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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In the cloud? You mean it's up in the sky?

A cloud used to be something kids watched lying on their backs outdoors, making up stories about their shapes. Evan as little kids, we understood: clouds made rain. Shelly even wrote a beautiful poem about clouds.

But now we have (ta-da) The Cloud. This is one the hottest technology buzzwords of the decade. Even we at TapToTalk now use it. We say that TapToTalk Designer stores your AAC albums in the cloud, where your devices sync with them. But what exactly does that mean?

It means that the albums are stored on a server somewhere, and can be downloaded over the Internet.

So, you ask, what't the big deal, and why don't you just say that?

The big deal is that if something is in the cloud, you don't have to know where exactly it really is in order to access it. Our server can be anywhere in the world (want to guess what U.S. state it is in?). We can move it anywhere in the world. You don't need to know where it is, nor care if we move it. Through the magic of the Internet, that server is available to you wherever you are, as long as you can get online. As with all things webbish, you don't need to think about it, it is just there (as long as you don't lose your connection).

The use of the term cloud probably started because a cloud was (and still is) often used in diagrams to represent the Internet. The cloud in those diagrams stood for the collection of servers and routers and satellites and cables and radio towers and on and on that made up the Internet. It was hard to depict all that stuff in a simple diagram symbol. A cloud shape seemed to describe the Internet's indefinite, ever-changing form, and its use caught on.

So now when someone asks where your web-based stuff is, just smile, wave your hand vaguely towards the heavens, and say knowingly, "Oh, it's in the cloud."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Now get started with TapToTalk Agency with only 3 TapToTalks

TapToTalk Agency is the version of TapToTalk Designer for schools and other organizations that have several professionals serving several students with individualized AAC albums. TapToTalk Agency has all the features of TapToTalk Home and TapToTalk Pro, and also gives you the ability to easily control which staff can do design work on each TapToTalk, no matter where they are located. There are additional features to further enhance design collaboration and maintain centralized administrative control.

We are pleased to announce that you can now get a TapToTalk Agency account with as few as 3 TapToTalks (the minimum used to be 5). Here is what this means for current customers:
  • If you have TapToTalk Pro with 3 or more TapToTalks, you can upgrade to Agency free
  • If you have a Home or Pro account, you can add TapToTalks and upgrade to Agency when you reach a total of 3
  • If your organization has separate accounts and you want to combine them into one centrally administered Agency account, contact us and tell us the account numbers you want to combine, and we'll help make that happen
For new customers, we have reduced the cost of getting started with TapToTalk Agency. The base price for 3 TapToTalks is now $429.95 (additional TapToTalks may be added at any time for $179.95 each). Click here for more information.

TapToTalk Agency means one account, easy centralized administration, and a low cost of getting started.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Sample Learning Albums

TapToTalk Designer's Standard Album Library contains a number of sample albums. If you wish, you can add any of these albums to your own TapToTalk, and then customize them as you see fit. Or just use them for ideas. We call these "starter albums" because they are meant to show how different albums can be designed and give you a start on your own individualized albums.

We just added ten new albums to the Learning category. TapToTalk Designer users can access them now in the Standard Album Library. And anyone can try them with the free TapToTalk Web App using the links below (the albums play the same regardless of the device used).

Here is information about eight of the new Learning albums (we'll discuss the other two—the Tap Tutor albums—in a later post).

ABCs try it
A "learn the alphabet" album. Since the English alphabet has 26 letters, this also shows how to handle a list of more than 12 items (the limit for one album page)

Simple Add try it
Learn how to add the numbers 1 through 9. Use this model to create other arithmetic learning pages.

Calendar try it
Learn the days of the week, months of the year and seasons. If you don;t live in the northern hemisphere, you'll want to re-arrange the pictures on the seasons pages.

Colors try it
Learn colors.

Count Them try it
Counting drills where you count familiar animals.

Count 1-10 try it
A basic counting exercise.

Shapes try it
Learn the names of 12 basic shapes.

Spell-Read try it
Illustrates one design approach.to building spelling and reading lists.

These albums also reinforce tapping and reading skills, and they're fun, too. Check them out!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Merci! French Albums Now Available

A few weeks ago, we kicked off a project to crowdsource a French TapToTalk starter album.

We had wonderful response from France. As a result, we have now added male and female French sample albums to TapToTalk Designer's standard album library.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Top 10 TapToTalk Blog Posts of 2011

We post information on this blog that we think may be of interest to the TapToTalk community. You vote with your clicks. The votes for 2011 are all in, and here are the top ten TapToTalk blog posts for the year, as measured by the number of times each post was viewed:
  1. The Great BubCap Giveaway! (August 31)
  2. Anything on the Screen can be used in TapToTalk Designer! (January 5)
  3. Give TapToTalk a try on your Nook! (April 28)
  4. The CushPad Holiday Giveaway (December 6)
  5. Where in the world is TapToTalk? (October 3)
  6. 7 Tips for your Halloween TapToTalk Album (October 21)
  7. Guest Post: Helping a Child with Tapping Problems use AAC (March 9)
  8. Announcing New TapToTalk Pricing (June 20)
  9. Gab n Go Giveaway (November 10)
  10. TapToTalk AAC on the Kindle Fire (October 7)
We notice that you are really interested when we have giveaways (three of the top ten posts). We do these giveaways to introduce you to new TapToTalk-related products from other companies. We're glad you like them.

We also see that you are interested when we add support for a new device (Nook Color and Kindle Fire announcements).

The rest of the top ten are quite varied.

If you have an idea for a topic you'd like to know more about, or have information to share, let us know. We also welcome guest posts, like Barbara Hallahan's great #7 post about how to help a child who has difficulty accurately tapping. You can tell us your thoughts anytime on our Facebook page, or email us.
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