ATFAQ069 – Q1 iOS app for offline music playing Q2 Word prediction apps Q3 AT for math Q4 Speech-to-text for iOS Q5 JAWS and Windows 18 Q6 ATIA experiences


ATFAQ logo


Panel – Brian Norton, Belva Smith, Josh Anderson, Fiona Jones, and Wade Wingler | Q1 iOS app for offline music playing Q2 Word prediction apps Q3 AT for math Q4 Speech-to-text for iOS Q5 JAWS and Windows 18 Q6 ATIA experiences

——-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 69. My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of ATFAQ. We are so happy that you tuned in this week. Before we jump into the questions that you sent, I want to take a moment to go around the room and introduce the folks that are sitting with me in the studio.

Belva Smith is here with us. She is our guru of all things AT low vision and blindness. You want to say hey to folks?
BELVA SMITH: Hello everybody.
WADE WINGLER: Is that what it says on your business card?
BELVA SMITH: I believe it does. I think it’s on the back.
BRIAN NORTON: We recently changed her title.
BELVA SMITH: I got the two-sided name tag now.
BRIAN NORTON: We also have Josh Anderson. He’s the manager of clinical assistive technology here at Easter Seals crossroads. You want to say hey?
JOSH ANDERSON: Can I be the guru of clinical? I feel like her title is much cooler than mine.
WADE WINGLER: Probably not.
JOSH ANDERSON: Hi everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: We also have Wade Wingler. Wade is the VP here at Easter Seals crossroads but is the popular host of Assistive Technology Update. Wade?
WADE WINGLER: What kind of guru can I be? I want to be guru of something.
JOSH ANDERSON: Belva, you started a trend.
BELVA SMITH: That’s me.
BRIAN NORTON: Can you be the guru of everything but the master of none?
WADE WINGLER: That’s probably about right. That’s me. Hi everybody. Glad you are here.
BRIAN NORTON: We also have in the room Fiona Jones. Fiona is a Capstone student doing a doctoral Capstone project with us. You want to say hey?
FIONA JONES: Hi everyone.
WADE WINGLER: Soon to be Dr. Fiona.
WADE WINGLER: Awesome. Are you so excited about that?
FIONA JONES: 89 days.
BELVA SMITH: I don’t think she’s too excited.
WADE WINGLER: Are you going to wear your cap and stole all that stuff around for a week after you graduate and make everybody call you “Doctor”?
BRIAN NORTON: We invited her to come along with us and join us for our show. She’s working on an interesting project for us, one that I think really has some implications for assistive technology in the long-term looking at AT abandonment and folks who get recommended assistive technology devices and, for whatever reason down the road, don’t end up using it and trying to figure that out a little bit. Is that accurate? That is what we talk about right?
WADE WINGLER: Different than the reason that you don’t use assistive technology.
BRIAN NORTON: True. That’s very true.
WADE WINGLER: You just don’t.
BRIAN NORTON: For our new listeners, I want to talk a little bit about how the show works. We receive feedback and come across various assistive technology related questions throughout the week, and we do that in a variety of different ways. A lot of times we collected directly from you guys. We have a variety of ways you guys can ask your questions or chime in with feedback on the questions that we cover week to week. The first thing is we have a listener line that is set up, it’s 317-721-7124. We also have an email address, We also have a hashtag set up on Twitter, hashtag ATFAQ. Again we monitor those week to week and look for you guys as a resource for us, not just for the questions, but also a lot of you have been around assistive technology a while and have some of your own experiences with different types of devices, hardware or software, and can really add some value to the questions and the answer that we give. We really do encourage you guys to chime in and provide feedback as well.
I wanted to also let you know, if you want to, if you have friends who are looking for an interesting show on assistive technology, there are a variety of ways for them to be able to find a more about us. You can find us on iTunes. You can also go to our website that we set up, Or you can find us on stitcher or Google play. Definitely have them check us out.
BRIAN NORTON: So our first question of the day is, hi all, I’m looking for an iOS app that allows me to play music files, not the Apple music, and that does not require Internet. Any recommendations? So looking for an iOS app that can play music but not have it directly come through Apple music and also doesn’t require an Internet connection. Suggestions on that?
JOSH ANDERSON: To originally get the music, I think you have to have an Internet connection. I use Amazon music, and you can download most of the stuff straight to the app.
WADE WINGLER: So that it’s just there and you can play it?
JOSH ANDERSON: It is. You do have to watch anything with iOS and an iPhone, the amount of stored you have left, especially if you have the older one, the 16 gigabytes, it’s going to fill a pretty darn quick even with just music. The Amazon music app does let you do that. I have the prime membership. I don’t have the unlimited that gives you extra music. Almost everything on their you can download.
