Panel – Brian Norton, Belva Smith, Josh Anderson, Wade Wingler Q1 Downloadable Physical Accessibility guide Q2 Deaf/Blind programs and services Q3 ramps for my home Q4 esight thoughts Q5 Zoomtext 11 differences Q6 Wild-card question – Apple vs Android Accessibility
——-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 email@example.com. 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 50. My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of the show. Today I’m so happy to be in the studio with a few of my colleagues where we can get into the questions that you sent in. Before we do, let’s go around and introduce the folks that are sitting here with me. Today we have Belva, the team lead for our vision and sensory team here at crossroads.
BELVA SMITH: Welcome to episode 50.
BRIAN NORTON: We also have Josh, the manager of clinical assistance technology.
JOSH ANDERSON: Welcome back everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: We also have Wade Wingler. He is not only partaking and having us in this episode but running the soundboard as he always does.
WADE WINGLER: Hey everybody. Happy episode 50 and happy spring here in the US. It’s about time that we have spring weather.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s right. We are super excited at the show today because this is episode 50. We’ve been doing this podcast for just a little over two years. We started in February 2 years ago and are super excited that it’s caught on. I want to thank all of you guys who participate in the show and listen and call in with questions and help us out with the content that we produce input on the show. We really appreciate everything that you do to make it what it is.
For new listeners who haven’t heard the show before, I want to tell you about how that works. Throughout the week we receive feedback and come across various assistive technology related questions. We collect all the information in a variety of ways. We have a listener line at 317-721-7124. We also have an email address set up for you, tech at Easter Seals crossroads.org. And we have a twitter hashtag that you can send and tweet questions and information, which is ATFAQ. As we collect that, one of the things we love is when people participate. This is a back and forth between us here in the studio and you as our listening audience and those that have the questions. We would really love your participation and all that. If you have a question that comes to mind as you are listening to the show, send it to us. We love to hear from you. A great way to do that is our listener line. That way we can actually play your voice on the show instead of having me read emails and that stuff.
The other thing we want is, as you hear the questions that are talked about on the show, participate and let us know what you think. If you have an answer or suggestion that maybe we don’t come across as we talked, shout out to us. Call, email, a tweet. We want to include that because we want the full experience for anyone who listens.
WADE WINGLER: The really cool part of listener line is it’s a simple voice mailbox which means we don’t have people sitting here, waiting to answer your phone. It doesn’t matter when you are listening to the show, you can call us 24/7/365. Leave a comment and we will be able to pick it up and use it.
BRIAN NORTON: That listener line is 317-721-7124. Let us hear from you. We love to hear from you.
I want to jump into today’s show. The first thing we would do is listen to some feedback that we got. I got an email that talked about several of the question that we addressed in our previous show. I think I’m going to cover half of that email today and say the second half for our next show which will be in a couple weeks.
The first bit of feedback we got was with regards to how to get documents to a computer, whether PDFs or images. I think we talked about how to make documents accessible in the classroom and things like that during our last show. The person sent over his comment through email and talked about the K NFB reader. He also made mention that is now available on Windows 10. By using that, you can actually get your documents – correct me if my wrong, Josh and Belva, you have to have an external scanner.
JOSH ANDERSON: Camera, scanner, or something to take a picture and get that onto the computer.
BRIAN NORTON: What you have it on the computer, you have some control to be able to edit that document with the content that you’ve been able to pull over. That’s what I understand at this point. Is that what you think? Or no?
BELVA SMITH: I really don’t know. I haven’t used it on the PC at all. I would assume you would be able to do some editing with it.
JOSH ANDERSON: I looked it up online, and he didn’t say much about the editing. It had the scanning and reading capabilities, but it’s handy about editing. It is less expensive than some of the scan and read software.
BRIAN NORTON: How much is it?
JOSH ANDERSON: One hundred dollars, at least from what I found.
BRIAN NORTON: And Open Book costs you?
BELVA SMITH: $800.
BRIAN NORTON: There is also Kurzweil 1000 and 3000 in addition to the K NFB reader for windows. What are the differences?
BELVA SMITH: Kurzweil 3000 is a totally different program than Kurzweil 1000.
BRIAN NORTON: I think that’s more for folks with print disabilities, the folks who have difficulty reading with learning disabilities.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s much more robust. There is a lot more note taking, outline.
BELVA SMITH: There is a lot of visual aspect to Kurzweil 3000.
BRIAN NORTON: Kurzweil 1000 is a scan and read. A big difference that I always noticed within those programs is, in Kurzweil 3000, menus don’t get spoken. You have to visually scan through those. With Kurzweil 1000, you get to a menu, and every option gets read to you. It’s made for those folks with visual impairments. I have not tried K NFB for windows and I’m excited to be able to look at it and get my hands on it to see what I can do for folks. That might be a good option for folks.
BELVA SMITH: I knew it was available but haven’t had the opportunity to use it. Until I know more about it, I would feel comfortable recommending it at this point because I just need to try it before I start recommending. I need to understand the tech support piece for it. Also am I going to be able to scan in the exact format? Am I going to be able to do any kind of editing? What kind of format will it say that in case I need to share it? That kind of stuff.
