Thursday, December 18, 2008
If you haven't figured it out yet, I am usually a pretty positive person. From a computer geek standpoint however, I found it frustrating that more gadgets and computer applications that I wanted to use didn't just work. Let me give you an illustration. Computers running 64 bit versions of Windows have been quickly becoming the industry standard. For at least the last couple of years or more, the line from the adaptive technology companies has been: "We have no plans to support 64 bit Windows in the foreseeable future." Okay, so I made one phone call to my friend Mike Calvo. I jokingly asked him if he would like to make a million dollars tomorrow. He laughed and asked me how. I simply said: "Fast-track 64 bit Windows support." A week later, he called to ask me if I would help Serotek test it. I went and bought an OEM Vista 64 bit Windows machine. The rest, as they say, is history.
In an announcement to the Serotek users forum somewhere around October 31, 2008, I had the pleasure and privilege of being assigned the task to put together a new features list for the soon to be released System Access 3.0 revision. Like many other users, I had been previewing the public beta for more than a month. One of the most exciting innovations to me personally was the inclusion of 64 bit support for all versions of Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. In the announcement I wrote the following from the perspective of a user:
"Beginning as early as June 2008, many of the computer stores and office supply vendors have begun to stock their shelves with only computers running OEM versions of 64 Bit Windows. Many an unsuspecting customer has gotten home with a brand new computer only to discover that they cannot install and use their access technology on it. With the release of System Access 3.0, this is no longer an issue. Go out and buy a new computer, bring it home, install System Access 3.0 and you will be ready to go with your talking computer."
I experienced a moment of déjà vu as I listened to the December podcast from a leader in the adaptive technology industry. It was almost as though the Vice President of Business and Software Development of this company had read my words and paraphrased them to his audience. It made me realize again, not only how far Serotek has come, but also how far we have brought the adaptive technology audience in understanding what is possible and what they can and should expect from those with whom they do business. I don't know about you, but I don't believe in coincidences. Does it seem interesting to you that less than two months after Serotek introduces 64 bit support that another industry leader follows? Well, may I say to all in the adaptive technology pool: "Come on in: the water's fine!" Let the users of the products decide who does it best. Users always benefit by more choices.
In conclusion, would you think with me for just a moment about the leadership Serotek has provided?
1. Serotek lead the way in USB thumb drive support and we still do it best with U3 technology installing nothing on the local machine.
2. Serotek lead the way in remote access and we still do it best supporting not only our own products, but also everyone else's technologies.
3. Serotek lead the way in 64 bit support for all Windows XP and Vista versions including server 2003 and 2008. Our magnification and scanning is also supported right now.
4. Serotek is leading the way in providing a free web application that makes any Internet connected PC in the world talk. Will anyone follow?
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Dollar General, a national discount retailer with more than 8,000 stores in 35
states, announced On Dec. 10, 2008 that it will be installing tactile point of
sale devices in all its stores over the next 15 months, so that customers who are blind and visually impaired can independently enter their PIN when using a point of sale device. The announcement is the result of an agreement the company negotiated with the American Council of the Blind, the American Foundation for the Blind, and a blind Dollar General customer from Texas. The settlement was reached without litigation using Structured Negotiations and was negotiated by Linda Dardarian and Lainey Feingold. Direct links to the agreement and the press release:
Dollar General Settlement Agreement
Dollar General is the seventh national company to engage in Structured Negotiations about the issue of tactile point of sale devices with ACB and AFB, and with the CCB when the retailer does business in California. A list of all POS agreements, as well as all thirty two agreements signed using Structured negotiations is available at
Law Office of Lainey Feingold - www.lflegal.com
E-mail Lainey Feingold - firstname.lastname@example.org
A petition has been started by George McDermith, asking Braille display manufacturers to base their drivers on the human interface protocol, found on all Windows computers. Such a design philosophy will ensure that users can be certain of having support for their Braille display on any computer, not just one which has been custom-configured for such access, and will eliminate the need to depend on specific screen reader drivers. The text of the petition reads as follows:
"To: Braille display manufacturers
We, the undersigned, who are Braille display users, friends and family of Braille display users, and teachers of the blind,
*: Believe that accessibility to information for the blind on a par with their sighted piers is a right. Believe that due to this right, and due to the cost of Braille displays, accessing Braille through the use of Braille displays should not be limited by the type of screen reading solution used by the blind.
*: Strongly request that all manufacturers of Braille displays cease basing the drivers of their Braille displays off of particular screen reader drivers, but rather base all Braille display drivers off of the Human User Interface Protocol, which can be found on all Windows computers.
*: This will allow true portability and equal access to information for the blind, as they will be able to use their display with any computer. This will create greater competition in the market for the best Braille display to stand out, grant greater literacy in Braille through greater access to electronic Braille books and other materials, and support the right of all blind people to have accessibility anywhere."
Visit the petition web page to add your support to this worthy cause.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
For Immediate Release
Technical Contact :
Serotek First to Offer 64-Bit Support
System Access 3.0 Sets New Standard in Assistive Technology
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn – December 3, 2008 – Serotek Corporation, the leading provider of internet and digital information accessibility software and services, today released version 3.0 of its award-winning System Access software. With this release, Serotek now offers the first full-featured screen access product with support for 64-bit operating systems. This is a breakthrough for blind and visually impaired consumers and IT professionals alike.
Blind information technology professionals have long struggled with the issue of being a step behind their sighted counterparts due to a lag in access technology and its inability to support the latest mainstream developments. With the release of System Access 3.0, the only existing screen access support for 64-bit Windows operating systems on the market, Serotek has leveled the employment playing field for skilled IT professionals. Without it, blind IT professionals would be locked out of administering 64-bit servers and work stations which are prevalent in most corporate environments. With it, a blind IT professional can plug in a USB drive containing the System Access 3.0 software and instantly provide technical support services to anyone in the world.
Increasingly, retailers are stocking computers running 64-bit versions of Windows so blind consumers were facing a similar dilemma. Now, new computers, from the smallest Netbook to the most powerful server, that are running OEM versions of 64-bit Windows, are instantly accessible with System Access 3.0. Consumers who are blind or have low vision can purchase a computer product without wondering if it will be accessible.
“Consumers and IT professionals alike no longer need to concern themselves with whether a computer is running a 32 or 64-bit operating system,” said Mike Calvo, CEO, Serotek Corporation, “System Access provides easy access in either scenario.”
Version 3.0 also features voice over IP, speech and refreshable Braille output, and the most compelling support for iTunes 8 on the market.
“With this release, Serotek continues to raise the bar in the assistive technology industry” said Calvo, “and exponentially boosts the digital lifestyle for the blind and visually impaired while at home, work or traveling.”
The update to version 3.0 will happen seamlessly for existing System Access customers with no need for user intervention. New customers can begin a free trial or purchase the product by visiting www.satogo.com. For a complete list of features and enhancements, visit http://www.serotek.com/whatsnew.html.
Serotek Corporation is a leading technology company that develops software and manufactures accessibility solutions under the System Access brand. Committed to the mission of providing accessibility anywhere, Serotek began with the launch of the first online community specifically designed to meet the needs of people with visual impairment. Since then, Serotek has introduced several powerful, affordable solutions that require minimal training and investment. For more information, visit
Monday, December 1, 2008
Due to popular demand, we are extending our offer of $200 off the purchase of $399 or more through Wednesday, Dec. 3RD at Midnight Eastern. Get $200 off System Access screen reader version 3.0, System Access Mobile Network, Neospeech, Document Scan, additional machine licenses, or a Netbook computer with System Access. Call toll-fre 866-202-0520 or visit the