WADE WINGLER: I do something similar with Spotify. I have a Spotify premium account. And if you are a college student — looking at you, Fiona — you can get a discount on your Spotify premium. I believe it’s half the price. I got a couple of playlists I have set to download that when I get on the airplane and lose my Internet connection, I can still listen to some Lyle Lovett or Chris Isaak or Billy Joel or whatever. This could be a fun part of the question, is to talk about your favorite playlist that you put on your phone if you had to do that. I do it with Spotify. Like Josh said, you have to have Internet connection when you’re downloading those things initially.
BRIAN NORTON: I had originally thought you could download your MP3s to drop I simply them from there, but I’ve been corrected today as I’ve been talking about this question earlier, but you still need to have a connection to be able to get your dropbox and be able to see those. I know I have several apps that I have document loaded, but I think they actually cache those documents or they keep them locally on the device enough for me to be able to get to some of those things. I might be wrong about that.
WADE WINGLER: I think if you’re going to use dropbox to have those files, you would have to be connected. I also don’t know what it would play them with. I guess it would play them with iTunes or the music out. I’m not sure. Definitely Amazon and Spotify would be good options for that. But they require an ongoing subscription, or with Josh and annual scripting with prime.
BRIAN NORTON: How much does a Spotify account cost?
WADE WINGLER: Is it $15 a month? Or less for students. I don’t remember. I’ll look really quick.
JOSH ANDERSON: and then Amazon music comes free with your prime subscription, which is $100 a year. Unless you are a student, then I don’t remember what it is but it is a lot less.
WADE WINGLER: Spotify is $10 per month. It’s $15 for us because we have a family plan. I have three people on ours for $15. That’s another thing to think about. If you’re going to be doing that, if the person who you are using this with doesn’t have a Spotify account, can you put them on your family’s plan and make it less expensive for them. I’m just thinking here.
BRIAN NORTON: Quick question about Apple music that’s in line with this. With Apple music, I know you can pay $9.99 to get any song anywhere anytime anyplace. Does that allow you to then store those songs, or do you keep streaming them from the Internet? Can you own those?
BELVA SMITH: I’m pretty sure you just keep streaming.
BRIAN NORTON: You don’t own a song or album anymore? They just become whenever you want them?
BELVA SMITH: I’m not 100 percent positive of that, but what I do know is I bought a couple of songs from Apple, and to play those songs I have to be connected. I bought them so I didn’t expect them.
JOSH ANDERSON: You should be able to download them. Can’t you download them?
BELVA SMITH: I thought I had.
JOSH ANDERSON: I got a whole U2 album for free without even trying.
WADE WINGLER: The album that never goes away?
JOSH ANDERSON: And I can’t seem to get rid of it, no matter what I do.
BELVA SMITH: I have some that I don’t know where it came from.
WADE WINGLER: Fiona, you’re nodding along here. Do you have something? Do you know the deal on these?
FIONA JONES: My understanding is with Apple music call you can download them and play them from wherever. But like you guys were saying, you have to have the Internet to download them.
BRIAN NORTON: But once you stop the subscription, do they go away?
BRIAN NORTON: Well, that’s [Expletive].
JOSH ANDERSON: Unless you don’t connect to Apple music. Couldn’t you just keep them stored locally if they never know they are there?
WADE WINGLER: I think they know.
FIONA JONES: It can tell what you had before your Apple music subscription and what you had after. You’ll have everything you bought originally before Apple music, and all the stuff you but without the music you lose.
BRIAN NORTON: I have a lot of my CDs from Hannah Montana and stuff like that.
WADE WINGLER: You can do iTunes match, $25 a year and you can upload them. That still works. They would know because they even know what you had for breakfast. They just know.
JOSH ANDERSON: They are here with us now.
BRIAN NORTON: Everywhere.
WADE WINGLER: Sponsorship.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s excellent. Very cool.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is, do you have any recommendations for a word prediction app for Android other than what is built into it? Just throw out a couple of things, Predictable or Speech Assistant may be a couple of options for you. Those are a couple of different types of keyboards that can provide some type of prediction for you. Maybe another option that I’ll throw out is the Swype keyboard. I know that’s pretty popular on Android devices. I believe they allow you to be able to have some support for that as well. The only thing I would say about the Swype keyboard, when using that, I would say it would depend on the purpose or what you’re trying to do with word prediction, whether I would choose that one or not. If its only use is to increase the rate at which were trying to type into the device, then it might be a good option, but when you’re thinking about literacy or spelling support that often is provided with word prediction apps, then I don’t think you are probably going to get that type of in-depth support that you are probably looking for from other things like Predictable or Speech Assistant.
