ATFAQ 104- Q1 – typing w/ low muscle tone and no voice, Q2 – Windows 7 Deaf and Hard of Hearing features, Q3 – Mouse/Trackpad devices for iPad, Q4 – refresh rates and flat panel monitors, Q5 – Difficulty using mouse on computer.

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ATFAQ104 – Q1 – Q1 – typing w/ low muscle tone and no voice, Q2 – Windows 7 Deaf and Hard of Hearing features, Q3 – Mouse/Trackpad devices for iPad, Q4 – refresh rates and flat panel monitors, Q5 – Difficulty using mouse on computer.

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>>  BRIAN NORTON: 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 where 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 us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ, call our listener line at (317) 721‑7124 or send us an e‑mail  The world of assistive technology has questions, and we have answers!  And now, let’s jump into today’s show.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Hello, and welcome to ATFAQ episode 104.  My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of the show, and we’re so happy that you’ve taken some time to tune in with us this week.  We have a great lineup of assistive technology questions for you today but, before we jump into the questions, I wanted to take a moment and just go around the room and introduce the folks who are sitting here with me in the studio.  First is Belva.  Belva is the Vision Team Lead for our Clinical Assistive Technology program.  Belva, do you want to say hi?

>>  BELVA SMITH: Happy, happy, happy!


>>  JOSH ANDERSON: That heat’s getting to her.


>>  BRIAN NORTON: I said say hello, not happy, happy, happy!


>>  BELVA SMITH: It is miserable outside.  Has anybody been outside since you got here this morning?


>>  BRIAN NORTON: You know, I love ‑‑ I’d rather have heat like this than buckets of rain and cold.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Yeah..

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Is it rain AND cold, or rain OR cold?

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Rain or ‑‑ I’ll take this above anything else.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Not me.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Yeah, I don’t know.  I complained when it was cold and rainy, and now that it’s hot, I need to just take my medicine and accept the heat.  But anyways, we also have Josh there.  Josh is the Manager of Clinical Assistive Technology here at Easter Seals Crossroads, also the host of AT Update.  Josh, you want to say hi to our listeners?

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Yeah, sure!  Hi, everybody.  And I’m with Brian.  I guess I’ll take the heat over the cold.


>>  BRIAN NORTON: Excellent, excellent.  Hey, just for new listeners, want to take a moment to let you know a little bit about our show, how our show works, and so the format of our show is it’s Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions, and what we end up doing each week is we come across various feedback, we come across various assistive technology related questions, we put that together in a show.  A list of maybe five or six, seven different questions each week, and then we sit around as a panel, and we try to answer those as best we can.  You’ve got lots of years of experience in this room.  I don’t know — I’ve been doing this for twenty‑some years.  Josh, how long have you been doing this?

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Twice that long.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Twice that long!


>>  JOSH ANDERSON: No, no, no.  Eight years?  Five years?  Somewhere in there.  I don’t remember.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Somewhere in there.  And Belva, you’ve been around for a long time, too, right?


>>  BELVA SMITH: Fifteen.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Fifteen plus.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: She’s the godmother of assistive technology.


>>  BELVA SMITH: Yeah.  Fifteen plus.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: There, so you’ve got lots of years experience and, you know, we just try to do our best as we kind of look at these questions, provide some answers, but we also look to you guys as our listeners to fill in the gaps, and so if you guys are listening to a question, and you guys have something to contribute, we’d love to hear from you.  You can do that in a variety of ways to either contribute or ask a question.  If you guys have questions, would love to hear about those as well.  The variety of ways start with our listener line.  Our listener line is (317) 721‑7124.  You can give us a call, leave us a voicemail, and we’ll include that voicemail in the show and we’ll do our best to answer that question.  You can also send us an e‑mail.  That’s at, or you can send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ.  That’s another way, so if you’re on Twitter and want to tweet us, we can do that as well, but again, looking for your questions and looking for your feedback.  And so, as we jump into today’s show, we had a couple of instances of feedback this past week.  I want to play those for you, and so let’s go ahead and take a listen.

(Recording playing)

“Hi, this is Lisa calling in about the latest episode, I believe of ATFAQ.  I love you guys’ show.  I just wanted to add, for Dan, who was trying to find ways as a visually impaired person, to do some either live stream or video of his band.  One thing that wasn’t mentioned so far, and it may have been because I didn’t finish listening, but — is that, for about $10, you can get a remote, a little bitty remote that you can use to then activate your camera on your phone, so relatively easy to set up and do.  Also, the tripod, or a version of it, that was mentioned, you can ‑‑ I just picked up one for $5 at Five Below that sounds like it does the exact same thing, so it can all be done fairly inexpensively.  As far as live streaming, I’m wondering if you couldn’t do something like set up, do a live stream just to ‑‑ because I know you can just share with friends or your whole group or whatever.  If you had somebody willing to watch your initial live stream that you sent them, let you know where to set things and then stop that and then live stream your actual audience.  That would be the best solution I can think of.  So thanks again for the show.  Hope this is helpful.  Bye bye!”