JOSH ANDERSON: I’m used to using it on the mobile platform. It’s a double tap on the right part of the screen and swipes and things like that. Do you use a mouse on the computer?
BELVA SMITH: It did say that it’s fully compatible with a screen reader, jaws, window eyes, that kind of stuff. I’m assuming that it will be keystrokes as far as that’s concerned. I do wonder about scanner compatibility.
JOSH ANDERSON: Importing, how you open the file, whereas it used to be you take it from the camera.
BELVA SMITH: If I’ve already purchased it for my phone, do I still have to purchase it for the computer?
JOSH ANDERSON: You do, only because one is on the iOS system and one is on Windows. Much like if you had an Apple phone and you went and got an android, you would have to purchase it again.
BRIAN NORTON: Different back into it.
WADE WINGLER: It seems to be tied to your Microsoft licensing. Obviously you couldn’t use your iOS device and tap into the Microsoft account to make that happen. I did look on the website on scanners and cameras it supports. It does support several cameras like the hover cam solo eight, hovercam five, ziggy cam; and the scanners, it handles the Canon scan lid210 and the plus tech optic book 4800.
BRIAN NORTON: I said voiceover a couple seconds ago, but I know our listener mention that it’s for iOS and android.
BELVA SMITH: I think it’s only on Windows.
WADE WINGLER: The Windows version says it works best with Narrator, then NVDA, then JAWS, in that order.
BRIAN NORTON: Maybe it’s simply a Windows platform.
BELVA SMITH: I think it’s going to be a great program for somebody who just needs quick access to printed information but maybe not a student or person in a work environment who needs to be able to do more than just get the information verbally.
BRIAN NORTON: I’m excited. I’m very impressed with the app for your phone for mobile devices. It’s incredible what it can do and I’m excited to see what it does on an actual Windows machine.
JOSH ANDERSON: Even the app on the phone, we have folks who use it who aren’t visually impaired, maybe who have a print disability. It really helps and does a great job.
BRIAN NORTON: I want to jump to the second part of the email that I got as far as feedback. I think last show we talked about antivirus programs. He was making mention that my Christoph security essentials is no longer available to download if you have Windows 8 or 10. It comes preinstalled on those machines. Is not downloadable but it is preinstalled so you can get access to that. He did mention that he uses a program called Vypr —
BELVA SMITH: I’m sorry, I don’t want to interrupt you. You do need to point out that it is available. It’s just refer to now as Windows Defender. The Windows machine is still going to come with a free antivirus program. But if you try to Google Microsoft Internet security, you will get no results. You want defender.
BRIAN NORTON: Microsoft security essentials was something you use to download. Now comes preinstalled with Microsoft Windows defender which is essentially Microsoft security essentials.
BELVA SMITH: Correct. Everything I’m hearing about it is that it is good as any of the other stuff. They are trying really hard to be like Apple and make it so you don’t have to go out and buy a separate antivirus program. I did want to make that clarification.
BRIAN NORTON: He was mentioning Vypr as one that he uses and mentions that it’s a great antivirus program. It’s cheap so there sounds like it’s a bit of the cost. It’s light on the machine. I’m always looking for that and antivirus programs because a lot of the things, I get weirded out when McAfee and Norton because they go deep and it’s hard to get rid of them and manage those because they never seem to get rid of everything if you try to uninstall them. Hopefully if they are light on the machine, they aren’t using many resources and gunking up the machine.
BELVA SMITH: I look for light and accessible. My clients are almost all using the screen readers. I want to make sure the menus will be accessible to a screen reader, which is one of the reasons I quit recommending AVG, because AVG started getting to be an annoyance, starting to pop up like some of the others in slow things down. The menu became less accessible. That’s one of the reasons I started using Windows stuff.
JOSH ANDERSON: Malwarebytes is fully accessible.
BELVA SMITH: But you still need your antivirus along with Malwarebytes.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent. Thank you for emailing us and letting us know. There were a couple of other comments that I will say for our next show. Thank you for chiming in.
For those that may have some feedback as we go through today, don’t forget that you can call in and do the same thing. Let us know your suggestions about those particular questions.
One last piece of feedback, and this is in-house feedback. Wade wanted to mention something that he found. I think we talked about an Apple Watch stand a couple of weeks ago. He had one that he went to let people know about.
WADE WINGLER: I have fallen in love with a new Apple watch stand. I talked about it the last time we brought it up. One of my challenges is when I reach over in the night to touch the watch to let it up so I can see what time it is, it always falls off because it is held on by a magnet. I show you a picture of this one. It was a tiny Macintosh computer, and when you put your watch and it, the screen lights up just right. I have fallen in love with this thing. It’s about $13 on Amazon right now and looks like a Mac sitting on the desktop. It is really cool. Now my wife wants one.
BRIAN NORTON: Can we stick a link to that in our show notes so people can see it?
WADE WINGLER: You write the show notes.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s super fun. And it’s cheap, $13.
JOSH ANDERSON: I think it’s important that our listeners know that you have matching Apple Watch bands.
BRIAN NORTON: He has a coconut oil band on his and I have an all natural leather band.
WADE WINGLER: We bought the same one. If you notice, we wear the same shirts and our shoes look alike.
