Important Messages, such as Service Disruption and Opening Times.

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.

Follow up to Notes for Musicians, Vocalists and Recording Engineers

I was very pleased that so many of you read my blog entry relating to producing audio with both Sonar and Sound Forge. I wanted to provide you with some small updates.

I mentioned in that post that I didn't think it was possible to mix speech with music using Sonar, and have the music fade down during the spoken audio and rise again when it had concluded. This is in fact possible.

I received some good instruction from the MidiMag mailing list and particularly from Chris Bell who runs his own recording studio, so he obviously is very familiar with this kind of work.

The process is more complicated than Sound Forge in that you have to patch a compressor into the track containing the music and then refine the levels of it in accordance with how far you want the music to dip down. But it can certainly be achieved.

However, we have found that Sonar really comes into its own when you want to create projects with multiple sounds and to be able to adjust them in terms of volume, and to perform other events on them such as fading and equalisation on individual items rather than the whole mix. If you have for example 14 different segments you wish to mix, and you did all that in a single track editor and one of them wasn't to your liking, there is a good chance you would have to create the mix again. Sonar isn't like that. You can adjust the one item. It's really cool.

In response to the "Mix Paste" dialog not being as accessible in Sound Forge 9 and 10, a few people have suggested using Studio Recorder from A P H We do have a licence for this software, and it certainly does do that job very well. I've never really been comfortable with it however as a full audio editor. It doesn't contain any effects or noise reduction capability, which to be fair you would not expect because it is designed for recording speech-based talking books.

The other important difference is that you cannot have the elapsed and total time output to the speech synthesiser in an intuitive way. That information is located on the Status Bar, and while it is true that pressing S will output the details, it consists of a string of figures, and is not in the format "2 minutes 3 seconds" for example. In addition, you cannot isolate the elapsed and total times as separate units, and I feel those things are important to know quickly. But it's a good basic audio editor.

As a final note, for users of StationPlaylist Studio, I am in the process of updating the JAWS scripts for that to improve the reading of some labels in the "Options" dialog so it is a little clearer to the user as to what particular sliders and controls are meant to be used for. So I would think they will come along within the next week.

The Dean Friedman UK Tour

I've always enjoyed the songs which were well-known by singer-songwriter Dean Friedman. Many of us know of the 1978 top 10 hit "Lucky Stars", and his song "Lydia" has always been a particular favourite of mine. So when L discovered through his website and Twitter feed that Dean was going to be doing a UK tour this year, and that one of the venues would be in Cardiff, we were both very keen to go to see him. L was more familiar with his music than I, but that did not stop me wanting to go. So, quite a few months ago, we booked the tickets.

The concert took place this last Sunday 28 October and our trip did not get off to the most promising of starts.

The venue was in an arts centre called "The Gate" in an area of Cardiff we had not been to before. However, we did all the ground work, got the address and post code, the phone number, gave the taxi company plenty of notice of the location together with the time we wanted to go.

The driver arrived with no idea of where we were headed or how to get there. He did not have SatNav in his car either. However, after some talking with the taxi company who helped out, we were on our way.

A few minutes before arriving, we got caught in a traffic jam. The driver described it and then asked, "well, what would you do in this situation? Shall we wait or try and find an alternative route? Do you know of one?" Yeh right, of course we do. As I pointed out to him, he is the expert, this is what we were paying him for!

Enough of the journey.

All the concert venues I have visited before have been large stadiums accommodating thousands of people. This was completely different, but suited the occasion very well. It was a room in a small arts centre which made the gathering a little more intimate. We were fortunate enough to sit right in the front row and so we knew he was only a few feet in front of us.

The people in the arts centre were very helpful and not only showed us to our seats but also assisted us in the interval to get drinks. But again, the ground work had already been laid by us in advance.

Dean came on stage just after 7.30. He is 57 years old and you would have thought that maybe his age could be detected in his voice. Far from it. From the very first number, it was obvious that his voice was extremely strong and he was going to have no difficulty at all in singing what he had to offer with tremendous enthusiasm.

What was also brought home to me immediately was that Dean is an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist. He was the only one on stage: no backing, noone to assist with the instrumentation. He played piano, guitar and mandolin, with each instrument taking its own turn during the concert. I understand that he also plays harmonica as well. I felt he was a very talented musician. I could tell from the way he was playing piano particularly, (especially in songs such as "Lydia"), the passion and love he has for his music. That really did come across to me very intensely.