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Alright, thank you, Lisa.  Thank you for that feedback.  Appreciate that.  Hopefully that’ll help Dan out in the situation where he’s trying to get his band recorded kind of in a Facebook live, but thank you for that feedback.  Anybody else have anything more to add to that?  I would love to hear from you.  Again, our listener line is (317) 721‑7124.  So our second bit of feedback, we’ll go ahead and take a listen to that now.

(Recording playing)

“Hello, my name is John (Indiscernible.) from Charleston, West Virginia.  I was listening to one of your shows — I’m not sure the exact number, but the question dealt with topical and graphical maps, I’m assuming for blind individuals.  I’m not sure if this would meet your criteria, but I believe The Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco was doing some type of research and technology for maps, and I don’t have all their contact info, but it was the San Francisco LightHouse, and they were doing something with 3D printing and maps.  Thank you.  Take care, enjoy your show!”

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Alright, thank you, John.  That’s great feedback, and so to be able to find that, we have a web address for San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind.  Josh, did you get that?


>>  BRIAN NORTON: So again, if you’re looking for tactile maps, they might be someone who you might want to contact or look up and get in touch with to be able to see if they can create that, if that project is still going, and so again, reach out to them and get contact information from their website.  Thank you again, John, appreciate it.


>>  BRIAN NORTON: Alright, so our first question is an e‑mail from Courtney.  Courtney said “I hope you guys are well.  I’ve got an incoming exchange student for the fall, and that person has muscle tone issues, and so his vocal cords don’t work.  His muscle tone also affects his ability to type and write for long periods of time.  Any suggestions for apps or technology that I could recommend to him while he’s here?” 

And so let’s kind of open it up to you guys.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Well, hopefully he will have access to a tablet or a smartphone.  More than likely, he’ll probably have access to a tablet and, if he does, the first step that came to my mind is an app that’s free, and it’s called BuzzCards, all one word, and someone may initially have to sit down with him and help create his library of frequently used cards, you might say, but the way that BuzzCards works is you basically just type out a phrase that you want to say, and then it stores it for you.  So for example, it comes with some examples of cards that might be used, like if you were going to the coffee shop but you couldn’t speak what you wanted your order to be, then you could just have it, “large coffee with cream and sugar, please,” typed out and pull that card up.  Now, it is going to require opening the cards and making sure that you choose the appropriate one, but that’s the first thing that came to my mind.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: What I was going to say, because I think the main issues that you’re going to find are communication, obviously, and that’s definitely something that can address communication.  Low muscle tone, just even with typing and like, computer access would be probably something that you would have to address, those kinds of things, and so yeah, but with communication, BuzzCards, that’s a really nice app.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Well, and I don’t want to miss saying that this sounds like a situation that would definitely benefit from an evaluation.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Sure, okay.

>>  BELVA SMITH: So, I mean, hopefully that’s something that can be sought out there once the student arrives, because I think there’s going to ‑‑ I mean, there’s a lot of things that are going to go into determining what’s going to be appropriate.  You know, primarily what technology.  The next app that I found, and I’ve never used the app.  I don’t have any experience with it.  BuzzCards I do have experience with, but it’s called Touch Voice Gold.  It is not free.  It costs 20 bucks, but it seems like ‑‑ I mean, I definitely would recommend checking it out.  It does seem to be available in English and Spanish, available on Apple and Android as well as a web app, so I’m assuming then it could be used like on a PC.  So I’m sorry ‑‑ what did I call it?

>>  BRIAN NORTON: (Mumbling.)

>>  BELVA SMITH: Touch Voice Gold?

>>  BRIAN NORTON: There, yep.  That’s what you said.  Yep.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Okay, good, because that is the name.  Got that one right!


>>  BELVA SMITH: But if you go to, they do have a video there that shows you how the app can be used, and it does require some movement and interaction with the screen, but basically it’s going to allow you to produce sentences without having to speak them or type them.  That’s all I got!

>>  BRIAN NORTON:  Nice! Touch Voice Gold.


