Welcome to the Winter edition of our HumanWare client newsletter, “TechStyle”.

This is Issue 57 dated May 2010.

If you know anyone who doesn’t receive this TechStyle newsletter & may not have advised us their email address – please send their particulars on to us. Or call us now in Sydney on (02) 9686 2600.
In this edition we have reports on:



BrailleNote Apex – Personal Productivity Tool

The lightest, sleekest, sexiest BrailleNote yet.
The BrailleNote Apex offers outstanding stereo sound capabilities for playing back recordings, listening to audio books, news, your favourite music or Internet radio programmes.

And the new 18 cell model of Apex has now also been released in both the braille & qwerty keyboard versions. Pricing is just $5,890!! 

Check these features:
Powerful KeySoft applications for dynamic real-time communications;
A new Windows CE 6 operating system & extensive connectivity;
Enhanced support for large documents and media files;
Plug & play visual display & a convenient user-replaceable battery;
Integrated real-time clock maintains time & date for 30 days without battery power.

The Apex ensures that you stay connected wherever you go:
*  Built-in options are at your fingertips to access Web pages, download e-mails or retrieve files from your wireless or Ethernet network.
*  Enjoy the convenience of wireless accessories and connectivity to keyboards, a wireless earphone or your mobile phone using the improved Bluetooth manager.
*  Printers, embossers, hard drives, flash drives and more, it's a snap to connect to one of the three available USB ports.

Apex looks & feels Great
*  Designed for maximum comfort during extended reading & writing tasks.
*  Comfortable full-size Braille or qwerty (computer style) keyboard makes notetaking quick and easy.
*  Thumb keys make extensive reading a real pleasure.

Inside Apex
*  8GB of internal memory & various portable storage options, including support for high-capacity SDHC cards.
*  Easy-to-use menu system enables quick review of applications & settings. Shortcut commands allow instant access to any desired feature.
*  Context-sensitive "help" is always available if you forget a command. One-key touch accesses the Main Menu and Online Help.
*  Record lectures, class notes & memos, then instantly play them back from anywhere in KeySoft with a single key press.
*  Listen in stereo to MP3, WAV & Windows Media files Plus a number of other formats. Create playlists, enjoy Internet radio or music while reading, e-mailing or surfing the web.
*  Communicate in real time with colleagues, friends and family using state-of-the- art instant messaging (IM) services.

It’s great. It’s what we asked our Development Team for. It’s the biggest research job ever undertaken at HumanWare - but the wait was worth it. Check out all the specs at:



“Blind adrenalin junkie jumps from plane”

These were the headlines in the Wollongong (south of Sydney) Mercury  local newspaper in January, 2010.
They referred to our very own Sam Taylor going skydiving!!
Read on:
Sam Taylor will never see for himself the splendour of Wollongong's coast from 4270m, but all his other senses went into overdrive when he hit the giddy heights yesterday.
The 27-year-old Baulkham Hills adrenalin junkie, who is totally blind, was all ears at his first skydive yesterday.
"That was just one of the best things I've ever done," Mr Taylor told the Mercury within moments of his picture-perfect landing with tandem master Kip Frost on the sand bordering North Wollongong's Stuart Park.
"The wind is just going insane, and then there was a point there where I couldn't hear anything that was going on. Nothing audible.
But I actually felt pretty safe."
Mr Taylor, who was born with the rare degenerative eye disease Leber's Congenital Amauros, relies on a cane and sonar technology to get around, but says it hasn't stopped him from doing much, including parasailing.
"There are a lot of other adrenaline sports I'd like to do," the technology sales consultant for Humanware Australia said.
"It's what I do on weekends."
Top of his list of adrenaline sports to try in future is bungie jumping and paragliding ... or perhaps a second skydive, this time with brother Adam.
"It was a sensation I would very much like to repeat," Mr Taylor said.

Editors note: somehow I don’t think we are giving Sam enough challenges at work!!



SmartView Synergy – desktop video magnifier

We apologise.
We know we disappointed many people who were forced to wait patiently for their own Synergy.
Supplies during the first few months were completely overwhelmed by world-wide demand.
We knew this unit would be popular. But we didn’t realise quite how popular it would be in all our markets.

The Synergy was designed in close co-operation with the RNIB (the world’s largest & most progressive blindness agency, headquartered in the UK).

smartview synergy

SmartView Synergy addresses the wishes of their thousands of Low Vision clients who said they wanted to be able to:
*  Enjoy reading - a good book, the latest magazine, or today's newspaper.
*  Stay healthy - by ensuring medicine is taken correctly with instructions viewed at a size you can read.
*  Keep the brain active - by doing crosswords and Sudoku.
*  Relax - enjoying that long-time hobby you had to put aside.
*  Keep up with Grandchildren - by viewing their latest photos.
*  Read cookbooks while preparing meals.
*  Verifying bank and investment statements. 

They said they must have:

Simple controls that are always within reach & are easy to use.
They must be intuitive & conveniently located right under the display. Just one button press to quickly change from showing the image in full colour to viewing text in an enhanced contrast mode.
Precise zoom control to adjust the magnification in defined steps to best match our needs.

