ATFAQ080 – Q1- 18 cell refreshable braille display Q2- College Notetaking devices Q3- College Disability Offices – Q4- Live Listen on AirPods iOS12 Q5- Jaws touchscreen support Q6- Music Therapy apps Q7- Wildcard question: Google bundled apps on Android


ATFAQ logo

Panel – Brian Norton, Josh Anderson, Belva Smith, and Wade Wingler – Q1- 18 cell refreshable braille display Q2- College Notetaking devices Q3- College Disability Offices – Q4- Live Listen on AirPods iOS12 Q5- Jaws touchscreen support Q6- Music Therapy apps Q7- Wildcard question: Google bundled apps on Android.

Music Therapists Sharing Favourite Apps

——-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 80.  My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of the show.  We are so happy that you’ve tuned in this week.  But before we jump into the questions, I just want to take a moment to go around the room and introduce the folks that are here with me.  First, I want to welcome Belva.

BELVA SMITH:  Hey everybody.

BRIAN NORTON:  How’s it going?


WADE WINGLER:  Belva is in on her day off.

BELVA SMITH:  What a better day to spend your vacation, right?

BRIAN NORTON:  That’s the way I role as a director.  People come in on their days off.  I did it to Laura a couple of weeks ago.  She’s our Accessibility minute guru, puts together that podcast.  I did that to her last week.  I’m awful.

WADE WINGLER:  We weren’t going to say anything.

BRIAN NORTON:  Other folks in here, Josh.  You want to say hey?

JOSH ANDERSON:  Hi everybody.

BRIAN NORTON:  We also have Wade.

WADE WINGLER:  Hello, hello, hello.

BRIAN NORTON:  Excellent.  For folks who are new to the show, I want to take a moment to talk about the format of our show, how it works.  Throughout the week, we receive feedback and questions from folks about all sorts of things assistive technology.  We go ahead and put a show together based on that.  We gather up every couple of weeks, look at the questions we had and do our best to sit here and answer them.

A couple of things we look for, those questions and feedback because we try our best to answer questions.  You guys have lots of experience with different types of technologies as well, and we rely on you to fill in the gaps where we might not have covered something.  We have a variety of ways for you guys to get in contact with us.  The first would be our listener line.  Our listener line is 317-721-7124.  We really love that method of communication, simply because we can get your voice on voicemail and play that on the show.  It puts more people on the show than just the folks here in the room.  They are the ways to get a hold of us, email is  Or you can send us a tweet with hashtag ATFAQ.  We gather those up as well.

If you’re trying to tell other folks about the show as well, you can find in a variety of places.  ITunes.  We do have a website set up, You can also find us on stitcher, Google play store, and a variety of other places.  If you want to tell other folks, friends, family about the show, let them know about it, we would love to have them start listening.

BELVA SMITH:  I didn’t even know we had a ATFAQshow website.


BELVA SMITH:  Do we put all of our show notes there?

BRIAN NORTON:  Yes.  We have links to our show notes.  You can download it directly from the page.

BELVA SMITH:  That’s awesome.

BRIAN NORTON:  We didn’t get any feedback this past week or past couple of weeks.  I don’t know if you guys have been listening, we did a best-of show last time because we were all away at something we call gotcha camp, which is a camp that we throw here in Indianapolis at a local University for kids who use augmentative communication devices to communicate with each other.  We put on an outdoor, fun, really exciting.


BRIAN NORTON:  Where we do all sorts of fun things.  We are all back now ready to get in the group of producing the show and getting it out to you guys.



[4:22] Question One – 18 cell refreshable braille display



BRIAN NORTON:  The first question is, I was wondering if anyone had a price for an 18 cell refreshable braille panel as well as a place to order them?

I know there are lots —

WADE WINGLER:  Yeah, Belva’s house of used braille equipment online.

BELVA SMITH:  Exactly, that’s what I was thinking.


BRIAN NORTON:  Craigslist, all those other fun places.

BELVA SMITH:  There are several different 18 cell and 14 cell, but this person is asking specifically for the 18 cell.  I found one that I think is probably going to be one of the more recommended one, would be that refreshable braille from APH, or American printing house.  It runs right around $1600.

BRIAN NORTON:  They are sometimes one of the more affordable places.  Is that right?

BELVA SMITH:  That’s correct.  Also there is an 18 cell note taker if you’re looking for a note taker that could be used as your braille display.  It’s about twice the amount but is from HIMS. It runs right around $3400.  If you are looking to buy a used one —

BRIAN NORTON:  Is there a name for the one from HIMS?

BELVA SMITH:  Braillesense U2 mini. If you are looking to purchase a used one, you might check out the website.  I looked and they actually have one of the refreshables that I first talked about for $1600, for $1200.  I don’t know if you would have any interest in purchasing a used one or not.

The thing I would suggest, if you are in the market to buy one, unless you already had your hands on one and tried it, I would highly suggest that you try to look for your local assistive technology act — for us here that would be INDATA — so that you can get your hands on it.  The braille displays are a lot like keyboards.  They all feel differently, the way that the keys feel when you press them.  I would highly suggest getting your hands on one and feeling what it feels like before you make that purchase.

The price between the 18 cell and 14 cell is very little actually.  If a 14 cell would work for you, there’s also a wide variety of those as well.