BRIAN NORTON: Wade’s wife and my wife shop together.
WADE WINGLER: Exactly. They dress us. My watchband was a little lighter when I got it, but I learned if you rub coconut oil into it, it makes it soft and darker and smell like a cookie.
BRIAN NORTON: Is that why you are sniffing your wrist all the time?
BELVA SMITH: Are you both wearing the Series 2?
BRIAN NORTON: Yes.
BELVA SMITH: I was going to say, have you gotten yours wet yet?
BRIAN NORTON: I have not.
WADE WINGLER: No.
BELVA SMITH: I did. Thank goodness it’s the Series 2. I never dreamed that I would, but I hopped in the shower, got my hair bubbly, when I said I had my watch on. Go to the main screen, settings screen, and scroll to the bottom. There is a water droplet. You hit that and you have to twist your –[Beeping sound]
— yep. I did it five times just to make sure it did eject all the water. That was two weeks ago and everything’s fine. I think it worked.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s not waterproof; it’s water resistant.
BELVA SMITH: Know, it’s waterproof.
WADE WINGLER: The new one is waterproof. In the commercials, they show people swimming with it. They show a machine where they put it on this machine and run it through the water like somebody swimming for 100 hours. The trick is it has an external speaker on it that makes it be, and that sound is the speaker making the sound to eject the water. It uses the soundwave to push the water out of the speaker holes. It works.
BRIAN NORTON: Interesting. Very cool.
BRIAN NORTON: The first question we have today is, is there a place where I can find an easy to use, downloadable accessibility guide for finding physical accessibility assessments? This was a call to me from a local agency, and they’re looking to do some of their own physical accessibility audits on some of their commercial buildings where they have their different regional offices around Indiana. They are looking for an easy to use, easy to find checklist for looking at physical accessibility to structures and places like that.
Years ago, as part of the job of assistive technology specialist, I did physical accessibility audits for folks, for agencies and things like that. If you search for physical accessibility assessments, you will find lots of downloadable guides. I took a look at a lot of them back then. I also had a conversation with John Kelly who is a colleague of ours here at Easter Seals crossroads. He is our home modification specialist and does more residential but some commercial home modifications and modifications for those types of places. He showed me this one that is ADAchecklist.org. I found it to be a very easy to use system. I have a link and I’ll try to throw that in the show notes as well. It is an ADA checklist that is simple to use. You can either do a PDF document or a fillable Word document from that particular site as well see you can simply check different form fields that can be created in a word document to make the super simple. I would check that out, ADAchecklist.org. It’s a great way to make some of the more simple for you.
The other thing I would want to mention is, if you are looking for folks to come do that for you, there are certain credentials that you may keep an eye out for as you interview professionals in that field. There is something called a universal design certified specialist, or UDCP, or a certified aging in place specialist, which is CAPS. Those are two pretty well-recognized certifications in the area of home modifications for building modifications. Keep an eye out for that if you are ever going to look for professionals to come out and do that for you. Having that type of credential could mean a lot. They are going to be look at the right things and know what they are looking at and give you good suggestions about how to correct issues that they might find.
Any other input on that? I’m getting the shake of the head.
WADE WINGLER: Those checklists are great. I like the one on the ADAchecklist.org because they sort of break it down by the kind of area you are looking at, whether it is entrances and exits. They even have sections on fire alarms and emergency systems, and a whole bunch of recreational ones for swimming pools and things like that. It’s pretty cool.
BRIAN NORTON: Parking spot. It’s the whole gamut of ADA accessibility. It makes me think should we be doing more of that here.
BELVA SMITH: I was thinking, this isn’t the kind of assessment that you would necessarily look to your ATP to do for you. I love that you pointed out there are specific certifications for this type of an assessment.
BRIAN NORTON: ATP is assistive technology professional. That is a RESNA, Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America, certification. That’s the industry standard for AT specialists. We are looking more at seating and positioning for the person versus maybe buildings and stuff like that. This [ADCP and CAPS] looks at universal design and structurally accessible places, making things a structurally accessible. Hopefully that is an answer.
If you guys have sheets that you use or know of a downloadable one that you find very easy, there is a great way to get that to us. You can give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124. We don’t get many tweets. I would love for somebody to treat us with the hashtag ATFAQ. That would be really cool. We get occasional tweets, a handful. I would love to see that inundated this week and see people send us a tweet if you’re on Twitter.
BELVA SMITH: Do people still tweet?
WADE WINGLER: Oh yeah, lots of tweeting going on. We were talking about the ADA checklist stuff. That would be a great opportunity for somebody to create an augmented reality app that would use the camera on your phone and you could hold it up over the door, and it will overlay the measurements or you could put it at a ramp and it will overlay the measurements or the rise versus run and all that stuff. That would be a good project for somebody to create, and ADA checklist app. Maybe somebody out there in the audience will take that on as a project.
JOSH ANDERSON: And then tweet us about it.
BELVA SMITH: Tweet us when it’s over.
BRIAN NORTON: Is there a song about tweeting?
WADE WINGLER: Rocking Robin?
JOSH ANDERSON: He’s been dying to sing.
WADE WINGLER: Do you not have enough questions for the show today?
