ZoomNews April 2012 Volume 12 Issue 2
 

Spring into Savings!

Picture of a bunch of spring flowersSpring has sprung and with it comes not just flowers but a sale on anything you purchase from us from now until April 30th!

Simply use the code "SPRING" when you checkout online or when you place your order over the phone (800-859-0270) to get 10% off your entire order! This code is good on anything that we sell - of course there's ZoomText (new products and upgrades), but there's also the ZoomText Large-Print Keyboard, ZoomText Camera packages, the i-loview handheld video magnifier, ZoomText Express - you name it!

Be sure to take advantage of this limited time offer!

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ZoomText 10 survey

Image of a trophyThanks to everyone who filled out our short ZoomText 10 survey. First off, congratulations to E.J. Monaghan whose name was chosen in the raffle - E.J. won a $100 Amazon.com gift certificate!

Here are a few tidbits that came out of the survey:

  • The majority of participants had already upgraded to ZoomText 10

  • The feature that you're most familiar with is AppReader "Read from Pointer" - coincidentally this is the feature that you think is the easiest to understand

  • 65% of responders had watched our new ZoomText 10 videos

Here are some of our favorite open-ended responses:

  • "I love the camera feature. I enter a lot of data onto my computer from documents that often contain very small print. The camera feature has been ideal for this use."

  • "I do love the Recorder I use it a lot and I think it's the best thing on ZoomText 10. I put a lot of Documents from print to speech and put it on my Victor Reader stream it's great. Thanks."
  • "The read from pointer is a time-saver, and reduces losing your place in long documents."

  • "I like ZoomText because it is useful for school and homework. There are no dislikes because it is the best."

  • "The background reader is brilliant, being able to listen to a document while doing other tasks is great."

  • "I think all the features have a purpose and can be useful for different people or different tasks."

If you'd like to see the complete details, you can download a PDF document. We really do appreciate reading your tips for suggestions along with topics that you'd love to see covered in future webinars. Our ears really are open to our customers.

Read on for another chance to win!

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New Contest

Image of Money

This time around, we're asking you to answer the following question that was posed to me by Cathy Gettel, Ai Squared's Dealer Network Manager: "What is your best tip for sightless organization? How do you keep track of clothes, food, desk objects, etc.?"

Simply reply to this email (the address is rwhite@aisquared.com) with your answer by April 30th to be entered into the drawing for a $100 Amazon.com gift certificate. Good luck!

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Webinars and a Workshop

Picture of the Logitech C615 webcamHave you attended one of our free webinars yet? We have one every week that is dedicated to just covering all the exciting new features in ZoomText 10 - it runs every Thursday at 3:00 PM, EST. On top of that, we also have a session that gives you an overview of ZoomText as a whole, which is just perfect for someone who is not familiar with ZoomText at all or just wants a refresher on the program as a whole. Join us on Wednesdays at 12:00 PM EST.

All of these webinars are free, but you do have to register for the session you'd like to attend. Head on over to our training page to sign up today!

Our support team also has a free webinar coming up entitled "An In-Depth Look at the ZoomText Camera Feature" - it's on May 22nd from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST and will present a comprehensive look at the new ZoomText 10 Camera feature. Some of the topics to be covered will be: how to set up and use the camera; available configuration settings; and hotkeys. Click this registration link to sign up!

Plus, we've just reduced the cost of our two-day ZoomText workshop that's taking place on May 8th and 9th in Hartford, CT, to $400 - and you get a free ZoomText Large-Print Keyboard! The class is geared toward trainers to give tips on ZoomText training techniques. To sign up, head over to the NEAT Center's website to register. If you have any questions, you can simply reply to this email. We've got even more information about this event over on our training page. This will be the only in-depth 2 day workshop on ZoomText 10 this year so be sure you don't miss out!

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Ai Squared Donates ZoomText to Kenya School for the Blind

Image of the inABLE logoWe here at Ai Squared continue to invest in the assistive technology community by donating ZoomText Magnifier/Reader to the inABLE organization's Mwangaza Project, which will put this software into the hands of students who are blind and visually impaired in Kenya. The Mwangaza Project is an international consortium of technology and service organizations, anchored by inABLE and the Georgia Institute of Technology's Sonification Lab, to provide computer labs, training, and accessible education to students with visual impairment in developing nations.