BRIAN NORTON:  The new one from APH, which is the orbit meter 20, is that something you are going to talk about?

BELVA SMITH:  Josh and I just discussed that one as well.  That one is extremely affordable.  The reviews that I’ve heard on it are kind of in the middle.  Some people are absolutely loving it, and some people just don’t like it at all.


BELVA SMITH:  Under $600 for sure.  That would definitely be one to look at.  If you go to the APH website, they actually have a huge list of different ones so that you can compare them back and forth.

BRIAN NORTON: That’s The reason that the orbit meter 20 is less expensive, it’s a new methodology or mechanics behind the scene of how to raise and lower those dots.  With that new method, hopefully there is less maintenance and those kinds of things.  I think maintenance has always been the thing with braille panels, because you are running fingers across the braille all the time, all day long, they are going to break the actuators that were pushing the pins up.  The new way they are doing with the orbit meter 20, they were able to significantly lower the cost of what they are doing with that particular braille panel.

That may be why it gets mixed reviews, because it’s different.  It’s different how it raises them up, and maybe the field of the braille as a move over it.  For folks who are interested in contacting their local AT act, a great way to do that is if you go to, you can plug in your state, look up assistive technology acts, and it will give you the contact information, address, phone number for the director and all of the various programs.  The program you will probably want to look for is device loan or device demo.  Take a look for your local assistive technology act.



[9:18] Question Two – College Notetaking devices



BRIAN NORTON:  So the next question is a question we’ve handled many times, but again this is frequently asked questions.

WADE WINGLER:  For real!

BRIAN NORTON:  This is for real this time.  I know we all know school is coming up here and just another month.  My daughters go back to high school and middle school in a week.  I know school is just around the corner, and the question pertains to that.  The question is, I recently graduated from high school and will be heading off to college this fall.  With that being the case, I’m looking for a notetaking tool that will help me in class.  I have difficulty taking notes quickly enough in class to keep up with my professors.  Any suggestions?

I know that’s something that, in our clinical department, we work with a lot of students in the transitional phase between high school and college.  That is a big issue for a lot of folks, doing two things simultaneously, not only listening to the professor but writing notes.  I don’t know for you, but for me, when I’m writing notes, I’m not necessarily completely is listening to the professor.  I may be missing something.

BELVA SMITH:  That’s me.  I’m focusing more on what I’m writing rather than what she may be speaking about.

BRIAN NORTON:  Conversely when I’m listening to them and really paying attention to them, I’m not taking notes and capturing information.  That becomes a challenge for me.

WADE WINGLER:  It’s a complex skill, notetaking.

BRIAN NORTON:  It really is.  There are lots of tools out there.

BELVA SMITH:  We are all going to jump in I want here.  We kind of looked across the room.  I think this is the list you populated, Brian.  I have not had experience with a lot of the ones on here.  I think primarily because the all of them are accessible by folks who are blind or visually impaired.  However, the second when you have listed is the live scribe Echo pen.  To me, that is one of the best ones, if you can get your hands on one of those.  The way that works is it is a special pen that you use special notebooks with.  They are fairly affordable, unless they changed in price.

BRIAN NORTON:  They are still about $120, $130.  That includes your peripherals, notebooks and things like that.

BELVA SMITH:  It’s so easy to bookmark or highlight a special area to play back.  You basically turn the pen on and start writing your notes, and then it just records everything that’s going on.  You don’t have to worry about capturing everything.  When I have helped individuals use that, the way that I suggest that they use it is they just pick out the highlights of the lecture or the class so that they can go back and use those highlights to get the information that was being spoken.  If I’m not mistaken, you can go to a specific time within the recording and say this is all I want to listen to and not the whole thing.  I really like those.

Of course, the digital recorders because those are very inexpensive and something you can do — I usually get the Olympus ones, so I recommend the Olympus one because if you get the correct one, it’s got the USB connector as part of the recorder so you can basically do your recording, plug it into your computer.  In fact, I use an Olympus WS110 with a lot of my training.

BRIAN NORTON:  That’s a real popular one.

BELVA SMITH:  And very inexpensive nowadays.  You just plug it into the computer and transfer the audio file.  You don’t have to have any special playback software, Windows media player will play that for you.  That’s another great method.  The only bad part about that is if you are visual, you don’t get to see.  You are only getting the audio.  With the live scribe, you do still get to see the text as well.

BRIAN NORTON:  I think with the digital recorders, what I love about the digital recorders is no one wants to go back after listening to their professor go on after an hour, hour and a half, and have to relisten.  You can use index buttons to chop that up.  For folks who are blind or visually impaired, instead of having to listen to the whole thing over to find the right spot, you can simply forward to your next index mark.  That’s basically were you mark an important part of the tape.

The same thing with a live scribe Echo pen.  Josh, we’ve talked before and you do some interesting things with that with your clients.  Instead of taking detailed notes, you can just simply write a symbol or writes a small, two or three word reference point or something like that.

JOSH ANDERSON:  I have folks who are graphic designer for things like that, much more visual learners that will sit there and not doodle during class but will draw pictures of whatever reminds them that the professor was talking about so they can just touch that part of their notes and go right back and get the information.

