Panel – Brian Norton, Belva Smith, and Josh Anderson – Q1- Smartvision 2 Smartphone , Q2 – Ability to read sheet music , Q3 – App Showdown: Cortana vs. Siri , Q4 – Hebrew Text-to-Speech, Q5 – Who owns this software? , Q6 – Text-to-speech for chrome browser and google docs , Q7 **Wildcard question: thoughts on Internet security and issues with information being lost or hacked?
————————————— Transcript Starts Here ——————————————
WADE WINGLER: Welcome to ATFAQ, Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions with your host Brian Norton, Director of Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads. This is a show in which we address your questions about assistive technology, the hardware, software, tools and gadgets that help people with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives. Have a question you’d like answered on our show? Send a tweet with the hashtag #ATFAQ, call our listener line at 317-721-7124, or send us an email at email@example.com. The world of assistive technology has questions, and we have answers. And now here’s your host, Brian Norton.
BRIAN NORTON: Hello and welcome to ATFAQ episode 96. My name is Brian Norton, and I’m the host of the show. We are so happy you take some time to tune in with us this week. We have a great lineup of assistive technology questions today, before we jump into those, I want to take a moment to go around the room and introduce the folks who are sitting with me. I’m mixing this up because people have done some musical chairs with me today. Josh is here, the manager of clinical assistive technology at Easter Seals Crossroads. He’s also the host of Assistive Technology Update. You want to say hi to folks?
JOSH ANDERSON: Hi everybody. Gotta keep Brian on his toes sometimes.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s right. We also Belva Smith, our vision team lead here at Easter Seals Crossroads. You want to say hi?
BELVA SMITH: Hey everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent. So for folks who are new listeners, I would to talk a little bit about how the show works. Throughout the week, we receive feedback and come across various assistive technology questions. We put a show together and sit around here in a panel and try to answer those questions as best we can. We have a variety of ways for folks to ask us questions. If you are listening and have a question, we would love to hear from you. You can give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124. Or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send us a tweet with hashtag ATFAQ. Those are the places that we get our regular questions. As we get questions, we are also looking for feedback as well. We are going to take time to try to answer some questions that we’ve gotten these past couple weeks. We realize that we only know what we know, and we would love to hear from you guys because you may have some more experience in different areas that we do. Please give us a call, we would love to hear from you. Chime in, provide feedback, and we will include that in our show as well.
If you are looking for our show, obviously the folks are listening, you found it, but if you have other folks were interested you think would be interested, point them to places like iTunes, stitcher, Google play store, or they can go to our website, ATFAQshow.com. They can find our show and downloaded there.
I want to make one plug for something that’s upcoming with the INDATA Project here shortly. On May 8, from 11 to 4 PM, we are going to be hosting a webinar for web developers. If you are a web developer or do any kind of web development on the web, creating webpages or whatnot, we have Dennis Lembry joining us on May 8. He’s well known and famous in the area of accessibility, and he’s going to be joining us for a full day webinar. We are going to dig into different types of things that go into creating accessible content on the web. That’s 3:49 PM on May 8. You can find more information about that webinar Easter Seals Crossroads/A11Y, A one one Y. Check that out, and if you are interested, register and we look forward to seeing you on May 8.
BELVA SMITH: Hey Brian, you want to take a second and do a brief rundown on what INDATA Project is for our listeners?
BRIAN NORTON: The podcast ATFAQ, also our Assistive Technology Update, and accessibility minute podcast, they are all produced in and through the INDATA Project. The INDATA Project is Indiana’s assistive technology act. Every state and territory has a project similar to ours. We don’t all do the same things, but we are the Indiana assistive technology act. If you’re looking for one in your state, you can go to EasterSealsTech.com/states. You can put in your state, look up the state AT program, and it will tell you who does what we do in your state. Really, the primary purpose of the INDATA Project is twofold. The first thing we do is provide information and outreach. We are helping folks understand and know about assistive technology, so we spent a lot of time in front of folks educating them about what assistive technology is, how it works, how it will help, and pointing people to resources if they have an accommodation need. The other thing we do is we work hard to get people’s hands on assistive technology. We do that in a variety of ways. Really, three specific ones I’ll highlight for you. The first is our demo and alone library program. We’ve mentioned that quite frankly on a show as a way to get your hands on and test some of the things we talk about on the show. Essentially the loan library is a great place for folks to borrow equipment for 30 days. Consider when you go to the library to check out a book, it works in much the same way. You can check out a computer with adaptive software, an accessible ramp, and other types of low tech, high-tech, different types of devices and technologies, and borrow them for 30 days to figure out if they are something that you’re interested in and think it would be helpful for you day in and day out. The second thing we do is we have a reuse program where we take in donated assistive technology and computers, and then we give those away to folks here in the state of Indiana who have a document disability. They can fill out an application and we work hard to figure out how to reuse some of that technology that folks have that they may not have a need for anymore, for whatever reason. The third thing we do is we have an alternative financing program where we recognize that a lot of the folks we work with may not have a funding source or the financial means to be able to purchase some of this technology. Through the alternative financing program, we offer low interest extended term loans where folks can then purchase their own assistive technology. Folks can borrow between $500 and $35,000 to do something as simple as by an iPad with an app, or do a home modification, vehicle modification, and those kinds of things. It’s important to recognize and understand that we are the Indiana assistive technology act. In order to do that in your state, if you are from another state, you would have to go to your state AT act and find out what types of services. We all do things a little bit differently. The two tenets are there: outreach and information, and working hard to get people’s hands on equipment or that acquisition piece of it. Again, we all do it in different ways, have different policies and procedures to make that work. EasterSealsTech.com/states would drive you back to your state AT act.
