Important Messages, such as Service Disruption.

Our office hours are Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM UK time. We will try to give assistance to those people not living in the UK outside of those hours if possible.

We are closed for the Christmas holidays from the evening of Wednesday 20 December 2017 through to Tuesday 2 January 2018.

We would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy New Year!

brianhartgen's blog

Update to Leasey 3.1 Now Available!

Hi everyone

We are very pleased to bring you another Leasey update. Recently, we brought you version 3.1 of Leasey, and hot on the heels of that comes another update.

Included in this release:
1. Added support for the Goodreads book reading site is included as part of LeaseySearch. You can search by book author, title, subject or Goodreads username.
2. When a Link is activated on a webpage or HTML document, and new content is added to the existing page, JAWS now provides notification of its existence. This is particularly important on the Goodreads site where content is dynamically updated, however our testers have also found it helpful on Microsoft Windows help pages and Dropbox as examples. Moreover, JAWS sometimes has difficulty in presenting the newly updated page to the user without the Virtual Buffer being refreshed. This release of Leasey should make things much easier in that regard too.
3. Fixed a problem where some LeaseyAlerts were not being deleted.
4. Fixed a problem where LeaseySticky Notes could not be saved in Microsoft Word. This was working fine up to the initial release of Leasey version 3.1.
5. Added a keystroke in Tween, Control+Shift+V, which will set focus to an HTML area in a quoted retweet. Pressing the keystroke a second time causes focus to return to the list of tweets.
6. Improved the internet updating facility.
A. Leasey will automatically announce when a new update is available at startup.
B. When Check for Updates is activated through LeaseyHelp, if an update is available the user is able to read what is new before downloading and installing the update. A Link is present at the bottom of the What's New screen in order to do this.
7. Improved support for the Context Menu in the Amazon Kindle application. An announcement is given relating to the book being manipulated.
8. Fixed a problem where users could not change the Mood Text in later versions of Skype.
9. Fixed a problem where you could not press F5 in the RSGames client.
10. Fixed some problems in respect of LeaseyBasic reciting incorrect prompts when using JAWS version 17 only.
11. When you wish to backup a My Country Place farm, an Edit Field now appears containing the path of the backup which can be confirmed by pressing Enter. This means it can be amended if necessary.
12. Fixed a problem where it was not possible to press Control+Enter to open a Youtube page in a new tabbed window.

To obtain this update, you will either need to Download Leasey Total Package or Download Leasey Advanced.

In conclusion, there are two further points. First, we are aware that a small number of radio stations under the Abacus banner are not streaming the correct content. We have temporarily removed some of these and they will be reorganised at a later date.

Lastly, we've had a number of requests now for a version of Leasey working alongside the MAGic screen-reader/magnifier software. We're glad to say that we are now very actively working on this, and hope to have some positive news to share later in the year in this regard.

Do enjoy the update!

Leasey 3.1 is Here!

Introduction.

It's already been a good year for Leasey so far. We recently launched the exciting new game, My Country Place, which has already generated a lot of feedback and comment on social media. We're also working on a system which will make it possible for users to download individual games rather than the complete LeaseyGames module, allowing for easier updating. This will become more important as the year progresses as another game has already been commissioned and is in development.

However, based on suggestions from users, Leasey 3.1 provides some new features which again we'll add to throughout 2016.

Now, You Too Can Use Emoji!

Emoji characters are graphical images which are used in electronic messages and on webpages. They exist in various genres, including facial expressions, animals, common objects, the weather, and so on. They have become increasingly popular as a result of their use on portable phones and similar devices.

If someone posts an Emoji character on social media for example, JAWS version 17 is able to announce it. This makes it very easy for you to understand the true meaning of the person's intentions. Leasey provides you with a list of Emoji you can use anywhere you like, particularly on social media. You can bring into view a list of Emoji signs, divided into 10 categories. Pressing Enter on any item will insert it into the text edit area. It's very easy!

If you are using JAWS versions earlier than 17, you can still insert the Emoji. However, those releases of JAWS are not capable of announcing them, so you will need to trust JAWS and Leasey that the correct item has been inserted.

In order to use Emoji, press the Leasey Key then Control+Shift+E. You will find that you can quickly locate a sign you wish to enter using first letter navigation or by selecting from the ten categories provided, which comprise facial expressions, romance, people, sport, weather, animals, fantasy, entertainment and technology, food and drink, gestures and signs. Please refer to the section of the updated Documentation for more information on this feature!

Remembering the Position in a Document.

It's frustrating isn't it? You read a long document in Wordpad, Notepad, HJ Pad, the Jarte word processor or Microsoft Word. You close it down, and when you re-open it the next day, you may struggle to locate your place? Not any more.

Leasey has the ability to remember your place when you close a text file or document. As soon as you launch it again, focus is automatically set to the previous location.

To enable this feature, press the Leasey key then Control+Shift+R.

Conversion of Scanned PDF to Text.

