Re: A history of Jaws and Windows, was: training modules


There was a companion device to the Opticon called the Stereo-toner.  It worked on the same principle as did the Opticon.  excepting it translated the printed text in to tones.  Which would, in combination with other tones, decreasing and increasing in pitch to form an audio picture of the printed letter or number.  One would take a series of lessons from the Hadley school for the Blind on cassette tapes.  One would practice reading printed material thusly.  Then one would go to the school itself for two weeks.  To learn to properly use the device itself.  I thought the Sterio-toner might be a viable alternative for me to use.  As I have very limited use of my right hand.  The Opticon cost, then, three thousand dollars.  While the Stereo-toner cost one thousand dollars.  I am glad, now, I didn't get the device.  As it, like most devices which truly benefit us blind people, was discontinued shortly thereafter; and repair parts might not be so easily found.  Not to mention, it was less popular than was the Opticon.  

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2017 9:45 PM
Subject: Re: A history of Jaws and Windows, was: training modules

I certainly do remember the days of optacons.  I tried getting one myself, but by that time, they were no longer making them, and you couldn’t even get parts.  That was about 28 years ago.  LOL


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From: Carolyn Arnold
Sent: Friday, June 9, 2017 9:17 PM
Subject: Re: A history of Jaws and Windows, was: training modules


I agree with you, David, 1,000 percent. On one of my jobs, one of the doctors said that I worked in two languages, because I had Braille notes, took Braille short hand, but used my Optacon a lot more than I did Braille.


On that particular job, a requirement was that you had to make any corrections or modifications to reports. There was a blind guy that worked downstairs in Medical Records, and his wife had to do all of his. I worked up in Surgical Pathology. This was in the 70's, when we had multiple carbons, different colors. So, I had to keep those little slips that you use for the carbons and keep up with the colors. I had to carefully roll the typewriter to check with the Optacon about where to make the change. I could do them or would not have kept the job.


There is an Optacon Users List, sporatic traffic. A guy in Canada is trying to develop an Optacon that is more in line with today's technology.


I, for one, think that technology can be a sort of other god to some. For what the Optacon does, I think its technology is state of the art. The only improvement I could suggest would to be to see if the noise it makes could be reduced.


Best From,






-----Original Message-----

From: [] On Behalf Of David Moore

Sent: Friday, June 9, 2017 8:54 PM


Subject: Re: A history of Jaws and Windows, was: training modules




I still have my Optacon, and I read mail with it.


I read the computer screen with my Optacon,and it went very well. I had a job where I did just that, The Optacon allowed me to feel everything that was on the screen. Wow, that is so great! The Optacon was one of the best assistive technologies ever, in my apinion. It is sad that most blind people do not know what the Optacon is, but I used it to read all of my math and science textbooks, so I could get a degree in math. I could trace all calculus graphs, charts, feel how the equations were set up, and on and on. I could feel, under my finger, what a sighted person sees. That is still so exciting to me. OCR does not compare to the Optacon for small little things that you want to read like a tag on a package, a piece of mail, or read what is on a computer screen. I really wish that someone could bring it back, or a entire community would bring it back. I would be right there, fighting and doing all I could do to bring it back.


Have a great one, guys!


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From: Randy Barnett <mailto:randy@...>

Sent: Friday, June 9, 2017 8:15 PM

To: <>

Subject: Re: A history of Jaws and Windows, was: training modules



I too started with a Comadore 64 but I culd still see back then. My first experience with Jaws was v3.7 and have been useing it ever since.

I thought my serial No was old being in the 40,000's. LOL

On 6/9/2017 10:14 AM, Bob Hicks wrote:


                Oh my gosh, I still have my Opticon!




                Have a great day!




                Bob Hicks




                From: <>  [] On Behalf Of Richard Turner

                Sent: Friday, June 09, 2017 10:25 AM

                To: <>

                Subject: Re: A history of Jaws and Windows, was: training modules




                I started out with a Commodore 64 using an OPTACON to read the screen in about 1983 or so.  Hard to remember back that far










                From: <>  [] On Behalf Of Sieghard Weitzel

                Sent: Thursday, June 8, 2017 3:39 PM

                To: <>

                Subject: A history of Jaws and Windows, was: training modules




                I probably have most of you beat, my Jaws serial number is 1056. I first bought Jaws for DOS in 1989, I think it was version 1.1, when Windows 3.1 came out in 19992 I used it alongside DOS.


