Finally, pressing the Tab key too many times can cause a user to move to appointments or events outside the scope of the current day and so he or she can become disorientated.

Leasey will assist with all of these difficulties. So you will hear:

  1. The days of the week as you navigate the calendar, irrespective of the country in which you live;
  2. Whether an item is an all day event or a timed appointment. If it is an all day event, JAWS will say, "All Day";
  3. All information is displayed in Braille;
  4. As you navigate day by day, you will hear information presented in a logical sequence, such as, day, then date, then the number of items for the day;
  5. If you Tab through all of the appointments, Leasey prevents you from moving elsewhere in the calendar. You can then choose an alternative day or Shift+Tab back through the items.

A new Chapter of our documentation has been written which explains how to use the Outlook 2016 calendar.

Please note: One of the reasons this has been so challenging to accomplish is that Microsoft renders the information concerning dates and appointments differently. It not only depends upon the country in which you live but also the build of Microsoft Office being used. So please, if you work with Leasey and you find a problem, be sure to let us know because we are paying extremely close attention to this.

The HTML Assistant.

Many people are creating text for blogs, web pages and HTML documents. But in order for the presentation to look visually appealing and to enable a high standard of navigation by screen-reading software, it is important to include HTML markup. This enables you to create text at specific Heading levels, bulleted or numbered lists or even insert tables and pictures.

Remembering the HTML syntax however to include in your text can be tricky. If one important character is not included, chances are that your formatting will not be present when you read the document at a later date, or maybe a link you insert will not function correctly. This is where the HTML Assistant can help.

There are many advantages of the HTML assistant:

  1. You do not need to remember the characters to insert for the HTML code.
  2. There is only one keystroke to remember in order to carry out all the tasks the HTML Assistant is capable of doing.
  3. The HTML Assistant is intelligent enough to know which task you are working on and will always guide you.
  4. In some instances, you can apply the HTML syntax to text you have already composed, although the preference is that you should use it while you are writing the original document. In summary, try to get into the routine of using the HTML Assistant as you write rather than after the event.

What the HTML Assistant Can Do.

To bring into view the HTML Assistant, hold down all three keys to the left of the Space Bar on a standard desktop keyboard, (ALT+Windows+Control), and while doing so, tap the letter H, for HTML.

A list of 14 items appears. When you press Enter on any option, you will be asked at least one question, possibly more. Remember, this is the only keystroke you need to remember to perform all HTML-related tasks.

Currently the HTML Assistant will help with creating headings at different levels, paragraphs, links, block quotes, bulleted and numbered lists, inserting images, and creating tables.

In respect of tables, Leasey's HTML Assistant will help in defining the column headers and rows. Leasey will also advise you when you are starting a new row of the table.

With pictures, Leasey guides you through specifying where the picture is located, alternative text for screen-readers, and the image dimensions. Leasey does also provide some guidance in terms of inches for the image, which gives you a greater understanding of what is required.

As an example of how to use the HTML Assistant, here is an extract from our documentation concerning creating a bulleted or numbered list.

This is one of the more complex parts of creating HTML code because not only is it necessary to insert characters to denote and terminate a list, but also it varies depending upon the type of list you wish to create. You would under normal circumstances have to place a tag at the start and end of each list item. Leasey takes care of this for you.

A bulleted list means that a bullet will be placed at the start of each list item. A numbered list means that the figures 1, 2, 3, etc, will be placed at the start of each list item. You will observe in our documentation that we always use numbered lists where step-by-step examples are given, but bulleted lists when highlighting a series of points to consider where you should not follow a particular routine.

From the HTML Assistant list, Go ahead and select a bulleted or numbered list option. You are asked for the first item to be placed on the list. Type it in and press Enter.

The text is inserted surrounded by the necessary HTML code.

You will also notice that characters have been placed above the text you have just typed, which indicates that a new bulleted or numbered list has begun.

Press the HTML Assistant key again. Rather than taking you back into the list of options with which you will already be familiar, Leasey knows that you are in the middle of creating a list, so she just asks you for the next item to be placed on it. Type it in and press Enter. Repeat the process as many times as necessary so as to complete your list.