>>  JOSH ANDERSON: And those will definitely help with communication, which is going to be important, I mean, especially an exchange student, they’re going to want to talk to their peers, learn about them, and that’s one of the reasons you kind of have that program, but they’re also going to need to probably use a computer, I would guess, and there’s a lot of different ways to kind of do that.  With the lowered muscle tone, not being able to finagle the keyboard, a mouse real easily.  There’s eye gaze systems, if they do have pretty good control over their eyes.  There’s a program called Smyle Mouse, and what it does is it actually uses the webcam on your laptop or computer or whatever, and it kind of tracks your head movements, so you move around and then, whenever you want to click on something, you smile or, you know, just change your facial expression.  So with the lowered muscle tone, that may not be an option.  There’s also head mice, which is a camera mounted on top of your computer, and then you have little kind of like metallic dot you put up on either in your forehead or on your glasses or something, and it tracks that, so still, you have some head movement, but it’s going to have a lot less movement than some other things, so maybe trying out a few of those to see if you can kind of do the computer access piece.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Did I hear that Windows 10 now has eye tracking in it?

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: So I don’t believe it’s actually built in, but it does have ‑‑ it’s supposed to be a lot easier, almost like plug and play.  Like, the USB is supposed to be a little bit better equipped to handle those kind of devices, so you should be able to kind of plug it in and, you know, a lot of times to set up those, there’s a pretty long process of downloading software, doing this, getting it to recognize everything.  Supposedly, it’s supposed to do it pretty quick.  I haven’t tried that out yet, but that’s something in there.


>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Then there’s other considerations, too.  You know, the student might want to raise their hand in class.  Well, you know, they’re not going to be able to yell to get your attention and, depending on their muscle tone, they might not be able to raise their hand, so you might need to figure out some sort of system for that.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: I think we talked about that maybe at some point on the show.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Yeah, I think we’ve had a question about that.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Remote alerting or something like that.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Yeah, we talked about remote alerting and, I mean, heck, depending on what you want to spend, even one of those little, I could even think a tap-like kind of thing, like you put in your closet, you know, a little LED that you could just tap, so if he has enough muscle tone to be able to tap at enough pressure to get it on, at least the teacher can see that light and know that the student has a question.  Then maybe they could use their BuzzCards or something else to be able to ask that question, so there’s a lot of considerations there for the student to really be able to be successful and get a good experience, but there’s also a lot of stuff out there that can probably help, and your state Tech Act might be a good place to look, too.

>>  BELVA SMITH: That’s where I was headed.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: I got it before Belva, finally!  I could see her waiting to say it!

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Yeah.  Belva is like, chomping at the bit over there.


>>  BELVA SMITH: Well, the key sentence that she said was that what could she give them information about.  Well, the best way to get that information or to find those devices would be to look for your local Tech Act, and they can give you the opportunity to hopefully do hands‑on with some of those devices.  It might be appropriate.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right, and I just wanted to throw in just a couple of other kind of software or app‑like solutions for the person, you know, just with your limited strength, with limited tone and your inability to write for long periods of time, I think a lot of times in school situations, definitely in work situations, a lot of the things that you end up typing or you end up needing to communicate are redundant in nature, and it kind of gets to, Belva, what you talked about with the BuzzCards app, those are things that you say all the time.  I always want the same type of coffee.  I always want to order this at a restaurant, or those kinds of things, and so a lot of the things we say are redundant in nature, and I think, one of the things that I’ve used and I even currently in use in my job, is a program called TextExpander.  It’s for Mac and iOS devices, but you can also ‑‑ there are equivalents for Windows devices, WordExpander.  There’s also PhraseExpander, a couple of different options there.  Both free or pay for versions, and what they do for folks is they allow you to do abbreviation expansions, so I type in three or four characters, and then it goes ahead and expands it out into a whole paragraph or a sentence or just a keyword or phrase, and so a lot of times I’m doing that, and that does save me a lot of time so, for instance, here’s a situation that comes up often.  When we get new referrals, I end up sending the same e‑mail out to whoever that referral person was, whoever the referrer was, and so what I want to do is I just want to say, “Hey, thanks for the referral, it’s so good, thank you for reaching out to us.  We will go ahead and get him assigned, blah, blah, blah,” and oftentimes I’m sending that e‑mail out probably 10, 15 times a day, and what I’ve done is I’ve set up a shortcut key, so when I do get those referrals, I just simply hit ‑‑ here’s what I hit.  I hit .ref, and then it expands out.  It gives me an edit field for, you know, putting the person’s name who the referral was for and then an edit field for who the referrer person was, and it just saves me a ton of time, and so again, hitting four or five characters instead of hitting 100 characters obviously can help that person save some of his strength for other tasks.  Same thing with ‑‑ I’ll also mention Verbally is an app on an iPad, and Verbally allows you to, for the communication piece, allows you to either create phrases or sentences and then have the device speak for you, or you can also use favorites, and so if you, again, have not just the ability to be able to show — BuzzCards is going to have something pre‑typed on the screen.  You can show that to somebody else, but Verbally will allow you to also then have these pre-programmed phrases, and then you can also have it speak it for you, too, and so that might be an option.  It’s kind of an augmentative communication device, a text-based one, that could help with that.  So, I don’t know, there’s a whole lot there.

