TechStyle Newsletter - Winter 2009

Welcome to the autumn / winter edition of our HumanWare client newsletter, "TechStyle".

This is Issue 55 dated June 2009 & is our second combined Australian & New Zealand issue.

We are now proud to be able to bring you interesting news from both countries three times a year.

If you know anyone who doesn't receive this TechStyle newsletter & may not have advised us their email address - please send their address on to us. Call us now in Sydney on (02) 9686 2600 or in Christchurch on 0508 225 5734.

In this edition we feature news on the following:


New Technology Catalogues:

If you would like a copy of the latest Low Vision or Blindness catalogue posted to you, please just let us know.

These give access to the most up to date information in print format & makes purchasing the latest technology solutions easy.

Alternatively, our web site at: is constantly updated & full of excellent reference information.

Closing Soon:

Just a reminder about our special "free keyboard" offer with ZoomText Mag Reader purchases.

This offer closes soon, so get your order in as soon as possible to avoid missing out on the A$185 saving.

New Low Vision solution!




SmartView Versa and Versa +


SmartView VersaThe SmartView Versa redefines the handheld electronic magnifier. Available in two models, the Versa and the Versa+. The Versa is fully configurable to your requirements. Change the contrast mode and magnification to best match your vision. The auto focus lets you hold the Versa at the optimal distance from the object and your eyes. Rest the Versa on the page, use the writing stand or flip out the handle for optimal viewing.



Picture of the back of the Versa

The SmartView Versa+ (shown below) uniquely combines the traditional electronic magnifier with the features of MP3 and video players. Why carry two or more devices when all these functions are in the Versa+? Standard SD memory cards let you travel with your selected range of great music and movies.



SmartView Versa +Easily connect the Versa to any TV with the included video cable to significantly increase magnification and use all the features of the Versa. No need for another TV magnifier when you have a SmartView Versa. The Versa even lets you freeze an image and then save it in internal memory or on the SD card. Saved images can be transferred to your computer. Change the magnification and contrast mode when viewing saved images. Even pan around to see the whole image



Features & benefits

At home

  • Accurately verify medication labels and instructions
  • Enjoy working on your favourite crosswords
  • Access frequently used phone numbers by saving them on the Versa*
  • Listen to your favourite music*
  • Use your TV for extra large viewing


At work

  • Simply and easily scan reports
  • Reduce frustration when viewing function keys on your phone
  • Make lists easily by recording voice notes*
  • Hand write messages for colleagues

At school

  • Study using normal text books
  • Write answers for tests and exams
  • Enjoy your favourite music on the bus*
  • Show your friends how you can even watch a favourite movie*
  • Keep important references as saved images*

Even more!

  • Sit back and enjoy a 4.3" (10.9cm) widescreen
  • Autofocus to make viewing easy
  • Magnification of 5 to 15 times
  • Light to carry around at only 200 grams
  • Viewing modes:
    • Full colour
    • Black on white
    • White on black
    • Yellow on blue
    • Yellow on black
  • Rechargeable long life lithium battery

*Versa + only




(With thanks to Peter Fitzsimons from the SMH)

Ken was in real trouble.

He had forgotten his wedding anniversary & his wife Mavis was seething. She told him straight:
Tomorrow morning I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0-100 in 6 seconds, AND IT BETTER BE THERE!!

The next morning Ken got up early & left for work. When Mavis woke, she looked out the window & sure enough there was a small gift-wrapped box in the middle of the driveway.

Confused, she put on her robe, ran out to the driveway & brought the box into the house.

She opened it & found a brand new bathroom scale.

Ken never heard the shot.

Funeral services are scheduled for Friday.




New Staff Member for Australia

I'm really pleased to be able to announce the appointment of a new staff member for HumanWare Australia / Asia.

Last year Sam Taylor & I were in Singapore doing some training for an organization there that had purchased a lot of Low Vision & Blindness equipment that was going to be used as "loaner" equipment. So it was important the Orthoptists were well trained & confident in using BrailleNote, SmartView, ViewPlus embossers, etc.

The stand-out performer in the Singapore group was Andrew Chia.

He was outstanding & I knew immediately that I wanted him in our HumanWare team.