BRIAN NORTON:  I was going to mention, because there is a progression when I think of notetaking.  As I meet with folks in the evaluation with them, I start with the basics.  Let’s talk about pen and paper.  Us talk about the live scribe pen.  And then I start jumping into apps as well like notability and audio note.  Audio note and notability are very similar to the live scribe pen and that they record the audio.  They use the microphone that’s part of your mobile device to record what’s around them.  Then they allow you to have either a stylus or a keyboard connected to your mobile device to be able to take the notes.  It links those typewritten notes or the handwritten note to take on your mobile device to the audio.  That’s very similar to the live scribe Echo pen.

The differences are, because you are on a mobile device, most of those have cameras and allow you to then do a couple of things.  You can take a picture of the document that the teachers may be referencing.  You can take a picture of the whiteboard at the end of the class to be able to then add those things into your notes as well.  A lot of times as teachers are talking, they are writing things down, drawing diagrams, doing a whole bunch of things that you’ll never be able to necessarily keep up with.  Why not simply go up at the end of class, take a picture, and drop it directly into your notes as well so that you can capture it.

I think that’s the big thing with notetaking, is how much information can I capture in a reasonable amount of time.  Just a couple of others.  That’s notability.  Mobility is only available for iOS, but audio note is available for both —

JOSH ANDERSON:  Notability is Mac and I was only.  Audio note is all of them.  I’ve been using Sonocent

BRIAN NORTON:  That’s a new one to us.

JOSH ANDERSON:  It is.  It’s a little bit newer.  It’s got a lot of neat features.  It’s a little more expensive than some of the other ones, but I do know some universities are starting to offer it through disability services as a notetaking tool.  What I like about it is you can import PowerPoint to it so your notes are not only linked to the sound, the audio, but actually to those PowerPoint presentations that most teachers will put online for students.  It breaks up audio in the blocks so you don’t have to go back and listen to a big chunk of it.  You can actually highlight it and extract just what you want to listen to.

But if you also have Dragon NaturallySpeaking, you can link the two together and it will transcribe your notes.  It doesn’t do it perfectly because we know Dragon learn from you and will not be able to learn from all your professors, but it does a pretty good job.  I’ve even started using it with folks I work with, with hearing impairments.  If you think how much that compounds, that I’m trying to watch the teacher, read their lips, here everything that I can, and write notes, I’m going to miss a lot of information.  The fact that I can have the audio playback when I need it but also have a transcribed so I have it all, it gives a whole lot more information.  It’s available.  You can do a 30 day trial.  You can download it to your computer and try it out for 30 days and then decide if you want to buy it.  I believe it has a yearly fee or you can buy a perpetual license for those.  The important thing is probably to figure out which one will work best for you.  If you like handwriting notes, go with the live scribe pen.  If you prefer to type notes or already have an iPad or computer you plan on taking to class, figure out something that’s going to work on that device and what you are use to.  Don’t try to completely reinvent the wheel.

And then there are also scribes through school that can help out.

BELVA SMITH:  That’s what I was getting ready to say.  In some cases, some schools, it’s a reasonable accommodation to have a live notetaker, correct?

JOSH ANDERSON:  Most definitely.

BELVA SMITH:  I think it’s less use now because of all the technology that is available, but back in the day that was a very common way to get your notes.  I heard a lot of people that weren’t happy with that method because the way Brian would take notes and I would take notes is very different.

BRIAN NORTON:  What she is saying is Brian takes them the right way, and I interpret them the wrong way.  That is true.

WADE WINGLER:  I have a follow-up technical question.  Back when I was in college, there were times when I would take a regular audio micro cassette recorder, hit record, and put it at the front of the classroom for the professor so that their audio source would be close to the lecturer.  As we’re talking about, digital recorders you can still do that, but with notability and audio note and Sonocent, can you connect a Bluetooth microphone to those devices so that I could park a microphone at the front of the classroom, have the Bluetooth microphone connected to my iPad or laptop and then sit elsewhere in the room? In big lecture halls, sitting at the back of the room, the distance between the speaker and notetaking device would be an issue.  I’ve wondered about that, and I wonder if you guys have tried that.

JOSH ANDERSON:  You can.  With notability on iPads, I’ve used a Nolan live mic. There are about $60 on Amazon.  They are pretty good.  Like any Bluetooth thing, they have a bit of a problem with disconnecting sometimes.  It’s very small, can even be worn on a lapel if need be if you need your professor to, but you can also set it up there.

A lot of times with Sonocent, if I’m using something on a computer, there is a microphone called the blue snowflake.  It actually connected via USB, but it gets a lot of sound.  As long as you can sit pretty close to the front and if your professor has an invoice prediction at all, it really gets pretty darn good recordings.  It kind of records everything in front of you, so if the person in front of you is chomping the gum or rustling paper, you might get that.  Maybe try to get away from the person a little bit because you’re going to get that in your recording.  It does a pretty good job.  The microphones built in — I agree with you, Wade — maybe not going to get everything you need unless you can sit front and center and they stand behind a podium and don’t move.

BRIAN NORTON:  That’s with all technology.  I think there is some give-and-take.  When I’ve worked with folks in the past, I’ve used little boom mic that’s called an iMac that you can stick into the microphone jack and sticks up above.  It’s just a boom mic.  I’ve always asked them, in order for this to work really well for you, it’s maybe a change in how you’re going to need to position yourself in the classroom.  You definitely want to be up front.  Does it all the way at the back.  I think with all these technologies, this could be some give-and-take about things that you’re going to have to give in order to get the best quality out what you’re using.

