Center for the Partially Sighted and the San Fernando Valley chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of California held an event called The Best In Tech 2010 conference at the Radisson Hotel in Culver City. Attending this free annual event offered a rare chance to learn from actual users of the latest assistive technology about their favorite solutions (cell phones, GPS, CCTV's, note takers, etc.), attend workshops to learn how to use the latest solutions, including the Open Book Pearl Camera, latest features of JAWS 12, Transformer, Eye Pal Solo, Apex, Victor Reader, and Trekker Breeze, and get hands on experience by visiting the booths of the most popular vendors of assistive technology for the blind and visually-impaired.
Several event sponsors raffled off the Pebble portable video magnifier and the IBill currency identifier, a handy little item that's scarcely larger than a packet of chewing gum.
At Best in Tech, some of the products could be purchased at substantial discounts. The Open Book Pearl Camera, for example, was available at nearly a 50 percent discount, which, incidentally, will be extended through the end of March, 2011.
"At events such as this, I'm like a kid in a candy store," said Tom Lange, director of EmpowerTech's Blind/Low-Vision Computer Training Program. "I was wowed by the Pearl Camera demo, and when I found it at the Sweetman Systems booth at such a killer price, I bought it on the spot; I just had to have it now," Tom said. Tom received the product shortly thereafter and promptly set about putting it through its paces.
"Combined with my laptop, Open Book and Pearl is a portable reading solution that gives me highly accurate access to printed material in mere seconds compared to what I used to have with a desktop computer and a flatbed scanner; it's absolutely awesome!", Tom said.
If you missed Best in Tech 2010, you'll definitely want to attend next year's event. It's easy to get to and well worth the time spent.