Panel – Brian Norton, Belva Smith, Josh Anderson, Wade Wingler | Q1 Intercom announcements for people who are Deaf Q2 Windows 10 and Jaws 18 booting slow Q3
Accessible anti-virus programs Q4 JAWS in Parallels Q5 Protecting your computer from Malware
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The world of assistive technology has questions, and we have answers. And now here’s your host, Brian Norton.
BRIAN NORTON: Hello and welcome to ATFAQ episode 67. My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of ATFAQ. We are so happy that you’ve turned in this week. Before we get ready to jump into the questions that you sent in, I want to take a moment to go around the room and introduce the folks who are here with me. In the room today we have Belva.
BELVA SMITH: Hey everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: Belva is the vision team lead for our clinical assistive technology team here at Easter Seals crossroads. Also have Josh. You want to say hey?
JOSH ANDERSON: Hi everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: Josh is the manager of clinical AT here at Easter Seals crossroads. Also in the room is Wade.
WADE WINGLER: Howdy howdy.
BRIAN NORTON: Wade is the popular host of the assistive technology update. That’s a tongue twister for me.
WADE WINGLER: So popular you can’t remember the name?
BRIAN NORTON: He’s also a VP at Easter Seals crossroads and knows quite a bit about assistive technology as well. For folks who haven’t turned in before, I want to go over how the show works. Essentially what we do is receive feedback and come across various assistive technology related questions. We go ahead and try to put a show together from that. We really rely on your feedback and rely on your questions. A variety of ways for you to get those things to us, one would be our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124. You can email us at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org, or you can send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. We monitor the hashtag and look for questions all the time. I did mention feedback. We really value the feedback that you guys can bring in. Use those same ways to be able to ask questions, provide feedback. We set around here and try to answer those questions as best we can, but we know you have lots of experience, and those may be different from ours and you might have great information to share with the folks who are listening in and asking those questions.
The first thing we are going to do is jump into some of the feedback we received this past week or so. These are a couple of different emails I received so I will try to shorten them and read them as best I can. The first one was from Cheryl. She says, “I found the ATFAQ podcast a couple of weeks ago and really enjoy it. On a recent episode, you wondered about quick access to accessibility settings and android. I have a Galaxy S6 android phone, and I toggle talkback on and off by pressing the home key three times quickly. In order to be able to set that up, you can select settings, then accessibility, then direct access. You and get a list of accessibility functions that a triple tap of the home key toggles. I only choose talkback so that it is what is enabled or disabled. If you choose more than one function, the triple tap brings up a list of the ones chosen for you to select from.” It sounds a lot like what happened with iOS. I wonder if that’s something new. I’m just not familiar with android that much, but it sounds like something new or is that something has been there for a while. That’s cool. As a quick way to make that happen.
BELVA SMITH: I’m glad she share the information with us because I had no idea you could do that. It does sound like a function just like on iOS.
WADE WINGLER: They copied it.
JOSH ANDERSON: Good, it works.
BRIAN NORTON: Thank you Cheryl for letting us know that. Hopefully for those folks who are interested and had asked that question, hopefully that can get them closer to being able to turn that on very quickly for themselves.
WADE WINGLER: It looks like that’s been in there for almost 3 years. We just haven’t run across it before.
BRIAN NORTON: Our second bit of feedback was an email from Jonathan. Jonathan had listened to our previous show, the last show we released, episode 66, and had a couple of different ones. In fact, he had some feedback on each question we had last week. I will break it up over our next few shows. The two I chose for today from his feedback were, he had a question about hard drive. We had a person call in wondering about hard drives or flash drives and would be the best. His questions were a couple of follow-up and looking for more information for what that consumer was really looking for. He said hard drives. What is this person’s purpose? He mentioned that SSD, or the flash drive concept, might be used for better performance, or the hard drive that have the spinning disk are sometimes better for capacity. You get a little bit more room to say things to those. They are a lot less expensive at times. He also mentioned cloud storage or local drive for backup, always considering security requirements when using the cloud. Obviously that stuff is more vulnerable.
BELVA SMITH: As I recall that question, the person was looking for a way to do a local backup and wanted more information about what manufacturer of hard drives might be a better option.
BRIAN NORTON: I think you’re right. I definitely agree with that performance thing. Flash drives will be a lot faster to get your information, and regular portable hard drives, you can get large amounts of capacity with those but they are also inexpensive these days.
BELVA SMITH: When you say flash drives, do you mean SSD? Flash drive to me is a thumb drive.
BRIAN NORTON: They work similarly, don’t they?
WADE WINGLER: It’s the same underlying technology, but when I think flash drive, I think a USB plug-in.
BELVA SMITH: I don’t recommend those for backups because they are too easily damaged.
BRIAN NORTON: I wouldn’t either.
