Panel – Brian Norton, Belva Smith, Josh Anderson, Wade Wingler | Q1 Accessibility vs Universal Design Q2 Adaptive Xbox controls Q3 Where to find apps Q4 Color ID app Q5 Office Lens Q6 Your first computer
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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 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 54. My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of the show. Today I’m so happy to have in the studio with me a few of my colleagues. We can get into some of the questions you sent in. I want to welcome Belva Smith.
BELVA SMITH: Hi everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: We also have Josh Anderson.
JOSH ANDERSON: Hi everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: And also Wade Wingler.
WADE WINGLER: Hello hello.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent. Before we jump into the questions, I want to take a minute and for the new folks tell about the show. How our show works is we receive feedback and come across assistive technology questions throughout the week. We have a variety of ways for you to contribute to the show as well. We have a listener line, 317-721-7124. We have an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. We also have a hashtag that folks can treat us with, hashtag ATFAQ. I think I mentioned in the previous show that one of the things I would love for folks to do is take advantage of that hashtag. We get a lot of people calling in to our listener line, which is really the best way to get a hold of us because we can play your voicemails and questions on the show live, or sending an email. But hashtag ATFAQ is out there on their own. We don’t get a whole lot of traffic from it but we would love to see people use it.
WADE WINGLER: Brian, I think you should start wearing your T-shirt that just says hashtag #ATFAQ. People might send you some.
BRIAN NORTON: Even if you don’t have a question or feedback, just say hey.
WADE WINGLER: Give Brian some love.
BRIAN NORTON: As we come across those questions, as we come across different types of information, we put a show together based on that stuff. Definitely contribute to us and help us continue have content for our show. If you have friends that are looking for a way way to find us, we are in all sorts of places, on most of the popular places you can find podcast information like iTunes, stitcher, Google play store. We have the website ATFAQshow.com. We love to have you continue to be a part of our show and one of our active listeners.
We are going to jump into the questions today. The first question is can you tell me what the difference is between the terms ” accessibility” and ” universal design”?
WADE WINGLER: Dictionary.com says accessibility is the quality of being able to be reached or entered, or in the context of disability under the definition says the quality of being easily reached, entered, or used by people who have a disability. I always like to go to the dictionary.
BRIAN NORTON: Wikipedia is a good place.
WADE WINGLER: You learn a lot of good stuff.
BRIAN NORTON: Anybody have a better answer than Wade?
BELVA SMITH: Josh had a good answer.
JOSH ANDERSON: Did I? I took universal design to mean made for everyone, a best practice thing that is accessible for anyone, regardless of ability or need. His definition of accessibility was pretty good.
WADE WINGLER: I just read it off the inter-webs.
JOSH ANDERSON: That’s what I usually do.
WADE WINGLER: As we think about it, accessibility means it has a feature that is specifically made for somebody with a disability. Braille would be a example of accessibility specifically for somebody who is blind, or a wheelchair ramp into a home where you wouldn’t normally have one is an example of accessibility for someone with a disability.
As we think about universal design, it is some accommodation or something design so it works well for a lot of people. There are three examples. One is a TV remote controls. They almost always have big buttons, a tactile marker that lets you be able to tell the difference between the channel up and down and volume up and down. Sometimes there is a race to bump on the number five number pad. Those are things that are helpful to everybody whether or not you have a disability. Another example would be a curb cut. Curb cuts were made for wheelchairs early on and are used largely by shopping carts and skateboards and baby strollers and those things. It’s a thing design that works well for people with disabilities but also for everyone else. The classic example that always gets used is closed captioning. There is just as much closed captioning used in health clubs because people are and listening to music and watching news, or in bars where it is noisy and people want to know what’s happening on the TV but it is too noisy. Curb cuts and automatic doors and close captioning are all examples of universal design. It does have some accessibility and disability implications but just makes life easier for everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: A designed for all approach.
WADE WINGLER: I believe the Louvre Museum is an example of that. There are no stairs. There is a long spiral ramp. The children’s Museum here in central Indiana, there aren’t stairs that go to the floors of the children Museum. There is one big long ramp that everybody uses. If you are in a wheelchair or scooter or whatever, you have the ability to use that ramp like everybody else.
