Wednesday, April 15, 2009

200 Reasons Not to Purchase A SMA

Now through April 30, Serotek is offering $200 off System Access Mobile™ for anyone whose software maintenance agreement has lapsed, or who is not entitled to any additional upgrades with their SMA for Jaws® for Windows® or Window-Eyes™. Break away from the tyranny of price gouging for trivial updates. For just $299, purchase System Access for two computers that you can change at any time, plus one license for a U3 Smart Drive that you can use to make any computer come alive with speech, Braille, and screen magnification. And with free upgrades for life, this will be the last money you will need to spend for regularly-updated and innovative screen reading and magnification.
Are you wondering just how cost effective this decision would be for you? Let’s take a look at cases where an individual owns the latest software version of their screen reader, noting that an upgrade path would be even more expensive for those who are behind on their upgrades. You could choose to purchase a software maintenance agreement for JAWS 10.0 standard edition

for $180, entitling you to two software upgrades, at which point another SMA purchase would be necessary. You could choose to purchase a software maintenance agreement for WindowEyes 7.1 standard edition

for $299, entitling you to three software upgrades at which point another software maintenance agreement purchase would be necessary. Or, you could just provide your serial number as proof that your SMA is past due, and System Access for two computers and one U3-enabled USB license is yours for only $299, that's $200 off the regular price of $499.
To get started, simply visit the “my account” section of an existing SAMNet account. You can do this by opening the System Access menu with modifier+f and choosing the “My account” option, or by choosing option 16 from the SA Mobile Network Home screen. If you do not yet have an account with Serotek, you may create one by visiting

and choosing the “create new account” option.
Once you have logged in and accessed the “my account” option, choose “buy more products and services” and follow the prompts in the buy wizard.
You can also receive assistance from a Serotek sales representative by calling (612) 246-4818.
The Serotek Team

Deck Chairs On The Titanic

It’s April 15th. Tax day tea party fanatics are holding a national protest against government spending. Of course government spending keeps us blind people going. Without SSDI and government subsidized technology and training, most of us would be a lot worse off than we are today. What may look like waste to conservatives looks like a lifeline to us.
Today is also the 97th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The largest, most luxurious ship ever built sunk on its maiden voyage after hitting two icebergs late on the night of April 14th. It sank two and a half hours later, early in the morning on April 15th and more than 1500 people were lost.
What do these two things have in common other than April 15th?
While conservatives protest too much spending, blind people everywhere are protesting too little. As large as President Obama’s budget is, it doesn’t have much in it for us. The agencies that serve the blind population are being squeezed, and forced to operate with less funds and more demand. That means fewer blind people achieving independence.
One of the reasons that fewer and fewer blind people are being served is that government agencies insist on investing in the Titanic. They buy the biggest, most bloated products, build on obsolete technology, and they continue to pay for such technology long after the initial purchase. But these products are not in tune with today’s environment. They aren’t nimble enough to avoid the icebergs, and it takes weeks or even months for users to become familiar enough with such huge and ponderous technology to even attempt to navigate the waters safely.
So we thought, why not sink the Titanic and put what money we have in state-of-the-art technology that is cheaper, easier to learn and allows government to do more for less? While state agencies and NGO vision support organizations are hanging on to their tickets aboard the Titanic amid shrinking budgets, we are offering seats on the lifeboats.
Any user who currently owns a screen reader and finds himself in the unfortunate predicament of not having the latest Software Maintenance Agreement for the product can purchase System Access Mobile for $299 ($200 off the regular price) until April 30. System Access Mobile is state-of-the-art accessibility which can be used on a home computer or from any computer simply by plugging a thumb drive in to an available USB port. It runs on both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms, and gives users full access to all the social networking, pod casting, twittering fun of modern Internet use while delivering full accessibility to the most widely used business applications including Microsoft Office. It can be trained in a tiny fraction of the time it takes a new user to become familiar with a traditional (titanic-like) screen reader. And, while those old style behemoths continue to gobble dollars with Software Maintenance Agreements, System Access Mobile has done away with these costs for maintenance. Buy the software once and we keep it up-to-date forever at no cost to the user.
We figure realistically that a Voc-rehab can serve four newly blind individuals with System Access Mobile for every one served with a traditional screen reader. How’s that for stretching those tax dollars?
And of course, that’s not all. We offer our Voc-rehab trainers and blind field support technicians the power to train remotely with Remote incident Manager (RIM). We open up scarce technical jobs for blind IT professionals by promoting Remote Access Manager to businesses with large intranets. These products deliver accessibility at a cost that is comparable to any mainstream corporate intranet application.
Look around. While the competition is selling luxury staterooms on the Titanic for thousands, we are providing fast, safe accessibility at very affordable prices. We invite any agency to put our products against the competition in a cost-benefit analysis. And isn’t that what the agencies should be doing? Why, I bet that would even please the grumpy old misers at the Tax Day Tea Party. How could you be against doing more for less?

