CDESK With Peggy
“Simply The Best”
By Wayne Heidle
Assistant Professor (ADJ)
Adaptive Technology Specialist
Southern California College of Optometry
Walls Low Vision Center
November 24, 2012
Rarely does one find a computer program that is truly amazing. Most programs are either functional at best or so complicated it takes almost a new degree or a talented computer user to use it properly. This is no more as I have found this program called CDESK and I am excited for everyone who has the pleasure to use it. Adaptive Voice, Randy and Michael Wechters Company based in Laguna Hills California have truly developed a product that is beyond any expectations whether you are disabled or not. Randy was totally blind for five years and was an integral part of the blind community. She now spends her life giving back to the blind community through charities and is President of Adaptive Voice. Luckily her vision returned in one eye but she remains a daily asset to the visually impaired community through her charity work. This giving back is evident in the quality of their product, the pricing of CDESK and the technical service they provide. For as little as $399.00 a visually Impaired or blind person, a senior citizens, the dyslexic, people with disabilities where they cannot type have instant access to the computer and can enjoy using a computer again.
The technical support for CDESK and related products goes beyond any expectations of technical support. I would call what Adaptive Voice offers Technical Service in lieu of Technical Support and this shows in their commitment to any user purchasing this product. This program is not only inexpensive but easy to use. Normally inexpensive means just OK while expensive means a great product. With CDESK that is not the case and do not let the price of CDESK or their related systems fool you. It would take thousands of dollars spent on several programs to accomplish what Adaptive Voice has accomplished in one easy to use program. It was originally developed for the blind community but goes beyond that community to many of the other disabled communities, senior citizens and is an asset to the sighted community as well. Let me explain.
When CDESK is initiated on your desk top, immediately a user has access to the following:
- WORD PROCESSING
- INTERNET BROWSING with SCREEN READER
- DOCUMENT SCANNING with OCR PAGE READING
- ADDRESS BOOK/CONTACT MANAGEMENT
- NLS/BARD/MP3 PLAYER/GAMES
- INTERNET RADIO
- SKYPE AUDIO/VIDEO CALLS
- NEWS READER
For the Visually Impaired and Blind
CDESK makes it easy to use the computer by magnification using simple key strokes or just by listening. Downloading books is as simple as a three step process, listening or magnifying your e-mail is so simple that a user that has never used a computer before can do it with no difficulty. You can listen to free internet radio or news feeds as you use the computer, do spreadsheets and search the internet with ease. You can scan documents and either magnify or use OCR to have the document read to you. A user does not have to go through the extensive hours of training they would have to using most screen reader programs.
For Senior Citizens
CDESK makes using the computer simple and pleasurable. If you have never used a computer before, or not used one in a while, you can easily read and send your e-mails to family and friends, listen to the radio, listen to books, look at your grand children on Skype or search for your favorite recipes or news. If you cannot read your daily mail, easily scan it in to the computer; enlarge it and the ability to read your personal mail will again become a private matter.
For the Dyslexic
CDESK uses a combination of voice and word tracking on the screen and students or adults suffering from this condition find it much easier to use a computer. BY using this word tracking feature, dyslexic users are able to identify words as they see them easily training them to understand what a word may look like with this condition. They can also scan information or books into the computer and have it read while viewing it at the same time.
Peggy, my Love
CDESK also has a program called Peggy which comes at an small additional cost. Peggy is equal or better than other talking or dictating programs. Peggy allows the user to use the computer by voice, or search the internet purely by voice using my favorite “Peggy Please Command”. Michael has designed this part of the program for users with disabilities that cannot use a keyboard. I can use a key board and I prefer Peggy to the keyboard any day and especially for searching the internet. I highly recommend Peggy for students in school or college as all you have to do is ask Peggy a question and she finds the answer for you. If she does not know the answer, she will give you websites that will know.
Adaptive Voice also offers a line of complete computer system with CDESK already installed, scanners, printers, and of course Peggy to fill the needs of anyone. My hat is off to Randy and Michael for what they have accomplished. I generally rate items as a one through five stars, with the latest improvements to CDESK and Peggy I would give this program 10 stars in a five star rating system. As an Adaptive Technology Specialist, this program is number one in my book and I recommend it weekly to patients. Go to www.adaptivevoice.com when you leave this page, it is that important.