BRIAN NORTON: Interesting. I think that captures that for folks.
WADE WINGLER: You want to talk about UDL, universal design for learning?
BRIAN NORTON: Well, you are teaching a class on that.
WADE WINGLER: I do teach about that. That’s the same concept in an academic setting. The idea is everyone can benefit from audible means of representation, multiple means of expression. Maybe instead of reading a textbook, it is better for you to act out a play about a particular topic or watch a movie about a particular topic or do some sort of hands-on craft related to that. Multiple ways to learn information and also multiple ways to express information. Maybe it’s not a written spelling test. Maybe it’s better you do it out loud or work with a team on something like that. That’s another term that gets thrown in the bucket, universal design for learning, which is the same kind of thing but taste on brain science and is very specifically in an academic concept.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent.
WADE WINGLER: I know more than how to read from dictionary.com, but barely.
BRIAN NORTON: we were just waiting for that knowledge to pour out from you.
WADE WINGLER: I’m going to take a nap the rest of the show.
BRIAN NORTON: I think that answers the question for folks. If you have some other ideas or information you want to share, please let us know. You can give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is, I have a son with CP who is looking for an adaptive controller for his Xbox. He has limited fine motor control, so the standard controller is not useful for him. Any ideas where I can find special controllers for an Xbox that might better fit his needs?
BELVA SMITH: I would like to say that we don’t really get to do too much with gaming.
BRIAN NORTON: Right. We are mostly a vocational program where we are helping people find jobs and things like that. However as part of the INDATA project and all the assistive technology acts, they deal with assistive technology and vocational, home, school, work, but also play and activities for daily living. But specifically our clinical program, there is a vocational outcome that is typically tied to whatever we do.
BELVA SMITH: Right. And if I were to have that opportunity, being that I’m on the vision team, it would be vision related. I did find a couple of websites that I thought were pretty interesting and had a lot of good, valuable information. BroadenedHorizon.com, they have a lot of available adaptive controllers, but they will also adopt one to your specific needs, and a lot of information about games that are accessible. I guess it matters which Xbox you are talking about. I think it’s because the controllers connect differently on different Xbox.
WADE WINGLER: No real gamers in this room.
BELVA SMITH: I did notice that they were saying Xbox One. I think it does matter which one. That would be a good place to go and get started to look around.
BRIAN NORTON: We also have a relationship with a company called AbleGamers.com.
WADE WINGLER: I defer to Mark at Able Gamers on all this stuff.
BRIAN NORTON: Do they do design? They not only work with the gaming manufacturers, the folks that designed the games, to make them more accessible, but they deal with adaptive controllers as well. Is that right?
BELVA SMITH: Yes.
WADE WINGLER: Able Gamers has been in the game for a long time. Pun not intended. I know one of the things they are working on our grants to help people get accessible videogames. They are also working on these public places where it’s sort of an accessible videogame arcade. Looking at their website, one thing I’m fascinated with is to have an online assessment questionnaire where you can tell them your contact information and talk about the kinds of disability you have, what’s working well, what’s not, and then very specific questions and problems that you are trying to solve. Then they ask at the end how they can help, whether or not you are just looking for information, whether you are looking for advice and consultation and some financial assistance, or if they want to go to their headquarters in Washington DC and do an in person consultation related to adaptive video games. Able Gamers is doing a lot in that space.
BRIAN NORTON: Out throughout the website again, BroadenedHorizon.com. I think I stole Belva’s thunder.
WADE WINGLER: You are a resource thief.
BELVA SMITH: He’s the boss.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s a pretty cool website. They have lots of different controllers that folks can use, different website you can go to to find out more about accessibility, funding, and all those things. It’s a great website. You can find out more information from them about lots of different controllers. There are things for folks who have difficulty with arm movement, if they don’t have arm movement, if they use one-handed controllers, head and mouth controllers, ability switches as well, lots of options for folks to find adaptive game controllers.
