Archive for October, 2008

J-Tunes and Talking iPod Tek Talk Presentation Archive Now Available

October 16, 2008

The recording of the presentation brian Hartgen and I did on Tek Talk last Monday concerning J-Tunes and the 4th generation iPod Nano is now available for download from the Accessible World site. In the presentation, Brian demonstrated how itunes 8 functions with and without J-Tunes, and I explained the features of the new iPod and demonstrated some of them. At the end, we took a variety of questions, most of them related to iTunes, J-Tunes, or the talking Nano.

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Organizing Blogroll on WordPress.com Blogs

October 10, 2008

I recently updated and reorganized my blogroll on this blog. In the process, I discovered that I was unable to access the check boxes needed to control which categories links were in. I could find a categories heading with my screen reader, but there didn’t appear to be any category check boxes on the page, and pressing ENTER on the categories heading did nothing. I contacted tech support, and received the following answer, which I thought those of you with WordPress.com blogs might want to know about. Apparently in order to see these check boxes with a screen reader, you have to disable Javascript. The site will be updated soon, and an accessibility expert will look at it to try to improve accessibility, so there’s a good chance the following information will only be relevant for a couple of months. I hope so, but in the meantime, here’s how to disable Javascript.

Disabling Javascript in Internet Explorer 7

  1. Type ALT+T to go to the tools menu.
  2. Type O to choose Internet Options.
  3. Press CTRL+TAB to choose the security page in this multi-page dialog box.
  4. Press TAB once to reach Custom Level and press Enter.
  5. Type S until you get to Scripting.
  6. Press DOWN ARROW twice. You’ll reach “Active Scripting” the first time, then probably “Disable – Off.”
  7. Press the SPACEBAR to turn it on.
  8. Press ENTER.
  9. You will be asked if you’re sure you want to make this change. Press ENTER to say Yes.
  10. Press TAB until you reach the OK button and press ENTER.
  11. Close and restart Internet Explorer.

Be sure to turn Javascript back on when you’re finished reorganizing your blogroll, as many sites don’t work well without it. The procedure is the same except that you press DOWN ARROW three times when focused on Scripting, so that you are focused on Enable when you press the SPACEBAR.

Disabling Javascript in Firefox 3

  1. Type ALT+T to go to the Tools menu.
  2. Type O to go to Options. You are in a list of option categories.
  3. Use the UP and DOWN arrow keys as needed to locate Content.
  4. Press TAB until you reach the enable Javascript check box.
  5. Press the SPACEBAR as needed to uncheck this box.
  6. Press ENTER.
  7. Close and restart Firefox.

Be sure to enable Javascript once you’re finished reorganizing your blogroll, as many web pages don’t work well without it. the procedure is the same, except that you check the enable Javascript check box.

Tek talk Presentation on Portable Media Players

October 8, 2008

Brian Hartgen and I will do a presentation about iTunes, J-Tunes, and the new talking iPod Nano on Tuesday, October 14, at 0:00 GMT, which is Monday October 13 at 8 Eastern, 5 Pacific. During the second hour, we will take questions about anything relating to portable media players and transfering music to them. You can listen to the presentation, ask questions if you have a microphone attached to your computer, or type in questions. The presentation will be recorded, and will be available for download within a few days after the presentation. You can read the full press release here.

Registering iPod Nano and Apple Protection Plan

October 8, 2008

When I attached my fourth generation iPod Nano to my computer, I didn’t have the option to register it through iTunes for some reason, so I had to do it through the Apple website. I will give you some pointers here, in case the same thing happens to you. I will also discuss how to register an apple Care Protection Plan, should you want one.

You can register your iPod online. You will need to enter your Apple ID and password, then specify that you are registering one product. You then enter your iPod’s serial number, which appears on the Summary tab in itunes when you connect your Nano. With J-Tunes 4 copying the serial number into the virtual viewer so you can paste it into the proper edit box is quite easy to do. If you don’t have J-Tunes, you can still find the serial number by finding and left-clicking the word Summary with your screen reader’s mouse cursor and pressing DOWN ARROW until you reach it. The registration form is straightforward , except that there are two buttons following the form where you enter the serial number, both of which are named only by strings of numbers, so that you can’t tell what each one does. The first one takes you to a page where you can register additional products, while the second one lets you complete the registration. So press ENTER on the second one.

