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

Learn JAWS Scripting From Scratch! A Comprehensive Online Six-Week Course for the Scripting Beginner!

This page will contain all resources you need for the course as we progress through. This includes a link to the server for course instruction, a recording of each session and, at the end of the course, the materials.

Topics Covered include:

  • An introduction to JAWS script writing and why you would want to create scripts.
  • File types and their meanings.
  • Using the Keyboard Manager effectively.
  • JAWS script hierarchy.
  • Technical overview of scripts.
  • The Script Manager and how it works.
  • Manipulating cursors.
  • Reading the screen.
  • Automating common routines.
  • Creating a global script which can be used anywhere.
  • Constants and variables.
  • Understanding functions.
  • Passing keystrokes through to applications.
  • Calling a function from within a script.
  • Calling a script from within a script.
  • Using contextual voices and why this is important.
  • Placing text into the JAWS Virtual Viewer.
  • Creating application-specific Hotkey Help with Hyperlinks.
  • Creating JAWS specific Dialog Boxes.
  • Linking script files together.
  • Windows program structure.
  • Reclassifying unknown window classes.
  • Exploring applications with the JAWS utility functions.
  • Putting it all together. Creating scripts for an application.
  • Improving access to websites and browser-based applications.
  • Working on your own and furthering your knowledge.

An Open Letter to the serotalk Podcast

Dear Sir/Madam

My name is Brian Hartgen. I am Co-Director of Hartgen Consultancy and the Developer of J-Say technology, and initially I must thank you for alerting people to the existence of the new release of our product within your latest podcast, to which I paid particular attention.

While I note your disclaimer that the views expressed are those of the individuals concerned, (delivered within the podcast's introduction in a very rapid fashion to be almost unintelligible), as the manufacturing company we would please like to respond to a number of points made therein.

As background, I have been training visually impaired people how to use computer technology for over 20 years, and this includes those who are newly-blind, have suffered from brain injury, physical impairment or cognitive challenges. This includes 12 years' training people in the use of Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

I would like to thank Joe and Steve in particular who pointed out the positive advantages of using voice input/output technology. However, your female reviewer criticised our J-Say product in a number of ways.

First, she claimed the computers on which she tested would "freeze" periodically. In fairness, the primary host of the podcast, Joe, did suggest a good strategy for rectification, and he is to be commended for that. But managing complex combinations of software does take some skill and precision, and I would ask whether the lady concerned contacted us for advice on how to resolve this difficulty if allegedly it occurred several times? We have no record of such a discussion.

Mention was made of people finding J-Say too complex to manage, and so they were allegedly transitioning to an alternative access technology product. This is purely anecdotal, and in point of fact I could, I am sure, surpass that by quoting many instances where the reverse was true.

But what astounded me in particular was the statement that the Window-Eyes screen-reader allowed one to train Dragon NaturallySpeaking easier than J-Say. I find this very difficult to believe and would like her to please qualify it.

Since version 1, J-Say has had the ability for a blind person to not only independently train the computer to understand the human voice, but more importantly, to allow him or her to correct deficits in speech delivery during that enrolment process. Are you suggesting that Window-Eyes has that ability?

Having said that, for two years we (and some of our distributors) have recognised that initial enrolment training is not important, but ongoing education and improvement of the voice profile is more beneficial. Nuance now understand this, which is why their most recent Dragon releases do not encourage the reading of enrolment training text.

J-Say contains a number of utilities which not only allows for the ongoing education of a voice profile, but of equal importance, it gives a carer or support assistant the ability to assist the blind person (if required) to input words and phrases into the vocabulary for easier understanding by the software. These utilities go way beyond what the sighted Dragon user has access to.

Finally I come to the issue of the "interesting dynamic" referred to in the podcast with regard to working with a computer in this way. I would suggest that how one interprets the range of software involved, and consequent interaction with it, is based on how one is trained. I return to my experience of training individuals illustrated earlier. People are not always interested in precisely what all three software packages are doing, but rather, how J-Say is working for the user. Given that the command structure is consistent across applications in the most part, the next logical question would be to ask whether the critique has received certification as a Trainer in the use of J-Say technology to ensure that the user is gaining the very best experience?