                Jaws for Windows was actually first released in January 1995, it was JFW 1.0 with support for Windows 3.1/3.11 and Windows for Workgroups 3.1.


                JFW 2.0 was released in 1996, not sure when, it had support for Windows 95 which was released in August of 1995. Back in those days there usually was not support for a new OS version at the time of release.


                I am looking some of this up in a Wikipedia article, for some reason they skip JFW 3.0.


                In between, in 1998, 1999 and 2000 we of course had the release of Windows 98, 98SE and Millennium.


                Windows XP was first released on August 24, 2001


                JFW 4.0 which came out in September 2001 and I am pretty sure it support Windows XP.


                JFW 4.5 came out in August of 2002 and it was the first version which had quick nav keys for IE.


                JFW 5.0 was October 2003 and then there was a longer gap as JFW 6.0 didn't come out until March 2005, it introduced the ILM licensing scheme.


                JFW 7 was released later that same year (2005) and 7.1 is listed with a release date of June 2006.


                Windows Vista was released in November of 2006 and I'm pretty sure JFW 8 which was released in November of 2006 had support for it as well as introducing Realspeak Solo voices. From here on it seems to go to the annual release schedule in late October/early November.


                Other milestones:


                Jaws Tandem was released with Jaws 10 in November 2008


                Windows 7 was released in July of 2009 and JFW 11 came out in the fall with support for Windows 7 and it introduced Research It


                In 2010 JFW 12 replaced the old configuration manager with the Settings Centre


                Jaws 13 in 2011 introduced one of my favourite features, Convenient OCR.


                JFW 14 in 2012 came with Windows 8 support and Flexible Web


                JFW 15 in 2013 had Windows 8 touch screen support and introduced FS Reader 3.0


                JFW 16 in 2014 introduced command search in Settings Centre and Convenient OCR which in V13 only applied to graphics on the screen was expanded to handle entire PDF documents


                Windows 10 first was released on July 29, 2015 and an update to Jaws 16 from the previous fall had initial support for it.


                JFW 17 in 2015 introduced smart navigation for tables and Liblouis, an open source braille translator


                Finally JFW 18 in 2016 (last fall) introduced mouse echo, audio ducking and Settings import/export was reintroduced.




                Here is a link to the Wikipedia article:












                From: <>  [] On Behalf Of Tony

                Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2017 2:52 PM

                To: <>

                Subject: Re: training modules




                I had an early demo version that was something like 0.76 with a serial in the 3000s.




                I should have stock in the company since I have owned every version since DOS, either purchased or through paying for skipped updates.










                From: <>  [] On Behalf Of Ronnie Hill

                Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2017 4:32 PM

                To: <>

                Subject: Re: training modules




                Well I can't remember which year I did stgarted with JAWS Version of 3.3!


                I guess it was around 1998


                I thought that the first JAWS version was  started from 3.2 it amazing to know it started from version 3 but I'm not sure.


                Cheers everyone.


                Ronnie from London.


                                ----- Original Message -----


                                From: Bob Hicks <mailto:bob@...>


                                To: <>


                                Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2017 8:37 PM


                                Subject: Re: training modules




                                Hard to believe I started on JAWS 3.1 isn’t it!




                                Have a great day!




                                Bob Hicks




                                From: <>  [] On Behalf Of Carol Smith via Groups.Io

                                Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2017 3:24 PM

                                To: <>

                                Subject: Re: training modules




                                If you open the FS reader, you should be able to access tutorials from there by pressing control+J.  There are links to tutorials.  If they are not already downloaded and placed in the appropriate place, the program will do this for you.  These are in Daisy format and you can use control+P to toggle play and pause.


                                This is a global key command, so as long as the reader is open, it takes presidence over other programs using that key command.  This makes it very handy if you want to practice what you are reading in an open program.  This information should be enough to get you started.




                                On 6/8/2017 2:46 PM, Bob Hicks wrote:


                                                I downloaded my version of Jaws 18.  How do I git the training modules into FS reader?  tia




                                                Have a great day!




                                                Bob Hicks













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