"With the help of ZoomText, these students will enhance their computer literacy and education, which not only allows them to bridge the academic gap with their sighted peers, but arms them with valuable skills they'll take as they enter the job marketplace," states Ai Squared CEO David Wu. "These students' lives are being transformed and we are so proud to be a part of this effort."

You can read more about inABLE or read the press release we sent out for even more information.

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Spotlight: Grant Lock

Picture of Grant Lock's book cover with his photoGrant Lock is a published author who also happens to be a ZoomText user. In fact, he credits ZoomText for much of his success! But enough out of me, take it away Grant:

How ZoomText Helped Shoot Me First

"You can't go back to Afghanistan, Grant. Stargardt's has finally caught up with you."

The ophthalmologist peered into the machine, and into my eyes. If it had peered into my heart, it would have seen tears. It didn't matter that I had been Project Support Director for a huge eye-care program with its headquarters in Kabul. But hey, I was 64, and typical Stargardt's would have taken out my central vision before I was 20. I packed a lot into those four bonus decades.

His voice was a mile away. "You can go back to sell your gear, but that's all. The last bit of the macular could go any time." It was a hard call after serving the needy for so long in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"You should write Grant," friends said. "Start while you can. You're a good story teller and you have plenty of stories to tell."

I soon had the title: Shoot Me First. It came from a tense confrontation with bearded, rifle toting Pakistani Pashtuns who did not want me to rebuild a girl's school. Yet the day before a bright-eyed girl had said, "I want to go to school. One day I want to be a doctor."

The subtitle was easy: "A cattleman in Taliban country - 24 years in the hotspots of Pakistan and Afghanistan."

With my remaining vision I went proactive and researched the internet for the most suitable screen reader for my future use. That was when I found out about ZoomText. Ai Squared came up as a progressive, innovative company with good worldwide support.

The best piece of advice was given a few months after I had installed the program. "You may think you don't need it yet, Grant," the tall rep drawled at an Adelaide Techfest, "but switch it on and leave it on... then it will grow on you." And it did.

That was three years ago and I am now legally blind. Thanks to ZoomText I have recently published the book, and people say they can't put it down. I consider ZoomText to be the most valuable of my vision tools. As I start my next book, I am looking forward to getting into ZoomText 10 with all its innovative features.

Check out Shoot Me First on my website or on Amazon where you can buy it in Kindle form or paperback.

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Hotkeys Galore!

Closeup image of a keyboard

Support technician Lloyd was on the phone with one of our customers a while back and he learned about a cool website that lists "hotkeys" (keystroke combinations that provide quick access to various functions on the computer) for a variety of programs. You can find shortcuts for using Windows, to your internet browser, to games, and even Skype! Knowing these shortcut keys will really enhance your productivity at the computer. Check out this handy website today!

Support learns all kinds of things from you - it's not just a one-way street of learning over here :)

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Cool Websites

Image of a smiley face with sunglasses onZoomText user Kathy Kalaluhi sent in a bunch of websites that she thought other ZoomText users would find interesting and helpful. We liked the idea so much that it's become a regular "column" in ZoomNews! Below are her suggestions and if you'd like to submit any websites for the next issue, please email them to Becca at rwhite@aisquared.com!

  • Etsy - this site is for people who do a craft and want to test the market to see how well their items will sell. It is an inexpensive way to post your items for sale and an alternative to eBay.

  • Toodledo - a business task manager that allows you to form your "to-do" list. A free version is available with a paid upgrade available as always with more tools. It helps you form to-do lists, prioritizing and filtering the list to focus on what is most important or the task at hand. You can set reminders or alarms to alert you to deadlines, etc. There's also an app version that works on iOS devices.

  • Active.com - a website dedicated to all sports and athletics. If you're looking to participate in a sport or just attend as a spectator, the site provides all sporting events in your area. It also includes camping and hiking grounds. Because the site is focused on healthy outdoor living, it also provides information on working out and diet plans.

  • CrashMyPad - travelers who either cannot find or afford luxury hotels when traveling may want to check out this site. It is a listing of local rentals such as whole houses or rooms available for rent in any given town.