BRIAN NORTON: You will probably find in the bloopers— as I was driving into work today, I was thinking, we are going to go in and record episode 50 and Rock the Casbah. All of you listeners out there, if you like that song Rock the Casbah, if you like The Clash – the 80’s, man. Is there any better genre than that? I love the 80s.
WADE WINGLER: Wow.
BRIAN NORTON: I may have had just a bit too much caffeine for lunch.
JOSH ANDERSON: I was wondering if it was too much or not enough.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is, I’m interested in helping out a friend who is deaf/blind. Are there any programs/services that would be able to provide them technology or aids for daily living to help them in the areas of communication, self-care, etc. We are lucky to have in the studio Belva. We are all staring at her. Belva is our team lead for our vision and sensory team. You oversee a special project that we do here. You want to talk about that?
BELVA SMITH: We are partnered with Perkins, and we work with the I Can Connect program which is funded by the FCC. They will provide equipment and training for individuals who are both vision and hearing impaired. If you want to know more about the program in your area, just go to ICanConnect.org, go you your state, and you’ll be able to get the application there. There are three requirements: you have to have documented hearing and vision impairments; as well as there is an income guideline that also posted on the I can connect website. It’s important for me to say this program will do equipment and training for distance communication.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s it, right?
BELVA SMITH: That’s it. For example, recently I had a consumer who once a particular device, but she wanted for her job, and she wanted to try to get it through I can connect. We simply can’t do that. But there are other resources that can, so we looked at those other options. They don’t really do anything as far as the daily living, bed shakers and that kind of stuff, because that’s not considered distance stuff. It’s to help folks who are secluded to be able to communicate via text, Facebook, email. FaceTime is a huge thing. I know you may say, but if they are blind how could they possibly benefit from FaceTime? But again, “blind” comes in various degrees.
BRIAN NORTON: There is a spectrum for that as well as far as how visually impaired you are and also what your hearing is really like. Other things that came to mind is, In Track is a telephone relay system here in Indiana. I know they have a phone which I believe is available through I can connect. Depending on the person’s deafness and blindness, they may have some of the phones that may work. They do a lot with captioning phones which might be helpful. Other funding sources that we’ve used that might serve that population would be VR, vocational rehabilitation, the VA VR, which is VR within the VA system which is specifically for veterans , or VA VIST program is visually impaired – what’s the rest of that?
WADE WINGLER: Specialist team?
BELVA SMITH: I don’t know. I should know that.
BRIAN NORTON: I should’ve probably looked it up before I mentioned it.
WADE WINGLER: Visual Impairment Services Team. Thank you, Google.
BRIAN NORTON: There you go. But it specifically through the VA program for veterans. Those are two veteran-specific programs.
JOSH ANDERSON: I think it’s important to look at those. Belva’s program, I Can Connect, is just for communication. For VR, it has to help with the work goal. VA VR, same thing, it has to help with work. It just depends on the person’s needs and what it is they are looking to accomplish for which funding source might be the best to pursue.
BRIAN NORTON: In all of these answers, sometimes as a blanket statement we should always recommend, if you have questions—even beyond. So those are Indiana specific resources, but there may be other ones. If you’re interested in finding out more about resources in your area, you probably want to reach out to your local AT act projects. They usually have an information and outreach line, so if you give them a call they are typically aware of the different resources that are available in your area. You can inquire of anything AT related in your state or territory and receive helpful information about those resources that might be available to you.
WADE WINGLER: You are always plucking those AT act programs.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s because we are one.
WADE WINGLER: It’s as if you work for one or something.
BRIAN NORTON: We are INDATA, Indiana’s Assistive Technology Act here in Indiana based out of Easter Seals Crossroads. Every state and territory has one. If you go to www.eastersealstech.com/states, you’ll find a whole listing as well as contact information for those projects throughout the country.
BELVA SMITH: Before we leave this question, I want to remind everybody, if you want more information about that program, you can go to ICanConnect.org, look for your particular state, and do not only be able to get to the application but also find out who you might need to contact in your area. For example, if Indiana happens to be your state, it’s going to direct you back to us and we’ll be happy to help.
BRIAN NORTON: I’ll plug that program too because we worked with several individuals here in Indiana who have been a part of that program and have received some equipment. Their stories are amazing. They will make you tear up and cry because when they get access to technology that revolutionizes their way of being able to communicate with the outside world, it’s heartwarming.
BELVA SMITH: I’m very glad we were able to get into the partnership and be involved with this program as heavily as we are. We’ve been doing it for years now. We’ve touched several people in amazing ways.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is, I am in the process of moving but it’s taking a very long time because I’m working through my waiver program to do some basic remodeling of my home. What I’m really in the need of is ramps of various sizes to get over thresholds in my house, specifically at the front door and our living room where we will have to have a step down. It sounds like they’ve got a sunken living room. Do you know of places where I can buy or borrow ramps to help me at least move in while I await permanent ramps to be installed?
