Surfing the Web with SAMNet
Ricky Enger, Serotek
October 31, 2012
Welcome to Seminars@Hadley. My mane is Douglas Walker and I am an instructor of assisted technology here at the Hadley School for the Blind. I will be your moderator for today’s seminar. Today’s seminar topic is surfing the web with SAMNET. Your presenter today is Ricky Enger. Ricky is a member of the executive team for the Serotek Corporation. She has a passion for educating people about mainstream and assisted technologies and can be found discussing technology for blind and visually impaired individuals on the SeroTalk podcast each week. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the SeroTalk podcast, they’re pretty amazing and just have wealth of information. You can get to the serotek podcast by going to www.serotalk.com I will go ahead in a bit and post that in our text chat area so you’ll have that for your records there.
Ricky tells us that in her spare time she enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with her family. I really am thrilled to have Ricky with us today and can’t wait to hear about some of the really cool features of SAMNET or assistant access mobile network. Without further delay, let me welcome today’s presenter, Ricky Enger. Ricky, I’ll hand the microphone over to you.
Thank you, Douglas and thank you to everyone who has joined today. I’m very pleased to be here. Today is certainly the Halloween addition. So for those of you listening to the archive you didn’t get subjected to my technical difficulties. Hopefully those are resolved now and this will all go smoothly. If not I hope that you’ll be a little bit patient with me if anything goes horribly, horribly wrong. With that let’s get right into talking about SAMNET or the system access mobile network. I am going to be doing some demonstration of the software today but before I get into exploring the program itself I want to do a little bit of philosophy and sort of history behind Serotek itself and SAMNET which is how I will refer to this program from here on out.
Serotek, we just celebrated our tenth anniversary fairly recently actually, back in February. We’ve been around for a good long while. Initially the company started with a product called “Freedom Box.” Now the aim behind Freedom Box was to allow blind people who were very new to the computer and perhaps had some reservations about technology in general to still be able to participate on the internet and get involved in everything that the digital age had to offer. We knew that blind people wanted to shop. They wanted to voice chat with friends. They wanted to send emails and things like that. But the idea of learning a screen reader, which can sometimes take up to 20 hours train, that was a little daunting to some people but it didn’t mean that they needed to be left out. The idea behind Freedom Box was that you had a machine that you talked to and when you talked to the machine it would be able to perform certain tasks for you.
SAMNET has grown from that initial Freedom Box device which was essentially a box that was sent to you. Now we have this as software that anyone can use and a lot has changed since those early days. But we’ve kept one thing pretty constant and that is what is the mission behind what we’re trying to do. It is to introduce people to computers who may be a little shy at first and easily overwhelmed but we don’t want to keep them there. We don’t want to say “Here are your tasks that you can perform and once you’ve reached the end of these tasks the software is not going to grow with you. We knew that was not the right approach. We wanted to keep something that was simple to use but was also powerful enough to grow with the user and be able to do a lot of the things that a user wants to do as they become more comfortable with using a computer. That’s the idea behind SAMNET.
Now before I start to look at how this works I do want to say one thing. SAMNET is not a screen reader. Serotek does have a system access screen reader that you can use but SAMNET itself is a service. It is a self voicing service that you can use alongside your primary screen reader even if that’s not system access. So if you’re using JAWS or Window Eyes or NVDA or Super Nova, Zoom Text even. If you’re a low vision user you’re still going to be able to access the services of SAMNET and at the same time be able to perform the things that you usually do with your primary screen reader as well. Let’s take a look at SAMNET and what you just heard was the very top of the SAMNET homepage and this is where we will place things that are going on within our community currently whether it be a podcast that Serotek has released or a radio station that we want to feature or a chat that’s taking place, perhaps about the iPhone or the Android operating system. This is an area where we will feature certain content because beyond just being about software, SAMNET is all about community.
We want to bring people together. We want people to be able to learn from what’s already out there and from each other. That’s a theme that you’re going to hear a lot from today’s presentation as I talk about how SAMNET works. It’s all about community. When you’re talking about community the idea is that you are communicating with people who share your interests. One way you might want to do that is through email to your friends and family. That’s going to be the first option on this SAMNET home screen which is essentially a set of links that you can move through with the tab key or your arrow key. So even if you’re not very comfortable with the keyboard you’re still going to be able to use the service. I have six new messages. I can press enter on that if I wanted to but I’m going to tab once again and here is my email.
Now with the SAMNET service you receive a SAMNET email address. It will be your username @samobile.net but you can also add third party accounts with this. Let’s say you wanted to check Gmail or perhaps you have an email account from Comcast and you don’t like using Outlook. You prefer a SAMNET client. You can add that to this and have your email automatically checked through SAMNET. Let’s take a look at what this interface is like. I’ll press enter here. I can read new mail or I can tab once. When I land on any of these options I can press the enter key to open them and I just want to briefly show a message because I can do something pretty cool here. I can send a text message and this works in the traditional way where you have a to field where you enter the person you’d like to correspond with or you can select them from an address book. Or I can send a voice message. This is extremely handy whether you are not very well versed in the keyboard or whether you simply are just feeling lazy that day and you want to say “I just want to talk to this person. I don’t really want to type a bunch.”