So after a number of discussions in various parts of the world, he agreed to move to Sydney & is now completing his product training at our Baulkham Hills office.


Following is his story:

Picture of Andrew Chia"My move to HumanWare just proved how exciting life can be.

My education in Singapore was varied. A Diploma in Mechanical Engineering was my first professional certificate - but I soon discovered that dealing with machines instead of people, was not my cup of tea. Then I joined a hospital and was fortunate to get exposure to healthcare while working as a Prosthetic Technician. I then proceeded to earn myself a scholarship from Singapore General Hospital to study Occupational Therapy.

My first three years as an Occupational Therapist in the hospital exposed me to a vast variety of conditions and people, and also experiences in managing therapists and services. I went on to discover a niche area for myself in Assistive Technology; applying my learning to practice when I moved to the Society for the Physically Disabled about 2 years ago. And that was how I came to know HumanWare.

It's never easy to leave your family & country of birth, but the specialization and opportunities presented by HumanWare erased all fear and uncertainties.

My roles now in HumanWare include sales related activities, arranging international freight to Asia and learning the day to day operations of the company. For the near future, I aim to be proficient in all company products and I hope to be a valued resource for clients with multiple disabilities."





HumanWare is pleased to announce the release of the new Stream 3.0 software. Stream 3.0 is a major release with exciting new features and numerous usability improvements. New features include:

  • Optional multi-level bookshelf navigation for Other Books, Podcasts, and Text. Now you can optionally organize these bookshelves into multiple levels of folders and navigate at those levels.
  • Optional multi-level folder navigation within Music files. For example, now you could choose to organize your music by levels such as genre, artist, and album and navigate at those levels to more quickly find your desired music.
  • Further you can now instantly create temporary playlists of a subset of your music collection and limit Random play to only that portion of your music.
  • Text Search. Now you can enter words to search for in your text files or text portion of DAISY books.
  • A new Bookmark alert feature can be enabled to notify you when you pass over a previously bookmarked position during playback. It will even automatically announce your audio bookmarks.
  • Two text-to-speech voices. The English versions will now include both a male and female text-to-speech voice.
  • Optional voice label for your SD cards


Usability Improvements:

  • A 30 minute Time Jump choice has been added
  • Single hotkey (#9) to toggle music random play on or off
  • Book title is included in the delete confirmation prompt. Also, after deletion, the next book on the bookshelf is announced.
  • Press key 4 in music to repeat the current song
  • Go To Percent added to Other Books and Podcasts
  • Automatic removal of the UPG file after the software upgrade.

Please see the Release Notes for full details on the new features and instructions on how to use them.

Both the software and Release Notes can be downloaded from the Stream support page at:

Select the Software link on that page. You will find the Release Notes at the top and the English 3.0 software download links. You can choose from two English versions one with Samantha + Tom text-to-speech voices and another with Samantha + Daniel (UK) voices. You can upgrade to version 3 from any prior Stream version. To install the new software, follow these steps:

  • Download the software zip file
  • Unzip the single UPG upgrade file from the zip file. You do not need special unzip software. Simply press Enter to open the zip file and you can then select the UPG file.
  • Copy this UPG file to the root of your Stream SD card.
  • Disconnect the Stream from the computer, connect it to AC power and turn it on.
  • The Stream will automatically start the update process which takes about 2 minutes during which time it will announce intermittent "please Wait" messages. The Stream will power off when the new software is installed.

After the new software is installed, an html Release Notes document will also be available in a HumanWare sub-folder of your Text Bookshelf so you may read the Release Notes with your Stream. The html version allows you to navigate the Release Notes section by section using the 2/8 keys to select the level and keys 4 and 6 to move between sections.

HumanWare values your continued support of the Victor Reader Stream. We remain committed to our customers to make the Stream the most powerful, flexible, and enjoyable product used for listening to digital talking books, computer files, and music.



ZoomText 9.18 Now Available!

ZoomTextThe newest version of ZoomText v9.18 has arrived. Here's a recap of what's included... For starters, we've given ZoomText a major tune-up that provides improved performance across the board. Next, we've added a cool new feature called Smooth Panning that allows you to comfortably navigate through your applications without all that abrupt jumping around in the magnified view. A UK user writes, "I have been using your product for several years, but the best thing that you have ever done is to introduce smooth panning in 9.18. I am not exaggerating when I say that it has revolutionized my use of ZoomText. I now know where I am at all times!