Have you ever had a PDF file which is a scanned image of a document? You will know if you have such a file because when you launch it and try to read its contents, JAWS will say, "Document is empty".

JAWS versions 16 and 17 provide a facility where the document can be scanned and the results are delivered back to you within the Results Viewer, a webpage-like environment allowing you to read the text. Once scanned, the output can be sent to a text file for future reference! Please refer to the section of the documentation entitled "Converting a Scanned PDF to a Text File".

Other Improvements.

For people purchasing new laptop computers, one frustrating element is finding how to increase or decrease the volume. Its probably one of the first things you want to know. Forget about that and use the Leasey keys instead. Press Control+Windows+Shift+Up or Down Arrow to change the volume level.

LeaseySelect, where you can mark the beginning and ending of text you want to select, has been improved in two ways. First, by request we've extended it to include the QRead program, so students can easily select passages from any book. Second, again by request, we included a keystroke to move back to the start of a potential selection. So if you begin selecting, and you wish to return to the start, this can now be done by pressing the Leasey Key then Control+Comma.

The Twitter client TWBlue is now one of the supported Twitter clients, especially helpful for new computer users. In addition to a menu of common choices being available, you can easily add the Twitter username of the focused tweet to LeaseyConnect, our Contact Management system.

When you attach a LeaseySticky Note to text, and it is subsequently located, a sound will play in addition to the text being spoken. This means Sticky Notes can be quickly located by skimming down the lines of text.

In the leasey backup and restore manager, leasey key then control shift B, you can now backup your leasey settings to a folder, rather than just a drive. This could include a dropbox folder.

LeaseySelect now functions in Google Chrome.

Leasey Is On Sale!

That's right. From Monday 14 March through to Thursday 31 March, Leasey is on sale. This is to celebrate the CSUN annual international conference in San Diego which takes place between 21 and 26 March.

You can Buy Leasey for 50% of the usual price. There is no better time to get a copy of Leasey because updates after that are free! So all new features we develop and upcoming games are free from the time you purchase.

Leasey Total Package is at the lower price of £75 which is $107. If you would prefer Leasey Advanced, the cost is £50 which is $72. These are American dollars.

Are you heading to CSUN? Do come along to our Leasey Presentation!
You can also check out the Freedom Scientific presentations for the event.

Conclusion.

Don't forget that the best way of getting support is to join our support email list by sending a message to leaseylist-subscribe@hartgen.org
You can then meet other Leasey users and obtain support from them and ourselves too. This list is not high traffic.

In order to update your copy of Leasey, you will need to Download and Install Leasey Total Package or Download and Install Leasey Advanced. You will not lose any Leasey settings.

We very much hope you will enjoy using this new version of Leasey!

"Hartgen Consultancy, we'll Bury You In a Pile of US Legal Hell!"

Introduction.

If blind people spend any amount of time on Twitter or in other social media forums, it will not be too long before they see posts regarding which screen-reader people prefer over another, and further still, condemning those who enjoy working in a specific way or with a particular product. I've learned to ignore such remarks, and also those which are directed at our products. Because we are a commercial company, albeit a very small one, we know there are going to be people who feel they have an entitlement to something for nothing and that we should not be levying any charges against our products and services. In summary, their view is that products should be free because of the high unemployment rate among visually impaired people. There is absolutely nothing we can do about that unless we donated our time for free and lived off the state. Consequently, I rarely write and defend our position.

However, when you receive emails which amount to blackmail, you are vigorously threatened, or there is a systematic campaign against you, then is the time to speak out.

The project known as Dictation Bridge is just about to mount its "Crowd-Funding" campaign to raise money to produce a rival product to those we've developed over the years, in order that blind people can work with their computers by speaking to them, while at the same time providing speech feedback from the screen-reader. Again, this in itself would not concern me. Since I began working in the voice recognition arena in 2003, I have seen three such alternative solutions. There are also competitive products to the screen-reader our company happens to work with and favour. However, as you will read, the Dictation Bridge project partly arose as a direct result of threats made to me during 2015. I only recount this so that, when you pledge your money to the campaign, you are doing so with full knowledge of what occurred.

The Background.

On 3 July 2015, one of our most trusted, (and I have to say hard working) beta testers, advised us that he was considering working on a technology to support Dragon NaturallySpeaking and the NVDA screen-reader. As a matter of course, we felt that he could no longer be part of the J-Say beta testing team. This is standard practice in many beta testing groups. Non-Disclosure agreements often state that, if a person is involved in what could be deemed as being a competitive project, it is likely they will be dismissed from the group. That is fair comment and applied in this case. It was very sad to lose the beta tester, together with two others who also felt they wanted to leave at the same time, who are now part of the Dictation Bridge group.

I wrote to the tester. I did thank him for letting me know his intentions, and I praised him for the considerable amount of work and time he had invested since J-Say's inception. . I did say that I felt considerably betrayed, particularly as not only would he be potentially taking our ideas and concepts to an alternative project to further its cause, but we had in the past rewarded his testing time by providing him with copies of the software at no cost over a number of years. I went onto intimate that we may well seek legal advice, particularly if the concepts of design were identical to what we had developed. That too was very fair, and indeed we did take appropriate advice.