You will notice each time you are asked for the next list item, you also hear this prompt: "Please Type the next Item of the Numbered List, then press Enter. To end the list, type the word, end."

So, as instructed, when you wish to end the list, into the Edit Field type the word, "end", and press Enter. Your list is now created and Leasey has terminated it with the necessary tag.

End of Documentation Extract.

In summary, we wanted to make it easier for people to create smart web pages without having to understand the series of characters to type in each situation. We do hope it helps!
Many features in Leasey are concerned with improving productivity while making computing easy for people at the same time. This new feature certainly fits those requirements.

Naturally, there is a lengthy chapter in our documentation which explains how to use this feature. We expect many enhancements to be made to this over time.

Other Enhancements.

Leasey can now be set to load the Facebook Mobile site as opposed to the larger regular version. Moreover, Leasey has been adjusted to make even using the mobile site easier. There is a full Chapter of our documentation to train you how to use the Facebook mobile site.

Two new radio stations have been added. The Accessible Friends Network radio station can be found in the Variety category and we're pleased to have Now Country back in the Country category.

One of the most popular features of last year in Leasey was the introduction of reproducing Emoji. We have added a number of new items to the Emoji list.

The new release of Leasey will be available on Monday and we hope you find it, and all the other features she has, useful!

Don't Let Reaper be Grim! A Training Course for Screen-Reader Users.

Introduction.

REAPER is a complete digital audio production application offering a full multitrack audio recording, editing, processing, mixing and mastering toolset. REAPER's full, flexible feature set and renowned stability have found a home wherever digital audio is used: commercial and home studios, broadcasting, podcasting, location recording, education, science and research, sound design, or game development. Reaper can be installed on high-end desktop PC's down to a student's laptop.

When a screen-reader user wants to learn to record, edit, mix and process audio, the first questions are usually: are the programs accessible? Will I need script files to support the application? And how much is the entire package?

Fortunately due to some present and past talented innovators, Reaper is extremely accessible. Two freely available packages to support various screen-readers exist, (Osara and ReaAccess), so you can gain the most from this truly awesome application.

But how do you use it? Reaper contains hundreds of features and corresponding shortcut keys to allow you to work with it. But it is helpful not only to understand how these features work but also the concepts behind them and why you would use one function in preference to another. We've read many comments from people who simply do not know how to begin using the program or ways in which they can further their limited knowledge. It can be bewildering.

"Don't Let Reaper be Grim" from Hartgen Consultancy will show you how to get the most from Reaper within the context of audio. While Reaper is perfectly capable of handling midi and tasks relating to music composition, this course does not cover those aspects. The course is specific to the audio enthusiast or anyone needing to create sound as part of his or her education or employment.

Over the years, a number of attempts have been successfully made to ensure visually impaired people can work with audio either for basic editing or to accomplish extremely complex projects. We think that Reaper offers the most accessible solution there has ever been!

What Will I Learn?

The course is divided into four sessions, each of which lasts for approximately 90 minutes. Topics include, but are not restricted to:

  • Installing Reaper and the Accessible Solution.
  • Configuring Reaper and the access technology.
  • Training Mode, Getting Help and Learning the Keystrokes.
  • Enabling and disabling speech output.
  • Single Track Versus Multi-Track Productions, what are they?
  • Working with tracks.
  • Recording audio.
  • Playing and navigating through the audio.
  • Working with Projects.
  • Adding media files.
  • Level metres, adjusting volume and panning. Panning refers to the placement of audio in the stereo field.
  • Muting and Soloing.
  • The concept of non-destructive editing.
  • Editing in a single or multi-track environment, including working with Items, selection, cut, copy, paste, delete and Ripple Editing (which is a Reaper function).
  • Hear time values rather than musical terms.
  • Moving to specific time values.
  • Combining a project into a single audio file for regular playback.
  • Working with Markers.
  • Track Effects, such as Graphic Equalisation and Audio Compression.
  • Bypassing Effects.
  • Converting from stereo to mono.
  • Normalise audio.
  • Crossfading.
  • Adjusting Pitch and Rate.

Who is the Course For?

This course is suited to anyone who has an interest in creating or working with audio content. You should be familiar with how your screen-reader functions together with Windows concepts, such as how to navigate around applications.

