BBC Radio 4 In Touch show explores the challenge of changing technology for its listeners
Good news for Dolphin Guide version 5 and BBC Listen Again users!
12th Aug, 2010
In Touch is a radio programme, broadcast on Radio 4, which is dedicated to providing 'news, views, and information for people who are blind or partially sighted'. This week's programme was dedicated to exploring the challenges for software manufacturers in the face of rapidly-changing technology. This was highlighted by listener Jim Moran, Chief Executive of the Liverpool based charity Bradbury Fields, who expressed concern about Dolphin Guide's BBC Listen Again feature, which version 5 users had recently become unable to access.
An advocate of the benefits of using Dolphin Guide, Mr. Moran has ensured that more than 50 of his charity's service users have access to this unique program, which provides a simple, easy computing experience for those who would otherwise find using a computer difficult, if not impossible. Mr. Moran said;
"Guide is a system that is driven by menus. 'Do you want to send an email? Press1. Do want to read an email? Press 2.' It gives you all of the questions, so for someone with a brain injury or elderly people, or people that are not massive Internet users, Guide is the ideal program."
"And that's why we actually purchase it on behalf of Liverpool Social Services, for people who want to access documents, access the Internet, listen to the radio again and podcasts. So it helps them to stay independent."
Mr. Moran went on to explain why his users loved to access the BBC Listen Again Service using Guide:
"It was great, you just went in and press 9, 9, 5 and it said 'just wait' and it connected you up to the radio for the previous week. All you did was cursor down to choose which programme you wanted to listen to and then just press enter and there you go!"
Mr. Moran's frustration came when the BBC changed the technology it used to drive its Listen Again service, instead of relying on Real Player technology which it had use before, it now uses Flash technology. This posed a challenge for Dolphin Guide's manufacturers, as its version 5 users were no longer able to use the service. During the interview Mary McMahon, the Managing Director of Dolphin Computer Access North, explained:
"The BBC used to use RealPlayer technology, which is what [Dolphin Guide] version 5 was using. And it changed to using Flash technology. So that's what we did with version 6; we got version 6 up to speed with Flash. Then we had to go back and fix version 5 for all of the people that already had version 5."
When asked by Peter White whether this kind of disruption could happen again for users, Mary explained that this is always the case with computer software because "technology is changing so quickly and we have to keep up with that; that is our challenge."
For those who have been affected by this change, Mary confirmed that Guide version 5 has now been updated with the latest technology, so that users can now have seamless access to the BBC Listen Again Service once more. She went on to explain how version 5 users should proceed:
"People who are on version 5, they can stay on version 5. Contact us to ask for an update and we will send one out straight away to them. We will send them a CD free of charge with the latest update on, and the BBC listen Again Service will work again, but this time with the latest flash technology."
Dolphin Guide version 5 customers looking to arrange their update CD should contact 0845 22 55 005 or email guide.sales@YourDolphin.com. Users interested in finding out more about version 6 should contact us.
You can listen again to the In Touch radio show on the BBC website.