In summary, as a Product Developer, of course I expect criticism. Indeed, it is only through criticism and feedback from users that the product could be improved upon. This is why I still train in the field, because it is by seeing the product at work in different technical and user environments that I can gain an understanding of how we can improve J-Say for people in the future. That is critical. We cannot move forward without that interaction. But what I object to is misrepresentation.
1. You claimed that an alternative screen-reader provided superior support in the enrolment training process. I've already demonstrated this statement has no foundation as it is dated.
2. You claimed that people had switched from J-Say to something else. This is anecdotal and there is good evidence to the contrary too, as there will be with competing products.
3. Lastly, there was a clear implication that the product could be difficult to learn. I found this amplified both in the tone of the delivery, and the content.

Under most circumstances these points would not irritate me, but it is the the totality of your remarks which could leave the listener in some doubt as to whether the product was suitable for them.

In closing, I do feel that if criticism is to be made of any product, the developing company should be given the opportunity of responding before that is made within your podcast. If the criticisms had been put to me, I would in turn have pressed you very hard on the circumstances in order to substantiate them. Having said that, we would also have offered to work with your agency to ensure that you had the necessary training and support required to facilitate your staff having a good understanding of the product.

I would like to thank you for reading. I appreciate that what you are trying to do is to provide listeners with informative comment, and to play "Devil's Advocate" as your reviewer described it. But if you do that, I would respectfully suggest that your views will, and should, be challenged if appropriate.

Kind Regards:

Brian Hartgen

Post Script

We are delighted to note that Serotalk Podcast 224 does contain a full audio statement concerning the points raised above and we would like to thank them very much for including it. You can listen to the podcast (above) or Download the Statement.

Language Translation

Introduction

From time to time, we receive a trickle of enquiries, (and I do mean a very small number), from people who would like to use our products in languages other than English. I have to say first of all that I think it is wonderful, and it is very gratifying when, having invested a lot of time and effort into creating something, a person who does not speak English wants to use it.

I am sure over time we will indeed have some of our products translated into some widely used languages. But I thought it may be helpful if people gained an understanding of the enormity of such a project because I would imagine that some of what I am going to describe perhaps would not have occurred to you.

What Exactly is Localised Support?

Every so often, I see Emails or Twitter posts from developers of JAWS scripts stating that they support a particularl language. But what does support actually mean? How do you define it?

In a number of cases, it means translating various English prompts spoken by a screen-reader into the desired language and perhaps a small amount of documentation. Is that "supporting" people in the true sense of the word?

I believe support goes way beyond that. From the time a person picks up the telephone or sends an Email to make an initial enquiry, through to the purchase (and usage of) the product, and ongoing technical support with possible training, that should all be delivered using the person's mother tongue. That is true holistic support. The person would be paying the same monetary value for the product, perhaps a little more in fact, and so he or she is perfectly entitled to receive the same level of assistance and overall quality as someone who speaks English and nothing less.

To provide that high level of assistance, there would have to be a very cohesive relationship between ourselves and a partner organisation in the project, both of whom would need to invest financially and having due consideration as to how it was going to be sold and supported. Unless the product sells, there is no value. Clearly from our point of view, there would need to be complete trust placed in the partner, and fortunately, Freedom Scientific do have distributors who are used to the localising process. Undertaking market research would also have to be done to determine the need for the product in the country concerned to ensure financial viability.

So what exactly would be involved in localising a product on the scale of those we develop?

Understanding language and culture.

Clearly from the outset, the partner would need to understand each and every one of the many concepts of our products. But in turn, we need to understand the culture of the language speaker. I suggest localisation isn't just about a literal product translation. There is much more to it.

As a very basic example, with our J-Say product, one phrase to activate dragon's microphone is, "Listen to Me". But that phrase may not sit well with someone who speaks another language, such as French or Spanish? It may be easier for a person to use an alternative phrase which is not a direct translation of the words. It has to be "natural language".

Other important issues would be to consider whether the localised access technologies on which the products were based contained the same functionality as in English releases. Usually they do, but not always, or there may be subtle differences. Keyboard changes are also very worthy of consideration.

Translating the Product.

Next comes the sheer volume of time involved in translating the product. That means translating (or to be more precise localising) every aspect of it, rephrasing the help utilities, making high quality audio recordings of prompts in some cases and finding the most appropriate voice talent, translating the documentation (anywhere from 100 to 500 pages per product), and many other items not listed. For example, two of our products contain a radio player. The stations need to be chosen reflecting the given language, both for technical quality and suitability. Of course they also need to be maintained to ensure continuity.

When the product is completed, of course it needs to be tested thoroughly. This would involve the recruiting and joint management of a beta testing team. The partner organisation would play a key role here, since obviously there could well be language differences when trying to communicate a problem with the software.