The course is fast-paced. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions regarding the topics under discussion, however this is achieved in a structured manner. This ensures that you can focus on learning the concepts being taught.

What Happens If I Do Not Have the Reaper Software?

This is not a problem. A fully functional 60 day demonstration copy of Reaper can be downloaded and installed, details of which will be provided to you when you sign up for the training course.

Should you decide to purchase a copy of Reaper, a license for home or non-profit use is priced $60. So as well as being extremely powerful, it is one of the less expensive products in this field.

Links will also be provided by us for the two access technology packages mentioned above.

If I Purchase the Course, What Will I Receive?

The course will give to you:

  • An audio recording of each of the 4 lessons in MP3 format.
  • Sample files which you can use in your Projects and to work with at a later date.
  • A list of keystrokes to reinforce topics covered in the lessons.
  • Resources collected together during the training course to enhance the Reaper experience.

Costing.

The cost of the course is £60 which is currently 72 US dollars.
Purchase Don't Let Reaper be Grim Online.

Alternatively, anyone can purchase the course by sending an Email to jaws@hartgen.org, whereupon a fully accessible electronic invoice will be sent to you which can be paid through PayPal or any major credit or debit card. Orders can also be placed by telephone:

  • Call us (from within the UK): 02920-850298.
  • Call us (from the United States): 415-871-0626.
  • Call us (from any other country): (+44)2920-850298.

If you would like to read the views from participants of our previous courses, please Visit our Training area.

Course Prerequisites.

It is important that you have:

  • Good keyboarding skills;
  • A computer with an internet connection.
  • JAWS for Windows or NVDA screen-reader. Please note that our company is exclusively concerned with the JAWS for Windows screen-reader, however NVDA has been tested extensively with both Reaper-compatible access technologies.
  • At the very least, a microphone so as to make recordings with Reaper, or alternatively a more sophisticated environment, such as an audio mixing console. If you do not wish to make recordings, and are content with importing audio including our samples, a microphone may not be necessary.

Summary.

Reaper has proven itself to be a thoroughly usable, productive audio environment in which to work: a production powerhouse." Why not give it a try and learn how to use it from a blind person's perspective! And remember, "Don't Let Reaper be Grim"!

A Summary of Some New Features in Version 5.2 of the StationPlaylist Suite.

Introduction.

I have been testing version 5.2 of the StationPlaylist products for six weeks now and I hope I have provided useful feedback to the developers concerning a number of issues.
This is a very significant new release.

The official help documentation and release notes in the Email accompanying an upgrade to version 5.2 of Studio and Creator provide the official tutorial on how to use the new features. What follows is a brief summary of what I have found to be the most useful innovations for me.

I have tested the new upgrade:

  • In live broadcasting environments;
  • Through our station Team-FM in continuous automation mode over a number of weeks, and;
  • Extensively with voice tracking.

From an accessibility perspective with JAWS, the scripts for these products have had many changes and this is the version which will be focused on from this point forward. So, if you are interested in obtaining improvements to the JAWS scripts, you should be running Studio and Creator version 5.2.

While there are improvements for users who broadcast live, you are likely to benefit enormously from this update if you voice track any shows (although not remotely), and if you run a PC in automation mode to host a radio station for example. The products are extremely stable in automation mode and can run for weeks at a time continuously without an issue.

Voice Tracking.

One of the best improvements in this release would be the voice track facilities. At this point, what I am about to describe does not relate to remote voice tracking.

To explain further, remote voice tracking, while it seems attractive, does have a number of limitations.

You cannot pause during recording, so your voice breaks may well include fluffs or stumbles, together with key clicks and additional extraneous noise. Best results are obtained when voice tracking on a local PC which is where the focus is in the 5.20 release.

There are two major features worthy of note.

  1. The first is a completely redesigned recorder for creating the voice tracks. Of course it is accessible, and shows the incoming and outgoing songs visually on screen, and available in JAWS by pressing ALT+3. This gives a useful reminder as to what you have played and the upcoming item. The recorder also allows you to pause during recording.
  2. It can record in extremely high quality sampling rate and mono/stereo if desired. These files can be edited, perhaps to include additional programme elements, to reduce background noise or to ensure that the voice track speech coincides with the end of a file. All of this gives a show a very polished feel about it, and would equate to something you would conceivably hear on the radio.