I can add recipients. This is very traditional until you get to the record button. I can record a message quickly and then I would be able to play it back before sending it. Luckily the person that you’re sending this message to does not have to be a SAMNET user. This is just going to attach a file, an mp3 for those of you who are familiar with that file format. If you’re not this is just a standard format that will play on any computer and the recipient of the message is going to receive this as an attachment and they’ll be able to play whatever it is that you’ve said. So there is email. This may be something that a lot of you are already familiar with doing. So let’s move on to something a little more exciting. It’s always going to make sure “Hey, do you really want to cancel that?” and I do.
I’m going to move through some other options on my SAMNET home screen. The great thing about this is that this home screen can be customized to include anything that you want including links to webpages that reside outside SAMNET. Let’s just look at a couple of these. Socializer, we’ll talk about that in a moment. There is voice chat, a user’s forum where we can talk about all things Serotek. You can ask questions about services and you can also get assistance from tech support as well as other users. This is member resources where SAMBET members have built their own blogs or websites and even shared bookmarks. They’ve made those public so you can go in and browse through all of these things. That’s right, remotely control another computer. If you have SAMNET and you know someone else who is a Serotek customer, they can assist your you can assist them remotely or you can train them in how to use a particular program just by connecting to their computer. Both of you will have speech as you do this. It’s like having two keyboards hooked to the same machine. Each of you can perform operations while the other user watchers.
It’s very, very handy both for new users who would like someone to assist them and sort of train them in how the program all works and it’s great for those who have been around for a little while to come in and be able to assist friends and things like that with performing particular tasks. Information, that’s just what it sounds like. You’re going to get all sorts of things under this information category. We’ll explore that in a bit. Entertainment, everybody likes entertainment so I think I’d like to take a look around in this area now. I’ll press enter here. Here is a list of streaming radio stations with all sorts of different genres. Both from the blindness community, such as there will be ACB radio and various other online radio stations produced by and for the blind and you’ll also have other internet radio stations that are mainstream for lack of a better word. So you can look for some great classical music or some hard rock out of LA or whatever it is that you’re into. Accessible games, that’s all sorts of fun.
Each of these are categories that can then be explored simply by pressing the enter key and then tabbing through the available link. I want to take a look at described video programming which is exactly what it sounds like. When you hear that a movie has come out and someone says “It’s a great movie. It has a really good soundtrack and the visual effects are amazing. There’s not a whole lot of dialogue but the movie is great.” In some cases that might mean you choose not to watch it altogether but with SAMNET and through this service you’ll be able to choose from over 2500 described videos both for TV and movies and basically watch what you want. Let’s see what this is like, shall we? Let’s look at movies. As you can see I have a whole list of genres to choose from but I’m going to look around and choose new additions in the past 30 days. This is a great way to see what is new. Sleepy Hallow, very appropriate for Halloween. Prometheus, this has just come out a couple of weeks ago. I’m kind of interested in what this is like. So let’s take a quick listen.
I’m going to get some information about the cast and the rating of the program and so on. Now I could have searched for a trailer on Google Video or I can just play the movie. Let’s do that. That’s just a quick little intro and now here comes the movie. And there you have it. We’re going to choose not to watch Prometheus in its entirety today although perhaps it might be a little more exciting than listening to me this whole time. But hey, once I’m done here you can go sign up for a subscription and check out Prometheus yourself.
Now let’s say that you really wanted to watch this movie but you were not able to sit in front of your computer. Perhaps you have a two and a half our train ride until work. If that’s so, goodness I wouldn’t want to be you. But you’re probably looking for entertainment as you head into work. So rather than listening to this streaming to your PC we can transfer this to a portable book player such as the Victor Reader Stream or the Book Sent, the [Plex Talk Pocket] and the Book Port Plus. That way you can hook that up to your machine and we can see the menu item that will allow you to add this to your synch list which will later be transferred to your book player of choice.
The cool thing is this is not just applicable to movies. You can do this for anything including forum posts or news and other things that we’re going to look at in just a bit as far as how you can customize those things and then transfer that whole bit of content to your portable device. Now that we’re done with movies, what I did was press the applications keys on this option and I see several different options including add to sync list. I also have open new window and so on. We’re not going to transfer anything to my book player today. Instead let’s go back and explore some of the options we have with SAMNET. One thing I want to take a look at is the socializer because again, this is all about community and the ability to reach out to people that we want to speak with as well as meeting new folks.
Let’s talk about that the socializer is. Under the socializer I can add Yahoo, MSN Instant Messenger and AOL accounts to this group and then I can sign in in order to be able to chat with anybody who is on those services. You will need to create an account on MSN or Yahoo or AIM when you’re ready to chat. Or you can just chat with SAMNET members by default. You can add usernames of the friends that you know and you’ll be able to send instant messages back and forth with each other. I also have Facebook and Twitter. Facebook especially is one of those sites that is notorious for changing its layout every single week. It can be something of an accessibility nightmare to navigate through Facebook in order to most a message or to read messages from your friends and family. We’ve taken this in the socializer and made this a very simplistic interface that is going to allow you to update your own status or to read the statuses of your friends and family. I can press enter on Facebook here and it will take me a little while for that to open.
