ATFAQ063 – Q1 JAWS not starting automatically Q2 VoiceOver-friendly To Do apps Q3 Wireless earbuds and multiple devices Q4 Charging my laptop on the go Q5 Identity theft protection


ATFAQ logo

Panel: Brian Norton, Josh Anderson, Belva Smith, Wade Wingler
Q1 JAWS not starting automatically Q2 VoiceOver-friendly To Do apps Q3 Wireless earbuds and multiple devices Q4 Charging my laptop on the go Q5 Identity theft protection

——-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 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 63. My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of ATFAQ. We are so happy that you’ve turned in this week. As we get ready to jump into the AT questions you sent over, I wanted to take a moment to go around the room and introduce you to our panel today.

We have Belva Smith, our vision team lead here at Easter Seals crossroads.

BELVA SMITH:  Hey everybody.

BRIAN NORTON:  I also have Josh Anderson, the manager of clinical assistive technology.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Welcome everybody.

BRIAN NORTON:  Also Wade Wingler, the popular host of assistive technology update and AVP here at Easter Seals crossroads. He is running our audio engineering and chimes and when he has something important to say.

WADE WINGLER:  You are totally freaking me out here because I heard you say was we are going to answer 80 questions. I thought, five or six questions is usually how many we handle. How are we going to do 80 questions and one show?  Welcome to the first 14 hour-long episode.

BRIAN NORTON:  We are going to cover the next 14 weeks.

WADE WINGLER:  Wake me up before you go.

BRIAN NORTON:  That’s what happens when I say to say “AT” into my text messages with the voice, it puts “80”.


BRIAN NORTON:  Yeah. I wanted to thank you guys for tuning in this week. Last week, you probably heard our best of episode. I think I was out, I was sick and we didn’t get a chance to record a couple weeks ago. Hopefully you enjoyed the best of episode that we had.

For folks who are new to our show, I wanted to let you know a little bit of information about what our show is all about. We come across various assistive technology question throughout the week. They come to us throughout a variety of ways. We have a listener line, which is 317-721-7124. We also have an email address, which is tech at Easter Seals Or we have a twitter hashtag set up which is ATFAQ. You can tweet at hashtag and we received those as well throughout the week. A variety of ways for you to time in cartooning in, and send your questions. We would love to hear from you.

In addition to that, we also love to hear from you. As we try to answer questions, we give is best answer will we can. I know a lot of you guys have experience in different areas, and we would love to hear from you so we can give a well-rounded answer to the questions that we received. If you hear a question and maybe you have something that you want to chime in with can’t get a hold of us in the same ways, our listener line, email, or Twitter. We would love to hear from you to be able to answer those questions as best we can.


The first thing we are going to do is jump in and get some feedback. A couple of folks had chimed in from our last few episodes. The first one was from Scott. I think if you episodes ago Kyle we talked about what I was referring to at the time AIRA product. I was corrected – and I love when folks do this because I often –

JOSH ANDERSON:  You often get it wrong.

BRIAN NORTON:  I don’t know if it’s something to do with those types of letters, but there is another app out there, AITA?

WADE WINGLER:  AITA reminders.

BELVA SMITH:  I was going to say [condescendingly] Scott, Scott, Scott, you have to know me. I have my own language.



BRIAN NORTON: AIRA is one of those new glasses that you connect with a sighted assistant. For folks who are blind or visually impaired, they can get excited assistance all the time through a pair of glasses and a camera. That person is talking into your ear telling you what you’re looking at or what’s in front of you and describing those things for you. I was referring to an episode as “ARIA” and it’s actually “AIRA.” Thank you for that.

BELVA SMITH:  I think they refer to the sighted folks as explorers bit is that right, Josh?

JOSH ANDERSON:  Something like that.

WADE WINGLER:  Not Internet Explorer’s.

JOSH ANDERSON:  That’s completely different.

BELVA SMITH:  Sighted explorers.

BRIAN NORTON:  Netscape navigators?


BELVA SMITH:  We got to see that at our local vision Expo over the weekend.

JOSH ANDERSON:  We saw two or three people using it and demonstrating it. It was really cool hooking it up to a speaker so you can hear everything they were saying. It was very neat.

BRIAN NORTON:  It was a very interesting product and certainly something I think is gaining momentum in the blind and low vision community.

BELVA SMITH:  I’ll go ahead and throw in that I did notice with all of the noise – there were several hundreds of people in this larger room. With all the noise, there was some difficulty with the communication.

BRIAN NORTON:  Interesting. Thanks, Scott. Thank you for that note.

The other thing we wanted to give you feedback on is iOS 11 update, which is the new iOS update that was released. Belva, do you want to talk to that?

