Panel – Brian Norton, Josh Anderson, Belva Smith, and Wade Wingler – Q1- Wheelchair backpack zipper pulls? Q2- Transcription pedals? Q3- App showdown Notability vs. AudioNote Q4- Spotify Accessibility? Q5- Sending Livescribe Notes to Google Drive or Evernote? Q6- Using phone for emergency alert button? Q7- Wildcard question: Do you still have a desktop computer at home?
—– 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 85. My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of the show. We are so happy that you’ve taken some time to tune in with us this week. Before we jump into some questions, I want to take a moment and go around the room, introduce the folks that are here on our panel.
First is Belva Smith. Belva, how are you doing today?
BELVA SMITH: I’m good. How’s everybody is doing?
BRIAN NORTON: I’m not sure they are going to answer us today. Maybe they can let us know next week. Belva is the vision team lead here at Easter Seals Crossroads. So glad that she took the time to be with us today.
Also have Josh Anderson. How are you doing today?
JOSH ANDERSON: Doing great, Brian. How are you?
BRIAN NORTON: Good. Josh is the manager of clinical assistive technology here at Easter Seals Crossroads. And then we usually have Wade in the room, but he is at home because he sounds like a frog. Wade, are you there?
WADE WINGLER: Hi Brian, hi guys, how are you? I’m at home, sick.
JOSH ANDERSON: You kind of sound like Eeyore.
BRIAN NORTON: You can probably belt out some Barry White.
BELVA SMITH: He’s a real trooper. He’s joining in any way, right?
BRIAN NORTON: That’s right. He cannot miss a show with us.
WADE WINGLER: No, I can’t miss. But don’t count on many answers today. If you hear snoring, just let me know.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent. Wade is the VP here at Easter Seals Crossroads and has been involved with AT for a long time in different roles and places. I’m glad that he’s here with us today.
For folks who are new listeners to the show, I just want to take a moment to talk about what our show is like and what we do here. We collect assistive technology-related questions and solicit your feedback to those questions each week. We set around in a panel and try to put that into a podcast show format. That is what we’re going to do today.
If you guys are looking for ways to participate in the show, we have a variety of ways to get a hold of us. You can send us your questions or feedback at our listener line at 317-721-7124. You can send us an email at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org. Or send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. That is where we go to gather of these questions and look for the feedback.
Also, if you guys have friends or other folks who are interested in the show and you want to send them out to find it, we are all over the place. You can go to iTunes, stitcher, the Google play store. We also have a website where folks can find our show. That that ATFAQshow.com. Just a variety of ways to find that. Let folks know. We would love to be able to have them listen to our show as well.
BELVA SMITH: We actually release every other Monday.
BRIAN NORTON: Correct. We are every two weeks. Every other Monday, the first and third Wednesdays of the month, we go ahead and record. And then we release on the second and fourth Monday of every week — every month.
JOSH ANDERSON: One is the second Monday of every week?
BELVA SMITH: How many Mondays are in your week?
JOSH ANDERSON: Sometimes four.
WADE WINGLER: If there is a fifth Monday, we take them off.
BELVA SMITH: Exactly.
BRIAN NORTON: Sometimes there are four Mondays in a week. Anyway, to jump in today, I thought we would start off with some feedback. We have a message here that was a comment about a person who works at a laundromat and needing to see tags. We had a question a couple of weeks ago, and they had mentioned an app called be my eyes. We will go ahead and take a listen.
[4:29] Feedback – Be My Eyes
SPEAKER: My name is Tom. I’m from Long Island. I’m a first-time listener. On this show, you had a person working in a laundromat that had a couple of seeing tags. I use an app called Be My Eyes. It’s free. You type on a bun, it works of the camera. A volunteer will talk to you through the phone, and apparently they have more volunteers than they do people and it seems to be a good app. Hope that’s helpful. Thank you.
BRIAN NORTON: That is a good at. We’ve talked about Be My Eyes before on the show. It’s a really good app. It’s a lot like other apps that we’ve talked about too, but this one uses a community of people to then describe whatever you take a picture of. Is that right, Belva?
BELVA SMITH: That’s correct. I believe when we answered that question, we mentioned the Aira. It is a service very similar to that, except it is free. The only concern or burp I’ve heard about that one is sometimes it takes a minute to get your response back.
BRIAN NORTON: Because you are setting it out to live people.
BELVA SMITH: Exactly. And you have to wait for someone to answer your request, and then, of course, your connection is going to matter as to how quickly that is going to happen. I’ve got plenty of folks that are using Be My Eyes, and they love it. I appreciate a first-time listener jumping in and sharing.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s awesome.
BELVA SMITH: That’s what we need from our listeners, is to hear what is working with them.
JOSH ANDERSON: With Be My Eyes, it is not just you taking a picture and sending it to them. They can actually live feed into your camera.
BRIAN NORTON: Oh really?
JOSH ANDERSON: Essentially you can hold it over things and say, is this milk expired?
BRIAN NORTON: Like a video camera?
JOSH ANDERSON: Pretty much, yeah. Whenever you first enable it, you give it access to your camera and a microphone as well so you can sit there and interact with the back and forth. Sometimes it does take time to give people. I think it depends on what kind of day, because the caller said if you look, it keeps the statistics. There are more cited folks on it than there are visually impaired. Those are the people that get on help out and answer questions for people.
BELVA SMITH: Connection is going to matter. In a laundromat — I’ve been in some situations where the Wi-Fi connection within the building is not so good, but in others is better. If this particular person were going to be using any one of these services, it would probably be better if they had a good Wi-Fi connection.
BRIAN NORTON: Let me ask you this. With Aira, a big difference is the people who work at Aira are well-trained and what they do and provide audio description of what you’re looking at. With Be My Eyes, anyone can sign up to be a sighted person to provide information.
BELVA SMITH: You could do it. I could do it. And there is no training involved with it. I don’t think that you are on call. You just get a notification that somebody is asking what is this, and you get to choose whether or not you want to chime in and answer.