Monday, April 6, 2009

SAM Net Icon/Braille Plus Add-on is Installable Again

Some users have reported that when trying to install the SAM Net add-on for the Icon or Braille Plus, the device just looped the clicking sound without making any progress. We've just fixed this problem. We apologize for the inconvenience, and we hope you'll continue to enjoy all of the benefits of SAM Net on your portable device.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Petition to Authors Guild and Amazon Concerning Kindle 2

We at Serotek, along with many, are engaged in a campaign to obtain access for the blind and others with print disabilities to e-books available for Amazon's new Kindle 2 e-book reader. The new reader, which Amazon is working to make fully accessible to the blind, has the ability to use text-to-speech to read these e-books aloud; but under pressure
from the Authors Guild, Amazon has announced that authors and
publishers will be allowed to disable the text-to-speech function.
The National Federation of the blind has joined with over twenty
other organizations to create the reading Rights Coalition, which has
set up an on-line petition to urge the Authors Guild and Amazon to
reverse course.
petition overview | letter
Allow Everyone Access to E-books
Target: The Authors Guild
Sponsored by: The Reading Rights Coalition
When Amazon released the Kindle 2 electronic book reader on February 9, 2009, the
company announced that the device would read e-books aloud using text-to-speech technology.
Under pressure from the Authors Guild, Amazon has announced that it will give authors
and publishers the ability to disable the text-to-speech function on any or all of
their e-books available for the Kindle 2.
The Reading Rights Coalition, which represents people who cannot read print,
will protest the threatened removal of the text-to-speech function from e-books for
the Amazon Kindle 2 outside the Authors Guild headquarters in New York City at 31
East 32nd Street on April 7, 2009, from noon to 2:00 p.m.  The coalition includes
the organizations that represent the blind, people with dyslexia, people with learning
or processing issues, seniors losing vision, people with spinal cord injuries, people
recovering from strokes, and many others for whom the addition of text-to-speech
on the Kindle 2 promised for the first time easy, mainstream access to over 245,000
books. We the undersigned insist that the Authors Guild and Amazon not disable the text-to-speech capability for the Kindle 2.
There are 15 million Americans who are blind, dyslexic, and have spinal cord injuries
or other disabilities that impede their ability to read visually. The print-disabled
have for years utilized text-to-speech technology to read and access information.
As technology advances and more books move from hard-copy print to electronic formats,
people with print disabilities have for the first time in history the opportunity
to enjoy access to books on an equal basis with those who can read print.
Authors and publishers who elect to disallow text-to-speech for their e-books on
the Kindle 2 prevent the print-disabled from enjoying these e-books.
Denying universal access will result in more and more people with disabilities being
left out of education, employment, and the societal conversation.  We will all suffer
from the absence of diverse participation and contribution to the debates that occupy
us as a society.
Furthermore, we oppose the Authors Guild demands that this capability should be turned
off because many more books would be sold if text-to-speech remained available.
Not only does this feature benefit persons with disabilities, but it also helps persons
for whom English is not their native language.  In an increasingly mobile society,
flexible access to content improves the quality of life for everyone.
There can be no doubt that access to the written word is the cornerstone of education
and democracy.  New technologies must serve individuals with disabilities, not impede
them.  Our homes, schools, and ultimately our economy rely on support for the future,
not discriminating practices and beliefs from the past.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this important matter.

Please read and consider signing petition to the Authors Guild and Amazon