WADE WINGLER: It depends. If you have a desktop that just sits there in never gets moved, I would be afraid to back up –
BRIAN NORTON: SSD, I should refer to those as solid-state drives which is what that stands for. The technology is very similar as to your thumb drive. It’s just a little bit different form factor.
BELVA SMITH: I think a thumb drive or flash drive is okay for a temporary backup, but I know I’ve personally had several of those that have gone bad. You plug it in, and it merely says we need to format the drive. That scares you because you know format means you’re going to lose everything.
BRIAN NORTON: I’ve had several go to the laundry. Oh, look at that.
WADE WINGLER: Good thing is you are washing your clothes. Conventional wisdom when it comes to backing up, you want to back up to multiple types of equipment and multiple locations if possible. Have something on the computer, near the computer, in the same room, and also backing up to the cloud. That’s always a good policy.
BELVA SMITH: If you can have importance of backed up to three locations, that’s usually a good, safe, secure way to do that.
WADE WINGLER: If you’re doing that, I wouldn’t be afraid of one of those locations to be a flash drive.
BRIAN NORTON: Donovan also had feedback about last week we tackled a question about the MacBook Pro with touch bar. His feedback is do you need the touch bar for a particular reason, or are you being forced to get it because of the higher performance that you get with a newer Mac?
BELVA SMITH: I think it has anything to do with the performance of the Mac. I think it was all about looks.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s what you get now. The Best Mac you can buy is going to have the touch bar.
JOSH ANDERSON: You can get the MacBook Pro without the touch bar, right? With the same specs and everything?
BELVA SMITH: I think you can. The touch bar is it.
BRIAN NORTON: I believe you can still get it without the touch bar.
BELVA SMITH: Okay. If I just ordered one for a consumer, and the only option I saw was with a touch bar.
JOSH ANDERSON: That could be. Like I said, I thought you can get it without one.
BRIAN NORTON: I got my MacBook probably four or five months ago. You could specify with or without.
WADE WINGLER: If you get the 13 inch, it doesn’t have the touch bar. It’s the 15 inch that has the touch bar. If you’re going to use the smaller one – and if you’re using a screen reader, you are probably not looking for a whole lot of screen real estate – then you can get the newest MacBook Pro, 13 inch model, no touch bar.
BRIAN NORTON: Very good. He also mentioned something about JAWS not working in parallels. We talked about that. He has a question that we will attack later in the show, or we can tackle it now if we want.
WADE WINGLER: You are the host, dude.
BELVA SMITH: We follow you Brian.
BRIAN NORTON: I put it down in the list. Well we are here, we might as well tackle it. He mentioned a question for the show host, why would JAWS network in parallels? Is it a DRM thing? Which is digital rights management. One of the things that happened with that, as far as I don’t believe it has anything to do with digital rights management issues. It’s more about having access to the hardware on the Mac through parallels. You have to specify what types of controls are going to be available through the parallels environment.
WADE WINGLER: You’re itching to say DOM, aren’t you? When you are doing windows, there is a thing behind the screen called the Document Object Model. There is some stuff behind windows that talks to a screen reader. When you use in parallels on a Mac, that stuff doesn’t get passed through from the instance of Windows that you are running to the Mac. It’s basically doing a screen is great. It is doing a graphical what version of what Windows looks like without passing along the behind-the-scenes information that most assistive technology is going to rely on
It’s like instead of running Windows, looking through a window into Windows. You are looking at Windows, but it is not really Windows when you’re doing it through parallels. There is nothing for voiceover to get a hold of except a big graphic that looks like your Windows desktop. It’s not real data being passed back and forth. It’s all very highly graphical.
BELVA SMITH: If you think about it – and I don’t really get that technical stuff – if you could get JAWS to work through parallels, then JAWS would probably function on the Mac without parallels, which it won’t.
WADE WINGLER: I had that sort of backwards pic if you are in JAWS inside of parallels, then it’s about connecting to the audio hardware. Can you get JAWS to talk to it? Then there are keyboard hooks as well. Lots going on, but I don’t think it’s about digital rights management.
BRIAN NORTON: I’ve had a couple of clients use JAWS on a Mac through parallels. They were able to function at some level to be very proficient in college and things like that. The reason they did that is they were voiceover users and wanted to use the Mac side of it, but there were certain things they needed a Windows environment for. They would use the Windows environment with JAWS to make that happen. They were always something they didn’t have access to and can do for them. I think it works, but there is going to be some hiccups along the way at times.
BELVA SMITH: I would say it’s going to be able to do some things sometimes, but not everything all the time. I think you are probably also going to see yourself crashing from time to time where you normally wouldn’t.
