ClaroSpeak V2.6 Released

The start of May 2017 brought a big update to our ClaroSpeak app.  Read below for more details.

iCloud and Locations integration

You can now open and save files directly from your iCloud Drive and other locations on your device.

This new feature gives you the ability to import or export your files from any app on your device, without ever having to leave the ClaroSpeak app.

Four free voices

The existing voices that came shipped with ClaroSpeak have been removed and you can now download 4 free voices in the language of your choice. This means you can get the exact voices in the languages that you need, to match your requirements.

App containers

ClaroSpeak can now share its documents with different versions, so Free, Standard and Plus versions of the app can all access the same documents.  This is useful if you’ve just upgraded: you no longer have to manually transfer over documents.  It can also act as a backup incase you need to remove a version of ClaroSpeak: if you have another version of the app installed, your files will be remembered.

Settings cleanup

The settings menu has been streamlined and reorganised to make it easier to navigate. There is also a new speech rate slider that is more accurate and lets you select more precise values.

Integrated with the Audio controls on the iOS control centre

ClaroSpeak audio can now be controlled using the iOS controls on the control centre, allowing you quickly stop. play and skip through, without having to enter the app.

Support for Google SignIn

Full support for the new Google Authentication, so you can access Google Drive in the app.

ClaroCom V1.4 Released

In April 2017, we updated our ClaroCom app with a couple of great new features:

Link & chat to iOS device (Pro only)

This adds the ability to connect your device to any other device that is also using ClaroCom. You can then chat between the devices using the text that you type or words or phrases that you select. You can also use your word and phrase prediction to help you compose messages.

This feature is disabled by default, but you can switch it on in the ClaroCom Settings menu:

Then new button will appear on the top toolbar:

Tap this button to open the chat connection window.  ClaroCom will then automatically search for any other devices in range that are also using ClaroCom.  When you find a device you want to connect to, tap it to ask them to chat:

When you are connected, you can close the chat connection window are start chatting:

When you are finished, you can open the chat connection window and tap Disconnect to close the chat and return ClaroCom back to its normal use.

This feature requires bluetooth or Wi-Fi.  The devices must both be using ClaroCom and be on the same Wi-Fi network or within bluetooth range.

Added support for split screen on iPads

You can now use ClaroCom in multi-tasking mode, allowing you to run it split-screen with other apps:

Updated Icon

We’ve also updated the app icons to a more modern style as well as updating the Speak button to match this.

ClaroPDF V1.9 Released

ClaroPDF V1.9 update is now available on the iOS App Store.

What’s new in V1.9?

  • Four free voices – you can now download up to 4 of our high-quality voices for free, inside the Store in ClaroPDF. ClaroPDF no longer comes pre-installed with any installed high-quality voices, so the initial app install time should be significantly reduced. Then you can choose to download your preferred voices in a wide range of languages.
  • Improvements to the “Convert as Text PDF” feature.
  • Export annotations as text.
  • New Animated Speech Highlighting on sentence mode.
  • New background colour chooser.
  • New speech rate slider.
  • Bug fixes.

See the ClaroPDF V1.9 Release Notes page for more detailed information.

ClaroPDF V1.8 Released

The latest version of ClaroPDF is now available in the App Store!

What’s New in V1.8?

  • iCloud Integration: ClaroPDF is now fully integrated with iCloud Drive so you can save to, and open from your iCloud Drive across all of your iOS devices. You can also quickly save and open documents from other compatible apps using the iCloud Drive feature
  • New My Documents list: There is a brand new My Documents list in V1.8. This new documents list is smoother, faster and organises your documents alphabetically into sections. D
  • Search – there is now a search bar so you can search for documents.
  • Improved rename, move and delete features – these features have an improved UI and it is now possible to move/delete multiple documents simultaneously.
  • Improved the launch of ClaroPDF so it launches faster and cleaner.
  • Many other bug fixes and performance improvements.

Follow @ClaroPDF on Twitter for the latest news and hints & tips.

Check out The Codpasts recent review of our ClaroSpeak Plus App!