So there was a status update from my friend on Facebook, Brian Harten. It shows when it was updated and what Brian had to say. I can continue moving through this list box with my arrow keys and read the latest updates from all of my friends or I can press the tab key. So first this read me my existing status. I posted an audio file about my experiences with the Android Nexus tablet. That was my last status and now I’m in an edit box where I can type a new status which will then be posted to Facebook for everyone to see. Pretty cool, I didn’t have to navigate through stuff about Farmville and Fishville and Townville and sorts of things that any of you who have been on Facebook understand and probably curse at quite a lot. The same is true for Twitter. While there are great Twitter clients such as The Cube, if you’re just looking to get introduced to Twitter and you want to see what other people are posting and you want to be able to post yourself from a nice, simple interface you can do that from the socializer here.
I’m going to close Facebook. Twitter and Facebook aren’t the only things here. Again, I have some information about what’s going on in the SAMNET community right now. It’s going to show up here in the socializer. There’s the voice chat, the welcome lobby. No one is currently there at the moment but if there were it would show the number of people who are here. If there are other open voice chat rooms those are going to show here as well including the number of people that are currently in the chat room? SPN radio is the SeroTalk podcast network radio where we broadcast our own content 24/7. Here is the SAMNET buzz. There’s the very latest SeroTalk podcast. There are several other podcasts, one of iOS, one on low vision, one on Android. One that is sort of exploring geek culture and one that is recorded live with new guests each month talking about the latest in assisted technology. You’ll be able to check those things out. While you can get all of this information at SeroTalk.com this is an easy way to access it from SAMNET as well.
It’s not all about entertainment necessarily. Sometimes we want to keep up with what’s going on in the world and news is a great way to do that. This is a section on SAMNET which contains news from over 130 different countries. You can get both text and audio news and you can customize your own newspaper which we’ll look at in just a moment where then you don’t have to go navigating through news, then audio, then CNN or whatever it is that you’re looking for each time. You can simply add that to your newspaper and browse that each morning instead. I’m going to choose text news. I like computers so we’ll check that out. And remember that as I’m navigating through each of these things I’m simply pressing the tab or the arrow key and then pressing enter on the option that I want. I’m a big fan of Apple computer. In fact, I’m using one right now. So I’m going to press enter here. There is the first of 25 articles that represent the latest in Apple news. I can press enter on this if I want to read it.
Here’s a link that is allowing me to add this to my newspaper and this is appearing that the bottom of the page. This is as simple as pressing enter on this link to have this appear in my newspaper. Now let’s take a look at what a newspaper looks like once you’ve customized one. Here are some things that I’ve added to my newspaper including blind bargains. CNET, Buzz Out loud, unfortunately that show is no longer being broadcast but I can still look at the very last episodes of the show because I have it here in my newspaper. Remember that at any time if I wanted to say, read the latest article here on Blind Bargains and I wanted to read that on my portable device I can press the applications key on the Blind Bargains link and say “Add to sync list.” Then when I plug in my book player all of those things are going to be transferred, read in the text to speech that I have chosen as my default.
For any of you who are curious what I’m using today is NeoSpeech Kate. That is available. There is also Eloquence, Real Speak and [Ivona]; each of these voices can be purchased from Serotek. The default, which is free, is Deaf Talk and each other these other voices are $25 per voice. If you like both Real Speak, Tom and Samantha you can purchase each of those or if you just want Tom you can just purchase that one. Or you can purchase Eloquence and you can switch between these at any time. Now I need to be reminded of things from time to time or basically I just need to make some notes to myself. Perhaps I need a serial number from a device and I need a place to put that that’s easy for me to find. I can use the notes option from SAMNET home to add a note.
I can add a text note or I can add a voice note. I can make a voice note to myself rather than having to type out a lot of stuff. Each of the notes I make to myself are always going to be together in this notes area of SAMNET. So when I’m ready to look up the information that I left for myself at some point, I can navigate between my existing notes with headings. They’re organized from newest to oldest. Each of them will have the date on which the note was created. That can help quite a lot. Media library is one of my favorite options here because what I can do is add folders of media from my desktop and then I can browse them and play them in a nice, simplistic media player that still does everything I need it to do. I don’t have a lot in here on my media library but I can browse my library. I can look at my sync list to see all of the things that are previously added and ready to transfer to my book player. Manage library is where I can add new material to the library. I can listen to a play list and I can even burn CDs. Let’s say I wanted to take something in the car on a long family trip or what have you. I can easily burn a CD without having to install any third party applications and I can use one of my playlists to do that with. That’s a really nice feature and it’s a quick way to create a music CD without having to go through much thought at all.
DocuScan Plus is a link on my SAMNET desktop and this is a separate service from Serotek that we won’t be exploring today. However join me in a couple of weeks and we’re going to take a look at how DocuScan Plus works and you can learn a little more about that at that time. How about weather, this is one of those things that you can go to Yahoo and use it for weather or find the weather link and then enter your zip code and then navigate down the page to find what your forecast is. While that is certainly possible it’s not necessarily a quick thing to do. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just press enter on a link and have this thing automatically read out your weather forecast for you? Now I didn’t have to do a single thing on my keyboard except press the enter key. I didn’t have to navigate to the relevant part of the page. All I had to do was press “enter” on weather from SAMNET and yay, there is my forecast. Pretty cool.
