It happens from time to time to all of us who rely on a screen reader. You go to a website, and with no prompting on your part, the website starts playing some music, a video, or something else that drowns out your screen reader. How do you turn the sound down, or just make it stop, short of closing the web page altogether? You try to find your way to the stop button or the volume control, but the sound from the web page is making it hard to hear what your screen reader is telling you. Wouldn't it be nice if your computer could automatically turn down the other sound while it's talking? Your iPhone can do that, after all. So why can't your PC? Now it can, if you're running Windows 8, or better yet, Windows 10. Starting with Windows 8, your computer can lower the volume of other sounds while a screen reader is speaking. We call this audio ducking. Earlier this year, NVDA added support for this very handy feature. JAWS is adding support as well in the public beta of version 18. And today, we're happy to announce that System Access supports audio ducking as well. To start taking advantage of audio ducking with System Access, simply open your System Access preferences, go to the … [Read more...] about Why You Should Upgrade from Windows 7: Sometimes the Little Things Make All the Difference
You guys may’ve heard the Tek Talk broadcast the other night where Mike Calvo and Matt Campbell covered some changes at Serotek. Didn’t catch it? Click here and listen at your leisure. Or, if you’d rather read about some of our changes, here’s a breakdown: Windows 10 It's clear by now that although Windows 10 attempts to make Windows 7 users feel at ease with the return of the Start menu, the new operating system unapologetically builds on the foundation that Microsoft laid with Windows 8. The cornerstone of this foundation is an application platform and user interface style that has gone by many names. It was once called Metro. Microsoft later referred to apps based on this technology as "Windows Store apps". We have often called them "modern apps". Microsoft currently prefers the name "Universal Windows Platform". Whatever you call it, it's even more pervasive in Windows 10, from the moment you enter your password on the Windows sign-in screen. You'll also find the new style of user interface in the Action Center, where you can review and respond to notifications, and in the Settings app, which is the modern equivalent of the Control Panel. Even the Start menu, meant to entice … [Read more...] about What’s New at Serotek?
In light of the excellent response to our Keys to K12 reminder, we've decided to revive a promotion we ran during the month of July. DocuScan Plus V3.0 for Windows and Mac are being sold at a discount now through Labor Day! Yeah yeah. We've heard about the update. Okay, but have you tried it? Remember our products now come with a free 14-day trial. Check out these new features for DSP: You can count on clearer text results with the help of an updated OCR engine. With the new DSP, it’s possible to grab your favorite bestseller from Bookshare right from within the DSP application. Rely on nimble navigation of large files with better heading detection and place marking. Speaking of large files, launching and navigating PDF files is now a breeze. Want to convert between formats? We heard you, and now you can convert text to DAISY, MP3, or Braille, and store them in the cloud; formats include: .epub, .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt, .html Now it’s even easier for you to open image files, including: .jpg, .png, .tiff, .gif, .bmp Why launch an OCR application and then open a file when you can open files in DSP directly from Windows Explorer? Do you find yourself switching between … [Read more...] about Back to School Means Back to Discounts!
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires children and youth ages 3-21 with disabilities be provided a free and appropriate public school education. Unfortunately, there are too many cases of schools unable to provide the necessary resources to provide and maintain a quality level of education. Serotek is playing a small part in putting a dent in these disparities. It’s disheartening to think that in this age of technological proliferation, there are still blind and visually impaired students who come home from school without the means to jump on a computer and complete their own homework. The cost for a screen reading solution with technical support remains out of reach of the average family bank account, and with budget cuts everywhere, school districts equally struggle to outfit one computer station with a screen reader, let alone several. We’d like to remind you of our Keys to K-12 program. It’s a means for students elementary through high school to have ready access to a fully functional screen reader at no charge. System Access will enable students to equally participate in the classroom and complete homework assignments outside of it. If you or someone … [Read more...] about Grab Your Keys to K-12
If you're running most versions of Windows 7 or Windows 8, chances are good you've received an invitation to upgrade to Windows 10. You'll find a new icon in your System Tray that says as much, but is it a good idea to be an early adopter? The short answer, in our opinion, is unless you require Windows 10 for work, you should hold off on upgrading. Windows 10 is changing the way we receive updates. Up until now we've been able to schedule, postpone or refuse Windows updates, but moving forward, consumers will automatically receive the latest revisions. Automatic updates are not a bad thing. The new approach could make for more secure and stable systems. Nevertheless, at this early stage it is not unreasonable to find accessibility glitches for screen reader users. It would be worth considering allowing early adopters find major issues, accessibility or otherwise, and let Microsoft iron them out before jumping in so as not to impact your productivity. For Serotek's part, we are actively developing for Windows 10. We've always updated System Access as needed. If you were to run Windows 10 on Day 1, there are aspects of the new operating system that will work just fine with our screen … [Read more...] about Our Position on Windows 10
After extensive development and excellent feedback from the community, we’re ready to unveil the final release of DocuScan Plus V3.0 for Windows and Mac! Already the most affordable assistive technology OCR package in the industry, we’re saving you even more money in the month of July. Keep reading for details. What is DocuScan Plus? DocuScan Plus, or DSP, is your affordable gateway to the written word. There are excellent mobile apps that let you snap pictures of items to read text, and while amazingly convenient, you sometimes need the efficiency of a dedicated computer app to consume books, brochures, bank statements, manuals, and important documents without fretting over camera views and proper angles. Every technology has a time and place. With DSP, we’ve taken what you know about using a computer and created an intuitive means of converting print to spoken audio. Each upgrade brings a new wave of features and improvements. Introducing DocuScan Plus V3.0 Is the new upgrade worth it? Well, check out these new features: You can count on clearer text results with the help of an updated OCR engine. With the new DSP, it’s possible to grab your favorite bestseller from … [Read more...] about DocuScan Plus V3.0 is Here and It Has Brought Discounts!