>>  BELVA SMITH: What’s the cost for that, Brian, or for something like that?

>>  BRIAN NORTON: So Verbally is $99. 

>>  BELVA SMITH: Okay.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: You can find it in the Apple Store.  I believe it’s available for Android.  Don’t quote me on that, but certainly something to look for in the Google Play Store.  And then, TextExpander, I think that’s $40 to purchase, and it’s a one‑time purchase, and then PhraseExpander, there’s a couple of free versions for Windows.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Yeah, there is.  So there’s PhraseExpander for Windows, which does cost money, and there’s another one that used to be called WordExpander, but it’s actually called PhraseExpress now, and it’s actually free.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Okay, and it does a good job.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: And it does a good job.  Doesn’t have quite as many features but, for what this person would probably need, you can still set up two or three kind of things. 

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: And just one other thing.  Brian does not send those e‑mails anymore.  That’s me.


>>  BRIAN NORTON: That true.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Totally taking credit –




>>  BELVA SMITH: So you have it all set up on your computer, right?


>>  JOSH ANDERSON: I do have the exact same thing set up on my computer, but —

>>  BRIAN NORTON: I might’ve passed those to you at some point.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: No, I had to make my own.  They didn’t work. 

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Darn it.  Gosh!


>>  BRIAN NORTON: And then, you know, I never want to go beyond, you know, obviously calling the Tech Act is a great place to find information.  Also look ‑‑ don’t miss the opportunity to look to see what’s already there in the computer.  I think a lot of times we kind of gravitate towards “Oh, here’s a really cool app or a software package or a hardware device” but, you know, these days, Windows and Apple are really building some really good accessibility into their devices, and so go to the Ease of Access Center, check out what’s there.  Or even within Word, you know, I used to call it the poor man’s abbreviation expansion software back in the day, is when you used AutoCorrect to be able to say, hey, I type in this, but whenever you see that in my document expand it out or change it, you know, it’s that AutoCorrect feature.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Those are that kind of skills, though, that could go with and from school to employment as well.


>>  BELVA SMITH: If he knows how to use, for example, the AutoCorrect within Word.  I teach people to use that frequently just because, especially college students that have those huge headers or whatever that they ‑‑ signatures that they have to use, or like for us, with our huge signature, where you can just type two letters and hit the space bar and there it is.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Boom!  There it is.

>>  BELVA SMITH: There it is, but it’s only going to work within Word, so.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Well, and I think we’re overlooking the slight obvious thing here, too.  This is an exchange student that I’m pretty sure has been in school before and made it this far.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Mmhmm.  How’s he done it?

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Ask what they use at home.  You know, ask them what they use in Australia.  I mean, you know, Australia is probably using a completely different version of Windows, I’m sure.  Not really, it’s probably the exact same version of Windows that we’re using, or the exact same kind of Mac.  So, you know, what did they use there?  Hey, there might be something that’s better that can kind of help him out here, but again, they’ve made it this far using something, so.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Right. Very good point.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Make sure you find out what they are using.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Thinking about our evaluations, I mean, we always talk about past, present and future.  Not just with disability.  We want to know where they’ve been with the disability – past, present, and where they’re headed future.  Like, what’s the prognosis, but again, with the technology piece, too, what have you used in the past?  Was it useful, was it not?  What were the problem areas?  And then, looking at what’s available now, what kinds of things will address those problem areas for you, and so there is a lot to that, to be able to think, not just here and now and what do we have available to us now, but what have you used in the past, because, like you said, it’s obviously gotten him someplace.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Oh, yeah well and plus, I mean, just think, especially, you know, for a student, you’re trying to learn all this other stuff and grow up and be all these other kind of things, so if it’s something you’re already used to using and comfortable using, you know, A) the learning curve is much better, but, you know, B) you’re already going to know how.  The training component doesn’t have to be there.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right.  You know, and the other thing, I think — I’m not sure exactly how Australia deals with the K‑12 environment or as far as, like in America, we have the Individual Educational Plan, IEP, and I wonder if they have a similar system, and sometimes I ask for the documentation, because as long as that student gives them permission, they can pass that along with the referral, and I can see all of the different areas that maybe they’ve struggled with in school, and then also see the accommodations they have put in place, you know, whether that’s extended testing time or other types of options for that person, so maybe ask for previous documentation, previous information from the school that he is coming from.