What made the evening even more enjoyable for me was the fact that I was quite unfamiliar with some of his album tracks. So I was able to hear some of these for the first time. All the lyrics are well-written and usually have a very clear message. But some are also very funny, such as "Death to the Neighbours". In between the songs, Dean was talking to us and he is a bit of a comedian on the quiet. For example, after the first song, he said that he wanted us to be silent for a while to pay tribute to the BBC service Cefax which had recently stopped transmitting.

We thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Dean was on stage for just short of two hours. We were lucky afterwards to meet him. He is an extremely nice guy. I remember when we were setting up our internet radio station Team-FM, he was gracious enough to record some ID's for us we could use between songs.

To celebrate Dean and his music, we stopped at McDonald's to get some food as it was quite late. (One of Dean's singles was called "McDonald's Girl" and he told us a little about that during the concert).

I hope people have enjoyed reading this. I would definitely pay to see Dean Friedman in concert again. If you want to keep updated with his music and pictures, you can go here:

But there is one note I would like to end on.

There is one song he sang fairly early on into the concert I had not heard before and it really struck a chord with me. I am sure many of us have been in this situation before in our lives, whether we would like to admit it or not. I certainly have. Here are some of the lyrics to one of Dean's songs, reproduced here with his permission.

"I see your favourite picture’s no longer on the wall,
I couldn’t help but notice all your luggage in the hall.
Before you head off on your way
There’s one thing I’d like to say:

I’m not sorry to see you go,
Don’t bother to stay in touch.
There’s one thing you ought to know, sweet darlin’,
I never really liked you all that much!

Now don’t think this failed relationship’s a reflection of your worth,
It’s just you come from where you do and I come from earth!
Maybe the only reason for this little glitch
Is the fact that you’re a stupid bitch.

Please don’t be insulted if I never wanna See ya,
It’s got nothing whatever to do with the time you gave me gonorrhoea.
I just need to make a brand new start
With a woman who actually has a heart."

(Edited lyrics from "I never really liked you all that much". You can listen to the full song by purchasing Dean's album, "Squirrels in the attic".

Why do some blind people do what they do?

Unexpectedly, yesterday was a very busy day for me at home. When I get up in the morning, I do an email catchup, look at what has been happening on Twitter and that includes reading news stories on the web to keep my current affairs knowledge up-to-date.

One thing people were talking about was that a Twitter client a number of blind people use, (The Qube), wasn't sending tweets although it could receive them.

I am not going into the complexities of why that happened. That has been covered extensively elsewhere. But a great deal of the time was spent using an alternative client called Tween, which I had seen reference to in earlier weeks.

Fortunately, there were some excellent JAWS scripts around to get us started and particularly suppressed JAWS speech output when composing tweets. But I felt there needed to be some useful additions to improve the user experience, and so with the permission of the original script developer I added to his code. This involved writing scripts, (including figuring out quite a problem relating to enabling and disabling automatic messages in the System Tray and Notifications Area), and of course, testing them. It takes just as long to test scripts and provide documentation for them as it does to write them and I had several JAWS versions to test including identifying which ones would work and those which would not.

As I suspected, many people, (me included), have gone back to using the Qube now it is working. However, I will not be uninstalling Tween, nor will I be ceasing ongoing development of the Tween scripts. That was a question which came up several times yesterday. I will continue to support them, improve them and make changes to them. Yesterday was rather like a fire practice we had when in school. The fire drill is now over. If we like we can go back to how we were using Twitter before. Any Twitter client could stop functioning at any time, and it is always good to have something to revert to and to try if something stops working. I remember when I produced an audio tutorial for Windows 95 and 98 back in the late 90's I think, one of the first points I made was that Windows gives you a lot of ways of being able to do exactly the same thing, and it is always good to know of as many as possible.

Exploring and using Tween was an education for me in that it has lead me to thinking the interface may be excellent for those people using voice recognition technology. Some people simply cannot use the keyboard for many reasons and I think Tween would be ideal for them.

But that really isn't the point of this blog post.