That’s a good question.  I’ve never used a Bluetooth microphone.  That would be pretty cool.

BELVA SMITH:  I would just like to add before we move on to the next question, hopefully this person has already spoken with some of their professors and disability services, wherever they are going to be going to school.  They may already have some technology available that the person might be able to use to assist with notetaking.  But like using any of the recorders, if the professor doesn’t know that you’re doing that as a reasonable accommodation, they may try to prevent you from it.  You want to get all that worked out in advance.

BRIAN NORTON:  I just wonder, maybe next week we can tackle a follow-up question that goes with this.  Once you take the notes, then you — what do you do with them? Maybe we can tackle that in our next show and talk about how you take notes and what kind of to do list you use, what is your workflow from once you have your notes to what do you do with them and how to categorize them.  Maybe we can dig into that a little bit for folks, just to go deeper and further with that question.





Brian Mack don’t forget, if you guys have used different notetaker is.  We mentioned several here today.  But if you use different types of notetaking devices and you think those are useful it would be helpful for folks who are listening to the show, please let us know.  We’d love to hear from you.  That call in number is 317-721-7124.  We would love to hear from you and be able to fill that question and a little bit more.

Our next question is in the vein of it to school time and we are heading back in the not-too-distant future.  This has to do with universities and who to get in touch with once you get there.  This one is, I’m headed to Indiana University in about a month and I’m not sure who to reach out to so I can get accommodations set up for my classroom.  At high school, I had a scribe for notetaking and completing test and had extra time on tests as well, so any suggestion would be helpful for who to contact want to get there.

I think most of those offices are going to want different types of paperwork.  Documentation of disability.  You probably want to bring a copy of your IEP from high school if you have one.  It sounds like this particular person did.  If they had this particular accommodation available to them during high school, they probably have an IEP there. Most of the time when I’m looking for the disability resource Center, disability office at a college, you can simply go to their website, go to the search field, type in disability and it will typically come up with the office that you would call.  Sometimes they don’t have a dedicated office.  Sometimes it’s under admissions or some other department within the University.  Again, that depends on the size of the University.  You can usually find it there.

Here at Easter Seals in the INDATA Project, we’ve made a little bit easier in folks in Indiana.  If you go to our website, it’s, you can go there and there is a listing of every college in the state of Indiana.  If you click on the name of the college, it’s going to take you to their page where you can find information about who to call or contact regarding disability services.  Here in Indiana, but not elsewhere, if you go to their homepage you’ll be able to find it.

BELVA SMITH:  Two things before we move on to the next one, I hope that this person has already gone the answer to this question and I started to move forward with this.  This is something that you really want to have a head start on.  You don’t want to wait for school to start.  Often times when we sit down and evaluations for students that are getting ready to go into college, they haven’t made that move yet.  Sometimes is simply because they are not aware, because you don’t know what you don’t know.  It’s just important that you get a head start on that stuff.  Also I think it’s important to say that just because you had an accommodation in high school doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get it in college.  I have seen it happen on more than one occasion.  Another reason you want to make sure to get a head start on that.

BRIAN NORTON:  Let’s be honest, the supports that are set up for folks in K-12 through high school are much different than you’ll find in the college environment.  In high school, there is the IEP process that props students up and provide some support.  It is mandated and they meet periodically to discuss progress on the particular goals that are set up for individuals.  Once you make it to college, most of the time you won’t get anything unless you ask for it.  It’s all on you at that point.  Seeking out the folks that you need to talk to, you become a self advocate about why you did that and how to go about finding those folks.  This is a great lead in.  I think a lot of folks might find themselves in that boat and they just don’t know that there are services available, but you have to seek them out and advocate for yourself to be able to put them in place. It’s not just you do it once and it’s over.  You continue the advocacy throughout college because you are going to get new professors and new classes.  All of those professors through the office of disability or academic resources — what’s it called? Adaptive educational services are going to be able to need to talk to those professors and set of those accommodations for you and each class as you proceed with your education.

WADE WINGLER:  I think you’ll find that most professors, most faculty are familiar with the process.  They are pretty used to getting a letter at the beginning of a semester that says hi, I’m from the office of adaptive educational services or disability student services or whatever, and here is a person who’s going to be in your class and here are the approved accommodations.  They might get extra time, have a notetaker, might need different kinds of things.  They are used to that.  That’s always a good opportunity to engage that professor.  As somebody who does that and I get those letters as a faculty member, I would try to reach out to the student and say hey, cut letter, understand.  Let me know if there is anything specific we need to do or let me know how we are doing with that process.  It’s an opportunity for dialogue.  Don’t forget that that’s a two-way, iterative process to go back and forth and figure out how things are going to be accommodated.

BELVA SMITH:  Sometimes with the smaller colleges, the person who is looking for the accommodation is going to find themselves teaching the professor and those around them as well about the kinds of things that work for them.

WADE WINGLER:  I had a student not long ago in one of my University classes.  I got the letter, and it allowed for extra time and things like that.  But that student reached out to me and said you know what really happens and works really well is if I can get on the phone with you for about 10 minutes once a week just to check in and make sure that the work that I’m doing is meeting your expectations and I’m on track.  We did that through the entire semester.  It was a welcome chance to get to know a student a better.  That was a very simple accommodation I was able to provide.  That wasn’t in the letter.  This person does well with a 10 minute phone call once a week.  That’s what this person was able to say.  Yeah, let’s do that.  It was really good for both of us.