In conclusion, I reiterated that I felt it was sad that someone who had very in depth knowledge of how the products function no longer wanted to be a part of a group whose members were loyal and where, I thought, we were all working to a common goal. My mistake was that I wrote to him. I should have just let him go.

I then received an email message on 3 July 2015 from Chris Hofstader, who now spearheads the Dictation Bridge project. I had not heard from Mr Hofstader for a number of years before this time. Using the most insulting and unpleasant language, he let me know that if I did not apologise to the tester for stating that I was hurt and betrayed by him leaving, and that I didn't mind him taking our ideas to another project, then the following would happen:

  1. A group of people would prepare an alternative to our J-Say product.
  2. I would be personally and professionally "Trashed" on what he perceives to be "the most popular of the independent blogs in the blindness space.
  3. I should also "stop making stabs at GPL". This refers to A Blog Post I wrote on 30 June 2015, in which I fairly and clearly set out our reasons why we could not produce products as a commercial company to support the NVDA screen-reader.
  4. I should Stop charging for products and instead use "crowdfunding and contract services to keep the coffers full".
  5. I was told that "If you do not do this immediately, you can expect to see yourself and your business slammed on the blog." "Is this blackmail? Sure, sue me for extortion, I’ve beaten FS (or Freedom Scientific) nine times in legal actions, I’ll beat your ass too."
  6. I was warned that "If you as much as breathe another semi-threat in (the tester's) direction, we will bury you in a pile of US legal hell."
  7. Finally, I was advised that if I complied I may no longer be on "the NVDA enemies list". I wasn't aware there was such a list to be on.

Needless to say, I did not respond to the email. I will not be bullied or intimidated by this kind of behaviour. We continued conducting our business in a professional manner, and in point of fact became a distributor of Serotek's DocuScan product. (Serotek are actively involved in Dictation Bridge, so clearly there is no axe to grind on our part). Furthermore, we have remained on friendly terms with people who we know are actively involved in the Dictation Bridge project.

The Dictation Bridge project has now started to materialise. In an interview on ACB Radio's Main Menu program, several times our J-Say product was highlighted in a derogatory manner and inaccurately represented, as is the case on the Dictation Bridge website. If I was involved in the Dictation Bridge project, I would feel that the product ought to be robust enough to standalone without the need to compare it against another. Effective communication skills do mean that you can advocate your product's strengths without referring to your competition, and in fact the following week again on Main Menu, I felt I was able to do just that. I gave an overview of our products, and responded to the comparisons made the week before without mentioning Dictation Bridge once.

Costing and Other Issues.

The main criticism that people level at our products is one of costing, so lets just take a look at that for a moment.

When you run a business, one of the things you need to do is to take into account the number of hours being spent on a project and price it accordingly. This not only includes product development, but documentation preparation, testing time, and the hours of support given to individual customers. When a person purchases software of this nature, because many of them are vulnerable, they are likely to need more support than a keyboard user who could well be content to leave things until someone is able to assist. In addition to being blind, many of our customers are physically unable to walk, cannot use their hands, they may have had a stroke or suffered a traumatic illness, to name but a few examples. Those people need a good deal of patience and time from someone who is willing to work with them.

The considerable time invested in all of our products needs to be paid for. We are a company comprising two people who are trying to make a living, and this is the best way we know how. But despite this, when we started the company we did the following, to be fair to the blindness community.

  1. We reduced the cost of J-Say by £150 (or $175). The original price of the product when a previous company owned J-Say was £550 $773.
  2. We ensured that our office hours would extend from 8 A M to 10 P M UK time, which is 3 A M to 5 PM Eastern Standard, so that people in the United States and Canada would have a chance of obtaining technical support. When necessary, we would also work during the night to serve our Australian customers and deliver presentations to them, which we have.
  3. We introduced a product, J-Dictate, at a much lower cost to J-Say and which would coexist with all versions of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. We have proved that this has not only heightened the awareness of voice recognition technology, but it has also brought it in reach of people who were not necessarily reliant upon it.
  4. We built up a network of over twenty-five companies in a number of countries who want to sell our products. It should be borne in mind that a significant percentage of the costing we receive for J-Say may well go to a distributing company. We do not necessarily receive the entire amount, and that is how it should be.
  5. We invest a substantial sum each year in product development. This means that we commission blind people, (and only blind people at this point), to carry out work for us. This too assists those people to sustain a level of employment.
  6. In addition, we provide payment plans for two of our products, deliver low-cost training courses for people who want to obtain tuition on various subjects, and offer freely downloadable JAWS scripts as and when possible.

In summary, we do what we can to ensure the cost of all products is as low as it can be within the context of what makes good business sense given all aspects of product development, support and marketing.