Selling the Product.

So our product is all beautifully translated and ready to go. Staff training may need to occur if the sales, training and support personnel have not been involved with the conception of it.

Then, the marketing needs to take place. Remember, in man hours alone, thousands of dollars have already been invested to bring the product to market so now it is time for the return on the investment. So the people doing the marketing need to be very aware of publications in which to advertise, podcasts on which to promote it, ensuring the company's website contains lots of information to keep people interested, not to mention meeting people and talking to them. In short, the whole point of this entire process has been to ensure that the product can potentially reach as many people as it is able to, so this is where the hard work begins.

What Happens Next?

People now begin to use the product and probably report problems, although hopefully not too many. We should also bare in mind that some of the people potentially calling in will not be conversant with computers, and so those providing the support will need to spend time with them, again to ensure they are getting a good experience.

What should also be happening is that a similar process to that described above begins again with the adaptation of new features which may be part of the next release. And remember, we're just talking about one product here out of a number.

Summary.

As you can see, there is a good deal more to the process of localising a product than perhaps meets the eye, and I do applaud the screen-reader product translators particularly who have a lot of work to do. But I hope this blog post has given you a little understanding of what potentially could be involved. Absolutely every part of the above is essential in my view, and a good deal more. Able computer users may be content with a product where the localisation only exists in the program itself, and that is absolutely fine. But for some individuals, I really do not believe that is true and certainly if a product is going to sell and reach the people for whom it is intended, I would suggest all of those strategies need to be in place.

I come back to the starting point of this post. I am sure in time language translation is something we will think about. But we would need to be convinced that there was a market for doing so. If we were going to do this, it would be done properly and would be well thought out. As I hope you can tell, I have already given the process a good deal of consideration.

Accessible World Presentation of J-Say and J-Dictate!

Products from Hartgen Consultancy, We Will Not Leave You Speechless!

Imagine talking to your computer and it obeying your every instruction. Sounds like something out of Star Trek doesn’t it? At Hartgen Consultancy, we develop products which enable you to do just that.

For 12 years, many blind people who are unable to use the computer keyboard, or simply do not wish to, have been able to dictate text into documents and Email, surf the internet and navigate around the computer just by speaking to it, thanks to J-Say software. We’re now at version 13 which delivers many exciting new features and improvements. Working with your computer the J-Say way takes away the need to use either one's hands or eyes, do it all controlling the computer with your voice and accessing the screen content with your ears!

But what if you’re quite happy using the keyboard to navigate and to edit text, but would prefer to dictate your text? Meet J-Dictate, a much lower cost solution allowing you to do just that. Rather than type, speak your Email, documents, Twitter or Facebook status, even into chat clients. You can even dictate into your phone or portable recorder and have your computer transcribe it as text!

We’ll tell you all about both products during Tech Talk, Monday 16 Feburary at 8 PM Eastern. Please come along! We hope you’ll be amazed!

Presenters
Brian and Lulu Hartgen
Hartgen Consultancy
Website:
www.hartgen.org
Phone UK: 02920-850298.
Phone US: 415-871-0626
Email:
jaws@hartgen.org

Date: Monday February 16,,  , 2015

Time: 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 6:00 p.m. Mountain, 7:00 p.m. Central, 8:00 p.m. Eastern and elsewhere in the world Tuesday 01:00 GMT

Approximately 15 minutes prior to the event start time: go to The Pat Price Tek Talk Training Room at:
http://conference321.com/masteradmin/room.asp?id=rsc9613dc89eb2

Or, alternatively.

Select The Pat Price Tek Talk Training Room at:
www.accessibleworld.org
Enter your first and last names on the sign-in screen.

All Tek Talk training events are recorded so if you are unable to participate live at the above times, then you may download the presentation or podcast
from the Tek Talk Archives on our website at
www.accessibleworld.org

If you are a first-time user of the Talking Communities Online Conferencing software, there is a small, safe software program that you need to download and then run. A link to the software is available on every entry screen to the Accessible World online rooms.

All online interactive programs are free of charge, and open to anyone worldwide having an Internet connection, a computer, speakers, and a sound card. Those with microphones can interact audibly with the presenters andspeak to us. others in the virtual audience or text chat with the attendees. To speak
to us, hold down the control key and talk; then let up to listen.

A Thank You from Hartgen Consultancy

Hi to everyone

We would just like to sincerely thank all the individuals, organisations and companies who have promoted our products during the past few weeks. It all helps to spread the word and to let people know about the products and services we offer at Hartgen Consultancy.