JOSH ANDERSON: I think you need to know a little bit more, like you said, about what the person is looking to use a for. Some augmentative communication apps offer some pretty good word prediction. If they need that much assistance, something like that. Some of them are not that expensive, anywhere from $25-$300 depending on how many features you need. I know some of them have really good word prediction built in.
BRIAN NORTON: Proloquo4Text, iReadWrite does that stuff. I don’t think iReadWrite is available anymore. I think that one is gone.
WADE WINGLER: Under the one to take a look at is called Fleksy. I think we had them on AT Update many years ago when they first came out. The reason I mention it is not only do they do some word prediction like you expect, your typing long and pick the word off the list, but they also have some gesture that make that faster, and they have an app launcher and things that seem like macros, so in addition to your word prediction stuff, you may get some other acceleration things that make life faster for you on your Android phone. It’s free so that’s a good thing.
BRIAN NORTON: I also use this on my Mac, but it does work from your phone as well. It’s not necessarily word prediction in the real sense where as your typing there are real lifetime predictions of what your typing, doing letter by letter predictions, but it is text expander. There is a text expander keyboard. What it does is it is an abbreviation expansion. It is not necessarily word prediction, it is abbreviation expansion. So if you type in three or four letters followed by a character, is going to throw up a whole entire paragraph or sentence or commonly used phrase that you might use all the time. I use that a lot just and regular computer access for folks who struggle with the input piece of what we are looking at. Again, not for literacy or spelling support, but maybe. It really does help folks increase the rate of input.
BELVA SMITH: But is that for Android or just iOS?
BRIAN NORTON: It’s available in both formats. There is a keeper that will come up, special keyboard that will come up and you link it to your dropbox and that’s where you store your snippets. That’s what text expander refers to them as. And as you are typing, it will go to those snippets, and if you have one stored in dropbox, it’ll print it out on your phone. I use that for things like my signature and email, if I want to make it more official, I will leave my centerline which gives them all the information about where I work, my name, and contact information and stuff like that. That’s another good option for folks.
WADE WINGLER: That one snippet that you have is basically Wade, I’m busy now; can you get back to me later. That when I see a lot.
BRIAN NORTON: I thought you would come to me and talk to me about that one.
WADE WINGLER: You spelled it wrong. I love text expander and I use it all the time. I love the fact that my snippets, those abbreviations that get expended are everywhere. They are on all my Macs and my iOS devices and Android and whatever.
BRIAN NORTON: I think it goes back to what Josh was saying, what’s the primary purpose. What are you really doing for folks for literacy and spelling support? Although you are putting text out there really fast, I can see it being used for literacy and spelling support because it’ll throw things that are spelled correctly out there on whatever device you are using, but if you did that real-time literacy and spelling support, maybe not.
We talked about Predictable, we talked about Speech Assistant, Swype, Fleksy, and then Text Expander. Other ones?
WADE WINGLER: I’m hearing crickets.
BRIAN NORTON: Don’t forget, if you have some experience with word prediction apps or abbreviation expansion apps, other things that may be applicable to that question, you can join in by giving us your feedback, giving us a call on our listener line which is 317-721-7124. Or send us an email at
Our next question is, I am working with a 13-year-old girl at a mainstream a secondary school. She has a full-time scribe, but we need some ideas around using technology to support math. Any ideas?
I’ll jump in there. Math is a really tricky thing. I don’t think there has been a whole lot — at least in my experience. I’ve been doing this for 20 plus years. Math was one of those things that was often overlooked. There wasn’t a whole lot of great solutions for folks who struggled with math. Until recently. I know here in our clinical program, we use a couple of different apps that seem to be doing some really good things for folks. The first one I’ll tell you about is Y Homework! That’s the letter “Y” and Homework with an exclamation point on the end. Another app is called Photo Math. Those two applications allow you to do a couple of different things.
WADE WINGLER: Those are the cheater apps, right?
BRIAN NORTON: Those are not the cheater apps.
JOSH ANDERSON: They are total cheater apps.
BRIAN NORTON: What’s really great about those apps as they do two things for you. The first thing is you can either type Y Homework! will allow you to type; Photo Math will allow you to type. But photo math will also let you take a picture of a math equation, and it will saw it. That’s where the cheater app comes in. It will solve it for you.
WADE WINGLER: That’s cheating. It does it for you.
BRIAN NORTON: But it also then breaks it out step-by-step. For folks have a really difficult time understanding the concept, a math concept and how it works, they can then see as you get this complicated algebraic equation, they can see a broken down step by step by step. That will then help them better acquaint themselves, better understand the concept behind of the question itself. It doesn’t just give you the answer but helps them better understand the concept as they go.
WADE WINGLER: It helps you cheat but that helps you feel better about it by showing you how to do it?
JOSH ANDERSON: So you can copy down how you cheated on the problem, right?
FIONA JONES: Show your work.
