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!

Leasey Version 2 is Released! Please Read Carefully.

Hi to everyone

We would like to introduce you to Leasey version 2! Over the past couple of months, we have been working hard on some new features to help with work or study, and to entertain you. We very much hope you are going to enjoy this new release.

Before we run through the highlights and let you know about installation, if you encounter any difficulties, we would prefer it if you did not ask questions or submit bug reports on social media. Please use the public Leasey Email list, or write directly to support@leaseycentral.com. This means we can keep a careful track of problems arising as this version is installed onto hundreds of machines around the world, and we can address them in a methodical way. We will certainly be releasing updates to this version during the weeks and months ahead. Please also be patient. We will get back to you with a resolution to your problem as quickly as possible.

Now to the good stuff, the highlights of this version. Please consult the relevant sections of our considerably expanded Leasey Documentation for full details. The documentation contains over 30 pages of new tutorial content.

Support for the Microsoft Outlook 2013 Calendar.

Support for the Outlook calendar is probably the most requested feature we have had. This is not surprising, since many people need to use it as part of their employment. Calendar appointments can also be synchronised to your mobile device.

The support we have added includes:

  • Automatic announcing of timed appointments and all day events as you move through the days. Leasey tells you brief details of each appointment, not just that they exist.
  • Pressing tab to move through all appointments presents them in a logical sequence for easy review and understanding.
  • As you Tab to each appointment, you are automatically advised whether it is an all day event (rather than speaking midnight from one day to midnight on another), the total number of days the appointment spans, whether you are focused upon the final day of a multiple all day event, and the notes associated with it.
  • Leasey can be customised to speak the full details of the appointment, (such as whether a reminder is associated with it), or just the subject and location details.
  • All appointments can be placed within the JAWS Virtual Viewer for closer inspection.
  • A cue is available, in the form of the words "end of items", to denote that no more appointments exist for a given day.
  • Within the Week or Work Week Views, as you navigate the days you are advised how many appointments are available for the given week. If you Tab through the appointments, you hear the date on which each appointment falls, together with the other details listed above.
  • A Leasey Application menu exists to move to all common calendar elements, such as the next appointment, even if it is some distance away from the focused date. Leasey Basic users will enjoy real human speech in this menu.
  • Braille support has been carefully constructed and is available in the calendar.

LeaseySearch.

LeaseySearch has been confined until this point to the purpose of searching for book information. LeaseySearch allows you to quickly find any information no matter the application in which you are working. In the past, it has functioned with RNIB Overdrive, Bookshare, Audible books, the CNIB Library in Canada, Vision Australia's library catalogue, and the National Library Service of america's Braille and audio collection.

LeaseySearch has now been extended to include:

  • Google. Type what you want to search for, press Enter, and focus lands on the first result.
  • Wikipedia. Enter the search term, press Enter, and the full Wikipedia article is retrieved with focus at the starting point.
  • Youtube. Again, enter the video title or artist, press Enter, and a specially customised Youtube page is available with focus on the first result. When inside a Youtube video, (and when working within Internet Explorer), keys are available to pause and play it, together with fast forwarding and rewinding quickly.
  • Amazon. It is not only possible to search by individual department on amazon, but it is also relative to your own country. When the chosen item is located, Leasey will set focus to the appropriate point on the amazon page to obtain a description, such as a book summary.

Amazon Kindle.

Many of our Leasey users would like to read books on Amazon Kindle when they have been purchased. Leasey version 2 will support the Amazon Kindle accessibility PlugIn, with a number of significant improvements:

  • Kindle can be launched from Leasey's Main Menu.
  • Books are presented in a vertical list rather than a four-by-four grid for easy navigation.
  • Keystrokes are available when reading the book with which Leasey users will be familiar. Good examples would be Insert+Down Arrow to read, Control key to pause, Right and Left Arrow keys during SayAll to skip sentence by sentence.
  • A Leasey Application menu again is available to carry out common tasks within Amazon Kindle, including changing voice parameters, moving to specific book sections and to synchronise the reading position with other devices.

A link pointing to the Kindle Accessibility Plugin is available on Leasey Central.

LeaseyGames Module.

One of the most exciting developments in this release is a special LeaseyGames Module. Whether you would like an easy to use word building game, something to get you thinking or to play online with your friends, Leasey has you covered.