What I talked about a lot so far is content that is within the system access mobile network. This is content that we have gathered together and it’s content that we believe people are going to find useful but the web is a really, really big place. We’re never going to be able to find and organize everything that is of interest to everyone. However, that doesn’t mean that when you’re inside SAMNET you can’t visit an alternate website. I’m going to press “control O” here on my SAMNET homepage. Here I can enter absolutely anything that I wanted to. I’m going to type cnn.com because it’s a very short URL to type and I’m unlikely to mess that up too badly and I’ll press enter here so that the SAMNET browser can take me where I’ve asked to go. You’ll notice the clicking noises in the background. Those are indicating that the page is loading. It brought me right to the appropriate place on the page for me to select whether I wanted this to be the US edition or perhaps I wanted to go somewhere else.
Now I can go through and browse the CNN page just as I would any other page. Now, a lot of times you might know exactly the link that you want to jump too or you may just want to see a list of links on a particular page and then choose the one that you want. You can do that here by choosing the modifier key which can be insert or caps lock. Both of them work so you don’t have to choose one and stick with it. You’ll press modifier F7 to bring up a list of each link on this page. As you can see there are lots and lots of links on this page that you can use first letter navigation to jump to the link that starts with the letter that you want. I’m just moving through with the letter S and there is a link about super storm Sandy. If I were to press enter here I would immediately jump there. You see how you’re able to open CNN but what happens when I want to open CNN then next time. Do I really want to do control O and type in cnn.com and press enter and then go there or would I rather just have a bookmark of the page that I like? Most likely you’re going to say “Yes” give me a bookmark. That’s much easier.
I can press Alt B here and automatically add a bookmark and I can browse that list of bookmarks later. Even better, I can actually add this cnn homepage to my SAMNET home screen. So if it’s something that I look at first thing in the morning and I want to see that even before I look at my email I can customize this SAMNET home screen such that CNN is the very first link on my page and it’s easy to get to. Let’s just take a quick look at preferences here. I’m going to have a couple of preferences that aren’t necessarily going to be there if you don’t have SAMNET. Most of them will be however. We have general preferences, text to speech preferences, screen magnification preferences, Braille—yes, system access and SAMNET do support Braille displays. Here’s how you can change how things look in the SAMNET browser and this may be very useful to you as a low vision user if you want white on black or black on white and you kind of want to switch those things around. You can do that here.
Socializer preferences, here’s where you can change whether you sign in automatically on socializer. You can update your social networks and a whole lot more. And here among all of these other preferences is the ability to personalize your SAMNET homepage. Let’s take a quick look at what this interface is like because luckily it’s not really complex. I’m in a list box here and I have email and socializer and voice chat. Voice chat is number three on my screen but let’s say I wanted to move that up one. I just press the tab key and I see the move up button and it’s as simple as that. Then this would move up to the number two spot on my homepage and the socializer which had the number two spot would then move down to number three. The same concept is true for the move down button. I can cut this altogether. If I saw something on my page that I just cared nothing about, which in fact I have, we have a category for sports. I know that there are lots of sports fans out there who are going to boo me for not being one of those but this is news that I’m not interested in seeing. So I was able to press the cut button and just remove the sports information from my page altogether.
If I really messed up and I said “Oh wait, no I really do like sports after all. I was just kind of playing around but what do I do? How do I get it back?” I can restore a deleted link and that’s going to present me with a list of options or a list of links that I’ve gotten rid of and I can choose which one to bring back. Here is add a new link and this is what I would do if I wanted to add CNN to my SAMNET homepage. There you have a look at how you can organize this to best suit your needs. It warns me “Hey, wait. If you’re personalizing this, if you made some changes they’re going to go away if you don’t save that.” I chose not to. Now listen carefully for a moment as I move through these options because I’d like to point out one thing too.
You see how each of these links has a number beside it. While you can move through these links with the tabs or the arrow keys, sometimes you might have a link that’s all the way down the page on number 16 and you don’t want to press tab, tab, tab but you happen to know that this link has the number 16 beside it. You can simply type “16” and that link will immediately be launched. That’s come in very handy for me a number of times. I want to look at voice chat just to show you the wealth of rooms we have available just to go in and learn more about a particular topic or just talk with a particular group of community members.
There’s the welcome lobby that we saw earlier. There is a room for the American Counsel for the Blind and this gets a lot of action during the ACB summer conventions when there are people who aren’t able to attend the convention itself but they would like to meet together in a group and talk about things related to ACB. They’re able to do that in this room. Here is where we would talk about Macs and iPhones and iPods and all that sort of stuff. The book nook, this is one of my favorite places. There is a book chat on Saturday afternoons and again when people are in these chartrooms you’ll see the number of people who are there and you’ll be able to come in and chat with them unlike other conferencing software such as this one where you press the control key to begin speaking in a voice chat, you’ll use the enter key instead. There are some rooms which are full duplex. This means you can come into the room and everyone can talk at once without having to hold down the control key. If you think that might get a little chaotic sometimes you’d be right but it’s also a lot of fun.