BRIAN NORTON: Do we know what the cost is?
BELVA SMITH: It’s free.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s a free app? Wonderful. That’s a great person who is in that laundromat, trying to see tags, maybe looking at the cash register.
BELVA SMITH: There’s probably not a cash register, but if it is a situation like the one I was involved in a couple of years ago, we had great difficulty finding technology that would allow her to be able to read. All the screens are digital now, and we had great difficulty trying to find the appropriate technology to allow her as a low vision person to be able to access those digital screens. In fact, we end up doing an iPad, taking a picture, and switching it that way. But having one of these types of apps would’ve probably been a much better solution, because she has to set all the settings. Like I said, it’s all the digital now.
WADE WINGLER: Belva, are some of those videos and photographs — or are they all photographs, in terms of what you sent to the volunteer to identify?
BELVA SMITH: I believe you can do either. I believe you can do it as a video. I know it is a picture, but I believe —
BRIAN NORTON: Josh, you are mentioning a live feed.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s a live feed.
BELVA SMITH: That would be like a video.
BRIAN NORTON: This is great. Thank you for calling in and giving us your feedback and trinkets on to Be My Eyes for this situation. If other folks want to chime in, we are going to be heading through four five, six questions depending on how many we can get to today. If you guys have feedback regarding the question we handle today, let us know. You can give us a call on our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124. We would love to hear from you, as we always do.
[9:21] Question 1 – Wheelchair backpack zipper pulls?
BRIAN NORTON: Without further ado, we’re going to jump into our first question of the day. I believe it’s two questions. Question one is going to be about a zipper pull for a wheelchair backpack, and the second one is she is looking for a dictation pedal. Let’s take a listen.
WADE WINGLER: No, no, one question limit. You can’t do two.
BRIAN NORTON: You can ask as many as you want. Let’s take a listen to this was no.
SPEAKER: Hi, Julie from North Carolina. I had two questions for ATFAQ. My first question is about zipper pulls. My husband has trouble zipping up his backpack from the back of his wheelchair. We are looking for large zipper pulls that he can easily grip. I can’t find them anywhere.
The other question is about a dictation pedal. I’m looking for a dictation pedal that, when you press on a certain way, it will rewind, fast-forward, play, pause, all the things you need for dictation. I haven’t found one of those either. I know they are out of date, but it’s definitely the thing I need. If those aren’t available, can you recommend alternatives to the dictation pedal? Thank you. Have a great day.
BRIAN NORTON: Thank you, Julie for that. We are going to tackle the first one, the zipper pull question first and then we will get to that dictation pedal as well. I believe that is a struggle for lots of people who find themselves in wheelchairs, and they are trying to mess with that backpack to be able to carry the things, wallets, computers, and other things with them while they’re on the go, to reach behind them and pull things out all the time. I do know that they have some large zipper pulls. I looked around at some different places online where you can go to typically find different tools for this. If you look at a lot of OT stores: Sammons Preston is one of them; you can go to MaxiAids; or you can go to LS&S Products to be able to find different things like this. But I didn’t see a lot at those different places.
A couple of the things I did find that might be option for you would be the Maxpedition pulls. If you go to Amazon.com, Maxpedition, M-A-X-P-E-D-I-T-I-O-N. you can get a PACS of six of those. They are really large, so they have large areas free to be up to grab onto as you pull and try to open that zipper and close it. That might be one. There is also something called Spartan zipper pulls. You can find those — let me look and see where I found that. That’s at Manquest.com. They are a pack of six. Those are also some large zipper pulls. And then the other one, Sammons Preston is another one I found. It has a zipper pull that comes in a “T” shit. It’s May to hook the zipper and pull on it. It’s not something that’s going to attach your backpack. I think with the backpack, you’re going to want something that is very large, easy to grab, and reachable from the person who is sitting in the opposite direction on the chair.
WADE WINGLER: My family does a lot of hiking and stuff like that. We’ve learned a trick that if you go and buy para-cord — which you can buy para-cord almost anywhere. You see it on backpack a lot anyway. You can cut that stuff to length and loop it through your regular size zipper pull and make it as big or small as you want. And then you have a really strong thing that you can just grasp. Whether you’re dealing with a spinal cord injury where you have limited grip or no grip, or something like cerebral palsy, you can make a loop as big as you want out of that stuff, and it is super cheap and durable. She might want to think about that as well.
BELVA SMITH: If I’m envisioning it correctly, you would be able to tie something to the end of it to make it easier to hold onto. One end of it, you would run through the zipper head, and the other and you could tie something as a handle on the other. That’s what I was trying to think of, is maybe not something that you’re going to buy off the shelf but something that you can make on your own.
WADE WINGLER: Or just make a loop. Run it through the end of the zipper and tie a knot in it on the other end, and you have a big para-cord loop.
BRIAN NORTON: Interesting.
BELVA SMITH: You could even hook that possibly somewhere to where it is easy to get a hold of. If you let go of it, it’s just going to fall back. Maybe hook it somewhere on the chair.
WADE WINGLER: Put it carabiner on it and attach it to something.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent.
BELVA SMITH: A website found that had several of the zipper aids is called ArthritisSupplies.com. They seem to be fairly reasonable. The most expensive one I’m looking at is $20. Some are as cheap as five dollars. It might be worth looking at the website. They have all different kinds of shapes and sizes, two pages of it.
BRIAN NORTON: What was that?
BELVA SMITH: ArthritisSupplies.com.
BRIAN NORTON: Great place to look. Hopefully that’s some good information about large zipper pulls for backpacks. I would suggest, if anybody has tackled that for themselves and maybe have other suggestions, I’m sure that the common problem for a lot of folks. We would love to hear from them and be able to provide a feedback to our caller.
[15:14] Question 2 – Transcription pedals?