What amazes me is the way some blind people behave towards others when particular events are discussed, and the list is growing. Most commonly, it relates to screen-readers, internet radio, Apple V. Android devices, and now, Twitter clients. I've seen on Twitter yesterday and today people being bullied about the Twitter client they are using. Some people have said for example that those wishing to exchange messages on Twitter were being disloyal to the Qube client by going to another. This is complete nonsense. If something isn't working, you go and find an alternative. For some people, Twitter is their window on the world particularly if they are alone, just as chat clients are, including audio chat rooms in which people can meet and get to know each other. The need to access services is still there so a way needs to be found to use them. To say one is being disloyal is pathetic.

This approach and atitude comes hot on the heels of a "comparison" recently distributed of the two screen-readers, JAWS and NVDA. Personally I wouldn't have said it was a true comparison of what each is capable of delivering. I remember over ten years ago a group of us delivered a Main Menu presentation comparing the functions of JAWS and Window-Eyes, and I am certain we all did that in a professional down to earth manner. I felt, in part, that this was not a comparison but a scathing attack against its developers. But again, it is excellent that people have a choice about what it is they wish to use, and in many cases, it is good to have more than one screen-reader on a computer for accomplishing different tasks, in the same way that it is helpful to have two internet browsers installed. It doesn't mean that one is better than the other, it just means that both offer different things. There's a screen-reader I can think of which I've tried, and I just don't like the way it delivers content. But I would never dream of condemning anyone for using it or telling anyone they shouldn't because it does offer good things too. Indeeed, I've heavily promoted what that product has to offer.

I've also beenin the company of people in a professional setting where some individuals have introduced remarks so as to be vicious about a particular manufacturing or software developing company, even if no reference had previously beenmade to it.

So please people. Try not to condemn others for what they use. It is their personal choice to use a product or a service which they particularly enjoy and benefit from. The most important thing is that we as blind people can effectively communicate and have access to so many services on the internet. I think we are living in fantastic enlightened times. As one of our past Prime Ministers Harold Macmillan once said, we've never had it so good.

Notes for Musicians, Vocalists and Recording Engineers


The purpose of this article is to give musicians, vocalists and audio production engineers a summary of resources which are available in respect of audio recording and editing using Microsoft Windows on the PC, together with my own experiences and concerns in this field.


This article will focus upon two software products, CakeWalk Sonar and Sony's Sound Forge Pro.

I have used Sound Forge for about 13 years and I have just begun to use Sonar. Sound Forge is a single track editor and producer. This means it is not multi-track software. While it is true you can easily mix sound on sound, overlaying items as you go, you cannot lay out sound with each item on its own individual track. Having said that, it is the ideal tool for audio recording, mixing, post production, editing and restoration. I've used a few audio editors in the past, but Sound Forge to my mind has always beaten them all, added to which it comes bundled with a number of remastering and audio processing effects which are incredibly useful.

Sonar on the other hand is a multi-track audio platform which allows you to undertake many audio-related tasks. Not only can you lay out items on their own individual tracks, but it is ideal for musicians, those who wish to do karaoke, or work with music and sound purely in an audio capacity. In the case of Karaoke as a basic example, you can have the music on one track and sing on another while hearing the music at the same time. If the results are not satisfactory, you can retake all or part of the song again until you have something which is to your liking. Added to this, the V Vocal editor allows for manual or automatic pitch change together with other characteristics in fine detail. Audio effects are also added, such as reverb, equalisation, normalisation, etc. Sound Forge also contains these other tools in addition to noise reduction. Both products also allow for "audio scrubbing", which enables you to hear snatches of the audio as you move through it.

Product Accessibility

In terms of accessibility to screen-readers, my focus here is JAWS for Windows because that is what I use almost exclusively. It is also the product which grabs the most attention and publicity in this area.

My feeling is at the moment that the outlook for visually impaired people is grim. If you feel that you would like the latest and greatest releases of these two professional mainstream products then I am afraid you are going to be very disappointed.

Sound Forge access is quite straightforward. An excellent set of JAWS Scripts are available written by Jim Snowbarger who began writing them for Sound Forge 4.5 (when I started to use it), and has maintained them through to version 10.0, the latest. I am often asked whether Sound Forge can be used without scripts. It can, but not nearly as efficiently and there are some dialogs which are not as accessible. For example, when undertaking fine editing, there is information you need to know quickly, such as the total file length, the elapsed position, the amount of time selected, level metres and many other components. There is also the ability to "audio scrub" in various ways, and this makes for extremely precise and smooth editing. Sound Forge offers this facility without the scripts, but it is by no means as detailed or as fast. The scripts are 30 dollars, and I think if you are investing hundreds of dollars in Sound Forge you may as well spend the other 30 and get the scripts too. It makes no sense not to do so.

