ATFAQ062 – Best of episode: Q1 Clearing my iPhone before a trade (from episode 30) Q2 iPhone with camera/switch access (from episode 44) Q3 Contacting JAN (from episode 59) Q4 Too many browser tabs (from episode 51) Q5 Reading building directories with an app (from episode 55) Q6Where to find apps (from episode 54)

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Best of episode:
Q1 Clearing my iPhone before a trade (from episode 30) Q2 iPhone with camera/switch access (from episode 44) Q3 Contacting JAN (from episode 59) Q4 Too many browser tabs (from episode 51) Q5 Reading building directories with an app (from episode 55) Q6Where to find apps (from episode 54)

 

——-transcript follows ——

WADE WINGLER:  Welcome to ATFAQ, Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions with your host Brian Norton, Director of Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads. This is a show in which we address your questions about assistive technology, the hardware, software, tools and gadgets that help people with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives. Have a question you’d like answered on our show?  Send a tweet with the hashtag #ATFAQ, call our listener line at 317-721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. The world of assistive technology has questions, and we have answers. And now here’s your host, Brian Norton.

WADE WINGLER:  No, that isn’t Brian Norton. Hey guys, this is Wade Wingler. I produce this show. This week we had a number of people who were sick and things that went haywire. We are going to break from our regular format and switch to a best-of episode this time. We will be back in two weeks with our regular format of fresh questions and answers. We thought it might be fun to ask our staff to go back and pick some of their favorite questions and answers we’ve done on the show. We’ve done just that. We have questions going all the way back to episode five of ATFAQ, all the way up through some of the more recent ones. We hope you’ll enjoy this trip down memory lane while we listen to some of the best-of ATFAQ.