BRIAN NORTON: The other question that was asked was about a dictation pedal. I first ran into dictation pedals a long time ago when we used to do a lot with folks who were doing medical transcription. They would have a pedal that is located underneath of their workstation, and they would be able to press a pedal to start, play, or pause, and then they had a fast-forward or rewind. Rewind would be on your left and fast-forward would be on your right. They would be able to go to the dictation and then be able to type out information as they listen to it. I haven’t seen those in a long time, but I know they are still out there.
One of the things I looked for is transcription gear. I think if you go online, you will be able to find lots of different options as far as the different types of pedal systems you can find. TranscriptionGear.com has a couple of different options for you. You can have an individual pedal for play, pause, rewind and fast-forward. Or you can get one that does a combo pedal for play and pause, and one single one for rewind in one single for fast-forward. TranscriptionGear.com is an option.
Amazon has some of these things as well. Amazon doesn’t sell the foot pedals by themselves, that I could find. But they do have it with software. It’s called Express Scribe Transcription Foot Pedal bundle. It’s about $104, but not only does it come with at the you wear but also the foot pedal, USB version of both of those, and then the software that comes with that. A couple of places to look.
BELVA SMITH: It was my understanding from looking at it on Amazon that you needed the software to have the features for the fast-forward and rewinding.
BRIAN NORTON: Correct.
BELVA SMITH: I could be mistaken, but that’s what I understood when I looked. I also found a website that I would highly suggest looking at. It’s an article on how to choose a transcription foot pedal. Because apparently there’s a lot of stuff you have to consider. First of all, how is it connecting? Is a Mac or PC?
JOSH ANDERSON: Is it USB, is it serial port?
BELVA SMITH: Yes. That was at ahdi-west.org. They have a great article to help you decide which one might be appropriate for you.
BRIAN NORTON: I am looking at Amazon, and you can get the foot pedal by itself. It’s called the infinity USB digital foot control with computer plug, which is the USB version of it. My question for the caller would be what type of software are you using? If you’re using a specific type of software, I’m not sure if it requires a specific type of foot switch. If it does, you may call the software manufacturer to be able to find out more information from them. That would be one thing I would want to know just a little bit more just to make sure we get the right type of information for you.
It looks like there are all types of the controls, but we want to make sure that it works with the software that you’re using first. Are we all in agreement on that?
BELVA SMITH: 100 percent.
JOSH ANDERSON: For sure.
BELVA SMITH: That’s why I think it’s important to look at the article. I think it’s important to make sure you’re taking into consideration all of the values of this and making sure you are choosing the correct one.
BRIAN NORTON: If Julie, as the caller, if you want to give us a call back, we would love to hear more information on that. If you do have more information on exactly what you’re using that dictation pedal for, maybe we can get you some better information on that. Maybe if there are other folks who have experience with a dictation pedals, and maybe know some other place it to be able to get those for folks, or maybe even more information on how they work and what they will work with, we would love to hear from you as well. You can send us an email at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org. Or you can send us a tour with the hashtag ATFAQ. We love to be able to hear from you.
[19:18] Weekly App Showdown: Notability vs. AudioNote
BRIAN NORTON: Now it’s time for our Weekly App Showdown.
So our next question is an app showdown. I’ve been contemplating whether we should handle an app showdown once a week.
JOSH ANDERSON: Can we call it App Thunderdome? Two apps enter —
BRIAN NORTON: Only one app leaves. I like that. Today we are going to talk a little bit about some the ticking apps. The two we decided to put against each other would be Notability and AudioNote, two really popular notetaking app that you can get. Different devices. They don’t work on all devices you might have, so we’re going to hash that out. The purpose of this is to dissect them a little bit, talk about what they do, but and also tell you what the differences are between those. Because they are pretty similar apps. I see some people prefer AudioNote, some people prefer Notability. If you haven’t taken a look at those apps, they are pretty useful and do quite a bit of stuff for you.
Just as a basic description of what the app to do, I kind of compare it a little bit to the live scribe pen, which has been pretty popular for several years. The live scribe pen came out, you are able to take notes with this pen that was also doubling as a digital recorder. As you wrote your notes, you were also recording the audio as you are listening to a lecture or participating in a meeting. What it was doing is, it wasn’t just recording the lecture. It was recording your handwritten notes and making them together so that whenever you got back to your office or to your home or wherever you find yourself, and you wanted to review those notes, you can simply tap the pen to the handwritten text on your page, and it would play the audio from that exact moment you wrote that word. I don’t know about you, but every time I got back to my office, I would find things that — my chicken scratch notes didn’t really make a lot of sense to me. I could simply tap the pen on the note and just here except the what was referenced. That’s really helpful for folks because as you take notes, you’re not necessarily always listening. You are not always able to listen and hear clearly what’s being said. When you are focusing on the instructor or whoever is talking in the meeting, you’re not taking notes. There is a lot of gaps that are left in the ticking skills or the ability to capture information and have it for later on. The live scribe pen kind of made that a little bit more possible for you.
Then came along the iPad and Android devices. What was really cool about those was not only could you do that with a stylus on the iPad, the Notability and AudioNote allow you to handwrite notes with a stylus on your device, and that it will also allow you to record the lecture, the audio, and it will link them together on your device. I think what happened — and was really useful about these apps — is they’ve done a couple of extra things for you as well. They’ve not only allowed to do use a stylus to handwrite your notes, but you can also use a keyboard. I don’t know about you, but I type a lot faster than I write. I can type a lot faster and capture more information more quickly. But on my device, most of the time I have a camera. With my camera, I can walk up to the board or take a picture of the meeting agenda and include those to my notes simply by taking a picture. They made it really easy to capture a bunch information very quickly. That’s a little bit about what Notability and AudioNote are able to do. They are really cool apps for just helping you capture as much information as possible at one time.
