Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Callas launches pdfGoHTML

callas logoCallas software, known for its quality control and document archival software, worked closely with its sister company axaio software when focusing its attention on tagged PDF. Last year, axaio software released the beta version of its MadeToTag product, an Adobe InDesign plug-in to streamline tagging of Adobe InDesign files and create tagged PDF files. Tagged PDF files are essential for screen reader devices helping visually impaired people or reading software for people with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. In addition, tagged PDF files enable substantially better indexing by search engines and a more reliable text extraction or conversion to other formats.

It is this last property of tagged PDFs that is used by pdfGoHTML to allow high quality conversion of tagged PDFs into HTML. When opening a PDF file, pdfGoHTML immediately indicates whether or not the file is tagged and allows a one-button conversion into HTML in the default browser. Users can easily switch how the HTML is displayed to adjust it to their specific needs: browser default, structure tags, easy reader, inverted, low vision, and dyslexia.

For those who need to evaluate the tagging quality of a PDF file, the ‘structure tags’ view in the exported HTML provides a very quick, intuitive quality analysis tool that shows where the tagging structure of a tagged PDF needs improvement. callas pdfGoHTML will substantially speed up the creation and evaluation of tagged PDFs, and ensures a much higher degree of usability of tagged PDF files.

callas pdfGoHTML is immediately available as a free tool. It works in Acrobat 9, 10 and 11 on both Mac and Windows. It can be downloaded at http://www.callassoftware.com/callas/doku.php/en:download  and tried out with the attached tagged PDF files. This short video explains why pdfGoHTML is important and how to works.

callas software is based in Berlin, Germany. For more information, visit the callas software website at: http://www.callassoftware.com.

Source: GAATES

Monday, November 12, 2012

Digital tablets improve reading for people with vision disabilities

CHICAGO: People who have eye diseases that damage their central vision can regain the ability to read quickly and comfortably by using digital tablets, according to a recent study.

The research found that people with moderate vision disabilities could increase their reading speed by 15 words-per-minute, on average. Using a tablet with a back-lit screen resulted in the fastest reading speeds for all study participants, no matter what their level of visual acuity. The research is being presented today at the 116th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology,jointly conducted this year with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology.

Loss of central vision affects millions of people who have eye diseases such as macular degeneration  or diabetic retinopathy, which damage the light-sensitive cells of the eye’s retina. The retina relays images to the optic nerve, which transmits them to the brain. When treatments such as eyeglasses, medications, or surgery are no longer effective, ophthalmologists – eye medical doctors and surgeons – help patients maximize their remaining sight by using low-vision aids. Before digital tablets came along, reading aids were limited to lighted magnifiers, which are cumbersome and inconvenient by comparison.

In the study, which was conducted at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, researchers found that all of the 100 participants gained at least 42 words-per-minute (WPM) when using the iPad™ tablet on the 18-point font setting, compared with reading a print book or newspaper. A more modest gain of 12 WPM, on average, was achieved by all subjects when using the Kindle™ tablet set to 18-point font. Patients with the poorest vision – defined as 20/40 or worse in both eyes – showed the most improvement in speed when using an iPad or Kindle, compared with print.

The researchers believe the iPad’s back-illuminated screen is the key to the significantly improved reading speed achieved by patients with moderate vision disability. The vision factor involved is called contrast sensitivity, which means being able see an object as separate and distinct from its background and to discern shades of gray. Loss of contrast sensitivity is common in people with low vision. The high word/background contrast provided by a back-lit screen is a big plus for such patients. The original Kindle, which was used in this study, does not have a back-lit screen.

The study also assessed low vision patients’ comfort while reading and found that their preferred mode was linked to their degree of vision loss. People with the worst vision found the iPad most comfortable, while those with the best vision preferred print. This information will be useful to ophthalmologists in advising patients with various degrees of vision loss.

“Reading is a simple pleasure that we often take for granted until vision disability makes it difficult,” said Daniel Roth, M.D., an associate clinical professor at Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine who led of the study. “Our findings show that at a relatively low cost, digital tablets can improve the lives of people with vision disabilities and help them reconnect with the larger world.”

The 116 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology is in session November 10-13 at McCormick Place in Chicago. It is the world’s largest, most comprehensive ophthalmic education conference. More than 25,000 attendees and 500 companies gather each year to showcase the latest in ophthalmic education, research, clinical developments, technology, products and services. This year’s meeting is being held jointly with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology.

For more information, visit www.aao.org or  www.geteyesmart.org

Source: GAATES

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Desire2Learn expands its platform with technologies from Cisco WebEx, ReadSpeaker, Ellucian and Automatic Sync Technologies

EDUCAUSE – KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON AND DENVER, CO: Desire2Learn Incorporated (“Desire2Learn”) announces that its strengthening its leadership position in the education industry by incorporating technologies from Cisco WebEx, ReadSpeaker, Automatic Sync Technologies (AST) and Ellucian, to further promote lifelong learning.

Within the Desire2Learn platform, the Company is now empowering its customers with Cisco® WebEx® virtual conferencing capabilities to improve collaboration capabilities, ReadSpeaker’s cloud-based text-to-speech technology and AST’s technologies for increasing accessibility for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. In addition, Desire2Learn is working closely with Ellucian and their Partner Community Program to deepen the integration with its student information system.

“Desire2Learn’s products help learners learn, instructors teach and extend learning well beyond the classroom,” said Dennis Kavelman, COO of Desire2Learn. “By offering an open platform and enabling integrations with technology and education providers such as Cisco, Ellucian and ReadSpeaker, we’re delivering on our promise to advance education globally and continue to provide rich learning experiences.”

CISCO WEBEX: Together, Desire2Learn and Cisco WebEx now offer a virtual classroom environment that streamlines experiences for instructors and students. Seamless integration between WebEx Meetings and the Desire2Learn learning environment means users can utilize WebEx functionality within Desire2Learn online rooms, enabling instructors and students to collaborate more effectively.

READSPEAKER: A leader in cloud-based text-to-speech (TTS) technology, ReadSpeaker is now integrated within Desire2Learn’s platform to provide users of the learning environment with the ability to listen to text content. The TTS service helps all learners expand their comprehension and allows for bi-model learning as well as ease of use with model access. The seamlessly integrated TTS feature requires no downloads and works on all supported devices and operating systems, further enabling users that would otherwise have to download and install third party installed software.

AST: CaptionSync is now integrated within the production and administration features of Desire2Learn Learning Suite and Desire2Learn Capture solutions, to support accessibility in education for the deaf and hard of hearing across its customer base. The integration enables Desire2Learn products to further support multiple accessibility standards and regulations.

ELLUCIAN: Desire2Learn is a part of the Ellucian Partner Community, a formal network of companies with extensive higher education domain expertise. This community is comprised of product and service providers that furnish proven software applications, hardware, and services that complement and extend Ellucian’s software and service offerings, such as Student Information Systems.

Desire2Learn is in booth #1440, at EDUCAUSE 2012 in Denver, Colorado on November 7 – 8, 2012.

About Desire2Learn

Desire2Learn is helping to transform the way the world learns. Providing the next generation learning environment and solutions to engage and inspire lifelong learners, Desire2Learn helps clients break down barriers to access the highest quality learning experiences, and is recognized for its leadership in accessibility. Desire2Learn is a global leader in cloud (SaaS) based learning solutions and provides an open and extensible platform to over 700 clients and more than 8 million learners in higher education, K-12, healthcare, government and the corporate sector, including the Fortune 1000. Desire2Learn has personnel in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil and Singapore. For more information or to contact us, visit: http://www.desire2learn.com.

Source: GAATES