BRIAN NORTON:  That’s really cool.  I think we would be remiss if we didn’t mention voc rehab as a potential funding source for certain things.  Depending on the state and depending on the disability and other types of things, vocational rehabilitation might be someone to contact and see if they would be able to assist in the purchase of different things.  If you get an assessment, they might be able to purchase technology to be able to help you with the aforementioned question about notetaking or scanning and reading materials.  There are services that might be available depending on who is eligible or not eligible through rehab in your state.  Deftly check out your local voc rehab offices and see if you are eligible there.  They do offer some helpful services and funding with regard to accommodations as you get into college and beyond.



[30:02] Question Four – Live Listen on AirPods iOS12



BRIAN NORTON:  Our next question is, have you heard about a new feature coming to AirPods earbuds called live listen on iOS 12? I’m hard of hearing and using a personal amplifier for meetings and large group discussions.  But I’m wondering if this feature called live listen could replace my personal amplifier.  Have you heard of this feature, and are you able to tell me more about it? How it works, and if you think it could be a replacement?

WADE WINGLER:  This is about AirPod earbuds?


WADE WINGLER:  I researched Air Bud.  I’m not prepared for this question.

BRIAN NORTON:  You were looking at the dog?

WADE WINGLER:  The dog that played basketball.

JOSH ANDERSON:  He played football in the second one, didn’t he? Golden receiver?

BRIAN NORTON:  Wade, you are in luck because that’s all about the next question.


BRIAN NORTON:  I think suffice to say, we’ve looked up and did a little digging.  That’s been a feature that’s been around for a wild.  Is that right?

BELVA SMITH:  That’s what I’m finding.

JOSH ANDERSON:  The original live listen, you can connect it to different Bluetooth hearing aids and essentially use your phone as the microphone.  Set it in the middle of the table or closer to the individual talking if you are in a busy area.  It can be used for different ways and I think it — I did not know it was coming to the AirPods, the features, I believe, dependent on what kind of hearing aid you are using.  You can have noise canceling, so if you are in a busy restaurant or place with a lot of background noise, you could have it to some of that stuff out.  You could have it goes more towards the left or more towards the right.  I’m assuming they were going to build those features into where you could use the AirPods for it as well.  But aren’t hearing aids cheaper than AirPods?



BELVA SMITH:  It looks like you can control the on and off and volume through control center.  I think the big news is the fact that it’s going to be controllable and available through the AirPods.  Again, I don’t know.

JOSH ANDERSON:  If you have Bluetooth hearing aids — it doesn’t pair with all them, but it should already pretty well pair with them.

BRIAN NORTON:  I think the difference for a lot of folks is going to be — and why they are coming to the AirPods — is if they are connecting — and a lot of the hearing aids these days, Phonax, Semens, a bunch of other manufacturers of hearing aids produce — they are Bluetooth, have Bluetooth capabilities with things.  A lot of the audio from your different Bluetooth connected device are able to be connected directly to your hearing aids.  Your hearing aids are automatically calibrated to the different sound to hear best, so that makes sense for folks with hearing aids.  But for folks who have used personal listening devices like this person who called in — Smith that’s what I was going to say.

BRIAN NORTON:  They are just simply putting a device out on a table and it’s picking up all the sound and feeding it directly into either Bluetooth headsets or connected headsets for someone.  I think by bringing it to the AirPods, you get a wireless solution for one of those devices.  Again, you will probably be able to play around with a little bit of the sound in the settings for the different tones and the things you hear best, if you hear low tones, high tones, those kinds of things, you can adjust those.  They better suit the hearing and the environment you have.

I’d be hesitant.  I think part of the question was, do you think it would be a replacement.  I would be hesitant until you get a chance to try it out and see because a lot of those dedicated personal amplifying systems, they have a lot of adjustments that may or may not be available directly within the live listen settings.  I’d be hesitant, to be honest with you.

BELVA SMITH:  I wouldn’t get rid of the personal amplifier just yet.  It may be suitable for you, but not for the next person.  I think it’s going to be a very personal thing where you’re going to really have to try it to make that decision.

BRIAN NORTON:  It’s always better to try it before you buy.  I’m not sure by going to the Apple Store —

BELVA SMITH:  That’s what I was going to suggest.  Because they are always noisy anyway because there is always so many people.

BRIAN NORTON:  I’m not sure you’re going to find them out your local assistive technology act just because of the sanitary —


BRIAN NORTON: Ear crud parts of that.

WADE WINGLER:  That makes you want to go to the Apple Store and do that?

JOSH ANDERSON:  That’s a really good point, Wade.

BRIAN NORTON:  I just know I’m not going to buy anything to put into our library, but you can certainly send them over there.  Definitely do that.

BELVA SMITH:  There is always the return policy.  You go to the Apple Store and buy them, and if they don’t work for you, you can return them.  How are you going to know if you don’t try it? Again, it may work for one person and not on the person.  I think I was going down the wrong path when I was thinking of the hearing aid because I really think it’s going to be more of an appropriate usage for a person who is not at the point of using hearing aids.

