FreedomBox 2.0 Public Beta Available for Download

For Immediate Release Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Minneapolis, Minnesota

For More Information
Bob Veitch
Serotek Corporation
(612) 341-3030
pr
Sales: sales
Telephone Toll-free: (866) 202-0520

Serotek Corporation, the leading provider of barrier-free Internet access systems and software and operator of the FreedomBox Network, invites experienced computer users to participate in the public beta release of Version 2.0 of its precedent-setting FreedomBox software. Version 2.0 is so powerful and unique the company named the product FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID for FLexible User Interface- Desktop. FreedomBox 2.0 provides high speed, barrier-free Internet browsing, plus secure remote access to the user's home desktop files like documents, pictures, and audio content.

FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID is loaded with powerful new features that make this the most accessible and efficient Internet browsing tool ever released. Built on the proven Mozilla platform, FreedomBox 2.0 is the first voice-enabled browser to operate on Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. With FreedomBox we gave many users their first taste of the Internet. With FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID we give them the whole meal. So if you tried FreedomBox before and found it too simple for your taste, we encourage you to try FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID and experience what a browser can really do for advanced users as well as first time users!

FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID is offered to the public at no charge if downloaded from the Internet. Interested users can go to http://www.freedombox.info, register for the public beta, and download the software. As this download is a beta release, some features and functions may not be fully operational. Users are asked to report any software problems they experience. Technical support will be provided via the FreedomBox 2.0 community forum. Users are requested to subscribe to the Forum to fully participate in this public beta. Access to the community forum is available from the FreedomBox assistant page.

The public beta will last until May 1. During that time, public beta users have full access to the FreedomBox Network and its features. FreedomBox 2.0 also provides a free e-mail account. At the end of the public beta, users who choose to continue with the FreedomBox Network can continue using the software for an additional one-month trial membership at no charge. After the one-month trial membership, normal FreedomBox Network charges apply. If you haven't been participating in the FreedomBox Network, this is a great chance to give it a try. In addition to the most complete assembly of content, customized to the interests of the disability community, FreedomBox Network has a variety of new features including the ability to check third party POP 3 e-mail services. A user with FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID installed on a Key to Freedom (a key-chain sized memory module, pre-loaded with FreedomBox 2.0, that plugs directly into a USB port) can check third party e-mail, send instant messages, browse the Internet, even access a home desktop, from any remote computer even if the computer has no screen reader installed.

There is never a charge for a downloaded version of FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID. Users who do not choose to continue with the FreedomBox Network can still use the powerful FreedomBox browser at no charge including access to their free e-mail account, instant messaging, and other free features that will be announced in the upcoming weeks. Users who wish to continue to use the included DECtalk voice and the voice recognition features (both licensed elements provided by Fonix Corporation) must pay a $25 registration fee. Account setup fees are waived for users who register the software and purchase a year of service on the same invoice. However, users are not required to purchase ongoing FreedomBox Network services to use the talking browser even after the trial. If you prefer to use your own text to speech FreedomBox will take advantage of any SAPI 4 synthesizer installed on the Windows system and any of several open source synthesizers available under Linux. But if you don't have a screen reader you don't need one. FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID delivers a complete text to speech capability.

FreedomBox 2.0 offers the skilled computer user powerful new streamlined tools to do his or her computing faster and more efficiently. And FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID makes it possible for people who have never before used a computer to become instantly productive, tapping into online resources, sending and receiving e-mail, shopping and more. As with all Flexible User Interface-enabled technologies, FreedomBox 2.0 can be controlled by voice, keyboard, touch screen, IST switch or potentially, any signaling methodology that can be linked to a computer. Thus it is the perfect tool for people who have just recently lost their sight or are otherwise limited by conventional computer interfaces.

FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID is a fully accessible desktop environment providing a primary personal interface between the user and all his or her information resources. These might include any digital information or entertainment that might be found on the Worldwide Web; a whole host of unique Internet-enabled services such as e-mail, chat, shopping, entertainment, etc.; any information, entertainment files, or applications on the user's connected personal information appliances, other computers and servers on the local area network. (Note that during public beta release, not all applications may be operative.)

The Flexible User Interface makes the technology adapt to the user, rather than forcing the user to learn the arcane language and procedures of the technology. It is fully intuitive and requires no special training to use. Most people, even elderly people who have never before used a computer, are up and running sending e-mails, shopping on line, downloading entertainment in minutes.

FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID is platform independent. You can install it under Windows, Linux, and (coming soon) Mac. It provides the first speech-enabled fully functional browser for the Linux environment.

FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID includes:

  • A full information resource browser and search engine, capable of locating any file, Web page, entertainment file, or application on the user's system, local area network, or the Internet. This is a fast, clean, powerful browser that gets you where you want to go on the Web fast without slowing down your system with tons of advertising and eye-candy.

  • Spam and pop-up advertising blocker

  • A free e-mail account and access to instant messaging services by ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, or AOL Instant messenger.

  • Web based E-mail access to other third party POP3 e-mail accounts the user might have

  • Access to the full range of FB Network features - the richest collection of content ever assembled for users with vision and other disabilities

  • FreedomBox's unique Community Supported Accessible Web feature allows any user to label the links, form elements, and buttons at any Web site and makes those updates available to all other C-SAW enabled browsers

Each copy of FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID is digitally licensed to a particular user and computer. During the public beta period, users are asked to post any problems they encounter to the FreedomBox 2.0 forum, fixes as required, will be released from time to time and be downloaded automatically until the end of the public beta cycle. There is no direct telephone tech support during the public beta period. We provide support only through community forums online. Subscription to the forum is not a must to take part in the public beta however we do hope that people will take the opportunity to post their feedback to the forum.

Everyone is welcome to join the public beta. Put the browser through its paces. We're confident that once you've surfed the Web on FreedomBox 2.0-FLUID you'll make it your Desktop of choice!

To sign up for a trial please visit http://www.freedombox.info and click the appropriate link. Remember users taking part in the public beta cannot use Version 1.2 of the FreedomBox software during the public beta cycle.


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