We do have a music room where people go in and jam together and talk about music, show off their latest instruments. That’s always all sorts of fun and that makes a perfect use for a full duplex room where you would want to just go in and not hold down the control key as you’re speaking. There we have the voice chat section of SAMNET. For a lot of people they may not want to chat a whole lot. They may feel a lot more comfortable with simply writing things. So let’s check out community member resources. These are the things you can do here including browse community forums. It’s not just Serotek users forum that we have. There are going to be all sorts of forums here talking about things like Windows 8 or books or knitting or just about anything you can think of, you’re going to see a forum here. You know what; if there is something that isn’t here you as the user have the power to create a forum yourself. Then people will see that forum as they browse through this list and they’ll say “Hey, I’m so interested in basket weaving with [Backon]. I’m so glad somebody has come up with a place where I can talk about this very important topic.” And they’ll be able to subscribe to your forum and post as well as read other posts from other people.
II want to take a look at the “My Account” portion of SAMNET. Not so much because it’s particularly exciting but because it’s one of those things that you’re always going to want to know where that is and what you can do in this section. We do have customer service people available that you can speak with if you want to purchase more services or perhaps you want to change your computer that you’re using this on, you want to unregister one and register another. You can do that in this section of the software. I can uninstall my voices. I can purchase new services. I can change my contact information. I can change the name that is shown whenever I post on a users’ forum. By default what you’re going to post as is your first name and the first letter of your last name. You also have the option of choosing a nickname. Be careful because you only get to choose that nickname once. You can post as your nickname, “bubbles90210” or whatever it is that you choose. Or you can post with your entire full name. It’s nice to be able to do that here.
This is where you can change your credit card information when it’s time to purchase services again and all sorts of other stuff. I just briefly tabbed through the other options here that we’re not going to focus on a whole lot today and those include a personal blog, a personal website, bookmarks which we talked about earlier and active downloads. These are things that are being downloaded. Here is one that you’re always going to know where this one is or you’re always going to want to and this is the help section. With the help section we divided this into several different sections so that you can read how to do things online as you’re exploring the software. Now it’s not particularly easy to break this piece of software. It’s nice and safe and is a great place to explore. But sometimes you want to know how to do something. How do I add a link to my newspaper? How do I read the entire page? Which by the way is modify or down arrow for those who are interested. How do I look at the title of the window? Modifier T. All of these things are going to be found in the relevant help sections.
Luckily these don’t double as sleeping aids. They’re not going to put you to sleep. They have been written with the user in mind and what that means is that we’ve written the documentation to be exciting enough to read and straightforward enough to read and understand without boring the user or without talking in a bunch of technical jargon that most people, including us perhaps, don’t even really understand. The help is a great place to go not only to learn how to do some basic things like I mentioned earlier, such as reading the entire page and reading the title of the window, but it’s a great place to explore what options are available in this software. Because while I have been talking for about an hour, we’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of what you can do with SAMNET or the system access mobile network.
Many of you may be wondering about what operating systems SAMNET can be used on. The answer is that we do support everything right on up to Windows 8 which was just released recently. We do work on XP and Vista and Windows 7. Although a quick note about XP and Vista, Microsoft itself is going to be discontinuing support for those operating systems. So when that happens it’s going to become a little bit more of a Legacy operating system and some things will work and some things will not. And that’s not just about SAMNET, that’s about each application that you’re using on XP. So do be aware that unfortunately as much as we love XP it’s going to go away in a year or so as far as official support for the OS itself. But Windows 7 is great. Jump on in, the water if fine. I think you’ll like it.
In addition to having SAMNet here on the Windows platform there is experimental support on the Mac platform and there is support on the iOS devices such as an iPad or iPhone, iPod Touch, things like that. You’ll want to get the iBlink radio app and you’ll find the ability to log in to SAMNet within that app and then you’re going to be able to do everything that you can do here like look at forums and listen to radio stations and movies and check up on your news and all of that stuff. You can do that from your iPhone. The only thing you can’t do from your iPhone is voice chat at this time and the socializer is also not implemented because there are things such as IM Plus Pro on the iPhone that will work quite well for that kind of thing. Now, I’ve gotten you all excited about watching some movies and reading some news and catching up with friends and chatting and doing all this sort of stuff. But I haven’t talked about one pretty significant thing and that is how much is it going to cost you to do this? Luckily there are a number of different options for making this happen. You can purchase the SAMNet service for $16.95 per month or you can pay outright for $149 per year. It’s a little bit cheaper to do it yearly rather than monthly. Those are some options.
We also have an option called “The accessibility anywhere package.” This one is very cool because you can get the system access screen reader that we didn’t talk about a whole lot today but it does exist and it’s fantastic. You can visit www.satogo.com in order to check out system access for free. This package includes system access and SAMNet and DocuScan Plus which I’ll be back to talk about in a couple of weeks. All that for $21.95 per month or $240 per year. A lot of us will spend $21.95 on a really bad pizza at times. I think it’s a very worthwhile investment to spend that much per month and have your scanning needs met, be able to socialize easily and keep up with your news and entertainment and weather and a whole lot more and to have a very nice robust screen reader at your fingertips. That package is called the accessibility anywhere package, $21.95 a month or $240 per year.
