Thursday, January 31, 2008

Press Release: Nonprofit Launched to Bring Free Accessibility Worldwide


Nonprofit Launched to Bring Free Accessibility Worldwide



The AIR Foundation committed to ‘accessibility is a right’



Media Contact:

Janelle Schulenberg

Tacet Consulting

612-720-1068

janelle@tacetconsulting.com



Orlando, Florida – January 31, 2008 – The AIR Foundation, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn. was announced today at a press conference held during the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2008 National Conference at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Florida. The mission of the foundation is to promote universal accessibility so that every blind and low-vision person in the world has access to digital information over the Internet and Worldwide Web.



The foundation’s executive director, Art Schreiber, also announced that the organization’s first offering will be free usage of a Web 2.0 accessible screen reader. The product is provided through an exclusive license in perpetuity granted to The AIR Foundation from Serotek Corporation, the leading provider of Internet and digital information accessibility software and services. The screen reader is called SA To Go and is powered by Serotek’s award-winning System Access software which provides immediate text to speech, magnified visual, and Braille access to digital information presented through the Web or other means, while the user is directly connected to the Internet. The software does not remain resident on the user’s computer when the connection to the Internet is interrupted or terminated. Users can obtain access to the free software by calling 877-369-0101 or visiting www.AccessibilityIsaRight.org.



“The basic tenet of The AIR Foundation is that accessibility is a fundamental human right, regardless of financial or geographic constraints” said Art Schreiber, executive director of The AIR Foundation, “by allowing the blind and visually impaired to have equal access to computer and Internet information through the free use of an advanced screen reader like SA To Go, we have already taken great strides toward our mission.”
The AIR Foundation will solicit funds and contract development of product enhancements including availability in other languages. The organization’s first priority is to make SA To Go available in Mandarin Chinese.



“SA To Go is highly intuitive and requires minimal training to use,” said Serotek CEO, Mike Calvo, “the user not only has access to information displayed on Web pages, but to Web-based applications such as Internet telephone service, and to applications resident on the host computer. The user can also access PDF files, fill out forms, and otherwise interact with information with the same facility as a sighted person.”



The AIR Foundation will operate through the generosity of organizations donating their time, expertise, and funds. It invites other nonprofits, assistive technology vendors, mainstream hardware and software companies and anyone interested in promoting accessibility as every person’s right, to align with the AIR team.



The AIR Foundation



The AIR Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate, teach, and deliver information accessibility tools. We focus on the accessibility needs of blind and low-vision people. Our mantra is “accessibility is a right” and we work with corporations and agencies worldwide to deliver free accessibility to all. For more information, call 877-369-0101 or visit www.AccessibilityIsaRight.org.



Serotek Corporation



Serotek Corporation is a leading technology company that develops software and manufactures accessibility solutions. Committed to the mission of providing accessibility anywhere, Serotek launched the first online community specifically designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Since then, Serotek has introduced several powerful, affordable solutions that require minimal training and investment. For more information, visit www.serotek.com.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Serotek CEO to Speak at ATIA Convention


Technology company will present on total accessibility at the Assistive Technology Industry Association Convention 



MINNEAPOLIS - January 28, 2008 - Serotek Corporation, the leading provider of Internet and digital information accessibility software and services, today announced that its CEO , Mike Calvo, will deliver a presentation at the Assistive Technology Industry Association Convention that will be completely web-accessible to both the blind and the deaf members of the audience. The theme for the speech is Accessibility Anywhere – The Next Generation, and will focus on the accessible digital lifestyle.



“The digital lifestyle, sometimes called i-life, includes free-flowing information and entertainment focused on the way you live,” said Mike Calvo, Serotek Corporation founder and CEO , “this lifestyle ought to be completely accessible to anyone wherever they are or go in the world. Serotek is working to ensure that it is.”



Serotek Corporation will also be exhibiting at the event and will be demonstrating new features of its award winning System Access software, including a new Internet browser, software as a service pricing plan (SAS), and the ability to transfer various personal and network content, including described movies (audio only), rss content, and email, from The System Access Mobile Network. Participants will also be introduced to the enhanced Media Library featuring Smart Sync technology combined with the Napster music service using the Creative Zen Stone mp3 player, and Victor Stream , as well as online streaming music services including XM radio Online, Pandora.com, and Last.fm through the new System Access browser.



The 2008 Assistive Technology Association Convention will be held January 30 – February 2, 2008 in Orlando , Florida , at the Caribe Royale Resort. Mr. Calvo's presentation will be delivered at 8:00 am EST on February 2, 2008 in the Curacao IV conference room.