If you accidentally press the first button, there’s no real problem; you simply end up on a page with blanks for registering additional products. Leave all those blanks empty and press the button at the bottom of the form, and you’ll be exactly where you would have been if you had pressed the second button on the previous page.

When you are done with the registration, the page you are on informs you of this and says you will get a confirmation via e-mail. When I registered, it took about five days for the e-mail confirmation to come, so don’t be concerned if you don’t get it right away.

Now on to the apple Care plan. I recommend getting one because you get unlimited phone technical support, and your warranty is extended from one to two years, which is nice for a product that has a battery the user can’t replace. It costs about $40, which is cheaper than similar plans used to be.

I ordered my plan by calling the Apple Store at 800-692-7753. I’m sure you can also order online. You would think it would be possible to purchase the plan and apply it to your iPod while on the phone or online, but it’s not; Apple has to ship the plan to you, and you have to pay for shipping, which is around $4. When the box arrives, you will need sighted assistance to locate the number you need to register the plan and associate it with your iPod. Once you have the number, you can register your plan online. Again, you will need to log in with your Apple ID and password. I’m pretty sure you’ll need your iPod’s serial number again as well, but I may not remember that correctly, as it has been a few days since I went through the process. This form is reasonably accessible; I didn’t have to guess about the function of any of the buttons. The only problem was the combo boxes. I had trouble getting my choices to stick; I would choose something, then press TAB, then go back and discover that the combo box was still set as it was before I made my change. I don’t have any advice except to keep trying; I got the combo boxes to work eventually, but didn’t find a consistent way of doing it. Just be sure before you leave a page that they are all set the way you want them.

Once I was done with the registration process, it again took a few days to get e-mail confirmation, so be patient. If you get to the page that says your registration is complete, all should be well.

Excellent Free Web Tutorial Available

October 8, 2008

Gene Asner has produced a wonderful Internet tutorial, available for free download from Accessible World. This tutorial is primarily audio, but it also includes some sample web pages to practice with. As he walks you through various types of web sites, he focuses on helping you to understand what you are encountering and to develop effective ways of moving around sites based on how they are organized. While a few things have changed since Gene created the tutorial, nearly everything he covers is still relevant. If you’re new to surfing the web, or you find it difficult to find the information you want when you visit websites, this tutorial should help. It’s an excellent follow-up to Braille.com and Beyond.

Gene also recently presented a tutorial on Tek Talk about Webvisum, an add-on for the firefox browser that helps blind people deal with CAPTCHA, among other things. You can read about and download the presentation here.

J-Tunes Version 4 Available

October 6, 2008

J-Tunes version 4 — which works with iTunes 8.0.1 and JAWS 8.0, 9.0, and 10.0 beta — is available for download from the J-Tunes page on the T&T Consultancy website. You can download a demo from this page, and can find information about where to purchase the scripts (this varies depending on which country you live in). The update is free to people who own J-Tunes 3.

J-Tunes adds considerable accessibility to iTunes including:

  • The ability to find out quickly where you are in itunes and move to a specific section with a single keystroke.
  • The ability to change the order of playlists.
  • Enough information to use the Preferences and get Info dialog boxes effectively.
  • The ability to move through tracks without hearing a lot of extraneous information.
  • The ability to use the iTunes browser, which lets you explore your music collection by genre, artist, and album.
  • The ability to move to information about iPods, such as Summary or Music, from a vertical list; this is true of the iPod Shuffle as well as larger iPods.
  • The ability to put information into the virtual viewer, such as iPod Summary or the name of a track and artist.
  • Excellent context-sensitive help and documentation.

See the What’s New document for more information. Way to go, T&T Consultancy!

AccessWorld Article on Adaptive Media Players Posted

October 1, 2008

AccessWorld has just released the final part in their series on the accessibility of portable media players. It does a fine job covering adaptive players and the media playing capabilities of notetakers and of mobile phones running screen readers.

New Website for Main Menu

October 1, 2008

Main Menu, the blindness technology show on ACB Radio, has a new website that includes all shows from September 10, 2008, on. the site also includes announcements, information about the people running Main Menu, information on submitting content for possible airing on Main Menu, and more. download older shows here. The URL for subscribing to Main Menu as a podcast has not changed.