Word on the street says we’re closing the lid on System Access. So, what gives? While it is true that we are evaluating all products to make sure they’re still relevant, System Access is very much a part of your foreseeable future. We are anxious for the day when you can go out and buy a PC with an extensive screen reader out of the box. That’s part of being an independent consumer, right? Alas, that day is not quite here. Serotek is not in the business of leaving you out in the cold. Rest assured, System Access will enjoy ongoing development for as long as the product is needed. In fact, even if Windows 10 miraculously came with a robust screen reading solution, we would still give everyone a year’s notice before discontinuing support for our screen reader. We recognize System Access fills an important niche in the community for folks who need a stable product at a price you can actually afford. System Access will never completely depart our stables. If the day comes when System Access is no longer a viable business option, we will release the source code and let others build on the platform, let you guys take a more direct hand at charting the screen reader’s long-term future. … [Read more...] about The Word on System Access
At Serotek, accessibility is our bread and butter. When we jumpstarted this operation in 2002, we came to the table with our own approach to the well-known issue of expensive assistive technology. We were on fire, and never mind that all odds were stacked against us. By conventional standards Serotek Corporation should have collapsed after the first year, not just because this is true of more than 50% of all companies, but because we were the little fish swimming in a small pond with large sharks. Enough of you gave us your support and allowed us to bring to the market our own version of “affordable technology.” As we close the books on another calendar year, I am pleased to report that our story is still a bestseller. Let’s take a quick look back at some of our accomplishments. Among other things, we: Rolled out a fresh website to better serve you; Worked hard to make your experience on Windows 8, 8.1 and Office 2013 a positive experience; Continued improving System Access based on your valuable feedback and continued to provide updates with no software maintenance agreements; Introduced the new and improved >Socializer, bringing you seamless access to Twitter, Facebook, … [Read more...] about Seasons Greetings From Your Serotek Family
Nothing kicks off the holiday season like Thanksgiving. Think about it: food, football, door buster deals, parades and plenty of justification for the Christmas decorations you never took down! Well, this year, Serotek is going to add one more bonus to make the gateway holiday even more memorable than usual. Perhaps we should have come up with a cool marketing name for this special deal. But then, what do you call fourteen days of free, unfiltered, use all you can, where ever you want, whenever you want access to all of our Serotek consumer products? That’s right. Starting Wednesday, November 27 you’ll be able to e-mail, chat, scan, entertain and socialize to your heart’s content. Existing customers do not need to contact us for trial access to products they do not own or subscribe to. The whole idea is that anyone can tap into our growing menu of services for the undisputed king of prices: FREE! Self-restraint? What self-restraint. Some of us have already bought gadgets we probably didn’t need, but DocuScan Plus will be right there to turn that printed manual into spoken word. And speaking of word, go ahead and spread this one: Socializer is a fully-featured platform that lets you … [Read more...] about Ringing in the Holidays with a Special Promotion!
We're going on a road trip around the Lone Star, and you're invited! Join Serotek Corporation and HIMS, Inc. at one of two locations to interact with cool technology. The Houston Lighthouse Thursday, September 19 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM Location: The Lighthouse of Houston 3602 West Dallas Street Houston, TX 77019 AFB Center on Vision Loss Thursday, September 26 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM Location: American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss 11030 Ables Lane Dallas, TX 75229 You’ll have an opportunity for hands-on demonstrations of products and services from HIMS, INC. and Serotek Corporation. Houston participants will also get a chance to learn more about the Sight into Sound Radio Reading Service, and in Dallas you’ll have a chance to learn about the North Texas Radio For The Blind Reading Service. Here’s your chance to see top-notch Braille displays, notetakers, portable magnifiers and digital book players from HIMS. Learn how these products can work alongside Serotek’s award-winning System Access screen reader, DocuScan Plus for Windows and Mac, and the SAMNet service including the Socializer for seamless social networking. Who should attend? The “Connecting The Community” … [Read more...] about Connecting the Community Open House