BELVA SMITH:  Don’t just dive in. I think I advised everyone on the vision team that if they had someone using braille, it would be a good idea to hold off. But also one of the recommendation that I have, before making an update from any iOS update, go ahead and go into your settings, and then go to the general, and about, and underneath about you will see a lot of options. If you go down to application, you will get a list of all of your apps that will not work if you do the update. With the latest iOS update, it is only supporting the 64-bit apps. If you have favorite 32-bit apps, they are not going to function. You can either start looking for another app to replace that app or just hold off on your update, which is what I’ve chosen to do. I got about 10 apps, not a large number. I have a lot of apps on here so the fact that only 10 of them aren’t going to work – but a couple of them are ones I really like to use.

BRIAN NORTON:  I’ll give you a personal story about that. Over the weekend I had to speak at a conference, about 50 or 60 folks in the room. The night before, I was getting ready. I like to present with my iPad. As I was getting my iPad ready and my presentation loaded to dropbox like a pull it up, along comes, hey, do you want to update to iOS 11. I said why not. That seems like a great idea.

WADE WINGLER:  11 is better than 10.

BRIAN NORTON:  Why not?  I went ahead and did that. As soon as I got done, I would like to say I do like the look and feel of iOS 11 on my iPad, but I realized half the apps — it was  a vision expo as Belva mentioned – most of my vision after I had loaded to my iPad no longer worked and there wasn’t just an up that you could load for them. It would give me a warning message that said the manufacture of this particular app is going to have to update the app. There was no way to simply update it. I think it had to do with they were designed as a 32-bit app and needed a 64-bit app to be able to work on a new operating system. I was a little bit worried and flustered.


BRIAN NORTON:  However, I made the best of it and it worked out well. It was just a little bit shocking. How many times do I tell people don’t jump in and dive in too quickly because you don’t know what you’re going to get, and I learned a lesson over the weekend.

WADE WINGLER:  IOS updates are like a box of chocolate.

BELVA SMITH:  You probably never want to upgrade right before you’re getting ready to do a presentation.

BRIAN NORTON:  It was late at night and I thought why not.

WADE WINGLER:  No fear, just do it.

BRIAN NORTON:  Josh, you mentioned one of the neat features of iOS 11 was the emergency calling.

JOSH ANDERSON:  What I found just looking through a cop because I downloaded it for the reason Belva was talking about, so I can play around with it with voiceover just in case something changed and folks did call or there were any questions. Under settings, if you go down, there is an emergency SOS thing you can set up. You do have to turn it on to auto call. Basically you press your sleep/wake button five times quickly and it will automatically call it emergency services. You can even set up other pieces and parts where it will send a message to everyone in your emergency contact list letting them know that you’ve contacted emergency services. That’s nice especially if you can’t use your voice. Just press the button a few times and it will call the services for you.

BELVA SMITH:  That’s right underneath settings?

JOSH ANDERSON:  You go to settings, between touch ID and passcode and battery settings. Under general.

BELVA SMITH:  What I would find scary about that, although it is in each feature, anybody who has the Apple Watch knows that with the update prior to the last one, you are able to push your button and make an emergency call. I found that out because my grandmother did it because she loves to just push the buttons. There was an enormous amount of 911 calls made the day that update came out. Zoe wasn’t the only one that figured it out.

BRIAN NORTON:  That’s interesting.

BELVA SMITH:  I could see that happening with the phone as well.

JOSH ANDERSON:  I definitely could because sometimes that button can be pushing your pocket. That’s something that might change with updates, but it is still a pretty good idea. I like when it is calling emergency, it automatically sends out text messages to folks, your parents are caretakers or ink like that could help out.

WADE WINGLER:  Do you suppose the number one operators on days like that are like, thanks Apple. It’s another iPhone.

BRIAN NORTON:  No kidding.


BRIAN NORTON:  You’ll go ahead and jump into the first question. It came in from an email from Claire. Her question is, my friend who uses JAWS on Windows 10 is having trouble making JAWS start up automatically when Windows starts. We have checked both options in the basic options, but JAWS doesn’t come up automatically. Any suggestions?

BELVA SMITH:  I’ve experienced this a couple of times. I’m not really sure what happens, what it does and recognize that you’ve got that option checked. But one of the things you can do is to go ahead and add the JAWS executable file to the actual startup folder. If you’re using Windows, it’s pretty easy to do. You just need to go to the desktop and copy that file. I’ll do it keystroke-wise. You’re going to go to the desktop, copy the file, press your Windows key, and type “run.” That will open the run dialog box. Type in “startup,” and that should take you to the startup folder. There you can go ahead and paste with control-V the Jaws file into that startup. And then turn it off and make sure that worked.

BRIAN NORTON:  That’s a failsafe way to get anything to start. I think a lot of programs in their startup options will give you the ability to start the program before the Windows login comes up or as soon as Windows boots up, but sometimes I’ve run across that as well where that does not work. Actually taking that executable file or the shortcut link and sticking it into your startup, it automatically will fire anything up that’s within that particular folder. It’s a failsafe way to get those programs to run.

BELVA SMITH:  I think you were the one who showed me how to do that many years ago. We were trying to get notepad to load up immediately so that’s how we did it. That’s what I did, and it’s been on a couple of occasions that I’ve had with JAWS 17 that, for whatever reason, it doesn’t want to load up.

