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Monday, November 20, 2006

JAWS 8.0 - First Look

With the JAWS 8.0 release looming, I picked up the phone And Dialed the Familiar Freedom Scientific Phone Number and, when the auto attendant answered I punched in the extension of an old and trusted friend in the sales department. He picked up the phone and I heard a very familiar voice say, quote Freedom Scientific, this is Willie Wonka, how may I help you question quote

I identified myself and we started chatting about this and that, a little gossip but mostly catching up on each other's lives in the period since we last spoke. I then got to the point, “Willy, can you comp an old friend and SMA?"

With a little bit of embarrassment in his voice, he replied, "Uh, they don't let me do that anymore. Quote

"Really?"
A
"Even Mike Pedestrian has to pay for his upgrades now.”

I got my first copy of jaws from Joe Lazarro When He Worked at the Mass. Commission for the Blind. I got all of my subsequent copies for free as either an HJ or Freedom Scientific employee. When 7.0 was released, a Freedom executive gave me a free SMA, now, for the first time ever, I Gave a Freedom salesperson a credit card number and paid for my upgrade. In just three days, I will reach the second anniversary of my last day worked At Freedom Scientific. I have struggled psychologically and emotionally with my separation from JAWS, PAC Mate and the really terrific team of software engineers that I built while working there.. It's pretty hard going from the top job involving the development of the world's most popular screen reader to being just some guy who seems to believe that he's important in some way. Paying for a jaws upgrade seems to have helped me further separate myself from JAWS and Freedom Scientific. My therapist will be proud of me.

Yesterday, I downloaded and installed JAWS 8.0 and gave the “What's New” list a solid once over. Eric Damery's exhaustive list of new features and bug fixes is, as always, very impressive. I tried out as many of the new features as I could and must report that this is a very impressive release of the worlds most powerful screen reader.

I had planned on writing a longer piece about my experience with 8.0 so far, but, I have a few too many things to do today and, therefore, I don't have the time to give this terrific product release the fully detailed description that it deserves. I will, however, say that I am glad to have spent the money to buy the jaws SMA as this release is well worth the money.

Thus, I recommend That You Go to the Freedom Scientific website (link above), read all about the new features in JAWS 8.0 and check it out for yourself. I'm confident you will enjoy this release as much as I do.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Jake said...

Hello BC. I am running the demo of JAWS 8.0 on my system currently, and I must say I'm really impressed. I upgraded to IE7 and Firefox 2, and these both work wonderfully with the demo of 8.0. I am eagerly awaiting my CD copy of JAWS 8 and am very excited to try out the RealSpeak voices. I've been a JAWS user ever since the days of JAWS for DOS, and I've always been amazed at the powerfulness yet ease of use in this screen reader. Something else which I really like is the training material. I have often encountered training where the product is not actually put through its paces during the training session. However, this is not true with JAWS and for that we JAWS users must be grateful.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey BC:
I personally think that this update is worthy of a 6.5 but no way an 8.0. That's not a typo I think both 7.0 and 7.1 were both 6.X releases. I mean 2 major number releases in a year for a bunch of bug fixes and features that vary few will use? Come on FS? Get real!

I think that things like the inclusion of the actual keys in IE7 so it could look like FS did something special, really show just how much they are grasping at straws and fluffing up the feature list to justify the SMA.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Chairman Mal said...

Howdy Comrades!
I’m eager to see how 8.0 will perform compared to my archaic 6.2. There are times I still have to engage Magic at outlandish magnification to figure out what JAWS is failing to read. Using my vision under those conditions makes me ill. Regards, Chairman Mal: Power to the peeps!

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey all,

I think JAWS 8 is a big exageration - there's some bugs FS knows about in 7.0 and 7.10 that still aren't fixed yet. I personally like JAWS 7.0, and only have 8 to keep the latest things on my system.
I'm not saying JAWS has to be perfect, that would be impossible.
I'm just saying FS needs to stop being stingy and put more of that GW Micro kind of support and stability in their products. You're probably saying, "Why don't I switch to Window-Eyes then?" I simply like JAWS scripting better, and JAWS is faster in some respects, more sensible keystrokes.

It'll be the day when JAWS is flawless and FS puts some real effort into their releases.

4:44 PM  

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