ClaroSpeak V2.5 Released

The latest version of ClaroSpeak is now available in the App Store!

What’s New in V2.5?

  • Rich text formatting. You can now bold, italicise, underline, bullet and add images to your ClaroSpeak document.
  • New layout settings. Change the character, line, paragraph spacing as well as the page margin to view text more easily.
  • More font types. A larger number of font types are available to use in settings.
  • Claro autocorrect. We’ve compiled a list of common misspellings which ClaroSpeak will use to correct what you type.
  • Open image files. Open image files in ClaroSpeak to begin the OCR process to convert the image into text.
  • Open in. Using the Export > ‘Open in…’ option allows you to open your document in other apps on your device which are capable of handling RTF files.
  • Print. Print is now an option in the export menu. Compatible with AirPrint printers.

Follow @ClaroSpeak on Twitter for the latest news and hints & tips.

Check out The Codpasts recent review of ClaroSpeak Plus!

ClaroPDF V1.4.2 Released

The latest version of ClaroPDF is now available in the App Store!

What’s New in V1.4?

  • Photo to PDF: You can now convert photos and other images to fully accessible Text PDF files that can be spoken, searched, copied and highlighted*. Using this new feature, you can now turn paper into speakable PDF files that you can annotate.

Find out more about this new feature in our Exploring Photo to PDF article.

  • Convert to Text PDF: As well as converting photos, you can also convert any PDF file in ClaroPDF into a fully accessible Text PDF file. Along with making these PDF files speakable, it will also compress them, reducing file size.
  • *50 pages can be converted using the 50 included credits. Further credit can be purchased in app.
  • Sync with iCloud: You can now sync ClaroPDF with your iCloud account. This lets you store and synchronise your PDF files and annotations across multiple devices. Sync with iCloud can also act as a document backup so you can keep your documents safe.
  • Save as PDF app extension: Save as PDF lets you convert text, images and webpages to PDF files from Safari and almost any other app that handles text, images or webpages. When converted, these new PDF files will appear in your documents list inside ClaroPDF.
  • New voice ranges: The Acapela and CereProc voice ranges are now available to download for ClaroPDF, allowing even more accents and dialogues. These new voices are available as in app purchases.  This new version of ClaroPDF also comes with a free download of the Scottish Heather CereProc voice, which you can download from inside ClaroPDF.
  • Improved annotations import/export: The import/export annotations feature in ClaroPDF now has the standard .xfdf file format to allow greater compatibility with other applications.
  • Improved switch mechanism: The switch control in ClaroPDF has been updated to allow greater compatibility with more bluetooth switch devices.
  • Organised Settings menu: The Settings menu in ClaroPDF has now been condensed into separate section windows, with the main settings remaining on the main Settings page. This makes the Settings menu easier to read and quicker to navigate.

Follow @ClaroPDF on Twitter for the latest news and hints & tips.

Check out The Codpasts recent review of our ClaroSpeak Plus App!

Exploring Photo to PDF

Exploring Photo to PDF in ClaroPDF
We are excited to announce the new Photo to PDF feature in ClaroPDF V1.4.  This powerful new feature allows you to turn photos of papers, worksheets, books, etc into PDF files that can be spoken, searched and fully annotated.

The new Photo to PDF feature is accessed from the Open button in ClaroPDF:

Photo_to_pdf

Pressing this will allow you to choose an existing photo from your library, or take a new one using your device’s camera.  Once you have selected a photo, give your PDF file a name:

Save as name

Press Save, and ClaroPDF will create an image PDF from the photo that you selected:

photo_pdf

With your new image PDF, you can perform simple annotation drawings on it:

basic annotations

As mentioned above, this new PDF is an image PDF, this means it doesn’t yet contain any text.  If you try to press play to speak the PDF or tap the search button to search the PDF, a message will pop up informing you that this PDF is an image PDF and needs to be converted:

this is an image pdf

If you want to convert this image PDF to a text PDF, you can press Yes in this message box, or you can choose Convert PDF from the ClaroPDF Save as menu:

convert PDF

When you select this option, a new message will pop up, informing you of the amount of credits it will cost to convert this PDF file.  The cost is one credit per page:

Convert to Text PDF prompt

When you select Yes to convert your PDF file, ClaroPDF will send your PDF off to our ClaroPDF Cloud OCR server to convert it.  An internet connection is required for the conversion process.  A progress bar will appear on the top toolbar to let you know the current progress:

converting

 

The conversion is done in the background so you are still free to use ClaroPDF whilst the conversion is underway.