BRIAN NORTON: I will tell you, I have a freshman in high school in a seventh grader. I don’t know what they do with kids these days, but their math seems to be accelerated from when I was in grade school.
WADE WINGLER: There are more numbers now.
BRIAN NORTON: I’ll tell you what, photo math has saved my wife and I hours upon hours of trying to learn math because we can then solve the equation and then break it down into steps and help our kids better understand things as we go.
JOSH ANDERSON: You don’t let the kids use the app. You use the app. Make the kids think you are smart.
BRIAN NORTON: It makes parents really smart.
JOSH ANDERSON: I believe that’s called cheating. It’s cheating.
WADE WINGLER: But if it makes parents seem smarter, all of a sudden I’m for it.
BELVA SMITH: Last week at ATIA, I saw EquatIO from Texthelp.
BRIAN NORTON: We were all at ATIA last week.
WADE WINGLER: No. We weren’t. I wasn’t. Fiona wasn’t.
FIONA JONES: It was called here.
WADE WINGLER: It was very cold here.
BELVA SMITH: When I came in this morning, instead of her saying good morning, she goes I’m done with the cold weather.
WADE WINGLER: It’s that time in February. We are over the cold. That I was not happy about the cold.
BRIAN NORTON: You’re right; some of us were at ATIA and we were having a great time in the 65 to 70 degrees weather rather than here in Indiana in minus four degree weather. I have heard of EquatIO. It’s made by a company called Texthelp. It’s an add-on to Google Chrome and allows you to write to mathematical expressions. You can write out your math on the web, solve your math on the web, and then turned it into folks as well. It’s a way of making your math digital and easier to use. But you did mention that folks who were blind I able to use their screen readers to do that, at least that’s what we’ve been told. It’s a great tool to be able to then write to math questions more easily.
BELVA SMITH: Right, because a screen reader won’t typically read those math equations the way that they need to be read so that they can be understood. But if they are in with this program, then they can be read the way that they are meant to be read. So that allows the student to be able to hear it the way that they need to hear it to be able to do the answer. It’s not a cheater because you still have to be able to do the math.
BRIAN NORTON: There is another one that does that same thing. If you’re looking for an app like that, Mod Math is another one.
WADE WINGLER: I’ve been hearing about that one a lot lately.
BRIAN NORTON: You can then write your math expression on your iPad or your device and then be able to mail it or send it or print it to be able to send it to folks for you as well.
To get back to this conception of cheaters —
WADE WINGLER: Can’t let that go.
JOSH ANDERSON: Really focused on that.
BRIAN NORTON: I think a lot of folks just struggle with math and the concept of math. I for the argument lots and lots from teachers, and I understand it, because you want people to be able to do stuff. I think about writing tools and other kinds of things from a PT perspective. I’ve had a PT talk to me about this before. You want them to be able to work on their dexterity and fine motor control by —
FIONA JONES: Sorry, I had to give a plug-in.
BRIAN NORTON: Maybe it is OT. Yes. You don’t want to take that away, but there are tools to help them be able to do a task and help them with that. I think there is a balance. I think the same is true with math.
WADE WINGLER: I remember when they said digital watches mean people aren’t going to be able to tell time, and calculators mean people are going to be able to do even the basic math, and spellcheckers mean people aren’t going to be able to spell. You’re going to give me the same argument that a program that just of your math for you isn’t going to keep you from learning how to do your math. Right?
BRIAN NORTON: Do that again. Say that again.
WADE WINGLER: People said the same thing about spellcheckers and calculators and digital watches, that those were too much help. You’re suggesting perhaps that it is a scaffolding and that you will still be able to have those skills. They said the same thing about augmentative communication. The number one myth is that if you give a kid an AugCom device, they’ll never learn to talk. That’s not the case. There is evidence that shows that even with AugCom devices, people will still develop language to the best of their ability.
BRIAN NORTON: Absolutely.
WADE WINGLER: I’m trying to come to your rescue.
BRIAN NORTON: I’m already rescued. I’m trying to rescue the people in the room that believe it is a cheater.
WADE WINGLER: That was me.
BRIAN NORTON: I will say if you are looking for a software package of this for the computer, is a website that has a lot of this for you as well. That’s a subscription-based one. I think it is $100 a year but also a really great tool to be able to help people with learning math concepts. Just a few different option for folks to be able to look at. It’s for all levels of math. It doesn’t have to be higher math. You can do all levels of math.
BELVA SMITH: Math and science always seem to be a big challenge.
WADE WINGLER: Yeah, the STEM fields. The other thing I would throw and is Kahn Acadamy. Those are more tutorials they are going to teach her how to do stuff instead of just doing it for you. I couldn’t have gotten through graduate statistics without Kahn Academy. It’s necessary stuff.
