Code Factory’s True Public Beta

Blind Confidential articles have focused an awful lot on various technology issues lately.  Both Sue and I have the flu so dictating is a relatively painful experience for me.  I’m also still struggling a bit with the skills required to dictate while also writing creatively.

Thus, Gonz has been fairly quiet lately although I think he and some of his New York friends are enjoying the holiday season, the great Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, the windows at Barney’s and the other New York holiday festivities.  I’m fairly sure he’s doing something paranoid and is probably taking an ironic view of it all but, when I talked to him the other day, he said he was planning another trip to Florida and that he wanted to meet with Mr. Sidney greenbacks himself.

I’ve been thinking a lot about technology lately (spending a ton of time in Visual Studio will do this to a person) so, I’ve been writing a lot about technology.  The software that I’m making is designated for the mainstream market but because it uses principles of universal design we blinks can enjoy it too.

I received a press release, copied in its entirety below, about the upcoming Code Factory Mobile Speak public beta program and thought I should bring it to the attention of BC readers.  To my knowledge, this is the first time in assistive technology company has done a true “public” beta.  To run their new software all you need is a telephone that supports the appropriate platform and an Internet connection from which you can download the beta.  There’s no need to purchase a license until the final version is released.

This is how big companies like Microsoft handle beta programs.  Windows Vista, for instance, had 6 million beta testers none of whom had to pay for the software.  I’m happy to see this practice, common in the mainstream technology world make its way into the access technology community as well.

What follows is the Code Factory press release copied verbatim so if you have a problem with it called them and not me:

Mobile Speak V3.0: News and invitation

By Roselle Ambubuyog

Dear valued customers,

We are approaching the release of Mobile Speak Version 3.0 which includes the following features:

– Support for all currently-available Symbian Series 60 3rd edition phones
– Multilingual Braille support for a variety of popular Braille devices
– Support for the new generation of standard Series 60 applications

Now we bring you more exciting news! Code Factory believes that the best way to meet the needs of the blind and visually
impaired is to base our products on the rich feedback from the users themselves. With this in mind, we’re looking for users
with Symbian Series 60 3rd Edition phones to join our beta program and help us make Mobile Speak V3.0 even better before the
final release.

Testers will be able to use Mobile Speak for free throughout the beta cycle and may be eligible to receive free commercial
activation codes or second TTS licenses based on the quality of their contributions.

This is your opportunity to evaluate a working screen reader for Series 60 3rd Edition absolutely free of charge and
personally make sure that the features and support for applications most important to you are implemented in the final
release. Code Factory wants the best for its customers, which means not only a product with the fewest bugs and the most
useful features, but a product that is worth the money you intend to spend.

If you are interested in participating in the Mobile Speak Series 60 3rd Edition beta program, please email us at

and provide us with the following details:

1. Your full name.
2. Symbian Series 60 3rd Edition phone on which you want to test Mobile Speak.
3. The IMEI number of your phone found by pressing *#06# at the standby screen.
4. The firmware version on your phone found by pressing *#0000# at the standby screen.
5. Languages you want to test.
6. Email address you wish to subscribe to the beta list.

All data provided to Code Factory will not be sold, rented, or distributed to any third party, and all personal information
will be stored in a secure database managed only by authorized Code Factory employees.

We eagerly look forward to your contributions to the beta team and the best mobile phone screen reader for the blind and
visually impaired. Thank you for your continued support!

Best regards,
Code Factory

— End

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I'm an accessibility advocate working on issues involving technology and people with print impairment. I'm a stoner, crackpot, hacker and all around decent fellow. I blog at this site and occasionally contribute to Skepchick. I'm a skeptic, atheist, humanist and all around left wing sort. You can follow this blog in your favorite RSS reader, and you can also view my Twitter profile (@gonz_blinko) and follow me there.

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