Serotek Corporation



Serotek Corporation is a leading technology company that develops software and manufactures accessibility solutions. Committed to the mission of providing accessibility anywhere , Serotek launched the first online community specifically designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Since then, Serotek has introduced several powerful, affordable solutions that require minimal training and investment. For more information, visit www.serotek.com .  

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Serotek Honored with AFB Access Award


Technology company earns prestigious award for SA To Go software



MINNEAPOLIS – January 24, 2008 – Serotek Corporation, the leading provider of Internet and digital information accessibility software and services, is pleased to announce they have been chosen as a recipient of the 2008 Access Award. Presented by the American Foundation for the Blind, the Access Awards recognize individuals, corporations and organizations that are eliminating or substantially reducing inequities faced by people who are blind or visually impaired. One of only three companies chosen to receive the Access Award, Serotek Corporation is being honored for providing access to screen reading software from any computer at any time through its System Access To Go (SA To Go) product.



A Web 2.0 software offering, SA To Go is available at www.satogo.com to anyone interested in having their computer screen content read aloud to them. From the blind to novice users to multi-taskers, this accessibility option is operational from any computer with Internet access.



“From macular degeneration to diabetes and more, the world’s aging population will have a growing incidence of visual impairment, low vision and vision loss, making this technology more mainstream than ever,” said Mike Calvo, CEO, Serotek Corporation, “And we expect the world to demand accessibility from any computer while traveling, working or at home, without toting hardware or software along.”



Serotek Corporation will be presented with the AFB Access Award at the 2008 JLTLI National Conference (Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute). The ceremony will be held on April 4, 2008 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott in Burlingame, California at 5:00 pm (PDT). Previous Access Award winning companies include Google™, Blockbuster, The IBM Corporation, Sun Microsystems and Pitney Bowes Inc.



“We appreciate and accept this recognition on behalf of all those who have been and will be benefiting from an accessible digital lifestyle through SA To Go,” said Mike Calvo, CEO, Serotek Corporation. “Serotek is committed to accessibility anywhere, and will continue to develop innovative products and services that level the playing field for all.”



Since the company was formed, Serotek Corporation has been developing technology solutions that allow anyone, regardless of physical limitations, disabilities, lack of Internet savvy or computer ownership, the ability to access and command all of the resources of the Internet and an accessible digital lifestyle. For more information about Serotek Corporation or its product and service offering, visit http://www.serotek.com/.


Serotek Corporation



Serotek Corporation is a leading technology company that develops software and manufactures accessibility solutions. Committed to the mission of providing accessibility anywhere, Serotek launched an online community specifically designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Since then, Serotek has introduced several powerful, affordable solutions that require minimal training and investment. For more information, visit http://www.serotek.com/.


JLTLI



The purpose of the Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute (JLTLI) is to improve the quality of programming and services to blind and visually impaired children, adults, and their families. The Institute is designed to provide a forum in which leadership personnel and emerging leaders from the blindness field can come together to increase and share their knowledge and expertise. In addition, the JLTLI affords opportunities to network, share common concerns and innovative strategies, as well as learn about what projects AFB personnel and others in the field have undertaken to improve quality of life for people with visual impairments. It is through the Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute that the American Foundation for the Blind not only recognizes Dr. Taylor's lifetime service but also hopes to perpetuate her philosophies.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Response to the Recent WSJ Independent Street Blog Article and its Comments

On January 11, 2008, Wall Street Journal blogger Wendy Bounds posted a relatively innocuous article mentioning the accessibility lawsuit against Target Corporation and offering a little information about making a web site accessible. More interesting and alarming were the blog comments that followed. Several responders made comments about how terrible it was that the government would mandate accessibility and that people would sue those companies that are not ADA compliant. Worse were comments from ignorance about blind people not being interested in a lot of stuff on the Web and snide remarks about the writer being in trouble if his blog comment was read by a blind lawyer. It is painful to see that we still face this type of discrimination in the United States and that people still argue in favor of their right to discriminate.

When the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) took effect in 1992, we in the blind community knew that enforcement would be a one lawsuit at a time experience. And that has proven to be the case. What can we say today? Accessibility is certainly improved over the situation in 1992, but blind and low-vision people are still at a considerable disadvantage in accessing many web sites. There is still much work to be done. That’s why Serotek made C-SAW available – so that our community could help each other by improving Web site accessibility. But there is really no excuse for web site owners and designers not to make their sites accessible.

We need to set the record straight concerning what we blind and low-vision people are interested in. The answer is everything and anything. If it is information, someone in our community wants it and is entitled to it – whether for his or her own use or to share with a loved one. That includes descriptions of primarily graphic sites, and it includes play-by-play and other descriptions of sports action. From abstract art to Australian football to Sponge Bob Square Pants to – you name it. There are interested blind and low-vision people. And that’s because we are people – just ordinary people. We have our own eclectic interests, and we have friends and families whose interests we also like to share. (From the comments by some of the WSJ blog readers you would think we were some lower life form, only interested in how many pencils we can put in the tin cup and in finding a dry place on the sidewalk to sit with our pet ACLU lawyer.)