Don’t forget. If you have feedback, or maybe you know of another place where folks can find adaptive controllers. Specifically this person was looking for one for the Xbox. If you have ideas or you yourself are using some accessible controllers for adaptive gaming, let us know where you find your information or who you have as far as context to find devices like that for yourself. We’d love to hear about those things ensure that with the folks who are listening in. If you do have other questions, feel free to give us an email at email@example.com. We love to hear from you.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is, I’ve been listening to the show for a while now and I’d love to learn about all the neat apps that you guys are talking about. My question is where do you find these apps? I’m sure you happen upon different apps from time to time, but where do you go to learn about apps when faced with a specific issue, for example filling out forms, blindness, etc. I know from our experience, there are lots of traditional places that we end up going.
We talk about AppleVis a lot. That’s Apple-related vision impairment. They do different apps for folks with vision impairments. They have a forum where you can ask questions and get answers as well. They help with that and spend a lot of time with vision related apps for Apple products, the iPad, iPod, and iPhone. Other places we end up going?
BELVA SMITH: I’ll steal your thunder. You didn’t mention BridgingApps.
BRIAN NORTON: We need a crack of thunder when someone steals someone else’s answers.
BELVA SMITH: I think we mentioned this a couple of shows back, AndroidAccess.net is a place that you can go to check for the android apps. I just recently discovered this one: AndroidAuthority.com has a whole list of the best android apps for the visually impaired. Also AFB.org has a list of the best apps for android. They also have iOS, but I was specifically focusing on the android ones.
BRIAN NORTON: One of our partners, as far as Assistive Technology Acts, is in Georgia, a place called Tools for Life. They have a good app search tool. If you look that up and put in Georgia, it will bring you to their website, www.GATFL.org, and on the right side of the screen you will see Tools for Life and a block you can click on to take you to their app search tool. But the good way to find information. I think what makes these places more unique than going to iTunes or to the Google Play Store is when you go to those kinds of places, the reviews you get are all very positive and saying the great things about it, but you don’t have from the user perspective, and a lot of these places, the reviews are done by folks who are actually using the app and are trying to be productive with the apps. They are giving you better feedback than what you might find on iTunes. They vet those can’t tell you the pros and cons, and how those things work for you.
BELVA SMITH: I feel the app store gives you very little information about the apps. When I go there, I’ll hear the name of an app and look for it to see what it will do. I leave feeling like I don’t know much more than before.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s usually a small advertisement that doesn’t have much information at all.
WADE WINGLER: A lot of the assistive technology apps don’t have millions of users. They are fairly small, not used by a lot of people, and I always feel the first three app reviews are stellar, written by the developer’s brother-in-law and friend and neighbor. You don’t get that detailed stuff. The resources Brian talked about, AppleVis and BridgingApps and Tools for Life, they do spend time either from a user perspective or a professional perspective getting into that. I’ll do a quick plug. AppleVis and BridgingApps and Tools for Life all do app segments on the podcast I host, Assistive Technology Update. Several times a month we have those folks call in and do an app review. I’ll also mention that BridgingApps has a cool search engine so you can describe a profile of a user. You can say, “I have a third grader with dyslexia who is working on world history or spelling or whatever.” It will then search across the app stores as well as BridgingApps reviews for apps that meet that criteria. This is nice because you can build a profile describing the user, save that profile, and go back every so often and rerun it to see if new apps have shown up.
JOSH ANDERSON: When they ask “faced with a specific issues”, another thing you can do is look through them when you find them, there might be a free version you can get and try out or even go to your local assistive technology act. They might have a device to put those devices on there and try them out. Some of them are a little bit expensive. A lot of the apps these days, what I’ll do if I do find them and think it might help who I’m working with, I’ll try to get the free version and use it for a couple of days.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s a great point. Here at the INDATA Project, you can borrow an iPad with the app on it and try it for 30 days to make sure it really works for you. That’s a great way to be able to try it and use it.
I want to throw one more plays out. It’s not app specific. It has some apps available, some reviews for folks. It’s The Arc Toolbox. It’s Toolbox.TheArc.org. It’s an interesting website I learned about a few years ago. It’s in development at this point but has some good tools where you can submit things you found useful. You can post some reviews of the things you use. It’s a great place to find great things as well, not specifically related to apps. There is software, hardware, other things as well. Apps are certainly included. I think the main three we mention, AppleVis, BridgingApps, and Tools for Life, are the main places we go to search for those other than looking at iTunes. The interesting thing is when you are in iTunes or the Google play store and you find a particular app, if you scroll down the page a little bit there are always suggestions, other apps or similar apps you can see and start looking through those as well. It’s a great way to start your search and look. If you want to get more specific, going to those websites is a good way to go.