One of the advantages of using the new recorder is that you can record your voice tracks while hearing the outgoing and incoming songs. There are several Radio Buttons which govern the recording of the voice break. You can choose to record as you would have done so before, using the automatic setting, which means that the voice track will play at the end of a track in the natural way or upon a predetermined outro time, (see below).

You can also record an outro only, or both an intro and outro. This final option is very useful, since you can determine precisely when your speech should commence on the outgoing song by listening to it, how long the voice break should be, and when the incoming song should start. It also means that if you are voicetracking a show where you haven't specified any intro or outro times, it's not too important because, using this method, you are telling Studio where to place the speech in relation to the songs. In other words, you are specifying the outro and intro times as you go along. It's very cool if you want to work in this way.

The procedure would be as follows:

  1. Select the Radio Button so as to record the voice track relative to the outgoing and incoming song.
  2. Press Enter, (the default keystroke for initiating the process). The final portion of the outgoing song will begin to play.
  3. At the desired point in the outgoing song, press Enter again and begin speaking. You will hear the song fade down so as to accommodate your speech, if appropriate options have been set so to do in Studio.
  4. When you wish the next song to begin, press Enter and continue speaking.
  5. Prior to the beginning of the vocals, stop speaking and press Enter to conclude the process.

A handy feature in this recorder is that if appropriate, the last few milliseconds can be removed from the recording so as to potentially erase any key clicks for example which may be very helpful. This also applies to the recorder used for remote voice tracking and is the only major change in this regard. If you are going to use this feature, be sure not to press Enter to terminate the recording as soon as speech has stopped else you may find the final syllable will be cut.

To repeat, the recorder can create files using a variety of formats including wav and in mono or stereo. This ensures optimum audio quality is achieved for the voice breaks, and allows for editing. Bare in mind that, if using the above described method of manual recording by hearing the outgoing and incoming songs, editing will cause some timing issues, so you would only want to do that if you were going to select the Automatic setting. This in itself brings me to a useful point.

If using the setting where Studio will automatically calculate the voice break timings, (and particularly when voice tracking remotely), you should pay careful attention to your outro's. Great emphasis is often placed upon marking the start of the vocals, (the intro time), but the Outro's are just as important!

If you do not specify outro times, Studio will typically wait until the song is fading down prior to starting the subsequent voice track. This is not what happens in a radio environment in many situations. A DJ will often talk over a song well before the natural fade, so think about that when preparing your shows and mark the outro time appropriately.

Overall, this is a wonderful recorder and it works extremely well, but I haven't finished with voice tracking yet. There's another excellent feature to write about.

When you listen to a show, particularly one which is voice tracked, you will often hear that a song is too loud or too quiet. Sometimes, the speaker will be far too loud and the song intro is at a low volume to the extent that you cannot hear it, or alternatively, the intro is far too loud thus drowning out the speaker's words. To compensate for this, audio compression is often applied to the speaker's voice, which to my mind does not give the voice quality a natural sound, particularly if audio compression is already being applied to the overall mix.

This problem has been recognised by the developers of StationPlaylist Studio, which is why they have introduced a feature called Replay Gain. This allows the file tag to be altered so that the music is played at a desired volume level. For tracks with a very loud introduction for example, you may wish to reduce the volume using the Replay Gain feature to ensure that your words are not lost during broadcast. Similarly, for a song with a low volume introduction, you'll want to increase the volume so that the listener is aware of what is to come. There are a number of presets you can choose from or specify your own custom level, which is what I prefer to do. It's an incredibly useful feature and one which I would now not want to be without. In summary, it gives you complete control as to how the show should sound.

When focused in the Track Tool, pressing ALT+G using the JAWS scripts will activate Replay Gain, whereupon you can adjust the controls to suit, particularly the volume slider for the custom level. Then, activate the Start Button to apply the desired setting.

Crossfading.

Until now, Studio has intelligently calculated the crossfading of music tracks, spots and commercials, based on specific criteria. When you play a track, the calculations are made and, assuming you have the option set to update the file tags, you're in good shape most of the time. Of course you have always been able to change any aspect of the crossfading yourself, so if a song has a quiet ending, you would want to ensure crosssfading does not occur, or at the very least, you would apply it at a point in the song which does not interrupt its natural ending.