But there's more:

ZoomText Scripting is now included in every license of ZoomText. Now you can automate tasks in ZoomText and most applications, allowing you to work faster than ever before. To learn more, go to

There is also added support for Windows Vista 64-bit edition, which is rapidly becoming the standard on new laptops and desktops.

Already own ZoomText 9.1? If so, just go to: to download the free update!

Still using ZoomText 9.0 or earlier? No problem. Low cost upgrades start at just A$185 for ZoomText Magnifier and A$255 for ZoomText Magnifier/Reader. To place your order, contact us at HumanWare.



Also from "Fitzy"

A little girl was talking to her uncle & said that if she was Prime Minister, she would give food & houses to all the homeless people.

"Wow, what a worthy goal" he said. "But you don't have to wait until your Prime Minister to do that. You can come over to my house & mow the lawn, pull up the weeds, sweep my patio, and I'll pay you $50". Then I'll take you over to Coles where a homeless chap hangs out & you can give him the $50 towards food & a new house."

She thought that over for a few seconds, then looked me straight in the eye & asked "why doesn't the homeless man come over & do the work & you can pay him the $50?"

The uncle replied "welcome to the Liberal Party!!"




Proficiency Certificates with the BrailleNote mPower BrailleNote

We would like to invite you to receive an official recognition for developing knowledge and skills in our BrailleNote devices.

HumanWare now offers a certificate to acknowledge your proficiency in conducting high quality, accurate demonstrations with BrailleNote. If you are working in an education, consultancy or support role with existing or prospective BrailleNote users, you are sure to want to improve your knowledge and skills in the functionality and features of this great device. Gain confidence to demonstrate the BrailleNote's possibilities to your colleagues, users and clients.

Here's how to achieve that aim.

We want to support you in your professional development and encourage you to qualify for the BrailleNote Demonstration Proficiency Certificate. (BDPC).

This special Certificate is awarded when you can show that you have the knowledge, skills and experience to:

  1. Perform a high quality BrailleNote demonstration, and;
  2. Explain features and benefits of BN & KeySoft in a clear, positive and accurate light;

What does the process entail?

A HumanWare staff member (Maurice, Sam or Ramona), will provide, free of charge, all necessary training and support to assist you to develop the required skills and knowledge. Then we organise an assessment time and observe your demonstration to a potential user - following which the Certificate is awarded (or we give you more support and training before you try again).

It's not hard or scary.

Previous successful BDPC applicants have commented on how much they enjoyed the learning process & the sense of fulfilment they felt.

Phone us now to arrange your application.




KeySoft 8 - at the Cutting Edge of Communication

KeySoft 8 has been eagerly anticipated by BrailleNote mPower and PK users. It offers the latest in chat capabilities, support for books, support for NIMAS books, direct access to the new web site, greatly enhanced HP printer support, a free 90-day test drive of the widely acclaimed GPS package, and more.

If you would like to listen to an audio file of a presentation on KeySoft 8.0, please go to:

The file is in MP3 format and can be streamed or downloaded for later listening. It goes for 65 minutes.




HumanWare and ReadHowYouWant working together

Read How You Want Logo

HumanWare and digital publishing innovator "ReadHowYouWant" are partnering to help vision impaired readers discover the book reading device, and the format that's right for their read

ing needs. ReadHowYouWant offers thousands of books in accessible formats, including 24 pt. large print, Braille, and DAISY files at  

HumanWare invites all readers to take a look at the selection of books on offer. Reading should always be an enjoyable experience, so we hope that our customers will regularly visit our new website to check out new DAISY book releases.

Readers can now go to the HumanWare website to download free, the first chapter of 20 bestselling ReadHowYouWant titles each month as part of the "Free Chapter Download Program." The free, first chapters come from popular books from a variety of well-known publishers of adult and young adult books. After enjoying the complimentary first chapter, readers may visit ReadHowYouWant's website at  to purchase the entire file.