>>  BRIAN NORTON: For sure.  You know, I’m sure there are lots of other things that we haven’t touched on.  If something has struck a chord with you, our listeners, as far as what may be an option for this particular student or for this teacher, would love to hear from you.  You can do that in a variety of ways.  You can give us a call on our listener line.  That’s (317) 721‑7124 or send us an e‑mail at  Love to hear from you.  And so, thank you so much!


>>  BRIAN NORTON: Alright, so our next question is from Lindsay.  This came in through e‑mail.  “Are you aware of any tools or features on Windows 7 and/or Windows 10 that are helpful for people who are hard of hearing or deaf?  My understanding is that many of the tools available are more through an audiologist, but I’m specifically curious about tools that do not involve using hearing aids, cochlear implants, etc.”


>>  BELVA SMITH: Go ahead, Josh.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Everybody’s chomping at the bit to get to this one. 

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Because I got one!

>>  BELVA SMITH: I want more.  I want more, I want to know what —

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Well no, so Windows 10 I’m not sure, but I know Windows 7, because I’ve used it before, and I’m sure it’s probably still there, in the Ease of Access Center, there is a way to replace sounds with visual cues.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: So, if you have like a little — (Indiscernible.)

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right.  Sound sentry is what I think it’s called, right?

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Something like that.  I know it’s in Ease of Access Center.  You can find it in there.  So if there’s normally like a ding or something pops up, your screen will actually flash to let you know that you do have that alert.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Mmhmm.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: I haven’t tried it on Windows 10, but I assume with that notification centre, you know, usually it actually pops up and shows you the notification, but it kind of goes away, so I’m sure you can probably turn that flash on as well.  As far as in Windows, Belva’s got better answers than me, I can tell.

>>  BELVA SMITH: No, really, I don’t.  But I’m like wondering what ‑‑ what are we looking to do, because the first thing I thought of is, okay, so if we’re not talking about hearing aids or cochlear implants, do we just need the sound to be louder?  Because some of the things that I’ve done is use an external Bluetooth speaker.  The Bose Bluetooth speaker is amazing.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Yes, they are amazing.

>>  BELVA SMITH: And I’ve used that with many of my consumers that have a hearing impairment.  Another option might be just a set of headphones.  Again, where the sound is closed into the ears and where the volume can be controlled more easily than the standard PC will allow, I guess.  And then ‑‑ I mean, that’s really all I got, is making the sounds louder.  Yes, there are ‑‑ Windows 10 does have the ability to be able to do the visual alerts, but I’m not sure ‑‑ I’m not sure how well that is, because like you said, Josh, Windows 10 has those little pop‑up visual alerts, anyway, when you get a new message, or when you need to restart, or ‑‑ so I’m not sure what more you would need.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Well, yeah, and my worry is, you know, you have six programs open, and they’re all dinging, and you know —

>>  BELVA SMITH: Right, right.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: If it’s lighting up, that’s great, but I don’t know which one I really need to go to and, I mean, this isn’t in Windows 10 or Windows 7, but a lot of things do have closed captioning now.

>>  BELVA SMITH: No, Windows 10 does have closed captions.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Okay, okay.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: If they’re available, is that right?  It’ll display it?