When the conversion has finished, you will be prompted for a file name.  Enter a name and press Save:

Save as Converted

Once you press Save, ClaroPDF will open your new text PDF and you speak it, search it and fully annotated it:

speakhighlight_1 highlght_2

There are also some new settings for this new feature to help you maximise your conversions.  The Settings menu in ClaroPDF has now been reorganised and you can find the settings for the conversions under Text PDF Conversion:

text_pdf_conversion_Settings

The main setting in here is Convert to Text PDF in Cloud.  This is switched off by default.  If you switch this on, then ClaroPDF will automatically prepare to convert your photos to text PDFs when you select one using Photo to PDF.  With this setting switched on, you don’t have to manually Select Save as -> Convert PDF… to convert your PDF to a text PDF.

text_pdf_conversion_settings_main

In the Text PDF Conversion settings, you can also view your current credits and add more if you need some.  The first time each user runs ClaroPDF, they will be credited with 50 free credits so they sample the Text PDF Conversion feature.

In the advanced section of Settings, there is a new setting called PDF image detection.  This is switched off by default.  If you switch this on, then whenever you open an image PDF, ClaroPDF will tell you that it is an image PDF.  This is useful if you are getting PDF files from external sources and you don’t know if you can speak/annotate them or not:

 

pdf_image_detection

ClaroPDF V1.3.18 Released

The latest version of ClaroPDF is now available in the App Store!

What’s New in V1.3.18?

  • Multimedia gallery – record audio and video and insert them directly into your PDF file. This “cpdf” file (a zip of the PDF and audio/video) can be exported and opened on other devices running ClaroPDF.
  • Open webpage – converts a webpage into a PDF file ready for annotating and/or having the text spoken back to you.
  • New app localisations – ClaroPDF has been localised into Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, French, German, Italian and Dutch.
  • Many bug fixes and performance improvements.

Follow @ClaroPDF on Twitter for the latest news and hints & tips.

ClaroSpeak V2.4 Released

The latest version of ClaroSpeak is now available in the App Store!

What’s New in V2.4?

  • ClaroSpeak now uses the latest Nuance Vocalizer Expressive voices.
  • ClaroSpeak UK now includes Scottish Fiona as standard.
  • ClaroSpeak UK no longer includes a Spanish and French voice as standard, however, you can use any of the iOS system voices which allow you to have foreign text read back to you. You can download an enhanced version of system voices, we have written a support article on how to do this.
  • The in-app purchase voice store now contains more voices to purchase. These are high-quality Nuance Expressive and Acapela voices. Click to hear samples of all the available voices.
  • When viewing recorded audio files you can now export them via Airdrop or Messages as well as email.
  • ClaroSpeak Plus Nordic and Netherlands are now available in the corresponding App Stores. ClaroSpeak Plus Nordic includes Acapela voices as standard as well as OCR.
  • Minor bug fixes.

Follow @ClaroSpeak on Twitter for the latest news and hints & tips.

ClaroCom Pro Review

ClaroCom Pro is an app from Claro Software designed for AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication), available on iOS for iPad or iPhone. An AAC app helps to replace speech or assist writing for those with impairments in the production or comprehension of spoken or written language. Read more at claro-apps.com.

We’ve received the following helpful review of ClaroCom from Loretta and Krystal.

Loretta has limited use of natural speech so uses ClaroCom to communicate and says “ClaroCom has been highly beneficial with these new things I have to keep in mind about my voice and not over-using it”.

Krystal is unable to speak at all but is now leader of a volunteer call centre providing information technology help desk services to anyone who needs them. Krystal can consistently keep under an 8 minute call time averaging about 5-6 minutes when the goal is 10 minutes using nothing but text to speech (ClaroCom).