BRIAN NORTON:  The specific language they used, it provides the ability to enhance audio availability while cutting down on ambient noise for folks with hearing impairments.  It’s going to have some interesting features I’m sure and some ability to adjust the audio settings to a certain degree.  But as a replacement, I’m not quite sure until I would have a chance to mess with that.

I would open it up to listeners.  If they’ve had an experience with different listening devices or maybe we have someone from Apple listening to the podcast, maybe they would be able to answer the question.  It would be interesting to find out.  If you want to let us know, answers to this question or feedback on this question, you can do that.  You can send us a question at  We would love to be able to hear from you.



[36:23] Question Five – Jaws touchscreen support


BRIAN NORTON:  So our next question is a low vision question.  Do you know if JAWS offers touchscreen support?


BRIAN NORTON:  Excellent.

BELVA SMITH:  It’s actually been available since Josh version 15.  Of course, it matters what version of JAWS you are using.  Like with Windows 8, I think they started developing and preparing for the touchscreen.  I personally have never had any experience with using it, but they do have some very informative information on the freedom scientific website.  In fact, if you just Google JAWS screen reader with touchscreen capability, you will pull up all kinds of information about it.

I’ve had people ask about it, but to me that’s kind of like an oxymoron if I’m using the screen reader to touch the screen.  It just doesn’t feel right to me.

BRIAN NORTON:  Is a using gestures kind of like voiceover?

BELVA SMITH:  Yeah.  It’s swiping left, swiping right, and double tapping.  All of the same things you would do with your tablet or phone.

JOSH ANDERSON:  I guess if he had a surface or something like that, I could see where it could be useful if you wanted to disconnect it and maybe have it be more portable.  Other than that, I kind of agree with you, Belva.  Usually you are not touching the screen much if you’re using a screen reader.

WADE WINGLER:  I’m fascinated.  Does automatically — does it come with it enabled, or do you have to say I have a touchscreen computer?

BELVA SMITH:  It’s by default disabled so you do have to go into the settings and enable it.  Then you set up all of the settings as how you want it to work for you.  Again, if you Google JAWS screen reader with touchscreen gestures, there is the step-by-step settings you need to change and also some training pages for how to use your gestures.

BRIAN NORTON:  Interesting.  I’m just fascinated.  I’m also wondering, when the tablets?

BELVA SMITH:  Where I think it was meant to go was with the Windows phones.  But they went away.  Then it just kind of got implemented to working with the PCs and tablet, like you said Josh, the Windows tablets.

BRIAN NORTON:  I’m on a help document from freedom scientific on their website.  There are all sorts of different types of gestures.  Forefinger double taps, to finger swipes left and right.  Everything.  There interesting.

BELVA SMITH:  Like I said, it’s been since JAWS 15 that it’s been available.  We are talking three, four, five years.

BRIAN NORTON:  Interesting.  Will go ahead and include the link to those particular gestures that you might be able to use.  If you’re using a touchscreen laptop like you mentioned, Josh, the surface Pro or any of those service laptops, it might be a good thing to take a look at just as a supplement to use and access JAWS and get the information off of that screen back to you.

BELVA SMITH:  I was just looking at the user’s guide that comes with JAWS 18 earlier this week.  There are two or three pages on gestures.

BRIAN NORTON:  I’m wondering just with our listening audience, if there is anybody who is using touchscreen support, we would love to hear from you, love to talk with you a little bit about that just to see what you might use it for, if it is a supplement to use a keyboard or the types of access.  We would love to hear more about that.  You can give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124.  Send us an email at  With this particular one, I might want to have a conversation with you just about it.  Maybe we can invite you to come on the show this next time to talk more about it as well.  Definitely let us know.

BELVA SMITH:  Clearly it’s something that’s been requested because freedom scientific as put the time and effort into making it happen and develop it further and further.  Clearly there are people who are finding a need and use for it.

BRIAN NORTON:  You mentioned the surface.  It looks like it’s specifically for that platform.  If you have a computer running Windows 8 or later — that includes a touchscreen such as the surface Pro for Microsoft — you can control JAWS directly from the touchscreen.  Very interesting.






BRIAN NORTON:  Our next question is from one of our teammates. Anyone know of any music therapy apps for both iOS and Android? We were kind of tossing that around amongst our clinical team earlier this month.

BELVA SMITH:  Disturbed.  That’s my therapy music.

JOSH ANDERSON:  I was going to say anything by the Grateful Dead.

WADE WINGLER:  Avenged Sevenfold.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Really? That homes you down?

BELVA SMITH:  Brian is like, I don’t know any of that music.  What are you guys talking about?

BRIAN NORTON:  Duran Duran? Journey.  That’s all in my iPod.  I live in the eighties.

BELVA SMITH:  This is a good question because music does play an important role.

BRIAN NORTON:  Sure it does.  One of the things that we came across is there is a website called; I believe it is out of Canada, that’s what it has “.ca.” They have a lot of apps that are there.  They have musical therapists sharing favorite apps.  It gives you a list of different ones.  I’ll pull it up and read some of those off to you.  There’s one called iGuitar; iAutoharp, Note Shelf, Garage Band, Recorder HD, the History of Rock, the History of Jazz.  Which really cool about this is it breaks it up by age a little bit, by different disabilities as well.  I’ll include a link to that particular website where they talk about some favorite apps with regard to music therapy.  Will make sure that shows up in the show notes so that you can see that.  It’s an important topic.  There is a lot of good things that music can do for folks.