>>  BELVA SMITH: Close ‑‑ if you have a YouTube video that has sound, you could turn on the closed captioning within Windows 10, and it’ll produce the closed captioning.  There’s actual ‑‑ let’s see, where did I find that?  There’s tutorials on how to turn the closed captioning on within Windows 10, and that’s for YouTube videos or even movies that you may be watching through your computer.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Mmhmm.  You know, I was just looking over Windows, their accessibility page on hearing, and a couple of ‑‑ they tell you to explore the audio settings within the computer, because you can turn on mono audio, so if you’re hard of hearing in one ear, and you have better hearing in another, you can actually turn on mono hearing, so you hear everything through that one side, so that’s definitely something to look at, and then it does mention customized closed captioning, so if whatever you’re watching has it available — it has to have it available for you to see it.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Right.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: But once it does, you can adjust the color, the size, the background transparency, whatever it does to fit your needs.  So it does have some customizable closed caption settings for you.  They also say don’t forget to ‑‑ you can adjust the notification settings to make those notifications stay up longer.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Right, right, that’s what we were saying, yeah.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: So if you get an e‑mail, set at the typical three or four seconds that it pops up, you can have it stay up for 10 or so seconds, and then the other one is the visual cue stuff, and I believe it’s called Sound sentry, but they’re basically visual alternatives for notifications that are typically sent over sound.  So the bing, there’s an error or the keystroke wasn’t recognized, that would be those visual alternatives for folks, so.  And those are the main ones that they kind of mention there.  I would ‑‑ I always encourage folks, if you’re hard of hearing, definitely don’t disregard – and I know in this situation she’s probably explored these different things from the audiologist’s perspective – I think it’s always important for folks who are hard of hearing or just have significant hearing loss to talk to their audiologist and let them know what they’re doing.  You know, a lot of times you’re going to go, and they’re going to help you with your hearing, but if you mention things like “In my job, I use the phone,” and “In my job, I use the computer,” or “In my job, I’m in lots of meetings, and I need to hear folks in those meetings,” that helps them go a little bit further with you with looking at some of the ‑‑ kind of the add‑ons or the peripheral types of devices that can connect directly to those hearing aids, and so a lot of hearing aids are Bluetooth-compatible nowadays, and they come with little FM systems that – there’s something called the Roger Pen for a Phonak hearing aid, which is just the size of a pen.  Put that on the table in front of you, and it picks up the sound that’s happening around the table and feeds it directly to your hearing aids to allow you to be able to hear the conversation a little bit better.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Well, a lot of times, even with the new hearing aids, you can use your smartphone for the same —

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right, exactly.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON:  If you have the Bluetooth — (Indiscernible.)

>>  BELVA SMITH: I’m going to reel you guys back in, though, because —

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Sorry! I know, we’re off –

>>  BELVA SMITH: Well, because she specifically —

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Asked for Windows 7 or Windows 10.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Well, specifically said not involving hearing aids.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right, but I don’t want people to just let that go, because I think there are some things that you can do.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Well, there absolutely is.  Yeah.  There absolutely is, and I would say, too, to Lindsay as well, if we didn’t hit your question on the head, give us more information, and we can try to be a little more specific with your question.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: So, something you could kind of use is, I mean, Windows 10 especially, I think like, for presentations and things like that, you could turn on translator, you know.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Yeah.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Open up Word with translator or something like that.  If somebody’s doing a presentation and, as long as you could pick up their voice, it would actually sit there and transcribe everything for you, so it’d be like instant closed captioning. 

>>  BRIAN NORTON: I mean, there’s lots of apps for that.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Oh, for sure, but I mean, this is a just Windows one, it’s free.  It works in all those different kinds of programs and might be able to be ‑‑ I think you can just access it online, as well, and kind of use that, but that might be something, depending ‑‑ I mean, if you’re using this in a work kind of setting, that might be helpful to be able to use on your computer in a meeting or presentation kind of way.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right, because you’re right, that’s available free in a lot of the new ‑‑ it’s in OneNote, right?

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: It’s in all — I’m pretty sure it’s in all of them.

>>  BELVA SMITH: I think it’s in all the Office- yeah.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: I think it’s in all of the Office things, and then available online, too.  Maybe not Excel, because that’d be weird.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Yeah, I’m thinking not Excel and then I’m not sure about Publisher either, but Word, PowerPoint, yeah.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, all those.

>>  BRIAN NORTON:  The main ones that you would use for those types of things.  That’s interesting.  Very cool!  You know, if other folks have some other feedback.  Maybe there are other helpful tools in Windows 7 or Windows 10 that you have had some experience with, we’d love to be able to pass that on to Lindsay.  You can get a hold of us through e‑mail.  That’s  You can send us a voicemail at (317) 721‑7124 or you can send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ.  Would love to hear from you and would love to pass that on to Lindsay, so thanks!


>>  BRIAN NORTON: Alright, so our next question is also from an e‑mail.  “Do you happen to know if there are any mouse/trackpad devices that pair with an iPad?  My understanding is that there is not one designed for the iPad but was curious if you knew of anything that might be compatible.”

