Welcome To AccessWatch!


Software Reviews The AccessWatch Blog Cell Phone Accessibility Accessible Bible Software Speech-Friendly Games Listening To Audio Screen Readers Tutorials Mailing Lists Reading Books and Magazines TV and Movies Internet Chat Podcasting Music Production Bank Account Management Other Links of General Interest

In addition to using the links at the top of this page, users of screen readers may use heading navigation commands to jump from section to section within this document.

You can keep up with what is going on at AccessWatch as well as throughout the Blind community by visiting the AccessWatch blog.

You may subscribe to the AccessWatch blog from within your favorite news aggregator by using the following URL:

Many of the products mentioned on AccessWatch are sold by Independent Living Aids. If you purchase products from them, AccessWatch will earn a little cash back which will help maintain the site and will be greatly appreciated by the Web site author.

Software Reviews

Do you sometimes wish you knew whether or not that really popular mainstream program worked with speech before you laid down the money for it? Perhaps you'd just like some tips and tricks for making a favorite program work even better. Now you can read
software reviews from other blind computer users like yourself who have already blazed the trail for you! After you have read several reviews of a particular program, feel free to
set up a free account with us so you can submit a review yourself. If you don't see a particular program in our database, you can add it to the list and be the first to write a review. You may also set up e-mail alerts in order to be aware of new programs and reviews as they are added to the site.

AccessWatch Review System Version 2.2 is a free, colaborative effort and is not sponsored by any organization.

Cell Phone Accessibility

There are currently two screen readers that support cell phones which run on the Symbian operating system. The oldest of these is Talks which can be purchased in the United States from several dealers including
Beyond Sight, HandyTech and EnableMart. The newer offering is Mobile Speak which can be purchased in the United States from
Optelec and HandyTech.

Mobile Speak also works with Pocket PC phones and SmartPhones. Check out their Web site above for more information.

Nokia 60 series phones are most popular for use with these screen readers. You can find audio information on using Talks from the Blind Cool Tech podcast.

Another possibility is the Owaysis 22C, which is a cell phone designed especially for the blind that has no visual display. All of the screen readers as well as the Owaysis 22C are carrier-independent, but are most widely used in the United States with Cingular and T-Mobile.

Nuance has provided a guide to installing Talks which might prove quite helpful.

The LG phones available from Verizon Wireless also provide some degree of accessibility, although the user must rely on information spoken by the phone rather than being able to use a screen reader to read the display of the phone. To subscribe to the Blind Users Verizon Phones mailing list, send a blank message to:
and reply to the confirmation message you receive. You must be approved by the list moderator so allow some time before you can expect notification that you have been added to the list.

Another option for using a screen reader with a Smart Phone is Smart Hal.

The iPhone 3GS is the first touch-screen phone to come with a screen reader built in. Visit Apple Accessibility and Maccessibility.com for more information.

Accessible Bible Software

One excellent Bible program is Theophilos. You can download a free version of the software, or purchase a more robust version of the software on CD.

An excellent web-based Bible Program is Bible Gateway.

Download the King James Bible as .brf files from Bibles For The Blind.

Speech-Friendly Games

You can find free text-adventure games all over the Internet, but the modestly-priced games available from
Malinche Entertainment are some of the very best. You can receive hints, walk-throughs, post questions on message boards, purchase the games on CD, or purchase a downloadable version of each game. Get a free game from the site and test drive all games for 30 days.

Visually impaired users will want to download the text-to-speech version of
Windows Frotz 2002.

Purchase more excellent games from L-works.

Another excellent site is Blind Adrenaline.

For more information about accessible games, visit

Listening To Audio

Winamp Resources

Visit the home page of
Winamp to acquire the latest version of the software.

You might also wish to listen to Dave Williams' review of Winamp 5x on
ACB Radio's Main Menu program beginning with the September 8, 2004 broadcast. You can find the Main Menu archives by going to the "shows On Demand" portion of the site.

Jeff Bishop continues to develop excellent Winamp scripts that work with Window-Eyes. Visit the Script Central page for all Window-Eyes scripts.

Screen Readers

Jaws for Windows

Learn about Jaws for Windows 11.0 by visiting the
Freedom Scientific site.

Two more sites that a Jaws user should know about are
the Jaws Users home page and the
Blind Programming site.

Jim Snowbarger offers some excellent scripts for Jaws which make many off-the-shelf programs come alive.

T and T Consultancy also offer scripts for Jaws as well as configuration files for other screen readers.


GW Micro for information about Window-Eyes 7.1.