BRIAN NORTON:  The other thing I would think of doing for folks like that – obviously that would be the best way because it is failsafe. It’s going to start up – as the computer loads up, it looks at that startup folder and it’s going to fire anything that’s in it.

I always provide folks a shortcut key. I go to the desktop, right-click on the icon or hit the context menu. When I get to the icon, I go down to properties, and under properties you will find shortcut key. You can find any shortcut key in there so that if, for whatever reason, your program doesn’t start up, you can just have a shortcut key to be able to fire it off. That seems to help a lot of folks as well.

As a third option, you can put it in the start menu where you can find all the apps you use most often typically at the top of the start menu. As soon as you hit the start menu, I could hit “J” for JAWS, and it’s going to go ahead and fire that up for me. Those are the ways I’ve done that as well.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Along those same lines, even if you don’t put it on the start menu, especially if in Windows 10, you just hit the Windows key, type “JAWS,” and hit enter, it will almost always open jaws. I’ve had to do that on the phone sometimes when it won’t open for folks if we haven’t set those up or they just called to get help.

BRIAN NORTON:  That would be all the way up to Windows 7. Windows seven search the computer that way as well.

BELVA SMITH:  The only issue you run into with that method – and I love that method – if you have more than one copy of JAWS, you don’t really know what when you’re loading up. Oftentimes folks, when the upgrade, they leave their old version as well. You will know once it’s loaded so that will at least get you to the point where you can get to the one you want.

BRIAN NORTON:  What do you guys feel about leaving multiple copies?

BELVA SMITH:  I always remove it unless they say, no, I don’t take it off.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Same thing.

BELVA SMITH:  Back in the old days, it was more of a necessity.

BRIAN NORTON:  Are you saying I’m old?

BELVA SMITH:  I’m saying I am. It was more of a necessity to keep it because maybe you had done some special configuration for different programs. Pretty much anymore, no. In fact, I think that’s even the way you would be directed if you were on the phone with Freedom Scientific tech support. They would tell you to remove it. Which could be this person’s issue. Maybe she does have more than one copy, so the computer is confused as to which one it should be loading so it’s just not loading either one.

WADE WINGLER:  Just to be clear, don’t jump in to iOS upgrades right away but do jump into JAWS upgrades right away.

BELVA SMITH:  Absolutely. Always update your JAWS.

BRIAN NORTON:  I say the same thing about Dragon. When Dragon comes out with an upgrade, do it. You’re going to see improvements.

WADE WINGLER:  I do the same thing with iOS. I go ahead and do it. I’ve been bit. I have an app right now that’s not working quite right.

JOSH ANDERSON:  I did iOS 11 when it first came out. If I had maps on, I was having the hardest time getting my phone to unlock or do anything else after it went to sleep. Then when I did 11.0.1, the newest one that just came out, it fixed that.

BELVA SMITH:  Here’s what I tell my consumers – and this is what I try to go by. If you feel really techy, go ahead and take the update. But if you’re happy with the way things are, wait a bit and let somebody else figure out those bugs. Like Josh just said, the first update, his maps weren’t working top of the second one fixed that. In another week or two, I’m going to watch because I think I have a total of seven apps that I will lose. I’ll just keep watching and see how long it takes before they either get updated or they don’t.

BRIAN NORTON:  Let me recap the question. There were a couple of different options as far as getting JAWS to start. The first is to put the JAWS executable file into the start up file itself. You can take the icon that either on your desktop or somewhere in your file system, open up your Windows menu, and stick it within the start up folder. That should launch it.

Another option is to put it into the start menu as one of your most recently used applications. You can also then put a shortcut icon on your desktop.

Josh, I think you mentioned within Windows 7through 10, you can type in the word of what you are looking for. I don’t know if it’s true on your computer system, but if you have multiple versions of JAWS running, sometimes they get in conflict with each other and the computer doesn’t know which one to start.

A few different options to try out. Let us know how it goes for you. We would love to hear back and see if that may have helped fix the problem.


BRIAN NORTON:  This next question is also from Claire. It came in the same email. I love when we get lots of questions.

JOSH ANDERSON:  This one is short. It could’ve been a tweet.

WADE WINGLER:  Brian would’ve been smiling all week.

BRIAN NORTON:  I love me some tweets.

WADE WINGLER:  Please Tweet Brian with the hashtag ATFAQ and put I love you Brian. He needs some twitter attention.

BRIAN NORTON:  My lovely which is words of affirmation and hashtags.

WADE WINGLER:  And 140 characters or less, please affirm Brian.

BRIAN NORTON:  That’s right. Her question is, do you have any voiceover-friendly to do apps to recommend?  I was looking at this question and I went to the place I always go when I get questions about apps. I want to AppleVis. If you’re not familiar, that’s a great website to go to when you’re looking for apps for Apple and Android devices. I went to AppleVis and plugged in “to do list,” and it came up with a lot of different information. What they do is they have these different apps. They’ll say what the manufacturers say about the apps and what folks say about it. But then at the very bottom of these posts, they will talk about the accessibility and say if it is worth it or not and tell you what is right or wrong.