There is a fundamental problem with Sound Forge 9 and 10 with its "Mix Paste" dialog which is very unfortunate because it is one of the dialogs you will use most often. Sony have made some of the controls inaccessible to JAWS and at this current point there is no solution to this. To me, this is a very critical issue. If it is possible, you may wish to consider installing Sound Forge 8 with the appropriate scripts. If you are unable to obtain version 8, I suggest purchasing 10.0, and then explain the problem to Sony and ask for a downgrade to 8.0 which they should be able to do. After my discussions with them, Sony accept there are accessibility issues with that dialog. It is not ideal, since Sound Forge 8 is not meant to be used with Windows7.

With Sonar, things are a little more complex.

There are two JAWS scripting solutions for Sonar which provide a high degree of accessibility. These are JSonar and CakeTalking for Sonar.

JSonar is an open source project developed by a dedicated group of volunteers and is consequently freely available to download and use. CakeTalking costs 289 dollars as an internet download and was developed 13 years ago by a highly accomplished JAWS script writer David Pinto and is sold by Dancing Dots, linked to above.

The bad news is that neither of these products functions with Sonar X1 or X2. X1 was released in late 2010, with X2 only recently being made available. This is not good because not only are we a couple of years behind in terms of accessibility, but Sonar 8.5 is extremely difficult to obtain, almost impossible. Dancing Dots do have some copies available (while stocks last), and CakeWalk in the United States also can supply it if asked, although it could take a while to reach you if you live outside America. As far as I know, noone yet has attempted a scripting solution for X1 or X2 which is very disappointing.

We decided to go for CakeTalking, but here are the differences as I see them.

Apart from the very high quality access to almost all of Sonar's features, the main thing CakeTalking has going for it is its 400-page tutorial and excellent setup documentation, which you do need as there is quite a lot to do in terms of configuration. If you follow the instructions however, it does work perfectly. But the inclusion of the tutorials really did clinch it for us. While the JSonar website does have a number of small guides available, if you are a beginner particularly it's a no-brainer. You go for CakeTalking.

The drawback to the tutorial is the way in which it is formatted. It is a very large HTML document which contains no heading markup. While links are included, JAWS does not retain the position you were in when you invoke the Links List. So you read a passage, realise you want to refer back to a previous lesson, and so bring up the Links List. On a standard web page, the focus is within the point of the Links List where you stopped reading. It doesn't work like that in this document, focus is at the end of the list. So you need to go back to the top of the list and start working your way down. While I used Placemarkers to good effect, I think if you want to produce an HTML rendering of your instructions, by default it really ought to include correctly structured headings.

While JSonar does have some JAWS script-related keystrokes included, its approach is generally to allow you to use the Sonar native keystrokes. CakeTalking's approach is to develop keystrokes and strategies to allow you to get the job done quickly and easily, and if that means modifying the approach a little, so be it.

CakeTalking contains a number of dialogs which allow you to manipulate Sonar in specific ways or to invoke JAWS user preferences. JSonar uses the Adjust JAWS Options dialog instead into which their user preferences are placed, such as to enable or disable specific features, and I have to say I prefer this approach since users will already be used to using it.

CakeTalking should really be used with JAWS version 11. I've tried using it with 13, but some aspects of the interface did not function as the tutorial said they should, and also there were a number of system instability difficulties. JAWS version 11 can however be used on a Windows7 64 bit system if you have it, so apart from the inconvenience of maybe having to switch JAWS versions to use Sonar, this isn't too big a deal. JSonar can be used with JAWS versions up to and including 14.

CakeTalking provides you with a lot of additional detail about how to interact with specific controls (of which there are many), and gives you reminders of how to work within individual dialogs. I think with JSonar some help is available, but the process of obtaining it isn't quite as detailed (or as automatic) as is found in CakeTalking.

If you are a user of Braille, there is a great deal of Braille support in JSonar. They've obviously spent a lot of time on that. CakeTalking has no braille support at all that I can see. If there is, I haven't been able to get it to work.