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WADE WINGLER: Welcome to ATFAQ, Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions with your host Brian Norton, Director of Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads. This is a show in which we address your questions about assistive technology, the hardware, software, tools and gadgets that help people with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives. Have a question you’d like answered on our show? Send a tweet with the hashtag #ATFAQ, call our listener line at 317-721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. The world of assistive technology has questions, and we have answers. And now here’s your host, Brian Norton.
WADE WINGLER: No, that isn’t Brian Norton. Hey guys, this is Wade Wingler. I produce this show. This week we had a number of people who were sick and things that went haywire. We are going to break from our regular format and switch to a best-of episode this time. We will be back in two weeks with our regular format of fresh questions and answers. We thought it might be fun to ask our staff to go back and pick some of their favorite questions and answers we’ve done on the show. We’ve done just that. We have questions going all the way back to episode five of ATFAQ, all the way up through some of the more recent ones. We hope you’ll enjoy this trip down memory lane while we listen to some of the best-of ATFAQ.
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BRIAN NORTON: our first question is from a listener feedback. A little bit of feedback of the show but also a three-part question. We will pay that for you and jump in to try to answer that.
WADE WINGLER: I totally want to make a sound effect for feedback that’s speakers and microphone feedback, that kind of stuff. I think that would be great.
BELVA SMITH: I do too. Like what my mic did a little bit ago?
SPEAKER: Good morning, my question is for frequently asked questions. This is Chris out in Utah. I haven’t called for a while but I am a very supportive and consistent listener. I had to chuckle when my phone said I was calling frequently asked questions because obviously this question is not asked frequently or I would’ve already heard.
I have three parts to my question this morning. Number one, I’m very excited about changing my iPhone 5S to an SE because of the increased battery power and the improved camera on it which I think would help me a lot with my KNFB Reader. The questions that I have is, number one, when I change phones, how can I ensure that all of the information in my contacts list, notes, applications, etc., will be correctly, accurately, and completely transferred to SE phone.
Another question I have with that is, how do I go about resetting my phone so I can trade it in or dispose of it?
And the third question I have is somewhat unrelated, but I use the calendar app to track my appointments on my iPhone. I set up some appointments which are on a recurring basis. I had to change one of those, and when I went in and changed it, of course, it asked if I wanted to do this event only or all events. So I changed all events. The application seems to work, and it accurately notifies me a new day, but on my alerts and in my Google mail, I still get notifications of the way it was originally scheduled. I’m not sure how I go about deleting that or changing it so I don’t receive those notifications. I sure appreciate you guys, your show and your podcast but I’ll talk you later, thank you.
BRIAN NORTON: Thank you, Chris, for getting back with us and for asking questions.
WADE WINGLER: Chris is kind of a rock star.
BRIAN NORTON: I know. He has good question for us to pass back and forth here.
MARK STEWART: He is a funny man. I like his sense of humor.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s excellent. From what I gathered from the feedback and from your call, but is that there are three questions. It sounds like you’re changing from an iPhone 5 an iPhone SE, and you want to be assured that all of your information including your contacts list, your apps, etc., will be accurately and completely transferred. So that was the first question. Second question I believe was how do I reset my phone so I can trade it in or dispose of it. Third was when changing appointments on my calendar app, it seems the only change it on my phone and not on my Gmail calendar. Is there some way to delete the Gmail alerts so that I don’t receive them?
BELVA SMITH: That’s almost two questions, isn’t it?
BRIAN NORTON: I think question one and question two can kind of go hand-in-hand. It’s all about changing phones —
BELVA SMITH: No, the Gmail question. That’s two questions for the Gmail because one is, how come it’s not thinking correctly, and two, is how to turn off the medications.
BRIAN NORTON: So four questions. Let’s go to the first question illustrate into that one first. From changing from an old iPhone to a new iPhone, how can you be assured that all of your information including contacts, applications, and other kinds of things will be completely transferred to the new phone.
BELVA SMITH: The first thing I want to say, Chris, is make sure you have your old phone backed up. Make sure you have done a recent backup and that it backed up correctly. And the second thing is whoever your carrier is, like if it is AT&T, if you go into the AT&T store, they will help you make sure that your contacts and all that stuff gets transferred over correctly. But if you’ve got a good up-to-date backup, you should be able to connect the new phone and simply restore all the information into the new phone. Now, that’s what you should be able to do. Again, you might want to check with your carrier. Do you want me to go on with what to do to make sure it is ready to get rid of?
BRIAN NORTON: Absolutely.
BELVA SMITH: I found a website that gives you eight things that you need to know before you sell your phone or turn it into treat it in or whatever, it’s www.techlicious.com. Eight tips that you need to know before you get rid of your iPhone. The stuff that you’re going to want to do is, first of all, make sure you have your phone connected to power. Don’t try to do without being connected to power because if it dies in the middle of the process, that’s going to be a big problem. If you’ve got your back up and connect to power, you can go to settings and then general and choose reset. You will have the option to erase all the content. That will hopefully get rid of everything that is on there. But it’s also really important to make sure that you go turn off your iTunes account and your iCloud account. Any accounts that you have, you want to make sure you log out of them and turn them off or otherwise as soon as the phone gets turned back on, all the information will go back right into the phone.
BRIAN NORTON: Rights. I will throw out two things. You can back up your iPhone to either iTunes or iCloud depending on if you signed up for that service. Those are the two ways to back it up. And also I would just make sure that on your phone, go ahead, if you’re getting a new phone and you want to transfer your information to a brand-new phone, just as a precautionary method – I don’t know if it necessarily is needed or not – make sure on your old phone that you’ve updated the operating system as far as you can go, because on the new operating system or the new phone, it’s going to have the newest — typically the newest operating system. Make sure those things match. I don’t know that will cause any problems for you but I just think it’s a good idea to make sure that those things match for you.
BELVA SMITH: I’ve actually had to update my — or have switched iPhones, a total of three times. I’ve never — my arm is wood so I just knock on it – but I never lost anything.
BRIAN NORTON: Your actual arm is wood?
BELVA SMITH: No, my chair.
WADE WINGLER: Your chair arm is wood. Belva is not made of wood.
BRIAN NORTON: I just want to clarify that.
WADE WINGLER: That’s funny. I will tell you what: this Google calendar thing —
BRIAN NORTON: Not that there would be anything wrong with that. We work with folks with disabilities.
WADE WINGLER: Being made of wood is not a disability.
MARK STEWART: Unless you are Pinocchio.
WADE WINGLER: That’s different. So this Google calendar thing has gotten me down a number of times. I have to say my 19-year-old daughter has gotten in trouble because of Google’s failure in this area. We have a shared family calendar. It’s just a Google calendar that we keep track of, who was working, when, when we have a family get-together and who is taking the trash out. I tell my daughter to put her work schedule on the Google calendar. She does and it doesn’t show up on my version of the Google calendar on my iPhone or on my Mac because I had my iPhone and my Mac set to read those Google calendars. I can’t tell you how many times I told her, please update your work calendar so I know when you’re working so I know when you will be around the stuff. There is a delay between the iCal server and what Google does with their calendars. I have seen it update immediately. I’ve seen it take hours. And I read some Google forums that have said it can take as much as 24 hours from the time you put an entry into your Google calendar to where it actually shows up on your iPhone. That’s one of the things I think is important to note when you’re dealing with the Google calendar, as it seems to sync when it sorts of wants to. That seems to work both ways. It Google calendar is reading from your iPhone or if you’re having your iPhone read from Google calendar, it is inconsistent and can take a long time before it actually shows up. The other part of the question that I saw, if you want to get rid of those Gmail calendar alert alerts, if you actually go into the Google calendar on the web interface, next to the name of the counter whether it is your standard calendar or birthday calendar or whatever the name of your calendar is, there is a drop down. And that drop-down is a thing that says edit notifications where it lists those things. You can go in one at a time and delete those so that they don’t come up again. You can just go in and manually get rid of those.
BRIAN NORTON: So when you answer enter something into the web interface and Google calendar, it can take 24 hours for it to come through on a desktop calendar?
WADE WINGLER: I have seen it take a long time. In the forums, people are taking it can take up to 24 hours. I’ve seen it take more than an hour before it shows up on iOS devices or my Mac.
BRIAN NORTON: Interesting.
WADE WINGLER: I thought that was interesting too. When I learned about that, it sure did make my 19-year-old daughter relieved because —
BELVA SMITH: Told you, dad.
WADE WINGLER: Mister smarty computer pants.
BRIAN NORTON: Quick getting down on me, dad.
WADE WINGLER: She’s 19. I don’t know anything anyway, right?
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BRIAN NORTON: Don’t forget, we just went over some different comments. If you guys have comments about the comments, I guess is the way to say it. You guys have any feedback or other suggestions or situations where you have run into those things that you have some answers, the snow. We would love to be able to continue those conversations over those questions and provide folks with good information.
Our first question for the day is, I was trying to set up my iPhone to use my head movements as a switch. So far I am not having any luck getting it to consistently recognize my face and constantly getting a message at the top of my screen telling me I cannot locate my face. I am going to try using switches, but I need someone to tell me what they have found to be the best switch set up to operate the iPhone completely hands-free but using switches I can activate with my head. I played around with iOS and switch access a little bit. One of the interesting things and more inconsistent things with it is they allow you to use your face as a switch. If you are staring at the camera, you’re supposed to be able to move your face left or right to have essentially two different switch inputs. Depending on what you call it or how you essentially program it, it could be an activation switch or a scanning switch. There are all sorts of things you can do with those switches.
BELVA SMITH: I just thought of something. Wouldn’t the camera have to be facing forward?
WADE WINGLER: It use the forward facing camera for switch activation.
BELVA SMITH: So the switch automatically turns the camera for you? Because this person is saying that they couldn’t get it to recognize their face at all. I’m wondering what the camera maybe not facing them?
BRIAN NORTON: I believe it automatically uses the one that’s on the screen itself.
WADE WINGLER: It doesn’t show you the camera view. It just activates the camera while you’re looking at the screen, and then you look left for one switch activation and write for another switch activation.
JOSH ANDERSON: How sensitive is it? Does it have the whole face in it? Could it be a problem of just positioning?
WADE WINGLER: My experience has been you have to turn your face pretty far to the left or right. I’ve always joked, I think it is looking for my big nose. When I look far to the left, it can’t miss that. I’ve had some people complain that switch access in general is slow. It works at a total place. I’ve learned that the official recognition for switch activation can be a little bit inconsistent. I demo it. I don’t rely on it. There are times when I can’t make it work because the facial recognition isn’t working. What we’ve recommended in the past is the Blue 2 switch. It runs at $180 or something like that and it has two physical switch is built in. It also has a switch interface see you can connect any kind of switch you want to it. You get the best of both worlds. You get the Bluetooth switch with the two switch is built in and you can plug in whatever switch you want.
BRIAN NORTON: Again with switches, they mentioned wanting to know what the best switch setup is. You have to have a Bluetooth switch connected to it because I don’t believe there is a physical input where you can plug the switch directly into the device itself. As far as using switches they can get access to with your head, there are literally hundreds of different types of switches.
WADE WINGLER: Wait a minute. The Blue 2 connects Bluetooth to the iPad or iOS device and you can physically connect other switches to it. It has switch jacks.
BRIAN NORTON: Exactly.
WADE WINGLER: I just wanted to make sure we were clear.
BRIAN NORTON: Bluetooth, there are two switches on the actual device itself that you can use, but instead of using the switches that are actually on the device itself, you can plug in any of the switch you would want to use. It becomes a pass-through device for you. Again there are hundreds of different types of switches. Often I will recommend that folks see an occupational therapist or something like that, someone you can work with on positioning and making sure that when they are activating a switch that it is a place where they are consistently being able to activate it. They have to not only be consistent with it so it is one single motion that they can be repetitive with and consistent with. A lot of times, fatigue and energy, range of motion come into play when you are talking about switch access because you want to be able to make sure it is reliable and they can be consistent with it. Over the course of a day or so, doing one consistent action, you’re going to get tired. You just want to make sure we are using whatever switch activation, location, and device, something they can use for a good period of time.
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wrapping their mind around different types of workplace accommodation. When you think about workplace accommodation, you can extrapolate that two things that might be helpful at home and school and other places as well, based off of certain disabilities. As far as finding it on the Internet, if you look up AskJan.org, that’s going to take you to their site. If you are looking for a phone number, it is 800-526-7234. As we’re talking about JAN, out there are two helpful things they have. Two things on their website I find extremely useful and use a lot, one called A to Z, and another search engine called Soar.
A to Z gives you a list of disabilities to choose from. When you click on a particular type of disability, it brings you into some helpful guides and worksheets and information about types of accommodations that will work well for those individuals, trying to help wrap your mind around – when I’m thinking about a particular need, how can I help them at the workplace and extrapolate to other places as well.
Soar is a searchable online accommodation resource.
WADE WINGLER: It’s S-O-A-R, not S-O-R-E, right?
BRIAN NORTON: Right. Soar like an eagle.
WADE WINGLER: Not sore like your legs are sore because you ran too much.
BRIAN NORTON: That will allow you to download a widget for your website if you need. You can put their Soar website through a widget. It allows you to find lots of useful information based off the disability, diseases got other things that will affect someone’s ability to do different things that work. It’s a great resource.
WADE WINGLER: I think this might have been a call in a response to an interview we did recently. Lou Orsleen is a friend of the show and one of the directors at the Job Accommodation Network. In Assistive Technology Update, we recently interviewed him. Something new they are doing is called MAS, a Mobile Accommodation Solution, which is an app they are developing for employers who are working through the accommodation process. If you are and HR person or in charge of accommodations for employers, it’s an app they are developing to help keep track of that process and point you to resources and documents and stuff like that. It may be that she heard the interview and reached out to them. It’s episode 320 of Assistive Technology Update.
BELVA SMITH: They’ve updated their webpage, or else I haven’t been in a while. It looks very different from what I remember. A to Z is what I’ve used before. It’s a very good resource.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s a grant program through West Virginia University.