As I was thinking about our show, we’ve talked about ramps several episodes ago and talked about these things called suitcase ramps. Suitcase ramps are typically aluminum ramps that fold up into a suitcase so that you can transport them around different places. They come in different sizes, widths, models, strengths, and those things. That would be a place to start. I’ve always gone to a place called 1800wheelchair.com. That have things called EZ access suitcase ramps. It’s a great place to start. You can Google suitcase ramps and find all different places and types and sizes. That’s important because your threshold are different. One step to get down in your living room—I know in my garage I’ve got a huge step, a jump down into my garage. I need a bigger ramp, so the bigger the threshold, the bigger ramp. Different sizes might be needed in different areas of your house.
The other thing I want to mention I did find a resource for free ramp building. I know in states there are lots of different charities that will come in and build a ramp for you. There is www.ramps.org. They can hook you up with some local resources. I did go on there. It’s not 100 percent. I did Indiana and there were only three or four places listed in specific cities. But that might get you started in a direction. Maybe by calling those places, they may be able to refer you to places in your area. And then again the AT Act. I would certainly give them a call.
WADE WINGLER: They’ll know.
BRIAN NORTON: They would be able to help you as well.
BELVA SMITH: Not only for borrowing it, but also there is a possibility that they might be able to help get you a low interest loan if you have to pay to have them built.
BRIAN NORTON: It was interesting, this person is working with their waiver program. I have some conversation back and forth with them about the question that they had just to learn a little bit more. It sounded like they had already had a home remodel. They are in a place right now the has been remodeled. She was telling me that there was a cap how much they can spend. She only has a limited amount to spend with in this house, enough to get the doors widened and the ramps installed. I was surprised to hear that cap exists, and because they’ve already remodeled one house, she has less money to spend on the current home. It’s not a never ending pot of money you can dig into for those types of accommodations.
WADE WINGLER: Those can be a gotcha and they have always been like that. Brian, one thing you mentioned is the suitcase ramps. We have some of those in our lending library. I don’t know if other states do those or not. We only have a couple; we don’t do a lot of them. You mentioned accurately that they fold into the size of a suitcase, but sometimes the suitcase is seven feet long. They do fold down, but I don’t want people to think that they will have something they will fit in their overhead storage bin. They are heavy. They do fold down, but the size of the suitcase depends on the size of the ramp.
JOSH ANDERSON: Who doesn’t have a seven foot suitcase?
WADE WINGLER: Not Belva. She travels light amongst all of us here.
BRIAN NORTON: We took a trip not long ago, several us from our agency, down to Florida to the ATIA conference which is the Assistive Technology Industry Association. Great conference. If you are interested in conferences, I would highly recommend it. We were getting on the plane. We all met at the airport at the same time and were looking around and astonished to figure out that Belva, out of the four people there, she was the one women and had the smallest suitcase.
JOSH ANDERSON: And nine pairs of shoes.
BRIAN NORTON: What are we?
WADE WINGLER: Belva has tiny feet.
BRIAN NORTON: I got to pack more lightly.
WADE WINGLER: I’ve got big feet. Two pairs of shoes takes the whole suitcase.
BRIAN NORTON: If you guys have options for folks building ramps or anything else as far as that last question is concerned, let us know. You can give us an email at tech at Easter Seals crossroads.org. We’d love to hear from you. Or if you are sitting there thinking, man, I have a similar or different question. Let us know. We love to hear from you as well.
The next one is, I have been hearing a lot about this device called eSight. It sounds a bit too good to be true as many of the news articles makes it sound like it restores site. Can you tell me a little bit more about it?
I’ll just say, we had the opportunity at ATIA a little over a month and a half ago to see the product. They have a new one, eSight 3. I know Belva you spent quite a bit of time talking to them so I’ll let you chime in here.
BELVA SMITH: eSight 3 has been released now. At the time of ATIA, it was not released, but it has been now. It’s a little sleeker than the original one and is lighter to where. They say it’s a little more affordable though I still looked high and low and couldn’t find a price on it.
BRIAN NORTON: I couldn’t either.
BELVA SMITH: We will still go with its around $16,000, which is very expensive; however, I spoke in depth with the young lady that was with the eSight folks. She is visually impaired. Until eSight came along, she was very dependent upon the sighted folks around her to do different things every day. She’s the mother of young children, and with her eSight— it was funny because if you guys remember, when we went to dinner, we actually saw her there wearing the glasses at dinner. She pretty much lives in these glasses because she’s mobile and she can access pretty much everything. They can be a major game changer for the right person. It does bother me that all of the commercials and advertisements that we are seeing are talking about how it’s bringing—
BRIAN NORTON: Blind guy sees a ballgame for the first time. I thought about that a lot after I was reading the question. I’m wondering if, from a reporter’s perspective, they are not familiar with it enough to understand that there are varying degrees of visual impairments. Just because you have a visual impairment doesn’t mean you are blind. I think from a reporter’s perspective, they just don’t get that piece. It’s a shock value to get people to read the article anyway. I’ve always been, oh, it’s not properly quite that.
BELVA SMITH: The website lists all of the different visual impairments that the glasses will supposedly work for. Again, I would say, oh, I have this and it says it will work. I would not feel comfortable saying that it will. And they are very good about their support getting you to have the opportunity to have your hands on with the devices and try them to see if they are appropriate for you. Just a few months ago, I spoke with a gentleman who had had an on-site demonstration from a company, and they did lower the price substantially for him. The reason I was speaking with him is because he was going to be needed to borrow money to finish his purchase. He’s going to be using the AT Act to get a low interest loan to finish paying for him.