Special thanks go to individuals who retweet our Twitter posts from their own personal Twitter accounts. They gain nothing from doing this, yet they are helping to let people know about us. We are very grateful for that.

Particular thanks also go to Debbie Hazelton's Podcast, Blind Bargains Podcast, Freedom Scientific's FSCast podcast, and Top Tech Tidbits from Flying Blind.

We would also like to thank our product beta testers and Our Product Distributors, who let people know what we are offering.

Again, thank you very much for your ongoing support as we strive to improve the products we already have while creating new ones during this year.

What's Next for Hartgen Consultancy!

Hi Everyone

In case you missed yesterday's announcement, J-Say 13 has now been released! J-Say is the world leader in terms of providing blind people with the ability to control a computer by voice alone. Working with your computer the J-Say way takes away the need to use either one's hands or eyes, do it all controlling the application with your voice and accessing the computer screen with your ears!

This is our most significant upgrade for some years, containing a wide range of new features and improvements including:

  • Faster echoing of Dictation. As soon as you pause, you are hearing the text you've dictated, quicker and more reliable than before!
  • Easier Voice Commands. While all the existing commands remain, J-Say 13 is more intelligent and introduces easier vocabulary.
  • "Find It". An easier way to find text in your documents!
  • J-Say Calendar. A simple calendar which just works!
  • Listen to the Radio. A fully featured and customisable radio player so you can hear your favourite stations.
  • J-Say Audio. Listen to music on your computer or audio CD's and control it from within any application.
  • J-Say Clock. Set stopwatch, alarm and countdown timers, together with hearing Westminster Chimes throughout the day.
  • Audio Transcription. Want to dictate text into your iPhone or digital recorder and have it transcribed as text? J-Say makes it simple!
  • Multiple JAWS Versions. J-Say 13 can be installed into multiple versions of JAWS, making the program much more flexible.
  • New Look and Feel. J-Say 13 has a new installer and logo!
  • Much More. J-Say 13 is the most feature-packed version there has ever been! You can Read the full What's New page! or Listen to the Podcast!

For the first time, upgrades can either be purchased online direct from our website, or through Our Distributors! in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. If you have not upgraded your copy of J-Say for a while, now is the time to do so!

So What's Next?

We're now actively working on our next product, J-Dictate. This makes it possible to use the less expensive releases of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, including Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home edition, purely to dictate text. All the computer control and navigation is achieved using the keyboard, however people often find it easier (and certainly much faster) to dictate text into the computer rather than typing. So, there is a very distinct difference between J-Say and J-Dictate, since it is only J-Say which gives you full control of the computer using your voice. But J-Dictate is going to be an awesome productivity tool, and we'll be describing it much more thoroughly very soon on our website and in a podcast.

After that, we're straight back into development of Leasey! Anyone who has purchased Leasey will be able to get their hands on our new Leasey features first, including high quality support for iTunes from Apple. This will also find its way into J-Say 13.

After that, we do have plans very definitely, but we're not quite ready to share them with you yet. But rest assured, we're going to be very busy and innovative at Hartgen Consultancy!

J-Say 13 is Available! Our Biggest Release for Some Time!

Introduction

We are very proud to bring you the anticipated release of J-Say version 13.0. This new and exciting version of the product will be released on 5 February!Without doubt this is the most significant upgrade to the J-Say product for several years and it is now an ideal platform for people to be able to use a computer without the need to work with the keyboard.

J-Say 13.0 is a product combining the excellence in voice recognition available within Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional from Nuance, and high quality screen-reading from JAWS for Windows developed by Freedom Scientific. However, now in its 12th year of development, J-Say adds a vast array of tools and utilities to ensure that voice recognition for blind people is highly effective.

This webpage contains a list of all the new features and improvements within J-Say 13.0.

Lower Price!

For several years, J-Say has been priced at £525, with upgrades costing £125. If you were not upgrading from the latest release, the cost was slightly more than this. We have lowered the price of both a single user licence and upgrades.

A single user licence of J-Say is now £400. Upgrading from any previous version to the current release is £100. The price includes the J-Say software, our comprehensive tutorial and “Command Summary”, and free Technical Support.

Product Flexibility!

In the past, in order to use J-Say, it was necessary to install a very specific version number and build of JAWS, together with the required version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional. This is no longer the case.

J-Say 13 happily coexists with JAWS versions 14 through to 16, together with Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional 12 or 13.