In 5.2, the crossfading of tracks, spots, commercials and voice tracks are all adjusted individually, through Tabbed Pages which can be found in Options, File Input.

There are default settings of course, which did not suit my preferences. Some of this relates to the audio compression being used, but I was finding that songs and spots either contained sharp fades, or items were not playing quite as quickly as they used to.
One reason for this is that Some additional intelligence has been added to the crossfading system.  Songs that have a manual Segue value set at a position where the song volume is high will be detected by Studio and a steeper logarithmic fade will be used to prevent the end of the track overpowering the start of the next track.

After a good deal of time being spent on this issue, I now have in place the following settings which are extremely acceptable, however they may not suit your particular tastes. You will need to experiment to find out what suits.
The end result however is that when adjusted, the crossfading is far better than it has ever been, but see note 2, below. Meanwhile, here are my recommended settings.

Songs Tab.

Cue at -33
Segue at -20
Overlap to -14
Min Overlap 2.5
Max Overlap 8.0

Spots Tab.

Cue at -33
Segue at -18
Overlap to -14
Min Overlap 0.5
Max Overlap 3.0

A few additional notes:

  1. The Breaknote to disable crossfading is used now for songs only. This is particularly beneficial if you want to schedule an hour, as we do, where crossfading is not appropriate with the exception of spots or commercials. I like this very welcome addition.
  2. When the above settings have been adjusted, the majority of crossfading should be excellent. However, you will want to listen to your station extensively, and take careful note of any song which is being inadvertently truncated. If you hear such a song, you should adjust the segue point in the song to a more precise time. The segue is the point where the next track will potentially begin to overlap, as described in our "Broadcast It" audio tutorial on StationPlaylist. I cannot stress enough how important this is, particularly if you are hosting a station in automation mode.

Hooks.

If you listen to a radio station, you may well hear a small preview of some of the songs to be featured in the upcoming half-hour or hourly-block. This will be in the form of a song snippet or two. In StationPlaylist terms, this is known as a hook, designed to "hook" people into listening in for longer! That's got to be good!

In your Creator rotations, you can specify a position a hook should be in a playlist, or several hooks if desired. This is done by:

  1. Placing focus at the point in the rotation where the hook should be.
  2. Add a new category containing tracks which you have marked with hooks (see below).
  3. Tab to the "Make Hook" button or press Control+H.

You can also manually specify the hooks by inserting a Breaknote as follows:
*hook=2
and
*hook=4
for example.
This will play a few seconds of a song which is second and fourth in the playlist, so in a live situation, this may well be the way to go.

How does Studio know which parts of the song to play?

If you have entered the hook positions manually into the playlist, by default, it will play the segments as specified in Studio's options on page 1 of the Advanced Tab. If introductions have been specified it will play those instead.

However more usefully, you can specify the parts of a song yourself, by loading a track into the Track Tool and marking the relevant sections. This is done by playing the track, and at the appropriate point, pressing letter H to mark the starting segment of the hook, and J to mark the end point.
The hook segment can be heard by pressing Control+H to hear the start and Control+J to hear the duration.
This allows you to mark a part of the chorus for example which is likely to be memorable. People are more likely to identify with a part of the chorus than a song introduction.
Certainly if you are scheduling hooks using Creator, the specifying of hook values is critical.

Up Next.

Within your metadata that you send out to the internet, (currently playing song artist and title information), you can now specify the next song to be played out, either by artist, title or both. This is achieved in Options, Now Playing, Stream Metadata.

As stated in the release notes, the syntax might look like this:
%+1n
or
%+1a
where "n" represents a song title or "A" an artist.

Studio is very clever in this regard. As you approach the top of the hour, the program will work out whether existing songs in the playlist can be accommodated within the hour, and, if not, will output the details of the first song in the upcoming hour.
Please note that you cannot use this feature when using cue sheets.

Additional Points Worthy of Note.

Record to File configured in the Output options / Record tab now supports recording the audio before or after the DSP.  The previous method was always before the DSP.  Now recorded files can include the DSP processing for such purposes as archived shows. For example, if you have applied audio compression through a DSP, this will be included in the recording.