BRIAN NORTON: Donovan also mentioned to note that if you only occasionally need Mac OS, you can run it through a virtual machine on Windows. Again, it’s not very ideal and is more a pain to set up. I think just how it’s a pain to set up a virtual machine on Windows to get voiceover to work, it’s going to be a little bit of a pain to run JAWS through parallels. I think those are in the same boat, if you will, as far as the setup and what you can and can’t do with it once it is there.
WADE WINGLER: It’s interesting. I’m seeing less and less need for this back and forth between machine interoperability. The web is becoming the operating system for so much of that stuff. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, it certainly does. But so often we see content just being pushed over to the web where your browser becomes the operating system.
BRIAN NORTON: Just one more piece of feedback that came in through our voicemail. That is our listener line, 317-721-7124. It’s from Dan. We will go ahead and listen to that.
SPEAKER: Hello, my name is Dan. I have a question for the show ATFAQ. It’s not a question, but a suggestion. Maybe you should do a portion of a show for people like us, visually impaired, who don’t use the mouse. Therefore we don’t use terms like right-click, left click. Instead of saying that, we say select or highlight or some other words. Sometimes I don’t communicate computer things with sighted people very well because they use those words that mouse people use. I hope you get the gist of my comment. Please do a portion of the show for terminologies that a blind person might use with computers. I’ve been listening to your show for the last year or two and have learned a lot from you guys.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s a really quick question or suggestion. It’s a topic to talk about because of I think there is a real difference that has to be done, not only from the user perspective, but also from the trainer perspective, about how to communicate about what’s happening on the screen, what the screen is doing, and how it looks and what you are interacting with when you are working with folks were blind or visually impaired. Belva, I know we were talking about this a little bit earlier. You had a couple of comments on that?
BELVA SMITH: This is a great topic to have a discussion about. I do from time to time tried to use the reference for the keyboard command or something like that, but I do get lost in that and say click or whatever. I think that is a hard habit to break, but I also encourage all of my folks that you screen readers to understand or at least be somewhat familiar with the standard computer language. From time to time, you are going to have someone say you just need to click the X or you need to click the okay button, for example. That’s a very common one. You have to be able to understand that “click” means enter or space or whatever. I just think it is important to understand the standard computer language.
JOSH ANDERSON: Sometimes even the computer talk to you that way. Click here for more information. Knowing click means enter or spacebar. Sometimes JAWS or your screen reader will tell you that information, but sometimes it doesn’t give you all the cues.
BRIAN NORTON: I think it’s always challenging because eventually you are going to be on the phone with someone from tech support, and you’re going to be talking not in an assistive technology program or an adaptive software program where folks are probably more comfortable talking the talk with the folks that they are working with, but they are going to be saying click this and click that. I will say there is an art to that to be able to take the real “clicky” language out of your vocabulary and try to explain things to folks in a way – if you’ve never seen something before, how it works. For instance, when you bring up Windows and you hit the start menu button, it will bring up the start menu. You just can’t say hit the start button menu and open start menu. For folks who have never seen it before, they need to know what is happening. That is a vertical menu that is coming up in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen, and you use the up and down arrow to get access to it and move around. I just think folks need to think like that to make it happen.
I don’t know about you, but when I first started using JAWS, I was put in a lab and someone took the mouse, flipped it upside down, threw it behind the monitor. I’m actually staring at that guy who did it to me years ago.
WADE WINGLER: Did I do that?
BRIAN NORTON: He also turned off my monitor and said, you know what, in a couple of weeks you’re going to train someone who has never used a computer before, and you’re going to train them on JAWS. I had to really start to think about that. How my going to explain what the desktop is and what the taskbar is and what the system tray is and what the start menu is and really start to put words to that. I did a lot of research and talked to folks who are blind and visually impaired about how you explain that, what that looks like. How can I explain it so it makes sense to someone? There is an art to that.
BELVA SMITH: You do have to, especially for brand-new users, create a picture for them. They take your verbiage very seriously. When you say the desktop, what they desktop? We are using a computer. What’s a desktop? Or your documents. What’s that? You do have to create a picture, and in doing that stick with as many of the keyboard commands as he possibly can. I think it was you or Josh who said you were going to be on the phone with tech support. They are not going to know that you need to use the application key for a right-click, so they are going to say right-click.
BRIAN NORTON: They will probably get frustrated when it takes you more than 15 seconds to click on the ask. Well, that’s an alt-space for me, then I have to arrow down and then click on C for close or something like that.
BELVA SMITH: Or even in a college environment in a classroom, if you have an instructor telling you how to get around and do something, if it is a site in the classroom, they are not going to give you those keystrokes.
WADE WINGLER: They will expect you to know them.
JOSH ANDERSON: I notice it used to be some of the folks I work with who’ve lost their sight, when I start teaching them keystrokes, they remember them. That’s how I originally learned how to use a computer, but I don’t feel like they teach anyone – until I worked here, I had no idea what happened keystrokes were. I was never taught that. I was taught take the mouse and click it here.
