Archive for May, 2006

Blind iPod Portal Updated, Including New Name

May 24, 2006

Brian Hartgen’s site that was formerly known as the Blind iPod Portal has been greatly expanded and is now called the Portable Players Portal. The name change reflects a broadening of scope; in addition to excellent information about accessing iPods, the page now includes detailed discussions of iRiver players and players made specifically for blind people. The additions I mentioned in an earlier post – including the Juice tutorial and links to sites for downloading music – are still there. This excellent resource will help a lot of people – thanks, Brian!


Web-Braille is Back, but a Pledge is Required

May 18, 2006

After a week offline, Web-Braille is back! It’s wonderful to have this fantastic resource available again!

Downloading books from Web-Braille is a bit different than before, however. Everything is the same until after you enter your username and password. Then a pledge stating that you will not use the files you download illegally appears on screen. There are Accept and Decline buttons at the bottom of this page. Here’s how to find these buttons with JAWS or Window-Eyes:

If you use JAWS, you can press F to move by form field, or B to move by button. Press one of these commands until you reach the Accept button and press Enter.

If you use Window-Eyes, you can press C to move by form control. Press C until you reach the Accept button and press Enter.

Once you click the Accept button, the Web-Braille volume downloads in the usual way, and you are returned to the pledge screen. If your book has additional volumes, press Backspace or Alt-Left Arrow to return to the search or Braille Book Review page containing links to your book, and click the link to the second volume. The pledge appears again; click the Accept button as you did before. Repeat this procedure until all volumes are downloaded; you must click the Accept button before downloading each one.

If you accidentally click the Decline button, press Backspace or Alt-Left Arrow to return to the pledge screen, and click the Accept button.

Another change is that NLS will now be monitoring activity on the site more closely then in the past. I have been told that this may cause the site to behave unpredictably at times. So if something odd happens when you try to download a book from Web-Braille, wait a while and try again.

Information to Supplement Dean Martineau’s Juice Tutorial

May 10, 2006

Dean’s Juice tutorial is a great introduction to the Juice podcatching program. If you are new to Juice, I heartily recommend it. There are a few other Juice features worth mentioning:

  • If you’d like more information about a particular podcast episode, Juice makes it easy to read its show notes, if there are any. Press Shift-F10 (the Context key will not work) while focused on a podcast episode, and choose Show Notes from the context menu that comes up. The show notes will open in your web browser. If an episode has no show notes, the Show Notes choice will not appear in the context menu.
  • Juice makes it easy to delete old podcasts. Choose Cleanup from the View menu. The page takes a while to load, but eventually you are in a combo box where you can choose a feed from which you want to delete episodes. Select the feed and tab until you reach a list of episodes. There is no easy way to determine whether episodes are checked, but when you first tab to the list, none are. Arrow up and down the list and press the Spacebar to check any episode you wish to delete. There are also Select All and Select None buttons. When you’ve checked all the episodes you wish to, tab to the Delete button and press Enter; all checked episodes will be deleted.
  • If you use any sort of iPod, you’ll be glad to know that Juice works very well with iTunes. If you choose iTunes as your player (which you do on the Players page in the Preferences dialog on the File menu), any podcast episodes you download are automatically imported into the iTunes library. A playlist is created for each feed, and all episodes in the feed are added to the playlist. The Cleanup feature removes podcasts from the iTunes library as well as from the folder where you downloaded them.

Blind iPod Portal Updated

May 10, 2006

Brian Hartgen has updated his Blind iPod Portal to include links to sources of downloadable music, a link to download the Juice podcatching program, and a Juice tutorial by Dean Martineau. The tutorial is an article in Dean’s Sound Computing magazine; it’s wonderful that he is allowing everyone to listen to it free. You can go to Dean’s Top Dot Enterprises home page to learn about the magazine or subscribe to Top Tech Tidbits, a weekly listing of new adaptive tech information. The magazine is excellent, and Top Tech Tidbits provides a lot of useful information in a very compact format.

Free iTunes Scripts

May 8, 2006

Everett Zufelt has written free scripts for iTunes. They were written for JAWS 7.0, but he believes they will work with earlier versions as well. They provide considerably less functionality than do Brian Hartgen’s iTunes scripts, but they do give you basic access.