BELVA SMITH: That’s free, right?
WADE WINGLER: It is free. Do you know the story? Sal Kahn, I think he was an economist or stockbroker in New York, and he had a nephew in California who was struggling with math, so we started making these YouTube videos to explain to his nephew how to do some of the basic math concepts, and it sort of grew from there into what is now a business. Using that same model but everybody uses it now.
BRIAN NORTON: Don’t forget, if you guys have some feedback on the math question that we just handled, feel free to give us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ or send us an email at We would love to hear from you on that one.
Our next question is an email from Tina. The question is, does anyone have suggestions for an inexpensive/free text-to-speech app for iOS? Looking to trial for personal use. Looking for a speech to text out for iOS.
WADE WINGLER: I really lean on the built-in one all the time.
BELVA SMITH: That’s funny, I agree with you. I was looking on the list of suggestions that you got here. I’m going to say I miss you have a really good reason why the built-in one isn’t working, I would go with the built-in one. It will get better over time if it is not doing a really good job for you right now, but if there is some reason you can’t use that, then there are others out there but probably nothing that’s going to do any better, especially not for free.
WADE WINGLER: A lot of people don’t even realize that it is there. It took me a while when it first showed up to realize it. If you are on an iOS device and you have a keyboard showing because you’re getting ready to type something, right to the left of the space bar is a picture of a microphone — unless it has been disabled or it can be used in that particular app or there’s something messed up —
JOSH ANDERSON: Or you don’t have cellular connection.
WADE WINGLER: There you go.
JOSH ANDERSON: Because those are the other time that it will kick off.
WADE WINGLER: Any of the add-ons are going to require a cellular connection.
BELVA SMITH: Absolutely.
JOSH ANDERSON: Most definitely. Sometimes on the iPad, you have to turn your screen a certain way to get the microphone to show up. If you’re in landscape, it is not there. For some reason I’ve had people have trouble finding it. I use the built in a lot. I’ve also started using Microsoft translate a lot. It will actually translate your dictation, but if you just do it English to English, it does really well.
WADE WINGLER: I didn’t know that.
JOSH ANDERSON: It kind of depends on what you need it for. You can set up with two microphones, one of each side of the screen, so what I say will show up on one side of the screen; what the other person says will show up on the other.
WADE WINGLER: I’m going to start using that with Brian.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s really good. As a matter of fact, for like what we are doing, you do it on the computer and it comes up with a code. Brian opens up his app, puts the code in and all the transcription will show up on his phone of what you say. I think you can talk to it in 16 languages and it will translate to 30 some-odd ones. It is AI-based so it learns it gets better as it goes. It seems to work pretty well.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s cool. A couple other ones I’ve heard of. Gboard is an app for iOS. I’ve had some folks tell me that has fewer speech recognition errors when they tried it a few months back. It does still rely on the online recognition that you guys are mentioning with what the built-in does. Dragon anywhere cost about $50 per month, but I’ve heard some good things about that.
WADE WINGLER: We are getting some head shakes around the room.
BELVA SMITH: I’ve not had good luck with that one.
WADE WINGLER: Is it recognition or compatibility or accuracy? Smith might all the above.
BRIAN NORTON: Interesting.
WADE WINGLER: Forget getting a sponsorship from them.
JOSH ANDERSON: I have used Dragon Dictation. It’s okay. It works alright. It’s just the free one that does fine. I used to live caption before which works pretty well. I think it is five dollars.
WADE WINGLER: Don’t all those dictate into another app and you would have to copy and paste it into anymore wherever you want the text to land?
JOSH ANDERSON: Pretty much.
WADE WINGLER: The built in one is the only one that will dictate directly into your apps.
JOSH ANDERSON: As far as I know.
BRIAN NORTON: For the apps like you were talking, Wade, quick voice to text is another app. That’s $2.99. Speech notes is a free app for notetaking. Google search, if you’re looking for search tools, is a great one. Siri is a great want to be able to bring that up and do searches for different things. I think there are a lot of apps for speech to text, but like you guys are mentioning, the built in stuff is still pretty good.
FIONA JONES: Make sure you go to your settings and turn it on. Don’t take it to the AT&T store and tell them that you don’t have it, because they will show you how to turn on the dictation.
WADE WINGLER: Oh really?
BRIAN NORTON: Has that happened before?
FIONA JONES: Possibly. You might have to go into the settings if your microphone is not showing up and turn on dictation.
BELVA SMITH: No one in this room had that happen, I’m sure.
FIONA JONES: no one in the room. I’m asking for a friend.
WADE WINGLER: Are you kidding? I am responsible for IT here, and last week I couldn’t get something to work, and the IT guy said that you reboot your computer? I’m like, no. We all forget.
JOSH ANDERSON: Something very important with speech to text or any dictation is proofread what you put on.