With that I’m going to turn this back over to Douglas and he will have been collecting your questions and remarks and things like that to share with me and I will be happy to answer all of the questions that you all have come up with. So I’m going to now turn this over to Douglas.
Great, Ricky. Sounds great, all of those wonderful features with the system access mobile network and yes, we will have the DocuScan Plus seminar coming up in a couple of weeks. We’ll talk about that in just a few minutes. Let me first, there is a question in the text chat area, let me address that first. Wanting to know where to get the SAMNet or is there an address that you have to type to get to the system access mobile network or do you have to go through SA to go. How do you get to SAMNet?
Great question. The answer is that for any Serotek services you can contact customer service and we’ll be happy to set up an account for you. The number for that is 866-202-0520 and we can setup your account and walk you through installing the software but luckily you can do this online as well. The best way to get started is to go to SA to go and create an account. During this process you’ll be prompted if you want to begin a trial of all Serotek services. You can say “Yeah, sure.” In that case you’ll be walked through how to install the software such that it will just become a part of your desktop and you can launch it whenever you’re ready. The default keystroke for doing that is Control Alt N for network. That’s going to launch SAMNet for you. If you’ve got system access it will be Control Alt S and once you’ve launched system access you can always get to the network from there as well.
If you already have a System Access To Go account just log into that account and there is a very important menu that you’re really going to want to know how to get to. This is where you’ll find everything that has to do with System Access and SAMNet and DocuScan Plus, so basically any Serotek software that you have installed you can press modifier F and recall that modifier can enter or caps lock and then press A for my account. Under the my account menu, and you didn’t see it in mine because I already have it installed, under that menu you’re going to see “Install Serotek software on this computer” and if you’re getting a trial then it will put everything there from System Access to DocuScan Plus to SAMNet. Or if you’ve gone through the purchase process and you’ve just said “I just want SAMNet.” That will be installed as well.
You don’t have to tell it which things to install. It knows what you have access to and it will place that on your computer. One thing I want to mention while I’m here before we take the next question is that at the beginning of the presentation I talked about how you can use this in conjunction with your primary screen reader and you can. In the help documentation there is information about this but if all works as expected you’re going to already have included in the SAMNet software, the appropriate things needed to place your screen reader into sleep mode as you’re inside a SAMNet window. And to wake back up when you Alt tab over to something like Microsoft Word and again if anyone has any sorts of issues with that, customer service and tech support are happy to help you out with that either by walking you through it on the phone. Or we do have the ability to remote control other computers just as you will if you are a SAMNet user and we can jump on and do that for you with your permission. So with that, let’s take the next question.
Only one more question from the text chat area. You’ve covered pretty much everything that’s been asked in the text chat. It’s really thorough. The only thing that’s not covered is someone is wanting your Facebook ID. It’s Halloween, right? What we’ll do right now is maybe you can give that later if you like but I will go ahead and open the room up for questions. Remember if you want to ask a question you can press your control key, listen for the tone and it’s your turn to speak when you hear it. Remember to release the control key when you’re finished asking your question. I’m going to open up your questions.
We need a really loud sound in here to wake everyone up. I will go ahead and answer the Facebook question and Twitter while I’m here. I will admit that I’m not on Facebook a whole lot. I’m much more active on Twitter but in either case it is either Facebook.com or Twitter.com/Ricky R-I-C-K-Y underscore Enger, E-N-G-E-R. You can follow me on Twitter or check me out on Facebook where I rarely venture. I’ll be happy to follow back.
We’ll ask one more time for questions from the participants today. Apparently Ricky has pretty much covered everything, very thorough. System Access Mobile Network is an incredible piece of software. I have it myself, love it. I use it all of the time. It looks like we have a question from the room.
This is Rose from Milwaukee. I’m wondering do you know of a voice command program or some type of application on the Windows computer that can actually give voice commands to the SAMNet program so that you can tell it to go to a link or something like that?
Awesome question and the answer is yes and even better you don’t have to pay anything for it. Now, this does assume that you are Windows Vista where this works somewhat well or Windows 7 where it is fantastic. There are actually built in speech recognition in the operating system and a lot of people aren’t aware of this. but luckily it does exist. You can look for speech recognition or again, if you’re on Windows 7 the easiest way to get here is to enter the start menu search box and type “speech.” This is going to allow you to set up your microphone for Windows speech recognition and this can be used all over the place. You can dictate inside Microsoft Word. You can do all sorts of things. One of the things that you can do is navigate through SAMNet with voice recognition. You can say “Open email.” Or “Click read new mail” and things like that.
If you don’t have the keyboarding skills or you don’t have enough hand movement to be able to use the tab key or the arrow keys to move around the interface then you will be able to use speech recognition to do this. A lot of veterans have been trained on this. We actually have a program if you happen to know a veteran, a US veteran the SAMNet program is being offered for free as a lifetime offer to anyone who is both a US veteran and has been declared legally blind. We wanted to thank our veterans in some way for everything that they have done for us and we thought that SAMNet would be a very appropriate way to do that. But in any case a lot of veterans are using that method very successfully in terms of voice recognition.