If you are using the latest version of Window-Eyes, you should get in the habit of visiting Script Central to download the latest Window-Eyes scripts.

System Access

System Access is produced by Serotek. It is currently half the cost of the other screen readers. Although perhaps not as robust as conventional screen readers, it will satisfy the needs of many.

The System Access Mobile Network offers a wealth of content including described movies, podcasts, links to radio stations, and much more.

Free Screen Readers

System Access To Go is Serotek's free screen reader and it is quite good, especially on the Internet.

NVDA (Nonvisual Desktop Access) is an open-source free screen reader. Another free screen reader is Thunder!

VoiceOver is a built-in screen reader that comes installed on every Apple Macintosh computer and is becoming increasingly popular in the blind community. Mike Arrigo has done at least 12 podcasts on using the Mac which can be found on Blind Cool Tech. Shane Jackson's Blind World Blog and Podcast, the Screenless Switchers Podcast, and Maccessibility.com are some excellent resources for learning about VoiceOver on the Mac.


AccessWatch is now offering its popular Rhapsody tutorial for free. While many things have changed about the site, the tutorial will still help you get up and running with Rhapsody. The Rhapsody music service allows you to listen to 25 tracks per month with a free account and stream an unlimited number of tracks for $9.99 per month. The most significant change in the site from an accessibility standpoint is that tracks are not sold in unprotected MP3 format, thereby allowing the user to burn songs to CD using their program of choice. My sincere thanks to those who purchased the tutorial in its early days and provided valuable feedback.

AccessWatch is now offering its popular Nero 8 tutorial for free. Although there is a newer version of the product available today, version 8 is still widely used by many.

John wilson provides some free user guides on home appliances, free mini-tutorials on software programs and several free in-depth tutorials on mainstream software programs in several formats, such as plain text files, audio cassettes and on CDs as audio MP3 files.

Top Dot Enterprises has a tutorial entitled "Jaws For Windows and the Real World Web." Dean Martineau has produced top-quality tutorials for years; I am certain this one is in the same tradition.

Gene Asner for information regarding his Internet Explorer tutorial.

Read the Table of Contents for Gene's tutorial.

Access Technology Institute provides a wealth of information from free minitutorials to certification for access technology trainers.

The Iowa Department for the Blind's
Project Assist offers low-cost but very thorough tutorials on a variety of subjects including the use of Microsoft Office with various screen readers.

Don't forget to check out computer-related reference works from the following:

Mailing Lists

There is no better way to learn about computers and software than by networking with other blind individuals. They can save you a lot of frustration.

Accessible Computing is moderated by the author of this web site and is designed for everyone from the beginning computer user to the experienced user who enjoys sharing with others in a spirit of friendship. This is a small list so you will not be inundated with messages each day. To subscribe, send a message to
with the word "subscribe" without the quotes in the subject of the message.

The Victor Reader Stream discussion list is also moderated by the author of this site. This list generates quite a bit more traffic than AccessComp, but considering the excitement
Human Warehas created among the blind community with the release of the Victor Reader Stream, that is no surprise. To subscribe, visit

GUI-Talk, sponsored by
The National Federation of the Blind is an excellent list for discussing various subjects related to the Graphical User Interface. Windows, software, screen readers, and peripherals are just some of the topics discussed.

Every Thursday, Dean Martineau of
Top Dot Enterprises sends out an announcements-only E-mail called Top Tech Tidbits. It is absolutely packed with useful information.
Send him a blank message. to subscribe.

Blind Tech is possibly one of the oldest of these lists. Be aware that it is a "high-traffic" list; you will receive many messages per day. Because of this, the moderator is quite strict about keeping messages "on topic." To join the list,
send a blank message.

PC-Audio is, as its name suggests, devoted to all things audio.

The Blind Programming Site has several mailing lists to choose from, including Jaws Lite, a list related to writing Jaws scripts, and a list discussing Windows-related issues, just to name a few.

Access Technology Institute also has various mailing lists which supplement their study courses.

Blind Cool Tech has become quite a phenomenon in the blind community. There is now a mailing list associated with the podcast. A wide range of fascinating topics relating to blindness are discussed freely on this list.

Stay abreast of everything happening at GW Micro by joining the GW-info list.

Freedom Scientific offers links to various mailing lists of interest.

Reading Books and Magazines

The Victor Reader Stream is the first commercially available player to support digital talking books from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in the United States. Visit VRStreamusers.org for more information about this exciting product and the opportunity to join the VRStream discussion list.

GW Micro's Book Sense is another offering in this market.