BELVA SMITH: Absolutely.
JOSH ANDERSON: Just because I use it all the time, then I’ve had to about it a few times to some of our funding sources for some of the emails that I’ve sent them in the car. Not that I was saying anything bad to other drivers. It just did not say what I said. It could’ve been misconstrued as not what was meant. I was make sure, no matter how good dictation gets, it still misunderstands a sometimes.
BRIAN NORTON: Always proofread. I also ask folks, never just assumed that it is going to get it right. Definitely always have a different type of device. Be ready to use the keyboard to be able to edit and fix things. It’s just not the end all to use the keyboard.
BELVA SMITH: Think about your environment. If you are in a noisy office, obviously none of these are going to work well. You don’t have to be in a perfectly quiet area, but tried to be in a quiet environment if you’re going to be using it. Often times, driving down the road isn’t quiet, even though it may be quiet, you think, but the road noise is still picked up by the microphone.
BRIAN NORTON: You have to understand it is listening to everything and translate everything it hears. That can be a real challenge. If you are listeners have used any type of speech to text at before, definitely let us know about it. If anybody has had some different experiences with Dragon anywhere, we would love to hear about that. You can reach out to us on our listener line at 317-721-7124 or send us an email at We would love to hear from you on the question.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question kind of deals with a question we answer a while back. Deals with JAWS 18 not booting up correctly or not coming on when Windows 10 startup. We got this question a while back, we thought we might answer it again because it bears repeating.
BELVA SMITH: I think when we got it the first time, we give them all of the basic things you want to make sure you do. I remember telling him make sure it’s in your startup folder, which the set up folder in Windows 10 is really buried. It’s just not easy to find. We give him the simple answers. It’s not just one thing. There are a whole combination of things that need to come together to make it really work.
BRIAN NORTON: I’ll read this one off. It turns out that under settings on the computer in Windows 10, there is a what the power button does button underneath the advanced settings. There is a checkbox to turn on for fast startup. You might take a look at that a little bit. What we’ve learned is that when that checkbox is checked, when a computer is shut down, it really doesn’t completely shut itself down. When you restart, JAWS may or may not come up. Here’s how to fix that. If you press your Windows key, you can then go to settings, and under settings you can choose system. Under system you can choose power and sleep, and then you can click on additional power settings. You can click on choose what the power button does, and then under their make sure that the checkbox for turn on fast startup is unchecked, even though it is recommended to be turned on. It seems like that will resolve the problem you run into.
BELVA SMITH: I think fast startup is kind of the same thing as hibernation used to be. If you recall back in the day, you didn’t want to use hibernation, especially if you’re using ZoomText. JAWS didn’t seem to have somewhat of an issue with it, but ZoomText did. It would either not come back on, or would come back on but not with your features applied. I recently ran into the same situation, installed JAWS 2018 on a Windows 10 PC, and I followed all of those same instructions. I even googled it and did some other things that it suggested and still no go. Every time I would turn on the computer, there was no JAWS. I finally contacted freedom scientific tech support, and they told me that though I did all those things and all those things were necessary, there was one thing I hadn’t done which was under the JAWS basic settings — this is within the JAWS interface — underneath the basic settings, you want to make sure that under the start JAWS option, both of the check boxes are checked. The first one is to start JAWS at the logon screen, and then start JAWS after the logon screen. I put two checkmarks in there, rebooted the computer, JAWS came on just fine.
BRIAN NORTON: I was that you could only check one of those. But you can check both of them?
BELVA SMITH: You can certainly check both of them.
BRIAN NORTON: Interesting. So if you have JAWS 18 and Windows 10 issues at startup, possibly doing a couple of those things might fix your issue, again looking at choosing with the power button does, turning off the fast startup, and also checking to start before and after login in the JAWS startup menu.
BELVA SMITH: I think I emailed you immediately because I thought, I’ve dragged it to the start folder. I’ve done everything I could think of doing. When they told me this, I was like, what, I didn’t even know you could check both of these. We had better tell our listeners that.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s a good fix. I never even thought to check both of them.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent.
WADE WINGLER: And now it’s time for the about card question.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is our wildcard question. That’s where I passed the mic over to Wade and he asks us an off-the-wall question. What have you got?
WADE WINGLER: Just for the record, we do have enough microphones here for everybody. Brian early doesn’t have to pass it around each time. He would like to make me feel guilty that I’m taking his microphone.
BELVA SMITH: Not only do we all have our own microphones, but we even have one for our guest.
WADE WINGLER: We have one for sienna with a spit guard on it in case she slobbers on the microphone.
BELVA SMITH: It’s like newlyweds where we only have two dinner plates. That’s all they need.
WADE WINGLER: You are one of those, right?