This means two things. If you want to upgrade to Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional 13.0 to benefit from the latest voice recognition technology, this can be done. However, if you prefer, you can retain your existing Dragon product from Nuance and still benefit from all the new features in this release.

The developers of JAWS, Freedom Scientific, produce frequent updates to the screen-reader. You can safely take advantage of the updates without affecting J-Say functionality. In terms of J-Say, this is quite a breakthrough!

New Logo, New Installer!

J-Say now boasts not only a new logo but a much cleaner, faster installer program.

The previous installer would take several minutes in some cases to install the necessary files to the computer. Now, this is achieved within just a few seconds. The files are installed to the JAWS Settings folder relative to your Microsoft Windows account. J-Say can also be installed into multiple JAWS versions if required.

The logo is in black and white with a head of a shark looking straight at the viewer and up. The shark has his mouth open with teeth showing. In the back of his mouth is the text “J-SAY” in white.

New Features!

Dynamic Echo

Previous releases of J-Say have had considerable difficulty with echoing back phrases you speak when using Windows8. This is no longer the case. We’re very pleased with the reliability of the reporting of text as you speak it!

Dynamic Echo has been tested in many different applications including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Internet Explorer, the Dragon NaturallySpeaking “Dictation Box”, Twitter clients and other environments.

Faster Navigation and Screen-Reading

One of the things we’ve been concerned about for some time is the slow response between the time a command is spoken and JAWS carrying out the instruction.

Not only is navigation much faster than in previous releases, but you are now able to interrupt the JAWS speech when you wish to do so. For example, if you are reading a paragraph of text and you wish to skip to the next one, just say, “Next Paragraph”, and JAWS begins to read it. Imagine that concept when reviewing Email messages! It is very easy and quick to skim through your Inbox, deleting all the messages you do not need and replying to those which are important.

Correcting Text Just Got Easier

Traditionally when correcting text, this has been done using Dragon’s “Correction Box” tool. While this is still available, J-Say now provides a much faster method of correcting errors which Dragon NaturallySpeaking may make.

When the error is made, simply select the text with a voice command and say, “Speak the Choices”, without entering the “Correction box”. J-Say will read all of the possible alternatives available. You can choose one of these or dictate again. When the error is corrected, simply say, “Go Back”, to resume the dictation of the text in the correct location.

“Forget It”

If you stumble over the delivery of a word or phrase, simply say, “Forget It”. The last phrase is erased and J-Say will advise you of the text where the cursor is located so you can pick up the thread of the dictation. This makes it very easy to continue your writing with confidence!

More Flexible Language

While all of the older voice commands are still present, J-Say now uses the word, “It”, in order that you can work with a specific item.

For example, if located within an Email message, “Open It”, will open the message and, “Close It”, will return you to your mail folder. When selecting text, “Speak It”, will read the highlighted text. A full list of all the new commands can be found in the J-Say “Command Summary”.

Finding Text is Made Simple

Previously, when searching for text in a Microsoft Word document, it has been necessary to work with Word’s “Find” Dialog Box which is not easy when using the voice alone. J-Say now has a new method of finding text to read in documents.

Speaking the command, “Find From Here”, or, “Find From Top”, will cause a sound to play. Simply dictate the text you wish to find and speak the command, “Find It”. The sentence surrounding the located text is automatically spoken without having to cancel out of a further Dialog Box and use an additional voice command to read it.

If the located text is not what you were looking for, simply say, “Look Again”, and J-Say will move to the next instance and read it.

The J-Say Clock

The J-Say Clock not only tells you the time! It contains very powerful and flexible stopwatch facilities as well as timer functions. You can also set alarms to sound at any time! It can also be set to play Westminster chimes at varying intervals which are controllable by you, all with voice commands.

Please consult the “Learning Module” for a full description of using the J-Say Clock. A Chapter is entirely devoted to this topic.

J-Say Alerts

Have you ever been confronted with a situation where you've been to a website, and you always want to come back to the same place if it exists each time you visit it? Google would be a very good example, When you've searched for something, and the new page loads, you do not want to have to find where the search results start, nor do you want to hear how many Headings or Links are on the page.

A J-Say Alert will not only advise you that the text exists, but it will also set focus to the relevant area of the page. All you need do is set up the J-Say Alert and then forget about it, unless you want to delete it.

Please consult the “Learning Module” for a full description of using the J-Say Alerts. A Chapter is entirely devoted to this topic.