In summary, if you take time to purchase the correct older versions of the mainstream software together with choosing appropriate scripting packages to go with them, you are going to get a very accessible solution to serve your audio production needs. My concern is that as blind people we are used to listening to audio and so this is an area of work where we should excel and to be able to make a living from. The fact that time is slipping by and we are getting further and further behind in terms of accessing recent software versions worries me.

It is worth noting that Sonar does not allow you (it would seem) to mix items by fading a main audio source down midway through, overlay speech, and then raise the volume again. This would be particularly helpful since the "Mix Paste" dialog in Sound Forge 9 and 10 is inaccessible. One way of overcoming this is to purchase a "Control Surface". This is a midi hardware device attached to the computer which will then allow you to assign physical faders on the device to volume levels or other aspects of Sonar. You could then manually accomplish the fades in real-time, and in fact that may even produce superior results to what Sound Forge can do because, to my mind, there is nothing like human input into fading, whether you are producing audio or even broadcasting it. If you decide to go down this route, there is an accessible application developed by Raised Bar Computing, allowing a number of midi devices to communicate with your screen-reader so as to output useful information. This application is free to download.

So, do you need both pieces of software, Sound forge and Sonar? That depends what you want to do. Within the context of my exploration into Sonar thus far, while I am very glad I have it I also really do appreciate what Sound Forge can do as well. I can see audio production jobs where both would be important. To emphasise this a little further, it is possible to send specific files you create in Sonar directly into Sound Forge without having to save them first and then open them in SF.

As a final note, you may decide that you wish to purchase some outside consultancy to help you get the most from what is very expensive software and this would be good advice to follow. Astec (the company I work for) can provide installation, configuration and training on all aspects of audio production. Please contact us for details.

If you live in the United States, please contact Dancing Dots who can provide you with details of tuition.

Questions about Cakewalk Sonar

Hi everyone

I am wanting to obtain software in the Cakewalk Sonar range but I am hitting some problems regarding compatible software versions and JAWS scripts.

As I understand it, CakeTalk Sonar is available, but it only functions with Sonar version 8.5 and not the current release which is X1. Sonar 8.5 is very difficult to obtain here in the UK, and even if I could get it purchasing the added scripts is probably well out of our price range anyway.

JSonar seems like a good option, but I am confused about which currently available software packages it functions with. The site does refer to Cakewalk Music Creator, which may do what we want, but again, obtaining a supportable version doesn't seem to be easy.

Can anyone please let me know which programs are accessible in this range which are currently available?

Thank you.

Some Thoughts on Twitter Spam

Hi everyone.

Well it's a late evening and my mind is winding down towards bed, but I have just seen yet another warning that there is yet another spam scam going the rounds. According to the excellent service called Tweet Smarter, this one is an Email inviting you to update your Twitter profile using a pretty new header. Only when you click the link, what you see is absolutely what you don't get. You are taken to a Canadian website selling sexual enhancement drugs. Yuk!

This, as scams go, is one of the slightly more inocuous ones. Usually these kind of scams come more lethally loaded. Clicking on links in Emails or direct messages can mean that unauthorized people have access to your Twitter password, they can hack into your account, or in the worst case, malicious code can infiltrate your computer.

The thing I find most disturbing about this whole subject is that spam is sneaky. You hear about these scams and think to yourself: "oh, I'm much too savvy to ever get caught." but don't be so sure!

While you might not fall for "Did you really say this about me?" "Check out this funny picture!" or "See who has stopped following you." spammers have other, much more insidious ways of getting you to click their links. I should know.

One morning I logged into my Twitter account and saw a direct message from a good friend. It said: "Hi. I thought you might be interested in this article." and there was a shortened URL. Of course, with hindsight I should have checked it, but I've often been sent articles before, I knew this person, there was no leading comment beforehand, it looked perfectly inocuous. So I clicked the link.

What I found myself reading was a blog entry about making money at home, with a link to a website in it. Obviously my friend had been sent a link similar to mine and had done exactly the same. I changed my password on the double and as far as I know I didn't send out any fishing messages, but it brought home to me how very easy it is for anyone, however savvy they think they are, and believe me I had a good conceit of myself before that, to be caught out.