For instance, Wunderlist is a really popular app. They talked about how it was good for the iPhone, but a lot of times people want to use things cross platform. Trying to use Wunderlist on a computer, it doesn’t work very well with screen readers. I think Todoist may be the same way. It doesn’t work very well.

A couple of ones they did mention worked well, there’s one called reminders. Is not the one that is in your phone, your iOS phone. It’s Re:minders. They mentioned that was a very good app. We were talking within our group before we started the show that possibly the built-in reminders would be a good option for folks.

WADE WINGLER:  Plus it works with Siri.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Or even notes. You can make checklist on notes and it seemed to do a pretty good job.

BRIAN NORTON:  The built-in notes app, you can put lists and bolted lists and checklists and those kinds of things as well. I would encourage you to go to AppleVis and check it out can’t do research from there. They do a good job of vetting some of the apps that are out there and getting a real look at how the accessibility is or isn’t available within particular apps.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Another thing to do is a lot of them have three versions or are free. You can download some different ones, see if they meet your needs. Listing apps, there are so many ones with different features. Maybe you just need something to make a simple list and check it off. Maybe you need something to make a complex list for job tasks and things like that. When I’m working with folks with a visual impairment or any other kind of disability where they may benefit from a list app, we usually try to download as many free one that we can and try them out, just because everyone likes different ones. So you need one that not only works but one you are actually going to use.

WADE WINGLER:  I have to say I was heartbroken when I tried to use Todoist with voiceover, because it’s the one I use. Brian, you know your use to use it a lot. I like it because it is cross-platform and free. When I tried it with voiceover, the navigation wasn’t too bad. It was just that they hadn’t labeled things, just a bunch of boxes and icons that are labeled appropriately. I sent them a note – it’s been a while. I need to follow up and let them know, if you would just label your items in your app, it would be a lot more voiceover friendly, which for me just talks about the fact that there is still a need for awareness out there. I’m quite sure it is not a technical hurdle to jump. It’s just the developer need to spend a little time going through, and when items are created in the app, label them or they need to audit their app and put them there. We still have an awareness battle.

BRIAN NORTON:  We live in a visual world. As long as it looks visually pleasing and the aesthetics are good, let’s go ahead and throw it to the masses. Sometimes that doesn’t work for folks.

WADE WINGLER:  I know Todoist isn’t a US-based company. I think they are based in the Netherlands, so they aren’t looking at the same compliance standards that we might be. They are not paying a lot of attention of Section 508 of the rehab act. There is still work to be done. It’s up to us to help educate people.


BRIAN NORTON:  Our next question is an email from Jane, a regular contributor to the show and send those questions periodically. Her question this week is, I’m looking for wireless earbuds that can connect to multiple Bluetooth devices. One ear but it would be for my PC, the other one would be for my phone. Any suggestions?  I’ll throw that out to the group.

WADE WINGLER:  I know there are lots of different ways you can do that. It depends on do you want to have one set of earbuds that is both listening to your laptop and your phone, switching back and forth between the two, or do you want to have your laptop in your left ear and your phone in your right ear. I think you would probably take different approaches if you’re going to do that. There is a standard called multi point Bluetooth connectivity. It will allow you to connect one set of headsets or earbuds or whatever to multiple devices. For example, you could have your earphones connected to your MP3 player or iPod or Sonos sound system and listen to music, and when your phone rings, it will interrupt the music, hit a button on your headset and will toggle you back and forth. There are even some multi point advanced things that allow you to connect to multiple, like three different devices, and you can use the button to switch back and forth. If you are looking for products, you can just go to Amazon or whatever and put in multi point Bluetooth headset and it will show you a bunch of headsets that have that functionality.

I’m not sure that’s exactly what we’re looking for in this situation. I remember from my days back in the day, especially when I was doing scripting in call centers, we had a lot of screen reader users who were taking calls who wanted to have phone call in one years and have JAWS in the other ear. That’s a different solution.

BRIAN NORTON:  There used to be a Plantronics headset that did that. You had to earpieces, and one had a cord that went to your computer and one had a cord that went to your phone to make that work. As I keep thinking about this, some different options float through my mind. These would be things to at least try out and see if they would work. If you have the wireless earbuds types of headsets, I’m assuming if your computer is Bluetooth – what were we looking at?  One needed to be for the computer, one needed to be for the phone. If you had to separate headsets, you could take one ear piece from both headsets and from what’s that you would have connected to the computer, one ear but from the others that would be connected to the phone and you can work it that way.

We were talking a little bit about aftershocks. These are bone conduction headsets. They don’t go in your ears. They are not earbuds of any sort. They go over the back and front of your ear and rest on your jawbone. It plays music through bone conduction so you leave your ears open. I’m not sure what that experience would be like for folks. If they are having one headset connected to the PC and using those for that type of communication. I’m not sure how that would play if they are both going on together, if you’ll be able to distinguish certain sounds.