I would encourage you — we don’t necessarily get into music therapy within our clinical AT department, so we are not to be fully versed in a lot of these, but a couple of tools that we use a lot to go look for apps would be, one, bridging  We use them a lot.  We’ve mentioned them on the show before.  Tools 4 Life would be another place I would send you.  That’s the Georgia assistive technology act.  They have a really good search tool as well that might be able to provide some results for you.

As always, if we have listeners who may be in the field of musical therapy and those kinds of things, we would love to hear the tools that you guys use.  A great way to provide feedback to our listeners and let us know.  Our email address is, or our listener line is 317-721-7124.  Or send us a tweet with hashtag ATFAQ.  We would love to learn more about that and provide information to our listeners.



[44:35] Wildcard question: Google bundled apps on Android



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

BRIAN NORTON:  The last question of the day is Wade Wingler and his wildcard question.

WADE WINGLER:  Wade’s Wildcard. We should change the name of that segment.


WADE WINGLER:  Today I’ve been looking at the tech news — and we are recording a little bit before the show goes out, so this might be resolved by the then.  There is a lot of news coming out of the UK about Google and Android and bundled apps.  Basically my understanding in terms of how the news is rolling out right now — again, it could change — Google creates the Android operating system, just like Microsoft creates Windows and Apple creates iOS and Mac OS X.  Google creates the Android operating system for smart phones, and they bundle in things like the search capability and chrome browser and other Google apps that go along with that.  Then they give that away to sell for manufacturers who then bundle that onto their Android phones and go from there.  The reason that matters is that Google makes money selling a search engine results and adds.  Google makes money because when you search for stuff, ads pop up, people click those ads, and that’s how Google makes their money.  In Britain, or I guess it’s an EU decision, they’ve decided that it’s now illegal for Google to require Android to be bundled with chrome and its search engine and those things because it is unfair.  The idea is it looks like Google is either going to have to stop creating Android or they are going to have to allow the cell phone manufacturers to put their own browser on it instead of chrome.

The idea is Google is saying things like we can’t do that because that’s how we make our money, that’s how we can afford to make Android, because we force bundle our search engine which then allows us to sell ads.  The question that comes from all this is are we so used to getting things for free that we don’t want to pay for them? Or do we even care about the fact that Google gives away chrome as part of Android, and the trade of week it is we get the stuff for free or a very inexpensive cell phone because they are going to sell ads on the front and.  The business model is different in technology than it was years ago.  It’s kind of like watching broadcast television.  You get the show for free, and in exchange you get the ads, and the advertises get to sell stuff to you.  Should we be mad that this freemium model or advertising model is in jeopardy, and Google may stop developing Android or the business model may change? Or is it time that we step up and start paying for stuff? Google is an amazing search engine, whether or not you care about the ads.  The tools they give you are amazing.  Should we continue to expect those for free?

BRIAN NORTON:  Isn’t this an old issue? When Microsoft started Bing, didn’t they get sued by Google? And when Bing was being installed and was your default browser no matter what, and on Windows computer they cannot with the law that basically said — maybe not the law, but where you got the opportunity when you installed it, you could make anything your default browser.  In my off base on that?

WADE WINGLER:  It’s kind of a similar argument.

BELVA SMITH: Bing is a browser?

JOSH ANDERSON:  It’s a search engine.

BRIAN NORTON:  Web browser, search engine.  I don’t know.  I think it’s been around for a long time.  People are going to use whatever browser they want.  I’m going to use Chrome all the time no matter what device I use, except when I’m on my iPhone.  I’m going to use Safari because that’s what’s built in and works the best.  I don’t know.

WADE WINGLER:  You don’t care.  You clearly don’t care.

BRIAN NORTON:  I don’t care.  I just use a browser and give me my results.

JOSH ANDERSON:  If it’s happening in the EU, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be worldwide.  They have much bigger laws against your use of data and privacy.  I remember when everything happened with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica and those kinds of things, that couldn’t have happened over there just because they are not allowed any of that kind of data.  But at the same time, you can still put the Firefox on your Android phone or something like that.  You can use any which one you want.  I use Safari on my Mac just because is to built in one.  I can understand their argument unlike anything, but at the same time I don’t see people starting to pay for search engines.

WADE WINGLER:  Brian, would you pay for chrome?

BRIAN NORTON:  No, I wouldn’t.  Even though I download it.  I use chrome.  I don’t use Safari even though it is native to my Mac.  I go ahead and download chrome every time.

BELVA SMITH:  But you only do that because it is free.

WADE WINGLER:  And it’s good.

BRIAN NORTON:  It’s what I consider the best browser.

BELVA SMITH:  But you wouldn’t pay for it?

BRIAN NORTON:  I’m waiting for Google to cut me a check now.  What’s that?

BELVA SMITH:  It’s the best one, but you wouldn’t pay for it?


BELVA SMITH:  Then you are doing it because it’s free.

BRIAN NORTON:  I think the differences between those browsers are infinitesimal at this point.  Safari works just as good.  I just don’t like the way Safari sets itself up and the way the browser is set up.  That’s the only thing.  I just prefer the clean environment that chrome offers me.  It gives me an address bar, it gives me my links, and gives me a whole window of my results.