BRIAN NORTON: Don’t forget, if you have any feedback about places you might be able to find apps or where you go to be able to look for those things and search for those tools that you find really useful, let us know. We’d love to be able to share that with our listening audience. You can send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ or give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124.
Our next question is, I am looking for a good color identifier app for the iPhone. Do you have any suggestions? That’s a good question because we have the standalone devices that I find very successful in being able to identify things very well. In apps, I never found any app that does a good job. Most of the time they give you weird names and shades of beige. Horsehair gray.
JOSH ANDERSON: There is a setting where you can go to simple colors, but everything starts being “dark greenish brown”. No, it’s black.
BELVA SMITH: That’s what the free caller ID one car right? You can choose simple colors. You will get more familiar sounding colors anyway, but they are not going to be very accurate.
JOSH ANDERSON: Depending on lighting, the same thing will be five different colors.
WADE WINGLER: We love the Colorino device for a long time. The reason that it works better than an app, I think, is with the device, you have to put it on whatever it is you are trying to recognize. It’s got a recessed lens in there. It shuts out all the external light. Depending on the lighting in the room, a light blue can look like gray or a darker blue or all different colors. With the apps on your smartphone, it’s really hard to shut out the light to get a consistent background. I think any app that’s going to do that is going to be impacted by the lighting. That’s why the Colorino works well, because it shut out all the light. You put it on and it’s working in a tunnel that’s much better.
BELVA SMITH: Even though we all know that it’s important to be able to match your outfit –
BRIAN NORTON: I don’t know if it’s that important.
BELVA SMITH: Especially in an office, it’s very hard to get VR to support purchasing the Colorino. That’s why the apps became popular, because a lot of them are free. The ones that do cost are low in cost. I’ve had a lot of folks have pretty good success with using Tap Tap See. Tap Tap See will tell you the color of whatever you are looking at as well.
BRIAN NORTON: There are several apps, Tap Tap See, Be My Eye, a few other ones as well.
BELVA SMITH: Aipoly, folks are using that one as well.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s artificial intelligence. That’s not a real person like the other apps.
BELVA SMITH: You interviewed that guy.
WADE WINGLER: I did. I interviewed the developer of that on AT Update a couple years ago when it first came out.
BELVA SMITH: It’s still very popular. Folks are using that as well and having as much success as as the color identifier apps.
BRIAN NORTON: Are there other ones?
WADE WINGLER: Did Viz Whiz go away?
JOSH ANDERSON: Those are the two big ones.
BELVA SMITH: I haven’t heard much about Viz Whiz lately. I’ll just throw out here a couple of tricks that some folks that I know of use for their clothing. They will make different cuts in the tags – which a lot of shirts and pants are coming tagless. But if you do have a tag, you can put a different cut it for blue or black or whatever. Of course you can put a bump identifier. Believe it or not, a few months ago I finally organized my closet according to color. I know a lot of folks that are visually impaired and blind that have their clauses set up like that, and I’ve always been kind of jealous. I did it and it’s kind of cool.
JOSH ANDERSON: I do that too.
BELVA SMITH: It just makes it easier.
BRIAN NORTON: Maybe what we talked about in the last show, that Amazon Echo Look, although how creepy it is, it might be able to tell you good colors or what you have on.
WADE WINGLER: Viz Whiz is gone, by the way. I looked in the App Store and it’s no longer listed as available.
BRIAN NORTON: There is still another one I’m not thinking of. As far as the color identifier apps, I think the ones I see used a lot are Aid Colors, Color Visor, the Color ID, Color Readers Voice, Aipoly Vision, and Seeing Home Assistant are a couple of the apps that came up as far as popular ones I see as well. Just a couple of those to check out. They are very inexpensive. I think the real purpose behind those is when you think about the Colorino, that’s a little over $100. For these apps, they are either free or low-cost, under five dollars. If you have a smartphone which most folks do, it’s easy to load those up and see how well they do. You do want to switch on simple colors. Horsehair grey doesn’t mean much to anybody.
