Macintosh | Windows | Windows 95/98/ME/2000 | UNIX and Linux | Listing by Platform
Henter-Joyce, Inc. has announced that JAWS for DOS 2.31, the product that brought the company to prominence in the access technology industry in 1988, is now available as a free download from the internet.
BDIR works like DOS's DIR command with the following enhancements: large character output, automatic pause at end of page, allows sorted directory listing, allows omission of fields. Freeware.
BEDIT is a text editor that uses a variety of character sizes to display all output, including help and error messages. The characters range from normal text size to large block characters that each take up 4 standard rows and 8 standard columns.
BEDIT was originally written to make a low-price editor available to users with vision impairment but might also be used on laptops, which tend to impair everyone's vision. Shareware ($30).
BLOOK reads a text file into memory and displays it using large characters. You can use the arrow keys to display any part of the file in any order. This differs from BTYPE, where once you pass some data in the file, you can't go back and look at it again unless you start all over. Files are limited to what can fit in memory. Freeware.
BPOP serves as a memory-resident magnifying glass. It pops up over text mode screens of other software and enlarges them, making them easier to read. BPOP was written for vision impaired users, but can be used in any situation where it is hard to see the computer screen, such as enlarging faint letters on a laptop or making a computer demonstration visible to people in the back of a conference room or classroom. Shareware ($27).
BTYPE works like DOS's TYPE command to display ASCII text files, but BTYPE uses large character output. Since the file is displayed top to bottom, and does not have to be in memory all at once, BTYPE has no limit on the size of files it can display. Freeware.
MEGAN'S TOY is a memory-resident utility that allows users to 'zoom' in on any 13 character (horizontal) by 4 character (vertical) section of screen display (text modes only). Features:
- original screen and magnified section are visible simultaneously
- magnified window selected by the four arrow keys
- option to force the magnified window to follow cursor
- option to splice data from many different areas of screen or different screens into one magnified window
- three separate versions: monochrome systems, CGA requiring 'snow-checking', EGA, VGA, and CGA that need no 'snow-checking'
WPK is an easy to use large font word processor designed for young children. It uses 40 or 20 columns per screen mode. A 10 column, 3 row screen version is also available for the visually impaired. This disk has been made available from: Computer Use in Social Services Network. Freeware.
ZOOM/Share is the shareware version of ZOOM, a software magnifier which displays characters in big and huge character sizes. ZOOM works on text screens generated by CGA, EGA, VGA or Hercules video cards connected to color or monochrome displays. In addition to visually impaired users, ZOOM can be used on laptops, and to increase readability during demos and shows.
ZOOM is a Terminate and Stay Resident program. It Pops on top of any Text application at the touch of a hot key. You don't need to buy an expensive 'big character' word processor. ZOOM also works at the DOS level too, and can magnify DOS commands, directory listings, files listings, etc. Shareware ($12).
1KEY is a memory resident program designed specifically for severely physically handicapped users, who are unable to use the regular keyboard. The program enables them to use most computer programs by controlling a single key.
A predefined keyboard is displayed and scanned. The user is required to select the desired key, by hitting any key (or keys) on the keyboard. Other switches (like mouse buttons) can be used as well. A software interface for programming individual keyboards (number of keys, size, color, and scan speed) is provided. Copyright IBM Israel. Shareware (no commercial use is allowed).
No-Keys is a program designed to allow a person to input text into any program without using the keyboard. It allows a mouse, trackball, or similar device to input text to DOS or most programs. It is designed for people with disabilities who cannot use a keyboard because they have limited motion of their arms, but can still make small motions with their hands or fingers. Shareware ($25).
Word Completion / Prediction
MindReader is a type-ahead word processor. This software is a powerful text editor that uses patented artificial intelligence techniques to suggest completion of words and/or phrases. It allows an unskilled typist to complete a document in a fraction of the keystrokes normally required with a conventional word processor, and checks spelling "on-the-fly"before words are even completed. The more you use MindReader, the smarter it becomes because it learns about your style of writing. It contains a unique facility that "guesses" the word or phrase that you are trying to type and presents its "guess" in a pop-up window. A single keystroke will call the word or phrase into the text. MindReader includes most features found in good word processors, plus items like glossaries with 260 canned phrases, pop-up calendar, Rolodex, and diary. This is a fascinating program and is perfect for the slower typist as well as th busy professional. This disk has been made available from: Computer Use in Social Services Network.
For an in-depth discussion of word completion/prediction and a list of companies which produce word completion/prediction products, see http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/word_pred_prog/ctg_wp.htm
Keyboard Audio Feedback
This particular package has been produced to enable a user to access the information on an IBM or suitable clone using synthetic speech. The software is loaded into the computer and then it protects itself and stays in memory while you run other programs. The program sends appropriate information to the speech synthesiser. Essentially the program will enable you to access the computer in three ways: 1) speak what you type into the computer either by character or by word (or not at all), 2) speak what is on the screen, and 3) speak what is sent to the display. Shareware.
Hot Dots is a braille translation program. It is designed to take word processing files and turn them into braille. If you do not have access to a braille embosser, then you will have difficulty evaluating this program. Demonstration.
Latching Programs (Stickey Keys)
1-KEY is a program for people with physical disabilities who can only press "one-key-at-a-time" on a computer keyboard, or who have trouble pressing a key and releasing it before the key repeats. It latches the shift, alt, and ctrl keys. Freeware.