BELVA SMITH: If you think about a note taker, you want something that’s going to be easy to use and that’s going to allow you to then go back and pull up your information quickly. I think, in my opinion, that’s probably one of the more important thing is, is being able to retrieve the information. Getting it is one thing, but then being able to get to it quickly is also important. I’ve not had much experience with either one of these apps, primarily because they’re not fully accessible with the screen readers. I recently installed it for a consumer who is low vision, and I personally found it very difficult to use. There is so much to it that it was overwhelming. I feel like if you’re going to use that, it’s something that you would definitely need to play with for a while. Because you are doing it on a tablet, the menu items weren’t identified with text labels. They are identified with graphics. You kind of had to open them to see what they did. Though it was more offensive than the other one, I went with it because I’ve heard good things about it. I’m confident that she’s going to be able to take it and run with it. But in the short time we look at it, I thought it had way too much information coming at me at once.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s a visual product, for sure. Both of these apps are very visual.
JOSH ANDERSON: For sure. Belva, that’s one of the biggest differences I see. If you want just to record and take notes, either by writing or typing, AudioNote is probably the way to go just because it’s more simple. It looks like a piece of paper with a giant record button at the top. That’s 90 percent of what you have going on. But if you want something deeper, Notability has quite a few more features. You can use a PDF as her background and just mark about it and even record and every thing while it is sitting there.
Also, AudioNote is on all the different platforms whereas Notability is fully an Apple product. AudioNote, across all platforms, you can download a free light version and try it out. You try it on your Mac or computer, things like that. And if you find out that — if you have a Mac or iPhone or iPad — if you want more features, maybe try Notability. It’s a little prettier.
BRIAN NORTON: I would agree.
JOSH ANDERSON: Kind of may be more robust, if you’re trying to sync up with other folks and some big projects. But if you just want something to take notes, AudioNote is pretty good. The other thing I’ve noticed with Notability, the recording feature is almost an afterthought. There is a little microphone at the top, but it’s not the big centered of attention part.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s not a prominent feature within the app, for sure.
JOSH ANDERSON: I can’t remember. I know AudioNote always puts the time next to whatever you are typing, as far as the time it is in the recording. I don’t know if Notability does that or not.
BRIAN NORTON: I don’t think it does.
BELVA SMITH: I don’t think it does.
BRIAN NORTON: I think you can tap and were on anything and it will start reading.
JOSH ANDERSON: It will still get you where you need to be.
BRIAN NORTON: Right. Just to run down, I’ll talk a little bit about notability, and I’m wondering if, Josh, you can just run down these same things with AudioNote. Notability is $12.99. It’s only available for Apple devices, so your iOS devices and MacBook computers —
BELVA SMITH: Android too, right?
BRIAN NORTON: It is not available for Android. Notability is simply an Apple app. You can import from a lot of different places. One of the things with taking notes, if you’re getting information from the teacher like a PowerPoint, PDF file, a document, maybe even an image — if it’s an image from something within a book and you want to take notes on it does you can import from a lot of different places these types of files to be the background for your notes. You can import from a PDF file, PowerPoint, documents, images or GIFs, and much more to be the background within notability for your notes. The other thing it does is allow you to sync with a lot of different cloud services. So if you want to save your notes to places like Airdrop or Dropbox, Google drive, Box.com, OneDrive, you get a lot of options as far as where you can save your information once you’ve recorded it. Definitely something to look into. Josh, I think Audio Note is simple, straightforward. AudioNote has a lot of features. In fact, it’s a feature-rich app.
JOSH ANDERSON: I think you meant that the other way.
BELVA SMITH: Notability.
JOSH ANDERSON: Notability is the future rich app.
BRIAN NORTON: Sorry, I twisted the around.
BELVA SMITH: But I’ll tell you why I chose notability in the situation I was recently end, was because of the whiteboard. She would be able to — as the teacher is writing stuff on the whiteboard, if you could take a picture of that and connect that to her notes. Can you do that with –?
JOSH ANDERSON: You can. Talking about all the stuff Brian talked about, AudioNote is $9.99, a little less. Like I said, you can do the free version to try it out. In fact, if you are not taking a lot of notes, I think you can just run with the free version, at least on iOS. I’ve been using the free version for years, but I usually delete things that I messed with it. I don’t know how many you can save. You can still import PDFs, text images. I don’t know about PowerPoints, but with PowerPoint, if you’re going to school, if you down of those power points off the Internet, you can send them as PDFs and send them over. You can always work around that if you really wanted to. You are only going to be able to sync it with iCloud and dropbox. If you’re trying to do with Google Drive — and all of these are features that, of course, could always be updated or changed. A dropbox account is free, and if you’re not saving them too large, you can get by with that.
One thing that is important to remember is that $9.99. If you want it on your iPhone and computer and Android tablet, that’s $9.99 each time. It’s not going to be one price and suddenly you have across platforms. You’re going to have to pay for it each one of those times. Really, for the cost, they are very comparable. It’s really on what you prefer.
BELVA SMITH: Absolutely. I agree with that.
JOSH ANDERSON: I don’t think notability has a free version, unfortunately. It would be nice if you could download them both, see which one you like the most, and pay for it right out of pocket then. They are very comparable. I’d say they’re not exactly the same thing. Brian, I do agree, notability is a little bit more robust. You can still snap a picture, Belva, like you mentioned with their tablet, phone, or something like that and import it right into the notes.
BRIAN NORTON: I agree. Did any of these apps get kicked out of the ring? Different apps for different situations?
JOSH ANDERSON: We really have to figure out the rules of Thunderdome here.
BELVA SMITH: No, but I think the ability to try it for free and have access to all of the features, I think that’s a key feature.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s helpful.
JOSH ANDERSON: It is, especially because you can do it — it’s not just like the iOS version that you can try out the free version with. You can try the Windows version, try it on your Mac and see. You might like the app on a phone or tablet and hate it on the computer.
BELVA SMITH: I’m going to compare it to this past weekend, I was shopping online for a set of bunk beds with a trundle bed underneath. I found a really good one that looks great, but it’s online. I can’t see it, feel it, and touch it. I like to be able to try something out.