And I’ve got to say, this actual question was received oh, probably a few weeks ago, probably before all the news hit the media about what iPad and iOS 13 is doing with the iPad because, now in iOS 13, any Bluetooth compatible mouse is going to now be able to be used on the iPad, which is going to be a game changer for a lot of folks, and so I think that may be in and of itself the answer.  Really, any trackpad, once iOS 13 is officially released, should be able to be used with an iPad, but if you’re looking for immediate access, there is a couple of different devices.  There were several manufacturers that designed different types of systems, one being CSS MicroSystems.  They created something called the AMAneo BTi, and again, I’m not sure I’m saying that fully correctly, but it’s AMAneo BTi, and it’s an adaptive mouse or an assistive mouse adapter for iOS.  It’s been available — we sold them at ATIA back in January this year, and essentially what it does is it allows you to tap into the Assistive Touch features, so that little kind of dark grey circle that happens or goes onto your screen when you use Assistive Touch with the iPad, it allows you to use that as a cursor, and then, with any Bluetooth mouse connected to this particular device, it’ll allow you to then be able to start using that mouse with the iPad, but it’s the AMAneo BTi.  I’m not exactly sure how to actually phonetically say that but, it’s a pretty good one and then, again, that should allow you to pair really any Bluetooth mouse, any trackpad with an iPad.  And I got to say, for me, that’s kind of a game changer.  That is a game changer, big time, for a lot of folks with disabilities, being able to have a mouse, I think that’s something that we’ve been asking for a long, long time, just to be able to have better tracking in a better ability to be able to kind on click on things and move around within an iPad, and I’m super excited to see them kind of put that into the new features of iOS 13.  I don’t know if anybody’s had some experience or signed up as a Beta tester for that, but love to be able to hear from folks to hear what their experience has been so far playing with that particular feature.  I’ve seen a lot of videos on YouTube and through Facebook of what it looks like, and it looks useful to me.  Have you guys seen any of that stuff?

>>  BELVA SMITH: I haven’t, no.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: I mean I’ve just seen some of the videos and kind of concept kind of thing, and I don’t think it actually has to be Bluetooth, can’t you actually connect it and there could be some sort of like connector, where you could even do ‑‑

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Oh, I don’t know.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: A USB one.  I mean, I’ve heard that – it’s all rumors now.  I mean, there’s a slim chance that it won’t be there at all.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right.  Usually October is when they release that, right?

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: It’s always fall.  I know it’s always fall, but I don’t remember exactly when. 

>>  BRIAN NORTON: It’s pretty exciting, you know.  I’m really kind of excited about the new releases, so even Windows ‑‑ the new versions of Windows have a lot of interesting accessibility features built into it.  iOS 13 I think is going to be a real game changer for some folks ‑‑

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Well it’s actually, remember, it’s iPad iOS now.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Right.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: They’re not going to have ‑‑ iOS 13’s only going to be on the iPhone.  The iPad is going to have its own operating system now.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Really?  Okay.  I did not ‑‑

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: It’s going to be a little bit different.  Now, I don’t know.  I’m sure they’ll probably come out around the same time with a lot of the same features.  And the other thing is they’re moving the accessibility features.  So normally, you had to go to Settings to General to Accessibility.  They’re taking it out of General.  So all you have to do is go to Settings and Accessibility will be —

>>  BRIAN NORTON: An option.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Two or three down.  Yeah, so it’ll help save a step, so it just shows they’re thinking these things are much more important, and I mean, really, especially mouse support.  A lot of folks will like using that who may not have a disability. 

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right!

>>  BELVA SMITH: And I think it’s important to this question to mention the Assistive Touch feature within the iPad.  I’ve recently set up a new iPad, and I brought Assistive Touch up kind of by accident but was surprised that ‑‑ I have a lot of consumers that are older and getting within the no home button anymore —

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Oh, yeah.  Mmhmm.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Making that adjustment has been kind of difficult, but Assistive Touch now includes a one-touch home button.


>>  BELVA SMITH:  So I thought that was pretty cool, and it is ‑‑ for anybody who’s not aware of it, it can be found in the Accessibility features, and you can create your own gestures, too.  So if there’s something specific that you’re having difficulty doing, you can actually create a special gesture to be able to do it, so I just have not had a real need for a mouse feature or function, I guess, on the iPad.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: I think it’s going to really hit a lot of folks that have physical disabilities.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Oh, for sure.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Exactly.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: And really, I even think cognitive disabilities, as well.  The ability ‑‑ I don’t know.  That’s a toss up for me.

>>  BELVA SMITH: It’s something people have been screaming for, so obviously there’s people that are wanting it and needing it.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: See, I can see it for folks who — and I mean, it used to be you had to – I mean, it’s always had really good switch report ‑‑ or switch –

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Switch access.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Thank you.  Yeah, switch access.  So, I mean, that’s always been really nice.  So it’s nice that now the folks maybe don’t need a switch but can access a mouse a lot easier than they can, you know, do the touchscreen. 

