Portable Solutions, Innovators lead 2nd Annual Blind Bargains Access Award Winners

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A software program which converts print into speech for the blind and a portable audiobook player are among the winners for the 2nd annual Blind Bargains Access Awards. Visitors to BlindBargains.com selected the recipients in 11 categories ranging from best blindness-related blog to person of the year.

After much anticipation and the casting of hundreds of votes, the results have been released for the 2nd annual Blind Bargains Access Awards. The awards recognize the achievements of companies and individuals in the assistive technology arena and beyond and were decided by visitors to BlindBargains.com, a leading online resource for the blind and visually impaired.

Leading the pack for this year is the KNFB Reading Technology K-NFB Reader Mobile, a software package which uses a cellular phone and text-to-speech technology to read printed material. Winning in the areas of Best Software and Product of the Year, the selection continues a trend of portable devices garnering top recognition by site readers.

"Our readers have a keen eye for recognizing the most influential products currently available and have made some excellent choices," commented J.J. Meddaugh, lead webmaster for Blind Bargains and a contest administrator.

The HumanWare Victor Reader Stream took home the Best Hardware category for a second year in a row, winning by the widest margin of any product. Other repeat winners include Freedom Scientific's JAWS for Windows as best screen reader, Independent Living Aids as best store, and the Fred's Head Companion as best blindness-related blog.

Long a staple for free Windows-based accessible games, Jim Kitchen's Kitchensinc Games took home the best accessible game award for their rendition of Monopoly. The program has undergone several updates and is highly configurable. Speaking of entertainment, Blind Cool Tech was the winner of the best blindness-related podcast category, a new edition to this year's voting. It features recordings on technology, human interest, and general blindness subjects.

With the conversion to digital talking books by the National Library Service, much attention has been given to a new pilot website which offers downloadable recordings of popular book titles. This website was recognized by readers as website of the year. The best company honor was awarded to Kurzweil Educational Systems, makers of the popular Kurzweil 1000 scanning program for Windows-based computers. Now at version 11, it has been a mainstay in optical character recognition for over a decade.

Ray Kurzweil has helped to pioneer many of the technologies which have changed the lives for millions of individuals. From the creation of the first scanner to read printed text to his endeavors with musical synthesis, his accomplishments cannot be overlooked. Blind Bargains readers recognized these achievements by awarding the person of the year honor to Kurzweil.

The Blind Bargains Access Awards were based entirely on reader submissions. A nomination period was held in early January and followed by a voting round. It was administered by A T Guys, LLC.

For a complete list of winners and nominees, please visit http://www.blindbargains.com/awardlist08.php

BlindBargains.com is a premier online destination featuring news, deals, and articles relevant to the blind and visually impaired. Visitors can find the lowest prices for useful products ranging from technology items to household gadgets through the site, Email, Twitter, or RSS. Other site features include user comments, an EBay Auction Gateway, and a merchant search portal. http://www.BlindBargains.com

A T Guys, LLC, the assistive technology experts, offer a wide variety of hardware and software solutions for budget-minded consumers and businesses. A premier Code Factory distributor, the company's portfolio of products includes mobile phone and PDA software, bar code readers, and online services. http://www.ATGuys.com.

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Jason Meddaugh
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