JOSH ANDERSON: Usually it’s not that descriptive. It’s just a word that has nothing to do with color and you have to figure out what it is.
BELVA SMITH: Have you looked at a box of Crayola crayons lately? There are so many colors that I’ve never heard of.
BRIAN NORTON: Do you remember the 64-color with a sharpener?
JOSH ANDERSON: That’s how you knew you made it in the world.
WADE WINGLER: Speaking of color identification, Brian, what color is that shirt you are wearing? It’s a good-looking shirt.
BELVA SMITH: Let’s use an app on it.
BRIAN NORTON: I think it’s a metallic blue.
BELVA SMITH: Let’s do Tap Tap See. It says I have to turn on voiceover.
WADE WINGLER: Belva, I love the fact that your iPhone has a big butterfly case on it with sparkles.
BELVA SMITH: I’m across the room from you.
BRIAN NORTON: If they say something like “ugly man in some sort of shirt”, that would not be nice.
WADE WINGLER: We would know it works.
BELVA SMITH: Because I’m across the room, I’m concerned.
VOICEOVER: Picture One is man in blue polo shirt sitting on chair with headphones and condenser phone.
WADE WINGLER: That is a dynamic microphone, not a condenser microphone.
JOSH ANDERSON: It didn’t give us age, weight, or height.
BELVA SMITH: It’s a blue.
BRIAN NORTON: I thought it said Italian stallion.
JOSH ANDERSON: You have greyish-purpleish blue.
WADE WINGLER: According to which app?
JOSH ANDERSON: According to Color ID.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s not bad.
BELVA SMITH: There is no purple.
JOSH ANDERSON: Let’s go again. If we go exotic colors, you are wearing emperor. Oh, no. Comet.
BELVA SMITH: Let’s try Aipoly. Light peach. Wait, slate gray.
WADE WINGLER: Tap Tap See said blue polo shirt.
BELVA SMITH: Aipoly wins then.
BRIAN NORTON: I would consider it a slate blue.
WADE WINGLER: Very handsome anyway.
JOSH ANDERSON: Nice-looking shirt.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s one of the best shirts I’ve got.
WADE WINGLER: We are just glad you are wearing a shirt today.
JOSH ANDERSON: Usually he’s not.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s usually frowned upon in this establishment when I don’t wear my shirt.
BELVA SMITH: You know what he doesn’t have on again?
BRIAN NORTON: My name tag? It’s in my bag.
WADE WINGLER: Brian, we are supposed to wear our nametags around here. The security officer guy is really tough. I think we’ve worn this question out.
BRIAN NORTON: If you guys have an app or even a standalone device — I don’t know if you use something different than the Colorino and have success with that, let us know. We’d love to hear from you. You can give us a call at our listener line at 317-721-7124.
BRIAN NORTON: This is a question, do you have any experience with the Office Lense Apple and iOS? If so, do you think it’s a viable replacement for the KNFB reader app? According to them, the KNFB reader app is very expensive – and it is. It’s about $100 – and Office Lense is free. Any thoughts?
WADE WINGLER: The old codger in me says $100 for an app is not expensive. It is. Only $100? Back in the day – I remember when they use to “a phone and a camera together and it was $4000 and didn’t work. I’ll stop.
BELVA SMITH: And when the KNFB reader app first came out, my first thought was, $100? Really?
JOSH ANDERSON: And how many times have you recommended it since then?
BELVA SMITH: I’ve got to say, it’s been my favorite app ever.
BRIAN NORTON: Belva’s stamp of approval.
BELVA SMITH: The accuracy and quickness, it makes it worth every penny you have to pay to get it.
BRIAN NORTON: It certainly does make it stand out.
BELVA SMITH: I stumbled across Office Lense. I was searching for something.
BRIAN NORTON: We covered it in a previous show. I think we had some feedback from someone who asked if we had tried it. It was probably a couple months ago.
WADE WINGLER: It was a call from someone with a fabulous accent.
JOSH ANDERSON: I do remember that.
BELVA SMITH: I don’t remember that, but I did download it immediately. I was in between clients with some time to kill so I installed it and started doing side-by-side tests with the KNFB reader. Office Lense won. One $100, one free, I love Office Lense.