BELVA SMITH: That’s what comes up in the address bar. West Virginia University Research Corporation.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s a great resource. Definitely take a look at it. It’s very useful.
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BRIAN NORTON: The next question is, I also have 10 or more tabs open at one time on my browser and I’m looking for a better way to organize them. Is there anything that can be done to manage them better?
JOSH ANDERSON: Close them.
WADE WINGLER: Stop it.
BELVA SMITH: Exactly.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s really a challenge. A lot of computers, like my daughter, they use chrome for everything so she worked for the chrome browser and they have all these different tabs open for documents, Google Drive, spreadsheets, canvas, all these different things that have to be on a different tab. Eventually what happens is when you have so many tabs open, you start to see very little of what each tab is and you have to click on them all to get to them to see what it has and contains. I can sympathize with this person about how to better organize your tabs and know what you have.
BELVA SMITH: First of all, I don’t think I have ever had 10 tabs open on my computer. Doesn’t that slow things down?
WADE WINGLER: Yeah, but I’ve done it when I’m researching particular things and have a bunch of stuff open. It happens. Usually two or three.
BELVA SMITH: I can see how it happens. Usually after so many, I will start to close them down because it’s too confusing. I did find that there are also keystrokes that you can use that are sometimes easier than clicking.
BRIAN NORTON: Like CTRL-TAB to switch between them.
BELVA SMITH: CTRL-TAB to move forward and CTRL-SHIFT-TAB to move backwards. Of course Command-W [to close tabs] for Mac. You can install a tab management extension. TooMany Tabs and OneTab for chrome and firefox, which sounds pretty cool to me. What it does is turns it into a list. Because I work with screen readers, anything that can be in a list view is always better. It says that the one tab will turn all your tabs in a list to you can arrow up and down through the different ones.
BRIAN NORTON: I think there are lots of exceptions that will do that very specific thing. I have Tabli loaded on as a crummy tension on my computer. If I’ve got multiple windows open, it doesn’t get rid of all tabs. It just lists tabs in a dialog box. Arrow up and down through them. It gives you the full rundown of what’s in that particular window so it doesn’t get, off because it’s in a big dialog box.
BELVA SMITH: I think you can also use apps like the Pocket or Instapaper. If you see a webpage that you don’t want to read now but want to come back and read later, you can stick it in Pocket and pull it up later to review. It’s like a favorite but not a favorite.
WADE WINGLER: That Tabli is two things I’ve learned from you in the last week or so. One of the things that I struggle with with too many browser windows open as I’m a Gmail user and I find myself using Gmail a lot and then other tabs in the browser. I’m always fresh and because I’ve been doing this a long time and I used to ALT-TAB between my programs. Now on Mac I Command-TAB between programs. But I can’t do that to get from my calendar to Gmail because it’s in a tab in a browser and isolated. Brian got me to use Kiwi recently which is a Gmail program that runs sort of like Outlook but for your Google documents. That actually solved one of my problems of having too many tabs open, is now I run Kiwi in a separate program for Gmail and I find myself having one less tab open in my chrome browser. It makes it easier for me to use a keyboard to get around my Gmail without having so many tabs open. That’s not exactly answering this question but it’s been pretty remarkable for me that just in a few days of using it I’m like, wow, it’s easy to get in and out of my Gmail.
BRIAN NORTON: I’ve been using that for a while and it really does save a lot of time and effort and hunting around for where you are supposed to be as you are looking for a particular document. You just said two things you learned for me?
WADE WINGLER: Two things I learned from you in less than a week.
BRIAN NORTON: There is always a first. As far as these browser tabs, I would look at which particular browser you use because a lot of times within the browser itself there are ways to manage those things much better. I know in Firefox, you can group particular links or tabs together, the same thing for chrome. There are a lot of things that are built into the browser itself that let you better manage those. Something I’ll also do is, instead of opening a million tabs — and again this may slow down my computer a little bit — I might just open them up in different windows, and then you can use ALT-TAB between those particular browser windows which seems to work for me.
BELVA SMITH: I’ve probably done that.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s a different way to handle that. It’s a good question. I would look at these different chrome extensions. There are probably 20 or 30 of them that, if you go into the chrome store and look up extensions and talk about organizing tabs, you’ll find many of those listed because it seems to be a common problem for lots of folks.
BELVA SMITH: If you accidentally close a tab that you want to reopen, instead of having to go back and look through your history, you can use CTRL-SHIFT-T to open up the last tab that you closed. If you’re on a Mac, it’s Command-SHIFT-T.
BRIAN NORTON: Is that with an chrome or both?
BELVA SMITH: Both.
BRIAN NORTON: We are learning all sorts of new things today. That’s very helpful. If you maybe use a different extension or different way of going about and organizing your tabs within your browser window, whether that Safari, chrome, Firefox or whatever you use, chime in and let us know. We love to hear about those things. You can send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org.
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Don’t forget, if you have feedback much like we’ve talked about today, you can give us a call at 317-721-7124. We would love to hear from you guys. Also you hear folks were asking questions in that manner so you can do that as well.
Our next question is a person who is blind called in and is looking for an app to read different business directories when he is entering buildings. I’ll throw that out to folks, being able to read business directories as you walk in the main door of the building.
BELVA SMITH: The problem is directories are all different. Sometimes they are behind glass, sometimes not, sometimes the changeable plastic letters. I did give three suggestions some hoping somebody else might have some other things. One was Tap Tap See. I don’t know if that would work. In some cases it might. Office Lense, which is the KNFB-type app that is free. And then the expensive suggestions I had was the OrCam glasses. Those are the video camera that you can put on a pair of glasses and points to the text and it will read it. The reason I thought the Office Lense might work is because of the whiteboard featured has. I have used the whiteboard feature to take pictures of pictures with text, and it will convert that and read it back to me.
BRIAN NORTON: I’ve had folks use Tap Tap See, Be My Eyes, and those kinds of things for some really creative applications of it. I think it’s meant to grab text and have it read back to you, but I’ve seen people use it for color identification on clothing and making sure I’m just appropriately, that kind of stuff.
BELVA SMITH: How much is Be My Eyes?
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s free.
BRIAN NORTON: I think those types of apps are helpful. KNFB reader you mentioned already along the same lines of Office Lense. OrCam glasses. If you really want to go expensive, which I know a lot of folks aren’t wanting to do that, and it’s still in beta form — what’s that new — Ava?
JOSH ANDERSON: Aria.
BRIAN NORTON: There we go. It’s a monthly service where you wear glasses, and people are looking through a camera and are helping coach you with directions and guide you around.
JOSH ANDERSON: Describe everything around you.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s not available yet –
BELVA SMITH: It is available.
JOSH ANDERSON: I thought it was just in beta. There were 180 people that used it and that was it, and they are trying to expand. I could be wrong.
BELVA SMITH: We saw them at ATIA. At that time, they weren’t, but they had plenty people testing it, and it’s my understanding that it’s available now but maybe I’m wrong. At that time they hadn’t decided what they were going to charge, but it would be a monthly fee, or you could pay by the year and get it a little bit cheaper. The last I heard, they had 30 sighted individuals that have been very well trained to work for them. It’s an amazing service as long as you can afford to pay for it.
JOSH ANDERSON: For the amount of usage you get, it didn’t seem too bad the priced. I think it was how much you used it. It didn’t seem as highly priced as some assistive technology seems to be.
BELVA SMITH: The best thing about it is they are available 24/7. If you have an emergency at two o’clock in the morning and need assistance, they are there for you.
JOSH ANDERSON: From what I understood, they supply the technology to you. If they upgrade and change the way their platform performs, they give you new technology for that monthly fee. It’s a cool idea.
BRIAN NORTON: Then there are other apps. If you do have a mobile device, apps like Claro Scan Pen would be able to do it. Lectio —
BELVA SMITH: That would be able to read a directory? It’s behind glass?
BRIAN NORTON: As long as Office Lens would. I’ve had some pretty good suggest doing papers and other things. But you’re right, the glass good produce glare and that can be a challenge.
BELVA SMITH: What I would suggest is look for your local AT act and find out what kind of devices they might have available so you can get some hands-on opportunities. Maybe they have a pair of the OrCam glasses that you could try.
JOSH ANDERSON: What works at one place might not work at the next. Even the way the numbers are associated with the name sometimes might mess you up.
BRIAN NORTON: Quite frankly your backup is find the receptionist and asked.
BELVA SMITH: Not all buildings have a receptionist. Especially the downtown businesses. That’s like a service like Aria because that’s going to work no matter what kind of sign or where you are at.
WADE WINGLER: If you are talking about down and dirty suggestions, you could take a photograph of it and text the picture to somebody you know who is available and say, hey, where is Bob Smith’s office on this list.
JOSH ANDERSON: Or FaceTime somebody.
WADE WINGLER: These are not good AT professional suggestions because we are looking for something that’s more independent. In a pinch that would be the way to do that.
JOSH ANDERSON: Could you cut that from the notes please?
WADE WINGLER: Yeah right.
***
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is, I’ve been listening to the show for a while now and I’d love to learn about all the neat apps that you guys are talking about. My question is where do you find these apps? I’m sure you happen upon different apps from time to time, but where do you go to learn about apps when faced with a specific issue, for example filling out forms, blindness, etc. I know from our experience, there are lots of traditional places that we end up going.
We talk about AppleVis a lot. That’s Apple-related vision impairment. They do different apps for folks with vision impairments. They have a forum where you can ask questions and get answers as well. They help with that and spend a lot of time with vision related apps for Apple products, the iPad, iPod, and iPhone. Other places we end up going?
BELVA SMITH: I’ll steal your thunder. You didn’t mention BridgingApps.
BRIAN NORTON: We need a crack of thunder when someone steals someone else’s answers.
BELVA SMITH: I think we mentioned this a couple of shows back, AndroidAccess.net is a place that you can go to check for the android apps. I just recently discovered this one: AndroidAuthority.com has a whole list of the best android apps for the visually impaired. Also AFB.org has a list of the best apps for android. They also have iOS, but I was specifically focusing on the android ones.
BRIAN NORTON: One of our partners, as far as Assistive Technology Acts, is in Georgia, a place called Tools for Life. They have a good app search tool. If you look that up and put in Georgia, it will bring you to their website, www.GATFL.org, and on the right side of the screen you will see Tools for Life and a block you can click on to take you to their app search tool. But the good way to find information. I think what makes these places more unique than going to iTunes or to the Google Play Store is when you go to those kinds of places, the reviews you get are all very positive and saying the great things about it, but you don’t have from the user perspective, and a lot of these places, the reviews are done by folks who are actually using the app and are trying to be productive with the apps. They are giving you better feedback than what you might find on iTunes. They vet those can’t tell you the pros and cons, and how those things work for you.
BELVA SMITH: I feel the app store gives you very little information about the apps. When I go there, I’ll hear the name of an app and look for it to see what it will do. I leave feeling like I don’t know much more than before.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s usually a small advertisement that doesn’t have much information at all.
WADE WINGLER: A lot of the assistive technology apps don’t have millions of users. They are fairly small, not used by a lot of people, and I always feel the first three app reviews are stellar, written by the developer’s brother-in-law and friend and neighbor. You don’t get that detailed stuff. The resources Brian talked about, AppleVis and BridgingApps and Tools for Life, they do spend time either from a user perspective or a professional perspective getting into that. I’ll do a quick plug. AppleVis and BridgingApps and Tools for Life all do app segments on the podcast I host, Assistive Technology Update. Several times a month we have those folks call in and do an app review. I’ll also mention that BridgingApps has a cool search engine so you can describe a profile of a user. You can say, “I have a third grader with dyslexia who is working on world history or spelling or whatever.” It will then search across the app stores as well as BridgingApps reviews for apps that meet that criteria. This is nice because you can build a profile describing the user, save that profile, and go back every so often and rerun it to see if new apps have shown up.
JOSH ANDERSON: When they ask “faced with a specific issues”, another thing you can do is look through them when you find them, there might be a free version you can get and try out or even go to your local assistive technology act. They might have a device to put those devices on there and try them out. Some of them are a little bit expensive. A lot of the apps these days, what I’ll do if I do find them and think it might help who I’m working with, I’ll try to get the free version and use it for a couple of days.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s a great point. Here at the INDATA Project, you can borrow an iPad with the app on it and try it for 30 days to make sure it really works for you. That’s a great way to be able to try it and use it.
I want to throw one more plays out. It’s not app specific. It has some apps available, some reviews for folks. It’s The Arc Toolbox. It’s Toolbox.TheArc.org. It’s an interesting website I learned about a few years ago. It’s in development at this point but has some good tools where you can submit things you found useful. You can post some reviews of the things you use. It’s a great place to find great things as well, not specifically related to apps. There is software, hardware, other things as well. Apps are certainly included. I think the main three we mention, AppleVis, BridgingApps, and Tools for Life, are the main places we go to search for those other than looking at iTunes. The interesting thing is when you are in iTunes or the Google play store and you find a particular app, if you scroll down the page a little bit there are always suggestions, other apps or similar apps you can see and start looking through those as well. It’s a great way to start your search and look. If you want to get more specific, going to those websites is a good way to go.
***
WADE WINGLER: And now it’s time for the wildcard question.
BRIAN NORTON: So our next question is the wildcard question of the week. This is where Wade throws us a question.
WADE WINGLER: We are going to put on our old school computer chops and think back to the very first computer that you ever owned or used at a regular basis. The first computer that was yours or the one at school or wherever that you used. I want to know what was the very first computer that you really started to use. Then my question that goes along with that is, what did you do on that computer? Was it wordprocessing, or was the Internet research? How is that different from today? Are you still doing the same kind of stuff on your computer or are you doing something different? Why are you guys laughing?
BRIAN NORTON: I was thinking back to why I use the computer initially and it was to play Space Invaders. My dad had a Zenith with two 5 1/4 floppy disk drives in the front. You had to load in both discs to be able to get the Space Invaders monochrome monitor. I played that all day long for the first six months that he had it until he started really getting into it and using it for other kinds of things. It was a big Zenith computer and it was massive, with a little 15 inch monitor. But the fact that it was in was just huge. So I played Space Invaders on that computer. Even when I got to college – I do note that spent several years ago now – computers were just starting to gain popularity. They just started having computer labs on the college campus. I didn’t even use a computer very much in college. People were just really getting into email. I would always go to the library and typed out on a typewriter my papers instead of going to the computer lab and actually using whatever version of wordprocessing software they had at that time, probably WordPerfect.