FIONA JONES: Yep, that’s me.
BELVA SMITH: I know right?
WADE WINGLER: Fiona got married over the holidays so we met her, and she came back with a different last name. Then she’s going to leave and be doctor, so we don’t know what her name really is. It’s just a moving target.
My wildcard question applies everybody except for me and Fiona because we didn’t get to go to Orlando. This is a softball wildcard question. Three of you went to ATIA last week. I would like to know what was the coolest thing you saw. And Fiona, the question for you is going to be if you were to be allowed to participate in such a thing as an AT conference, what kinds of things might you look for when you go there? I’m going to start with those who have attended, and then we will get your perspective on what kind of cool stuff you would like to do because we didn’t get to go and we’re going to try to make them feel guilty.
BELVA SMITH: I think the coolest thing we bought back with us is called the C Pen. This is technology that has been around since at least 2003.
WADE WINGLER: “Sea” as in the ocean, or “C” as in cookie?
BELVA SMITH: “C” as in cookie.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s not a cookie pen though.
BELVA SMITH: It’s a scanning pen. I bet you may recall the name of the original one.
WADE WINGLER: The B pen? Or the A pen?
BRIAN NORTON: The dictionary pen.
BELVA SMITH: Just a pen that you run across the text and it’s supposed to be able to read it to you. I am or when it first came out, everyone in the blind community was so excited because this is going to be so portable and so awesome. And it was awful. It did a really bad job.
BRIAN NORTON: I think it was because those old pens use sort of the fax machine approach to being able to scan. The new ones don’t. They use cameras.
BELVA SMITH: I think you are probably right about that. The C Pen is not available and it is about $250. It is very small and portable, and I was very impressed with the improvement in the technology. I don’t think it is the thing you’re going to sit down and read a book with, but to get quick access to some print if you are filling out a rental agreement or any kind of document when you’re buying a house or something like that. Also this does include a dictionary, and one model includes a recorder. You could be using it for your digital recorder in class as well as a quick way to get print access. And it connects to a computer’s everything can be downloaded to the computer.
JOSH ANDERSON: They made another version that people can use on exams that doesn’t have the extra features. It’ll just read. Soup the student needs it to read the test to him, they wouldn’t have to have a teacher. They could use it to read the test.
BELVA SMITH: I don’t think it is necessarily just for the individual who may be blind or low vision, but for anybody who is going to benefit from having the text read aloud to them. In my opinion, because of the cost and the improvement in the technology, I think that was something that made me go wow.
JOSH ANDERSON: I sat in a couple of sessions from Microsoft and some of the accessibility they are putting into Office 365. They were showing off new dictation that they were building into word as an add-on. As they were using it, you don’t have to say period. You don’t have to say those kinds of things. It just popped right in.
WADE WINGLER: Auto punctuate?
JOSH ANDERSON: It uses the same technology as translate, so if I want to sit there and dictate my entire paper in Spanish and have it show up in English, it will do it. The really cool one, and it is an add-on for one notes, but you can do for word as well, was something called learning tools, but has something in it called immersive reader. It isn’t just a scan and read so you can use your office lens on your phone, snap a picture of a whole book, bring it over to one note, open it up and it will read the whole thing to you. You can change the colors. You can change the spacing get that it’s a problem with reading. You can separate all words by syllable. You can find all the nouns, find the verbs, find the adjectives. It can do a lot of things and it’s all free. It’s built on the same artificial intelligence they are using for Seeing AI and some of their other stuff. Microsoft is starting to go the way that I think Apple went a long time ago with trying to make everything available for anyone to where accessibility isn’t something somebody has to look for and try to find.
Some of the new braille displays were pretty neat.
BELVA SMITH: I’m glad you brought that up because I was thinking I should mention the new braille displays.
JOSH ANDERSON: Your time is up. My turn. I’m just getting. Go ahead.
BELVA SMITH: Hims (phonetic) has a new series of the braille displays that is like an ergonomic keyboard, but it is an ergonomic display, so rather than having her fingers lay flat to read the braille cells, it is kind of curved. What was it? Is it auto scanning? As you move your finger across the cells, when you get to the end, you don’t have to look for a navigate button.
BRIAN NORTON: It has an auto return.
BELVA SMITH: It just automatically moves, and you bring your finger back and reread. Now if you want to go back and see, then you have to go to the navigate button.
JOSH ANDERSON: It was pretty cool just because, kind of like we were talking, if you are somebody who needs to read a lot of text, it used to be a fourteen cell would be terrible because it would take forever, but with it auto advancing like that, you can probably get away with a small device. That’s pretty cool. That’s first one I’ve seen that could do that.