There is one other charge which I must answer which has been levelled at us. We do not, and will not, create features for our J-Say product which might be described as "Bells and Whistles and which look great in marketing literature. Without exception, every feature we do create is as a direct result of customer requests, and it must be a significant number of requests before we consider it. We're not in the business of creating features because it "looks good" from a marketing perspective, or because one individual has asked for them. My blog post, Why J-Say Search Works, is a very clear explanation of why we do what we do.

Conclusion.

This blog post is by no means a wine or a moan. Had it not been that we are being specifically targeted, I would wish the developers of the Dictation Bridge project the very best of luck. But the fact remains that public money will be requested, and as the public, you have a right to know some of the context surrounding the project. I am not naive enough to think for a moment that there will not be some reaction to this blog post, and clearly, you will make a decision as to whether you wish to back the campaign or not. All we can do, and will do, is to continue producing all of our products in the best way we can, helping our customers and creating features they are asking for.

Post Script.

Following publication of this blog post, we have received a Sincere Apology from Joseph Lee, Chair of the NVDA 10th anniversary celebrations. We can ask for no more than this, which brings closure to a stressful time for us. What is sad about this is that we very much wanted to bring our products to the NVDA community and were not able to as previously explained. In terms of the attitudes expressed by some members of the NVDA community, I could not have summarised the situation more eloquently than Mr Lee. Thank you very much.

Subsequently, Chris has also sent us a full apology, again which we wholeheartedly accept.

Case Study. Why J-Say Search Works.

Since version 1 of J-Say was released many years ago now, the product has always had the ability to mirror any JAWS screen-reading keystroke by voice. This includes working with the internet. So whether you want to bring up a list of Links, move to the next Edit Field or activate Forms Mode, you've always been able to do it. In point of fact we then went onto develop some additional navigational utilities for the web which JAWS does not have at its disposal.

However in the latest J-Say update, version 14, we took this a step further, and added the ability to search various online repositories, such as Google, Youtube, Wikipedia, Amazon and eBay. This allows a user to tell the software what it is he or she would like to search for, and if appropriate, select by department or category. The results are then viewable easily. It saves browsing to the site, finding the first edit field, dictating the search term, reviewing it for accuracy, locating the Combo Box for the category, selecting the value and submitting the search query, not to mention locating where the subsequent results start. I feel exhausted just writing all of that down!

I read a lot of access technology Twitter and email list posts, and I have heard some "rumblings" asking the questions, why are we implementing tools which are quite obviously specialist procedures? Why aren't we encouraging people to use standard web navigational techniques? It's quite simple really. Some people just can't, or do not want to. Of course for those who are able to manage the internet in a more traditional way, we provide full training in that area.

Take Jim as an example. He is a man in his seventies who has recently lost his sight, so it is quite natural that he is learning to adapt to daily life in many ways. His passion is buying goods on eBay. While he did want to have a computer for Email management, what he really wanted to do was to buy products on eBay. He was struggling to use the eBay website.

Jim's daughter, who is not particularly "computer literate", was also having problems, because JAWS was reading text found on the webpage which did not correspond to the visual focus, so it was difficult for her to assist him.

Having just installed J-Say 14 onto the computer, (which I did remotely using JAWS Tandem), they now find the whole process far easier. Not only can Jim achieve what he needs to on eBay, but his daughter Kayley can easily see what is meant to be happening to help him search for what he wants. That crucial assistance which Kayley gives to Jim is just as important as him being able to use the computer.

In summary, the implementation of specialist resources may not be to everyone's liking. But we believe we should be helping as wide a range of people as possible, from the person who wants to use everything JAWS offers in terms of accessing the internet, through to people such as Jim, who NEED a very straightforward easy way of working. It goes without saying, but after installing the update, I first demonstrated to Kayley using the keyboard how the new interface worked, and then took Jim through it by him speaking into the headset/microphone, providing them with high quality support.

J-Say contains many other similar tools and utilities designed for the blind voice recognition user, including the ability to reproduce lengthy text passages, ways of moving files in Windows Explorer, through to special voice commands created for Email contacts. We'll never apologise for helping people irrespective of their technical ability, and we look forward to including many other specialist features in the years to come.

You Asked, We Listened! Two Stunning New Offerings Available from LeaseyGames!

Introduction.

Since we added the Games Module to our product Leasey, people who have never played computer games before are enjoying the wide range of titles we have to offer. While many are available elsewhere, we set about designing a small series of games that are fun, easy to play but challenging and containing the highest quality original orchestral music. This included Truffle Troll, which we brought to Leasey users just before the Christmas holidays.

Now, we bring not one, but two new exciting games which we hope will provide Leasey users with hours of fun, pleasure and entertainment!

My Country Place.

At Hartgen Consultancy, we take pride in listening to all comments about our products and services. Through our support email list, we asked our Leasey users to tell us the kind of games they would enjoy playing. By far the most popular request was a game based on the concept of owning a farm.

