[Vrstream] Product Evaluation: Victor Reader Stratus 12 M DAISYMP3Player from HumanWare

Steve Zielinski steveziel at sbcglobal.net
Fri Aug 10 12:48:22 EDT 2012


Ray,  This is not correct.  The Stratus does not play any audible formats.  Perhaps you are confused by the Streams playing abilities.  The Stream plays audible 4 format natively, but with the softpak installed, it also plays format 4 and enhanced as well.

Best,
Steve


Steve

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Ray Foret Jr 
  To: Cheryl Homiak 
  Cc: Victor Reader Stream discussion list 
  Sent: Friday, August 10, 2012 11:25 AM
  Subject: Re: [Vrstream] Product Evaluation: Victor Reader Stratus 12 M DAISYMP3Player from HumanWare


  Well, from what I understand, the Victor status will play audible.com format for, but not the enhanced format. That is one reason why I will not even consider it.

  Sincerely, 
  The Constantly Barefooted Ray!!!


  Now a very proud and happy Mac user!!!


  Skype name:
  barefootedray


  On Aug 10, 2012, at 10:44 AM, Cheryl Homiak <cahomiak at gmail.com> wrote:


    Yes, unless there's been an upgrade that I don't know about, the Stratus doesn't play files from audible.com. In fact, in the demo I heard before buying the Stratus, it was clearly stated that it doesn't play audible.com books. I'm assuming it would have to become an authorized audible.com device and one would have to be able to activate the Stratus with audible.com since audible's activation is specific to each individual player. Once a player is activated, for instance in the case of the Stream, it is possible to copy the activation file from sd card to sd card but that file won't work on any other player. 


    I also have noticed the daily in loading media; I thought maybe the presence of the cd drive had something to do with that, but that was just my theory and I don't have any actual proof.


    I do find that it accepts a greater variety of usb drives than the NLS player does, which is understandable since the NLS playr's usb port wasn't really designed primarily with the idea of loading usb drives.


    To me, the big thing about the Stratus is the use of Ryan and Heather. I'd much rather listen to any kind of text file on the Stratus than on the Stream.






    -- 
    Cheryl


    May the words of my mouth 
    and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable to You, Lord,
    my rock and my Redeemer.
    (Psalm 19:14 HCSB)





    On Aug 10, 2012, at 10:21 AM, "Russ Kiehne" <russ94577 at gmail.com> wrote:


      I noticed the same thing.

      -----Original Message----- From: Steve Zielinski
      Sent: Friday, August 10, 2012 8:15 AM
      To: Russ Kiehne ; vrstream at vrstreamusers.org
      Subject: Re: [Vrstream] Product Evaluation: Victor Reader Stratus 12 M DAISY MP3Player from HumanWare

      Well they got one thing wrong, from all I have learned about the Stratus, it
      CANNOT play audible books.

      Steve
      ----- Original Message ----- From: "Russ Kiehne" <russ94577 at gmail.com>
      To: <vrstream at vrstreamusers.org>
      Sent: Friday, August 10, 2012 9:58 AM
      Subject: [Vrstream] Product Evaluation: Victor Reader Stratus 12 M DAISY
      MP3Player from HumanWare



        I thought some of you would be interested in the following article from the current issue of Accessworld from AFB:

        Product Evaluation: Victor Reader Stratus 12 M DAISY MP3 Player from HumanWare
        Deborah Kendrick
        The Victor Stratus is a tabletop DAISY player from HumanWare. It accomplishes many
        of the same tasks as the smaller and popular Victor Reader Stream and does a few
        things that the Stream does not. This review will examine features and drawbacks
        of the Stratus and, hopefully, help determine which customers will find it an attractive
        addition to their pool of technology and which might be more likely to find it redundant.
        Description
        The footprint of the Victor Stratus is similar to many other tabletop players, such
        as the National Library Service (NLS) digital-talking book player issued to all library
        patrons in the US and other Victor models available from HumanWare. It measures approximately
        8.5 inches by 8.5 inches and weighs about two pounds.
        On the top face of the unit (from top to bottom) are three columns of two keys each
        for adjusting tone, volume, and speed followed by a 12-key telephone-style keypad.
        Next, there are Go To, Bookmark, and Eject keys near the left edge, a Power button
        near the right edge, and, then, a fairly common four-key configuration at the bottom.
        These four keys are arranged with three on the bottom (Rewind, Play/Stop, and Fast
        Forward from left to right) and a centered key above them that functions both as
        a Time Announcement key and a Sleep key.
        The AC power connection is on the back of the Stratus. On the right-hand edge, from
        back to front, are: a secure digital (SD) card slot, a USB slot, and a 3.5mm headphone
        jack. On the front edge of the machine is a CD slot.
        The built-in speaker is a two-inch diameter circle in the upper left corner of the
        Stratus; it delivers very nice, clear sound. Although it was not included with the
        model I tested, HumanWare can provide a cover that blocks all of the centrally located
        navigation keys, but leaves the controls for ejecting CDs, playing content, and controlling
        tone, speed, and volume accessible. This might be useful when using the unit with
        small children or anyone with cognitive challenges.
        The battery is user-replaceable and reportedly operates for ten hours when fully
        charged.
        What the Stratus Can Play
        The Victor Stratus can play a fairly impressive array of file types. It can play
        your DAISY-formatted books, including those from Bookshare, Learning Ally, and the
        NLS. It can play your books from Audible.com, your music collection, podcasts, and
        any MP3, WAV, or other audio files you throw at it.
        In addition to playing both text and audio of DAISY books (when both features are
        made available), the Stratus can play a host of other text formats as well, including
        TXT, RTF, BRF, HTML, DOC, and DOCX. The familiar voices of Heather and Ryan make
        listening to text quite a pleasant experience. No matter the file type, you can also
        adjust the speed, volume, and tone to suit your own preferences.
        While You're Listening
        Like the popular Victor Reader Stream, the Victor Stratus gives you a multitude of
        options for managing content as you listen. You can set bookmarks (up to 99,998 of
        them) and navigate by level, page, sentence, word, character, etc., depending upon
        the mark-up available in a particular book. You can navigate to a specific heading,
        such as a chapter or section heading, as well as a specific page (again, if page
        indications are available in a given book). In text files, you can use the telephone-style
        keypad for text input to locate a specific word or phrase. You can jump forward and
        back by increments of time (1, 5, 10, or 30 minutes) or by percentages of the entire
        file. Navigation, in other words, is extremely flexible, intuitive, and quick.
        Consider the Source
        Probably the most appealing feature of the Victor Stratus is its ability to use a
        variety of media sources. While the Stratus has no internal memory for storing your
        files, it can have a ton of material on-board at any given time. You can, for example,
        insert an SD card loaded with talking books, text files, podcasts, and music along
        with a USB drive containing a similarly vast amount of content, while also popping
        in a CD of your favorite banjo player or DAISY-formatted textbook. By using the bookshelf
        function ("1" on the keypad), you can easily move among these sources of content,
        going from one to another and then navigating the folders or tracks contained therein.
        Extra Features
        A key describer mode is available to tell you the function of every key, and the
        user guide, which also comes on a CD with your unit, is always available internally.
        This guide has four levels of navigation as well as being navigable by word, line,
        sentence, or page (or by searching for a particular word or phrase) so that locating
        specific references is convenient and quick.
        Above the Play/Stop key is the Sleep key. When first pressed, this key results in
        an announcement of the time and date. Second and subsequent presses are for the Sleep
        Timer and thus allow the user to set the machine to play for 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes
        before automatically powering off. (By using the numbers on the keypad, you can also
        customize the Sleep Timer to play for a specific amount of time before shutting down.)
        When playing a CD, the Speed control is still available to you, making it possible
        to speed up text or audio generated by a CD in the same way that you would with other
        digital material. Because the required folder structure is similar to that of the
        Victor Reader Stream, SD cards formatted for that device can easily be accessed with
        the Victor Stratus as well.
        Drawbacks
        The Victor Stratus does not have an on-board recorder. Although it will play material
        first played on the Victor Reader Stream, it will not play notes recorded on that
        device and stored in the Notes folder. A further disappointment was that, even though
        the Stratus has a Copy CD feature, it only works when copying DAISY-formatted CDs.
        For that reason, the copy feature was not tested for this review.
        When powering on, the familiar "Victor" voice welcomes the user, but the delay between
        the beep confirming that Power has been pressed and the subsequent "Welcome to Victor
        Stratus" message seems rather long. The particular unit tested would not accept a
        battery charge after the first few charging cycles. (After repeated attempts to charge
        the battery failed, removing the user-replaceable battery from its compartment for
        15 seconds and replacing it ultimately resolved this problem.)
        Conclusions
        The Victor Stratus is a sturdy and compact unit capable of playing a wide variety
        of text and audio content. Its built-in speaker is excellent, so listening without
        headphones is pleasant and comfortable. It delivers clear, crisp sound and has the
        added advantage of playing both commercial and DAISY-formatted CDs. The presence
        of both an SD and USB port renders it an excellent choice for playing content from
        a variety of sources.
        For a person who would prefer having just one device for playing music, books, and
        text files, it could be a great choice. If recording and portability are high priorities,
        however, the Victor Stratus would best play the role of supporting actor in your
        technology toolbox.
        Product Information
        Product: Victor Reader Stratus 12M DAISY MP3 Player
        Price: $455
        Available from:
        HumanWare
        800-722-3393
        Manufacturer's Comments
        HumanWare would like to thank AccessWorld
        for this thorough review of the Victor Reader Stratus. As the author highlights,
        the simplicity of the Stratus's hardware interface, high quality speaker, and ability
        to interface with a multitude of storage media, including the SD cards from the Victor
        Reader Stream, allows it to be a device that can be immediately used and enjoyed
        by users of all technological backgrounds.
        Greg Stilson, HumanWare Technical Product Manager of Braille Products




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