J-Say Audio

J-Say Audio allows you to enjoy your music, books and any other audio in exceptionally high quality.

With J-Say Audio, you can:

  • Browse your music library,
  • Create playlists,
  • Rearrange the playing order,
  • Delete playlists,
  • Control audio playback from within any application in which you are
  • working,

  • Listen to audio CD’s,
  • And more.

Please consult the “Learning Module” for a full description of using J-Say Audio. A Chapter is entirely devoted to this topic.

J-Say Radio

J-Say Radio makes it possible for you to listen to radio stations from around the world, provided they are broadcast on the internet. Thousands of radio stations exist playing a wide variety of music covering many genres. Speech content is also very popular for news, sport and discussion of current affairs.

When compiling our J-Say Radio directory, we have chosen what we feel are some of the most popular and high quality music radio stations covering ten specific genres. You can listen to any station of your choosing, add it to a list of favourites so as to hear it again, or assign it to one of the ten presets which can be accessed from any application. Listening to your favourite station could not be easier!

Please consult the “Learning Module” for a full description of using J-Say Radio. A Chapter is entirely devoted to this topic.

J-Say Tags

J-Say Tags is an intelligent application which allows you to manage files within Windows Explorer.

Selecting files within Windows Explorer is almost impossible if you are using your voice alone in order to carry out this task. J-Say Tags make the whole process very simple and straightforward.

Simply move through the files or folders, marking or “tagging” those you wish to manipulate. Tagging files in multiple folders is possible.

When all your items are tagged, you can cut, copy and delete them simultaneously, or alternatively create a playlist of audio files based upon the tags to be used alongside J-Say Audio.

Please consult the “Learning Module” for a full description of using J-Say Tags. A Chapter is entirely devoted to this topic.

J-Say Diary

The J-Say Diary provides a number of simple calendar functions to help you keep track of appointments and work with specific dates.

With the J-Say Diary you can:

  • Hear today’s date,
  • Store appointments,
  • View existing appointments,
  • Use the same appointment title multiple times for recurring events,
  • Add notes to appointments with no limit on text length,
  • Read and edit appointment notes,
  • Delete appointments,
  • Insert today’s date into a text area,
  • Discover a day on which a particular date falls, for example finding out the day on which a person was born.

The J-Say Diary is a one year calendar and is designed to be very simple and easy to use.

Please consult the “Learning Module” for a full description of using J-Say Diary. A Chapter is entirely devoted to this topic.

Notes on New Features

Remember that all the features listed above can be completely controlled with your voice alone. There is no need to work with the keyboard unless you wish to.

Considerable improvements have been made to J-Say features which people rely upon, such as J-Say Shortcuts and Text Notes.

Nuance have significantly changed the Dragon NaturallySpeaking Profile Setup screen from which the system gains an awareness of how you speak. J-Say support is not only available for the new screens within the application, but context sensitive help is also there for you together with a full description of the enrolment process in our “Installation and Setup Guide”.

New voice commands exist to select a JAWS Voice Profile, together with controlling all of the JAWS OCR capabilities, such as scanning a PDF document, window or current control if desired.

When closing messages in Microsoft Outlook, J-Say used to provide a good deal of extraneous speech. This has been significantly reduced.

Training

While we do provide an extremely comprehensive tutorial for J-Say in Microsoft Word format, in order to gain the maximum benefit from the new features you may like to consider purchasing a level of training. This can either be delivered on site in the United Kingdom or remotely in any part of the world using the telephone or Skype. Training provided remotely costs £30 per hour (45 US Dollars). A recording of the training session can be made available or written notes if preferred.

Alternatively, a J-Say distributor in your State or region may well be in a position to provide training for you.

Compatibility Considerations

J-Say 13 coexists with:

  • Microsoft Windows Vista,
  • Microsoft Windows7,
  • Microsoft Windows8 and 8.1,
  • Microsoft Office 2007 through to 2013, (Microsoft Office 2013 is highly recommended),
  • JAWS for Windows versions 14 through to 16,
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional version 12.5 or 13.

Conclusion

We very much hope that you will enjoy using J-Say version 13. We are doing our best not only to improve features which have been used in the past, but also to broaden the product so it can be used outside the confines of Microsoft word, Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Internet Explorer for traditional tasks. We are for example next month going to be working on support for iTunes 12.0 from Apple so as to make it more keyboard accessible and usable by voice.

Should you have any questions about J-Say 13, either prior to or following an upgrade, please Email jaws@hartgen.orgg. Alternatively you can telephone from within the United Kingdom 02920-850298. In the United States please call 415-871-0626.