I would say they are amazing and that I was very skeptical of them in the very beginning. When they first came and showed them to us, I was still not impressed with them because they were still enormous and very uncomfortable on your head. But the new version is very lightweight. It even looks cool to have it on. It’s not as weird as you might think it is to see someone wearing them.
JOSH ANDERSON: It didn’t look like big VR goggles like the first ones did, they were so big.
BELVA SMITH: If you are interested in them, you should definitely go to their website and get in touch with them. We still have not gotten a pair in our lending library, don’t know if we will because I’m not sure it’s the kind of thing that you actually want to loan someone. Again, they are the type of device that you will really have to—it’s like getting a pair of glasses. You will have to sit down and make sure they are appropriate for your vision needs.
BRIAN NORTON: I think that’s partly why their initial cost for these glasses, eSight eyewear, is so expensive, is because they expect that they are going to come down themselves because they know their product better than anybody else and will work with you so that you get the most out of it and that you get the expert setting with you, learning how to use that, and you give it the best shape possible doing whatever they can for you.
BELVA SMITH: It’s not like you will slide them on your eyes and now you see. It’s a lot more complicated.
BRIAN NORTON: It is a fascinating device. For our loan library, it’s just expensive. Even if we did want to and could find a way to loan those and find ways for folks to use, it’s a really expensive piece of technology and is a little cost prohibitive at this point for us to put that in the library when there are so many other things we need to keep on top of.
BELVA SMITH: The same thing as getting it funded by VR. Because it is so expensive, it’s going to be really hard to justify why a person might need one device. Is it an end-all, do-all device? Absolutely not. There will probably still be other stuff that they will have to have. It will not be very easy to convince them that a device of that expense is necessary for this person to be successful at their job.
BRIAN NORTON: Don’t forget, if you guys have anything to add to the conversation we just had about the eSight eyewear, give us a call and let us know. Maybe you have tried it out and have had some experience with it in a demonstration or something like that. Let us know what your thoughts were. We would love to hear from you. We will jump into our next question.
I’m a longtime ZoomText user and I am considering an upgrade to the current version, which I believe is ZoomText 11. They didn’t indicate the version. ZoomText 11, right?
JOSH ANDERSON: Is the newest one, right.
BRIAN NORTON: Are there many new features? The question is, are there many new features? I’ve heard the interface is different. How so, and how hard will it be for me to adjust to it as I am comfortable with my current version, which is 10.1? So they’re going just one upgrade more. My understanding is that it’s a lot different.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s a lot different.
BRIAN NORTON: Do you guys want to fill him in on what that might look like? What you will experience if you go from 10 to 11 is, yes, the interface is a little bit different. I don’t feel like it’s any big deal because everything is still pretty much easy to access. The biggest change that I think you will experience is the difference in the keystrokes. All the keystrokes have changed. Is it going to be a dramatic experience to have to get used to the new keystrokes? No, I don’t think so. For the very first time yesterday, I had the opportunity to take a look at it with a consumer. I was like, just hit this for the color change. Wait, that didn’t work. They made it very simple to look up a new keystrokes. Once you get used to that, I think you will be fine.
BRIAN NORTON: AI Squared, the parent company, is now owned by VFO. My understanding is they moved a little bit more to what Magic had.
JOSH ANDERSON: It is. Caps lock is your modifier key.
BRIAN NORTON: Which is what Magic had four years.
JOSH ANDERSON: Some of the problems with ZoomText, you did Alt-plus/minus—
BELVA SMITH: Three keystrokes. ZoomText required a lot of three key keystrokes. They tried to get that back and make two key keystrokes because it’s easier. It’s not uncommon for me to tell someone, three keys, and for them to go, wait! And you see their hands and all kinds of positions. I think that was the biggest reason in making the keystrokes change. I don’t know, it could be because of the background changes that took place in the software.
Of course, they are saying this will be the best version of ZoomText ever.
BRIAN NORTON: Don’t they always say that?
BELVA SMITH: I’m waiting to see that.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s like watching the Bachelor. This is the most dramatic season we’ve ever had.
WADE WINGLER: I think you’re the only one that watches the Bachelor.
BRIAN NORTON: My wife makes me watch it?
JOSH ANDERSON: Nice try.
BELVA SMITH: By the way, Nick is going to be on dancing with the stars.
JOSH ANDERSON: We just totally lost control of the podcast.
WADE WINGLER: I don’t watch that show either.
BELVA SMITH: There will be a few changes. Are they going to be dramatic changes that you will go, oh my gosh? No, probably not. It will be minor things that will happen that you are not going to take much notice to. One of the features is the new “zoom to one”, which there is going to be a keystroke that will allow you to take there by the magnification level down to one times but leave your visual enhancements active.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s cool.
BELVA SMITH: That’s great for a coworker or parent or teacher who’s trying to help someone with their work. They are claiming that it will have new geometric smoothing. I’ve never been impressed with this moving anyway so I’m waiting to see if that’s really as good as they say it’s going to be.