JOSH ANDERSON: You get it, and if that cardboard feeling, fiberboard that a five pound kid would break.
BELVA SMITH: And you spent two hours putting it together to find out I really don’t like this. It’s kind of the same thing with an app. If you buy an app without being up to try it, you bought it and then you don’t like it, well now you have it. I always suggest trying the freebies if you can.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s one of those things where, in the day of apps, if it’s a dollar, I would download it and try it. But the minute I have to start paying $10 or $12, $13 for an app, getting it into your hands would be helpful. I know here at the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads, we are the Indiana assistive technology act. We have a loan library where you can borrow iPads with these particular apps on them. You can borrow Android devices with them as well. We will load those on and let you try them for 30 days. Again, they are low-cost, but that adds up over time if you continue to download different apps just to try them out. It is helpful to be up to get them in your hands, touch them, feel them, experience them. I think for me, I found these types of apps more beneficial than even live scribe. I love the live scribe pen, but the ability to type — because I type a lot faster than I can write — gives me a little bit better way to be able to capture information. But then once I capture it, I do have to do something with them. I think there are some ways to, in that regard, be able to search and find information and look for your notes.
JOSH ANDERSON: This list is just two notetaking apps.
BELVA SMITH: Of a hundred.
JOSH ANDERSON: There are hundreds, free kinds and every thing is out there. You can search and find all kinds of people’s top 10 lists and anything else out there. These are just two that we see a lot because they are pretty low cost and have been around for a while. They do update with new operating systems. They haven’t disappeared yet. That’s kind of a good sign. It’s all in what you are used to using and what you like. Some of these are chrome plug-ins that will do the recording and things like that. I haven’t use them but I’ve seen them coming out as well for Chromebooks and things like that. There are always new ones coming out.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s our app showdown question for the week. If you guys have experience with audio note or notability, we’d love to hear from you. Our phone number is 317-721-7124. Send us your thoughts, and information. Maybe you’ve tried both apps and have some of your own opinions on the differences between the two. We would love to hear that as well and provide that to our listeners.
[33:17] Question 4 – Spotify Accessibility?
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question came through email. It’s a question about Spotify and the accessibility of that particular software program. I’ll read it to you.
I’ve been listening to two of your podcast — I’m assuming AT update and ATFAQ — and I was riveted through the entire episodes. Each aspect is discussed thoroughly based on background work on the questions. I would definitely be listening to every episode from now on. I have a question about the accessibility of Spotify, the music streaming software. Spotify was introduced to South Africa in April of this year and I have a premium subscription. However, while it works on my iPhone, it is not as responsive on my PC with Windows 10. Is there a workaround that you can recommend by way of scripts, etc.? Any feedback would be helpful. Good luck with the rest of your podcast and I would definitely be listening.
My assumption is, he mentions scripts, so I assume he uses JAWS because JAWS uses scripts to help it be able to read the particular programs. I’m assuming JAWS is the particular screen reader that he uses. I did a little digging on this because I didn’t know right off the bat what the accessibility was like and how a screen reader really worked with Spotify. But I did find that if you go to freedom scientific or VFO and take down to freedom scientific, it do have some information about the accessibility of Spotify and a specific script file for Spotify. There was a company called DoItBlind.com. They have a script file specifically for Spotify to make it more accessible.
BELVA SMITH: Notice that’s more accessible, not fully accessible.
BRIAN NORTON: I don’t know if you can fully get everything working except for the way he wanted to.
WADE WINGLER: I did some digging on this, and it kind of looks like if you look at discussion forums and things over the years and you look for terms like Spotify and accessibility and JAWS and stuff like that, you’ll see sort of a mixed history of where people have troubles and it gets better, and worse, and better again. NVDA seems to be working pretty well with Spotify for a while, but then all the discussion has dropped off. I found a post over on AppleVis, which is a great resource for all things accessibility related to vision and screen readers and technology. If you go to their forearms and look at a post that started on 19 August 2018, there is a pretty involved discussion about music streaming services. The assumption is that people who are on this forum are blind or a screen reader users or at least have a heightened sense of the need for accessibility. They spent a lot of time talking about Spotify and Apple music and things like Life 365 and Radio Tunes and iHeartRadio and TuneIn and all these things, even Pandora. Their main discussion was about the cheapest one and the best thing you get for your buck, but they do talk about some accessibility things.
Google’s music streaming service is one that has sort of jumped out on this discussion, both in terms of low-cost, a lot of different music options, and pretty good accessibility as well. They also talk about YouTube premium, which also has Google play music as part of that. The other thing is nobody was bellyaching too much about the accessibility of Spotify and Pandora and those things in this discussion. I don’t know if it’s getting better. Belva, you probably have more recent insight than I do into that. I guess everybody thought that they were workable and they were really talking about how Google play seems to be a pretty good option both in terms of cost and accessibility.
BELVA SMITH: It’s my experience that people have looked for different options. I did some searching for it, and in mid 2017, people who were using JAWS and NVDA, went to Spotify’s website to complain about accessibility. That was September 2018. There response back to these folks was your idea had been submitted. While we greatly appreciate it, we didn’t feel like there was a strong enough request to encourage them to do much about it. So that kind of backed off from it. I think that’s partially why people decided, well we are going to start looking elsewhere. But there are so many options, which is a good thing because it allows folks to be able to do those kinds of things without only have one place to do it. And then also, there is a website — I think it’s HartGen.com. They have some JAWS scripts available for it. But I’m not sure how updated those are. That’s where I would suggest to go looking and see. I believe they are free. I don’t think they are scripts you have to buy, because some scripts you to buy.
BRIAN NORTON: Right.
JOSH ANDERSON: The other thing I found looking through there is it’s also and how you’re using Spotify, because you can use it straight through the Internet. Or Windows 10 has apps on it now. You can download the Spotify app. Maybe try them both, see if one is more accessible.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s a good suggestion as well.
