Accessibility central 
 

Espeak is the latest offering of the open source community. It's a real blessing for the hindi speakers as there is no other synth which is sapi5 compliant and supports hindi. In fact Espeak has support for many western, eastern european and non-european languages. Click the link above in order to download the latest version of espeak and try it yourself. I have been able to read many hindi sites including navbharat times, BBCHindi, DainikJagran etc. It's a great synth with many promises for future. Download the zip file meant for windows and uncompress the file in a temporary folder. run the installer and when asked to choose voices, write hi in one of the 5 edit boxes and click install. now you can choose espeak hi as the voice from the sapi5 options and you are ready to go. just visit any hindi site and see it for yourself. Of course there are many improvements which can be made to Espeak hindi, and we are constantly working towards the goal of developing a good open source sapi5 synth. For Linux users it means we can use the linux in hindi language without any problems.

 

NVDA is an open source screen reader which has seen light hardly 2 months back. yet it is far better and oore functional than many of the free screen readers presently available. What I like most about this screen reader is the ease of use. You don't need to install it. simply uncompress the zip file on your hard drive or USB key and run the executable file. It will start using the default sapi5 synth on your machine which means you can straightaway start working in windows vista using its anna voice.

 

Windows is definitely the most popular OS throughout the world and specially so among the visually impaired users for obvious reasons. I am sorry if it hurts someone. But the fact is that the major screen reader companies like freedom scientific and GWMicro are hobnobbing with Micro soft in order to maximize their own benifits. In my view this is hampering the development of in-built accessibility in windows. Take for example of Narrator, a utility that has been included in windows 2000 and xp and provides limited feedback. Though the product has been around for years, there has been no improvement what so ever in its performance. It still remains a very tardy program which most of the visually impaired people hate to use. Apple has made a commendable effort in this regard. I have had the opportunity of laying my hands on one such machine. I have not used it for more than half an hour and I can say with sincerity that the voice over screen reader that they are working on is a much superior product than that of the micro soft.

I would make an effort here to include most of the screen readers that hold promise for the visually impaired. I would try to include all the OS which have facility of screen readers available. the section would also include my accessibility struggles. Please keep coming back to my accessibility central page from time to time.

I would first start with the screen readers for windows. Please see the links below for more details and also for downloading trial versions of these programs.

Freedom Scientific: makers of jaws screen reader and magic magnifier Jaws is the most popular program of the freedom scientific. It is the uncrowned king of the accessibility world in the sense that the level of accessibility it provides is remarkable. It does work with most of the mainstream programs. It has powerful scripting language which one can use to make it compatible with other programs not included by the company by default.

GWMicro and window-eyes Window-eyes is the second most popular screen reader after jaws. It does not have any scripting language. It instead relies on defining windows on the screen areas to access the information. So If a user wants to have accessibility to a program support for which is not included by GWMicro, he can work with different types of windows that it offers in order to gain access to different areas of the screen.

Screen readers for linux The oralux project This is a talking linux distribution for the visually impaired. One can download the image which is about 500 mb in size and transfer it onto a cd.

This CD can then be used in order to boot the computer into linux.

Download the ubuntu image Ubuntu is a gui linux distribution. ou can burn this image onto a cd and boot your computer with it. But it behaves best when installed. the installation procedure is simple enough. the most tricky part is the partition preparation. I would suggest that one should use utilities like partition magic and create an unallocated area in the hard disk. While installing when it asks for the partition, choose manual partition. The unalocated space would be shown as a separate partition. click new and out of the total disk area in the unalocated space, reduce the size by about 2 gb, select ext3 as the partition type and click add button. Again click new and the 2 gb space would be given to you automatically. select linux file swap system as the partition type. You are ready to go. just follow your windows logic and the instalation takes about 20 minutes on mymachine. This is the method which I have used for installing. there is facility for talking install which did not work on my machine. If you use the method I have described, the accessibility settings would have to be enabled when you run ubuntu for the first time.

Linux screen reader (LSR) home page LSR is a recent entrant in the field of linux. It aims to provide speech and braille access to linux. A screen cast of the product can be found at Screencast of LSR

Jaws scripts for Google talk, yahoo 8 and ventrilo Links to interesting podcasts Back to home page