Have you ever wanted to own your own farm out in the country? Have you dreamed of planting and harvesting crops, caring for animals and gaining financial reward as a result of your hard work? Wouldn't it be awesome to own a luxury farmhouse containing every conceivable item in which you can relax and let the world go away for a while? All this is possible with "My Country Place". This lady is about to find out what it is like to get away from it all!
Download and Listen to the In Depth Podcast of My Country Place!

As with the other LeaseyGames developed by Hartgen Consultancy, "My Country Place" contains original music from the Elias gaming engine. Put simply, not only does this add a lush ambience to the game itself, but the music changes as it progresses adding an exciting dimension to it.

While "My Country Place" is challenging, (requiring thought, strategy and planning), you will find it is incredibly easy to play.

You are responsible for a farm consisting of twenty plots of land and a large house. You can lay your farm out in any way you like, raise a large variety of crops, buy animals, build farm buildings, buy machinery to improve crop yields, and furnish your house with the best that money can buy. Each year there will be tasks to perform together with new challenges to meet. You will see your farm grow and improve as you play.

Best of all, you can walk around your farm! Imagine that! This game is not a simple "side scroller". You really can walk around and explore both the house and farm.

The game includes:

  • Easy to remember keyboard commands.
  • The ability to give your farm a name.
  • Configurable text to speech options including choosing of voice together with being able to change the pitch, speech rate and volume.
  • Variable music volume.
  • Facility to backup your farm either for later restoration or to transfer to another computer. Remember, you will want to earn lots of money and improve the farm and your luxury home, so you'll need to spend hours getting it just the way you want it. Backing up your hard work therefore is a must.
  • High quality sound effects! Bathe in the peace and tranquility of the farm or room ambiences, receive audio cues to assist with orientation, listen to the animals, and hear the sounds of fertilising and harvesting crops.
  • Four mini games and challenges to keep you entertained.
  • Helpful advice given through your mobile/cell phone using Text Messages.
  • The ability to purchase animals, buildings and farm machinery
    including a barn, dairy and even a winery!
  • A comprehensive User Guide which not only contains instructions for game play but in addition provides useful tips for effectively managing your farm and orientation cues.
  • And much much more!

"My Country Place" was devised by Louise Hartgen and was written by Aaron Baker of VGStorm.Com. Aaron is a highly accomplished and talented audio games developer, who has produced titles such as "The Gate", "Psycho Strike" and "Paladin of the Sky".

Matchmaker.

But what if you would like a game where you do not need to put in a lot of thought and planning? Meet Matchmaker!

Matchmaker is a simple but addictive tile matching puzzle. Match three or more tiles vertically or horizontally to clear them from the game board. Reach a new level by clearing an increasing number of tiles before all the matches run out.

This game takes inspiration from the multitude of matching games available such as BeJewelled and Candy Crush, but instead of a fixed sized grid with one set of values, our game is infinitely customisable and of course it is accessible! Choose the length and width of your game board, how many different kinds of tiles it contains, pick a set of tiles, varying from fruits and days of the week to colours, gems and even girls' names. New sets of tiles will also be added over time. Pick a puzzle from our easy and relaxing multi-level beginner's puzzle to the much harder timed puzzle where you have to match against a clock. Can you get to the next level before the gems all disappear?

Once again, Matchmaker contains original Elias music which changes in style as the game progresses. You'll love hearing the music just as much as playing the game itself.

Matchmaker was designed and written by damian Sykes-Pendleton of Gigajoy Creations. Damian too is an experience audio games designer, whose previous releases have included the successful River Raiders and X-Wheel.

Downloading the Leasey Update.

Please read these notes carefully!

Both "My Country Place" and "Matchmaker" are exclusive to Leasey which can be purchased from Hartgen Consultancy or our network of Product Distributors.

If you already have the LeaseyGames module installed, please go ahead and Download the LeaseyGames Update.
This includes the update dated March 1, 2016.
To repeat, if the LeaseyGames Module has not been previously installed, this update is not applicable and you should not use it.

In the event that the LeaseyGames Module has not been installed before, you should go ahead and install it as described in the Leasey Documentation.

Finally, please be sure to read the new sections of the Leasey Documentation to learn how to play the games together with the keystrokes to use.

If you have any questions regarding the installation of the LeaseyGames update, please send an email to jaws@hartgen.org and we would be delighted to assist.

Leasey from Hartgen Consultancy. It's the only way to play!

J-Say Version 14 is On the Way!

Within two weeks, the anticipated release of J-Say version 14 will be available.

In addition to providing support for JAWS for Windows version 14 through to 17, (version 17 was not previously supported), J-Say version 14 contains a number of new features including the following.

J-Say Search. Use a highly accessible system, controlled by voice, to quickly end easily search Google, eBay, Amazon, Wikipedia, Youtube, Bookshare, Audible and the catalogue of the National Library Service in the United States. When the search is completed, focus is automatically set to the first result, so there is no need to bypass unwanted text on pages. Some services, such as eBay and Amazon, allow you to narrow the search by category or department. NLS Search makes it possible to search by author, keyword, title, or to find out what's new or the most popular book titles at the moment. You can search for Braille books or audio content. All of the search facilities take away the stress of locating edit fields or finding the start of the content.
Control iTunes by voice. Play songs, create playlists, browse the iTunes store, add a song to the Up Next queue, move directly to components within iTunes and much more.