BRIAN NORTON: The other thing I’ll mention along these lines, and if it’s someplace in that space, it’s one thing also for the user, like you said, Belva, to get used to that language. A lot of times when I’m teaching keystrokes, people get really comfortable with he said the up arrow six times. Well, things are going to change as you load more programs, as you do things on your computer. Things will change, and doing the up arrow six times what do it anymore. You’ll need to go eight times. Just being comfortable with how to navigate – I think navigating the computer is really challenging for folks and you will have to figure out and be comfortable. And be a little dangerous.
BELVA SMITH: A perfect example of that is way back in the day when everyone that was using a screen reader put a shortcut for everything on their desktop with a keystroke, so control-alt-w opens word. But the moment they sit down at a computer in a school library or somewhere else where that hasn’t been set up, and it doesn’t work, they had no idea how to get to Word. I’ve had to say to people, no, control-alt-w isn’t a default. That means someone set that up for you.
WADE WINGLER: Those habits are true for people who don’t use assistive technology as well. If somebody sits and uses their computer all day, take them to somebody else’s computer, they are going to have a hard time finding things. It’s about doing a couple of different ways to do things, I think is going to make you most resilient.
The other thing I’ll say about Dan’s comment. I think it’s a good point. I think part of it is semantics. Are we going to say click the left mouse button? Because that’s what it’s called. If you are a Windows developer, a Windows trainer, that action is called click the left mouse button. Even in the JAWS segmentation, it’s called the left mouse button. That’s what you call it. Are we talking about the words we choose to call it in a sensitive way? Are we talking about teaching other ways to do it? Instead of clicking on something with your left mouse button, are you going to tap around until you get to the same control and activate it in a different way? There are a couple different things that play, but I think it is a good point that we need to be sensitive to that.
BELVA SMITH: I will often say as I’m training someone, for example the start menu, you’re going to use the Windows key on your keyboard to open the start menu and navigate it with your arrow key. Then I will say, now if I were clicking with the mouse, I would point to that Windows key and left click it. Brian, you are laughing at me.
BRIAN NORTON: I’m laughing because what they will say is Brian was out here and told me you can press your control escape key to open the start menu. One trainer to another trainer, they are all going to say differently.
BELVA SMITH: More than one way to do things.
JOSH ANDERSON: I don’t even have them arrow. Just start typing what you are looking for.
BELVA SMITH: That’s what I do now.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s that wonderful world of Windows where there are 10 different ways of doing exactly the same thing. It depends on who you are, who you are with, and what you’re trying to do.
BELVA SMITH: That’s one of the biggest differences between Mac and Windows. With Mac there is not always two or three different ways of doing something.
JOSH ANDERSON: True.
BRIAN NORTON: They lock you in.
WADE WINGLER: See what you did Dan? You really got us going on.
BRIAN NORTON: I like that. Thank you.
BELVA SMITH: Keep listening.
BRIAN NORTON: Please do.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is an email from Susan. She mentions, I have a question from a client of mine who is deaf. She is wanting to know if there is any kind of technology that would translate announcements that are made over an intercom. You know, I got this question earlier in the week, and I spent some time thinking about this. It’s hard to get something, in my mind, because the randomness of overhead pages and when they are going to happen and what’s going to happen. There is no prep time to get ready for it so it can be a challenging situation for folks. My thoughts made me wonder, maybe there is a texting option for folks. I don’t know if there is an app based texting option for folks if they are in a public place, whether that is a store or school or train station, bus station, public places, where that might be able to happen. Maybe there is a texting option for folks to provide that. The other thing I’ve seen is the live caption app. There is an app for your phone which will basically hear what it hears. But again, with that, how are you going to know when it goes off to have the app ready?
JOSH ANDERSON: How do you know you’re not just taking out the lady behind you talking at the same time. I had someone who had this problem but it was a work based thing. In the criminal justice system, announcements come over and things like that. It’s a very big matter of safety for them. But the employer actually made the accommodation, that whenever the accommodation goes over, if the person is working, they get a text message with that announcement. That was a reasonable accommodation for that individual. If you are in public at a train station, airport, school, that’s a little bit different and hard to accommodate.
WADE WINGLER: Context matter so much with this question. If were talking about morning announcements in school that they are reading about what’s going to be for lunch and what activities might be that day, that’s very different than trying to retie specifically to a particular deaf person to say I’m trying to get you this information. A couple of things I’ve dealt with in this situation, if it is low import information, maybe boarding announcement and lunch information is high importance, but I’m not guessing it is time sensitive and that information exists somewhere else. Could the information be sent via email or text message or something like that because it’s not an emergency? We have a system here in emergencies where we do overhead paging to say if there is a fire or a bomb threat or something like that. In those situations, we also have a texting solution that we can use. We mostly use it when there is bad weather and say we are going to close the building because it is icy. That is a textbased system where all of our mobile phones are put into that and we can type a message and it is said that as a text. It also has the option to read it in a synthesized voice. If it is that kind of communication, it can be set via text message.