BELVA SMITH: Probably.
BRIAN NORTON: I was typed out my stuff during college. That’s when I first started getting exposure to real exposure, to what a computer could do was college.
MARK STEWART: For me, in college there was the transition from a brother word processor.
WADE WINGLER: Had one of those.
MARK STEWART: It’s how you did papers, stuff like that, sort of the electronic typing. I don’t think in college I did a typewriter. And then I took a DOS computer course and learn some basic stuff and thought I was a programmer. That was a Computers 101 course. My senior year, you would go to the lab and write that papers on a computer and things like that. Pretty much wordprocessing. You tried to do a little bit of research and things like that. I guess the other – Pong and Atari.
WADE WINGLER: Breakout.
MARK STEWART: I seem to remember a lot about Windows 95.
BELVA SMITH: For me, it was quite embarrassing at the public library when I went to find the card catalog to look for a book that I wanted and the lady said to me, oh, I’m sorry; we have it all on the computer over there. You can find it on the computer. I was terrified because I’ve never put my hands on a computer. So I went and got my second greater and said, hey, do you know how to look a book up on the computer? He was like sure, mom, we do it all the time. He goes over, boom, boom, in here it is. The teachers were saying that the kids should have a computer at home, so as much as I thought it, I said yes we should probably go and get one. Yet I knew nothing. They knew way more than I did. So the kinds of things that I did on that first computer. It was a Hewlett-Packard, the size of a suitcase, and a little bitty 15 inch monitor. I crashed it a lot. I will never forget the first time the little “You have committed an illegal” something. It was 10 o’clock at night and I’m thinking what’s going to happen. I’ve done something illegal. Windows 95 was really good at doing that because it was Windows 95. It was really good at doing that. From that, just lowering the structure, then it was introduction to the Internet and what we could do with the Internet. From that it was learning screen readers. It was that quick that I went from just learning the structure to the Internet to screen readers. I was probably better with screen readers then I was email for many years.
WADE WINGLER: For me, it was a long time ago. I became interested in computers early on. I like to tell the story: my folks mortgaged the family farm – not literally, but almost — to buy me a RadioShack color computer. That was probably in the very late 70s or very early 80s. I was probably nine years old or so when I got my first computer. The thing about that computer is you had to hook it to a television. It didn’t have a monitor. When you turned it on, it beat up and said okay, blank, blank, blank and it expected you to type in basic programming language because it did have software loaded onto it. In fact, it didn’t have any nonvolatile memory, didn’t have any storage on it, so whatever you typed in would be there and to shut it off. When you shut your computer off, it went back to having no software in it again. I remember I used to get this magazine called Rainbow magazine that was just thick as a phonebook. You would type in programs. I would spend all day on Saturday typing in and debugging a program so that I could play it on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, start all over again typing in hundreds and hundreds of lines of code. I lived on a farm out in the country where the power wasn’t always good, so the light would blink off and I would lose hours’ worth of programming on the computer. Then I got an audio cassette recorder, a 60 minute audio cassette recorder that would allow me to say the programming on the cassette player. So you plug this thing inand it squealed like a fax machine or modem sound, and that’s how you would load programs or save programs on that. A good program would take one or two 60-minute cassette, front and back. That means it would take an hour or two to load a program so that you could then — what I did first was play video games. I like to play simulators like lemonade stand. I remember political race simulators, I think it was probably one of the Reagan elections back then.
BELVA SMITH: I can’t even imagine.
WADE WINGLER: It was amazing. I still have one by the way. Not my original one but it is in the garage. I bought it in a grunt still not too long ago. I have to keep an old analog TV to hook it up to because it won’t look to anything other than analog TV. The most exciting thing I did was eventually I got a 5 1/4 inch floppy drive and would save my files. I got a word processor called Scripts It. It was a physical cartridge like a videogame cartridge that would plug into the side of his computer and it would allow me to write. I remember starting writing back then on this RadioShack computer and printed it off on a dotmatrix printer, which is ironically what I use computers mostly today: I write and save and retrieve information. I never was very much of a videogame player, just a little bit, and I’m still not cop but I remember writing and saving and printing words on the computer way back in the late 70s, early 80s.
BELVA SMITH: I remember we got the encyclopedia with ours. I thought that was —
WADE WINGLER: Encarta, Microsoft Encarta?
BELVA SMITH: Yes. I thought that was so interesting because I grew up at the encyclopedia that took up the whole book shelf. Now here we have this on the little CD.
***
WADE WINGLER: Hey, guys, I’m the producer, so I decided we’re doing two wildcard questions today. Here we go.
WADE WINGLER: And now it’s time for the wildcard question.
BRIAN NORTON: Okay, our next question is the wildcard question of the day. For that, I’ll let Wade take the mic.
WADE WINGLER: I love this part. I love it because nobody but me knows the question until this very moment. This is a question not really about assistive technology, although I think it unveils some assistive technology stuff. Are you a Mac or are you a PC? Do you use a Mac or do you use Windows, and why? And if there was ever a change, when did that change happened and why did it happen? So we’re going to go around the horn, and I’m going to start with Brian.
BRIAN NORTON: Okay. Well, I use a Mac exclusively. I made the change to Mac probably about two years ago, so my Mac is about two years old. The reason I made the change, I guess in my industry, there was just a lot built in assistive technology there. The agency I belong to is a Windows agency. That’s the pieces that the support for their folks. In our area, they are a little bit different. They kind of let us manage our own IT here in my department. I just felt the need to kind of explore what Mac was all about. I’ve really kind of fallen head over heels. I would consider myself a Mac boy. I got a Mac sticker on the back of my car, stuff like that. I’ve really found a lot of the built in accessible features of the Mac and the apps that you can download, something that’s really neat and interesting and has made my workflow may be a little bit more proficient.
WADE WINGLER: I’m going to bounce over to me and I’ll move over to Mark. Mark probably doesn’t know that he’s the reason I use a Mac, funny enough. He’s giving me this really funny look right now. So I used a Mac in college. I did some data entry for some professors and I used a Mac. I kind of liked it back then, but then when I came to work here at Easter Seals crossroads, it was all about DOS at the time and early windows, so I switched to a PC. But Mike spends a lot of time in Bloomington, Indiana, and turned me onto the Indiana University surplus store a number of years ago, and he said mankind can get all kinds of cool stuff there. So I wandered into the Indiana University surplus store probably five or six years ago and was just looking for stuff. I ended up buying my daughter an electronic keyboard there for a Christmas present so she could play the piano stuff. I saw this Mac for $100 and I thought man, I really loved working on a Mac when I was in college. It was almost Christmas time, so I thought I’m going to splurge for myself and get a Mac for Christmas. So I did and I got it home and I hated it. In fact, I named it nemesis. The name of the computer was nemesis because I couldn’t get it to work and I couldn’t get it to work. It turns out that it was an older Mac running an operating system that really wasn’t optimized for it. But in figuring out how to make that Mac work and getting under the hood and fussing with that, I understood as a to get a grasp on some of the elegance related to the Opry system. And then I started investing some time and energy into it is starting to love some of the things they could do. Over the course of about a year from buying this used Mac that I really fought with, I ended up getting a Mac at work and started getting into the apps and the productivity. For me, I kind of feel like I spent the first 10 or 15 years of my career working on computers and trying to get them to work, and then there became a shift in my career where I just wanted the computer to work and I wanted to focus on creating the content and writing and producing audio and more artistic kind of things. So once I switched over to a Mac at that point, then I don’t think I’m heading back. I’m a full-time Mac all the time. I not only have an Apple sticker on my car but I have a black Apple sticker on my car which is what you get with a Mac Pro. That’s the super snappy sticker on your car when you have a Mac.
BRIAN NORTON: It took me almost a year to become comfortable with my Mac because my fingers, it was muscle memory for keystrokes on the Mac to be able to figure out what am I doing. When I want to close an application, I did all keystrokes for things, so alt-F4 on Windows is now Command-Q on the Mac and it took me about a year for me fingers to relearn where I need to go to be able to hit those keystrokes. Now I work with folks and do assessments and trainings and things like that, so now I’m returning myself every time I sit down someone to say oh, my goodness, what was the Windows keystroke. They’re just different enough that it can throw you for a tizzy.
MARK STEWART: PC at the moment for me. A few reasons. I was raised up on PC, and that’s what I’m familiar with. In my current role, I do a lot of case management, just business productivity and efficiency and power using Outlook and things like that, so I like and hold onto that business productivity, no-nonsense kind of logic with the PC. But I actually have no particular preference. It’s not an emotional thing for me as far as the battle between PC and Mac. I work with folks out in the community that have different types of jobs or off a college and things like that, and if a Mac is more appropriate for them or that’s what they are familiar with, then I readily recommend Macs and do my best to train them on Macs. Really, it’s somewhere on my to do list to switch over to Mac, but that muscle memory and those types of issues that Brian was talking about are a real concern of mine with regard to staying productive and efficient.
BRIAN NORTON: Yeah, actually, I’m challenged to go that direction just so that I know more about computers overall. I actually need to get in your computer coming up, and I think I’m going to go PC. Call me a wimp.
WADE WINGLER: Belva, I wanted to save you for last.
BELVA SMITH: Both.
BRIAN NORTON: No.
WADE WINGLER: No.
MARK STEWART: No.
BRIAN NORTON: You like to tease, Belva.
BELVA SMITH: Now, I’m dead serious.
WADE WINGLER: You’re an imposter.
BELVA SMITH: I’ve been doing both for a long time. My very first Mac was the iMac that was the huge little pod thing. I said they named their —
WADE WINGLER: The lamp?
BELVA SMITH: Yet. They should’ve named that the iPod. But I got it because, let’s just face it, Apple’s cool, right? I set it right next to my lovely PC, and I used to just sit and look at it and think, wow, that thing is really beautiful. Oh, I think I’ll open up a window over here. So currently I no longer have that iMac. It’s gone. I let go of it last summer. But currently I have a Mac that I’m running Windows on. Brian seems to think that I can’t let go of Windows, but I’ve got to do both. My honest answer is both because all the training that I do is Windows. I very rarely get to do any training on a Mac.
WADE WINGLER: Brian and I are bursting over here.
BELVA SMITH: Yeah, I know.
WADE WINGLER: You’ve got Mac hardware but you only run Windows on it. It boots up, it says Microsoft.
BELVA SMITH: This is not true. There’s Mac running right in the background.
WADE WINGLER: But you never touch it. You just run Windows on your Mac.
BRIAN NORTON: You’ve got parallels on your Mac —
BELVA SMITH: I do.
BRIAN NORTON: Which has Windows.
WADE WINGLER: You didn’t realize the show was an intervention did you? So she runs Mac hardware but she runs Windows all the time.
BELVA SMITH: Yeah. My Windows looks really cool when I close it. It’s got that nice apple on top of it.
BRIAN NORTON: That is a really interesting thing. You can do that.
BELVA SMITH: And if you look at the end of the day, what did I do the most of that day? It’s going to be Apple, between my iPhone and my iPad, you know.
BRIAN NORTON: Right.
WADE WINGLER: But it’s interesting because Belva does a lot of JAWS training, a lot of screenreader stuff, and she does it right there on your Mac. Our internal document management system, our electronic medical records system, is a PC-based system, so she running Windows and JAWS and stuff on her Mac all the time. She could switch over and use the little icons on the bottom of her dock if she wanted to. Someday she might.
BRIAN NORTON: I keep preaching to her. I will say in the field we find ourselves in, in assistive technology, there is still a greater amount of assistive devices for the Windows environment than there is for the Mac environment. However, we are finding that pendulum swing a little bit more to where there’s just different camps when you’re concerned with accessibility. On Windows, it’s a lot of third-party stuff. There is some stuff that’s built into the upper system. Over here on the Mac, there’s other camps that will say everything is built in and there’s lots of great inherent tools built into the Mac, and they are there for you to use. But again, when you’re talking about a very customized software package, I’ll just throw Kurzweil 3000 out there, which is available on both environments, so maybe that’s not the best product to be able to throw out there.
BELVA SMITH: Throw JAWS out there.
BRIAN NORTON: We’ll throw Dragon. Dragon is a great program. I mean, Dragon is a great program. It works really well. It’s just not developed as much for the Mac environment as much as it is for the Windows environment. So we had to make some tough choices on what kind of operating system you want to put someone on based on the adaptive items that we can put in front of them to make them be the most successful and productive with the equipment that they have.
BELVA SMITH: Well, and even though the software might be developed for both, and I know for a fact that this is true with both programs that you just mentioned, and I’ll throw ZoomText in there. It’s made for both Windows and Mac, but yet the things that I can do with it in the Mac environment are very limited compared to what I can do with it in the Windows environment.
WADE WINGLER: And I think that’s typically related to the fact that Mac and Apple operating systems in general are less permissive. They have more stuff locked down so the apps don’t have the same ability to get under the hood into things in the Apple ecosphere is they do on Windows.
MARK STEWART: And I think it’s important. We can have personal fun battles on preferences and stuff like that, when it comes to assessment and what have you, we really need to be objective and look to the person’s future and what they are used to and my two best with.
BELVA SMITH: And I used to always hear that if you are doing anything with photography, you had to have a Mac, because PCs just couldn’t do photography the same. That was always just a myth and still is a mess. Some people believe it, but it’s really not true. Mac and Windows are very much the same. But in the business world, you’re going to find more PCs than Mac.
WADE WINGLER: Yeah, the market share is still very much Windows.
BRIAN NORTON: All right, thanks everyone. Thanks everyone for coming. Again, here’s how to find our show. You can search assistive technology questions on iTunes. Look for us on stitcher. Or visit ATFAQ show.com. Also please call and chime in. We love to hear your questions. In fact, without your questions, we really don’t have a show. So be part of our show. Again, our listener line is 317-721-7124. You can ATFAQ show.com, send us your questions there. You can Tweet hashtag #ATFAQ or email us at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Thanks and have a great week.
WADE WINGLER: Information provided on Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions does not constitute a product endorsement. Our comments are not intended as recommendations, nor is our show evaluative in nature. Assistive Technology FAQ is hosted by Brian Norton; gets editorial support from Mark Stewart and Belva Smith; is produced by me, Wade Wingler; and receives support from Easter Seals Crossroads and the INDATA project. ATFAQ is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more of our shows at www.accessibilitychannel.com.
***Transcript provided by TJ Cortopassi. For requests and inquiries, contact tjcortopassi@gmail.com***