WADE WINGLER: Really?
BELVA SMITH: I really like it. I was getting better accuracy out of it. The speed is not quite as fast as the KNFB, but if it’s going to take me half a second longer to get better accuracy, I’m okay with that. I did crazy things, like I did a business card because Office Lense has different settings, and business card happen to be one of the settings. The one I found that was awesome is one called whiteboard. I was taking pictures of the side of a McDonald’s bag and a sign on the street, and it pulls the text right out of that. I was showing Josh this morning right before we started the show, I took a picture of the screen on his phone.
JOSH ANDERSON: It picked it up and started reading it right away. There are a few extra steps you have to go through compared to KNFB Reader where you just point and shoot, right?
BELVA SMITH: I don’t consider it extra steps. First of all, I will say I was using it with voiceover. The menus are fully accessible.
BRIAN NORTON: KNFB has its own voice built and that you can use it with was over.
BELVA SMITH: Correct. Office Lense has its own voice built in as well and it’s called immersive reader. As soon as you snap your picture, it processes it and you go to the top right corner and tell it you are done. Then you get a menu option of where you want this to go or how you want to open it. You want to open it with word, as a PDF, or do you just want to use the immersive reader to read it. At that point you don’t even have to save it, but you could if you want to after it reads it. The one thing I noticed, it says it’s not really designed to do repeated captures; however, when I finished playing with it the other day, I realize that every picture that I had taken was right there so I could essentially send those to a Word document or to a PDF and it would be page after page.
BRIAN NORTON: I think that’s one of the great things about Office Lense, is you can snap a picture and send it directly into an editable Word, PDF, PowerPoint, OneNote document.
BELVA SMITH: You can email it. With business cards, that’s what it does too. Each one of them comes up with what it thinks you are going to want to do with it, but with a business card it is to share it right away.
BRIAN NORTON: It reminds me of Evernote. I use Evernote as a note storage area for myself. You can get Scannable with Evernote. Office Lense is really designed for the OneNote app and those kinds of things as a quick scanning and send it someplace. That’s interesting that it could be a possible replacement, and it’s free. It’s available on Android and iOS.
BELVA SMITH: And you can use it on your computer. I have not done that yet because I don’t have a scanner connected to my computer. I do have a camera but it faces me. I just haven’t played with it. When it was first released – and it’s been about two years which is why I’m disappointed that it took me so long to discover it – it was only for the Windows platform. It could only be used on Windows phone. Now it is Android and iOS. You also have the ability to magnify it. If you are low vision –
BRIAN NORTON: Zoom in and zoom out?
BELVA SMITH: Absolutely.
BRIAN NORTON: In our last show we had a caller check in about the KNFB for windows. And I have a chance to play with that or see it yet? I have not.
JOSH ANDERSON: I have not.
BELVA SMITH: I still haven’t.
BRIAN NORTON: I’ve heard it’s similar to what the iOS app looks like, but it does have menus and you can move through those with your screen reader and things like that. I just wondered if we had a chance to play with that yet.
BELVA SMITH: I will say that with the Office Lense, you do have to create an office account if you haven’t done that.
BRIAN NORTON: The dreaded Office account.
JOSH ANDERSON: Or if you forget it because you set it up four years ago and have never had to log back in.
WADE WINGLER: Your Hotmail address.
JOSH ANDERSON: I know that one of course.
WADE WINGLER: Pegasus mail?
BRIAN NORTON: That’s very interesting. I’ll have to take a look at that and dig in a little bit more.
BELVA SMITH: Within two days of playing with it, I was already starting to tell clients about it. They don’t have $100, can’t get the funding. Look, I found you a good alternative. I’m always looking for the good free apps.
BRIAN NORTON: I’ll plug a little bit. We had a YouTube channel with the INDATA Project. A couple of months back I did a tech tip on Office Lense and spent time showing a couple of the features and how you can snap a picture, bring it up, and send it to a word, PowerPoint, PDF, one note. If you are interested in taking a look at that car you can check out our website www.eastersealstech.com, you can find our YouTube channel and get a chance to look at that tech tip we did a few months back.
BELVA SMITH: When Josh pulled it up on his phone, he said he didn’t see the immersive reader.