BELVA SMITH: Right. Your state AT act won’t be called INDATA Project. That’s just the acronym we put together and came up with the name. It’s basically just the state’s assistive technology act.
BRIAN NORTON: Exactly. Good plug. I don’t think we cover that often enough for folks to understand that that’s a really good resource. Is not just to get your hands on equipment before information and if you have a need, reach out to those places and they can help put you in contact with resources in your state to be able to help with whatever your particular needs you have. Great question.
***[8:06] Question 1 – Smartvision 2 Smartphone
BRIAN NORTON: Without further ado, we’re going to jump into the first question today. This came in an email from the Jacques. He lives in New Orleans and would like to know more about the Smartvision 2 phone and wanted to know specifically if it could be used for texting, and also what cell phone carriers carry the phone itself. We mentioned this phone a couple of weeks ago, I think right after we got back from ATIA. We were talking to the manufacturer, Iris AT, if I remember correctly. A fairly new phone, built from the ground up specifically for folks who are blind or low vision. It’s actually a smart phone, not something that has software overlaid onto a phone you can buy just anywhere. You have to buy the Smartvision 2 from Iris to use it, because it’s built from the ground up, specifically for folks who are blind or visually impaired.
BELVA SMITH: So it has all the basic applications that any of your smart phone has. You have your phone, texting, email, calendar, alarm clock calculator, contacts. We also have access to all the Google play store apps as well. That tells me that it is an android OS. The particular when you are asking about, the Smartvision 2, has the capability of GPS navigation that included as well as scanning and performing OCR. OCR is optical character recognition. What that means for a person who is blind or visually impaired is that if they get something can should to them that is in printed format, obviously they can’t see it to read it, but they can use the phone then to capture that text and have it read back to them. From what I found in doing the research, it looks like AT&T, Cricket, Consumer Cellular, Cellular One, and T-Mobile. For us here, I think T-Mobile just merged with somebody.
BRIAN NORTON: Is it Sprint? I’m not sure.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s still in the works. It hasn’t happened.
BELVA SMITH: I would say for this particular listener, probably the best thing you could do is contact a couple of your providers that are local and asked them if they would carry the phone. More than likely, you are not going to have a new trouble. It seems like all the major ones are willing to support it.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s a GSM network. For AT&T and Verizon, Verizon is not, I don’t believe, a GSM network. It doesn’t work on Verizon phones, it will work on AT&T phones. I guess in my mind, those are the two major players. When you talk about cellular phones, look for AT&T or GSM networks or ask your phone company if they are GSM network.
BELVA SMITH: For us here, Consumer Cellular, we also talked about the jitterbug phone not too long ago. They are the primary carrier or service provider for the jitterbug. They tend to have lower cost packages or more affordable packages than, say, AT&T or Cricket.
JOSH ANDERSON: I think a lot of those, you pay for what you use. If you don’t need unlimited data, you don’t need a little bit of stuff, you pay as you go and it’s a little bit cheaper.
BRIAN NORTON: Right. If you go to their website, Irie-AT.com, you can look under smart phones and tablets, and then you can see the different networks. They have 40 or 50 different networks. It’s actually quite a few. Take a look at their website, Irie-AT.com, and you can find that there. It’s a pretty interesting phone. Not an overlay, not software that you low to the phone that you bought or have. This is a phone that you would buy and use, and it looks like it’s a pretty extensive phone.
BELVA SMITH: It’s an android phone, in my understanding, that they have. That’s the beauty of android. If you want to call it a beauty, it could be a pain, the fact that it can be customized to the way you want it.
BRIAN NORTON: Right. I’ve looked up the price, $889 to the company. I don’t believe you can get anywhere else.
BELVA SMITH: You can’t.
BRIAN NORTON: You can’t go to AT&T and that I want this phone. You have to buy from them and go to AT&T or go to your carrier and say I’d like this phone added to my account. There is a couple of steps that would have to be navigated to make it work. Hopefully the answer the question. It does to text messaging and it’s available on a lot of different networks. Check out the website to look at that. I would love to know if any of our listeners are using the phone.
BELVA SMITH: I was going to say, please contact us if you do get it and you are using it and let us know if you love it or hate it or what you think about it.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s the kind of feedback we love, because you try lots of things in our program. We would love to know how it compares to other things that we’ve tried. We are recommending equipment for folks all the time and would love to know if it works well so that we can add it to a list of the things we might recommend for folks.
JOSH ANDERSON: Especially somebody who uses it on a daily basis. We are using it here or there or with folks, but a lot of those things we don’t use day in and day out. So what are some of the frustrations or great things that come out of doing that?
BRIAN NORTON: What are the pros and cons? If you can send us a list cut that would be great. A couple ways to reach out to us, one would be our listener line, 317-721-7124. Or send us an email at email@example.com. We would love to know if you guys have had experience with this phone, tell us what you think, we are very interested in that.
***[14:13] Question 2 – Ability to read sheet music
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is, I am an avid trombone player, but my vision has slowly been decreasing over the past several years. At this point, I can no longer read sheet music. This had made playing my trombone very difficult. Do you have any suggestions for how I can access my sheet music again?
BELVA SMITH: I had an accommodation that was similar. It wasn’t a trombone. I believe it was a trumpet them a person was playing. We were able to — he still had enough vision that we were able to get all of his music into electronic format, and we were able to just use an iPad on a floor stand in front of them. That way if he stood up, he could still see it, or if he was sitting down, he could still see it. That worked out great for us. He also – I quickly went to throw in that he did some recording. We did it with him in the actual — we use the same iPad with them in the recording studio, and the iPad outside the window. He was still able to see it. He still had some usable vision, but with the magnification that’s built into the iPad, we were able to make it work for him.
