Jaws11 fun.

So, the Jaws11 testing fun began today.

I’ve found a few things so far that have already been sent via the bug reporting to FreedomScientific. It would be great if Jaws had an error reporting tool built in similar to that found in Window Eyes by GWMicro… But we can only live in hope.

They’ve boasted that they’ve fixed a lot and added more features in this most recent version but I’m not impressed. In fact, I’m really unimpressed.

Research it… A tool that cant even stand up to Qwitter, a tool made by a few people working in their spare time. No reflection on Qwitter, I think it’s a fantastic piece of work and if FS had any sense, they’d snatch up the developers behind it! Qwitter pulls back information via API’s and does loads with it. FreedomScientific reads an XML file and gives the information back in the virtual buffer! And even with that, they’ve only worked on a few feeds that are only of particular interest to their American customers. Utterly Utterly pointless if you ask me and as Stuart Lawler said today, is that really the job of a screen reader anyway? When they cant even provide access to widely used applications should they be thinking of branching out into this type of functionality? Not that I think this took them much time at all. It was probably a small project by one person to tick a box leading up to the release schedule for JFW11.

Lets also look at their placemarkers enhancement. They’ve basically coppied the work done by GWMicro in Window eyes. Their basically searching for text / pointers on the page to find the place you want. So, their not just relying on the line number alone! well, well done FreedomScientific! It only took you two years to think of that? Wow!

Next, look at their outlook message list customization. So, they’ve just rehashed the customize list view tool to provide a bit more customization. And they’ve released that in an entirely new version? Aren’t they great? Shouldn’t we be ever so greatful for all the work they’ve done on this release? OH. Then they actually admit that this is really similar to their customize list view feature. It just gets better and better.

Their skype enhancements. Well, from what I can see, their skype enhancements are a load of rubbish. I’m running Skype 4.1 here and when I checked what scripts were running it said 3.x. Now, I don’t mind this too much. I know I can go download the version 4.1 scripts from the third party developer who I also must say has done a fantastic job on them but they’ve written it there on the page that they support version 4.1. Not from what I can see though.

Jaws 11 now also supports UIA, the standard that has taken over from Microsoft Active Accessibility. This is something that has been out in the public domain for almost three years if not even longer than that. Microsoft have had that ready for companies like FreedomScientific to start working with since before they released Windows Vista! It’s amazing that their only supporting that now.

I could go into more but I’m not going to bother at the moment.

I’m not entirely annoyed with Jaws 11. There are some good features as well. The multable sound card support has been improved and jaws sounds during jaws tandem was improved also. But, I dont’ really understand how it took them an entire year to release what should have been done in the first place.

If your interested, You can follow the Twitter updates by a number of Jaws11 users via the following link: http://twitter.com/#search?q=Jaws11

Have fun.


3 Responses to Jaws11 fun.

  1. Hey,
    Just read your blog on the JFW 11 update. I read the features, listened to the podcast, and was pretty disgusted with the lack of support they’ve provided for open-source stuff, like Firefox for instance. Take the horrible Internet Explorer for example, they made sure everything worked in that, including being able to select text with HTML markup and all that formatting in JAWS 9. It’s still not implemented in Firefox though… Because FS is too busy pulling at straws and listing keystroke changes as features. I for one think it’s really annoying that FS keeps changing keystrokes every version for some new unimportant feature. When will FS realize that stability and universal access is more important than useless features that can be had in other programs? JAWS is a screen reader, not a damn baseball score finder! If I wanted to use RSS, I’d use Live bookmarks or one of the many podcatchers that exist.
    I don’t mean to rant, but I’m really sick and tired of FS being corporate mongers and wish they would really just stick a solid release of JFW out there! And what’s up with these massive release numbers? All of a sudden, it’s JAWS version 7, 7.10, 8.0, 9, 10… 11! I’m a firm believer that whole number releases should only be spared for major changes to the way the program acts. For instance, Firefox 2 and Firefox 3 are pretty similar in looks and feel, but the underlying code like Gecko and other engines keeps changing and it’s making Firefox faster. That’s important, but changing the label of one toolbar and a button doesn’t really qualify as a massive upgrade and a big hype over nothing. In other words, JAWS 11 should have been JAWS 9.1. Hell, probably earlier!
    I refuse to use JAWS after version 10 came out lastfall and use NVDA and Orca and a bit of Speakup to get my work done, Python’s the name of the game. NVDA might not be as robust as JAWS is, but it sure is stabler… And it sure is going to be a damn good rival, because FS is scating on cash and they’re going to hit the wall once people start boycotting them and switch to Window-Eyes and NVDA. They’ll pay for all their corporate greed and false imagery.
    Again, I don’t mean to rant but I am REALLY disgusted with FS. JAWS 3.5 was the best version of JAWS because it was fast and lite. There were no other motives than just helping to deliver great asistive technology; now JAWS is a virtual landfill waiting to happen.