JOSH ANDERSON: Because I didn’t log into my Microsoft account.
BELVA SMITH: We are thinking that’s why he didn’t have that feature.
WADE WINGLER: And now it’s time for the wildcard question.
BRIAN NORTON: Maybe you guys have spent time with the Office Lense and know it pretty well. Let us know what your experience is with that, maybe versus the KNFB Reader if you guys have tried both of those. We would love to hear from you guys. I think they are both really great apps and offer a whole lot for folks as far as being able to scan something really quickly, take a picture of text, have it read back. You can open up a whole world of accessibility for folks when they are out in the community.
Our next question is going to be the about card question of the day, so I’m going to pass the mic to Wade and he’s going to ask the question we are very unprepared for.
WADE WINGLER: As always. It’s interesting in our last question we sort of ended up talking about the old days of assistive technology. We were complaining about the early versions of the KNFB Reader. This isn’t exactly an AT question, but because I’m asking it to you guys I think it becomes one. What was the very first computer that you used — the very first computer that you ever used in your life. And what was the app on it that you remember or program that made it worth using?
BRIAN NORTON: Does it have to be adaptive?
WADE WINGLER: Know, just your first computer.
BELVA SMITH: I don’t know any of the specs, but I do know my first one was a Packard Bell. It was enormous. I crashed that poor thing so many times, it wasn’t even funny.
WADE WINGLER: What operating system? Was it DOS?
BELVA SMITH: It was Windows 95. When you use to get the warning that would pop up and say you’ve committed an illegal offense?
JOSH ANDERSON: I member that. An illegal operation.
BELVA SMITH: The first time I saw that, I was like, oh my God, the cops are coming. It was Netscape.
WADE WINGLER: The browser. I remember that. That was right over mosaic which was a predecessor.
JOSH ANDERSON: I can remember elementary school, I don’t remember what kind it was, but it was the almond color –
BRIAN NORTON: The Commodore?
JOSH ANDERSON: That’s it! It did have DOS but I can remember the greatest programs were Where In The World is Carmen San Diego, and Oregon Trail. That’s what I remember. I do remember DOS and being able to make it draw a triangle and thinking that’s the coolest, that I was a computer programmer because I could make it draw a triangle on the screen.
BRIAN NORTON: I wasted half my life in front of the Commodore 64 typing in code, six hours of code to get it to play a song. Our first computer at our house was a Zenith computer with two 5 1/4 floppy drives and a twelve-inch monochrome monitor. My favorite game at that point was space invaders. I would play space invaders as well. When I first got into AT, we were on Windows 3.1 moving into Windows 95. I was a big switch. We were still doing some DOS stuff. I remember very clearly when I first got into our department – this at 20 years ago – Wade was still in the department as well, and they were working with me, teaching me how to use DOS commands to wipe and clean computers and reinstall Windows. Of course here you have these programmers. They would go 100 miles an hour, and I would say wait! What was that command? Wait, wait. I think they were annoyed by me but they did take their time with me. I finally did figure out all the things I needed to do. I spent a little time in DOS, Windows 3.1, and Windows 95 to begin with. I enjoy where we are now.
WADE WINGLER: It’s a little bit better.
BELVA SMITH: I remember when my oldest son left to go to college, we bought him the enormous floppies. Those are totally gone. If you have one, you couldn’t do anything with it nowadays anyway.
JOSH ANDERSON: I think the department of defense still uses those.
WADE WINGLER: They do.
BELVA SMITH: Really? Okay.