BRIAN NORTON: A couple of questions with that is did you scan, take pictures of it? How did you get the sheet music into the iPad?
BELVA SMITH: He was able to find the sheet music online and get it downloaded. Again, that’s going to be different with every situation. Another option would be to capture it, but my fear is with capturing it, you are probably going to lose some of the quality, making it not as clear. He was able to get his stuff downloaded.
BRIAN NORTON: Interesting. The other thing I’ve run across in the years of doing this job, one is called Limewire?
JOSH ANDERSON: Lime Lighter.
BRIAN NORTON: Why am I calling it Limewire?
BELVA SMITH: Because there used to be a service called LimeWire, but that’s gone. It was a bad thing.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s Lime Lighter.
BRIAN NORTON: Lime Lighter.
JOSH ANDERSON: Yes.
BRIAN NORTON: Essentially what you do with this is you can scan in your music. It puts it — it’s an all in one computer, but it’s one of those touchscreen computers. Once you get it in there, it’s a 24 inch monitor, and you can get a stand for it so it will stand up for you as you play your instrument. You have a foot pedal to go backwards and forwards, so you can set your own pace for how fast it scrolls to the music. In addition to that, because it’s a touchscreen system, you can go in and edit the music if you maybe have to move things up a few measures or move them back if you measures. You can edit the music sheets right then and there and write your own notes and save them, so that when you play in an orchestra or band or whatever you’re doing, you have that available to you in that place.
BELVA SMITH: That when you said you can just scan your music right into it?
BRIAN NORTON: You go ahead and scan it.
JOSH ANDERSON: It works with any scanner. Or you can download those music.xml files or something of that sort.
BELVA SMITH: How would he find this? Google it?
BRIAN NORTON: It available three company —
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s through DancingDots.com is where you can find out more about it and find it. I think it runs around $3000.
BRIAN NORTON: Yeah, it’s expensive.
JOSH ANDERSON: But if music is your passion or your career, it’s an all-in-one that has everything you need. You could probably do what Belva was saying, maybe hook up a foot switch to the iPad a little bit, but then you are looking at a lot more insulation and more room for user error. Whereas if this quit working, you could just call the company and they would be able to help you through the process.
BELVA SMITH: Right.
BRIAN NORTON: What I love about it is the foot pedal piece, because a lot of your instruments, your hands are tied up. You don’t have an opportunity, especially with brass instruments, to take your hands off of your instrument to keep the music going and flowing. With that foot pedal, you are going backwards and forwards and can move all around that particular song sheet to get to where you are. That makes it really helpful.
We have one in our loan library. We have available for loan here in Indiana if you are interested in trying that stuff out. You may also check, just like we talked about before earlier in the show, contact your local assistive technology act and see if through their demo or loan library they would have a similar device for you. I know that’s definitely a piece of it. Belva, along with the same thing of using an iPad, you could probably just use — if you are able to get the music online, you could essentially hook up a 24 inch all-in-one computer and do what you are doing with it just the same as the iPad.
BELVA SMITH: You could also use an Apple TV and bring it, produce it onto a 65 inch TV if you wanted to.
BRIAN NORTON: Right. I recently read a story about a lady in Chicago with the symphony, and she had this issue of trying to get access to sheet music. She couldn’t do it and it took a while, but I’m not sure exactly what they landed on as far as the accommodation for her. It’s something that’s an issue for a lot of folks, age-related, low vision, or if you have a visual impairment, that comes along with getting access to that. If it’s your love and passion, I would hate to see that taken away from folks.
***[19:58] Question 3 – App Showdown: Cortana vs. Siri
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is our app showdown. Today we are going to be talking about Cortana versus Siri, talking about some of the comparisons and features between the two. Siri has been around for a lot longer, at least mainstream for a lot longer than Cortana, though Cortana has been around for a little while in Windows 10 and other places. Thoughts on any of that?
BELVA SMITH: As you just said, because she’s been around longer, Siri is a little bit smarter. But if you compared to some of the other was assistants, she’s not so smart. Today we’re just talking about Cortana and Siri. In comparison with Cortana, she does seem to be a little smarter. However, if you think about it, what do you want your voice assistant to do on your phone? You want it to be able to let you set reminders, help you make a phone call, help you send a text, send an email, or place a call – did I already say that? Honestly, as far as performing the task, it’s an up or down. If you want information, you are going to get better information from Siri than Cortana.
But I was playing with Cortana this afternoon. I would ask Siri, “Send Todd a text.” And because I’ve been using Siri forever, and she’s very well familiar with who Todd is, it would just happen. But then Cortana, because I just started using it, it’s like, “Todd, oh, do you want to send it to Todd’s mom Shery, or to Todd –” asking me for more information so that it could get to know exactly what I wanted to do. Honestly, I like the voice of Cortana, and I think Cortana seems to be a little more responsive. I don’t know about you all, but with me, on my phone, Siri can be contrary. Sometimes I’ll push the button to bring her up, and she just will come up. Or show, by go away really quick. I did not notice that with Cortana. The minute I touch that microphone with Cortana, she was ready to assist. I also really appreciate the settings that you have with Cortana. You have very little that you can configure with Siri. Siri just pretty much does what she does. But with Cortana, in the menu settings, you have a lot of options that you can configure. Cortana can actually make reservations for you at a restaurant, Siri can’t do that. When I ask when the Cubs were going to play again, Cortana — which I was surprised by — not only told me when they were going to play, but kind of gave me a quick rundown of their complete schedule, which I thought was nice.
JOSH ANDERSON: Did Cortana read those to you? Or did it just take you to a website?
BELVA SMITH: It’s kind of back and forth. Yes, it did read it to me.