If you are computer-savvy enough to navigate busy web sites and download programs to your computer,
Audible.com is an excellent resource for reading audio books. You can subscribe to the service on a monthly basis with several plans available. Jonathan Mosen did a review of the service on
ACB Radio's Main Menu program. Visit the "Shows On Demand" page and do a search for Audible.

Bookshare.org is a service that provides scanned books to visually impaired subscribers. Become a volunteer and submit or validate scanned books in order to obtain credit toward membership.

Braille.com is an excellent site for purchasing Braille products from
National Braille Press.

Borrow Christian literature from the Assemblies of God
National Center for the Blind.

AccessWorld is a free, web-based magazine produced by The
American Foundation For The Blind. The articles in this magazine rival the quality of any mainstream computer magazine.

Another high-quality magazine is Infotech produced by T-and-T Consultancy.

Sound Computing is back! In one of the most innovative approaches to producing a magazine I've ever seen, you can subscribe to 50 articles for $9.00. A username and password will give you access to all available articles in the series. Articles will appear on a "more or less weekly basis," says Dean Martineau, the magazine's creator.

TV and Movies

Purchase a
DVS enhanced DVD of Ray from
Amazon.com. You can also purchase the DVD online from
Walmart.com, or call Wal-Mart at 800-966-6546.

View a monthly schedule of described TV programming from

Learn about DVS (Descriptive Video Service from WGBH in Boston.

Internet Chat


Skype is a high-quality Internet Telephony program that has become very popular in the blind community. Visit the
Skype Home Page for more information.

If you are using Jaws For Windows, download
scripts that enhance the program's accessibility.

If you are a Window-Eyes user, grab the appropriate Window-Eyes scripts from
GW Micro's Script Central.


Browse a list of Podcasts produced by blind individuals as well as other podcast directories on

Blind Cool Tech is a really unique podcast produced by Larry Skutchan. You can also download a zipped file entitled "Best of the Best" from his site which you can import into Juice Podcast Receiver in order to subscribe to some of Larry's favorite podcasts.

Music Production

Dancing Dots offers a wide range of high-quality music production tools designed with the visually impaired in mind.
Read what they have to say about their products.

If you're on a budget,
Quick Windows Sequencer is a great free program for making music on your computer.

Bank Account Management

Finally, there is a winner in the bank account management market where visually impaired computer users are concerned. If you are looking for an affordable, feature-rich product, check out Money Talks from
The American Printing House for the Blind. You can learn more about Money Talks by reading the
product brochure.

Other Links of General Interest

In 2006, Blind Bargains was launched as a site where blind people could find some great deals on products of special interest to them. Some of these products were designed specifically for visually impaired users while others were mainstream products . Today, the site has blossomed into a site where you can get the latest technology news, win cool prizes, and still find those great deals on the Internet that we all can appreciate.

Access-abilitySolutions.net provides a wide range of services including training and consulting in many areas.

The Blind Geek Zone is an excellent site that features a host of audio tutorials as well as other documentation and links to various mailing lists and web sites of interest to the blind.

Earn a little cash back when you shop on the Internet by signing up with
Ebates. You can earn $5 just by signing up. They have over 800 stores to choose from.

Check out the Assisstive Technology News Portal.

Visit AudioGames.net for a wealth of information regarding accessible games.

Check out Wayne Merritt's
Wayneisms. There is bound to be something of interest there for you. The same is true for Tom Lorimer's
Whitestick site.

Ferguson Enterprises has much to offer including the SCANACAN bar code scanning package.

Buy most anything from
Independent Living Aids. If you purchase products from them, AccessWatch will earn a little cash back which will help maintain the site and will be greatly appreciated by the Web site author.

Visit NFB's new site,
The Voice of the Nation's Blind.

Receive a free Braille Bible from
Braille Bibles International.

Purchase almost anything related to assistive technology from

The name
Braillepaper.com says it all! The same is true for

Download many Jaws scripts, accessible programs, and read program reviews at the
Accessible Programs site.

To say that there is a lot of information on Jamal Mazrui's Empowerment Zone is like saying that there is quite a bit to read in the
Encyclopedia Britannica. Check it out for yourself and see what I mean.

Purchase a talking clock/reminder program among other products from

Flying Blind is a site where you can download technology-related podcasts as well as purchase assistive technology products at very reasonable prices.

Please e-mail
Jamie Pauls with any comments you have regarding this web site.

The creator of this site is also the producer and host of ACB Radio's technology show Main Menu. Feel free to follow Main Menu on Twitter./a> You can also read his personal posts by following Jamie Pauls on Twitter.

This page was last updated on 1/2/2010.