We have new digital signs that we are working on, having some stock messages so that, if there is a fire alarm or a tornado warning or whatever, the receptionist will be able to, from her computer, click on a few things and change all the digital signs over to the message that says there is a fire, please get out. We are working on that.
I think back on a story that happened many years ago pure I had a friend who was one of our custodians who worked here – he has passed since then. His name was Jerry and he was death. Everyone wanted to know how we page Jerry to let him know we need something like a trashcan or toilet needs to be taken care of on a certain floor. With him, we ended up doing an old-fashioned numeric pager, that I still see doctors carrying, where you call the number and put in your phone number, and it tells you that’s that the number you need to call. With Jerry, we would page him, called his digital page and put number one. That meant meet someone at the first floor elevator. If you need him on the second floor, you page him and put number two. He would know go to the second floor elevator. Whoever was paging him would go to the second floor elevator, meet him there, and you sign or a handwritten note or whatever to explain what’s going on. There are tons of different solutions. It depends a lot on the context, what are we trying to communicate.
BRIAN NORTON: I think you are exactly right. Context is everything in these situations.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is an email from Chad. He says hi, first I listen to the ATFAQ show and like it. His question is, I have major issues with Windows 10 and JAWS 18, specifically Windows 10 boots away too slowly. He says he can log in fine, but it takes a couple of minutes to get to the home screen. He also mentions his laptop has six gigs of RAM. Any suggestions for speeding up the boot time?
I’ve not had a whole lot of experience with JAWS 18 on a Windows 10 machine. Have you guys?
BELVA SMITH: I have a little bit. The first thing I would like to say to Chad is, first of all, hopefully you can get some cited assistance with this. I would take JAWS out of the startup, put up your laptop, and find out if JAWS is the culprit. That’s always one of the first things I do when I begin to troubleshoot. Often JAWS will get blamed for things that are not related to JAWS, honestly. Then I would also recommend looking at the startup folder to find out what else rush or look in your system tray with the insert F11 and find out what else is loading upon boot up. It could be something else that is causing the lag in the boot up. Unfortunately, I feel like a Windows 10 is just slow loading up. It shows you that nice pretty screen rather quickly, but it seems to take a while to get everything awake and ready to go, I guess.
That’s my first piece of advice, is to try to remove JAWS from the start up and see if you still are experiencing a lag with the boot up. My guess is you might very well be. Also, depending upon the manufacturer – I think he said he is using a laptop – you may have some stuff that is loading up that they put in like HP, Dell. They are all very good at sneaking in that bloatware which could be your whole problem.
Before blaming JAWS, I would start looking at the other areas. If everything else checked out okay, then maybe it is JAWS that’s causing the slowdown. The only thing I could recommend as far as that goes is take it out of your startup and let the computer get booted up. When you hear the Windows sound to let you know, count how many seconds. Is a three seconds or 10 seconds? Then use the shortcut key to load up a JAWS after everything else is loaded up. If someone has set it up for you, that would be control-alt-J, and if that hasn’t been set up for you, then insert – what is it? If JAWS isn’t running, that isn’t going to work. You would need to use your start menu which would be your Windows key and type in “Jaws.”
BRIAN NORTON: That’s backward troubleshooting. Take JAWS out and see if it is really the culprit. It’s kind of easy to blame some of those things.
BELVA SMITH: It seems like any adaptive software tends to get blamed for anything that goes wrong right away. Sometimes it is and sometimes it’s not.
BRIAN NORTON: What happens if it is?
BELVA SMITH: That’s what I said. If it is, the only thing I could say is take it out of the startup and manually load it up after the computer is booted. If you wanted to spend days and hours and weeks, and you are really technical, you could try to dig deep and figure out why it is that it’s taking so long.
BRIAN NORTON: Can you still create a shortcut key since it is now the tiles and things like that? You can still go in and do the control-alt-j and fire it up?
BELVA SMITH: Absolutely.
BRIAN NORTON: That may be another way.
BELVA SMITH: You can do the old-fashioned way. You can do the Windows key, run, and type in “JFW.18” if that’s what you are running and get it to load up that way if you find that it is JAWS that is causing the slowdown in the startup.
BRIAN NORTON: If I can work through this, just to shut out from Dan who had some feedback earlier in a word form on how to create your own shortcut, you would be able to go to your own desktop – that’s a Windows-D. you would be able to arrow around and find the JAWS icon, hit your context menu – if it is out there – hit the context menu which would allow you to arrow down to properties –
BELVA SMITH: How my opening my context menu?