JOSH ANDERSON: A lot of times, Siri, I’ll ask a question, and it will say I found this is.
BELVA SMITH: And it’ll just stop.
JOSH ANDERSON: I had to click on a website or something like that. I know Cortana, when I’ve used it, it usually answers my question.
BELVA SMITH: And when I asked the weather, like I asked both of them once the current temperature, Siri did just exactly what you said. It just brought up the current temperature and a little bit of information. When I asked Cortana what’s the current temperature, she gave me all kinds of feedback for the sun shining and 43 degrees, etc.
This is my opinion, but I think Siri seems more robotic. I think Cortana seems more like a person. That’s been my experience.
BRIAN NORTON: Cortana is available not just in Windows but also – is it Windows phone?
BELVA SMITH: I have it right here on my iPhone.
BRIAN NORTON: You can download it to your iPhone?
BELVA SMITH: You can put all the assistants on your iPhone. You can have the Google assistant, yeah.
JOSH ANDERSON: There aren’t very many Windows phones. I think they scrapped the idea.
BELVA SMITH: I think there are four. Here’s a really cute thing. If you have Cortana, ask her who her daddy is. I want to tell the answer. You want to do a quick demo?
BRIAN NORTON: Let’s do that. I think it’ll be interesting.
BELVA SMITH: Hopefully it works.
BRIAN NORTON: Hopefully it’s appropriate for all those who are listening.
BELVA SMITH: Who is your daddy? She’s not answering me now. In the car, she told me her daddy was Bill Gates.
JOSH ANDERSON: That’s fun.
BRIAN NORTON: Interesting.
BELVA SMITH: Oh, she did tell me. Technically speaking, that would be Bill Gates. But it’s no big deal.
BRIAN NORTON: It just puts it in text on the screen? Interesting.
BELVA SMITH: They are both back and forth on that as to whether or not it’s going to speak.
BRIAN NORTON: Do you guys have clients using it for any productivity?
BELVA SMITH: I have clients that are using JAWS that also use Cortana.
BRIAN NORTON: Can you open programs and things like that?
BELVA SMITH: Absolutely.
BRIAN NORTON: Because Siri will do that as well.
BELVA SMITH: Absolutely.
BRIAN NORTON: So there are some productivity things, efficiency things built into both. They are both free. [Siri] comes built into your MacBooks and to your iPads and iOS devices. Cortana comes built in two Windows 10, right? Can you download it for previous versions of Windows?
JOSH ANDERSON: I don’t think so. It has to be Windows 10.
BELVA SMITH: It has to work on Windows 10.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s not the voice assistant that is located within programs. I know on office 365 can you have dictation built in.
JOSH ANDERSON: Totally different program.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s what I thought. I thought I would ask that. Interesting. If you’re looking for more information on Cortana or Siri, or maybe you use it for different tasks, please reach out to us. We would love to hear from you. You can send a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. Or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear what you guys think of Cortana versus Siri, maybe some of the applications you use it for day in and day out. We appreciate you chiming in.
BELVA SMITH: Somebody is going to say, you guys forgot to talk about the Google assistant. The Google assistant has all the same capabilities that those two have. Today we just chose to talk about those two.
BRIAN NORTON: Usually when we do the showdown, I put two. I guess we could’ve put all three together. The Google assistant, Cortana, and Siri. But I just went with Cortana and Siri.
JOSH ANDERSON: If you’re going to do that, you almost have to get more in. Alexa, you could put it in there.
BELVA SMITH: Absolutely.
JOSH ANDERSON: Let’s just go with the to the actually have names.
***[27:02] Question 4 – Hebrew Text-to-Speech
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is an email from David. David was looking for some recommendations for Hebrew text-to-speech for both android and iOS. When I think of text-to-speech, either that’s using the built-in reader that voiceover or possibly JAWS or talkback, but looking to be able to have it read in Hebrew. This isn’t the first time I’ve had this question. I hear the question periodically about wanting a change either into a different language — to be honest with you, I’ve heard Hebrew several times.
JOSH ANDERSON: That’s why it’s frequently asked questions, Brian.
BRIAN NORTON: Exactly. That’s why I thought we ought to talk about it.
BELVA SMITH: I think it’s common for the kids or young adults that are attending Christian colleges with Christian goals. I remember you and I many years ago, had a young man that was using JAWS and needed —
BRIAN NORTON: He ended up using what was available — and we will talk about some of those things. He ended up working with somebody to design his own Braille translation for Hebrew. It was quite fascinating to see him talk about that project. He was super excited about it. I believe they have something out there. It wasn’t translation software — well, it was, but for Braille, not just text to speech. How to convert the Hebrew language with all the interesting nuances and symbols that are included in that into something that was meaningful in Braille.
My understanding is that in voiceover, you can change the language to Hebrew. I think that’s been around since iOS 8, if I’m not mistaken. One way for at least iOS devices is to go into settings of voiceover and change the language to Hebrew. Again, I’m not sure how perfect that’s going to be. It seems like whenever you start translating languages and things like that, there are nuances that are missing and things that just don’t come across very well.
JOSH ANDERSON: I question is — and you might have gone to this — if I change was over language to Hebrew, and what I’m trying to read is a website that’s in English, it’s not going to read it in Hebrew?
BRIAN NORTON: No. I don’t think so.
JOSH ANDERSON: I just want to make sure that was clear. I wasn’t sure. That would be really cool if I could do that.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s more for Microsoft translator.
JOSH ANDERSON: To be able to do that and then have voiceover read it.
BRIAN NORTON: Exactly.
BELVA SMITH: What is this listener looking for? Something that will read Hebrew or speak Hebrew?