Our updated J-Say Learning Module gives details of how to use the new features either by voice or the keyboard, as is the case for our previous support for Spotify, Facebook and Skype.

J-Say Version 14 will support Windows7, Windows8 and Windows10, together with Microsoft Office 2010, 2013 and 2016. Support for Office 2016 is new in this release.

J-Say version 14 will support Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional version 12.5 and 13. Support for Dragon Professional Individual will be available when significant bugs are resolved within the Dragon product.

If you have a Software Maintenance Agreement, it is very easy to obtain a copy of J-say 14. Because some SMA's have been sold by our Distributor network, it is possible that we do not have an email address for you. The Distributor from whom you purchased your SMA will in time let you know that you can download J-Say 14. However, you can fast track this by sending your JAWS serial number to jaws@hartgen.org, whereupon we can send you details on the day of release.

Anyone who has purchased J-Say after 1 December 2015 will also be entitled to a free upgrade. Again, simply send your JAWS serial number to jaws@hartgen.org and we will let you know the minute J-Say 14 is released.

If none of the above applies to you, and you would like to order a new copy of J-Say or an upgrade, please contact us and we will be very pleased to work with you to ensure you have access to it as soon as version 14 is available.

Thank you for your interest in J-say 14!

Leasey Version 3 is Here and It's On Sale!

Hi to everyone

2015 has certainly been a fantastic year for Leasey. Since its launch in late 2014, we have brought to you significant improvements when using the Microsoft Outlook 2013 and 2016 Calendar, enhancements within LeaseySearch to quickly find information on Google, Amazon, Youtube, Wikipedia and the National Library Service catalogues, a LeaseyGames module containing over 50 games, support for Amazon Kindle, the ability to work with Spotify, Facebook and iTunes, plus many other features. And on the day of the release of JAWS version 17, we were ready with a Leasey update, which included support for Microsoft Office 2016.

Now for the 2015 holiday season, we bring to you Leasey version 3. Here is a summary of the new improvements!

LeaseyAbbreviations.

When you create a LeaseyText, (containing a passage of text you wish to reproduce elsewhere), you can now attach an Abbreviation to it. This means you can assign a series of characters to a LeaseyText. When you type those characters in any edit area, followed by a keystroke, Leasey will reproduce the text for you in full including line and paragraph breaks. Many people wanted to have this feature, so we've done all we can to ensure it is the best it can be.

With our special interface for this feature, you can:

  • Select a LeaseyText to which you wish to assign an abbreviation;
  • Be notified of all Abbreviations currently stored;
  • Modify an existing Abbreviation;
  • Delete an Abbreviation;
  • Reproduce an Abbreviation.
  • Now, reproducing frequently used text passages is faster than ever!

    In Time for the Holidays, Ebay is Added to LeaseySearch!

    Using our LeaseySearch facility, you can quickly find anything on eBay. Our newly updated Documentation explains what eBay is and how you can use LeaseySearch to locate items. You can not only search for an item in all categories, but you can also refine it to a specific category, such as Antiques or Cars, Motorcycles and Vehicles.

    Enhancement to LeaseyClips.

    If you use the LeaseyClips feature, you will be pleased we hope with a new enhancement to it.

    Previously, creating a LeaseyClip meant that you needed to select (or highlight) text first within an document, Email or web page. This is now not necessary. You can press the keystroke for the LeaseyClip required, and type any text into the Edit Field ready for permanent storage.

    New Games!

    Two new games from the Spoonbill Software range have now been added to Leasey. These are Fives Dominoes and Draw Dominoes. We hope you enjoy playing them!

    A New Game Exclusive to Leasey with a Memorable Character!

    Truffle Troll, designed by Louise Hartgen and written by Philip Benefal, is a fun and challenging arcade game. Though we're giving it to you for Christmas you will want to play it all the year round.

    You may remember at the end of Treasure Troll, our big friend bought himself an ice cream parlour. Unfortunately he has been unable to keep staff, so he has to run it all by himself, with your help. Can you run to the freezer, collect trays of ice creams, give out orders to customers before they get annoyed enough to start breaking the place up, and remember, if you run too fast you will drop the tray or even fall down, really not good for business. Five minutes of fast-paced fun are guaranteed! Can you make it to the end, where the luxurious rum truffle ice creams come out, serve those and score megapoints?
    Listen to the Truffle Troll Audio Sample!
    Before playing Truffle Troll, be sure to read the Leasey Documentation which clearly explains how to play, together with a comprehensive list of keystrokes. You will also, within Leasey, need to go to the Help menu and select to download the LeaseyGames module so as to benefit from the new games.

    Technical Support.

    Should you require Technical Support in the use of Leasey, this is available on weekdays only, which is Monday to Friday. If you require such support, Do contact us.

    Conclusion and Sale!