BRIAN NORTON: our first question is from a listener feedback. A little bit of feedback of the show but also a three-part question. We will pay that for you and jump in to try to answer that.

WADE WINGLER:  I totally want to make a sound effect for feedback that’s speakers and microphone feedback, that kind of stuff. I think that would be great.

BELVA SMITH:  I do too. Like what my mic did a little bit ago?

SPEAKER:  Good morning, my question is for frequently asked questions. This is Chris out in Utah. I haven’t called for a while but I am a very supportive and consistent listener. I had to chuckle when my phone said I was calling frequently asked questions because obviously this question is not asked frequently or I would’ve already heard.

I have three parts to my question this morning. Number one, I’m very excited about changing my iPhone 5S to an SE because of the increased battery power and the improved camera on it which I think would help me a lot with my KNFB Reader. The questions that I have is, number one, when I change phones, how can I ensure that all of the information in my contacts list, notes, applications, etc., will be correctly, accurately, and completely transferred to SE phone.

Another question I have with that is, how do I go about resetting my phone so I can trade it in or dispose of it?

And the third question I have is somewhat unrelated, but I use the calendar app to track my appointments on my iPhone. I set up some appointments which are on a recurring basis. I had to change one of those, and when I went in and changed it, of course, it asked if I wanted to do this event only or all events. So I changed all events. The application seems to work, and it accurately notifies me a new day, but on my alerts and in my Google mail, I still get notifications of the way it was originally scheduled. I’m not sure how I go about deleting that or changing it so I don’t receive those notifications. I sure appreciate you guys, your show and your podcast but I’ll talk you later, thank you.

BRIAN NORTON:  Thank you, Chris, for getting back with us and for asking questions.

WADE WINGLER:  Chris is kind of a rock star.

BRIAN NORTON:  I know. He has good question for us to pass back and forth here.

MARK STEWART:  He is a funny man. I like his sense of humor.

BRIAN NORTON:  That’s excellent. From what I gathered from the feedback and from your call, but is that there are three questions. It sounds like you’re changing from an iPhone 5 an iPhone SE, and you want to be assured that all of your information including your contacts list, your apps, etc., will be accurately and completely transferred. So that was the first question. Second question I believe was how do I reset my phone so I can trade it in or dispose of it. Third was when changing appointments on my calendar app, it seems the only change it on my phone and not on my Gmail calendar. Is there some way to delete the Gmail alerts so that I don’t receive them?

BELVA SMITH:  That’s almost two questions, isn’t it?

BRIAN NORTON:  I think question one and question two can kind of go hand-in-hand. It’s all about changing phones —

BELVA SMITH:  No, the Gmail question. That’s two questions for the Gmail because one is, how come it’s not thinking correctly, and two, is how to turn off the medications.

BRIAN NORTON:  So four questions. Let’s go to the first question illustrate into that one first. From changing from an old iPhone to a new iPhone, how can you be assured that all of your information including contacts, applications, and other kinds of things will be completely transferred to the new phone.

BELVA SMITH:  The first thing I want to say, Chris, is make sure you have your old phone backed up. Make sure you have done a recent backup and that it backed up correctly. And the second thing is whoever your carrier is, like if it is AT&T, if you go into the AT&T store, they will help you make sure that your contacts and all that stuff gets transferred over correctly. But if you’ve got a good up-to-date backup, you should be able to connect the new phone and simply restore all the information into the new phone. Now, that’s what you should be able to do. Again, you might want to check with your carrier. Do you want me to go on with what to do to make sure it is ready to get rid of?

BRIAN NORTON:  Absolutely.

BELVA SMITH:  I found a website that gives you eight things that you need to know before you sell your phone or turn it into treat it in or whatever, it’s www.techlicious.com. Eight tips that you need to know before you get rid of your iPhone. The stuff that you’re going to want to do is, first of all, make sure you have your phone connected to power. Don’t try to do without being connected to power because if it dies in the middle of the process, that’s going to be a big problem. If you’ve got your back up and connect to power, you can go to settings and then general and choose reset. You will have the option to erase all the content. That will hopefully get rid of everything that is on there. But it’s also really important to make sure that you go turn off your iTunes account and your iCloud account. Any accounts that you have, you want to make sure you log out of them and turn them off or otherwise as soon as the phone gets turned back on, all the information will go back right into the phone.

BRIAN NORTON:  Rights. I will throw out two things. You can back up your iPhone to either iTunes or iCloud depending on if you signed up for that service. Those are the two ways to back it up. And also I would just make sure that on your phone, go ahead, if you’re getting a new phone and you want to transfer your information to a brand-new phone, just as a precautionary method – I don’t know if it necessarily is needed or not – make sure on your old phone that you’ve updated the operating system as far as you can go, because on the new operating system or the new phone, it’s going to have the newest — typically the newest operating system. Make sure those things match. I don’t know that will cause any problems for you but I just think it’s a good idea to make sure that those things match for you.

BELVA SMITH:  I’ve actually had to update my — or have switched iPhones, a total of three times. I’ve never — my arm is wood so I just knock on it – but I never lost anything.

BRIAN NORTON:  Your actual arm is wood?

BELVA SMITH:  No, my chair.

WADE WINGLER:  Your chair arm is wood. Belva is not made of wood.

BRIAN NORTON:  I just want to clarify that.

WADE WINGLER:  That’s funny. I will tell you what:  this Google calendar thing —

BRIAN NORTON:  Not that there would be anything wrong with that. We work with folks with disabilities.

WADE WINGLER:  Being made of wood is not a disability.

MARK STEWART:  Unless you are Pinocchio.

WADE WINGLER:  That’s different. So this Google calendar thing has gotten me down a number of times. I have to say my 19-year-old daughter has gotten in trouble because of Google’s failure in this area. We have a shared family calendar. It’s just a Google calendar that we keep track of, who was working, when, when we have a family get-together and who is taking the trash out. I tell my daughter to put her work schedule on the Google calendar. She does and it doesn’t show up on my version of the Google calendar on my iPhone or on my Mac because I had my iPhone and my Mac set to read those Google calendars. I can’t tell you how many times I told her, please update your work calendar so I know when you’re working so I know when you will be around the stuff. There is a delay between the iCal server and what Google does with their calendars. I have seen it update immediately. I’ve seen it take hours. And I read some Google forums that have said it can take as much as 24 hours from the time you put an entry into your Google calendar to where it actually shows up on your iPhone. That’s one of the things I think is important to note when you’re dealing with the Google calendar, as it seems to sync when it sorts of wants to. That seems to work both ways. It Google calendar is reading from your iPhone or if you’re having your iPhone read from Google calendar, it is inconsistent and can take a long time before it actually shows up. The other part of the question that I saw, if you want to get rid of those Gmail calendar alert alerts, if you actually go into the Google calendar on the web interface, next to the name of the counter whether it is your standard calendar or birthday calendar or whatever the name of your calendar is, there is a drop down. And that drop-down is a thing that says edit notifications where it lists those things. You can go in one at a time and delete those so that they don’t come up again. You can just go in and manually get rid of those.

BRIAN NORTON:  So when you answer enter something into the web interface and Google calendar, it can take 24 hours for it to come through on a desktop calendar?

WADE WINGLER:  I have seen it take a long time. In the forums, people are taking it can take up to 24 hours. I’ve seen it take more than an hour before it shows up on iOS devices or my Mac.

BRIAN NORTON:  Interesting.

WADE WINGLER:  I thought that was interesting too. When I learned about that, it sure did make my 19-year-old daughter relieved because —

BELVA SMITH:  Told you, dad.

WADE WINGLER:  Mister smarty computer pants.

BRIAN NORTON:  Quick getting down on me, dad.

WADE WINGLER:  She’s 19. I don’t know anything anyway, right?

***

BRIAN NORTON:  Don’t forget, we just went over some different comments. If you guys have comments about the comments, I guess is the way to say it. You guys have any feedback or other suggestions or situations where you have run into those things that you have some answers, the snow. We would love to be able to continue those conversations over those questions and provide folks with good information.

Our first question for the day is, I was trying to set up my iPhone to use my head movements as a switch. So far I am not having any luck getting it to consistently recognize my face and constantly getting a message at the top of my screen telling me I cannot locate my face. I am going to try using switches, but I need someone to tell me what they have found to be the best switch set up to operate the iPhone completely hands-free but using switches I can activate with my head. I played around with iOS and switch access a little bit. One of the interesting things and more inconsistent things with it is they allow you to use your face as a switch. If you are staring at the camera, you’re supposed to be able to move your face left or right to have essentially two different switch inputs. Depending on what you call it or how you essentially program it, it could be an activation switch or a scanning switch. There are all sorts of things you can do with those switches.

BELVA SMITH:  I just thought of something. Wouldn’t the camera have to be facing forward?

WADE WINGLER:  It use the forward facing camera for switch activation.

BELVA SMITH:  So the switch automatically turns the camera for you?  Because this person is saying that they couldn’t get it to recognize their face at all. I’m wondering what the camera maybe not facing them?

BRIAN NORTON:  I believe it automatically uses the one that’s on the screen itself.

WADE WINGLER:  It doesn’t show you the camera view. It just activates the camera while you’re looking at the screen, and then you look left for one switch activation and write for another switch activation.

JOSH ANDERSON:  How sensitive is it?  Does it have the whole face in it?  Could it be a problem of just positioning?

WADE WINGLER:  My experience has been you have to turn your face pretty far to the left or right. I’ve always joked, I think it is looking for my big nose. When I look far to the left, it can’t miss that. I’ve had some people complain that switch access in general is slow. It works at a total place. I’ve learned that the official recognition for switch activation can be a little bit inconsistent. I demo it. I don’t rely on it. There are times when I can’t make it work because the facial recognition isn’t working. What we’ve recommended in the past is the Blue 2 switch. It runs at $180 or something like that and it has two physical switch is built in. It also has a switch interface see you can connect any kind of switch you want to it. You get the best of both worlds. You get the Bluetooth switch with the two switch is built in and you can plug in whatever switch you want.