BRIAN NORTON: For Hebrew text —
JOSH ANDERSON: Both. It’s going to read and speak Hebrew.
BRIAN NORTON: I think for android — this is a while ago and I believe it still out there, but there was Aharon TTS, which stands for text to speech. But “Aharon” is spelled A-H-A-R-O-N. It’s for android, so you can go to the Google play store to check it out. That does text-to-speech for android. I don’t believe it’s a screen reader, but you will be able to select text and have it read to you in Hebrew. I would assume if the feature is there in voiceover that you will be able to find something in talkback to be able to change language as well. I’m not certain of that. May be some of our listeners will have some insight into that. Hebrew text-to-speech.
BELVA SMITH: From what I’ve seen, a lot of folks are trying to do that are saying that was over is going to be the better screen reader for trying to do something like that, even compared to JAWS. JAWS can’t do it, but voiceover can, is my understanding, even with RealSpeak.
BRIAN NORTON: I wasn’t sure if JAWS had the ability —
BELVA SMITH: It has a lot of stuff going on, but I don’t see that it can do that.
BRIAN NORTON: Interesting. I would love to hear from folks. If you have any feedback on that as far as a Hebrew text-to-speech, we would love to be able to have you guys chime in and provide us more information on that. It certainly is something that lots of people are inquiring about and interested in. We would love to have you chiming about that. You can do that through our listener line, 317-721-7124. Or you can send us an email at email@example.com.
***[31:31] Question 5 – Who owns this software?
Brian Norton: Our next question is from Cindy. Cindy has an employee who uses JAWS and she’s trying to figure out who owns the software. That’s a common problem, right? What information do I need to gather or what do I need to figure out who owns it?
BELVA SMITH: I would just like to say that if the employee is the owner of the software, they really should know that they are the owner of the software. That’s kind of important. But the easiest way to find out who the software is registered to is to bring up the interface. Click on your JAWS icon and go to help. That would be “H” if you’re using keystrokes or just click on help and go down to about. When you open that up, it will show who it’s registered to. It will show the serial number. It will let you know if there are any upgrades left remaining with that particular app activation, authorization, whatever you call it.
BRIAN NORTON: Does it actually list of the users name?
BELVA SMITH: It should list the users name, because —
JOSH ANDERSON: As long as you registered with the software —
BELVA SMITH: Yeah, when it was installed, it should have been registered, and when it’s registered, it’ll show – for example, for us, it was show Easter Seals Crossroads. Or if it were registered to make it would show Belva Smith. The reason I think that’s important for the employee to know is because if, for some reason, that relationship between the employer and the employee ends, then the employee needs to make sure that that is being removed —
BRIAN NORTON: Or given back.
BELVA SMITH: Yes, that activation is basically given back to them and the employer can’t go ahead and use it for the next person. It’s really important to find out who owns it, because there also is important as to who’s responsible for any upgrades that might be necessary. For example, we will use Easter Seals Crossroads. If they owned the software and there’s an update required for me to be able to perform my job, then they would be the ones required to buy the upgrade. But if I’m the one that owns the software, then I would probably be the one that would have to purchase that upgrade. Another easy way to tell — I guess this isn’t an easy way, but as a way to tell the — is, is it being used on a network, and is a home or professional version? Number one, if it’s a home version, more than likely that does belong to an individual and can’t be used on a network. But a professional version could be on a network and could be easily employer’s or the employee’s.
JOSH ANDERSON: And there is one exception to that. If the person went through a vocational rehabilitation program, it may be registered to them, but technically it belongs to vocational repetition.
BELVA SMITH: For a time period.
BRIAN NORTON: Or they sign it over.
BELVA SMITH: For a time period.
BRIAN NORTON: The other way I usually locate this information, FSactivate.com, if you just have the serial number for the software, you can go on to FSactivate.com, plug in that serial number, and it’ll actually tell you the information. A lot of times, I think we have – I don’t know — we have a 10 user site license here because we have it on some demonstration laptops, some staff have it on their computers, those kinds of things, so we have lots of different serial numbers. We have one serial number couple lots of different activation codes. That’s how I can figure out what we have and who has it on what. FS Activate is also a great place to go if you’re looking for the information. But if it tells you specifically who it’s registered to, I would go with what Belva mentioned first, and that was go to the help menu in your JAWS panel and check out the information.
BELVA SMITH: You’ve got to hope that when it was installed that it was activated and registered correctly. If the person who installed it, maybe it was the IT department for the agency or the employer that installed it, if they do not specifically put in that the software belongs to the employee, then it’s going to show that it belongs to the employer.
BRIAN NORTON: I find this situation happen with me several times over the years, and it was mainly because the software was purchased — it was JAWS 3.0 when the employee started working, and now it’s 2019, so there’s been myriad updates, new managers, new people who surround the employee. Nobody quite remembers, was that purchased by the company or was that purchased through vocational rehabilitation for the client? You to the client nor the employer know. It’s like, how do we figure that out? The ways that we mentioned, look at the help menu, go to FS Activate, look at those different places to be able to figure that stuff out. I think that applies to a lot of different software.
BELVA SMITH: Absolutely.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s important to know is it the consumer’s or is it the employer’s. If the employee leaves, if it’s there is, then it should go with them so they can use it elsewhere.
BELVA SMITH: That something I tell my consumers. For example, if we are putting in place — maybe all the other employees are using a 19 inch monitor, and that’s fine for them, but I’ve got a client that’s visually impaired and they need a 24 inch monitor. I always tell them, you need to put your name on that. For example, inventory gets done by the agency or something. Suddenly they think we’ve got this 24 inch monitor in our inventory that’s not listed. Because as you pointed out, Josh, if this equipment is being purchased by vocational rehabilitation, it’s not to be left with the employer upon the separation of the two.