And a new category of sorts: "Best fruits in the orchard" - the best Mac apps for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad! Some of them are available on the Android platform as well.

  • Shazam - this free music identifier app is so cool. If you are riding in the car and listening to the radio and you want to know the name of the song or artist, you put your phone up to the speaker and it will listen to the song and then identify it. It will announce the title and artist of that song. A written form will appear on the screen also and stay there. I love it!

  • Cool Tools - a free Android app with a bunch of cool tools or utilities to do things with your phone or tablet. Among the list of tools that it includes are a unit converter (for various measurements), a flashlight and a stopwatch.

Thanks to Kathy for these great suggestions!

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In the News

Image of stack of 

newspapersAfter 567,000 miles and 48 years, Florida woman parks her 'Chariot' - 93-year-old Rachel Veitch realized that the macular degeneration in her eyes had developed to the point where she needed to stop driving her 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente, her car that had racked up 567,000 miles!!

Students from Watertown's Perkins School hunted for eggs on White House lawn - For the first time, four students from the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown got the chance to participate in the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House lawn using eggs outfitted with sound chips.

PocketSMS lets visually and hearing impaired send & receive SMS - Bidirectional Access Promotion Society (Bapsi) has released an Android app called PocketSMS, that allows visually impaired and hearing impaired individuals to send and read text messages (SMS) from their phones.

Major breakthrough in Age-Related Macular Degeneration - Scientists have discovered that a part of the immune system called the infllamosome is involved in regulating the development of AMD what could potentially lead to a novel therapy for one of the common forms of blindness.

Modesto vision center thrives - The Vision Impaired Persons Support Center has been a success and recently produced "The Little House That Cares," a book containing 17 stories from blind people who have benefited from the center and its amenities.

Impairment didn't hinder his achievement - Renowned violinist Mysore M. Manjunath has been visually impaired since birth yet now he has a PhD in music and has given numerous concerts in India and abroad.

Program teaches tennis to blind Fremont students - About eight students gather Tuesday afternoons in the gym at the Fremont school to take part in a nationwide program that may be the first of its kind -- teaching groups of blind and visually impaired students to play tennis.

NGO plays matchmaker for blind couple in Pune - NGO Louis Braille Apang Kalyan Sanstha, Lonikand, is playing Cupid for the wedding of a visually impaired couple by making it a grand affair, much beyond the meager means of the two.

Taiwan-designed bowl for visually impaired wins iF design award - A "smart" bowl designed for the visually impaired by a PhD student at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, has won the prestigious German iF concept design award for 2012.

Kurt Mackin: Football coach - Despite being visually impaired, 19-year-old Kurt Mackin has already been playing and coaching football for many years.

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Tradeshow Schedule

Image of 

tradeshowSpring showers bring May tradeshows (let's hope some flowers, too). Check out our list of upcoming events - as always, stop by and see us if you're going to be there!

Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (VABVI) Conference
April 19th, 2012
St. Johnsbury, VT

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Leadership Conference
May 4th - May 5th, 2012
St. Pete Beach, FL

Baruch College Conference on Employment and Visual Impairment
May 11th, 2012
New York, NY

SightCity
May 23rd - May 25th, 2012
Frankfurt, Germany
Booth #D14

Texas Assistive Technology Network (TATN) Statewide Conference
June 12th - June 14th, 2012
Houston, TX

VISIONS Conference
June 28th - July 1st, 2012
Minneapolis, MN

National Federation of the Blind (NFB) National Conference
June 30th - July 5th, 2012
Dallas, TX

American Council of the Blind (ACB) Conference and Convention
July 6th - July 14th, 2012
Louisville, KY

Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Annual Conference
July 9th - July 14th, 2012
New Orleans, LA

Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) International Conference
July 18th - July 22nd, 2012
Bellevue, WA

Envision Conference
September 12th - September 15th, 2012
St. Louis, MO

New England Library Association (NELA) Annual Conference
October 14th - October 16th, 2012
Sturbridge, MA

Accessing Higher Ground
November 12th - November 16th, 2012
Westminster, CO

The National Ergonomics Conference and Exposition (ErgoExpo)
December 4th - December 7th, 2012
Las Vegas, NV
Booth #501

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