Uncompromised Image that displays a high quality image irrespective of the material being viewed.
Whether reading a magazine with one of the 16 enhanced contrast modes, looking at a colour picture, checking the ingredients of a can of soup or cutting your finger nails …. the image must be of superior clarity.
Choice of monitor sizes with no distortion - a 19" flat LCD monitor, a 22" widescreen or use with our own monitor or TV.

Smooth Reading
A reading table that provides smooth quiet movement in all directions.
A simple, easy to use brake to lock the table in place in any location. The ability to add additional friction to table movements, to help in following text from one line to the next.

And we delivered it all with SmartView Synergy.
Check it out at: http://www.humanware.com/en-australia/products/low_vision/desktop_portable_magnifiers



Intel Reader Preview

How would you like a truly portable device that converts text to speech?

intel reader

It’s coming soon and will be launched at the “Spectronics Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference” in late May.

We can’t release all the details yet, but here are a few ‘titbits’ to wet your appetite!

  • enhances independence for people with visual impairments, blindness, or  reading-based learning disabilities
  • provides convenient and flexible access to a variety of printed materials
  • converts printed text to digital text, then reads it aloud
  • weighs just over a half kilogram, and about the size of a paperback book
  • provides all the power of a bulky PC and scanner in a convenient size for work, school, home
  • makes it easy to read signs, product labels, concert programs, guidebooks and other text on the go
  • earphones allow private listening, clearly and discretely, without disturbing others
  • can store and play back a wide choice of content including MP3, DAISY* books and even text transferred from a PC, as well as MP3 or WAV music files
  • even transfer files to the new BrailleNote Apex
  • users can play back content with lifelike voices, selecting gender, pitch, and speed to suit their personal preferences

You’ll be able to

  • gain more freedom with the ability to read printed materials anytime, anywhere
  • enjoy greater flexibility, using the device to access a wide variety of printed materials, and to read and manage content in the ways that are most convenient for you
  • gain independence, privacy and confidence by handling reading tasks for yourself, without having to wait for assistance
  • increase your productivity and achieve more with fast, efficient access to your printed information you need at work or school, and in your daily life

Contact HumanWare from the 31st May for all the details.



VR Stream Update

victor reader stream

We are pleased to confirm the release of new Stream 3.1 software.
Stream 3.1 is a free software release that responds to requests from Stream customers. New features include:

  • Multi-level Talking Books bookshelf. The ability to create nested folders on the Other Books, Podcast, and Text File bookshelves introduced in version 3.0 has been extended to include the Talking Books bookshelf. You can now optionally create nested folders within the $VRDTB bookshelf folder and navigate the structure while browsing the Talking Books bookshelf.
  • The popular percentage announcement on the Where Am I key that informs you how much of the book you have listened to - has been extended to Talking Books and Audible books.
  • When you set a start position for a Highlight bookmark the End position can now be set with a single key press of the Bookmark key.
  • Two shortcuts to reach the start or end of a book.
  • When you press Cancel to end a recording the Stream will now ask you to confirm. This prevents stopping a recording accidentally.
  • Stream 3.1 will allow you to copy DAISY books from USB flash media such as flash memory sticks or the NLS cartridges used by the NLS library in the USA and the AFWA library in Western Australia.
  • Stream 3.1 also includes several bug fixes.

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 of the English 3.1 software download links.

We remain committed to making the Stream the most powerful, flexible, and enjoyable product used for listening to digital talking books, computer files, and music.

Light hearted relief:        (with thanks again to Peter Fitzsimmons)
One day in heaven, Jesus’s secretary said: “Sir, I think you have been working far too hard lately. You need to get out & meet the people.”

Jesus agrees, closes his books & goes for a walk down the streets of gold. Presently, from a side street he hears the sound of sawing & sees an old bearded carpenter in his workshop.

“Sir”, Jesus says, “Why do you labour so? This is heaven & your days of hard labour are behind you.”

The old man, his face dripping with sweat, replies: “I had a son on earth whose birth was a miracle. I haven’t seen him since he died. He knew I loved working with wood & I thought if I made enough noise, he might hear it & find me.”

A look of stunned realization comes upon Jesus’s face. The carpenter see’s it & stops sawing. As he gazes at Jesus, his eyes begin to mist up & their eyes lock.

Jesus says simply “Father.”

The old man says, “Pinocchio?”




GPS solutions from HumanWare are designed to enhance outdoor orientation and travel. Easy, intuitive and affordable, Breeze offers these benefits in an all-in-one hand size device.

Designed to meet the needs of users who are vision impaired, the Breeze is also a great aid for teaching mobility.

Stay tuned as we continue further development and bring other popular GPS features to the Trekker Breeze in future releases.