BELVA SMITH: Wait a minute. Windows 10 has a Spotify app specifically —
JOSH ANDERSON: Windows 10 has a bunch of apps, not built-in, but you can go to the Microsoft store and Spotify is one of them. It would put an icon on your computer and do whatever kind of magic it does to you Spotify that way.
BELVA SMITH: And this particular person said they were using Windows 10.
JOSH ANDERSON: I don’t know if they are accessing it through a browser. One of them may be easier to use than the other. I didn’t really find anything saying which one was easier, but I did find some stuff that said maybe try the app at the Internet part isn’t working.
BRIAN NORTON: I would imagine this question is of interest to a lot of folks. I think most of us — I know I am — are moving to streaming all of my music. I listen to a lot of Pandora. I have a Spotify account. I don’t do Google, like you are talking about, Wade.
JOSH ANDERSON: I didn’t even know there was Google music.
BELVA SMITH: I have a Google music account as well as Amazon prime. I do it all through my personal assistant. It’s just easier that way. Just this weekend, I found a stack of CDs. I can tell you the last time – I don’t even think my car now has a CD player and it.
JOSH ANDERSON: Did the kids know what they were?
WADE WINGLER: We just inherited my wife’s grandparents old consul stereo that has an LP record player on it. You should see my kids freaking out about this new “CD Player” in the house. They are living it. It’s a lot of fun.
BRIAN NORTON: The whole world of music and how you get your music has changed quite a bit. Good question. Hopefully we’ve been able to answer it a little bit. If there are other folks who are listening and maybe have some first-hand experience using screen readers with Spotify, whether it is the app or the software program or to the web, we would love to be up to hear from you and get some feedback on that. You can do that through our listener line at 317-721-7124. Or you can send us an email at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org. We would love to hear from you.
BELVA SMITH: Before we leave that question, is Apple even still make the iPod?
JOSH ANDERSON: As of right now. I know I saw it at target or while shopping. I don’t think there are new iterations of it. I think it’s just the iPod touch 32 gigabytes. It looks like an iPhone 5.
BRIAN NORTON: Something like that.
BELVA SMITH: I didn’t know if they were still making it.
JOSH ANDERSON: I believe you can still order it. Like I said, I know you can still get it at retail places, but I don’t think they are going to continue to make new ones. Think about it. How often do you really use your phone as a phone?
BELVA SMITH: That’s why I think, if the iPod is gone, that’s why. There was a time when the iPod was huge. It was the number one device they were selling because everybody loved that portable access to their music and they can put whatever they wanted on there. You don’t even need to do that because you can just — the next to it.
BELVA SMITH: Just ask to hear what you want to hear. Half the time, you don’t even have to know the name of the song. You only has no a line or two and they can find us on for you, which I love, because I can never remember the name of a song.
BRIAN NORTON: You think about it, the newer versions of the iPod, they allow you to stream as long as you are connected —
BELVA SMITH: Connected to Wi-Fi.
BRIAN NORTON: Is just like your phone. It’s doing the same thing those are. As a streaming device, you’re still streaming those things. It just gives you the option to be able to do so much more than you were than just having a dedicated music device like the older iPods that were out there.
WADE WINGLER: Belva, how do you ask one of those assistants if you only know some of the words out of a song? I’ve never done that. How does that work?
BELVA SMITH: You can just say something like, Hey A-Lady, play the song that has —
JOSH ANDERSON: Rising up. Back on the street.
BELVA SMITH: And it will go out and say I found this one. Is this what you are looking for? It’ll play — no, that’s not it. Then okay, I found this one. Is this it?
JOSH ANDERSON: Wade, you’re at home. Why don’t you try it really quick?
WADE WINGLER: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor.
JOSH ANDERSON: I meant to try it with your device.
WADE WINGLER: Alexa, play that song that goes “rising up. Straight to the street.”
ALEXA: Playing from Spotify. [Jazz music]
BELVA SMITH: A little bit. I don’t think that’s it though.
JOSH ANDERSON: I don’t think that’s the right song.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s the other song that has the same line. Interesting. That’s really cool.
WADE WINGLER: That doesn’t work.
[44:07] Question 5 – Sending Livescribe Notes to Google Drive or Evernote?
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is about the live scribe Echo pen. It says, I’m using the live scribe Echo for the first time. How do I move notes and audio to Google drive or Evernote? I looked this up. There are a couple of ways you can do this. You can use the echo desktop software to export files. That is something you would have to download from livescribe.com. You can download a desktop software program and then you can export those files. Then you use your Evernote email and you can him of them back to your Evernote account. Once you get them exported to wherever you want to use it, then you can name of them to yourself using your Evernote email address. Every time you set up and Evernote account, you get an email address that you can send those to.
WADE WINGLER: Do you have to have the paid version of Evernote for that?
JOSH ANDERSON: For the email, yes you do. I think you do.
BELVA SMITH: It’s been a while since I’ve used the Echo pen, but didn’t they stop making the desktop software for a while?
JOSH ANDERSON: They were going to quit making the Echo pen and move on to the polls or sky, the ones that attach to the tablet.
BELVA SMITH: Which didn’t go over well.
JOSH ANDERSON: They just said forget that because they still sell more of the Echo pen. The desktop software, as soon as you get the Echo pen, you open it up and in the instructions it tells you —
BRIAN NORTON: Where to go to download —
BELVA SMITH: I love that software. I remember it was very simple and allowed you to take and put your notes and where you wanted them.
JOSH ANDERSON: It has not changed. If the exact same. It works great.
