From Sheila Styron,
President, Guide Dog Users Inc.
For me, the most positive aspect of my blindness has always been the dignity, safety and freedom of mobility working with a guide dog provides. But that was before Trekker.
I didn’t hear about Trekker when it first came out, but by the summer of 2004, it was definitely on my radar scope, and after ordering Trekker at the ACB convention, I could hardly wait for this exciting technological life improving device to arrive in the mail.
Trekker allowed me to move halfway across the United States and in combination with my guide dog, discover and learn a whole new city, much more quickly and independently than I would have thought possible previously.
As a totally blind individual, I occasionally need to ask some questions when traveling, but with Trekker, I can always figure out where I am and never have to fear becoming truly lost anywhere.
Whether exploring my own neighborhood, where the street layout is quite irregular to say the least, or striking out in a strange city on business with my guide dog, Trekker is now an integral part of my life, and I can’t imagine ever going anywhere without it.
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
From: Lawrence Euteneier
Senior Policy Advisor, Business Financing Policy, Industry Canada
As a manager with the federal government, I've waited a long time for a tool that could meet my daily operational requirements. From micro-cassettes to digital assistants, I've tried them all, including the PACMate. Nothing comes close to the new Maestro and Trekker. These technologies have excited me like no other have since I acquired my first talking laptop computer in 1989.
The two things that stand out the most as ground-breaking in intuitive design and usability are the ergonomic keypad and the user interfaces. Everything is laid out using common MS key strokes and tactile key designs that just make sense. And when you select an application, the commands are simple and intuitive from one application to another—and they all perform rock-solidly.
I've personally witnessed Visuaide, now Humanware Canada, develop their user-centred design over the past dozen years, and they have hit the nail bang on with this one. There's nothing else out there that comes close to the performance of the Maestro/Trekker package.
Within the first week of receiving the device, it was integrated into my daily personal and professional life. I carry it everywhere, and it looks darn good too. The packaging is first rate and simply says "quality". If the last set of upgrades are anything to go by, the next release of Maestro/Trekker will no doubt place this technology even further ahead of its competition.
Most important for me is that the Maestro/Trekker bundle is technology that's useful, convenient and reliable. The great thing is that not only do I now have a tool that levels the playing field, it gives me a competitive advantage.
Senior Policy Advisor, Business Financing Policy,
From: Alan Paganelli
I have truthfully lost count of the people who have written to me to say how much their Trekkers have meant in their lives. I certainly am no salesmen and never professed to be one either. The Maestro with trekker option doesn't need one. It sells it's self. I only tell people about it.
I believe that just as the lap-top computer is replacing the desk-top computer, the PDA will eventually replace the lap-top as the computer of choice for both sighted and blind users. This was the biggest reason why I told the people at Leader Dogs for the Blind when Andre showed the Trekker to me last August here in Las Vegas that I wanted to get in on the ground floor.
As the cell phone, and the computer converge with the PDA and as wireless systems continue to grow, the world stands poised on the brink of a massive explosion the world has never seen. I believe the tip of the iceberg has only been seen. This is why I'm so excited about helping. I believe with all my heart that between the GPS and the Maestro with it's continuing list of useful programs that HumanWare will lead the pack as the leader. I think that at some point down the road that the stand alone version will be fazed out because the Maestro can do it all.
As a blind person, and as a man, I think this is the way I can make a difference in the world. Changing the lives of others has to be one of the greatest things we can do. By the time my friend Jeff left here, he was already thinking of ways Maestro could change his life and this was from a man who has no computer and didn't think he needed one.
He now knows the reverse is true. He wanted to get assistance with home living skills but has decided now that he needs a Trekker first. "I can't go for training in cooking if I can't even find the place" he told me and this only after being taken on a few walks. That's amazing I think.
From: Tracy Lloyd, U.K.
I want to let those involved with the development of the Bluetooth Trekker know how very pleased I am with the product.
I've found the new Bluetooth Trekker absolutely marvellous, and I've only had it for a few days now! It's so very stable, and does really well with acquiring a GPS signal very quickly. It's also done really well on my bus travels, and has hardly lost coverage at all.
I've upgraded from the 3950, so I'm totally amazed at how things have moved on in respect of the keyboard input and the PDA itself. Whoever thought of the idea to put those nice buttons on the overlay on the screen should be congratulated, it's quite ingenious, and has made inputting data and general usability just so much better than with the 3950.
Once again, many thanks for such a great product, and keep up the good work!
From: Doug Wakefield,
Information Technology Accessibility Specialist
My wife and I love to walk and to try different routes, but we don't have talking signs here, and in the suburbs it’s not always easy to find another pedestrian to tell you what street you're on. With Trekker we never get lost. So we go exploring in areas we probably wouldn't otherwise. My wife says it's like having your own talking signs.
You always know where you are. That means you have one less thing to worry about. Yet, it's non-intrusive. It talks to you but you're not required to answer back.
With the off-line browsing feature, I can virtually tour an area before travelling it. If I'm going to run into an intersection with seven different streets, I want to know about it beforehand. Trekker lets me plan my route in advance.
I love it, pure and simple… I don't usually get this high on a product, but Trekker really deserves it. It's tremendous!
Information Technology Accessibility Specialist
From: Andre Dubois,
Before I leave on a trip, I download the map for my destination city from the HumanWare web site. Then, once I'm comfortably settled on the plane, I can start exploring the city using the "Browsing Offline" mode.
Trekker points out attractions near my hotel - restaurants, stores, museums, and so on. I can save talking notes about points of interest - for example, a reminder about a restaurant someone really liked.
Evenings before business appointments, I often have a little free time to explore the city with my Trekker. Once I'm on the sidewalk, cane in hand, the magic of GPS goes to work. As I walk along, Trekker tells me about points of interest on the way, and the name of streets and intersections.
I no longer have to stop people to ask where such-and-such a place is. Using the Where Am I feature, I can find out my position at any time, the name of the street I'm on, and the approximate address.
In the morning, I check my Trekker to learn the route to my appointments. With the help of instructions obtained beforehand, I visualize my route in "Browsing Offline" mode. It's like using a talking map.
Once I leave the hotel, my Trekker tells me how many streets I still have to cross before the intersection where I need to turn right. If I try to turn onto a dead end, Trekker says 'Can't go that way.'
HumanWare's Trekker has truly revolutionized my travel independence - around town and on the road.