Thank you for your interest in J-Say 13!

My Reflections of 2014

Hi to everyone

A very happy new year!

It's quiet at the moment, so I thought I would take some time to reflect on what for me has been a very good year on the whole. Didn't Frank Sinatra record a song about that?

The end of 2013 was one of the busiest times for us. We were still running the Team-FM internet radio station at that stage, and I remember our Christmas schedule contained no less than 38 different special shows for Christmas and the new year, including a few we both presented. Organising and promoting all of that was quite exhausting, but fun to do. I love a challenge like that. It ended with one of the best New Year's Eve party shows I've ever heard, which Lulu presented. The precision and presentation of that was some of the best internet radio I have ever heard, and I still get comments about it even now.

Sadly, Lulu's health began to deteriate shortly after, and so we decided to close Team-FM in March. It was a sad time, but Brian Dalton and I still wanted to "keep our hand in" in terms of broadcasting, so we both set up The Bell.
www.the-bell.net.
Much smaller than Team-FM, when we're not on the air it practically runs itself, and we were glad to get that project up and running with the help of Paul Johnston from Ireland who assisted a good deal with the website for that. Thanks to Paul and also to Brian D for all your support this year!

While we didn't intend The Bell to grow, it seems to have done of its own accord. People seem to want to hear it and present shows on it, and that's fantastic. Through that, I've got to meet (and learn about) Dean and Becs, Danny, Anne, David and Eric. They've all been wonderful. We just get on, do our own thing, and pull together when it is needed. In the words of the Dave Clarke Five, "I like it like that".

At the same time, I was able to get back in touch with Jonathan Mosen, and I'm very pleased about that. We've always worked well together on different projects, and so we did again this year on a full length audio tutorial regarding the StationPlaylist broadcasting software. That was more difficult than we imagined, but I hope we made a very thorough job of it. There will need to be revisions next year, but again, it was good to collaborate with Jonathan on that. Jonathan has also given me some good advice this year, so thanks very much to him for that.

Gordon Luke is also someone else who I've re-established contact with this year. Again, he has given advice about various projects too, and his help has been invaluable. Thank you.

So to the middle of the year.

With no Team-FM to run, I was wanting something to occupy me. To be brief, Lulu developed the concept of a product called Leasey. You can read all about it at
www.leaseycentral.com.
This was a great idea for computer beginners and advanced technology users, and I was very keen to get my teeth into this one.

Leasey took about six months of very hard work, 7 very long days a week. It's challenging when you develop a product like that because there is the development to do, the ideas to form, the beta testers to manage and work with, the documentation to write, the marketing and promotion to do, a full audio tutorial to design and record, and many more things besides.

It is true we had some real setbacks, not of our making, but eventually we released Leasey on 8 December. That was a good day! We saw lots of hard work come to fruition and it was good to see it in the hands of other people who could make real use of it.

Through Leasey testing, I also got back into contact with Bruce Toews again, who I hadn't worked with for a long time, so it was good to do that and to meet other like-minded people as well, all working towards the same goal. We had an excellent testing team, and 2015 should be good for Leasey with lots of ideas now in the planning stage.

Because I felt I could do a lot more with our JAWS-based products with a good deal more flexibility, I decided to resign from Astec during December of this year and we would strike out on our own. While as you can imagine this has been a very busy last month of the year, I really do think we can make a go of this. Early signs have been very promising indeed, and the next version of our J-Say product seems set to be the best yet. We also have other products which are in the development stages too.

As is usual with me, I've also read a lot of books this year, thanks to Audible and RNIB Overdrive, a new talking book download service launched in 2014. I've begun to read Kimberley Chambers' books this year. She is similar to Martina Cole in style. But my favourite books I've just finished re-reading are those by R D Wingfield who wrote the Inspector Frost novels. I always feel sorry for Frost. He does all the hard work and from those who matter gets none of the credit. But his team love him, and they know he is the person who does the really hard graft.

I also discovered books written by James Henry, (actually a pseudonym for two writers), who have written prequels to the Frost novels set in the early 80's. They're all on Audible and they are just as good.

So what else happened this year.

Oh, there's one thing I almost forgot, I got married this year. Lulu made me very proud when she became my wife, and it was a really lovely day. We were also able to make an audio diary of the event so we can look back on it over the years. Lulu looked beautiful as any bride does, and during the last few years, she has made me exceptionally happy. I was also really glad to meet up with my brother again who I hadn't seen for quite some time, and hopefully we'll be able to see each other again very soon.