BRIAN NORTON:  Again with switches, they mentioned wanting to know what the best switch setup is. You have to have a Bluetooth switch connected to it because I don’t believe there is a physical input where you can plug the switch directly into the device itself. As far as using switches they can get access to with your head, there are literally hundreds of different types of switches.

WADE WINGLER:  Wait a minute. The Blue 2 connects Bluetooth to the iPad or iOS device and you can physically connect other switches to it. It has switch jacks.

BRIAN NORTON:  Exactly.

WADE WINGLER:  I just wanted to make sure we were clear.

BRIAN NORTON:  Bluetooth, there are two switches on the actual device itself that you can use, but instead of using the switches that are actually on the device itself, you can plug in any of the switch you would want to use.  It becomes a pass-through device for you. Again there are hundreds of different types of switches. Often I will recommend that folks see an occupational therapist or something like that, someone you can work with on positioning and making sure that when they are activating a switch that it is a place where they are consistently being able to activate it. They have to not only be consistent with it so it is one single motion that they can be repetitive with and consistent with. A lot of times, fatigue and energy, range of motion come into play when you are talking about switch access because you want to be able to make sure it is reliable and they can be consistent with it. Over the course of a day or so, doing one consistent action, you’re going to get tired. You just want to make sure we are using whatever switch activation, location, and device, something they can use for a good period of time.

***

wrapping their mind around different types of workplace accommodation. When you think about workplace accommodation, you can extrapolate that two things that might be helpful at home and school and other places as well, based off of certain disabilities. As far as finding it on the Internet, if you look up AskJan.org, that’s going to take you to their site. If you are looking for a phone number, it is 800-526-7234. As we’re talking about JAN, out there are two helpful things they have. Two things on their website I find extremely useful and use a lot, one called A to Z, and another search engine called Soar.

A to Z gives you a list of disabilities to choose from. When you click on a particular type of disability, it brings you into some helpful guides and worksheets and information about types of accommodations that will work well for those individuals, trying to help wrap your mind around – when I’m thinking about a particular need, how can I help them at the workplace and extrapolate to other places as well.

Soar is a searchable online accommodation resource.

WADE WINGLER:  It’s S-O-A-R, not S-O-R-E, right?

BRIAN NORTON:  Right. Soar like an eagle.

WADE WINGLER:  Not sore like your legs are sore because you ran too much.

BRIAN NORTON:  That will allow you to download a widget for your website if you need. You can put their Soar website through a widget. It allows you to find lots of useful information based off the disability, diseases got other things that will affect someone’s ability to do different things that work. It’s a great resource.

WADE WINGLER:  I think this might have been a call in a response to an interview we did recently. Lou Orsleen is a friend of the show and one of the directors at the Job Accommodation Network. In Assistive Technology Update, we recently interviewed him. Something new they are doing is called MAS, a Mobile Accommodation Solution, which is an app they are developing for employers who are working through the accommodation process. If you are and HR person or in charge of accommodations for employers, it’s an app they are developing to help keep track of that process and point you to resources and documents and stuff like that. It may be that she heard the interview and reached out to them. It’s episode 320 of Assistive Technology Update.

BELVA SMITH:  They’ve updated their webpage, or else I haven’t been in a while. It looks very different from what I remember. A to Z is what I’ve used before. It’s a very good resource.

BRIAN NORTON:  It’s a grant program through West Virginia University.

BELVA SMITH:  That’s what comes up in the address bar. West Virginia University Research Corporation.

BRIAN NORTON:  It’s a great resource. Definitely take a look at it. It’s very useful.

***

BRIAN NORTON:  The next question is, I also have 10 or more tabs open at one time on my browser and I’m looking for a better way to organize them. Is there anything that can be done to manage them better?

JOSH ANDERSON:  Close them.

WADE WINGLER:  Stop it.

BELVA SMITH:  Exactly.

BRIAN NORTON:  It’s really a challenge. A lot of computers, like my daughter, they use chrome for everything so she worked for the chrome browser and they have all these different tabs open for documents, Google Drive, spreadsheets, canvas, all these different things that have to be on a different tab. Eventually what happens is when you have so many tabs open, you start to see very little of what each tab is and you have to click on them all to get to them to see what it has and contains. I can sympathize with this person about how to better organize your tabs and know what you have.

BELVA SMITH:  First of all, I don’t think I have ever had 10 tabs open on my computer. Doesn’t that slow things down?

WADE WINGLER:  Yeah, but I’ve done it when I’m researching particular things and have a bunch of stuff open. It happens. Usually two or three.

BELVA SMITH:  I can see how it happens. Usually after so many, I will start to close them down because it’s too confusing. I did find that there are also keystrokes that you can use that are sometimes easier than clicking.

BRIAN NORTON:  Like CTRL-TAB to switch between them.

BELVA SMITH: CTRL-TAB to move forward and CTRL-SHIFT-TAB to move backwards. Of course Command-W [to close tabs] for Mac. You can install a tab management extension. TooMany Tabs and OneTab for chrome and firefox, which sounds pretty cool to me. What it does is turns it into a list. Because I work with screen readers, anything that can be in a list view is always better. It says that the one tab will turn all your tabs in a list to you can arrow up and down through the different ones.

BRIAN NORTON:  I think there are lots of exceptions that will do that very specific thing. I have Tabli loaded on as a crummy tension on my computer. If I’ve got multiple windows open, it doesn’t get rid of all tabs. It just lists tabs in a dialog box. Arrow up and down through them. It gives you the full rundown of what’s in that particular window so it doesn’t get,  off because it’s in a big dialog box.

BELVA SMITH:  I think you can also use apps like the Pocket or Instapaper. If you see a webpage that you don’t want to read now but want to come back and read later, you can stick it in Pocket and pull it up later to review. It’s like a favorite but not a favorite.

WADE WINGLER:   That Tabli is two things I’ve learned from you in the last week or so. One of the things that I struggle with with too many browser windows open as I’m a Gmail user and I find myself using Gmail a lot and then other tabs in the browser. I’m always fresh and because I’ve been doing this a long time and I used to ALT-TAB between my programs. Now on Mac I Command-TAB between programs. But I can’t do that to get from my calendar to Gmail because it’s in a tab in a browser and isolated. Brian got me to use Kiwi recently which is a Gmail program that runs sort of like Outlook but for your Google documents. That actually solved one of my problems of having too many tabs open, is now I run Kiwi in a separate program for Gmail and I find myself having one less tab open in my chrome browser. It makes it easier for me to use a keyboard to get around my Gmail without having so many tabs open. That’s not exactly answering this question but it’s been pretty remarkable for me that just in a few days of using it I’m like, wow,  it’s easy to get in and out of my Gmail.

BRIAN NORTON:  I’ve been using that for a while and it really does save a lot of time and effort and hunting around for where you are supposed to be as you are looking for a particular document. You just said two things you learned for me?

WADE WINGLER:  Two things I learned from you in less than a week.

BRIAN NORTON:  There is always a first. As far as these browser tabs, I would look at which particular browser you use because a lot of times within the browser itself there are ways to manage those things much better. I know in Firefox, you can group particular links or tabs together, the same thing for chrome. There are a lot of things that are built into the browser itself that let you better manage those. Something I’ll also do is, instead of opening a million tabs — and again this may slow down my computer a little bit — I might just open them up in different windows, and then you can use ALT-TAB between those particular browser windows which seems to work for me.

BELVA SMITH:  I’ve probably done that.

BRIAN NORTON:  That’s a different way to handle that. It’s a good question. I would look at these different chrome extensions. There are probably 20 or 30 of them that, if you go into the chrome store and look up extensions and talk about organizing tabs, you’ll find many of those listed because it seems to be a common problem for lots of folks.

BELVA SMITH:  If you accidentally close a tab that you want to reopen, instead of having to go back and look through your history, you can use CTRL-SHIFT-T to open up the last tab that you closed. If you’re on a Mac, it’s Command-SHIFT-T.

BRIAN NORTON:  Is that with an chrome or both?

BELVA SMITH:  Both.

BRIAN NORTON:  We are learning all sorts of new things today. That’s very helpful. If you maybe use a different extension or different way of going about and organizing your tabs within your browser window, whether that Safari, chrome, Firefox or whatever you use, chime in and let us know. We love to hear about those things. You can send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org.

***

Don’t forget, if you have feedback much like we’ve talked about today, you can give us a call at 317-721-7124. We would love to hear from you guys. Also you hear folks were asking questions in that manner so you can do that as well.

Our next question is a person who is blind called in and is looking for an app to read different business directories when he is entering buildings. I’ll throw that out to folks, being able to read business directories as you walk in the main door of the building.

BELVA SMITH:  The problem is directories are all different. Sometimes they are behind glass, sometimes not, sometimes the changeable plastic letters. I did give three suggestions some hoping somebody else might have some other things. One was Tap Tap See. I don’t know if that would work. In some cases it might. Office Lense, which is the KNFB-type app that is free. And then the expensive suggestions I had was the OrCam glasses. Those are the video camera that you can put on a pair of glasses and points to the text and it will read it. The reason I thought the Office Lense might work is because of the whiteboard featured has. I have used the whiteboard feature to take pictures of pictures with text, and it will convert that and read it back to me.

BRIAN NORTON:  I’ve had folks use Tap Tap See, Be My Eyes, and those kinds of things for some really creative applications of it. I think it’s meant to grab text and have it read back to you, but I’ve seen people use it for color identification on clothing and making sure I’m just appropriately, that kind of stuff.

BELVA SMITH:  How much is Be My Eyes?

JOSH ANDERSON:  It’s free.

BRIAN NORTON:  I think those types of apps are helpful. KNFB reader you mentioned already along the same lines of Office Lense. OrCam glasses. If you really want to go expensive, which I know a lot of folks aren’t wanting to do that, and it’s still in beta form — what’s that new — Ava?

JOSH ANDERSON:  Aria.

BRIAN NORTON:  There we go. It’s a monthly service where you wear glasses, and people are looking through a camera and are helping coach you with directions and guide you around.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Describe everything around you.

BRIAN NORTON:  That’s not available yet –

BELVA SMITH:  It is available.

JOSH ANDERSON:  I thought it was just in beta. There were 180 people that used it and that was it, and they are trying to expand. I could be wrong.

BELVA SMITH:  We saw them at ATIA. At that time, they weren’t, but they had plenty people testing it, and it’s my understanding that it’s available now but maybe I’m wrong. At that time they hadn’t decided what they were going to charge, but it would be a monthly fee, or you could pay by the year and get it a little bit cheaper. The last I heard, they had 30 sighted individuals that have been very well trained to work for them. It’s an amazing service as long as you can afford to pay for it.

JOSH ANDERSON:  For the amount of usage you get, it didn’t seem too bad the priced. I think it was how much you used it. It didn’t seem as highly priced as some assistive technology seems to be.

BELVA SMITH:  The best thing about it is they are available 24/7. If you have an emergency at two o’clock in the morning and need assistance, they are there for you.