ClaroCom Pro AAC App Review by Loretta and Krystal, 11th August 2014

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT an expert in alternative and augmentative communications (AAC) solutions. What works for myself or Krystal MIGHT NOT be the best choice for everyone else. Furthermore the opinions expressed herein are those of myself or Krystal as appropriate. We have no affiliation with the developers of any application mentioned and we were not “bought” to make these opinions, we came to them from actual experience with the products mentioned.

Man… Krystal had me on an adventure into the deep dark corners of the iOS App store. This assignment was because she finally said “it’s time for a communications upgrade for me! A dedicated AAC app is in order!” so off into the app store I went looking for free apps. There were truly free and the “free apps that are just to show you what the paid version can do”. I only focused on the apps that required a zero dollar investment to install.

Two days ago I spent close to 6 hours testing installing and configuring close to 80 different apps from the app store. There was the good, the bad, and the downright incomprehensible. There were those that were feature packed and those that could use a little more meat on the bones.

I was just about ready to call it a night for testing when through an unlikely search I found an app I fell in love with (see Note 1) and was sure Krystal would too. This app is called ClaroCom.  The free version is only limited in a few “minor use” functions… nothing too bad (see Note 2). The free ClaroCom app comes populated with close to 1,024 pre-canned messages in several different categories from restaurants, technology, medical, entertainment, general phrases, and many others. I could add my own phrases to any of these categories and have them be dynamic or static.

A static phrase is something that has no variables like “my name is Loretta, I live on Maple drive in no where California”. Something that never needs revision based on context. A dynamic phrase is kind of like that game madlibs and textually looks like this “I need to know if Dr. ___ has any available appointments on or before ___ in the ___.” If I had multiple doctors this might allow for something like “I need to know if Dr. (Briggs, Shay, Benson, Puckett, Jones) has any available appointments on or before (next Friday, the 15th, June 1st,) in the (morning, afternoon, late afternoon, evening).” where any of those items in the parentheses could fill in that part of the sentence or request.

For dynamic speech the ClaroCom dialog will pop up asking “fill in the first blank…” if there’s only one blank, just fill it in. If there is more than one it steps you through them in order. When you fill the first blank and then it asks you to fill the next it shows you the statement up to the blank so in my doctor example first “I need to know if Dr. ___ has any available appointments on or before ___ in the ___.”, then “I need to know if Dr. Shay has any available appointments on or before ___ in the ___.” then “I need to know if Dr. Shay has any available appointments on or before next Tuesday in the ___.” and finally “I need to know if Dr. Shay has any available appointments on or before next Tuesday in the late afternoon.”

These message creation wizards make even dynamic content creation even easier!

ClaroCom USA comes with two voices by default (one male and one female) both better quality than what most “computer voices” are known for (especially if you grew up in the 1990’s) and tons of options to configure the app to the user needs.

The ClaroCom “Pro” USA version is decently priced at 14 bucks and adds a few extra little “nice to haves”. I fell in love with the free version which had its limitations so wound up later buying the pro version for the extra value.

I gave a presentation to Krystal to see if she liked the app or could find some use for it yesterday. She was absolutely in love with it. She downloaded the free version and tested it and has plans to support the developer by buying the pro version next month.

Note 1: the features I fell in love with are the “madlib style” dynamic content creation, the high quality voices, and the ease of use.

Note 2: the “value added features” that made the ClaroCom Pro version all the more attractive were among other things:

  • custom categories: which makes grouping pre-canned messages into categories that make the most sense for me. This also useful so I can have all my stuff specific to say burger king or the call center in it’s own category.
  • bulk-add: the adding of messages to the phrase list was easy, but with bulk-adding I can populate a new category with less effort.
  • Post to facebook or twitter: this handy little feature allows me to post up my Wendy’s order or the text version of any utterance to Facebook or Twitter. Krystal loved that demo because in her words “the less apps I have to keep open the better… if I don’t have to leave my speech screen to do something I do already, even easier!”

so yeah… the Pro version in my eyes is well worth it!

ClaroCom App Store Links

UK

USA