ReadHowYouWant produces Grade 2 contracted Braille files, and has developed a house style that supports automated transcription while maintaining accuracy. These files may be read with a refreshable electronic Braille display such as the HumanWare BrailleNote or Brailliant or embossed to make traditional Braille books. Words are not split at line ends - making reading easier, particularly for newer Braille readers.

After more than four years of testing, ReadHowYouWant has successfully developed award-winning conversion technology that reformats existing books into the widest selection of on-demand, alternative format editions on the market today. Each edition has been optimized for maximum readability. The company's goals are to make reading easier and more enjoyable by delivering formats that suit the reader and to give people with reading difficulties access to books in the formats of their choice-at an affordable price, as soon as the book is published.

Speak to Maurice, Santa, Sam or Ramona to find out more.



One liners:

I had a chuckle at the following. Hope you like them to:

  • It's easier to get older than it is to get wiser
  • My wife and I had words, but I didn't get to use mine.
  • My wild oats have turned into prunes and All Bran.
  • "Old" is when an "all nighter" means not getting up to pee.
  • I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger.....and then it hit me.
  • Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
  • When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.
  • If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.




banner Take the Teacher Home


These days, having a vision impairment need not limit the opportunity to link up with friends via email, or to pursue lifetime ambitions with the help of the internet.

 Box of Take the Teacher Home

Have you had the urge to use a computer but feel it's all too hard, and confusing? Well, there is now a solution that makes it easy and fun.

With ‘Take the Teacher Home' the easy computer learning course; you'll be using email and the internet even if you haven't used a computer before! The really big difference between ‘Take the Teacher Home' teaching method and trying to learn from a book is that

the computer lesson discs slip into your computer so each lesson appears on your screen while you listen to your teacher explain exactly what to do and where to go with your mouse pointer.

There are frequent pauses, so you can rewind the action you want to see again and then practise each sequence yourself.

Every now and then amusing animated cartoons and funny sound effects emphasise important points that make learning email and the internet a fun and stress fee experience.

There are three learning courses -

  1. The beginners guide to Microsoft XP (6 disc set)
  2. Introduction to Vista (4 disc set)
  3. The internet and email (6 disc set)

With ‘Take the Teacher Home' you'll learn to use your computer in a relaxed and enjoyable way, feeling more and more confident as you discover how easy computers are to use. Soon, you'll be enjoying the accomplishment of using a computer to explore the internet with all the experiences and information it offers. Best of all, you will have achieved another major goal that so many others never get to accomplish.

So go for it, and amaze everyone how quickly and confidently you have become with your computer.

Now that you have completed ‘Take the Teacher Home' and are confident with emailing and using the internet, how do you make everything bigger on the screen?

Picture of a ZoomText Box Easy to See. Easy to Hear. Easy to Use. That's ZoomText - ZoomText Magnifier enlarges and enhances everything on your computer screen, making all of your applications easy to see and use. ZoomText displays crystal clear text at all magnification levels. Once you've seen it, no other screen magnifier will do. Or if you wish, try ZoomText Magnifier/Reader; See and hear what you're doing in all of your applications, and give your eyes a rest while ZoomText reads your documents, web pages and email - right through your computer's speakers. With ZoomText Magnifier/Reader, your computer is easier to see, hear, and use. In Australia, speak to Phil Hazell on (02) 9686 2600 to arrange your (no cost) information pack on ‘Take the Teacher Home' and ‘ZoomText'. We'll have you emailing and on the internet in no time.






SmartView 3000 Video Magnifier for sale (CCTV).

Purchased new in June 2006 for $3,600 but will sell for $1,499 ONO.

Excellent condition, super reliable, 19-inch screen, manual focus with magnification up to 30 times.

Has fourteen different background and foreground colours to lesson fatigue and make reading easy.

Contact Jayson on 0412 510 214




  Picture of Ron Hathaway

Thanks for joining us for this issue of the HumanWare newsletter TechStyle.

We look forward to your company

again for the Summer edition.

Ron Hathaway


Phone: (02) 9686 2600

11 Mary Muller Drive
P O Box 3044
New Zealand
Phone +64 3 384 4555
Fax +64 3 384 4933