BRIAN NORTON: What you mentioned about zoom one, I’ve got users who don’t need any of the magnification. They just need to be able to see that cursor and insertion point in their documents. That’s all they need to see. Having that would be great.
BELVA SMITH: The app reader, they will be some big changes – or so they are claiming there will be big changes with the way the app reader is going to work. It will let you do things more on-the-fly than ever before.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s all one thing now.
BELVA SMITH: So you used to have the app reader and the doc reader—
JOSH ANDERSON: And the speak it tool were all three separate things. Now you open one and with a few keystrokes you can get it to switch back and forth between. I know sometimes on websites, app reader would work great. On the next website it wouldn’t. You have to use doc reader. Now you can switch a little bit easier to it. I’m working with somebody using it and it is a little more user-friendly, a little bit easier to use.
BELVA SMITH: I hear the view of the PDFs is supposed to be way better than ever before, which I think has something to do with that geometric smoothing that they are talking about. With the release of ZoomText 11 and JAWS 18, they are now claiming that those two programs will work together nicely on one computer. Obviously if you were going to have ZoomText and JAWS on the same computer, you would be using the ZoomText magnification which is it still available in magnification or magnifier reader and a Mac version. If you are questioning whether or not you should upgrade, I would say that in this case you probably should upgrade, especially if you’re using Windows 10. I think you are going to have a little bit better of an experience. I am excited about the changes in the background that have taken place with the program.
BRIAN NORTON: Cool, excellent.
WADE WINGLER: One thing I’ll jump in and say is on March 24 and March 31 of 2017, I will do an interview with Eric Damery on assistive technology update. We go into a lot of the details about not only ZoomText 11 but some of the new things happening with those. That’ll be episodes number 304 and 305 of assistive technology update. It’s a two-parter where Eric Damery gets into the weeds on that stuff. Those will be good interviews to listen to.
BRIAN NORTON: Thanks for doing your show.
JOSH ANDERSON: How would somebody find that show?
WADE WINGLER: You can head on over to the same place you look for the show. Anywhere you get your podcast. Or head over to AssistiveTechnologyUpdate.com, it’ll take you right to links of them.
BELVA SMITH: If anybody has figured out how to get Alexa to play our podcast, please share.
WADE WINGLER: We submitted it. There are some podcast and shows you can get her to play. Wait a minute, she will.
BELVA SMITH: What do you have to say?
WADE WINGLER: Turn on the tune in radio app on Alexa and then say play assistant technology update podcast. I’ve made it happened before.
BRIAN NORTON: Update might work, but you tried ATFAQ.
BELVA SMITH: I’ve tried ATFAQ and Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions, and she always gives me something different. I was able to get it to play but I had to physically go and turn it on. I’m just trying to figure out what it is she wants me to say to make it happen.
WADE WINGLER: I have some trouble with some songs on spotify as well. I don’t know exactly what to tell it.
WADE WINGLER: And now it’s time for the wildcard question.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is the wildcard question. I’ll throw the mic at Wade – well, not really. I’m going to go ahead and pass it.
WADE WINGLER: These mics cost money. Don’t throw them.
BELVA SMITH: I’m just going to buckle up and get ready for this question.
WADE WINGLER: Your posture does change when we do the wildcard question. I think this is an easy question. Here at Easter Seals crossroads and the INDATA Project, we’ve been using a lot of iPads and iPhones and iOS for many years. We tend to lean that way. I always explain that iOS came out with a lot of accessibility features long before any mobile devices did that. We got started on iPads and iPhones and have been leaning toward that for a long time.
Brian and I were presenting at a conference in Knoxville earlier this week, and one of the questions that came up was, what about android? What about those things? I found myself buckling a little bit because I’ve always said, well, because Apple does a better job with that stuff and we been excited about it for a long time. I went to check you guys on that and take your temperature. The question is, has your opinion about Apple and android, when it comes to accessibility, changed at all? Do we still feel that Apple is in a different category when it comes to assistive technology?
BELVA SMITH: I’m going to jump on it. This is great timing for this question. Just yesterday I was sitting with a consumer who has a Samsung Android phone. She needs to use what she kept referring to as was over, and I kept correcting her saying it’s talkback. She has an older Samsung phone whereas I have the newer iPhone. I was able to turn her talkback on and turn on my voiceover and attempt to do some of the same tasks, so really compare side-by-side the talkback to voiceover. I don’t know if the newer version of talkback is improved, but I will say that, honestly, for someone who is new to using a screen reader, voiceover was much better. It was easier to understand. It included next step directions. So in other words you’ve selected notes. Now to open it, double tap. With talkback, I got notes and know for the direction. Though I think the android systems are much more accessible than what they were maybe two years ago, do I still think that Apple leads the way? Even compared to Windows, I think Apple still leads the way as far as the accessibility features, and the options with what you can do. Not just the talkback and voiceover and stuff, but the different features that are available with the accessibility settings.
