Dolphin Newsletter - July 2006
- From Noel Duffy.
- Latest News - Pocket Hal
- Website News
- Development & Product News
- NEW – Dolphin Tricks & Tips
- Sales News
- Case Study
- Staff News
Congratulations to Sharon Bowell who wins a copy of Dolphin Tutor for taking part in our recent survey asking for feedback about what you would like to see in future issues of Dolphin News. Thank you to everyone who took part; your feedback is much appreciated and helps us to shape Dolphin News into what you would like to read each month.
It’s here! The Pocket Hal development cycle has been long and exhausting. The development team at Dolphin have repeatedly pointed out that they are working in a very dynamic environment, with new PDA products and applications being released almost weekly. Support for Windows Mobile 5 devices has been successfully introduced since the development began on Pocket Hal. All of the latest PDAs have improved immensely and by necessity the specification for Pocket Hal has evolved. Our design and support team have been managing the beta testing process, which has gone exceptionally well over the past few months. The key thing, they remind us, is we have the best screen reader technology of any of the players on the mobile technology platform. This in turn helps to give us the best productivity solution for people on the move. This seems to be bourn out by the comments of the beta testers and dealers who are delighted with recent products.
Tim, from Nottingham thinks it’s "a fantastic product and definitely allows me to be more effective in my day to day work."
In fact we are now ready to put out the final release candidate and once this is signed off, we are going to market. You can expect a formal release in the UK at Sight Village in Birmingham later this month.
More accessibility for more Mobile devices
Pocket Hal v7 for Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) will be released in English at the forthcoming QAC Sight Village 2006. The main difference between v6.53 and v7 is compatibility with the Windows Mobile 5 operating system.
The release of Pocket Hal v7 also brings with it the release of Pocket Hal in other languages.
You may remember the reading about Pocket Hal in the May edition of Dolphin News, now hear what some of the users have to say about the benefits of Pocket Hal and an accessible PDA.
What Pocket Hal users say:
“I can now enjoy a pocket sized communications network, whenever and wherever I am. I no longer have to carry a laptop and large bag around with me, now I carry my computer in my pocket – perfect! Thank you Dolphin!” Maurice from the UK.
“A fantastic product and definitely allows me to be more effective in my day to day work.” Tim from Nottingham, UK.
“Pocket Hal, combined with my Windows CE based PDA, allows me to access everything I need, on the move. Pocket Hal has given me access to an environment that until now was totally off limits to those of us who are blind or visually impaired" Jim from Indiana, USA.
“Dolphin has created a screen reader that will work on my PDA and allows me to access all my popular PDA applications using the PDA buttons. There is no need to ever touch the screen and I only need to use my Bluetooth keyboard when I am inputting information” Jim from Colorado, USA.
“It is great that we can all now use a PDA, that is so small and does so much” Diane from the UK.
“I wanted to let you know that I think Pocket Hal is the best thing to come along since the invention of screen readers for the PC. I tried everything to get a portable solution and was very unhappy with everything I tried, then comes Pocket Hal. I can use my iPaq 6515 just like everyone else now. I can keep a real address book and use a portable compiler to work on the road. Thanks a million Dolphin!” Robert from Tennessee, USA.
“I received the Pocket Hal demo, have it installed and it reads all the files I need. Even some that a PacMate or the BrailleNote will not read. I would like to buy the software as soon as possible.” Margaret from Rhode Island, USA.
“Portable computing should not be a choice of one device with one screen reader, but provide the option of using your favorite screen reader on a choice of portable devices. It is the availability and versatility of Pocket Hal which makes this all possible.” Rajiv from Washington DC, USA.
Pocket Hal for Mobile phones
Building upon the strengths of Pocket Hal, Dolphin will be showing their latest screen reader solution for mobile phones at the forthcoming QAC Sight Village 2006.
Due for release later in the summer, Pocket Hal for Smartphone is a screen reader designed for mobile phones which provides speech feedback as you navigate through the phone's user interface. It will covert all of the on-screen text, menus, icons and dialogs into speech and allow users to access all of the phone’s applications, including many third party applications that may be downloaded onto the phone. Using a screen reader like Pocket Hal and a Smartphone, you can quickly and easily create a totally accessible mobile device for all.
Phase 1 of the new Dolphin website is nearing completion and users should expect to see it launch in July or August. Sarah Jones at Dolphin adds: “The new website will offer Dolphin customers total ease of use when it comes to finding information, support and updates relating to products. Over the next few months we shall continue to add content and new features to the website, it is constantly growing with news and up to date information so we hope that it will become an increasingly valuable resource for everyone. We shall appreciate your feedback so please take a look and let us know what you think.”
Version 7.01 of Supernova, Hal, Lunar and Lunar plus is now released for the desktop and the Dolphin Pen in the following languages; Dutch, French, Spanish, Croatian, Italian, Czech, Swedish, German, Welsh and Icelandic, as well as UK and US English.