    Leasey is at the end of what has been a very exciting year. We hope for lots more developments in 2016 and do keep those suggestions coming! We're delighted that Leasey is now being used by hundreds of people around the world!

    If you have Leasey installed already, you will need to download the product again, a link for which is given further down this page.

    As a special gift to you, our products Leasey and J-Dictate are now on sale, from Friday 27 November through to Monday 30 November inclusive. You can get a 50% reduction on Leasey Total Package, Leasey Advanced and J-Dictate! Don't miss out!
    If you have difficulties in purchasing any product online, simply Send us an Email, stating which product you would like to purchase. We will then send you by Email a fully accessible electronic invoice which you can pay using PayPal or any major credit or debit card. Please include your JAWS serial number in the Email message so we can ensure your product is activated right away!

    We would like to take this opportunity of wishing you all the best for the holidays. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, christmas and new year!

Improve Your Outlook. Advanced Outlook for the Power User!

Optimising the Power of JAWS for windows and Microsoft Outlook.

For many years, Microsoft Outlook has been the industry standard and leader for managing Email, working with appointments, creating tasks for projects and accessing contact information. So it is not really surprising that the access provided through the JAWS for Windows screen-reader for this application delivers to the blind user some incredible tools to gain the most from it. But how do you unlock that power? Hartgen Consultancy's latest online course, "Improve Your Outlook", will show you.

During our initial course on this subject, "Looking Out for Outlook", we worked through customising Microsoft Outlook for optimum accessibility, together with all aspects of Email and Contact management. Lots of ways were described concerning how to use Microsoft Outlook efficiently with JAWS for Windows at the heart of it. This course can still be purchased if you would like to on our Training page.

This training course focuses upon:

  • Creating, Viewing and managing all aspects of appointments in the Calendar;
  • Scheduling meetings;
  • Working with Tasks;
  • The Journal and what you can do with it;
  • Storing and referring to Outlook Notes;
  • Searching for what you need in Advanced Find and Instant Search;
  • The Quick Steps tool.

The course is divided into four lessons, each of 60 minutes duration. You will not just learn how to work with the application, but how you can use the JAWS screen-reader optimally to gain the best experience. This of course includes working with JAWS version 17 and 18.

Who is the Course For?

"Improve Your Outlook" is ideally suited to anyone who wishes to further their knowledge of this application. . It will also benefit I T professionals who have an elementary understanding of screen-reading but who want to provide a greater level of support to blind people, such as other colleagues they are working with.

Course Prerequisites.

As can be seen from the list of topics above, many subjects are covered. It is therefore important that you have:

  • A full understanding of working with all aspects of Email and Contact management within Microsoft Outlook. If you attended our training course, "Looking Out for Outlook", you will already have the knowledge you need;
  • Good keyboarding skills;
  • Knowledge of how to undertake basic word processing features, such as to select (or highlight) text, printing, spell checking, etc;
  • JAWS for Windows version 14 and higher;
  • Preferably Microsoft Outlook 2013/2016 (although most topics should be equally usable with Outlook 2010).

If I Purchase the Course, What Will I Receive?

The course will give to you:

  • An audio recording of each of the four lessons;
  • Text documentation to reinforce topics covered in the lessons.

How to Purchase.

Improve Your Outlook is priced £50 which is approximately 62 American dollars. Purchase Improve Your Outlook.

JAWS 17 is Released and we have New Product Updates!

The day has come around and JAWS for Windows has been released. You can Order your copy direct from us if you live in the UK, or from an alternative distributor elsewhere in the world. The price of JAWS and upgrades are less expensive than they were. We can also give you some good prices so you can get yourself into the JAWS Software Maintenance Agreement program, entitling you to receive the next two JAWS upgrades at a reduced cost, 18 and 19!

But what about our products?

J-Dictate.

Our popular J-Dictate program, allowing you to dictate text into any aplication using Dragon NaturallySpeaking, is now JAWS 17 ready. Not only that, but we've extended the range of Dragon products supported to include the new Dragon Professional Individual. So, the full list is Dragon Home, Premium, Professional, Professional Individual, Legal or Medical. The documentation for J-Dictate has also been updated to support the Dragon Professional Individual product.

J-Dictate of course just slots into your JAWS program with no modification of default scripts, so people who have those will not be disadvantaged.

To download J-Dictate, just activate the link you will have found in the email message sent to you after purchase. If you no longer have that message, please provide us either with the email address you used to place the order, or your JAWS serial number. We can then easily trace it on our database.

Leasey.

Leasey has also had a small makeover and she's ready for JAWS 17 as well!

There are very few new improvements in this Leasey build because we are working hard on the next major release, to be made available at the end of November. We know you are going to love the new improvements and our new game in time for Christmas. However, if you would like to use all the existing functionality, of which there is plenty, do Download the new Leasey build from our website. If you have purchased the product, it will automatically activate as usual for JAWS 17.

Several things you should know. First, you will find that the new Leasey build is fully compatible with Microsoft Windows10 and Office 2016. The previous build of Leasey was not compatible with Office 2016.