JOSH ANDERSON: I’d have to agree with Belva. Something I’ve run into also is android doesn’t work the same on every single android device. Whereas if you go with iOS, that is an Apple device built by Apple for Apple. I worked with some consumers who been using talkback or other things — they bought their tablet on a closeout sale for $50, and everything doesn’t completely work right. Even though it is running android just like you would on a Samsung or something else, it doesn’t always seem to mesh up. Like Belva did bring up some of the accessibility features, I haven’t tried android with switch access. I have seen it on iOS and it works really well. Some of those I haven’t used. Some of the hearing things that I’ve used with iOS, I haven’t gone to use. Some of the apps are universal and go across. Some of them are a lot less expensive on android. KNFB reader, we were talking about earlier, is $19.99 on android, where it is $99 on iOS right now.
WADE WINGLER: Apple takes a third so they have to make more money.
JOSH ANDERSON: That’s very true. That can make a big difference and make it easier for folks to be able to afford. Smith that I think that’s what Apple prides itself on, is the fact that their devices are all the same. They built them and control them. When android, they are built by anybody and are not controlled. That’s where your difference comes in.
BRIAN NORTON: Let me sit down and try to answer this question. This is universal for all technology. I think user preference rules the day. You find an android guy and put an Apple guy, they will claw each other’s eyes out. It’s 80s week here on ATFAQ. They just released a movie about it. What’s the one, I forget the movie. It’s the one when they are in the desert and there is nothing around.
WADE WINGLER: Mad Max.
BRIAN NORTON: That just came to my mind and I thought claw your eyes out.
BELVA SMITH: Maybe I should point out, this is not a typical record day for us.
BRIAN NORTON: Usually it’s a Monday afternoon and we are dead tired.
BELVA SMITH: This is Thursday. I think Brian came with a little more energy today.
BRIAN NORTON: The weekend is just a day away. I do think user preference rules the day for folks. If you like one versus the other, you will go to bat for the other product. I’ve seen the gap has closed dramatically from when they were initially released or what androids initial foray into accessibility was and what Apple and iOS has always been very accessible. I’ve seen that gap clothes significantly. In fact, I’ve spent some time with a coworker on staff whose been shown me a whole lot about accessibility features and recently did a presentation on it for android. I was a little taken aback. I didn’t realize that a lot of features and a lot of other stuff that is built-in, from what she was showing, is very similar or comparable to what’s available on an iOS device. It was surprising to me because I have always been an Apple and iOS and iPhone and iPad person. I don’t have added a Samsung Galaxy tab to my toolbox because I feel like the gap has close enough where I really need to start paying attention to the stuff and need to start becoming an expert at that because that is an area where I need to grow to keep up with stuff.
BELVA SMITH: One of the things I could never figure out how to do with talkback was the home button. I could touch it and it would vibrate the phone and would say to me home button, but how do I make it go home? I tried the double tap and triple tap and swipe. I could never get it to go home.
WADE WINGLER: You have to click your heels.
BELVA SMITH: I think so.
BRIAN NORTON: I think that’s the challenge, getting comfortable with that technology and spending time with it. I think we just go with what we are used to. I was talking about iPads and android devices. You know that Apple released a new iPad?
BELVA SMITH: Yes.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s only $329.
WADE WINGLER: Same price as the Mini.
BRIAN NORTON: Same price but it’s a 9.7 inch. It has a retina display. I believe some of the tech specs according to someone on our staff who is in charge of our depot, our use program on the INDATA side of what we do, he said that some of the tech specs bring it back to the iPad 2. But the camera, a lot of what we do for folks who are visually impaired, we snap a picture of a document and have it read to you. It’s still an eight megapixel camera which is a lot better than what the iPad 2 had back then. Your quality and stuff will be very good. That’s really affordable compared to what it used to be.
WADE WINGLER: It has an A9 chip, ten hours worth of battery, and eight megapixel camera.
BRIAN NORTON: For $329 that’s pretty good. The cool thing with that is you are able to get a cheaper iPad up to iOS 10. They do age out of what you can upgrade to over a period of time.
BELVA SMITH: I’ve got two of those that I haven’t been able to upgrade for a long time.
BRIAN NORTON: I just thought I would throw that out there as a conclusion to that question. Thank you for listening. Thank you for participating. We look forward to hearing your questions and feedback. If you guys have suggestions or information regarding any of the question we ask today, please let us know. We would love to hear from you. You can do that at our listener line at 317-721-7124. You can send us an email at tech at Easter Seals crossroads.org. Or send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. We would love for you to send a tweet. I was trying to give you a reward by don’t have anything to give you.
WADE WINGLER: Make Brian happy: send a tweet using the hashtag ATFAQ and Brian Norton will be smiling somewhere in the world.
BRIAN NORTON: That would be great. If you’re not twitter-ific, you can send it the other ways.
BELVA SMITH: We are going to get a tech that midnight tonight and Brian will say, we got a tweet.
WADE WINGLER: All these hashtags, Hi Brian.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s right. So definitely participate and let us hear from you. We would love to do that. In fact, without your questions or participation, we really don’t have a show. Thanks everybody in the studio.
BELVA SMITH: Thanks everybody for listening and keep listening.
JOSH ANDERSON: Thank everybody. Make sure you tweet so Brian is happy.
WADE WINGLER: Happy episode 50, a happy spring. Thanks everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: That have a great week and we will talk to you guys in a couple.
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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