BRIAN NORTON: Exactly. Don’t forget, if you guys have any feedback, maybe you’ve dealt with the situation or have a question that maybe this question has brought up for you, get a hold of us. We would love to hear from you. You can give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124. Or send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. We would love to hear from you.
***[37:45] Question 6 – Text-to-speech for chrome browser and google docs
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is from Aaron. I am looking for a text-to-speech app that I can use with my Google docs and my chrome a web browser. Any suggestions?
BELVA SMITH: You’ve got one. Yay. The important thing, if you want to be able to use the speech within Google Chrome or Google docs, you’ve got to make sure that that’s been turned down. The easy way to do that is to open up your Google Chrome and they go to your Google account. That’s where you are going to see your profile picture whatever. You want to click on that and go into your account. Make sure that you go down to account preferences and choose accessibility, and make sure that you turn on or activate the screen reader feature. That will then allow you to use chrome Vox or any one of a number of screen readers. But if you haven’t activated that first, you are going to find your screen readers either don’t work, or they work all wacko.
BRIAN NORTON: Right.
JOSH ANDERSON: That’s if you need the full screen reader. If you are just looking for text-to-speech, I use read aloud a lot.
BELVA SMITH: You can use read aloud?
JOSH ANDERSON: Yes. It’s a chrome plug-in, it’s free. You just look up plug-in it read aloud, find it, play it on there. It works really well in Google docs.
BELVA SMITH: And Google docs now has the same feature that you have in your iPhone, remember? At ATIA, weren’t you at that session where they showed us that all you have to do is highlight it? And it gives you the option to speak it.
JOSH ANDERSON: I was not at that one.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s pretty cool.
BELVA SMITH: That’s available within chrome or Google docs.
JOSH ANDERSON: Nice.
BRIAN NORTON: I find that interesting, because a lot of things are starting to move that way. As an agency at Easter Seals Crossroads, we just moved to office 365. They have immersive reader built right into it, so in the web version, you can bring up any dock and have it read to you, change text color, do all sorts of things. I just started playing around with that a couple of days ago, getting ready for a presentation. I was pretty impressed with what it can do and what it offers folks as far as a really useful text-to-speech.
BELVA SMITH: You mentioned Texthelp. Is that something — didn’t you mentioned Texthelp?
JOSH ANDERSON: I mentioned read aloud.
BELVA SMITH: Okay, read aloud. That’s been around forever as far as I know.
JOSH ANDERSON: I’ve been using it as a Google Chrome plug-in for a long time. It’s very simple, brings all your text up into a little box and you can play it, change the size, the voice. It’s a play button, a pause button, there is like four buttons. I’ve been using it for quite a bit. It read anything in Google Chrome, websites, docs, pretty much anything.
BELVA SMITH: I think that’s been around forever and works both in Windows and chrome.
JOSH ANDERSON: Texthelp does, if you are thinking of —
BELVA SMITH: Read aloud – I don’t know. Read aloud used to be a little green icon that looked like a desk lamp, is what I recall. I’m talking a long time ago.
JOSH ANDERSON: Read aloud looks like a megaphone.
BELVA SMITH: The reason I was going to bring up Texthelp is, are the colleges still using that? Read and write? Texthelp?
JOSH ANDERSON: Some of them.
BELVA SMITH: Some of them are?
JOSH ANDERSON: Yes. Some are offering that two students. I know I detect, which is a community college around the state, I don’t believe even have to go to disability services. I think read and write is available to all students. I think they have a license for any student that wants it can go and download it from their site and use it as long as they are a student. Which is pretty cool that they are going that way. They figured out that could help a lot of students, not just those with print disabilities.
BRIAN NORTON: I just tried what you’re talking about, Belva. Got to go in and enable some accessibility settings. There is an accessibility menu in your Google docs, and when you click on that, it opens up a whole bunch of different things for you. Speak is one of them, and you can speak selection, speak selection formatting, or speak cursor location, speak tables, rows, columns, headers, all sorts of things you can do with that, which is really cool. I didn’t realize that was built right in. I think I was with you at the session instead of Josh.
BELVA SMITH: Okay.
BRIAN NORTON: I remember at ATIA, they did a lot of — throwdowns? Is that with the said? App throwdowns, and they were comparing and contrasting. No one was ever a clear winner in those particular throwdowns. They were just comparing and contrasting different features between the different devices and what things could do. It seems to me like what was available in one was available in others. It was kind of back-and-forth.
BELVA SMITH: It may be called something different, in a different location, but the action and function is pretty much the same. The ability to highlight text and have it spoken, everybody can benefit from that, right? Everybody. Somebody like me who mispronounce his words all the time, to be able to hear how it should be spoken or at least how a screen reader is going to speak it gives you a general idea of the correct pronunciation. I was thrilled to see that that was not part of the Google docs accessibility.
BRIAN NORTON: Belva, you’ve mentioned a couple times read and write is an option for folks. If you’re looking for something that’s more sophisticated, has the ability to read text, pause, stop, and have it read chunks at a time versus single words at a time, lots of different features for folks with learning disabilities, read and write is one of those programs that you probably should take a bigger look at. It’s a chrome plug-in, or you can get the full program so it’ll work anywhere in your computer. That’s available from Texthelp.com. I want to say it’s a little over $100. I’m not exactly sure what the prices, but it’s a pretty good program. I think here in Indiana, several universities make it available to students as a free download. I know IU is one of those places that, if you go to IU ware, you can actually, as a student, download those.
JOSH ANDERSON: I don’t think that’s all of the IU campuses anymore.
BRIAN NORTON: Okay. Is it only certain ones?