BELVA SMITH:  I think we’ve all been spoiled since the beginning of the Internet, and that if we get any operating system — I don’t care if it on Windows, Mac, Android, whatever — we expect that with the operating system, we will get a browser, and then we have the option to go out and choose a different one if we want.  And I think it will really be a shock if the browser is no longer included and we have to make a decision.  What I pay for a browser? I absolutely would.  But it wouldn’t be chrome.

BRIAN NORTON:  It depends.  If I’m using adaptive software, I wouldn’t be using chrome either.


BRIAN NORTON:  But I’m not, so I’m using chrome.

JOSH ANDERSON:  And how far would actually go? Are they talking about the search engine, or the talking about chrome? I know even if you use Safari on an iOS device and you search something, you’re so using Google.  It’s using Google as the search engine so that data is probably still getting collected, used for ads, and things like that.  How deep could they actually get to even do anything?

WADE WINGLER:  At this point, the news is still unclear.  It’s coming out.  But they are talking about generally unbundling stuff so that Google couldn’t require any particular Google apps to be part of Android.  You would have to give them total choice.  It still unclear.

JOSH ANDERSON:  So with that mean Windows computers wouldn’t have 40 gigs of bloatware? Would that be able to be a possibility? I would be perfectly happy with that.

BELVA SMITH:  Imagine how rich Google could be if they just charged a penny for every search that’s done with their search engine.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Imagine how many people would use Firefox if they did that.

BELVA SMITH:  I’m still saying.  I would like to know the statistics, but I’m guessing Google is the most widely and commonly used, because people Google it.  That became a verb.

JOSH ANDERSON:  It’s actually a verb.

BRIAN NORTON:  I also have to think, I don’t know how many flows in the tech industry and those kinds of things, but I have to think — take Apple.  And I know we are talking about Android.  But take Apple for instance.  They charge so much for a phone.

BELVA SMITH:  Or a computer.

BRIAN NORTON:  Their cost is covered for whatever they did for an operating system.  I would assume it’s covered in the cost of what they’re charging per phone per user.  I know it comes from AT&T, Verizon —

WADE WINGLER:  Samsung is selling the phone.  Google is giving away the OS.

BRIAN NORTON:  Then it becomes are they selling the OS directly to us or to Samsung?

WADE WINGLER:  My understanding is they give it to Samsung and we pay for it by clicking on ads later.

BRIAN NORTON:  So they sell it to Samsung, so the consumer never really sees the cost of that, other than maybe whatever they decide to charge for the software.  Than that gets passed on to the consumer.

WADE WINGLER:  Which is why Android phones are cheaper.  The operating system is supported by Google and is free.  I don’t know if it’s free I assume it is.

JOSH ANDERSON:  If the price of — Apple would be the one rejoicing if the price, suddenly all the LG and Samsung phones are as much as an iPhone.

WADE WINGLER:  With iPhone, Apple controls at all.  The number is 3.5 billion searches per day that Google yields right now, according to some website that looks like it’s an okay website.  3.5 billion searches per day.  40,000 searches per second.

JOSH ANDERSON:  I believe that.

WADE WINGLER:  That’s a lot of pennies.

BRIAN NORTON:  I’m going to come up with my own browser in charge a penny, even if I can get one search every second.

JOSH ANDERSON:  You said you would do pay for browsers, but you want to make one and sell it?

BRIAN NORTON:  People can pay me to use my browser, but I’m not going to pay to use anybody else’s browser.  And if I made one, I would do everything for free.

JOSH ANDERSON:  But it’s only going to be Brian saying, I have a request, and he’ll Google it.

BELVA SMITH:  Does anyone remember the browser — what was it called? Opera? And then the search engine dog pile?

WADE WINGLER:  That was a good one.

BELVA SMITH:  I did use that one for a while.  I’ve never liked Bing.


WADE WINGLER:  Me neither.  I liked Bing Crosby.

JOSH ANDERSON:  Bing cherries are okay.

WADE WINGLER:  Those are great.

JOSH ANDERSON: But Bing search engine, not.

WADE WINGLER:  So we know Brian wouldn’t pay for a browser.

BRIAN NORTON:  I would never pay.

JOSH ANDERSON:  But he would make a paid browser.

WADE WINGLER:  He would sell you a browser.

JOSH ANDERSON:  But he did not sound like he thought that was very cool.

BRIAN NORTON:  Enough of that.  Thank you guys for listening to us today.  Also, please send us your questions.  Send us your feedback for any of the question we talked about today.  I want to be able to pass on that content to you.  Our listener line is 317-721-7124.  You can send us a tweet with hashtag ATFAQ.  Or email us at We definitely want your questions.  In fact, without them, we really don’t have a show.  We definitely want you to be a part of it.

I want to make sure I think the folks here in the studio and give them a chance to say goodbye to you guys.  Belva?

BELVA SMITH:  I’m signing out to go to the beach.

BRIAN NORTON:  Awesome.  And Josh?

JOSH ANDERSON:  I wish I were going to the beach.  By everybody.


WADE WINGLER:  You’re welcome and goodbye.

BRIAN NORTON:  Have a great couple of weeks and we will see you back here a little later on.

WADE WINGLER:  Information provided on Assistive Technology FAQ  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 Josh Anderson 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

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