BRIAN NORTON: That would be the context key.
BELVA SMITH: Which is?
WADE WINGLER: Shift-F10.
BELVA SMITH: Or your application key.
BRIAN NORTON: Go to the application key. You can then open up the context menu, arrow down to properties. Once you are in properties, you will be able to go down to a shortcut key for that particular icon. You can press control-alt-j and tab down to “okay” or simply hit your enter key from there. That should treat that for you.
WADE WINGLER: You are just showing off.
BRIAN NORTON: I love that stuff. I love thinking through those things in my mind. How would I make that work? Where would I go to make that work?
BELVA SMITH: I would also like if he would get back to us after he’s had the opportunity to do some troubleshooting to find out if it really is JAWS or might be something else.
BRIAN NORTON: Definitely let us know. That would be great.
WADE WINGLER: Another great suggestion that Michal along with this. You will probably need IT help to do this. You can tell Windows to do a thing where it boots in verbose mode. Instead of the graphics that we normally get what we see the Windows desktop and the icon and all that stuff, if you tell Windows to boot in verbose mode, it gives you text and tell you what it is doing while it is built in. We’ve done that in the past where we have a computer that is booting slowly and we can’t figure out why. We tell it to boot in verbose mode, and just to watch. It was a load in this, loading that, and wherever it sticks you will know the last thing that started to load is the thing that is causing you trouble. It might be trying to connect to a printer or scanner or network resource that is not there. It’s a little tricky to do that as sort of more of an IT intervention, but if you can get someone to run in verbose mode – and your screen reader will not run while it does that so it will take sighted assistance as well. But in Windows 10 in verbose mode will tell you a little bit more about what the holdup might be.
BELVA SMITH: It could even be your antivirus that is slowing it down and not have anything to do with Windows or bloatware or JAWS. It could be the antivirus making sure that everything is kosher before it lets it load up.
BRIAN NORTON: I use to find the start of things in msconfig. Is that still the right place to find it?
WADE WINGLER: You can look there.
BELVA SMITH: And turn off half of the things in there.
BRIAN NORTON: This is kind of part two of Chad’s email, kind of a second question. He asks, I’ve also been looking for an accessible antivirus software program. That’s again with Windows 10 and JAWS 18. I’ve tried AVG and Avast and found those to be totally inaccessible. Annexations?
BELVA SMITH: That’s why I threw that last bit in about the antivirus. Hopefully you don’t have either one of those on your machine anymore. With Windows 10, you really do not need a third-party antivirus program. Brian’s eyes are popping out of his head now.
BRIAN NORTON: I’m like, wow, that’s different.
BELVA SMITH: The Windows defender that comes with Windows 10 is as good as any others. I personally do not recommend avast – and Josh, I think you said a while back that that is what you use — it used to be very accessible with a Window Eyes, but I do not and have never recommended that program. Recently they were responsible for a little crack that put a lot of people in jeopardy. I used to be a huge fan of AVG –
BRIAN NORTON: I was to pick I use to load on all the computers.
BELVA SMITH: Until it became inaccessible and very intrusive, always popping up with inaccessible information. I quit using AVG. The free version, by the way, of AVG is better than the paid version.
JOSH ANDERSON: I’ve heard that before.
BELVA SMITH: As far as the pop-ups.
BRIAN NORTON: You have to pay for the inaccessibility.
BELVA SMITH: Exactly. Seriously, if you have a third-party antivirus program, I would take it off. It could be that’s part of your startup problem, Chad. If you have something else on there and having to specifically gone to turn Windows defender off, you could have two antivirus programs trying to combat each other. If you have one, I would take it off and try using Windows defender. It has been accessible. I can’t say that I have specifically set down and used it with JAWS 18, but I know prior to JAWS 18 it was fully accessible.
JOSH ANDERSON: Under the same experience – and I agree Windows defender is a lot better – a lot of folks also put Malwarebytes, the free version, on their computer, it works really well with a screen reader. The other nice thing is it doesn’t run unless you tell it to.
BELVA SMITH: Doesn’t it have a blind version?
WADE WINGLER: Malwarebytes?
JOSH ANDERSON: I was going to say, it’s really just tab to the scan button. It’s very easy, reads everything. The only annoying thing is as it is running, every once in a while it was a buy premium, buy premium, buy premium. Other than that, you can turn down the volume while it is running. It seems to find a lot more than just the defender does.