I learned two things from that little episode. firstly and most importantly to be extra and specially careful, to check and check again if I am unsure of something. It's sad that Twitter has become something of a minefield and that checking before you click has become so necessary, but that's the way things are. The second is how quickly a person is condemned for a mistake of this kind., a mistake anyone can make. I saw with dismay the nasty and judgmental tweets which were heaped on my poor friend's head when, if my feelings were anything to go by, she was feeling bad enough already. I find it very sad indeed that as well as friendship, fun and exchange of information in this community we also let in meanness, unnecessary drama and even hatred at times.

In conclusion, I am really thankful for all the excellent information services out there like the aforementioned Tweet Smarter and others similar who keep us up to date with the latest scams. Spammers, like the poor, are always going to be with us, but thanks to their warnings I will go on fighting the good fight, reporting spam wherever I see it, checking before I click links and hoping to keep myself and thus my Twitter followers safe.

Thoughts on Flexible Web!

In Episode 70 of its monthly FSCast, Freedom Scientific announced the upcoming JAWS 14 feature "Flexible Web". I happen to think this is a real breakthrough in making the web user experience more intuitive for people. Please note that all the information I am about to discuss is already in the public domain through FSCast.

Flexible Web will allow a JAWS user to:

  • Hide content on a web page which may interrupt the reading experience. Many sites now contain Google Ad Frames or Links to social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter, allowing people to share a page with these sites. If placed in the middle of an article or news story for example, these Links and Frames can interrupt the flow of something interesting being read.
  • Start reading at, (or set focus to), a designated point on a web page. Two basic examples would be as follows. When you carry out a Google search, instruct JAWS to start reading where the search results appear, bypassing the other content at the head of the page. Alternatively, when activating a Link to read more about a book on, set JAWS to go straight to the summary so as to decide whether you would like to purchase it. Focus can also be set to other elements, such as Edit Fields, ARIA regions and Links.

These two features are governed by an intuitive Wizard which steps you through the process with helpful information along the way. You can create a "temporary customisation" initially, and if you decide you want to apply it you can create a permanent rule. The rules can contain a combination of "behaviours", such as to ignore content and start reading at a designated location. Options in the Wizard allow you to rename, edit and delete rules. Rules can be applied to all sites or to an individual one.

I really would advise you to listen to the FSCast on this subject. Jonathan Mosen does a first-class job of demonstrating all the options within Flexible Web.

One thing I learned from the podcast was that if you choose to hide content using Flexible Web, this also applies to MAGic if you have it running alongside JAWS. So as people are working their way through web pages, the visual focus tracks alongside JAWS. That is very cool indeed.

Not only do I think this will improve the browsing experience for people tremendously, but it will also add useful functionality for those using browser-based applications in the workplace. Together with Placemarkers and Custom Labels, Flexible Web will undoubtedly ensure people have the tools to become more efficient within the course of their work duties. JAWS does stand for "Job Access With Speech" after all!

When JAWS is officially released containing Flexible Web, there will be a number of ways you can get help to use it.

You can use the Context Sensitive Help already built into the Flexible Web wizard to give you useful guidance on how to use it.

You can take advantage of a webinar to be hosted by the Freedom Scientific Training department on 24 October.

Astec, (the company I work for), will remotely train anyone anywhere in the world on any aspect of using JAWS for 40 pounds per hour. This training is reinforced by the provision of documentation to support it. Note that this does not mean we will attend site but it is remote training using JAWS Tandem or similar software. For more information, please write to

In summary, the introduction of Flexible Web just demonstrates why JAWS is a fantastic screen-reader. Using Flexible Web, Placemarkers and Custom Labels, Freedom Scientific really do give blind people excellent control of web pages, allowing people to find and read what they want very quickly. I wish them the very best of luck with this new feature.

Personal thoughts on creating an app

Hi all

Well, we have now released our Team-FM iPhone app. If you haven't read about it, the internet radio station, Team-FM (owned by myself and my partner Lulu), now has an app available for iPhones, iPads and iPods. This is obtainable from the App Store if you search for Team-FM.

I have to say this has been a big learning curve for us. It means as an internet radio station we have a presence in the App Store and as a result there is expertise we can draw upon (and tools available) so as to encourage people to listen to Team-FM and we will be taking full advantage of those. The range of promotional tools available for developers is very impressive. I am very proud of the fact that we have this app available and also that a similar Android app is on the way very soon.