The other thing I know has worked for folks we worked with – we’ve played around with Plantronics headsets, the Savi 700 series. Those allow you to have a base station connected to three things. You can have that base station connected to your computer, a standard desk phone, a cell phone, all three of those. What happens with that one is you have some buttons which will allow you to switch between those different inputs. You are not listening to them at the very same time, but when you’re listening to the computer, and then you want to listen to the caller, you can switch the input and talk to them. You can then switch back to the computer to be able to hear it. You have to split those things out. That’s the S-A-V-I 700 series headsets.

I think there are other things out there. If it does work for you, there are option to be able to use your existing headsets. Those are called CT switches. CT switches allow you to be able to move between a couple of different audio sources, but you are switching back and forth between those and not playing them at the same time. That’s what I have.

BELVA SMITH:  I just saw that there are Bluetooth splitters like what we do with our cable at home. You have one device that gets plugged in, and this device will split the signal to at least two devices.

BRIAN NORTON:  Interesting. You think with two different headsets you could do that?

BELVA SMITH:  No. I’m thinking with one you could split – the question I looked up was can I use two Bluetooth headsets at the same time. Attended the Apple doesn’t support multiple sets of Bluetooth speakers so you only have the option to do it with one. It says it is possible to do. You just have to get an additional device like a Bluetooth splitter. They generally will plug into the headphone jack and then would allow you to connect two devices. I guess with the new iPhone that won’t be a possibility at all because there is no headphone jack.

WADE WINGLER:  But you can use the adapter that goes from lightning to the 3/8 inch.

BELVA SMITH:  I think you are looking at me like I threw a wrench in that.

BRIAN NORTON:  I’m just thinking through how that would work. That might be an option. What are they called?

BELVA SMITH:  Bluetooth splitter.

WADE WINGLER:  I zoned out. Did you see the option of just having two sets of earbuds, one tuned to each item?


WADE WINGLER:  You ignore me a lot. I was just ignoring you for once.

BRIAN NORTON:  We do that a lot.

WADE WINGLER:  Feel the love.

BRIAN NORTON:  Yeah. Hopefully that has given you some options. I would also encourage folks, if you’re listening and have some experience in this area, let us know. We would love to add a little color and life to that question beyond what we’ve mentioned.

If you want to chime in, there are a few ways to do that. You can give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124. Send us an email at tech at Easter Seals Or send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. If you do give us a call about that, we will enter that to our next show.

BELVA SMITH:  Lastly, I’ll say to Jane, whenever I have a headset question, I always go to They tend to drive me crazy after I’ve been to their website, but they do have a lot of good information.

BRIAN NORTON:  You can explain your situation and what you’re trying to do, and if they have anything that matches up with that, they give you pretty good answers.


BRIAN NORTON:  Our next question is from Jane again. I’m also looking for a solution to charge my laptop because most of the outlets are taken up in various areas, or sometimes the outlets are on the ceiling that you need to pull down. I’m in school from morning to evening and need to charge my laptop midday. I’m thinking about getting a small power station to do that. Any suggestions for that?

WADE WINGLER:  I guess one of the first things I would ask is, is it a laptop that has multiple batteries. Is it a Windows based laptop, can you remove the battery and switch back and forth. I use Mac now and they don’t have removable batteries. If your laptop does, that’s an option.

BRIAN NORTON:  I think a lot of the Windows PCs, I believe have replaceable batteries. We use the Lenovo around here and they have replaceable batteries.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Lenovo, most HP, some Dell’s.

BRIAN NORTON:  Some have extended life batteries where there are bigger than your normal ones that fit flush, they are thicker and stick out a little bit. You mentioned a power station. That’s a great option as well. Just like you can buy the rechargeable devices for your phones when you are out and about that you can carry in your purse or backpack, you can do those for laptops as well. They are more expensive and obviously a lot bigger. That’s something to look into as well. I know I had one a while back where I was out and about all the time talking to folks and needed to charge my laptop and make sure I had a full charge to be able to get things I need to get done. I had one of those power stations. Big and bulky, but in a pinch I was able to work a long time without recharging.

BELVA SMITH:  I think some of the newer ones have gone smaller.


BELVA SMITH:  On the website I would suggest you look at is They seem to have external power sources even for the MacBook.

WADE WINGLER:  As I was looking for something, I found this thing. It sort of a joke answer. It’s called a k-tor, and it’s a portable personal power generator. Imagine, if you will, a thing about the size of a shoebox standing on end, and it has two pedals and an outlet on it see you can basically pedal and plug your laptop in and burn some calories while charging your laptop. I’m only half joking. This is a thing that will do 12 vote but only 20 Watts. It probably won’t charge a standard Windows laptop, but it says it does work on all laptops because they have a switch that can go down to 20 Watts. You literally could put this on your desk, plug your laptop in, pedal and charge your laptop.

