The serial console has screen reader support built in. Navigating around with a screen reader turned on will allow the alt text for the currently selected button to be read aloud by the screen reader.
The Power switch is located on the lower left front of the keyboard. When turned on, the brailler will speak a greeting and say whether it is in Learn Mode or Advanced Mode. It will also say "Mimic Not Found," unless you have a Mimic display connected. The Mimic is a small display that is available separately. It displays in text whatever is written in braille.
The Orion uses the synthetic text-to-speech (TTS) FonixTalk software from SpeechFX. Its quality is comparable to that found with the JAWS screen reader, with clarity similar to the JAWS default eloquence speech engine. There are options to mute; pause; change the volume, rate, and pitch of speech; and select different voices (male, female, young male child, young female child). You can navigate any of the text that's displayed on the screen by character, move to the beginning or end of a line, move up or down a line, or have all the lines read aloud. A peculiar aspect of the Orion is that the device has two arrow keypads, one located on the "add-on" component and one for the main portion of the calculator that often perform different functions. For example, when in the y=x pre-graph screen, the "add-on's" arrow keypad moves through the text of the equation you have typed, whereas the arrow keypad located on the main portion of the calculator allows you to move away from this text to change equation settings. One minor drawback of the audio is the limitations of the volume adjustment; its lowest setting is still fairly loud. Also, it would be useful if the volume were adjustable in smaller increments.
Reading by line allows an entire page of text to be displayed as a single line on the screen that scrolls horizontally while being highlighted and read aloud word by word. This can be a very useful feature for someone with field loss who may find tracking difficult.
Wayne,It would seem that just allowing the setting for assistive technology to extract content would be the best PDF (Portable Document Format) solution because it prevents the most easily used content extraction methods, and only opens up a channel that is not that familiar to most users, and not that accessible to technology for copying. One cannot save such a PDF as text, but it can be read out as speech by assistive technology.The main glory for the PDF is printing, especially when the application that produced it is not available such as a high end desktop publishing program. Documents formatted for print are not ideal for viewing or reading on screen. A properly constructed alternative such as an HTML version is always more usable and accessible on screen. Note that the World Wide Web Consortium makes their official web recommendations available on the Internet in HTML format while often providing alternatives such as PDF for printing. The official document version for this organization is always the HTML version at a specific location on their site, and their site is exposed to the full Internet.People like creating PDF files because it is a no-brainer but it is a clumsy usability impaired format for the web. For maximum accessibility for screen use Adobe recommends a horizontal rectangle 4 by 3 inch format (10.8 by 7.6 centimeters) - now how many people are going to format their Word files in that shape? That format helps both visual and non-visual users by keeping the content on each page fully on the screen for the great majority of screen sizes. Even this is usually not as readable as a good properly tagged HTML file.While setting security on a PDF file to allow screen readers users to access the content will still prevent copying and pasting text, screen reader access might allow printing to an embosser into Braille because the embosser would be operating through the screen reader technology. As far as I have been able to find out, no visual text printing system from screen readers has been developed. I doubt most nefariously minded users will think of using this Braille method to get the text of a protected PDF; after all, accessibility is still a dim bulb in most web and organizational environments.Even with preventing access to accessibility technology there is still a fairly simple way to get the text out of the document short of manual transcribing or using software to crack the security, although it does take a bit more time and effort than copy and paste. Screen capture of the page in Acrobat Reader is possible even if text access or screen reader access is disallowed. With a large monitor that shows the whole page, one can paste the capture into an application like Photoshop, and save it in an optical character recognition (OCR) compatible image format, and then process it with OCR software.This is possible because the screen capture process is a function that lies outside the Acrobat applications. The image quality of the image text is clean so there should be few errors in converting the image to text with OCR. In any case, either manual transcription, or screen capture to an image and subsequent conversion to text, the person desiring to make a fraudulent version of the document will still have to reconstruct appearance of the original format in a word processor or other application, and then convert that to PDF.There is a piece of software called the Kurzweil Virtual Printer that uses OCR to transform documents. As I have not used this technology, it is not entirely clear from the specifications or posts on the Internet whether its ability to read PDF files directly depends on its ability to scan the screen and use OCR, or to use the print function in Acrobat to get at the information by printing to an OCR compatible image format; if the latter, electronic documents secured from printing would not be accessible to this technology.Security is as much a matter of trust and human behavior as it is technology. The object is to put a sufficient number of barriers to illegitimate use so that all but the most dedicated scoundrels will think it is not worth the effort. Private PDF documents can be password protected for opening, but documents for public consumption surely cannot unless you want to set up a system for creating and distributing individual passwords, but anyone can give away a password. If official versions of documents are always located on a particular server, reasonable diligence at the server can prevent most security problems. Employees of the system just need to know that that is the only location to get the official version.Another method is to use the PDF e-book format Adobe owns which will automatically provide similar protection by restricting the file to a particular hard drive via electronic licensing. This requires Adobe's Content Server and Acrobat Reader 6.0. Acrobat Reader 6.0 replaces the wretched former eBook reader, which had a poor interface even for non-disabled users, and was considered completely inaccessible. According to Adobe if the publisher has activated the read out loud feature, an eBook can be read out by the computer. This system is restricted to a PC, the Macintosh with OSX, with the most recent Acrobat version. Such files can also be read on Palm handhelds but I do not know how much progress has been made on enabling these devices to convert content to speech.However, that adds another layer of hassle to get a file. I just tried to download a sample eBook from a commercial vendor, that allowed one to go through the permissions and transaction process with zero cost, and the process failed. I was using the Mozilla browser and Acrobat Reader 6.0 and the process failed. I then tried Internet Explorer and the process also failed. The web site had a pop-up window that showed in Internet Explorer, but which was suppressed by my settings in Mozilla but the result in either case was the sample eBook still did not download. That was without trying to do it without a screen reader.Information published by Adobe on the Adobe Content Server follows.Adobe Content Server is a Web-based product for packaging and distributing eBooks and other media. The latest version is 3.0; this version is compatible with the Acrobat 6.0 family. Adobe Content Server has the following capabilities: * Encrypt PDF eBooks using Adobe DRM or PDF Merchant technology * With Adobe DRM protection, set permissions for printing and copying all or portions of eBooks and for reading eBooks aloud * With Adobe DRM protection, set a fixed expiration time for an eBook or expiration after a specified amount of reading time * Manage information about online bookstores, libraries, and distribution vendors * Deploy eBook content files to servers on the Web * Fulfill eBook vouchers, containing decryption keys and permissions, for eBooks purchased from bookstores or lent by online libraries * Distribute eBooks to clients and procure eBooks from vendors who also use Adobe Content ServerIf disabled users cannot access these policies in PDF format for the California State University System, should they be bound to follow them? Perhaps the Chancellor could hire a live person interpreter for each visually impaired user to read such policies to them.To summarize, since, as has been pointed out by others on this thread, that because the PDF security can be cracked in various ways easier to use than through assistive technology, and a document can be fraudulently reconstructed in various ways, then allowing assistive technology access in a secure PDF file is not really significantly less secure, and is considerably more time and cost effective than using more complicated methods to restrict access. The typical avenues to transform the content from that point on are quite restricted, ending in an active Braille display, embossed Braille, or speech. Properly tagged HTML is best for assistive technology, and everybody else too. The policies of a university are not quite in the same class as military secrets or industrial secrets. The Chancellor's office needs to relax a bit.Terence de Giere = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ----To subscribe, unsubscribe, suspend, or view list archives, visit 2b1af7f3a8