I'm sure that many of you are wundering, how does the new jaws 8.0.1163 beta work with Vista? This little 500 word or so review only applies to blind readers. If you have vision, I don't think you'll care too much about blind technologies...
2 days ago, I read on Freedom Scientifics website that they released a Vista compatible version of JAWS. I was sad, since I have dial-up and could not acquire this new release. But being the person I am, I didn't give up that easy. I downloaded the build 1163 update from freedomscientific's not so secret update ftp server. I was able to install it good. But after starting JAWS, I got a "the mirror display driver is not installed. Please rerun setup.exe with the arguments "/type repaair" ". So, there was only one way out of this: get that full blown 63 mb file. Again, this makes me mad: Don't people care about dial-up users? Can't they just release an update package for jaws 8.0.422 u?
Yesterday, I went to a hotspot and got the file. I had some trouble uninstalling JAWS 8.0.1163 (after installing the update) , but since I had windows xp, I was able to recopy the missing setup.ini file into my jaws installation directory.
Ok, so what's up with Vista and JAWS 8.0.1163.3?
First: Let's just look internally into this release: What did freedom Scientific change inside JAWS itself?
1. Since many new systems come with the new WDDM display cards, Video intercepting will not run properly. I still don't get why FS doesn't use Microsoft Active Accessibility for cases that don't support Video intercepting. MSAA isn't the best, but it does support video detailing, which means that it can provide at least a good amount of object information to the reader. The free NVDA screen reader
uses this technology, and to be honest, I don't notice big differences between readers that use Video intercepting, or MSAA.
But anyways. JAWS now ues Mirror video chaining. This is similar to Video intercepting, but can handle new graphic technologies. It basically turns off the new aero that Vista comes with. Or does it? My sighted sister says that there are no differences between this "vista basic" scheme and aero. Everything is still shiny and translucent.
And one more issue / interesting thing with JAWS: If you fire up an about dialog, you'll see that you have 0 SMA remaining. my mom purchased JAWS for me, and I still had 1 left before I installed this update. But, if you go to the JAWS window, press insert control V, you'll see that, you have 1 left. Can't FS use the same module and variables to determine the number of SMA counts left? I mean, they set up a handle for the sma count remaining option. They decode the hexadecimals with a dll, and after the variable receives the number, simmply paste this in to the dialogs. At least, that's what I would do. But maybe it's more complicated then that.
Otherwise, no other interface changes...
So, did my world change in Windows itself after installing this package? What's the difference?
To be honest: Yes, my world changed a bit. Not much though. The only big change that I hear is that now I have full Video card reading capabilities. This means that the jaws cursor, virtual viewer, and other jaws functions that use video intercepting now work.
Jaws still does not supports windows calendar. Windows contact seems to work fine. Freedom Sientific did not add any quick help message to the web view pane. Nor did they for the new start menu, which seems to function ok.
All the other applications that worked previously still work fine.
The issue with JAWS saying "nothing selected" when you copy a file to the clipboard is now fixed. I presume this is because of he video intercepting capabilities.
1. Jaws still does not know how to handle the new secure startup method that's in Vista: You cannot start JAWS automatically. I expected this to be fixed. But I'm not too mad, since this is still the first publick beta of JAWS.
2. 1 month! We had to wait a hole month until this is out. Zoom text, gw micro, and Saratec already released Vista compatibility with they're screen readers. I give most credit to GW Micro, who was out with a working Wineyes beta by the time Vista got out. Nice job, GW!
3. UAC: Still not functioning. For now, I have to risk my security just for using a screen reader. isn't that odd? I can't use UAC because freedom Scientific did not implement it yet. Although I know that many other AT companies did not do this yet, I've scene vendors that did. So, it's not like impossible. If Freedom SCientific wanted to do it, they could of.
4. Side bar support: If I buy Vista, I'm expecting to be able to use all new features. All of them! Well, beside those that are visual (snipping tool). The sidebar is one of those features that I was looking forward to. Very bad. And the fact that companies can't make use of it is sad. Side bar is great, since you can place active contact by using wigets. Or gadgets? Don't know which company calls it what. So, the side bar is to the right of the task bar. That means that if it is supported, the cycling between start button, notification area, task bar, and desktop would stop, since the side bar uses a web - style interface. But can't we use a quick key (control + S ) or something to bring it up? Kind of like unhiding it. It's not impossible.
Bugs so far:
1. In command prompt, when typing into the console window, jaws repeats every single character you type in. How annoying!
Do I recommend this update?
If you just purchased a system with vista, certainly get this jaws release. there's always 40 minute mode. But if you want to get a vista PC, I say wait a few months. Freedom Scientific still has a lot to fix, and I'm expecting them to release at least 2 updates in the next 2 months. For now, do not purchase that PC. Unless it's 30 percent off. If you get a good deal on it, sure. Deals don't last for a long time. But for many, switching to Vista with JAWS might be a bit painful. I'm kind of lucky that I've tested Vista before and know the system by heart. In fact, this review was written with Vista. Hope you enjoyed it.