BRIAN NORTON: Use the echo desktop software to export the files. Then you can use your Evernote able to email them to your Evernote account. Another option is you can export an audio file of the live scribe PDF file and move it to your Google drive. You can create a live scribe PDF file, export the audio to Google drive. Another option is maybe also use a note taker like Sonocent that will allow you to do that as well. Maybe it just using something different. Sonocent is a different note taker, one that we didn’t mention and didn’t have in the show done with the other two that we talked about earlier in the show. You might look at using a different note taker. Sonocent allows you to export those types of things. It’s a pretty robust —
BELVA SMITH: I know if Craig were in the room, that would be his choice. He’s very big on that one.
JOSH ANDERSON: The big difference is — and a lot of times if I’m working with folks — let’s say that notetaking is a thing and they need a decent amount of support. Sonocent is much more robust than an audio note or notability we talked about earlier. If they prefer to hand write their notes, the Echo pen is the way to go.
BRIAN NORTON: Absolutely.
JOSH ANDERSON: But if they want to type, Sonocent or something like that on a computer is going to be better. But yeah, if they’re like, I want to handwrite my notes — I’ve used Echo pen to the graphic designers a lot just because the way that it links it, you don’t have to write everything down. If you doodle, it links your doodles, which is really helpful. As far as uploading it and stuff, I haven’t moved the things very often. I can’t say I’ve had to do it a lot. A lot of times, it just is in the software program. But I can see where you want to have access to it in different places.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent. Again, those two options, the main ones are use the Echo desktop software. In there you can export the files. You can export an audio file, the live scribe PDF, and either email it to your Evernote account or send it over to your Google drive.
If some other folks have done this and gone their notes from Evernote over to Google drive or any of the other cloud services as well or even to your other notetaking apps like Evernote where you capture information. Let us know. We would love to know how you guys have done that to pass it on to our person who asked this question. In order to do that, you can send us an email at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org. You can send us a voicemail at 317-721-7124. Or you can send us a tweet with hashtag ATFAQ.
[48:31] Question 6 – Using phone for emergency alert button?
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is a question we got from one of our full day trainings recently. We were doing a training on I OT. One of the folks asked a question about using your phone for an emergency alert, kind of like I’ve fallen and can’t get up scenario. I thought that would make a really good question for ATFAQ. Using your phone for an emergency alert. Thoughts on that anybody?
BELVA SMITH: Assuming you have your phone with you when you fall —
BRIAN NORTON: You have some first-hand experience with that.
BELVA SMITH: I was going to say that’s the first thing. Yes, I did use my phone when I fell. If you have an iPhone 7 or earlier, if you press the side button — and if this doesn’t work then try the top button. But for my phone it’s the side button — five times. Even if it is on, if I do that five times, it immediately brings up the SOS screen – is what I call it. If I touch — there are three sliders on this screen. If I touch the first one, then I’m just turning the phone off. The second one has my medical information. Was nice about that is if I fall and knock myself out, and someone else picks my phone up and presses the bun five times, then they can pull up my medical ID and find all of my medical information that I’ve entered. The second option is the emergency SOS, where if I slide that button, it’s going to automatically contact whoever I have set up as my — I call them ICE [In Case of Emergency] contacts.
WADE WINGLER: Emergency responders are trained to look for that, right?
BELVA SMITH: Absolutely. If you have an iPhone and you haven’t gone in and set up your medical information, if you have any kind of medical — what do you call it?
JOSH ANDERSON: Condition?
BELVA SMITH: Yes. I highly recommend that you go and set that up because you don’t know when you’re going to be unconscious and someone is going to need to be able to get the information.
JOSH ANDERSON: For sure. And you can put in allergies, medication so they know what medications you are on. That can really save your life.
BELVA SMITH: That’s if you fall and you have your phone with you. I think it’s important to hear from me to throw in that if you happen to have the Google home or the A-lady in your home, you can also use that. You can set that up so that you can say — I forget exactly what the phrase is you say. Something like contact my emergency contact person. They will go ahead and make the call for you to whoever the person might be set up to be. I know this firsthand as well because I have a friend who actually fell in her bathroom, and she was trapped basically between her toilet and her bathtub. She couldn’t get up and she lives alone. She yelled at her A-lady to call her son. She called her son and said I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. He was able to get in his car, and within just a few minutes be there. He did not call 911 because she said she didn’t feel like she needed 911. She just wanted someone there to help her.
JOSH ANDERSON: Along those same lines, the newest version of the Apple watch, the Series 4, has fall detection built in. So you wouldn’t even have to push anything. As long as you enable it in those same health settings. What happens is it detects that you fall, and it detects that you don’t get back up. It will give you a warning on the phone, essentially you can either A bun, call emergency SOS — either 911 or your emergency contact — or you can touch upon this as I felt but I’m okay. Or you can touch one that says I did not fall. If you do not respond at all, I believe after a minute, it will start a 15 second countdown. It will sit there and vibrate on your wrist, and a sound alert will get louder and louder. And then it will automatically call your emergency contact. If you have it set up to do that.
BELVA SMITH: If I understand correctly, if you should get moved during that process, it will send another alert with your location to your emergency contact.
JOSH ANDERSON: Even better.
BELVA SMITH: I have the second version of the Apple watch. If I press and hold — what do you call the little spinner button?
WADE WINGLER: The crown.
BELVA SMITH: The crown, yes. If I press and hold the crown, it will automatically call 911. I found that out the hard way. When they put that feature in, the first day there were a huge number of accidental 911 calls.
JOSH ANDERSON: This is neither here nor there, but the whole fall detection thing, a lot of people think it’s Apple trying to open up a little bit of a market they’re not touching. The aging in place, as people get a little older, they are starting to try to get into that market. You have to figure most people that own an Apple watch already — maybe you have to branch off into some other folks.
BELVA SMITH: The newest version is going to have several health features like —
BRIAN NORTON: Heart monitors, EKG.
BELVA SMITH: But you know, Apple is not the first want to do this. It’s my understanding that Samsung did this first, but then they dropped the ball and stop developing it. Apple kind of picked up where they left off. Everyone I’ve heard talk about it says this is the reason why they are going to want to switch from Andrew to Apple or why they are going to upgrade this year were the haven’t in the past. I’m still not ready to do it because it’s the new phones are just outrageous.