We are pleased to offer RS Games for online playing. Using a simple menu structure, RS Games makes it easy to play games such as Apples to Apples, Blackjack, 1000 Miles, Battleship, Cards Against Humanity, Uno, Monopoly, Bingo and many more. It is a wonderful client for both game play and social interaction.

We are also delighted to offer the full complement of the Blind Gamers catalogue from Spoonbill software. Includes over 30 fantastically developed, easy to use games, such as card and board games including Scrabble, Solitaire, Code Breaker, Cribbage, Mastermind and more. Sound effects and music are available too. Ideal for relaxation and fun!

The amazing Park ~Boss from NA Soft is a strategic arcade gamewhere you need to use your brains rather than your quick reactions. You begin with a field on which you need to construct a theme park. This game is all about management. You need to build attractions, employ people, keep your customers satisfied, ensure utilities are available such as toilets and refreshments, and much more. It is wonderful to see your own little empire grow, but things can, and do, go wrong!

All the above games have been included within a special Leasey Games menu for quick and easy location. Very kind permission has been obtained to include them within the Leasey Games Module which can only be installed if you have a license to use Leasey, not the demonstration copy.

A Game Exclusive to Leasey!

The piece de resistance however is the first in a series of games developed exclusively for Leasey.

Designed by Lulu Hartgen and developed by Philip Bennefall, (a seasoned game programmer and software engineer), Treasure Troll combines quality and fully orchestrated music (which changes depending upon how effective you are at game play), original sound effects and vocal production. The music emanates from the Elias engine. Used in specialist and mainstream gaming products, through Elias the music is just as dynamic and flexible as the corresponding composition would have been in a movie. Simple yet challenging, as with all the Leasey Games the interface is easy to use with few keystrokes to remember.

You are a troll who suddenly falls into a cave. Fairies, who guard a horde of golden treasure, sleep around the walls of the cave. Your task is to steal all the treasure By collecting it as it moves and floats across the cave. Gather it before it disappears, don't hit the walls which will wake the fairies with nasty consequences, avoid hazards and perils, snatch falling bonuses from the air, play through ten quickening levels and increase your scores. Completing the game is not enough to get the highest score! Quick reactions and careful thought will do that!

The Q9 Action Game!

Hartgen Consultancy have purchased the rights to the Blastbay Studios Q9 Action Game and we are pleased to bring it to you in Leasey version 2.

Finger numbing action, stunning audio imagery and a touch of morbid comedy is combined in this game, promising hours of thrilling and challenging game play.

The game features pristine sound effects and original orchestral music, carefully combined to create a truly unique gaming experience. Fight your way through four virtual worlds filled to the brim with all kinds of murderous monsters, treacherous traps and other surprises, and finally attempt to defeat the boss who is patiently waiting for you at the very end.

As with Treasure Troll, this game is what is called a "side-scroller" which means you control Q9's direction by using the Arrow keys on your keyboard; moving him left and right to navigate through the levels.
This game is purely sound driven with no graphics, so you must use the sound effects and audio environments within the game to move from place to place and to avoid enemies and obstacles.

You assume the role of the little alien Q9 who has had the misfortune to crash on Earth, managing to lose his spaceship somewhere in the process. Now it's your job to guide him through numerous dangers and exciting adventures so that he can, with some luck, find his spaceship in order to return home again.

What Else Should I Know About the Leasey Games Module?

  • The Leasey Games Module cannot be downloaded and installed by anyone. You will need to have a Leasey User License, not a demonstration copy. If you have one, you will be able to select the Module from the Help menu. Alternatively, select "Play Games" from Leasey's Main Menu, or press the Leasey Key then G. If the LeaseyGames Module is not installed, you will be prompted to do this.
  • Treasure Troll and the Q9 Action Game are not available outside of the Leasey platform.
  • The overall footprint on the machine for the Leasey Games module is kept as small as possible.
  • While games vary in their complexity, the way in which you play is kept very straightforward.
  • Any game developers who would like us to license their projects on the Leasey platform should send an Email to games@hartgen.org, whereupon we can have a folow-up discussion. All games should be bug free as far as possible, and sound effects and music used should be original.

We very much hope that the 50 games included in Leasey version 2 provide a good starting point for those people who would like to play. More games will become available over time. We have already commissioned a very extensive one for the future.

Smaller Improvements.

