New App: Overlays!

Overlays! is an application that draws a see-through overlay on your screen that you can use to help focus on reading and large lists.

It started as an app I wrote for myself. I shared an older Windows version some time back, but I’ve updated it, and added a MacOS version now to. Read more on it’s app page.

The New Testament, In OpenDyslexic

It was originally going to just be just a gift for my wife, but so many wanted one, I worked on making a version I was comfortable selling: a thinner, better, more professional looking New Testament with a table of contents.

It took a while, but the New Testament of the KJV is now publicly available in OpenDyslexic. It’s available on Amazon, but I get a larger commission if you buy it from the CreateSpace Store. It’s priced at $17.59 ($17.99 on amazon), which is the lowest I could get it while allowing expanded distribution for bookstores and libraries.

Check out how it looks:

ERBrowser adds support for OpenDyslexic

When I first made OpenDyslexic, aside from my friends and associates with dyslexia that volunteered, I tested it heavily across as many devices as I could. But I also wanted to show and promote practical applications of the typeface, and other assistive helps (namely, web-accessibility(github)). I made browser plugins to force stylesheets on pages you visited, and on iOS, after frustrating experiences with bookmarklets, I created openWeb, a browser that forces pages to display with OpenDyslexic. It also provides additional features that enable easier reading: alternate paragraph & item shading, low contrast, and a reading mode. For a while, it was the only browser of it’s kind. It got good reviews that I appreciate very much. It introduced OpenDyslexic to new people that needed it. But it’s also been busy. To the point that I can’t keep on top of all the commitments and bug requests and other responsibilities I have. Put quite simply, I’m swamped!

Just this past week, the makers of ERBrowser have released the newest version of their web browser. It adds more control to how you view websites, including control over letter spacing, colors, sizes and font choices. Among those choices is OpenDyslexic. This is great news, and a welcome development! And it provides a commercial accessibility application with support that I simply can’t provide. As such, I intend to scale back my work on openWeb. I’ll still work on bug fixes, but I’ll be slow on fulfilling feature requests. openWeb was never a pay-for application. It does not pay my bills, or provide me with food. I still work two jobs for that.

ERBrowser on the iPhone 5

I will be actively recommending this iOS browser wherever appropriate. If you just don’t have money, try openWeb and see if it helps. If it does, you really should consider ERBrowser. It doesn’t cost much ($2.99. Only 2 candy bars), has many more useful features, and will be more actively developed and supported than openWeb can be. And it will give you control over how you view the internet with more customizable options that openWeb can give.

Download it now! (iOS: iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch)

Increasing Support for OpenDyslexic

Wow! It’s been an amazing few weeks! Right after Instapaper added support for OpenDyslexic, emails and comments poured in. Interview requests filled my inbox. Downloads went through the roof. And thousands of people found a free way to help with their dyslexia symptoms.

And the emails are amazing. I received a large amounts of emails from people who, before now, did not want to deal with reading, but now they can, easily. There are also touching stories of mistreatment in schools, having children called stupid by cold, callous teachers, where a typeface such as this has given a new hope. I am very grateful for each of these emails, and they provide a great incentive to continue making OpenDyslexic better.

Many great things are progressing in the area of assistive typefaces now. I’ve gotten emails from many companies and developers on how they are using, or plan to use OpenDyslexic in their products. In addition to Instapaper adding support for OpenDyslexic, several applications announced their support, with more coming (just waiting on official press releases, etc. :) ), including:

  • Instafetch
  • Steel’s Run
  • Clicker 6: A learning tool for reading and writing. Has a free update that enables support for OpenDyslexic.
  • MediaWiki has added support for OpenDyslexic as a non-default font in English and other languages.
  • Fedora? It looks like Fedora is including OpenDyslexic in some fashion.
  • My Agility Board OpenDyslexic is a font choice in this online sticky-notes web application that helps you keep track of your work.
  • And many more apps yet to be released, and internal web applications for hospitals and schools.
  • And more. :)

Wow! Big thank you’s to everyone for taking the initiative and adding OpenDyslexic support to your applications, for your emails of support, sharing OpenDyslexic with others, etc. You are awesome.