You will notice a new Tabbed Page under "Options" which is entitled "User". This allows specific options to be set relative to a Studio user, such as "Accessibility Mode". By default however, they apply to all users so the majority of people will not have to be concerned about this.

Script Changes.

The scripts for JAWS, to be released when the final build has been tested, take account of the new features in 5.2. In addition, when pressing ALT+Enter to examine the properties of an item, moving to a field, adjusting it and pressing ALT+O to activate the "OK" Button, pressing ALT+Enter on a subsequent item should cause focus to be set to the field in the dialog box where you left off. This applies to Studio and the Playlist Editor and was introduced at the request of a customer.

You will also find that adjustments have been made to Enhanced Arrow key mode, so that pressing Down Arrow on columns 7 to 18 now work correctly by only outputting the column information. This is particularly useful when scanning down the outro column for example to see which items in your playlist have been correctly marked up.

JAWS Table Layer keystrokes can now be used, although the toggle of Enhanced Arrow key mode, Control+SPL key, still works just as it did before.

Speech History, Insert Space then H, now works correctly.

There are also global keystrokes to adjust the system output volume of the computer's primary sound source. Press Control+Windows+Shift+Up and Down Arrows to do so.

In StationPlaylist Creator, press SPL Key then T to hear the total time of the rotation in hours, minutes and seconds format.

In the Playlist Editor, you can now:

  • press SPL Key then T to hear the total time of the playlist.
  • Press SPL Key then S to hear the time the item is scheduled to play.
  • Press SPL Key then D to hear the date and time of the playlist.
  • Press SPL key then R to hear the rotation name.

Conclusion.

There are many many additional features and fixes in the new release of the products. This is definitely an upgrade you want to take advantage of and I would highly recommend you keep your support arrangements with StationPlaylist current.

Do enjoy the new update!

Hartgen Consultancy Products with JAWS 18, What to expect.

Hi everyone

Since the very welcome release yesterday of Freedom Scientific's Podcast relating to the upcoming public beta of JAWS version 18, I can say that we have had a lot of enquiries about using it in conjunction with our products.

Before we begin, I have never advocated using any of our products with a JAWS public beta. Doing so means that JAWS is not working as Freedom Scientific intended as part of the public beta process, and if you were to submit bug reports having done so, you are not being entirely fair to them. However, as is clear from the flood of Email messages I received this morning, some people do want to use it with our products, so here is everything you need to know.
Please read this carefully. There is a lot to take in.

Our scripts for StationPlaylist Studio, J-Dictate and Leasey will all work with JAWS 18. If you ensure you download the latest releases of all of these products from our website, you will find the installers do accommodate JAWS 18. Simply select JAWS version 18 as part of the install process.
All of these products have been thoroughly tested with JAWS 18.

J-Say will not function with JAWS 18 and is not expected to do so until November/December of this year. As a side note, that is earlier than our usual release schedule of January/February of the new year.

JAWS 18 contains a feature which allows you to migrate settings from version 17 into 18. This will appear the moment JAWS is installed and started. If you are using one of our products, particularly Leasey, you should not attempt this process. Remember, this is beta software, and at the moment there are particular instances where, if some third party scripts are housed in JAWS 17, the migrate feature does not work.

If you wanted to install Leasey into JAWS 18, and bring over your Leasey settings, Placemarkers and JAWS dictionaries etc, I will now walk you through it safely.
you should:
1. Download Leasey 3.2 from our website.
2. Install into JAWS 18.
3. Run JAWS 18.
4. When prompted to migrate settings from an earlier version, select the "No" Button by pressing the letter "N". Do not press Escape otherwise you will be asked about this each time you start JAWS.
5. Press the Leasey Key then Control+Shift+B for the Leasey Backup and Restore Manager.
6. Select Inherit Settings from an Earlier JAWS Version.
7. Finally, select Inherit Settings from JAWS 17.
The settings will be brought over and JAWS will be restarted. This should take about 5 seconds.

That's everything, you should be good to go.

I should also point out that there is an import/export facility in JAWS 18. This is very cool as it allows you to take all your JAWS 18 settings and place them on another computer. It works flawlessly.