LeaseyCuts. People love our LeaseyCuts facility, where you can launch a Microsoft Word document, folder or web page from any location on the computer. We know customers who have hundreds of LeaseyCuts stored. This has now been extended to accommodate any file, such as a text document, PowerPoint presentation or an Excel Workbook. Simply create the LeaseyCut pointing to it and launch the item whenever you need to. It's quick and easy!

Firefox. Leasey version 2 supports the Mozilla Firefox web browser. Our LeaseyAlerts (for setting focus to areas of web pages automatically), LeaseySelect (for selecting text passages for copying), LeaseyCuts (for storing web pages to get back to later), LeaseySticky Notes (for annotating web page content) and LeaseyPoints (for bookmarking specific passages) all work.

Dropbox. While Leasey version 1 contains the ability to monitor Dropbox activity, (such as advising you of the progress of file upload or download), version 2 provides full access to the Dropbox Preferences dialog for managing activity. This includes more reliable performance when moving from one control to another, switching between Tabbed Pages, and accurately speaking field names.

Windows Explorer File Properties. Unless you use the JAWS Cursor, it is not possible to view the Properties of a file or folder when ALT+Enter has been pressed. This includes the file or folder size, how many files in a folder, the last date it was modified, and so on. Now you can hear it quickly. From within the Properties Dialog, press ALT+Enter to hear important information, and the same keystroke twice quickly to send the details to the JAWS Virtual Viewer.

Talking Communities. Many people use the Talking Communities software in order to chat with people around the world. In addition to the script files provided by Freedom Scientific, Leasey allows you to hear the name of the person speaking, (Control+Shift+T), or there are options to control whether the name should be spoken automatically or sent to Braille only. There is even an option to advise when the microphone is available. Press Control+Shift+V to cycle through the options.

Scanning. We've had a lot of requests for support in respect of scanning documents and books with Leasey, which has come from both individual customers and organisations. Leasey provides support for Serotek's DocuScan program. We evaluated many mainstream and specialist packages and we felt DocuScan provided the highest quality access with a straightforward keyboard-centric interface. Because the new release of DocuScan contains the ability to function alongside JAWS, your speech and Braille-based preferences can be used alongside the program. When inside a scanned document, the aforementioned LeaseySelect and LeaseyPoints will function as usual.

DocuScan is much more than a scanning program however. You can quicly process and read PDF files which have previously been scanned as images. Alternatively, import a PDF, Word Document, text or HTML file into DocuScan, and convert it to Braille, large print, DAISY with structure, or audio MP3. If you wish, documents can be saved to the cloud for permanent storage, or indeed to access from another computer, even if DocuScan is not installed.

DocuScan can be purchased directly from Hartgen Consultancy at £180 or close to $300.

How to Install.

Because in part we have created a newer Leasey platform on which to build future features and improvements, it will be necessary to download and install either:

  1. The upgrade to Leasey Total Package if you have a license for it. Under no circumstances should you download and install this unless you have Leasey version 1 installed and activated.
  2. The upgrade to Leasey Advanced if you have a license for it. Under no circumstances should you download and install this unless you have Leasey version 1 installed and activated.
  3. The full installer for Leasey Total Package if you have a license for that. This is used if you are purchasing and activating Leasey Total Package for the first time.
  4. The full installer for Leasey Advanced if you have a license for that. This is used if you are purchasing and activating Leasey Advanced for the first time.

You will definitely want to read our Leasey Documentation at your leisure and work through the various examples contained within it.

You may also like to download the audio presentation from Accessible world here which includes users talking about what they think of Leasey.

And That's Not All!

We're very pleased with Leasey version 2 and we hope you will be too. Our next major goal is to provide enhanced support for iTunes version 12.2 as there have been significant changes in this application. Leasey does work alongside it, but it could be much better.

We are also in the process of working on a full human narrated DAISY Talking Book of the Leasey User Guide as many people have asked for this. It will be read by Leasey herself!

We have lots of exciting plans for our winter upgrade to Leasey. But if you'd like to suggest a feature, or an application that needs support, we would love to receive your suggestions. Do feel free to Email support@leaseycentral.com. Suggestions for support so far have included audio editing and production tools, LeaseyTags for Microsoft Outlook email messages and Microsoft OneNote. We will certainly be looking at all suggestions from you. After all, Leasey just gets better!

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