JOSH ANDERSON: Can they make it to where it shocks me every time I reach for a French fry? I think is a good feature to build in.
BRIAN NORTON: They could probably do that. They’ve got a camera on that phone of yours.
[55:02] Wildcard question: Do you still have a desktop computer at home?
JOSH ANDERSON: And now it’s time for the wildcard question.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is the wildcard question. This is where Wade asks us a question we are completely unprepared for. What have you got for us today?
WADE WINGLER: [fake coughing]
BRIAN NORTON: Besides phlegm.
JOSH ANDERSON: I was not prepared for that.
WADE WINGLER: I’m at home on a sick day today. As I was wandering around the house, looking for some stuff, I realized that in our guest room sits an old Mac that’s a computer that’s not even plugged in. I thought, who has desktops anymore? That’s Mike wildcard today for you guys. Do you have a desktop in your home? Do you use it? And if so, what do you use it for? If somebody says yeah, I still have one and I use it all the time, but my follow-up question will be if it broke, would you buy under the desktop?
BELVA SMITH: Yes, yes, and yes. I have a Mac all in one, and if it broke I would buy another one. I use it to pay bills. I don’t know why. Don’t ask me why. But I feel more secure — I don’t know. But I feel more secure locking into my bank on my desktop computer than I do on my iPad or my iPhone or anything like that. I don’t know why.
WADE WINGLER: Is it on the Wi-Fi or is it hardwire.
BELVA SMITH: It’s on the Wi-Fi.
JOSH ANDERSON: On the neighbor’s stolen Wi-Fi.
WADE WINGLER: She lives close to Starbucks.
BELVA SMITH: Let me just say that I feel I can see it better because it is the 27 inch. I feel like I can see it better than on my tablet. But that’s really all I do with it. If I’m just going to web browse, I’m either doing it on my iPad or on my phone. I don’t go to my computer to the web browsing. I just pay bills.
JOSH ANDERSON: I don’t have a desktop at home. I have an old laptop at home that I keep just because it’s Windows. If any something with Windows, I’ll use it as opposed to my Mac. I haven’t had a desktop computer in 10 years. It was Windows Vista, was the last one I had.
BELVA SMITH: No wonder you don’t have Windows.
BRIAN NORTON: Same here. I’m in the same boat. I have a laptop for work and I bring that home. We don’t have anything directly at home. We back of the thing up to the cloud.
BELVA SMITH: What do your girls use?
BRIAN NORTON: They have Chromebooks from school. We don’t even have to have a computer for them. My wife uses a laptop at work. I use a laptop at work.
BELVA SMITH: Why do you think desktops are not as popular as they used to be?
WADE WINGLER: If you’re going to do gaming and things like that, I can completely see the need. You can expand it much easier and put it in. I’ll just a portability. People don’t want to sit in one spot and use the computer. They want to sit at the couch or sit at the kitchen table.
BRIAN NORTON: You don’t need any more. You’ve got cloud storage these days.
BELVA SMITH: I feel like I’m still going over to my desk and sitting down and logging into my bank and pay my bills. It’s like I used to go over to my desk and sit down and write all my checks and put them in the envelope and seal them. I’m still doing that in that space. Because I don’t leave my computer on, I guess maybe that’s another reason I feel safer, because it’s really only on when I’m using it. Other than that, I turn it off.
BRIAN NORTON: I sit at the couch with a Diet Coke, my feet propped up on the Ottoman. I just go to town.
WADE WINGLER: That’s it. When we moved a little over a year ago, we thought we don’t need a home office, because in the past that was the thing I looked at when we were going to move. Where is my home office going to be? We don’t have a home office anymore. I’m in the study right now, which I suppose would’ve been the home office. But it has two recliners, and I’ve been working all day in a recliner today because you don’t need a home office anymore. My whole office it in my backpack. My kids use tablets. They have Amazon fire tablets and kindle fire tablets. They do their stuff there. My wife has a laptop, and the desktop is in the guest room, not even plugged in.
BRIAN NORTON: I get rid of hours two or three years ago. We just don’t need it.
BELVA SMITH: So I’m really old-fashioned because we have three. I said I have my Mac, but also have a Windows all in one, which is still Windows 7, not Vista.
JOSH ANDERSON: Good choice.
BELVA SMITH: Todd has his desktop which is Windows 10. We have three desktops.
JOSH ANDERSON: He uses his for work, right? That’s pretty much a work computer.
BELVA SMITH: Because he is visually impaired, having the large monitor is important. Which I guess he could do with a laptop, but having a workstation for him is important.
WADE WINGLER: My kids are five and seven. My guess is they’ll never use a desktop computer unless it is in a computer lab somewhere.
BELVA SMITH: Do they know how to use a mouse?
WADE WINGLER: No. They struggled with that. It was a big challenge for them to figure that out.
JOSH ANDERSON: Did they put it on the screen and start moving it around?
WADE WINGLER: They just looked at it. They didn’t know what to do.
BRIAN NORTON: I think we tackled that before in a past wildcard. Can we?
BELVA SMITH: We did talk about that.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s flashback Monday, Brian.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s interesting. I think the steps aren’t as needed as they used to be. Smith like they are so more powerful.
BRIAN NORTON: Right, but who needs power?
JOSH ANDERSON: They can be. You can put quite a bit in a laptop these days.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s true.
WADE WINGLER: At home I don’t need one. I still use a desktop at work for fancy Excel documents that take a long time to compile. For home, I don’t need one.
BRIAN NORTON: I would love to hear from folks who are listening in on whether they use a desktop at home or a laptop at home. Please let us know. We would love to hear from you. We have a variety of ways for you to get in touch with us as well. You can give us a call at 317-721-7124. Send a tweet with hashtag ATFAQ. Or send us an email at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org.
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 www.accessibilitychannel.com.
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