JOSH ANDERSON:  From what I understood, they supply the technology to you. If they upgrade and change the way their platform performs, they give you new technology for that monthly fee. It’s a cool idea.

BRIAN NORTON:  Then there are other apps. If you do have a mobile device, apps like Claro Scan Pen would be able to do it. Lectio —

BELVA SMITH:  That would be able to read a directory?  It’s behind glass?

BRIAN NORTON:  As long as Office Lens would. I’ve had some pretty good suggest doing papers and other things. But you’re right, the glass good produce glare and that can be a challenge.

BELVA SMITH:  What I would suggest is look for your local AT act and find out what kind of devices they might have available so you can get some hands-on opportunities. Maybe they have a pair of the OrCam glasses that you could try.

JOSH ANDERSON:  What works at one place might not work at the next. Even the way the numbers are associated with the name sometimes might mess you up.

BRIAN NORTON:  Quite frankly your backup is find the receptionist and asked.

BELVA SMITH:  Not all buildings have a receptionist. Especially the downtown businesses. That’s like a service like Aria because that’s going to work no matter what kind of sign or where you are at.

WADE WINGLER:  If you are talking about down and dirty suggestions, you could take a photograph of it and text the picture to somebody you know who is available and say, hey, where is Bob Smith’s office on this list.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Or FaceTime somebody.

WADE WINGLER:  These are not good AT professional suggestions because we are looking for something that’s more independent. In a pinch that would be the way to do that.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Could you cut that from the notes please?

WADE WINGLER:  Yeah right.

***

BRIAN NORTON:  Our next question is, I’ve been listening to the show for a while now and I’d love to learn about all the neat apps that you guys are talking about. My question is where do you find these apps?  I’m sure you happen upon different apps from time to time, but where do you go to learn about apps when faced with a specific issue, for example filling out forms, blindness, etc. I know from our experience, there are lots of traditional places that we end up going.

We talk about AppleVis a lot. That’s Apple-related vision impairment. They do different apps for folks with vision impairments. They have a forum where you can ask questions and get answers as well. They help with that and spend a lot of time with vision related apps for Apple products, the iPad, iPod, and iPhone. Other places we end up going?

BELVA SMITH:  I’ll steal your thunder. You didn’t mention BridgingApps.

BRIAN NORTON:  We need a crack of thunder when someone steals someone else’s answers.

BELVA SMITH:  I think we mentioned this a couple of shows back, AndroidAccess.net is a place that you can go to check for the android apps. I just recently discovered this one: AndroidAuthority.com has a whole list of the best android apps for the visually impaired. Also AFB.org has a list of the best apps for android. They also have iOS, but I was specifically focusing on the android ones.

BRIAN NORTON:  One of our partners, as far as Assistive Technology Acts, is in Georgia, a place called Tools for Life. They have a good app search tool. If you look that up and put in Georgia, it will bring you to their website, www.GATFL.org, and on the right side of the screen you will see Tools for Life and a block you can click on to take you to their app search tool. But the good way to find information. I think what makes these places more unique than going to iTunes or to the Google Play Store is when you go to those kinds of places, the reviews you get are all very positive and saying the great things about it, but you don’t have from the user perspective, and a lot of these places, the reviews are done by folks who are actually using the app and are trying to be productive with the apps. They are giving you better feedback than what you might find on iTunes. They vet those can’t tell you the pros and cons, and how those things work for you.

BELVA SMITH:  I feel the app store gives you very little information about the apps. When I go there, I’ll hear the name of an app and look for it to see what it will do. I leave feeling like I don’t know much more than before.

JOSH ANDERSON:  It’s usually a small advertisement that doesn’t have much information at all.

WADE WINGLER:  A lot of the assistive technology apps don’t have millions of users. They are fairly small, not used by a lot of people, and I always feel the first three app reviews are stellar, written by the developer’s brother-in-law and friend and neighbor. You don’t get that detailed stuff. The resources Brian talked about, AppleVis and BridgingApps and Tools for Life, they do spend time either from a user perspective or a professional perspective getting into that. I’ll do a quick plug. AppleVis and BridgingApps and Tools for Life all do app segments on the podcast I host, Assistive Technology Update. Several times a month we have those folks call in and do an app review. I’ll also mention that BridgingApps has a cool search engine so you can describe a profile of a user. You can say, “I have a third grader with dyslexia who is working on world history or spelling or whatever.” It will then search across the app stores as well as BridgingApps reviews for apps that meet that criteria. This is nice because you can build a profile describing the user, save that profile, and go back every so often and rerun it to see if new apps have shown up.

JOSH ANDERSON:  When they ask “faced with a specific issues”, another thing you can do is look through them when you find them, there might be a free version you can get and try out or even go to your local assistive technology act. They might have a device to put those devices on there and try them out. Some of them are a little bit expensive. A lot of the apps these days, what I’ll do if I do find them and think it might help who I’m working with, I’ll try to get the free version and use it for a couple of days.

BRIAN NORTON:  That’s a great point. Here at the INDATA Project, you can borrow an iPad with the app on it and try it for 30 days to make sure it really works for you. That’s a great way to be able to try it and use it.

I want to throw one more plays out. It’s not app specific. It has some apps available, some reviews for folks. It’s The Arc Toolbox. It’s Toolbox.TheArc.org. It’s an interesting website I learned about a few years ago. It’s in development at this point but has some good tools where you can submit things you found useful. You can post some reviews of the things you use. It’s a great place to find great things as well, not specifically related to apps. There is software, hardware, other things as well. Apps are certainly included. I think the main three we mention, AppleVis, BridgingApps, and Tools for Life, are the main places we go to search for those other than looking at iTunes. The interesting thing is when you are in iTunes or the Google play store and you find a particular app, if you scroll down the page a little bit there are always suggestions, other apps or similar apps you can see and start looking through those as well. It’s a great way to start your search and look. If you want to get more specific, going to those websites is a good way to go.

***

WADE WINGLER:  And now it’s time for the wildcard question.

BRIAN NORTON:  So our next question is the wildcard question of the week. This is where Wade throws us a question.

WADE WINGLER:  We are going to put on our old school computer chops and think back to the very first computer that you ever owned or used at a regular basis. The first computer that was yours or the one at school or wherever that you used. I want to know what was the very first computer that you really started to use. Then my question that goes along with that is, what did you do on that computer?  Was it wordprocessing, or was the Internet research?  How is that different from today?  Are you still doing the same kind of stuff on your computer or are you doing something different?  Why are you guys laughing?

BRIAN NORTON:  I was thinking back to why I use the computer initially and it was to play Space Invaders. My dad had a Zenith with two 5 1/4 floppy disk drives in the front. You had to load in both discs to be able to get the Space Invaders monochrome monitor. I played that all day long for the first six months that he had it until he started really getting into it and using it for other kinds of things. It was a big Zenith computer and it was massive, with a little 15 inch monitor. But the fact that it was in was just huge. So I played Space Invaders on that computer. Even when I got to college – I do note that spent several years ago now – computers were just starting to gain popularity. They just started having computer labs on the college campus. I didn’t even use a computer very much in college. People were just really getting into email. I would always go to the library and typed out on a typewriter my papers instead of going to the computer lab and actually using whatever version of wordprocessing software they had at that time, probably WordPerfect.

BELVA SMITH:  Probably.

BRIAN NORTON:  I was typed out my stuff during college. That’s when I first started getting exposure to real exposure, to what a computer could do was college.

MARK STEWART:  For me, in college there was the transition from a brother word processor.

WADE WINGLER:  Had one of those.

MARK STEWART:  It’s how you did papers, stuff like that, sort of the electronic typing. I don’t think in college I did a typewriter. And then I took a DOS computer course and learn some basic stuff and thought I was a programmer. That was a Computers 101 course. My senior year, you would go to the lab and write that papers on a computer and things like that. Pretty much wordprocessing. You tried to do a little bit of research and things like that. I guess the other – Pong and Atari.

WADE WINGLER:  Breakout.

MARK STEWART:  I seem to remember a lot about Windows 95.

BELVA SMITH:  For me, it was quite embarrassing at the public library when I went to find the card catalog to look for a book that I wanted and the lady said to me, oh, I’m sorry; we have it all on the computer over there. You can find it on the computer. I was terrified because I’ve never put my hands on a computer. So I went and got my second greater and said, hey, do you know how to look a book up on the computer?  He was like sure, mom, we do it all the time. He goes over, boom, boom, in here it is. The teachers were saying that the kids should have a computer at home, so as much as I thought it, I said yes we should probably go and get one. Yet I knew nothing. They knew way more than I did. So the kinds of things that I did on that first computer. It was a Hewlett-Packard, the size of a suitcase, and a little bitty 15 inch monitor. I crashed it a lot. I will never forget the first time the little “You have committed an illegal” something. It was 10 o’clock at night and I’m thinking what’s going to happen. I’ve done something illegal. Windows 95 was really good at doing that because it was Windows 95. It was really good at doing that. From that, just lowering the structure, then it was introduction to the Internet and what we could do with the Internet. From that it was learning screen readers. It was that quick that I went from just learning the structure to the Internet to screen readers. I was probably better with screen readers then I was email for many years.

WADE WINGLER:  For me, it was a long time ago. I became interested in computers early on. I like to tell the story:  my folks mortgaged the family farm – not literally, but almost — to buy me a RadioShack color computer. That was probably in the very late 70s or very early 80s. I was probably nine years old or so when I got my first computer. The thing about that computer is you had to hook it to a television. It didn’t have a monitor. When you turned it on, it beat up and said okay, blank, blank, blank and it expected you to type in basic programming language because it did have software loaded onto it. In fact, it didn’t have any nonvolatile memory, didn’t have any storage on it, so whatever you typed in would be there and to shut it off. When you shut your computer off, it went back to having no software in it again. I remember I used to get this magazine called Rainbow magazine that was just thick as a phonebook. You would type in programs. I would spend all day on Saturday typing in and debugging a program so that I could play it on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, start all over again typing in hundreds and hundreds of lines of code. I lived on a farm out in the country where the power wasn’t always good, so the light would blink off and I would lose hours’ worth of programming on the computer. Then I got an audio cassette recorder, a 60 minute audio cassette recorder that would allow me to say the programming on the cassette player. So you plug this thing inand it squealed like a fax machine or modem sound, and that’s how you would load programs or save programs on that. A good program would take one or two 60-minute cassette, front and back. That means it would take an hour or two to load a program so that you could then — what I did first was play video games. I like to play simulators like lemonade stand. I remember political race simulators, I think it was probably one of the Reagan elections back then.

BELVA SMITH:  I can’t even imagine.