Pocket Hal for PDAs and Windows Mobile 5 devices is nearing a public release, following an extended period of very successful beta testing. Pocket Hal will be formally launched at the forth coming QAC Sight Village in the UK, later this month.
Screen access development now focuses on Windows Smartphone, which we also plan to show at the forthcoming QAC Sight Village 2006.
Development work is continuing on Dolphin’s latest EaseReader DAISY software player. Version 2.30 will include dual highlighting options, including word highlighting for text only books and a new streamlined installation process. Users will also have the ability to play back animated gif files and videos in a pop up window within EaseReader.
EasePublisher version 2.10 will soon be available for beta testing, which will include additional DAISY/NISO support and the ability to import and convert Word 2003 documents. It will also include product activation and will alleviate the need for a dongle.
This month's tip deals with accessing the useful Pocket Hal Function Menu activated by pressing CONTROL then RIGHT using the buttons found on your PDA.
The Pocket Hal Function Menu provides quick access to the following handy shortcuts:
"Open Control Panel" - opens the Hal Control Panel using the classic multi-page dialogs.
"Control Panel Popup Menu" - Navigate the Pocket Hal Control Panel using an intuitive popup menu interface similar to the Desktop Windows Programs Menu.
"Startup Wizard" - Will appear on the Pocket Hal Function Menu in version 7. The Startup Wizard is an easy user-friendly introduction to Pocket PC and Pocket Hal.
"Switch to..." - A custom utility allowing you to see exactly which Pocket PC applications are currently open.
"Open Keyboard Driver" - Setup an external wireless Bluetooth keyboard.
"Soft Reset" - usually soft resetting your PDA can involve fiddling around with the stylus and a tiny recessed button on the back of your PDA. Soft Reset is offered here as a more friendly alternative.
"PDA Status" - Get information about remaining memory and battery life in one handy dialog.
"System Tray" - access applications which only show themselves in the Pocket PC system tray.
Dolphin welcome your suggestions for other features and functions which could improve the Pocket Hal Function Menu. Don't forget the Pocket Hal Function Menu can be called up at any time using CONTROL then RIGHT using the buttons found on your PDA.
Until next time!
The Dolphin Technical Support Team.
After an intensive development phase the hard work to make a new generation of mobile devices speak will become available with the release of Pocket Hal for Microsoft’s Mobile 5 platform. This years Sight Village exhibition, ICEVI and the AHEAD conferences will see the simultaneous release of the first screen reader for PDA and telephone devices which use Mobile 5.
Enhancements to Pocket Hal have been inserted since the Pocket PC 2003 release as a result of customer feedback, these include
- A new installation wizard to help beginners’ installing Pocket Hal for the first time.
- A 15 page wizard to guide users through the navigation options of Pocket Hal which can be accessed at any time.
- Announcement tunes to make users aware that their device is successfully inserted in the docking station available for each device and that the device has been turned on.
- Support for navigation of Pocket Internet Explorer.
- New and familiar voices.
- Easier navigation of the calendar, messaging and contacts.
- Support for additional Braille input and output Bluetooth devices
- Option to use Grade 2 Braille input for UK, US English and German.
These new features combined with existing options to pair up with more than one Bluetooth keyboard or Braille display and navigate the PDA from the existing buttons will provide a new exciting option for beginners and more experienced users.
To find out more visit the Pocket Hal product page.
Look out for the 30 day demo available online later this month.
Dolphin brings help to the visually impaired in South Africa - read the whole case study.
Win a Dolphin Pen at QAC Sight Village 2006
Dolphin will be offering a free Pen Edition of their latest Supernova 7.01, to one lucky visitor to the Dolphin stand everyday during Sight Village 2006. Now you can have the chance to own the most talked about access software, at no cost!
Sight Village 2006 will also see the launch of Dolphin’s next generation Pocket Hal version 7.01. Pocket Hal is a full screen reader for Windows Mobile PDA devices and provides the same level of functionality as the full desk top version of Hal. Developed to be easy to use and offer users the maximum choice of Braille support, Pocket Hal can be easily converted into a lightweight Braille notetaker.
Sight Village runs from July 18th – 20th and takes place in the Clarendon Suites, Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, near to the Queen Alexandra College. Dolphin will be demonstrating all of the latest features within version 7.01, as well as demonstrating their latest DAISY conversion tools. Anyone interested in creating DAISY books using Dolphin Producer is welcome to attend one of the free daily workshops being run in Room 6.
Admission to the exhibition and conference is free. If you are planning to visit QAC Sight Village 2006 then please pop along and visit the Dolphin team on the Dolphin stand, in Hall C and experience all of the new features in the latest version 7.01 release.
Dolphin is sorry to say good bye to John Rye at the end of July. John joined Dolphin in 1991 and was responsible for the development of the Orpheus speech synthesiser. John is planning to continue his work in speech synthesiser development and will continue to work closely with Dolphin in the future.