It just shows that, if you set your mind to something, you can achieve it. Last year, I knew absolutely nothing about Drupal setup or administration. But we needed a nice accessible website using Drupal as a platform. I learned it and built the site. We needed a way of people being able to listen to our programmes when they wanted to. We went out and found a way of doing it. We needed pictures not only for the website but certainly for the new app. We got them created. We knew nothing whatever about creating apps for the Apple and Android platforms. We're doing it. Who knows what else we could do.

My message is, don't give up. If you want something, go and get it if you can.

I must say that the app evaluation and review process from Apple seems to be very thorough and that is as it should be. The app submission process and documentation for developers is all there for anyone to use and it is accessible. Go for it!

We've received some amazing comments and encouragement as a result of launching the app and thank you so much. Please do keep your suggestions coming. We've already received a number of suggestions for improvement and features, and we are already very actively looking at moving forward from version 1 of the app to improve the user experience. This is only the beginning. We will keep improving.

If you have comments to make, (for example if you are having a problem with the app), do let us know. We cannot possibly improve anything if we don't know about it. If you have questions or suggestions, do send them to and we will do our very best to improve the app. We can only learn, but I think what we have is a very good start and something to build on.

Have a good day everyone!

StationPlaylist Scripts V5 now available, please read!

I am very pleased to be able to bring to you version 5 of the StationPlaylist Studio scripts for JAWS. These scripts are distributed free of charge for anyone to use.

Before continuing, I would like to thank Ross and his team at StationPlaylist for providing magnificent support through the process of creating the scripts. I could not produce them without the tremendous co-operation given.

Please read these notes through carefully before upgrading.

If you plan to upgrade to SPL Studio version 5, you will need the new scripts which are available from

If you are already using a version of the scripts, my advice is to download the zipped archive of them for 5.0, and extract the contents of the archive to your JAWS Settings/Enu folder, replacing the files which already exist.

Then restart the JAWS program.

If you wish to install them using the installer method, this is also available for you from the same page. Again you should restart JAWS following the conclusion of the installation.

When StationPlaylist Studio version 5 loads, you can press Insert+Q. This will hopefully tell you that version 5 of the StationPlaylist Studio scripts are running and that you are using build 1. If jaws does not output this information then clearly there is a problem with the installation.

The scripts support JAWS version 10 through to 14 public beta.

If you are using what might be described as a "cracked" copy of JAWS, you should under no circumstances install the scripts.

If you have questions prior to updating to the new scripts, have questions about installation, or you encounter a problem with them, this is what you should do. Send an email to
clearly stating the problem that you have and the Windows operating system you are using. I will then do my best to resolve the problem for you. Please note that a resolution (or fix) may not come right away. I will do my best to fix the problem as quickly as possible, when time permits. Problems with script installation or JAWS configuration will always be pushed to the top of the support list. Thank you for your understanding.

The best way of keeping up-to-date with build changes, (which may occur frequently in the initial stages of release), is to follow me on Twitter at
or friend me on Facebook

Here are the features and changes in this version of the scripts and I hope you enjoy using them.

  • Changed a keystroke to read the elapsed time of a playing item from Control+Windows+- to StationPlaylist Key then - (dash).
  • Added a keystroke, StationPlaylist Key then V, to output the "popup information" relative to a track in the JAWS Virtual Viewer. The "popup information" displays information on the screen when the mouse is moved over a track icon in a Playlist. Note that the information which is output is controlled from within StationPlaylist's "Options/Track Info and Logging" Dialog Box.
  • Added a keystroke, StationPlaylist Key then Control+T, to read the total length of tracks which have been selected or checked.
  • Keystrokes have been added to enable or disable metadata streaming. When any of the keystrokes are pressed, you are asked if you would like to enable or disable metadata streaming. Please refer to the section of the scripts User Guide relating to metadata streaming.
  • Added an option to automatically disable metadata streaming when you exit StationPlaylist Studio by pressing ALT+Control+X.
  • Added an option to warn you if metadata streaming is enabled when StationPlaylist Studio is launched.
  • Added a keystroke, ALT+Windows+6, to announce the song pitch status.
  • Added a keystroke, ALT+Windows+7, to announce whether the playlist has been modified since it was previously saved.
  • Changed a keystroke from StationPlaylist Key then Y to ALT+Windows+8, to announce the playing status of StationPlaylist Studio, whether the playback has stopped, is in Live Assist, Automation or Paused.