Dolphin Newsletter - October 2005
- From Steve Palmer and Noel Duffy.
- Pocket Hal in final stages of testing.
- Dolphin Tutor - reading and writing made easy.
- New Maps released.
- What's happening in Development - from John Rye.
- What's happening in Sales - from Steve Bennett.
- Staff News.
The Dolphin Pen has now been around for a while and we are really pleased to see the way people have reacted to it. In the US for example, Dolphin's profile and sales have risen exponentially this year, thanks in no small part to the excitement generated by the Pen. US universities, in particular, have been keen to use the Dolphin Pen, with Supernova on board. The Pen is distributed to the students, who can use their Dolphin access software, containing their favourite settings, anywhere on campus.
For those who don't yet know, the Dolphin Pen is a USB memory device that contains your access software, whether that be Supernova, Hal or Lunar. The Dolphin Pen is therefore very small and portable and gives you the freedom and flexibility to carry it around with you and run your software on any compatible PC. Some set-up is required on completely new machines, but full instructions are given and backed by our marketing campaign, more and more institutions and organisations are making their public machines 'Dolphin Pen Friendly'.
Following the success of the product, we are pleased to announce that it has been nominated for a British Chamber of Commerce award for Innovation In Technology (the winners will be announced on 24 th November). So expect to hear more about how Dolphin is setting the trend with portable access solutions.
I am sure that you have all been following the developments of Dolphin's latest Pocket Hal screen reader with interest.
Pocket Hal is a full screen reader, based upon the desk top edition of Dolphin's Hal screen reader. Pocket Hal offers users full speech support, as well as Braille support for the PDAs. This allows blind and low-vision users to access the same mainstream technology as that enjoyed by fully sighted users. Pocket Hal users will be able to access a word processor or spreadsheet, send and receive email or check their schedules on a calendar whilst away from the home or office and on the move. Pocket Hal gives access to Pocket Word®, Pocket Excel®, Pocket Outlook® and Pocket Internet Explorer®, as well as many other applications including MSN and phone services.
Recently reviewed within AccessIT, Pocket Hal is currently in the final stages of beta testing and will be formally released next month. When released, Dolphin and Dolphin dealers will be offering a range of PDA packages and Bluetooth devices for customers and incentives to existing Dolphin customers. In preparation for the release of Pocket Hal, over the last few weeks Dolphin has been pleased to welcome many dealers to their Worcester offices for product training.
Due to be launched in October, Dolphin's first Education product to be available will be Dolphin Tutor. Dolphin Tutor has been designed to help people with reading and writing difficulties to create, read, view and check text. It works by adding a simple easy to read toolbar to your common Microsoft™ applications, such as Word®, Excel® and Internet Explorer.
The latest set of new and updated maps for versions 6.01, 6.02, 6.50 and 6.51 software are now available via the Internet Updater. They can also be obtained from the Dolphin website.
2 new maps are available for update from the Internet updater this month. These include:
- MSN Messenger 7 v1.001
- MSAA Application v2
Extensive testing of the release candidates of Pocket Hal, the screen reader for PDAs running Windows mobile, are drawing to a close. It now incorporates many more 'maps', the component that helps pocket Hal make more applications accessible. Pocket Hal will be the first screen-reader for off-the-shelf PDAs that supports Bluetooth and plug-in Braille input and output devices as well as Bluetooth or plug-in keyboards.
The updated and improved easy to use Cicero OCR package is at last entering its beta test stage. Recognition accuracy is greatly improved over earlier versions of Cicero.
Dolphin Pronouncer, Dolphin's own natural sounding speech synthesiser, is now available with a Swedish voice, Anders. This will be incorporated into the next release of Dolphin Pronouncer. Reduced file size options of all voices are becoming available for Windows Mobile applications, giving a greater range of voice options for Pocket Hal. Dutch voices will be the next in development for Dolphin Pronouncer.
The new UK Grade 2 Braille standards are being incorporated into all Dolphin Products that support Grade 2 Braille. Changes to the existing rules are complete and new systems, for instance, capitalisation, are being implemented.
The intrepid "Dolphin Dave" Salisbury has just completed a grand tour of Ireland, where he met over 1000 people interested in learning more about technology for people with visual impairments. The touring exhibition included 12 companies and was organised by the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI). The tour took in Cork, Limerick, Galway and Sligo, culminating with 2 days in Dublin and was hailed a great success. Dave is often out and about around the UK - call the office to find out which events are happening in your area, or consult the "News & Events" page on the Dolphin website.
Elsewhere around the UK we're pleased to report that Swansea University has joined the growing number of organisations to become "Pen Friendly". Network administrators downloaded the free "Go" pack from Dolphin's website and have made it available across all 3500 computers on campus. This means that students and lecturers using a Dolphin pen can plug it in to any computer on campus, and have their copy of Supernova, Hal, LunarPlus or Lunar start up automatically, with their preferred settings with no need for any additional installation or configuration.
Overseas, Dolphin staff will be attending the TifloInnova conference and exhibition in Spain next month. TifloInnova is hosted by ONCE, the national organisation for the blind in Spain, and will take place in Madrid November 18th - 20th. All Dolphin's products are available in Spanish, as well as 15 other languages. During the conference, Dolphin will take part in a round table discussion on access technology for PDAs and demonstrate the upcoming Pocket Hal for PDAs.
Special Needs 2005
Dolphin will also be exhibiting at the forthcoming NASEN and TES Special Needs 2005, which will be held on 21st - 22nd October at The Business Design Centre, Islington, London. Entry to the show is free and the opening times are 10am - 5pm daily.
If you are planning to attend the show, please drop by and speak to the Dolphin team.
Macular Disease Society Conference 2005
Dolphin will also be exhibiting at the forthcoming Macular Disease Society Conference, which will be held on 29 October at the Holiday Inn, Birmingham.
This year's Working Age Members (WAM) conference will address Low Vision and includes talks on improving your residual sight, low vision aids, defeating glare, eccentric reading and finally a consultant ophthalmologist will be telling you of the latest developments with macular degeneration. There will also be a range of exhibitors of low vision aids and services for visually impaired people.
Tickets are £10, including a packed lunch and are available from either the Macular Disease Society's Andover office or by phone (01264 350551)
Dolphin is pleased to announce the arrival of another 2 new members of staff. Ben Ellwood joins the Operations Department, as the Software Production Co-ordinator and Charlotte Hatton-Smith joins the Sales team.
Dolphin is also sorry to say good bye to 2 members of staff this month. Sally Garbett has decided to leave the Sales team to further her education at university and Stuart Barker, the Product Manager for Access products, has decided to further his career outside of Dolphin. Stuart has been part of the Marketing team, based at the Worcester offices, for nearly 6 years. Everyone at Dolphin wishes Stuart and Sally well in their new careers.