Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide by Dr. Jeanne Beckman

Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide   by Dr. Jeanne Beckman
Finally, a book to help families find the right technology to accommodate reading disorders (dyslexia) and other disabilties! ISBN 978-1-60264-089-4

How to purchase my book

To purchase through Virtual Bookworm (my publisher) you can click Virtual Bookworm Publisher: Tech Psychologist's Guide or
Amazon no longer allows Illinois professionals to get credit for referrals to Amazon due to a sales tax dispute. I will be referring to Powell's in the near future.

What is that TinyURL notation that you see in my blog? For those who use a screen reader, the link that is hidden behind words like Tech Psychologist Guide remains hidden. However, screen readers can read aloud the website address, or URL, if it was produced by Also, sometimes these addresses are so long that they wrap around several lines or overlap into colored areas of a website that obscure the actual address. Intrigued? You can create your own tinyurl's at

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tiny Tech for Peak Performance

Are you tired of lugging around a full sized laptop to dictate your writing or to use your text-to-speech for reading? I'm intrigued with the new "netbooks" that are cheap enough that school children with or without the need for specialized disability technology can use them, yet powerful enough that adults can run real programs on them.

How can you figure out whether a particular netbook is an annoying toy or a workhorse ? PC magazine recently reviewed many of these tools.

As if the ultramobile PC space weren't already crowded enough, MSI Computer Corp. has blown in with its Wind UMPC. MSI basically (though not literally) took the ASUS EeePC 900, improved it, and slapped its own branding onto it. The Wind doesn't go out of its way to differentiate itself from the crowd, but it's still a top-tier UMPC in many ways. At $480 (street), it's the best deal on the market, complete with the Intel Atom platform, Windows XP Home Edition, and a very good user experience. The HP 2133 Mini-Note PC still has the upper hand in configuration options, but until the Mini-Note can deliver a cheaper price, the Wind is our Editors' Choice for UMPCs.

It's hard to one-up one's rivals when the price of a UMPC has to fall within the $500 range. The Wind doesn't break any ground with its design: Clad in white plastic, the unit weighs less than 3 pounds, like the Acer Aspire One and the ASUS EeePC 900. The HP Mini-Note, by contrast, thinks out of the box by using anodized aluminum, which makes it appear sturdier and appeals to business users as well. Read more:,2817,2326271,00.asp

Finding some of these netbooks online can take some work, but here are a few links to Amazon, of all places (and you thought they only did traditional books...)
Asus EEE PC 1000 H or
MSI Wind U100 or

In this crazy economy, it makes sense for holiday shopping to do double duty: increased productivity at work or school, and a terrific holiday gift.

My one suggestion if you're buying this for children: Do NOT think of buying any computer as a device to educate, because that is a surefire way to kill any desire to use it. Have you ever seen someone excited to do "drill and kill" exercises on the computer? Both adults and children learn best when they are exposed to science in the real world and the rich vocabulary found in literature that we all enjoy. I view computers as access tools to real-life science, literature, current events, history, etc. What do you think?