WADE WINGLER:  It was amazing. I still have one by the way. Not my original one but it is in the garage. I bought it in a grunt still not too long ago. I have to keep an old analog TV to hook it up to because it won’t look to anything other than analog TV. The most exciting thing I did was eventually I got a 5 1/4 inch floppy drive and would save my files. I got a word processor called Scripts It. It was a physical cartridge like a videogame cartridge that would plug into the side of his computer and it would allow me to write. I remember starting writing back then on this RadioShack computer and printed it off on a dotmatrix printer, which is ironically what I use computers mostly today: I write and save and retrieve information. I never was very much of a videogame player, just a little bit, and I’m still not cop but I remember writing and saving and printing words on the computer way back in the late 70s, early 80s.

BELVA SMITH:  I remember we got the encyclopedia with ours. I thought that was —

WADE WINGLER:  Encarta, Microsoft Encarta?

BELVA SMITH:  Yes. I thought that was so interesting because I grew up at the encyclopedia that took up the whole book shelf. Now here we have this on the little CD.

***

WADE WINGLER:  Hey, guys, I’m the producer, so I decided we’re doing two wildcard questions today. Here we go.

WADE WINGLER:  And now it’s time for the wildcard question.

BRIAN NORTON:  Okay, our next question is the wildcard question of the day. For that, I’ll let Wade take the mic.

WADE WINGLER: I love this part. I love it because nobody but me knows the question until this very moment. This is a question not really about assistive technology, although I think it unveils some assistive technology stuff. Are you a Mac or are you a PC?  Do you use a Mac or do you use Windows, and why?  And if there was ever a change, when did that change happened and why did it happen?  So we’re going to go around the horn, and I’m going to start with Brian.

BRIAN NORTON:  Okay. Well, I use a Mac exclusively. I made the change to Mac probably about two years ago, so my Mac is about two years old. The reason I made the change, I guess in my industry, there was just a lot built in assistive technology there. The agency I belong to is a Windows agency. That’s the pieces that the support for their folks. In our area, they are a little bit different. They kind of let us manage our own IT here in my department. I just felt the need to kind of explore what Mac was all about. I’ve really kind of fallen head over heels. I would consider myself a Mac boy. I got a Mac sticker on the back of my car, stuff like that. I’ve really found a lot of the built in accessible features of the Mac and the apps that you can download, something that’s really neat and interesting and has made my workflow may be a little bit more proficient.

WADE WINGLER:  I’m going to bounce over to me and I’ll move over to Mark. Mark probably doesn’t know that he’s the reason I use a Mac, funny enough. He’s giving me this really funny look right now. So I used a Mac in college. I did some data entry for some professors and I used a Mac. I kind of liked it back then, but then when I came to work here at Easter Seals crossroads, it was all about DOS at the time and early windows, so I switched to a PC. But Mike spends a lot of time in Bloomington, Indiana, and turned me onto the Indiana University surplus store a number of years ago, and he said mankind can get all kinds of cool stuff there. So I wandered into the Indiana University surplus store probably five or six years ago and was just looking for stuff. I ended up buying my daughter an electronic keyboard there for a Christmas present so she could play the piano stuff. I saw this Mac for $100 and I thought man, I really loved working on a Mac when I was in college. It was almost Christmas time, so I thought I’m going to splurge for myself and get a Mac for Christmas. So I did and I got it home and I hated it. In fact, I named it nemesis. The name of the computer was nemesis because I couldn’t get it to work and I couldn’t get it to work. It turns out that it was an older Mac running an operating system that really wasn’t optimized for it. But in figuring out how to make that Mac work and getting under the hood and fussing with that, I understood as a to get a grasp on some of the elegance related to the Opry system. And then I started investing some time and energy into it is starting to love some of the things they could do. Over the course of about a year from buying this used Mac that I really fought with, I ended up getting a Mac at work and started getting into the apps and the productivity. For me, I kind of feel like I spent the first 10 or 15 years of my career working on computers and trying to get them to work, and then there became a shift in my career where I just wanted the computer to work and I wanted to focus on creating the content and writing and producing audio and more artistic kind of things. So once I switched over to a Mac at that point, then I don’t think I’m heading back. I’m a full-time Mac all the time. I not only have an Apple sticker on my car but I have a black Apple sticker on my car which is what you get with a Mac Pro. That’s the super snappy sticker on your car when you have a Mac.

BRIAN NORTON:  It took me almost a year to become comfortable with my Mac because my fingers, it was muscle memory for keystrokes on the Mac to be able to figure out what am I doing. When I want to close an application, I did all keystrokes for things, so alt-F4 on Windows is now Command-Q on the Mac and it took me about a year for me fingers to relearn where I need to go to be able to hit those keystrokes. Now I work with folks and do assessments and trainings and things like that, so now I’m returning myself every time I sit down someone to say oh, my goodness, what was the Windows keystroke. They’re just different enough that it can throw you for a tizzy.

MARK STEWART:  PC at the moment for me. A few reasons. I was raised up on PC, and that’s what I’m familiar with. In my current role, I do a lot of case management, just business productivity and efficiency and power using Outlook and things like that, so I like and hold onto that business productivity, no-nonsense kind of logic with the PC. But I actually have no particular preference. It’s not an emotional thing for me as far as the battle between PC and Mac. I work with folks out in the community that have different types of jobs or off a college and things like that, and if a Mac is more appropriate for them or that’s what they are familiar with, then I readily recommend Macs and do my best to train them on Macs. Really, it’s somewhere on my to do list to switch over to Mac, but that muscle memory and those types of issues that Brian was talking about are a real concern of mine with regard to staying productive and efficient.

BRIAN NORTON:  Yeah, actually, I’m challenged to go that direction just so that I know more about computers overall. I actually need to get in your computer coming up, and I think I’m going to go PC. Call me a wimp.

WADE WINGLER:  Belva, I wanted to save you for last.

BELVA SMITH:  Both.

BRIAN NORTON:  No.

WADE WINGLER:  No.

MARK STEWART:  No.

BRIAN NORTON:  You like to tease, Belva.

BELVA SMITH:  Now, I’m dead serious.

WADE WINGLER:  You’re an imposter.

BELVA SMITH:  I’ve been doing both for a long time. My very first Mac was the iMac that was the huge little pod thing. I said they named their —

WADE WINGLER:  The lamp?

BELVA SMITH:  Yet. They should’ve named that the iPod. But I got it because, let’s just face it, Apple’s cool, right?  I set it right next to my lovely PC, and I used to just sit and look at it and think, wow, that thing is really beautiful. Oh, I think I’ll open up a window over here. So currently I no longer have that iMac. It’s gone. I let go of it last summer. But currently I have a Mac that I’m running Windows on. Brian seems to think that I can’t let go of Windows, but I’ve got to do both. My honest answer is both because all the training that I do is Windows. I very rarely get to do any training on a Mac.

WADE WINGLER:  Brian and I are bursting over here.

BELVA SMITH:  Yeah, I know.

WADE WINGLER:  You’ve got Mac hardware but you only run Windows on it. It boots up, it says Microsoft.

BELVA SMITH:  This is not true. There’s Mac running right in the background.

WADE WINGLER:  But you never touch it. You just run Windows on your Mac.

BRIAN NORTON:  You’ve got parallels on your Mac —

BELVA SMITH:  I do.

BRIAN NORTON:  Which has Windows.

WADE WINGLER:  You didn’t realize the show was an intervention did you?  So she runs Mac hardware but she runs Windows all the time.

BELVA SMITH:  Yeah. My Windows looks really cool when I close it. It’s got that nice apple on top of it.

BRIAN NORTON:  That is a really interesting thing. You can do that.

BELVA SMITH:  And if you look at the end of the day, what did I do the most of that day?  It’s going to be Apple, between my iPhone and my iPad, you know.

BRIAN NORTON:  Right.

WADE WINGLER:  But it’s interesting because Belva does a lot of JAWS training, a lot of screenreader stuff, and she does it right there on your Mac. Our internal document management system, our electronic medical records system, is a PC-based system, so she running Windows and JAWS and stuff on her Mac all the time. She could switch over and use the little icons on the bottom of her dock if she wanted to. Someday she might.

BRIAN NORTON:  I keep preaching to her. I will say in the field we find ourselves in, in assistive technology, there is still a greater amount of assistive devices for the Windows environment than there is for the Mac environment. However, we are finding that pendulum swing a little bit more to where there’s just different camps when you’re concerned with accessibility. On Windows, it’s a lot of third-party stuff. There is some stuff that’s built into the upper system. Over here on the Mac, there’s other camps that will say everything is built in and there’s lots of great inherent tools built into the Mac, and they are there for you to use. But again, when you’re talking about a very customized software package, I’ll just throw Kurzweil 3000 out there, which is available on both environments, so maybe that’s not the best product to be able to throw out there.

BELVA SMITH:  Throw JAWS out there.

BRIAN NORTON:  We’ll throw Dragon. Dragon is a great program. I mean, Dragon is a great program. It works really well. It’s just not developed as much for the Mac environment as much as it is for the Windows environment. So we had to make some tough choices on what kind of operating system you want to put someone on based on the adaptive items that we can put in front of them to make them be the most successful and productive with the equipment that they have.

BELVA SMITH:  Well, and even though the software might be developed for both, and I know for a fact that this is true with both programs that you just mentioned, and I’ll throw ZoomText in there. It’s made for both Windows and Mac, but yet the things that I can do with it in the Mac environment are very limited compared to what I can do with it in the Windows environment.

WADE WINGLER:  And I think that’s typically related to the fact that Mac and Apple operating systems in general are less permissive. They have more stuff locked down so the apps don’t have the same ability to get under the hood into things in the Apple ecosphere is they do on Windows.

MARK STEWART:  And I think it’s important. We can have personal fun battles on preferences and stuff like that, when it comes to assessment and what have you, we really need to be objective and look to the person’s future and what they are used to and my two best with.

BELVA SMITH:  And I used to always hear that if you are doing anything with photography, you had to have a Mac, because PCs just couldn’t do photography the same. That was always just a myth and still is a mess. Some people believe it, but it’s really not true. Mac and Windows are very much the same. But in the business world, you’re going to find more PCs than Mac.

WADE WINGLER:  Yeah, the market share is still very much Windows.

BRIAN NORTON:  All right, thanks everyone. Thanks everyone for coming. Again, here’s how to find our show. You can search assistive technology questions on iTunes. Look for us on stitcher. Or visit ATFAQ show.com. Also please call and chime in. We love to hear your questions. In fact, without your questions, we really don’t have a show. So be part of our show. Again, our listener line is 317-721-7124. You can ATFAQ show.com, send us your questions there. You can Tweet hashtag #ATFAQ or email us at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Thanks and have a great week.

WADE WINGLER: Information provided on Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions does not constitute a product endorsement.  Our comments are not intended as recommendations, nor is our show evaluative in nature.  Assistive Technology FAQ is hosted by Brian Norton; gets editorial support from Mark Stewart and Belva Smith; is produced by me, Wade Wingler; and receives support from Easter Seals Crossroads and the INDATA project.  ATFAQ is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel.  Find more of our shows at www.accessibilitychannel.com.

***Transcript provided by TJ Cortopassi.  For requests and inquiries, contact tjcortopassi@gmail.com***