BRIAN NORTON:  That is funny. Reminds me of when you sit down at your desk, they stick those petals under your desk as a bicycle pedal. I’ve seen those under desks when I’ve done ergonomic evaluations. That’s interesting.

WADE WINGLER:  I question whether that’s good for your back to have your feet in front of you pedaling all day.

BELVA SMITH:  I also found a walking wall outlet. I’m guessing this would be a good option because it’s $600.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Just by a second laptop.

BRIAN NORTON:  What is that?

BELVA SMITH:  It’s a walking wall outlet.

JOSH ANDERSON:  It doesn’t actually walk.

BELVA SMITH:  It’s a portable power solution with a 200 watt inverter. You can put multiple devices into it.

BRIAN NORTON:  That look like what I’ve seen before. It’s just a power station, just a lot bigger than the ones that power your cell phone for a day. You can see why:  you are powering a laptop instead of just a phone. That looks a lot like what I’ve seen before.

WADE WINGLER:  I just switched laptop so I don’t know if it works anymore. I have an Anker battery that is big enough to work with my MacBook. It wouldn’t charge my MacBook when I plugged better into it, but what it would do is give it enough energy that my battery didn’t drain. It can charge it from a dead better and get back to life, but I could plug in this secondary better and it had just enough Oomph that it would keep it from falling anymore. It wasn’t much bigger than your standard cell phone battery charger.

BRIAN NORTON:  Let us know. Hopefully that was some good information to have. Look at different power stations. It sounds like there are a few options. Maybe your battery has swappable batteries or a way to use a replaceable battery where you could buy a second one and carry two around with you. That might be less heavy and more portable than having a power station with you. For power stations, you are probably looking at a couple of hundred dollars for those just because of the nature of how big they are and the power to bring around. My experience is they are a little heavy. Depending on what you are carrying around, that may or may not fit into your backpack with other things you are carrying with you.

If other folks have suggestions, let us know. You can send us an email at tech at Easter Seals We would love to hear from you.


BRIAN NORTON:  Our next question is about publishing software. She called and left a message on our voicemail. We will play that for you.

SPEAKER:  This is Jewel. I have a question about publishing software. This is for the ATFAQ. I’m looking for screen reader accessible software for making brochures and other publisher type things like flyers and such. If you could include me on the show, I would be really appreciative. I like to know about publishing software for the blind. Where can I get accessible publishing software?  Thank you.

BRIAN NORTON:  Looking for an accessible publishing software for folks were blind or visually impaired, probably using a screen reader. Any suggestions?

BELVA SMITH:  First I would want to know what screen reader because that could make a difference. Are we talking Windows, Mac?  Have you seen Word lately because it has all kinds of templates that you could use for making flyers and things like that. I haven’t tried to use JAWS or voiceover with Publisher in a long time because I honestly don’t have many clients that have Publisher. My guess is for the most part it would be accessible. Maybe choosing the right graphic could be a bit of a challenge, but as far as putting in the text frames and such like that, text boxes. PowerPoint didn’t used to be accessible but it is now. I would start looking at Word and see what kind of templates they might have available. I know I’ve had clients that have used word to make flyers for different organizations and bake sales and that kind of thing.

WADE WINGLER:  I think something we need to clarify before we can give this question a good answer would be to what degree do you want to do publishing and layout. Is this a once off for a student project you need to make a flyer for or newsletter, or are you looking to be a professional publisher, layout, designer person. Being able to make a template work for you and drop some meaningful content and have a published document once is one thing. But are you looking to do something that really does require those visual aspects?  I think that may change a little bit. Otherwise I’m with you, Belva. You are probably looking for a Microsoft tool with a template that you can drop some stuff in to. But if you want to be a graphic designer and use a screen reader, that’s a different question.


BRIAN NORTON:  May be an answer to this question, maybe getting more information. If you could give us a call and let us know to what degree you are using that software and what you’re using it for. For our listeners who are listening to the show, if you have some experience with accessible publishing software, whether it be for the one-off that you might use with a Microsoft application, or something else more sophisticated, and you know about the accessibility, we would love to hear about that. That way we could share that with our listeners as well. It’s a great way to throw some different software out there for folks that are looking to do that. We all want and sometimes need to create something that has some good content and is laid out well and is a good way to distribute the information.

WADE WINGLER:  I’m sure there is someone in our listening audience saying you guys are all wet. I’m a screen reader user and I’ve been doing desktop publishing for forever. I want to hear from that person. I would love to have that person on this show pick that might even be an interview for AT update. If you are that person saying we are wet with this, let us know pure tweet Brian because you love to be tweeted.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Or text him at – oh.

BELVA SMITH:  I’ll throw out there if we could know what screen reader. Are we talking Mac or Windows?


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

BRIAN NORTON:  Our next question is the wildcard question. This is the time of the show when Wade gets to ask us a question we are not prepared for. It may seem like we are not very prepared for any of the other questions we get.

BELVA SMITH:  Sometimes we aren’t.

BRIAN NORTON:  Wade, what do you have for us this week?