Okay, Ricky, we have a couple of other questions from the text chat area. How long is the trial period last, how long does it last and is it free? Also another question, wanted some clarification on music. They wanted to know do you get your music from SAMNet or through SAMNet? Where do you get the music? Is this music of your own, from iTunes? Just some clarification on that.
Alright, for a trial that does last for seven days and it seems like a very short trial period but what tends to happen a lot is that people will get a 30 day trial and they kind of forget that they have it. And so on day 29 at 11:23 PM they say “Okay, now I’m ready to play with this.” and then they’re not able to discover a whole lot. With a seven day trial you’re kind of cognoscente of the fact that you’ve just gotten the trial. You’ve got a limited amount of time to play with it and so you’ll be perhaps a little more apt to jump in there and explore. The trial is free so it’s certainly worth checking out for seven days and with the accessibility anywhere package, if you didn’t get enough in your trial, there is no ‘You have to sign up for this forever and you’re obligated to continue to pay and pay and pay.” You can sign up, say $21.95 for a single month and play around with all of the services for that long and then decide “This isn’t for me.” Or “I want to purchase this one but that one.” All of those things are option for you.
Now as far as music, that’s a great question because the answer is all of the above in some ways. There are a couple of different ways to listen to music on SAMNet. One of which is under entertainment and we looked at it briefly earlier. We see the 128k music networks and there is another music section as well that isn’t quite as high quality as far as the sound quality. That is there too. And these are streaming radio stations. These are radio stations that we know of out on the internet and they’ve all been organized but genre and can stream to your computer. And given that they’re radio stations you’re not really able to choose file by file what it is that you want to listen to. You just choose “I feel like listening to classical today so I’ll see what this station is going to play.”
Now for media library that’s a bit different. This is your own music. This is music that you have perhaps downloaded from Amazon MP3 which is a great place to get MP3s. You may have ripped it from your own CDs that you’ve purchased and by the way you can do that with SAMNet as well. Or it could be just things that you’ve gotten over the years. You may have tapes that you’ve digitized or things that you’ve purchased from iTunes or elsewhere. Those things are going to be on your hard drive and those things you can add to your media library which you can then browse and find the music that you wanted to listen to there.
I have a question about the media player and being able to hear the buttons when you want to either pause or stop and the music is playing. I find that it’s a little difficult sometimes. The music is louder than the talking voice. Is there a way around that?
There is. One thing that you can do is press the down arrow key and when you’re inside the media player window that’s only going to modify the volume of the media player and not your speech. So if you press down arrow a couple of times that’s going to turn your music down a bit and then you can tab through the options such as pause or stop and that kind of thing. You can also, if you’re ready to close out what you’ve been playing altogether you can just press the escape key to close the window that you’re in.
Will you please repeat and spell the Serotek website?
Absolutely. I’m going to give you two actually. One is where you can read about our different programs. This site is actually being updated as we speak. So what you see there is going to be a little bit out of date but that website is www.serotek S-E-R-O-T-E-K .com and the other website where you can go to try the screen reader and other things for free and where you will setup your trial and the like, that is www. S-A-T-O-G-O, so satogo.com.
Great, we have a question from Mitchell who is a US veteran. Thanks for your support, helping us out, Mitchell. He has a question that’s requesting how to get a free membership to the System Access Local Network.
Alright, Mitchell, thank you so much for everything that you have done and for you and any veteran who is listening either now or through the archives the address that you’ll want to visit in order to learn how to get SAMNet for free is www.serotek.com/samnet S-A-M-N-E-T vets, V-E-T-S. So that’s serotek.com/samnetvets. This page will describe what you need to do. You’ll fill out an application and your Vis coordinator will sign a bit of paperwork and you’ll be all set. But check out that page. You can also call us if you have further questions, 866-202-0520 and we can walk you through that process as well.
I have a question about the iBlink on the iPad. Also, I was wondering is there voice command available to do the similar navigating of the links by voice on iPad?
In order to get iBlink radio for the iPad, it is available; you’ll just go into the app store and search for iBlink, I-B-L-I-N-K, all one word. iBlink radio from serotek corporation will come up. This is a free application which displays podcasts, community radio stations and some other things. So some things you have seen on SAMNet but it’s all about the content. It’s all about the radio content and radio reading services from various states. All sorts of great stuff on iBlink radio. Now if you want SAMNet on iBlink radio you will need a SAMNet subscription to be able to access that. As far as voice commands on the iPad or any iDevice, there isn’t a way to navigate through content in the same way.
You have probably heard of Siri and with Siri you can, for example say “Open iBlink” and the application will be launched. But beyond that Siri is not very sophisticated in terms of then navigating to the link that you want inside of this application or the button that you want such as play or pause. You’re not going to be able to give it a voice command to do that. But the touch screen is available and there are also Bluetooth keyboards that you can pair with this. I’m not familiar with other things that exist such as switch devices and things like that for people that don’t have a lot of hand motion in using iDevices but it’s something that you might want to look into if the hand movement issue is what’s being dealt with.