JOSH ANDERSON: I think it might be certain ones, and I’m not sure if they are getting away from it.
BELVA SMITH: That’s why I asked, because I thought I had heard that a lot of them does not a lot of them, but I heard some of them —
JOSH ANDERSON: Some campuses are really pulling back and changing what available to all students.
BRIAN NORTON: Interesting.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s school by school. The only reason I mentioned Ivy Tech is because I’ve worked with students that go. It’s all over the state of Indiana as a community college, and everyone I’ve worked with that shows up on their site. There is really no difference between it, whereas IU has IU Bloomington, IU South Bend, IU East, IU Southeast. Some of them do have different programs available. If that’s something you are working for, definitely contact your school.
BRIAN NORTON: Maybe they don’t offer read and write, maybe they offer something different.
JOSH ANDERSON: For sure.
BELVA SMITH: Right. I think that’s why it’s so amazing that we’ve got people like Google and Microsoft and Apple that are including these things right within the programs. I would love to see the no need to install — and I know that FreedomScientific and those guys don’t want to hear me say that — let’s face it, when it’s part of the OS, it’s going to work better.
BRIAN NORTON: Right. It’s only been – it was only a matter of time. I’ve been here for 20-something years, you’ve been here a while as well, and it’s one of those things where we kept thinking, eventually they are going to have to start putting the stuff in. They are starting to think of baby boomers starting to need this, age-related vision loss, those kinds of things. Eventually the big companies were going to get around to it, and they started to. They really have. I even look at some of the accessibility features in Windows now that, what used to be and what it is now, are completely different. Windows magnifier is a really great program.
BELVA SMITH: Speech recognition. That says it all.
JOSH ANDERSON: Yeah.
BELVA SMITH: If you look at that when it was first part of the operating system, it was like Dragon, it was a nightmare. Now it’s amazing.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s getting there for sure. I would love to hear from other folks. If you’ve had experience with text-to-speech apps and different chrome plug-ins or add-ons, let us know. We would love to hear about those and share those with the folks who are listening. You can reach out to us at our email address, that’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. We would love to hear from you.
***[47:08] Wildcard question: thoughts on Internet security and issues with information being lost or hacked?
WADE WINGLER: And now it’s time for the wildcard question.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is the wildcard question. Recently I was reading an article about how MySpace lost all user photos, videos, and audio files uploaded to its network more than three years ago. Their response was simply, “We apologize for the inconvenience.” This got me thinking about how all of my photos, all of my documents, all of my presentations, my memories, are backed up to the cloud. That’s where I put my stuff, right? iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, different places. What really frustrates me in this day and age is there is not a whole lot of recourse for me if something was wrong, and things are lost. I felt this way couple of years ago. Our agency here at Easter Seals Crossroads, our insurance is there and them, and they got hacked and all of our personal data was exposed – or could have been exposed. All they said was what I felt was a heartfelt “I’m sorry.” And you can sign up for a year or something. So the people lay low for a year, and they come back in a year and get my personal data. I don’t know.
BELVA SMITH: All that did was give them away to make more money. They wanted to sell us security, right?
BRIAN NORTON: Question is twofold. First of all, where do you guys keep your stuff?
JOSH ANDERSON: I’m not telling you, Brian.
BELVA SMITH: We’ve had this question several times.
BRIAN NORTON: Here’s my thought with this. What about the culpability of these? I just get frustrated with the culpability of these places, these companies. Hey, sorry, there’s not a whole lot of recourse and ways for us to feel secure. I’m just trusting that my stuff is going to be okay. I think what happened at MySpace as they were just doing a server migration, something that should be simple and easy, and they just lost everything.
JOSH ANDERSON: A couple of things, and I’ll touch on your point first. Did anyone notice that all their stuff from my space was gone?
BRIAN NORTON: Somebody did, because they were an article about it.
JOSH ANDERSON: Was it Tom? Was it the guy who’s automatically your friend when you join MySpace? I was going to say, I am pretty sure I still have a MySpace account somewhere. I don’t even know how to log into it. Belva, you brought up a good point about it’s just a good way to sell you. I once tried to work for a home security company, and our job was to go sell door-to-door in neighborhoods that had just had burglaries. By the end of the conversation, I was pretty sure that the guy who was hiring me was doing the burglaries, because it was pretty good business to do that. Should there be — should they be liable for those kinds of things? Sure. But how do you enforce it quick and if you do, how much are they going to charge you to keep your stuff after that? If a bank gets robbed and they take your safety deposit box, you are insured for that stuff. But you are not getting it for free. You are paying for that box, you are paying for that space, you are paying for that – kind of to have your items.
I have things in the cloud. They are all backed up to a hard drive or on my computer.
BRIAN NORTON: So you put it in a physical space?
JOSH ANDERSON: I put it in a physical space. I don’t trust myself up there.
BELVA SMITH: You should have three backups. If you want to use the cloud, that’s fine. Should that be your only backup? Absolutely not. You should have —
BRIAN NORTON: I’ve heard that before.
BELVA SMITH: You should have a physical backup. Should that physical backup be like mine is right now, sitting right next to my computer? Absolutely not. It should be off-site somewhere so that if my house gets broken into, or burned to the ground, I still do have my physical copy. And it should be updated regularly. I don’t use the cloud too much. I use it as little as possible. Primarily because I don’t trust that it’s always going to be there. With that, I’m going to throw — years ago – Josh, you are probably too young to remember this – but years ago, Kodak made this big deal about we are going to put a thousand of your photos on this Kodak desk. You could plug it into your computer and play it and have all of your photos in one place on this one desk. Guess what? Kodak is gone. If I have that is, I can put it in 100 different computers, and guess what? It does that work. Should I have trusted Kodak with my photos? Absolutely not. Should I trust the iCloud with my documents? Probably not.