As always, you can download OpenDyslexic for free, and get more information from http://dyslexicfonts.com

OpenDyslexic mentions and uses

OpenDyslexic has been around for less than a year, downloaded over 12,500 times, and it has already found many uses:

WordSmith: An excellent new word processor for the professional writer using MacOS, WordSmith has an optional theme, “Irving,” that uses OpenDyslexic as the typeface (and which I’m using to write this). http://plowsoftware.com/wordsmith/styles/

iPhoneRuler has BytaFont theme for jailbroken iPhones to change the default iOS font to OpenDyslexic. In it’s first 6 weeks of release, it has seen 6,419 installs, and has become the #31 most appreciated typeface. http://www.iphoneruler.net/2012/08/open-dyslexic-font.html

The open source iPad ebook reader, Dox on Box, uses OpenDyslexic with it’s innovative colorization techniques to make reading ebooks on the iPad easier. https://github.com/snarshad/doxonbox

The Magic Judge Wiki recommends using OpenDyslexic for Judge exams. http://wiki.internationalmagicjudges.net/…

Both openWeb and OpenDyslexic receive a mention here: http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2012/02/helpful-apps-for-dyslexia-and-related.html

OpenDyslexic, thanks to your help, is now almost fully complete. Font smoothing on Windows is still being worked out, but on platforms written by sane people (Every platform but Windows), that is not an issue.

Edit: As you can tell, if you are reading this right now, this list became just a small list in the span of a week! I really need to write an update post. As soon as I’m not overwhelmed with work, I will. Thank you all. 2012/09/13

Fund Raiser was a Success!

Thank you for your support! The fundraiser to purchase Glyphs was a success. In very little time, I had enough to purchase Glyphs, and have already started work porting the font, adjusting the kerning, and making over-due refinements. Everyone that wanted a ‘q’ with a tail should be happy, because that was just added also. :)

You can keep track of my work on git-hub, https://github.com/antijingoist/open-dyslexic.

Also, if you have an iPhone or iPad, you should try out openWeb, which uses the newest versions of the OpenDyslexic typeface, and forces web pages to render using it.

Update: In case you wanted to know, the fundraiser pulled in $390. Thank you all for your support!

Help Finish And Improve OpenDyslexic!

Update: OpenDyslexic is featured on WePay’s donate page now! :) https://www.wepay.com/donations

OpenDyslexic is a free, open source font created to help make text easier to read, specifically for people with dyslexia. The font is absolutely free for any use: ebooks, real books, websites, personal project, commercial projects. This is because it exists to help others, and not to generate a profit.

Feedback on this project has been extremely positive. A few comments, which can be found on http://abbiecod.es:

“We have a school full of dyslexic kids so we’re very excited to try it. The other…ahem…$400 one…looks great but is way too expensive for us to experiment with. Thanks for this, and we’ll let you know how it works for our kids.”

“…Thank you a million times! I’m reading much faster, and the “reading voice” inside my head is starting to go away for the first time in my life. I’m still overwhelmed by the idea that I can go to Project Gutenberg and start digesting literature which has been out of my reach for so long.”

It is currently in use in a few classrooms around the US, and is the font used in openWeb, an iOS web browser focused on readability.

Planned uses for it include children’s books, education sites, and ebooks. It is for these and other uses that OpenDyslexic needs to be finalized.

Work on OpenDyslexic has been done on my free time, but I would like to complete it soon, and improve on it.

Currently, I’m using FontForge to make changes to OpenDyslexic. This is great, because FontForge is free, open source software.

The downside is that it is sometimes unwieldy, buggy, and it can take twice as long to complete a task as commercial software. It also has occasional weird issues, like not saving changes, etc.

Even though OpenDyslexic is free and open source, I am not, nor have never been opposed to using commercial software (I love MacOS :) ). Especially when the commercial software is very good.

Because of this, I am looking to raise money to cover the purchase of Glyphs to continue working on OpenDyslexic. I am choosing Glyphs because it’s cheaper than FontLab, has a better workflow than FontLab and FontForge, appears to have better support, and FontLab for MacOS is a little buggy (the demo crashes too often). FontLab is also twice the price of Glyphs.

It would be great to finish OpenDyslexic, and there are many improvements that need to be made to it: kernings, letter shapes, and expanding the character set. This has been almost impossible to do in FontForge, in a timely manner. Using Glyphs will greatly increase the rate of progress.