When you export your settings in this way, JAWS creates a file which you can then take to the other computer which you own and import. One of the possible uses for this feature is to share settings with other users. If our products are installed, this will not function, as each product is registered to a specific JAWS serial number and you will be doing your fellow JAWS users a serious disservice.

If you do wish to share settings with other users, and our products are installed, you should be very selective about the settings you choose to export and give to the other users. As you would expect, this can be achieved in a very accessible and easy way, but you need to be careful.

Within our upcoming training course relating to JAWS, I will provide full tuition on how to work with this feature in the proper manner. To find out about the course, please visit
www.hartgen.org/catchup

The new Import/Export/Migration facility has been a feature people have wanted for a very long time, and in the right circumstances, it works perfectly. But as a company, it is imperative that this blog post is published so as to hopefully minimise the number of technical support queries we will undoubtedly receive. We would far rather concentrate our limited resources on assisting people who are in genuine need.

I hope the above helps you before you install and use the public beta of JAWS version 18, and do enjoy working with it!

The Dragon NaturallySpeaking V15 Product Range is Released!

Hi to all

This morning, the Dragon V15 series was released by its developers, Nuance. We're very pleased to say that this month, we will be releasing updates to both J-Dictate and J-Say to support this series in the product range.
This includes Dragon Professional Individual and Legal, the two products about which we've received the majority of enquiries.

We are aiming for 19 September as a release date and we see no reason why this cannot be met. It will mean that J-Dictate will support Dragon Home, Premium, and anything in the Professional range from version 13 onward. J-Say will support any product in the professional range from version 12.5 up to 15.

Since the launch of J-Say in 2003, this is by far the quickest time we have been able to support a new release of Dragon NaturallySpeaking so we're very excited about that.

In terms of access via J-Say to JAWS for Windows version 18, we are already working on compatibility for the release when it is available in October of 2016. JAWS version 18 support will be available to anyone who holds a J-Say Software Maintenance Agreement or those who wish to purchase a J-Say upgrade.

We look forward to bringing you increased access to voice recognition technology within this final quarter of 2016!

New Build of Leasey 3.2 is On It's Way!

Hi to all

On Monday we will be releasing the first new build of Leasey for 2017 with, we hope, more to come during the next 12 months. We hope you enjoy the new features in this build. Remember, if you haven't told your friends about Leasey yet, please do spread the word. As one user put it, "There are lots of amazing tricks hidden inside!"

The Outlook 2016 Calendar.

Since changes within Microsoft Outlook 2016 were recently introduced, creating appropriate access to it has been, to say the least, challenging. At the time of writing, if Leasey is not used, there are a number of distinct disadvantages. If you live in a country other than the United States of America, you will not hear the day of the week spoken as you move through the items in the calendar, only the date. This makes planning appointments very difficult. Moreover, a lot of unwanted information is spoken which does not provide a rapid way of moving through appointments and dates. Appointments are not always shown in Braille. Finally, pressing the Tab key too many times can cause a user to move to appointments or events outside the scope of the current day and so he or she can become disorientated.

Leasey will assist with all of these difficulties. So you will hear:

  1. The days of the week as you navigate the calendar, irrespective of the country in which you live;
  2. Whether an item is an all day event or a timed appointment. If it is an all day event, JAWS will say, "All Day";
  3. All information is displayed in Braille;
  4. As you navigate day by day, you will hear information presented in a logical sequence, such as, day, then date, then the number of items for the day;
  5. If you Tab through all of the appointments, Leasey prevents you from moving elsewhere in the calendar. You can then choose an alternative day or Shift+Tab back through the items.

A new Chapter of our documentation has been written which explains how to use the Outlook 2016 calendar.

Please note: One of the reasons this has been so challenging to accomplish is that Microsoft renders the information concerning dates and appointments differently. It not only depends upon the country in which you live but also the build of Microsoft Office being used. So please, if you work with Leasey and you find a problem, be sure to let us know because we are paying extremely close attention to this.

The HTML Assistant.

Many people are creating text for blogs, web pages and HTML documents. But in order for the presentation to look visually appealing and to enable a high standard of navigation by screen-reading software, it is important to include HTML markup. This enables you to create text at specific Heading levels, bulleted or numbered lists or even insert tables and pictures.