WADE WINGLER: They are doing a couple of different things. When we talk about antivirus is, you’re just talking about those programs that are going to get on the computer and straight up. Malware is a bigger deal, ransomware is an even bigger deal when it locks up your data and demands bitcoin to get your data unlocked. I’ve heard some good things about Windows defender as well, but I really think you probably need to be looking at a ransomware solution because those things are popping up more and more. I don’t know that there is a quote/unquote blind friendly version of Malwarebytes, but I do know the makers of Malwarebytes pay attention to accessibility. In their support forums, you will see things about screen reader support and how they are making an effort to make that work pretty well. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but they are aware of the issues with screen readers and it looks like they are working on them.
JOSH ANDERSON: I’ve used it with folks who aren’t very tech savvy and are new to computers and screen readers. They have no problem opening the program, finding the virus scans, and finding the stuff.
WADE WINGLER: We switched to Malwarebytes here commercially for our organization not too long ago. In the first three weeks, Malwarebytes found something like 250 attempts to do ransomware or bad things on our network. It’s ridiculous.
BELVA SMITH: I think you are right, Wade. I think viruses are the number one concern anymore. It’s the malware and stuff we have to be concerned about.
BRIAN NORTON: Another question we got – and before we do that, let me mention for folks who are listening, the listener line is 317-721-7124. Our email address is tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org. Or our hashtag is ATFAQ. You can send those if you have feedback or questions you want to ask. We’ve been going through them and maybe they’ve given ideas to you about what you want to ask.
Our next question is, I have an employee who owns JAWS and I’m trying to figure out who owns the software. What information do I need to gather in what do I need to do to figure out who owns it?
First of all, know what the serial number is each version of JAWS has a serial number. Knowing what that is will be very important. Most of the time I will just call the manufacturer.
BELVA SMITH: This is a very common question when you have an employer, because you don’t know was it purchased earlier by the employer or was it provided by the employee. It’s very simple. Just bring up your JAWS interface and do alt-H to go to help, and then “A” for about. That will provide you with the serial number and, if it was registered correctly, it should tell you that it is registered to Brian Norton. It’s all you get from the help and about is a serial number, that’s more than enough, all the information you need to call freedom scientific. They will know who the owner of that serial number is.
BRIAN NORTON: Which is VFO.
BELVA SMITH: That’s correct. A
BRIAN NORTON: I believe — going to throw a number out that is wrong. Smith that give me one second and I can tell you. It doesn’t matter which number you call, whether it is tech support or the sales, because even if it is the wrong one, they will get you to the right one. Their number is 1-800-444-4443. That’s sales. That to you would want to call because –
BRIAN NORTON: The tech support guys are going to be able to tell you.
BELVA SMITH: The tech support will transfer you. That’s the number you really want to call. They have a list of every serial number that has ever been sold and the name that goes with that serial number.
BRIAN NORTON: I thought I would also throw out, FSActivate.com is a great resource, not just to find out who owns the software, but if you are trying to figure out what you’re licensed up to, what version of JAWS you are licensed for, you can plug in your serial number and it will tell you how many activations you have left on that particular software, but also what version you are registered for, how many upgrades you might have coming to you, those kinds of things. Smith that that information is also in help and about. It will tell you if you have two upgrades remaining or zero upgrade remaining.
BRIAN NORTON: Perfect. Just a couple of ways to find out who owns the software and what type of activations you have or upgrades you have coming.
WADE WINGLER: And now it’s time for the wildcard question.
BRIAN NORTON: So the next question is our wildcard question. This is where I throw the mic to Wade. This is where he is going to ask us a question that we haven’t prepared for. We are going to do our best to answer it.
WADE WINGLER: It’s funny that one of our questions earlier in the show was related to this. I was looking at a pretty good article on CNET.com. CNET is a nice tech news place that I go to get some questions and ideas and information. The headline reads, “Ready for more hacks in 2018.” They talk about the fact that hacks are a bigger deal, ransomware specifically is something that we are seeing a lot more of. In the past, it was just your computer data was messed up. Now people want to literally hold you for ransom and what you do pay them in bitcoin, which is very hard to do in very expensive to get your data unlocked. This article recommends a few things everybody should do for good computer security to avoid some of those hack attacks.
I’m going to tell you what those things are they recommend, and then my question is, what are you guys doing of these things on your computer, if anything, to avoid hacks? The first thing they recommend is backing up, so make sure your photos and documents and those kinds of things are backed up or pushed to the cloud in some way. The next thing they recommend is used in some security tools for passwords. Using two factor authentication on services or using password manager programs like last pass or one password. The last one is are you using some sort of antivirus and slot or read somewhere software to help protect from those things.
What, if anything, on your home computers – because your work computers are pretty well taken care of, you’re welcome. What are you doing on home computers or other computers in terms of are you backing up? Are you using two factor authentication or password managers? Are you running some sort of antivirus, anti-ransomware, anti-malware software?
BELVA SMITH: I am doing a backup since my Mac forgot my password about a year ago and caused me to lose some pretty valuable stuff. At that time, I wasn’t a backing up. Is it Avast you told me about, Wade?