WADE WINGLER:  It’s funny you say a question you are not prepared for. Not only is the question something you are not prepared for, but the question inside the question is something you are probably not prepared for. Let’s hope it doesn’t get too weird.

Here’s the question and then there are some follow-ups. How worried are you about identity theft?  Has your identity be compromised?  What was that like?  Have you been worried enough to take action to buy a surface or do something specific to make sure your identity is not for the compromised?  How worried are you about it, has it been compromised, what was that like, and what have you done about it?

BRIAN NORTON:  That is a question within a question with a question.

WADE WINGLER:  It’s like looking inside the mirror inside a mirror inside the mirror.

JOSH ANDERSON:  You want me to go first?


JOSH ANDERSON:  I’ve never fully had it stolen. I have been involved in three data breaches between Yahoo, and some, and echo facts. The one the recent one?

JOSH ANDERSON:  Yeah. I’ve always wondered if they do steal your identity, do they get your debt too?  Because if they do, I feel like I went in that one. I don’t think that’s how it works. When I was married the first time, I wife did have her identity stolen. We had just used a cab on the way home, and they stole her ID off the credit card and went out and emptied the bank account by the time we woke up in the morning. That did happen.

How word in my about it?  Not super worried. I did check my credit pretty regularly with credit karma just to see where it is and use services like that to see if anything crazy comes out. My bank has always been pretty good if anything weird happens. I remember one day I had to go put air in my tire, so it is one dollar. That didn’t work so I went to the next one. I tried two one-dollar charges and they locked my card.

WADE WINGLER:  They thought you were doing test charges?

JOSH ANDERSON:  Yep. They do a pretty good job about that. Even that one time that the bank account was emptied, the bank itself had the money back in the next day and went after the people that have done it. I’m not too worried about it. It has happened, I’m not too worried about it, and I forget what the rest of the questions were.

WADE WINGLER:  You hit them all. Are you worried about it, has it been compromised, what was that like, and have you taken action, and what was the action.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Just watching my credit and stuff like that. I don’t pay for a service or anything. I do know some folks that have frozen their credit. I’m just afraid that I’ll forget to undo that.

BELVA SMITH:  You won’t forget.

BRIAN NORTON:  You will be quickly reminded.

BELVA SMITH:  Like you, Josh, I’ve been compromised with pretty much all of the same three you have, except for Yahoo because I never used Yahoo. I did put a credit freeze on my account when the thing with anthem came about. I decided at that point, what was the point?  These guys are able to get in and get my information. They know that I’m probably watching my account very closely for at least the next 8 to 10 to 12 months, so they’re not going to do anything with my information right away. They are going to wait until I’ve forgotten about it and sneak up and do something about it. Yes, I used to be very concerned with it, but with the way things are today, I’ve just thrown my hands in the air. Okay, this is who I am and everybody knows it.

I remember way back when, when Blockbuster –

JOSH ANDERSON:  Explain what Blockbuster is for anybody under the age of 25.

BELVA SMITH:  Exactly. When they first opened up, we went to get an account because it was where you could walk in and rent a VHS tape. They made me give them a blank check from my checking account to keep on file in case I can to bring back their movie. That made me very nervous because I’m like, no, I can’t just let you have a blank check. But of course if I wanted to rent a VHS, I had to. I think that’s when I started letting my guard down. If you want to exist and do business, people are going to have your information. That’s just all there is to it. I’m not as paranoid as I used to be, I just try not to think about it.

With this latest one, Equifax, and one said you could check. My bank, as you said Josh, gives me my credit score all the time. They are very good about watching my account for me. I put my faith in them and just do business.

BRIAN NORTON:  And never been compromised. Anybody who is listening –

BELVA SMITH:  Yes you have.

BRIAN NORTON:  I’ve never had my credit card number stolen or those kinds of things. Unless you stolen it before, Belva. I know Equifax and Anthem, those places.

BELVA SMITH:  That’s what I’m talking about. No one has ever stolen my identity. Although I do know someone that that happened to and it was a total nightmare.

BRIAN NORTON:  Yes, I’m worried about it. Yes, I think about it. Haven’t done anything proactively to ask things other than strengthening passwords and things like that on my websites?  Not really. I guess I feel like you, Belva. If a place like Equifax can get taking advantage of, what am I going to do to keep someone from getting my stuff?  If they really what my stuff, they’re going to get my stuff. Whatever I do, they’ve done 1 million times more at a fax to keep the stuff safe and they got cracked. I’m not sure there is anything you can do but to take some precautions to guard yourself. In this day and age when everything is electronic, you don’t even get cash anymore except when you go to the bank and take some out of your bank account. Everything is a number. I just don’t know how you really protect yourself.

The latest thing I had heard, and it’s the uproar with the new iPhones and facial recognition because now you have a device that knows where you are in the world and knows who you are because it can recognize faces. There is so much out there. Information and technology rules the day. You have to play with the stuff to live in one of them.