The fact is, when the ADA passed, accessibility was a real technical challenge. Today it is not. Advanced accessibility tools like System Access to Go are readily available. The technology of accessibility in Web design is very robust. Anyone who chooses to make a small effort can deliver a highly accessible Web site. There are no excuses for not being accessible except, perhaps, that our community has still not persuaded the marketplace that even this small effort will be rewarded with increased sales.

All of us in the blind community have fought this battle against discrimination our whole lives. It gets old. It is discouraging to find readers of one of the country’s most prestigious newspapers spouting the same old clich├ęs, steeped in ignorance and proud of their prejudice. But the only effective weapon against ignorance and prejudice is information. And only you and I have the interest and the ability to make the case for accessibility as a fundamental human right. If we want the world to change, we have to change it. The arguments against compliance with the ADA are no longer valid (if they ever were). The technology to be accessible is available to all. The cost of accessibility is negligible. The pay-off from being accessible is potentially large. We need to make that case again and again, as often as we can, wherever and whenever we can. There is no valid excuse for not being accessible, and accessibility is a fundamental human right. More than that, accessibility for everyone is morally right.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Changes in System Access 2.3.0.174

Internet Explorer

  • Added support for the MathPlayer browser plug-in from Design Science, which provides access to math on Web pages which use the MathML standard.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Changes in System Access 2.3.0.172

Internet Explorer and New SA Mobile Network Browser

  • When you press H and Shift+H to move by heading, SA will now announce the heading level after reading the heading itself.

  • Fixed a bug that prevented users from passing the C-SAW test.

Audible

  • Fixed a bug that prevented SA from speaking in Audible Manager's Library list view.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Changes in System Access 2.3.0.170

Internet Explorer

  • Fixed a bug in SA that caused IE 7 to hang if one opened the system menu while a browser tab had focus.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Changes in System Access 2.3.0.169

Word

  • Fixed a bug in SA that caused Word to skip whole pages of text when moving through a document line-by-line using the print layout.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Changes in System Access 2.3.0.168

Internet Explorer and New SA Mobile Network Browser

  • Fixed a bug which sometimes caused SA to announce a link twice during a continuous read.

  • For links with a title attribute, which is presented as a tool tip on-screen, SA now reads both the text of the link and the title attribute when you tab to the link or press Modifier+Up Arrow on it, unless the title attribute contains the text of the link.

SA Mobile Media Player

  • Fixed a bug which prevented the media player from restarting playback at an audio bookmark in the new browser.

Miscellaneous

  • SA now provides feedback for the cut, copy, and paste keyboard commands in standard edit controls and in Windows Explorer windows.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Changes in System Access 2.3.0.167

New SA Mobile Network Browser

  • Fixed a bug that prevented the browser from reading some pages when they load for the first time, such as the Medicare site's home page.

  • Fixed a bug that sometimes prevented the browser from uploading settings to the server when you exit the browser.

SA Mobile Network Bookmarks

  • Fixed a bug that prevented the browser from importing favorites from Internet Explorer.

Outlook

  • If you have two instances of the same contact in your Outlook contacts, System Access will now speak each one as you move through the list, instead of speaking only one and remaining silent for the other, as it did before.

Miscellaneous

  • Added two new commands for reading text in edit controls, web pages, PDF documents, and Word documents. Modifier+Home reads from the start of the line to the insertion point, and Modifier+End reads from the insertion point to the end of the line.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Changes in System Access 2.3.0.165

Happy new year! The first System Access update of the year consists mostly of behind-the-scenes work, but a few changes are worth noting.

Napster Browser-Based Player

System Access now supports the browser-based interface to the Napster music subscription service. This means that you can log into Napster and listen to music using a Web browser on any computer. To make this easier, System Access provides the following keyboard commands in the Napster player window:

  • F8 to decrease the volume
  • F9 to increase the volume
  • Control+Shift+P to pause or resume playback
  • Control+Shift+S to stop playback
  • Control+Shift+M to mute or unmute the player
  • Control+Shift+B to go back one track
  • Control+Shift+N to skip to the next track

We hope this new feature will help you more fully enjoy the digital lifestyle. Note that SA doesn't yet support the Napster desktop software, but we plan to address that in the near future.

Skype

  • System Access now supports text chat in the latest version of Skype. Specifically, SA will automatically read messages in the chat window, and when you press the grave accent key in the chat window, SA will read the most recent message.