So here we are, at the end of 2014. It certainly has been a year of moving forward and re-establishing old friendships. Lets hope for good things during 2015!

J-Say Technology, Change of Ownership

Hello everyone

This will be quite a lengthy blog post, but it would be very much appreciated if existing J-Say customers, together with potential distributors could please read it carefully. Our contact details will be given at the end if you have further questions.

As of Monday 15 December 2014, the ownership of the J-Say product will change from Astec to Hartgen Consultancy.

As developer of J-Say during the past 12 years, I have been extremely pleased to work with Astec and I do wish them the very best for the future. However, there are some very specific directions I would like to take the product during the next year at least, and so we’ve mutually agreed that Hartgen Consultancy will from this point forward take responsibility for development, sales and support. We hope like me you will see this as good news.

J-Say will be available to purchase from our accessible online store or by telephone. If you require a copy of J-Say now to accommodate a specific Dragon/JAWS release, please feel free to discuss this with us and we will do our very best to accommodate you. However, we are working on a much more updated version of J-Say for release in early 2015. Anyone who does purchase a copy of the product from now until the release of J-Say 13 will be entitled to a free upgrade as and when it becomes available.

In terms of pricing, there is good news. We intend to reduce the cost of the J-Say package when someone purchases it for the first time, together with a small reduction on upgrade costs too. The next update will be a very significant one, and we do want to give good value for money particularly to the people who have not necessarily had a good experience in recent months. We hope by reducing the costs, this shows good faith on our part. Pricing will be made available on our website next week.

Finally, if you represent a company previously as a J-Say distributor, and you would like to go on doing so, please feel free to contact us so we can get to learn about you, find out how we can best support you and discuss enquiries you are likely to have. We would very much like to hear from you.

We certainly expect to be testing J-Say 13 in January with a release as soon after that time as possible. J-Say 13 will contain considerably improved technology, including significantly enhanced Windows navigation, new features, new installer and the ability for the product to function alongside multiple versions of JAWS, thereby making J-Say much more flexible. Our lower cost product, J-Dictate, will also be launched during 2015, for use with Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium.

I would like to thank you for reading and we look forward to some good months ahead with J-Say technology.

Best wishes and happy holidays!

Brian Hartgen
Hartgen Consultancy
Email: jaws@hartgen.org
Website: www.hartgen.org

JAWS-Based Products, the Road Ahead.

Hi to all

I know many of you have been wanting to know about the forthcoming release of the Leasey product. There is a good deal of expectation in the community and an element of frustration as to it not being available. To a slightly lesser extent, this also applies to the next release of the J-Say product combining JAWS for Windows with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. As a result of that, I need to share with you some information so potential customers' expectations are correctly set.

For some time now, my employers at Astec and I have not been able to agree on important product related issues, which have in the past included time allocation of development and more recently the online presence of Leasey. This latter point has caused much delay in the product's release. There is no value for anyone in going further than that.

After some discussion, we have agreed that I will become self-employed shortly and will take on the responsibility of the product line. I see this as an important step forward. The products are only sustainable if customers have a good experience when evaluating them, they have a truly accessible way of purchasing them online, they have good marketing behind them and can be properly supported.

I want to do two things here. First, to wish Astec nothing but good things for the future. In the area of training, they truly are excellent. Second, to reassure people that the products will be in good hands. The J-Say product particularly will be completely redesigned to make it faster, stable and to contain more features which customers require. Moreover, the price of J-Say absolutely must be reduced.

In terms of Leasey, now we are on the right road eventually, we're now making some final adjustments to it and the online presence, after which time it will be ready to go.

In closing, being my own boss is not something I've done for quite some time, but if the products are to be sustained and to be modernised, this is the only way forward. I've written them for 12 years now. I firmly believe in them. For many people, J-Say particularly has been a life-changer. People who have not been able to use a computer due to a physical restriction are now doing so many things with it, including online shopping, publishing books and so on. J-Say is a force for good and time needs to be spent on it to keep pace with our changing environment. I pledge to you now that this will happen.

In terms of Leasey, we've been asked if the product will be available to purchase before Christmas. Yes, we can guarantee it will be with you well before then. We can now see a short road ahead. Leasey is a wonderful product. It offers many features which will be useful for both beginners and experienced computer users. We look forward very much to bringing this innovative product to market.

This website will reflect these new changes in the weeks ahead so please check back soon!

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