BELVA SMITH:  I have to say it’s difficult to use cash. Not too long ago, someone did steal Todd’s credit card. I said, you know, I swipe my card all the time, $5 here, $3 there. I’m going to try to survive off of cash. This lasted maybe two months. It’s a pain in the rear to have to go to the bank and get cash and pay and wait for your change. You end up with all this loose change. It’s so much easier to swipe the card and be done.

BRIAN NORTON:  It does allow you to save money because were not spending as much.

BELVA SMITH:  That’s true.

BRIAN NORTON:  What about you, Wade?

WADE WINGLER:  I have had my credit stuff compromised a couple of times. It happened three or four times for me. I remember the first one where I was sitting at a conference and I get an email alert that said did you really just by 300+ dollars worth of alligator belt from Vietnam?

JOSH ANDERSON:  Maybe you would like to.

WADE WINGLER:  No, I didn’t. I was very impressed. The conference center happen to be just a block or two from the bank branch where I banked – not the one I go to but a friend of my bank. I went and sat down with the branch manager. Within moments we had the charges reversed and my card switched and evident was handled.

I’ve had similar circumstances many years ago. Brian and I were doing a job in another part of the state where we were gassing up a bunch of trucks because we were delivering some workstations to the unemployment offices for assistive technology. I gassed up two really big trucks back to back and a geographic area I am not normally end. They just shut me down right there.

I think the credit card companies and banks do a pretty good job of monitoring. We don’t do a lot of credit. We do a lot of cash. I agree it is less convenient for those reasons but also just for general finance reasons. We find the cash is the right answer for us. I’ll tell you something interesting that did happen.

Not long ago I was sitting at the dinner table, and my wife’s phone rang and she answered it. “Mhmm, yeah. Oh, my! Oh! Really? Our cards have been compromised? Oh. Okay, sure.” And she starts to rattle off her date of birth and Social Security number.

The people calling said, “Hi, we’re with the bank, and we suspect that somebody has compromised your ID and that you might be a victim of identity theft. What we need you to do is verify your social and date of birth so that we can make sure that you either have or haven’t been compromised.”

She was starting to look suspicious, and I said stop before she got all the information out of her mouth. I grabbed the phone and said “Excuse me, what’s the 800 number where we can call you back and restart this conversation?

“No, you don’t want to do that right now because the longer you wait, the more likely it is that somebody…”

I said, “You know what, I think our local bank branch is still open. I’m just going to drive down the street and talk to the people at the bank about this.”

“No, you don’t want to do that because they are actually closed and if you wait till tomorrow, somebody might compromise your account even more.”

It was people acting like they were the bank, trying to scam us for our identity. It was ridiculous.

JOSH ANDERSON:  The time it happened to me, when they called, they left a message and said call us back at this number or the number on the back of your card. They will always say that. At least once a week I will get an email from my bank. If you touch on the bank, it shows you the email address and it is You must reset your password, just click here. Those to make it through the spam filter. I understand how people can fall for those because they look just like your normal email. They just don’t have the giant December at the bottom which I think it’s a big thing.

WADE WINGLER:  Our CEO last week got a call from quote unquote Microsoft because they had detected an intrusion on his computer and wanted to walk them through the process of fixing it.

JOSH ANDERSON:  You ever want to have a good time with those folks, keep them on the phone for about half an hour and tell them, I have a Mac. Does that make any kind of difference at all?  They get really mad. I have a lot of consumers that will get that call. They used to call me afterwards to tell me. There are always trying to get you.

BELVA SMITH:  What did you do?

WADE WINGLER:  I’m in the process of getting my credit freeze. It’s funny. When I logged in to do that, I messed up my password and got my account locked. Now I have to call.

JOSH ANDERSON:  You got your credit freeze frozen?

WADE WINGLER:  I can’t freeze my credit because my password is frozen. I haven’t gone to the next level of paying for one of those services that monitors. I haven’t done it because it is $20 a month.

BELVA SMITH:  And you’re just giving somebody else or information when you do that.

JOSH ANDERSON:  What happens when they get hacked?  Who watches for that?

WADE WINGLER:  What I did hear about the effects thing – and I can’t tell you if this is true – they will offer a free credit monitoring service for you. It’s not a remediation service so it will monitor and let you know if your credit is for the hat in the future, but they won’t do anything to fix it. Again, if I’m wrong, somebody tell me, that if you sign up for that free credit service, you also give up your right to sue in some sort of class action lawsuit. In exchange for this free credit monitoring service, you give up your right to take any action against them. I don’t know if that is true or not but I believe it to be.

BRIAN NORTON:  We all have to do with it. This world is all about technology. You have to play the game to be in the game. That’s something we all should probably pay more attention to.

That’s our show for the day. I want to thank the folks here in the room for helping contribute with answers to your questions today.

BELVA SMITH:  Good night John boy.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Thanks for listening everybody.

WADE WINGLER:  Don’t forget to protect their identities and pedal to charge your laptop.

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

***Transcript provided by TJ Cortopassi.  For requests and inquiries, contact***