Extended search for Points of Interest:
The “What's around" function allows an initial search on the current road segment or within a range of 100 metres in open area. The user can select one of the ten following category groups. The search will announce the 50 closest POIs/landmarks within a distance of 8 kilometers:

a) Landmarks
b) Transportation
c) Food
d) Banking
e) Health
f) Shopping
g) Lodging
h) Education
i) Automotive
j) All categories

When walking or traveling by vehicle, you can now find and receive turn-by-turn instructions to restaurants, shops, pharmacies and many other useful points of interest.

Navigate in full comfort
The new generation Text-to-Speech is amazingly clear and louder. New voices are now available in many languages.

More reliable and accurate positioning
When walking in urban areas, your position and location is more precise. The system also announces more quickly any changes in your travel direction.
Both the software and Release Notes can be downloaded from our web site at: http://www.humanware.com/breeze_support .


Taxiing down the tarmac, a DC-10 abruptly stopped, turned around and
returned to the gate. After an hour-long wait, it finally took off. A
concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, "What, exactly, was the
problem?" "The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine,"
explained the flight attendant. "It took us a while to find a new pilot."




MyDreamClassroom.com addresses the needs of educators working with print-disabled students.

This new interactive tool from HumanWare has been designed to help educators discover different solutions for students who are blind, have low vision or learning disabilities. It will also help them find out how assistive technologies can increase their students' learning independence.

This website shows classrooms where various assistive tools are found on students' desks. By simply clicking on the item of interest, the users can learn about each product, its interactions with other tools, and available sources of content. An entire section of the classroom is dedicated to the various providers of accessible talking books supported by the featured devices.

Educators can now select one of three school levels: primary, high school and university. You can also select different categories of technological aids within the same class (blindness, low vision, learning disabilities). The "My Wish List" option allows users to create an online list of assistive tools they would like in their own classrooms. This wish list facilitates the purchasing process when acquiring the products.

The website also features useful sections such as the Resource Center where you can find additional information, including training material, workshops & instructional webinars.

The mydreamclassroom.com website is an initiative undertaken by a group of manufacturers of technological aids that includes HumanWare, Intel & ViewPlus, as well as providers of accessible content such as Audible.com, Bookshare, Don Johnston, Read How You Want and Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.

To try this totally FREE new interactive tool, visit: www.mydreamclassroom.com   




Smartview Xtend colour complete with 17” screen. Only 3 years old. Price asking $2,995 o.n.o. Phone Mrs Kane on (07) 3861 4503 or Mobile 0400 549 683.

SmartView Xtend Colour CCTV with 20" Monitor. Asking $3,000.  Please call Alan Rosser of Toowoomba on (07) 3633 3445.
Smartview 5000 Colour complete with 19" monitor in excellent condition. Originally purchased for $5000
Asking price only $3,000 o.n.o.      Contact Melanie 0414 959 176.

SmartView 3000 black & white Video Magnifier. As new condition. Asking $2,000 o.n.o. Located Miranda area of Sydney.
Please call (02) 95267708 or 0407234167

SmartView 3000 black & white CCTV. Good condition in central coast location. Asking only $1,000 O.N.O.
Please call Carol Bartlett on 0410 122 650.

BrailleConnect 12 braille display. BC12 is used as a Bluetooth Braille Display for mobile phone, PDA or a mini Bluetooth display for computer. Asking price is $2,300 O.N.O. Call Mark on 0412 298 630.




 Ron, Phil, Luke, Andrew, Sam 
  Linda Walker
 Suhardi & Mimi 
  HumanWare Aust (Qld)
 HumanWare Australia
  7 Gunadoo Street
 Suite 2,   7-11 Railway St.
  Thornlands  QLD  4164
 Baulkham Hills  NSW  2153 
  Mobile Phone: 0422 453 123
 Phone:    (02) 9686 2600  E: linda.walker@humanware.com
 Fax:    (02) 9686 2855  
 Email: au.sales@humanware.com  

 Internet: www.humanware.com

VIC. OFFICE – Blindness
Ramona Mandy               
HumanWare Australia,
27 Palmer Street,    South Melbourne VIC 3205
Phone: (03) 9686 2601
Mobile Phone: 0404 834 924
Email: ramona.mandy@humanware.com

 Jim Pipczak  Rebecca Clark
 Vision Aust. Equipment Solutions  Assocn. for Blind of WA
 346 Macaulay Road  61 Kitchener Ave.,
 Kensington VIC 3031  Victoria Park W.A. 6100
 Phone:(03) 8378 1243   Phone: (08) 9311 8202
 Email: esprahran@visionaustralia.org  Email: rebecca.clark@guidedogswa.com.au

 Mr Russell Cooper  Tony and Annette Hopper
 Russell Cooper Optometrist  41Ireland street
 160 Bolsover Street  Oonoonba, QLD 4811
 Rockhampton City, QLD 4700  Phone (07)4729 0534
 Ph: 07 4922 6996  Mobile 0417 210 055
 Email: rus24@westnet.com.au  Email: t_hopper@tpg.com.au

Picture of  Ron HathawayThanks for joining us for this issue of HumanWare Australia’s newsletter TechStyle.
We look forward to your company again for the Spring edition.