Many handicapped individuals can only use a keyboard with one finger, a mouth stick, or a headstick. This introduces two problems; one is that the individual cannot use two-key combinations, the other is that they may not release the key before it repeats. 1-FINGER includes a "Shift Feature" that allows the user to press the shift key and then the modifier key to envoke a two-key combination and a "Key Repeat Delay" Feature that allows a user to configure the amount of time the user has to release the key. Freeware (developed at the Trace R&D Center).
Lets you type control/alt/shift (CAS), let go, then type another key for the key combination. Can substitute the CAS keys for each other. Also displays status, beep, override and other features, including a special provision for alt numeric keypad combinations. Shareware ($5).
ALT.COM locks the alt key of the keyboard to allow ASCII codes to be entered on the number pad.
KeyLock is a program to help physically handicapped persons to use a PC. For someone who can only hit one key at a time, key sequences like control-C or alt-F1 or ctrl-alt-delete become impossible. This program changes the ctrl, alt, and the left shift keys into locking keys, much like the NumLock or CapsLock keys. Freeware.
LOCK is a utility to set/reset NumLock, CapsLock, and ScrollLock.
STICKEY allows upper-case and other "mode" characters like Shift-a, Ctrl-z, or Ctrl-Alt-Del to be entered by pressing the mode and character keys one after the other, rather than holding down the mode key while pressing the character key. For example, to enter the character Ctrl-z, first press the <Ctrl> key then press the z key. Freeware.
STAYDOWN is a TSR program that permits a shifting key (shift, ctrl, alt) to be physically released while remaining logically depressed until the key it was supposed to modify is actually depressed.
Programs for Reading the Screen
Enable Reader Professional Speech System is screen reader software supporting the following seven speech synthesizers on an IBM: Artic Technologies (Speech Board), Speech Plus (CallText 5050), Digital Equipment Corp. (DecTalk), Street Electronics (Echo GP), Votrax, Inc. (Votalker IB), Votrax, Inc. (Votrax PSS), and Votrax, Inc. (Votrax PSS/B).
RALPH THE READER can display an ASCII text file, WordPerfect or Wordstar file to the computer's monitor and/or speech synthesizer a screen at a time, jump to the beginning or end of any file immediately, jump to any line number within a file, search forward or backward in a file for any text string, and search forward or backward for control characters. Shareware ($10).
Switch Access Program
SoftSwitch provides alternative input capabilities for the IBM and compatible personal computers (PC), allowing it to be controlled by one or more adaptive ("ability") switches. These switches include using the mouse, an on-screen keyboard, or morse code (one of its best features). SoftSwitch is primarily intended for anyone who has difficulty operating the computer's keyboard or mouse. SoftSwitch works in parallel with your existing keyboard or mouse, allowing supplemental or co-operative use. It can be configured to provide either keystrokes equivalent to your keyboard, or mouse operations equivalent to your mouse, depending on the program you wish to control. You should think of SoftSwitch as a tool by which you can make a wide range of DOS programs available to switch users. These programs would otherwise be inaccessible.
For other DOS software resources available, including AccessDOS, see http://trace.wisc.edu/world/computer_access/dos/
CAPTAIN'S LOG demonstrates a cognitive rehabilitation system. These programs provide a demonstration of software designed to train basic cognitive functions including attention, concentration, memory, visual-motor, numeric concepts, and reasoning skills. They are for use with individuals age 6+ with head injuries, learning disabilities, strokes, mental retardation, or to facilitate early learning. It can also be used as a pre-post drug treatment assessment tool for attention deficit disorder. A mouse is required for the program, but not for this demonstration. Color graphics required. This software has been made available from: Computer Use in Social Services Network. Demonstration.
Microsoft distributes Dvorak keyboard layouts that make the most frequently typed characters on a keyboard more accessible to people who have difficulty using the standard "QWERTY" layout. There are three Dvorak layouts: one for two-handed users, one for people who type only with their left hand, and one for people who type only with their right hand. The left or right-hand keyboard layouts can also be used by people who type with a wand. See http://www.microsoft.com/enable/products/dvorak.htm
Morse code is one of the most efficient alternative computer access methods. EzMorse is based on a modified military morse code system where dots and dashes are combined to form codes representing all the characters on the keyboard. EzMorse is most effectively used with a dual switch where one switch enters a dot and the other, a dash. No previous knowledge of morse code is necessary to start using ezMorse: the user learns while he or she goes along. It takes the average user about four hours to memorize the codes for the alphabet. Typing speeds of up to 35 words per minute are not uncommon for morse code users.
ezScan is an on-screen scanning keyboard that can be operated from a single or dual switch attached to the game or serial port. A highlight bar moves down the on-screen keyboard first by row and, after the switch is pressed, by column. By pressing the switch again, the user can make selections which correspond to each of the keys on a computer keyboard. See http://www.neilsquire.ca/prod/ezscan.htm
Unzips files ending in the extension .zip. Shareware ($47). See http://www.pkware.com/
STYPE types a file to the screen controlled by an IBM Enhanced Graphics Adaptor, using variable speed smooth scroll. If no file name is supplied, it will read from standard in (eg: STYPE < FILENAME, or PROGRAM | STYPE), and thus can act as a "MORE" type filter. Freeware.
TYPESLOW copies a file to the standard output, delaying for a short time between characters. This allows the input to be read more easily, as perhaps part of a demonstration or instructional batch file. Shareware ($5).
This collection of typing tutorial programs includes programs that operate in Windows as well as in DOS. TU.EXE is a DOS tutor. WINTU.EXE will work under Windows. T.EXE is a small typing timer program. More information is available at http://home1.gte.net/bharrell/download.htm.