JOSH ANDERSON: The other thing is, don’t put anything up there that you don’t mind the whole world seeing.
BELVA SMITH: Exactly.
JOSH ANDERSON: Brian, I don’t think a lot of people care these days. Everyone found out that Facebook was selling information. Who got off Facebook?
BELVA SMITH: A lot of people.
JOSH ANDERSON: Did they really?
BELVA SMITH: Actually, Facebook lost a lot of people.
BRIAN NORTON: I’ll just say this, for me, it frustrates me because we are kind of being pushed into the digital age, right? Computers don’t come with CD-ROM these days. My new MacBook doesn’t even have a USB drive on it. I can get an adapter to put a USB drive on it, but they are pushing people to the cloud.
BELVA SMITH: Because they want everyone on the cloud.
BRIAN NORTON: Again, what’s to say in this particular instance, if I’m uploading all my memories to a place, you would think safe and secure and whatnot. There is nothing that you can do. The culpability of these Internet companies, one your information is lost or compromised, it’s just not there. Again, maybe it is a hard drive someplace else that I can back this stuff up to. But it’s just one of those things is like, they literally said, “We apologize for the inconvenience.” Well, it’s like, I don’t have those CDs anymore. I don’t have that music anymore. I don’t have those pictures anymore. That’s the only place they were. Hey, sorry.
JOSH ANDERSON: There is not a whole lot you can do about it.
BELVA SMITH: I think that’s true no matter what we do. The stuff is only good as long as it’s good.
JOSH ANDERSON: For sure. If you have it backed up to a hard drive that you keep somewhere stashed under the bed, in your house, and your house burns down, they are all gone too. Then if it’s backed up to the cloud, awesome, I’ve still got them. If the cloud just goes away one day or things like that, or even when you save everything in the cloud when you don’t have Internet access, you can’t get anything that either. I guess there are trade-offs on all those things. Yes, they are definitely pushing.
BELVA SMITH: I think it comes down to convenience and a little bit of trust. Who do you trust? Do trust Apple iCloud? Do trust Google cloud? Do you trust Microsoft cloud? Wherever you trust and whoever is the easiest is probably who you are going to resort to using, because that’s what’s easy and feels good. I remember when I bought my first enormous VHS recorder. I was so excited. My insurance guy said to me, “Hey, you know what would be a smart thing to do? Take a video of all the things in your house and send it off somewhere and keep it safe. That way if your stuff gets stolen, you’ve got video to prove it. Make sure you get the serial numbers.” I did that because I did think that that was a really smart idea. I did it and gave my brother a copy and I had a copy of his stuff. You know what? I’m sure he doesn’t know where mine is that and I have no idea where his is that. But it’s been so many years ago that it wouldn’t matter anyway.
JOSH ANDERSON: Because you would have to find it easier to plate.
BELVA SMITH: Exactly.
BRIAN NORTON: They don’t make those anymore. I just found out.
BELVA SMITH: Things just change, and I think it does come down to convenience and trust. I don’t have a whole lot of trust in the cloud. I just don’t.
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s also important to remember where your things are. Like you said, with the Kodak, if I’ve got all my information stored at MySpace, not that many people even use the anymore – there may just be the day where they are like, hey, we’re leaving in two months. If you didn’t happen to read that, you wouldn’t know. Google+ is going away, so if you are storing a lot of stuff in that, granted, it would probably go to Google driver somewhere else. At the same time, if you’re using that as your platform…
BELVA SMITH: That raises another question. What’s going to happen when the iCloud is for? Is a going to get full? Can it get full?
BRIAN NORTON: They just keep adding hard drives to it.
BELVA SMITH: Where are those hard drives?
BRIAN NORTON: In someone’s closet. The cloud is not an imaginary cloud in the space. It’s a hard drive someplace in someone’s server farm. They can just keep adding more memory and do that, if they need it.
BELVA SMITH: If that’s the case, then we do have a Google closet somewhere and a Microsoft closet somewhere and an Apple closet somewhere that’s got all these hard drives where everybody is storing everything. When those crash…
BRIAN NORTON: You are out of luck. I’m sure they have redundant systems set up so that if one –
JOSH ANDERSON: A backup of a backup of a backup.
BRIAN NORTON: Exactly. Somewhere in the article with this MySpace incident, they mentioned something of, you know, it probably get down to the fact that someone just didn’t want to take the time to move all of that information over, because it was a server migration where this happened. They didn’t want to take the time to have all the information get moved over, so oops, it’s gone. No one can prove that, right? I guess for me, it is one of those things where I don’t have a whole lot of trust, but I look at where things are headed, and I don’t think you have a whole lot of choice either to be able to use those types of places. I think your choices will get slimmer as time goes on, like hard drives and the availability of flash drives. The amount of memory it takes to be able to save that information as you continue to collect more and more photos, more movies, more things like that, eventually you are going to get pushed into the cloud to be able to have your stuff stored.
That is our show for today. I want to thank Josh and Belva for being a part of the panel today. Josh, you want to say goodbye to folks?
JOSH ANDERSON: Goodbye everybody. See you next time.
BRIAN NORTON: And Belva?
BELVA SMITH: See you guys in a couple weeks. Thanks for listening.
BRIAN NORTON: If you are listening to our show, sent us your questions, we would love to hear from you. You can call us on our listener line at 317-721-7124. Send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. Or email us at email@example.com. We look for your questions or any feedback you have over the questions we talked about today. In fact, without that information, we don’t really have a show. So be a part of it. Have a great one and we will talk to you guys in a couple weeks.
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.
***Transcript provided by TJ Cortopassi. For requests and inquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org***