Friday, 15 August 2008

You say J-Say, I say J-Say!

Normally I view software demos with some degree of scepticism. Marketing gurus try to tell you it's everything you need and these extra bits that you can pay a few quid more for are all you've ever wanted and the package will save you money in the long run. Hmmmm. Well today I was genuinely impressed.

As I mentioned in last week's blog, we've been working with a blind student who wants to be able to use a screenreader and speech-to-text software at the same time. I tried it out. Doesn't work. UNTIL....... through the wonders of Web 2.0 technology (anRSS Feed) this great site Top Ten Tech Tidbits of the Week by Dean Martin (no not the singer!!!) pointed me in the direction of J-Say which works to bring together JAWS and Dragon Naturally Speaking. I mentioned this to Teresa (who works with me and also loves all this stuff) and she duly got in touch with T and T Consultancy and this morning we had a brilliant demo by Brian Hartgen, who coincidentally also wrote the programme.

It makes a difference when you're being shown the software by the man who wrote it, who also happens to be an end user and blind. He knows it all. Knows it's quirks, could answer all our questions and I could tell our student was impressed. I know I was.

You may say that he's an expert, that he's spent the past 5 years working with this software, but we're not naive, we know the student has a lot before him, that he'll need to learn how to use all 3 programmes, but what I saw today was a truly useful product being demonstrated by someone who has to use it every day. Sure he's still trying to get us to buy it, but there was no hard sell, just enthusiasm for a useful piece of software and a realisation that it could make our student's life much easier. Best demo I've ever been at. Thank you Brian!

I want a copy. New budget, leaving job in a month.... think anyone would notice??

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