BELVA SMITH: It’ll be interesting to see how people really feel about the design of it.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s different than traditional braille displays. For me, to go a little bit along with Josh, Microsoft, a lot of add-ons were there. Google had a fairly large booth there as well. I think it’s a movement. We’ve seen big companies like Microsoft and Google and Apple has been there for a while, building technology. You just wonder what is going to look like 10 years from now as we have these third party software companies that are all about assistive technology. Now the big companies are starting to buy into it and incorporate it into their software, into their operating systems. It was interesting to see bigger players continue to jump on board and show up at a small conference that probably wasn’t on their radar 15 or 10 or 5 years ago.
BELVA SMITH: Somebody asked me recently, do you really consider Apple and Microsoft and Google accessibility companies? Yes, you do. The minute they started including the screen readers and everything else, yeah.
BRIAN NORTON: There is a vested interest, and that has stuck out to me. A lot of the things I want to related to state AT Act programs, so I didn’t get into all of the techie sessions that were at the conference. I spent a lot of time talking about Assistive Technology Act stuff.
JOSH ANDERSON: He was at the pool.
BRIAN NORTON: We had piña colada’s at the pool. It’s pretty much a midday meeting for all AT Act directors. I was interested to see the assistive technology companies that are out there, they’re not coming out with a standalone version. They are designing apps. EquatIO is a Chrome addon for the chrome browser. It’s not the standalone software packages anymore. They are building on subscription-based or extensions or the kinds of things that go into your different platforms.
WADE WINGLER: When Windows 95 came out, Microsoft came to ATIA that year and everybody was freaking out. They said Microsoft is here; they are going to eat our industry and make the whole thing go away. That was a long time ago. The next thing they did was Windows Vista which was horrible. It is different now because Apple came out, and in my opinion, iPhone accessibility was the first thing where a mainstream computer technology company came out a very viable product and started to sort of cut in on what the industry is doing. So they are doing it better now, but it’s not the first time that they’ve been there. Now Google didn’t exist back then.
BELVA SMITH: But Google has really come to the game ready to play. Haven’t they? I went to a session on the Chromebooks and how accessible they are for a child who may be visually impaired or blind. You open it up for $250 and you’re ready to go do your class work.
WADE WINGLER: Fiona, as you and I, neither one got to go to the conference, if you went, do you think it would be interesting, and what kinds of things might you look for if you were attending and AT conference?
FIONA JONES: I think it would be interesting to go because an occupational therapy school, we learn tidbits about assistive technology. Some of our classes taught and it here or there. In the five weeks I’ve been here, I’ve realized we only learn a tidbit of technology. What is out there to help and how much there is a ton of stuff that is just free that we can use during our therapy sessions. I’m not a speech therapist, but I can use all of these types of speech to text apps and things like that and the screen readers. I think you would be interesting to look at all the technology that can be used as a therapist during my sessions with kids, adults, older adults, younger adults, and just relating that to how I can help increase their function. Sometimes we do have those barriers, even the language barriers of people who don’t always have contact with, someone who can translate for us or they have to pay as we don’t have that. A lot of our information is missed because there is a language barrier, especially around the Indianapolis area. It’s always hard as a therapist to want to give people the information but because you don’t know their language and they get comfortable and we can comfortable. All those different apps and add-ons that can help us help our patients.
WADE WINGLER: I think that’s an interesting insight. I’ll do a quick plug. I don’t have an episode number yet. We had three staff members attend for the first time this year, and I want to do a panel with them coming up in an upcoming episode of assistive technology update and talk about what you learn and what was your first trip to ATIA like and all those things. It’ll be interesting to pull the conversation together and get some of the insight as well.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent. Thank you everybody for listening and joining us today. I want to thank the folks here in the room. Belva, you want to say hey?
BELVA SMITH: See you again in a couple of weeks.
JOSH ANDERSON: Can’t wait to see you again.
FIONA JONES: Maybe I’ll talk to you again? It depends on if they invite me back.
BRIAN NORTON: And also Wade.
WADE WINGLER: Maybe I’ll talk to you again.
BRIAN NORTON: You’re gonna. We’re going to make you. Thank you for listening to us this week. Don’t forget to send us your questions by calling our listener line at 317-721-7124, or sending us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ, or emailing us at We certainly want your questions and would love your feedback. In fact, without those, we really don’t have a show, so be a part of it. Have a great one and we will talk to you guys in a couple of weeks.
WADE WINGLER: Information provided on Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions does not constitute a product endorsement. Our comments are not intended as recommendations, nor is our show evaluative in nature. Assistive Technology FAQ is hosted by Brian Norton; gets editorial support from Mark Stewart and Belva Smith; is produced by me, Wade Wingler; and receives support from Easter Seals Crossroads and the INDATA project. ATFAQ is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more of our shows at
***Transcript provided by TJ Cortopassi. For requests and inquiries, contact***