Thank you for considering donating to this ambitious project!

For more information about OpenDyslexic, visit http://dyslexicfonts.com or http://abbiecod.es

Donate to Finish and Improve OpenDyslexic

App Release Friday!

It’s App Release Friday!

It’s been a long two weeks, but I’ve gotten a lot of bugs fixed, and a lot of features added to openWeb and Coin Values!

Open Web
Download openWeb2 from the App Store!

openWeb is now at version 2. Thats because it took Apple so long to review version 1, I made enough changes to have version 2 sent shortly afterwards. Biggest change was improving the full screen mode, but also added:

  • Punctuation Recoloring: Many websites will now have darker, and slightly bolder punctuation marks. this helps in finding the ends of sentences, but also makes phrases more manageable. I used this in college with a stack of pens in different colors. Now openWeb does it for you automatically.
  • Search from Address Bar: Can’t remember the exact website name? Just search for it from the address bar! openWeb will search the internet using the awesome DuckDuckGo!
Silver Wallet icon
Download Silver Wallet!

Also, Silver Wallet has also been released! It’s an upgrade to the silver calculator app Coin Values. It has an updated UI, support for more silver denominations (generic rounds at smaller sizes), ShireSilver (an awesome community variety that’s been making rounds outside it’s community), an iPad version and trading. All images have been updated to support the iPhone 4, and iPad’s Retina displays.

openWeb: Dyslexia Friendly Browser

I’ll tell you the truth: I made this one mostly for myself, and after a month or so of using it, I got all the bugs cleaned up and decided to share it. :) Basically, you can’t set font options in Mobile Safari on the iPhone. You can’t force colors on Mobile Safari on the iPhone. This irritated me. So, with a little bit of the magic of open source software, I was browsing the web on my iPhone with my font, my stylesheet, and a little bit of js to make symbols more visible. And, unlike Mobile Safari, you can full screen by pressing and holding on the screen.. :) It looks like this (well, with Ars Technica loaded):

Since this is, of course, my primary mobile browser, I will be improving it of course. Lots of feature requests for stuff, but stuff that is useful to me gets top priority of course (unless you donate, in which case, I’ll let you pick a feature equivalent to the amount of your donation. 😉 ).

It’s currently in the App Store here, and it is currently free. The price will stay the same tomorrow, and the next day, and so on, so download today! :) (cheapest browser of its kind in the App Store. *Cough* *Cough*)

Download openWeb

Thoughts on Charging for Stuff, and OpenDyslexic

I’ve made OpenDyslexic free to use, with no real strings attached other than attribution, and that you can’t sell the font files. Not that I can stop you from doing the latter, but some people may be upset at you if they find out it was really free to begin with.

Anyway, I was remembering articles where developers or others that create value that can be added to other projects complain that they are not getting a cut of sales from products using their work. Sony’s decision to start charging for a cut of sales from some flash games reminded me of this. It’s a somewhat flawed complaint however.

Look at it this way: the complaint is that product is selling @ $100. Why should they be getting all that money? I should have a percentage. Maybe 10%.

What is really happening is that the product selling for $100 may be selling for $100 because you didn’t charge for your work. So, you demand your 10%, and what really happens is that you are now eating into money that wasn’t being pocketed by whoever is using your work: it was being put towards costs, labor, fees, etc. Now the cost of that product goes up, to cover your fees.

So, OpenDyslexic is free to use. Even in commercial products. Just don’t sell the font by itself. I’m not charging licensing fees for each book you publish, each website or app you use it on, or each eyeball that views it on content you use the font on. Aside from being somewhat of a scum bag move (that’s a whole other can of worms though), it would add to the cost of products and services that can use OpenDyslexic, and would just wind up making things more expensive for people.

How do I expect to be compensated for my work then? Other, non-traditional ways. Hopefully I can use this work to get a better paying 9-5 job, or get additional contract work. And the donations have helped a bit too. But, I’m going to try to avoid a monetization model where I have “enforce” my scheme on others, and for the purposes of this font, I do not wish to add additional costs to any products that make use of it.

#OpenDyslexic is free like a free beer, and freedom. Go get it here: http://dyslexicfonts.com