WADE WINGLER: Yeah.
BELVA SMITH: That’s what I’m using and two factor where possible. Not everything has to factor. Anytime I can do two factor, I do that. That’s what I’m doing.
JOSH ANDERSON: Kind of the same thing. I was using a program, ESOD net – I can’t remember the name of it.
BRIAN NORTON: Like a backup?
JOSH ANDERSON: Know, that was my antivirus. I can’t remember the name of it for the life of me. I quit using it. I don’t use my home computer for a lot anymore. Most things I just do on the work computer, work stuff, only work stuff all the time.
WADE WINGLER: Never Amazon.
JOSH ANDERSON: Yeah, that is a work related Amazon. Assistive technology is available on Amazon. On that, I do use Avast. Really the number one thing I try to do is make sure that when I get emails that they are actually who they are from who they say they are from. I get a lot of my bank to my personal email that aren’t from my bank. It might say that it is from Chase, but you click on it and it is from JennyB@somethingsomething.com. I don’t think that’s what Chase’s email would be. It always has the click on or open this kind of thing because there is something wrong with your account. I get a decent amount of those. Just trying to stay diligent with those. Wade beats that down our throats to do that as well. I’m not sure he is the one who sends the weird ones, but occasionally I get weird ones in my work email and try to send those on. I don’t know if it is a test or not, but I’m trying to pass. Really just staying diligent on those and not just clicking on everything that I possibly can.
The two factor identification, I do use it on a few things, phone related, not so much on the computer. And backup as much as I can.
BRIAN NORTON: For me, I try not to go places I’m not supposed to go.
JOSH ANDERSON: Good life lesson.
BRIAN NORTON: That seems to be really helpful at times. That’s the first thing. I do use a program called last pass which is a great way to keep all of your passwords so those are backed up all the time. I use that quite a bit. I don’t necessarily backup my computer all that often, once a month maybe, just to make sure I have a backup. I’ve lost things on the computer before. I lost three or four years of reports and other kinds of things that I did about eight years ago. Ever since then, about once a month, I will take the time to back it up overnight or something like that.
As far as the Internet security, antivirus, those kinds of things, I use Macs, I use Avast. We do have a couple Windows computers running. Unfortunately I use AVG, which I’ve learned now is probably not very accessible and more. I do use AVG on those computers. I also have Windows defender running as well. That’s running in the background. I have an old Windows 7 computer so I’m not on Windows 10 yet. I don’t know. I always tell people the best thing you can do is not go places you don’t want to go. Now, like you said Josh, you are getting emails from a bazillion places, and you really have to be diligent. If it doesn’t look familiar to you and you weren’t expecting it, don’t open it. Stay away from it.
BELVA SMITH: Just last week I came in and said to everybody, who is this person? I got an email from someone that the name didn’t make any sense or didn’t ring a bell. I do not open – I tell everyone, do not send me an email with no subject. If I don’t know the name, I won’t open it.
WADE WINGLER: There is so much phishing and spearfishing. We had one come in last week that was from our CEO to our CFO, from his address to her address. His email signature was absolutely accurate, including the icons and the graphic and the title. Everything was spelled right. It basically said please wire $27,000 to this account. The thing that caught everybody’s attention, first of all – he wouldn’t do that. Second of all, he signed it kind regards. That’s not the kind of thing he would have signed it with. That’s not the phrase he would ever use. Everything about it was totally accurate, totally believable.
JOSH ANDERSON: I get emails from someone in this room, their personal account. The only way I know is it says from “AT.” It always says warm regards or kind regards or something like that, which that person doesn’t do. I’m usually sending an email back to them –
BRIAN NORTON: I am pretty harsh when I send emails. Do it now please. Why has it been done already?
JOSH ANDERSON: You have to be careful with that. People with hack other people’s accounts. Emails go out to everyone and their contact list.
BRIAN NORTON: Great question. That’s our show for today. Thank you for taking time to listen, but also to call in and provide us your questions and feedback from this week’s show. I want to mention those ways to do that. You can call our listener line at 317-721-7124. You can send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. Or email us at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org. Certainly we want your questions. In fact, without your question we really wouldn’t have a show. Be a part of it. I also want to thank the folks in the room with me for all they do to contribute to the show. Belva, you want to say goodbye?
BELVA SMITH: Goodbye everybody. Have a good two weeks.
BRIAN NORTON: Almost Christmas.
BELVA SMITH: Jingle bells.
BRIAN NORTON: Josh?
JOSH ANDERSON: Thanks for listening everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: And Wade?
WADE WINGLER: We will see you soon everyone.
BRIAN NORTON: Have a great couple of weeks and we will be back in a couple more weeks.
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.
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