WADE WINGLER: My first computer was a RadioShack TRS-80 Color Computer 2, so it was the new and improved version of it. When it came out, and had DOS on it. When it turned on, it would just say “OK” and blink that you because it didn’t come with any programs other than the operating system. You had to type them in. I remember the first thing I did was – I got it for Christmas, and I made a Christmas tree. I actually put colored lights on it and made it blink and put a song in it. That was the very first thing I did with it. I remember I had a subscription to a magazine called Rainbow Magazine. My dad’s friend had a subscription and I would get his magazine a month after it came out. It seemed like it was as thick as a phonebook because it would have one article and lines and lines of code that you would type into your computer. There were times when I would type in six or eight or twelve hours’ worth of code, knowing that there was no storage on this computer. I lived on a farm in rural Indiana. If the power blinked at any point in that 12 hours of programming, I would lose it all and have to start over. It was before floppies because the very first thing I had was a 60 minute cassette recorder. I would have RadioShack tapes, type in the program, and save it to this cassette recorder. It would sound like a fax machine. We would type in hours of stuff. The first one I typed and saved successfully was a lemonade stand gain. I would play lemonade stand simulations. You buy sugar, lemons, try to advertise, and people would buy your lemonade. Then I got a floppy drive. It was a 5 1/2 inch double-sided, double density, 512K drive that I learned that, with a paper hole punch or, I could actually take a single sided floppy disk and punch it in a certain way and flip it upside down in the drive and reformat it and get twice out of the floppy drive. A very vivid memory is the first program I got on floppy drive was a political simulator for the 1980 election when Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush were running against Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale for the presidency. That was the first game I play that didn’t have to type in myself. That would have made me about nine years old at that time when that was happening.
I got rid of that computer a long time ago, but I found one at a garage sale a few years ago and I bought it and stuck it in my garage. I now have that same kind of computer that I had when I started.
BELVA SMITH: You have young kids. Are they interested in computers or tablets?
WADE WINGLER: They had tablets. They have had tablets since they were babies. Interestingly enough, for those who know me, we just switch them from iPads to Android tablets. We got them Amazon fire tablets and I cracked them open so they could install whatever they want on it. They play their tablets pretty routinely.
BELVA SMITH: My grandkids are into the tablets; however, they are very fascinated with keyboards.
WADE WINGLER: Reminds me of the Star Trek movie where Scotty picked up the mouse and try to talk into it because computers are voice activated in the future.
BRIAN NORTON: As you talk about these old computers and things like that, we really have the world of assistive technology has been turned up on its head with mobile devices and stuff like that. The technology that is so inexpensive – or what used to cost you tons of money is so affordable now –
BELVA SMITH: The KNFB Reader.
BRIAN NORTON: I’m just thinking even having a smartphone that has a GPS that knows where you are, and accelerometer so if you start walking across the room and knows how fast you are going, a gyroscope so it knows if you are holding it upside down. It has so much technology that you would not even imagine being in such a small device. You would think you need to carry around a suitcase for all that stuff. Now it’s so easy to get one at corner stores. And then you have apps that are $1, $2. When I first started 20 years ago, Dragon was $1800 and came on 20 different diskettes and you had to install them one after another. It’s such a different game these days. It’s more affordable and available for folks.
WADE WINGLER: We are so spoiled.
BELVA SMITH: Imagine what our kids – or my grandkids – are going to be saying 20 years from now.
WADE WINGLER: Bill be saying, remember that one time when Belva was bad mouthing Amazon Look, and now everybody has one?
BELVA SMITH: Exactly.
BRIAN NORTON: Even now my kids can’t even imagine not having a cell phone. I used to go to the middle of nowhere without anything. I didn’t think anything about it.
BELVA SMITH: We had to walk to the TV to change the channel.
WADE WINGLER: I remember the first bag folds came out, and my dad had one in his truck because he had a business. I was probably 16 or 17 years old. I would drive his work truck and hold the phone up to my ear to pretend like I was talking on it when my friends would drive by so they would see I had a phone in my dads truck.
BRIAN NORTON: The funny thing is those were the size of a brick. They were massive.
WADE WINGLER: We have proven we are old.
BRIAN NORTON: Things have obviously changed. I want to thank you for being part of our show today. Thank you for listening in. I want to remind you if you have questions or feedback regarding anything we talked about, any questions we try to answer, feel free to give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124. Give us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll give you bonus points if you send us a tweet with hashtag ATFAQ. We don’t keep score. I’m just giving you bonus score.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s good to have them in case you need them.
BRIAN NORTON: We certainly want your questions and would love to hear from you. You are what makes our show so much better. If people just had to listen to us, it wouldn’t be that good. Thank you for being part of it. We will see you next week. Thank you to Belva and Josh and Wade.
BELVA SMITH: Thanks for the flashback.
JOSH ANDERSON: Thanks for listening everybody.
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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