Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What's New in JAWS 8

If you've been wondering what the latest and greatest version of JAWS has in store, wonder no more. What’s New in JAWS 8 is now available. This is a downloadable zip file containing 10 mp3 files. In these audio files, two JAWS techies discuss each of the new features in JAWS 8

The file can be downloaded at the
JAWS Headquarters
web site. A quick head’s up—the file is 60 Mb.

The ten files are:
*1 Introduction
*2 Start Up Wizard
*3 Manage Application Settings
*4 Say All SAPI 5
*5 Alternate Say All
*6 Web Resources
*7 Smart Word Reading
*8 IE7 Tips and Tricks
*9 JAWS Find
10* Virtualize Window Controller Frame

You will notice that the one file indicates the SAPI5 speech engine. Freedom Scientific is including a CD of SAPI5 voice files to use when using the “Say All” command. (However, if you download JAWS 8 from the web, you will not get the files.) If you are using the “Say All” command as it has been used in the past and have installed the SAPI files, you will hear it read in the more human-sounding voice that the SAPI speech engine provides. Hence, you’ll also note there is also the file for “Alternate Say All,” which will let you continue using the normal JAWS Eloquence speech engine for using the “Say All” command.

I’ve almost completed listening to the What’s New files. On a personal note, I have to say that the advances that bring access to Internet Explorer 7 are the most intriguing aspect of JAWS 8 and have me very eager for this update. I believe IE7 will make using the web a lot more enjoyable and JAWS 8 is what is going to make that accessible.

If past behavior is any indicator, posting the What’s New files on-line means the new version is within 1-2 weeks of being shipped. This would also agree with what the Freedom Scientific rep told me this past week at the AHEAD in Texas conference.

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