In addition, we do have a powerful JAWS Merge facility. JAWS 17 does not have a merge facility, so you cannot import all your previously created Playcemarkers, Flexible Web rules, dictionaries, document and spreadsheet settings, configuration settings too easily. Leasey's Merge utility will allow you to bring all your Leasey settings over from the previous JAWS version and import them into the new one. It takes less than 20 seconds on most computers.

Moreover, the Merge facility is backwards compatible. So if you create settings in JAWS 17, and there is a particular reason why you want to use version 16 in the future, you can import settings from 17 to 16. Isn't that cool?

For more information on the JAWS Merge facility, please consult the section of the updated Leasey documentation entitled "Importing Leasey Settings into Alternative JAWS Versions".

Finally, all Leasey utilities (such as LeaseyPoints and LeaseyAlerts) do work alongside the new JAWS Smart Navigation. So if you want to take Smart Navigation for a spin, there's no reason not to. Everything is just going to work!

What Else is New.

It is anticipated that the next release of StationPlaylist Studio will be released very soon. Shortly after, we will have JAWS scripts to support that. We can tell you that from a JAWS standpoint this promises to be a very snappy and responsive release. The team at SPL have been working closely with us to make it so and we're looking forward to that.

The new J-Say release, as stated previously, will be available very early in the new year. Again, this will support the new Dragon Professional Individual, (a lower cost release of Dragon than the regular Professional product), as well as version 13.0 and 12.5. The many government agencies we work with are still using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12.5, so it is essential we support those customers.

As well as the many amazing tools which have been built into J-Say for blind voice recognition users, J-Say 14 will also contain a powerful search facility, allowing people to quickly and easily search on Google, Amazon (by country and store department), Youtube, Wikipedia and a variety of libraries such as Bookshare and the National Library Service, all by voice. We know for many of our J-Say users who totally rely on the software, this is going to be very helpful.

So, lots to look forward to, and on the day of the JAWS 17 release, we have goodies for you to grab right now. Please also check out our Training courses including the new Microsoft Outlook course beginning next week. Happpy computing with JAWS!

Hartgen Consultancy Training Presents Domain Specific JAWS Scripts in a Nutshell.

At the time of writing, JAWS version 17 is about to be released. It contains a feature allowing you to create script files for a specific domain to be accessed via a web browser. What does this actually mean?

Many applications in places of employment are hosted using a web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer. In theory, this has an advantage for visually impaired people, as it makes it a little easier to read all the information available. A database may be a good example, since the details can be read and information found quickly. With a standalone application outside a web browser, it may have been necessary to use the JAWS cursor or similar, depending upon how accessible the application was.

The difficulty is that finding exactly what you want on a large webpage, or accessing various toolbars and tab controls, may not be quite as fast as you would like, especially if you have not received training on the various tips and tricks to quickly navigate such pages and get the most from them. Having a set of scripts created for such an application or website could mean that information could be automatically spoken in specific situations, keystrokes could be created to move to commonly used areas, or JAWS could be programmed to search pages for specific text and carry out an action accordingly.

A person who is able to write scripts for applications can now do so for specific domains. In point of fact, you have been able to do this for a very long time, but Freedom Scientific have made the process far easier. In this article, I am going to describe how you might go about linking a set of scripts to a domain.

While there is an example in the JAWS Help (along with a set of test scripts) to teach you how to create some customisations for Microsoft Sharepoint, this will only be of benefit if you have Sharepoint! I have created a set of scripts for Google to allow you to validate the test. Don't get too excited, there's not a great deal in the scripts themselves.

  1. Download the JAWS Scripts for Google.
  2. Extract the archive into your JAWS Settings/ENU (or language) folder. This is typically located from the Start Menu, All Programs, JAWS 17, Utilities JAWS 17, Explore My Settings.
  3. Examine the folder and you should find two files, entitled "BHGoogle.JSB" and "BHGoogle.JSS".
  4. You will also find another file called ConfigNames.ini. This is a critical file.
  5. In the ConfigNames.ini file, you will find a line which says "[Domains]", and underneath a line which reads "www.google.co.uk=BHGoogle". In my example, the website address relates to the Google domain, then there is an equals sign, then finally, the name of the script set is referenced, which is "BHGoogle".

That is all there is to it. You should find now that when you browse to the Google website, you will hear the word, "Hello", automatically spoken. This indicates that the scripts are running, as I have inserted a statement using the AutoStartEvent function which triggers whenever Google gets the focus. You can also press Insert+Q which will advise you that the Google scripts are in operation. Finally, if you press Insert+0 to activate the Script Manager, you will see the code for the Google scripts.

So in summary, create a set of scripts for the website or application. Next, create the corresponding entry as detailed above (or in the sample) pointing to the domain. That's it.

This blog post has come to you via Hartgen Consultancy Training. Do feel free to Visit our Training page for our ongoing and previous training course archives.

Happy scripting!

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - brianhartgen's blog