This has been really rewarding. Very good, thank you.
Hi, this is Cathy. I Have two questions. When you talked about the email you mentioned address book. Are you saying that it will access address book, which I have setup through Outlook? And my second question, I already have the mobile device on the key ring. Can I use it with my laptop and will it work well with Windows 7 which is on my laptop?
An answer to your questions and you had a couple. It sounds like you have system access mobile which is the screen reader that can be placed on a thumb drive. It can also be placed on two computers in addition to your thumb drive. Now for as many system access licenses that you have that’s the number of SAMNet license that you will have as well. So you’re going to be able to use SAMNet on this thumb drive as well and yes this does work very, very well on Windows 7. In fact, Windows 7 is probably the operating system that I would most highly recommend for everyone. I know that a lot of people have been using XP and I understand why because it’s wonderful. But Windows 7 does have lots of improvements. It takes a little bit of getting used to but it’s a great place to be. Windows 8, we’re kind of in the place where we have some people who want to be early adopters but I wouldn’t recommend that everyone decide to be an early adopter. Although, for the record, serotek does have great support for Windows 8. It’s just there are lots of interface changes that have come along and will take a little bit of getting used to.
I apologize I answered the second part of your question but I don’t recall the first.
It’s about the email address book. You mentioned an address book. I assume that means the address book I already have established with Outlook and serotek; system access will access that as an address book. Is that correct?
Unfortunately not at this point. You would be creating a separate address book. That is something that we hope to address. No pun intended. At the moment you would have to create your own address book within SAMNet in addition to having that in Outlook.
We probably have time for one or two more questions before we have to wrap up today’s seminar. So any final questions?
Will you have video for some of the upcoming webinars?
Video is something we are addressing now here at Hadley and hopefully we can come up with a solution soon. We’re talking about all types of, maybe posting video simulations with archived seminars. Right now with the software that we use we aren’t capable of showing videos. We can show PowerPoints sometimes but we just don’t have the video capabilities now. It’s something we’re hoping to get. Any final questions for Ricky before we have to wrap things up?
Hi Ricky, I’m an older veteran. I haven’t served for many years. I’m blind but I did not get my blindness for service related, service in the military. I’m wondering does that have anything to do with my ability to get SAMNet for free?
Nope. It sounds like you should still be perfectly qualified. What we look at is if you are eligible for blindness service through the VA and you do have a Vis coordinator it doesn’t matter when you served or whether your blindness was related to service related injury or it was something that just happened on its own a bit later in life. So as long as you can get blindness services then you should be perfectly eligible and fine to get SAMNet.
Great, that is such a great thing for serotek to be offering our veterans. And we really do appreciate guys like Connie and Mitchell who are in the room with us today and have served us. Unfortunately, when it starts out you think “90 minutes, oh my goodness. How are we going to fill this up?” But as Ricky said, there’s probably a ton more that she could dig through and show you guys tricks and tips and everything but just scratching the surface on SAMNet. It just does so much and it’s such an easy interface to use. I was thrilled to have Ricky be able to go through and show us some of the really cool stuff that’s there. Thanks, Ricky.
Alright, I’m going to wrap things up. This seminar like all seminars at Hadley will be archived on the Hadley website and be available there 24/7. You can go there anytime and download them, check them out. So if you missed something today you can always go find it, check it out later on. It usually takes about a week to get it archived. This seminar will be archived on the Hadley website under past seminars at www.hadley.edu and now podcast notifications are also available there. So information on how to get to the podcast are available by going to Hadley’s past seminars page.
You might also be interested in taking some Hadley courses. A few that might relate to today’s seminar are Internet Beyond the Basics, Screen Reader, Web Browsing. I’ll just shamelessly plug the rest of my courses. Screen Readers, Formatting Word Documents. Using Excel and I also teach Using PowerPoint. I would love to have you in any of my course. We do value your feedback. Please let us know what you thought of today’s seminar. You can do that a couple of ways or you can suggest future seminar topics that you might be interested in by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s F-E-E-D-B-A-C-K @hadley.edu. And by completing the short survey as we conclude today’s seminar.
Now I would like to hand the microphone back over to Ricky for any final comments.
I’d like to thank you all once again for joining me today. It has been an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to speak with you all. For those of you who do want to learn more you can send an email to info, I-N-F-O @serotek, S-E-R-O-T-E-K .com or give us a call, 866-202-0520 and once again, very much appreciate you allowing me to come and speak with you all. We look forward to welcoming you into the SAMNet family.
Alright and it is such a great product. Again, this is Douglas Walker and I would like to thank Ricky again for being with us today. It was such a fantastic job. Ricky will be back with us as we mention earlier, in two weeks to tell us about DocuScan Plus. It is an incredible cloud based, totally accessibly scanning program. So we’re going to want to hear more about that. So join us here on November 14th, same time, same place and I’m sure it’s going to be another great seminar. I’d also like to thank all of you for being here. It’s so great to see some of my students in the room. Thank you for showing up, guys. I will see you next time and take care.
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