It seems that many organizations involved in daisy creation and distribution are coming out with their own concept of Daisy presentation on the IDevices. In comes Read2Go from Benetech, the hosts of BookShare and other interesting projects. You can find more info on them here:
Although Canadians aren't able to access the full library of books in their collection, we are still able to benefit from many technical books, public domain books and various other documents. But here's why Read2Go might be something to keep an eye on, and perhaps even try. Sitting at $19.99 USD, it's the same price you would pay for one of those Infomercial gadgets which will land in your cutlery drawer, ignored for years until it progresses to your garage sale; but I digress. This is not one of those gadgets. First, let's imagine that you've downloaded and installed Read2Go. The first thing that happens when you launch the app is it will initiate a setup wizard, (Just like in Harry potter). This particular wizard will ask you your preferences for visual and audio presentation. It will even ask you for your BookShare account, if you have one, but it's not necessary in order to use this app. I can't vouch for the visual aspect of this product, but you can resize your font between 12 to 24 PTS. You can even change your foreground, background and highlighting colors. It comes with semi built-in high quality speech provided by Acapela speech engines. I say semi, since you need to have VoiceOver turned on to access all features in the application. Once this is all done, you can search for titles within the BookShare Library. This app is very VoiceOver friendly, so there shouldn't be any issues in finding the Search button and entering what you'd like to search for. If you don't have a BookShare account, like yours truly, do a search on public domain titles and/or authors. I did one on Jules Verne and found something about adventures in the Amazon. I clicked on this selection and it proceeded to download to the bookshelf and I was alerted when it was done. Very slick and intuitive.
I then clicked on the book title and Heather started reading to me. She's so dreamy. Oh sorry, back to the app.
To familiarize yourself with the app, I would suggest clicking on the "Help" button and spending a bit of time reading the various sections.
Downloading Daisy Books:
This is where things get complicated, but there's no way around it. Most Daisy apps on the IDevices require the Daisy book to be Zipped. In other words, all the files that comprise the Daisy book are compressed into one file, which nerds refer to as, a container. These containers have an extension of .zip. If you're an avid downloader of files on the internet, the Zip compression is very common. You may not even realize that you are using zip files, as windows will treat them as folders. Okay, so back to our present issue. What do you have to do to copy a Daisy book to your Daisy App. Let's surmise that you've managed to zip a Daisy book into a Zip container. I'm not going to go into details here, as it would bore you to tears. I intend to do that in my next blog entry.
- Go into ITunes and find your device in the Sidebar.
- TAB until you find the Apps Radio button and press the SPACEBAR there,
- TAB until you find the "File Sharing Apps" area, making sure the "Sync Apps" button is checked,
- ARROW down until you find Read2Go, TAB to the "Add" button and press the SPACEBAR,
- This is a normal Windows File display. Find the file which you wish to transfer and press ENTER,
- Once done in this window, TAB to the "Sync" button and press ENTER.
After a few seconds, you should now have successfully transferred your reading material. Launch Read2Go and visit the bookshelf to see if your new book is there.
Admittedly, this is a long way from being an easy process, but it gets better with practice. The app itself has a few caveats, however Benetech is aware of them. For example, using VoiceOver to read text instead of the built-in voices has this annoying habit of starting to read from the beginning regardless if you bookmark things, or navigate to a particular section. This behavior does not exist when using the Acapela Voices. There are other oddities which I won't go into right now, as I know they will be quickly rectified and an update will be sent out ASAP. That's the magic of IDevices apps. You can quickly send feedback to the developers and, more likely than not, they will quickly fix things; enhancing the user's experience.
For more information on BookShare, visit the link below:
For a description of Read2Go, visit this link:
For more accessibility blog content, all in one handy interface, visit:
Well that's it for now. Until the next time I blog…