Remembering the HTML syntax however to include in your text can be tricky. If one important character is not included, chances are that your formatting will not be present when you read the document at a later date, or maybe a link you insert will not function correctly. This is where the HTML Assistant can help.

There are many advantages of the HTML assistant:

  1. You do not need to remember the characters to insert for the HTML code.
  2. There is only one keystroke to remember in order to carry out all the tasks the HTML Assistant is capable of doing.
  3. The HTML Assistant is intelligent enough to know which task you are working on and will always guide you.
  4. In some instances, you can apply the HTML syntax to text you have already composed, although the preference is that you should use it while you are writing the original document. In summary, try to get into the routine of using the HTML Assistant as you write rather than after the event.

What the HTML Assistant Can Do.

To bring into view the HTML Assistant, hold down all three keys to the left of the Space Bar on a standard desktop keyboard, (ALT+Windows+Control), and while doing so, tap the letter H, for HTML.

A list of 14 items appears. When you press Enter on any option, you will be asked at least one question, possibly more. Remember, this is the only keystroke you need to remember to perform all HTML-related tasks.

Currently the HTML Assistant will help with creating headings at different levels, paragraphs, links, block quotes, bulleted and numbered lists, inserting images, and creating tables.

In respect of tables, Leasey's HTML Assistant will help in defining the column headers and rows. Leasey will also advise you when you are starting a new row of the table.

With pictures, Leasey guides you through specifying where the picture is located, alternative text for screen-readers, and the image dimensions. Leasey does also provide some guidance in terms of inches for the image, which gives you a greater understanding of what is required.

As an example of how to use the HTML Assistant, here is an extract from our documentation concerning creating a bulleted or numbered list.

This is one of the more complex parts of creating HTML code because not only is it necessary to insert characters to denote and terminate a list, but also it varies depending upon the type of list you wish to create. You would under normal circumstances have to place a tag at the start and end of each list item. Leasey takes care of this for you.

A bulleted list means that a bullet will be placed at the start of each list item. A numbered list means that the figures 1, 2, 3, etc, will be placed at the start of each list item. You will observe in our documentation that we always use numbered lists where step-by-step examples are given, but bulleted lists when highlighting a series of points to consider where you should not follow a particular routine.

From the HTML Assistant list, Go ahead and select a bulleted or numbered list option. You are asked for the first item to be placed on the list. Type it in and press Enter.

The text is inserted surrounded by the necessary HTML code.

You will also notice that characters have been placed above the text you have just typed, which indicates that a new bulleted or numbered list has begun.

Press the HTML Assistant key again. Rather than taking you back into the list of options with which you will already be familiar, Leasey knows that you are in the middle of creating a list, so she just asks you for the next item to be placed on it. Type it in and press Enter. Repeat the process as many times as necessary so as to complete your list.

You will notice each time you are asked for the next list item, you also hear this prompt: "Please Type the next Item of the Numbered List, then press Enter. To end the list, type the word, end."

So, as instructed, when you wish to end the list, into the Edit Field type the word, "end", and press Enter. Your list is now created and Leasey has terminated it with the necessary tag.

End of Documentation Extract.

In summary, we wanted to make it easier for people to create smart web pages without having to understand the series of characters to type in each situation. We do hope it helps!
Many features in Leasey are concerned with improving productivity while making computing easy for people at the same time. This new feature certainly fits those requirements.

Naturally, there is a lengthy chapter in our documentation which explains how to use this feature. We expect many enhancements to be made to this over time.

Other Enhancements.

Leasey can now be set to load the Facebook Mobile site as opposed to the larger regular version. Moreover, Leasey has been adjusted to make even using the mobile site easier. There is a full Chapter of our documentation to train you how to use the Facebook mobile site.

Two new radio stations have been added. The Accessible Friends Network radio station can be found in the Variety category and we're pleased to have Now Country back in the Country category.

One of the most popular features of last year in Leasey was the introduction of reproducing Emoji. We have added a number of new items to the Emoji list.

The new release of Leasey will be available on Monday and we hope you find it, and all the other features she has, useful!

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