No Second Fiddle: A Review of the MaestroBy Leventhal, Jay; Denham, Jim; McComas, Heather; Access World, Vol. 6, No. 4
Publication Date: July 2005
Article reviews the Maestro from HumanWare, which is an accessible personal digital assistant (PDA) with a word processor, appointment calendar, address book, e-mail capabilities, web browser, and media player. The device is reviewed in terms of its usability for people who are blind or have low vision. The Maestro utilizes speech output in many of these applications via the Eloquence synthesizer, and features a tactile keypad overlay as an alternative to the often-inaccessible touch screen found in most PDAs. The Maestro is reviewed in terms of 7 key characteristics: (1) physical description, (2) getting started and getting help, (3) contacts, (4) calendar, (5) text notes, (6) vocal notes, and (7) the incorporation of Trekker Version 2.6, which is a global positioning satellite system. One of the most attractive features of Trekker is the device’s Where Am I? button, which announces the direction in which the user is heading, along with the street the user is on and the name of the next intersection. The authors contend that innovative adaptations and the inclusion of Trekker make the Maestro an attractive option for people searching for a small, lightweight device. The authors were not impressed, however, with the time-consuming process of entering data into the keypad and the need to connect it to a computer, which could cause difficulty for beginners. An increase in the number of accessible applications is ultimately recommended to the manufacturer.
Assistive Products Discussed: MAESTRO
Published by: AFB Press (Website:http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=46)
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) (Web Site: http://www.afb.org )
Link to text: http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw060404