>>  BELVA SMITH: Right.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: They’ll be able to get access to everything there.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Yeah and I’m ‑‑ I’m so excited to see these companies start to really think further about the accessibility pieces and really kind of building in some of these tools that, again, people have been screaming for for a while, and so that’s going to be cool to kind of see as things progress.  I really think it’s something that they have to turn their attention to, with baby boomers aging, you start getting age‑related disabilities, those kinds of things, and if they want folks to be able to use their products, they’re going to have to start putting some stuff in there, so be very, very interesting to see where that all goes down the road.  So if you guys want to provide any other feedback, maybe you guys have had some experience with different types of mouse.  Maybe you’re a Beta tester for iOS 13.  Would love to be able to hear from you to learn more about the new mouse feature.  I think it’d be great to be able to kind of fill out that question or get some more feedback on that particular area.  So if you’d like to do that, give us a call.  You can give us a call on our listener line.  That’s (317) 721‑7124, or you can send us an e‑mail at, and we’ll look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks.


>>  BRIAN NORTON:  Alright, so our next question is, “I had a provider state an employee needs antiglare screens set at 75 to 85 MHz to limit flickering.  My understanding is that CRTs flickered but not flat panels and laptops.  Is that correct?  We have antiglare screens/privacy filters, but I’m not sure how that relates to the flickering.  Are you aware if I’m incorrect in flickering knowledge, and how I might be able to help?”

And so I guess, are we aware if laptops and flat panels flicker or not and guess any ways that we can help in that particular situation.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Well, I think it’s important for us to start out by saying we’re not going to dispute what any other provider has said, especially if it’s someone who’s been on site and seen the actual situation.  Flickering, to my understanding – and I’m by no means a specialist with this, Josh, you’re probably going to be able to better answer this.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: You actually are a specialist, Belva.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Oh, shoot!


>>  BELVA SMITH: But flickering is something that does ‑‑ it does still happen, whether you are using a CRT or flat panel or whatever.  It has to happen in order to produce a good picture, I guess.  But some of the things that I have experience with and have done for my consumers where flickering may be an issue is I’ve switched to using the BenQ GL2760H. 


>>  BELVA SMITH: I wanted to be specific about that, because there are so many of the BenQ monitors available.


>>  BRIAN NORTON: It’s a ZeroFlicker one, right?

>>  BELVA SMITH: It’s the Low Blue Light technology, and that supposedly does help with the blue light harm that we all experience for whatever ‑‑ no matter what monitor that we’re using, and yes, Brian, it does have the ZeroFlicker technology.  It helps to eliminate, not remove ‑‑ because it’s my understanding that everything is going to have a small amount of flicker.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: That’s true.

>>  BELVA SMITH: So, that what I’ve got for the flicker.  I mean, I think it’s something that ‑‑

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right, well, and I think it’s important to understand, when you talk about flickering, sometimes, on most computers, if you go to your display settings and you look and see what you’re set to as far as your monitor is concerned, that flickering they’re referring to is ‑‑ if you’ve ever watched old TV shows, where they’d walk into a computer room, and they’d turn the camera onto a computer, you’ll see this kind of big old ‑‑ this kind of grey line, kind of moving through, and it’s like that – just, the monitor looks weird, because they’re set to different refresh rates, and so at 60Hz it’s a slower refresh rate than at 75 and 85.  That means just how quickly is your screen rewriting every time it needs to refresh itself and, again, it is my understanding that every screen refreshes itself.  It rewrites what it’s displaying to keep up with what’s new and what’s happening on the screen, and it’s so fast that a lot of times, to the naked eye, you can’t tell.

>>  BELVA SMITH: We don’t even notice it, yeah.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: But for some folks with their visual impairment, they’re going to notice it, and it can cause a lot of problems.  Not just for folks with visual impairments but, you know, seizure disorders, other kinds of things.  They pick up on these little things that, to the naked eye, for most folks, isn’t really possible, and so it is my understanding that some of the new monitors ‑‑ so old monitors are usually 65 to 85, somewhere around in there is what you’ll see the refresh rate set at, but some of the new monitors, you can get refresh rates up to 120 to 240 MHz, which is going to refresh it faster and make it even harder for that naked eye to be able to tell.  I know you can check the refresh rate on your Windows 10 PC by going to Settings, then you go to System, then you go to Display, then you can go to Advanced Display Settings and then click on Display Adapter Properties, and then click on the Monitor tab.  It’s buried.  It’s something that’s really buried.  Because, again, I don’t think it affects a whole lot of folks, and so not a lot of folks check that, but if you dig down and through those different menu options, you’ll be able to get to the refresh rate on your computer, and then you’ll be able to see what’s there.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Well, Brian, you mentioned a lot of different things, you know, seizure disorders, all these other things that could be affected by that flickering, by that refresh rate, but also, I mean, migraines, anxiety, all those different things can actually be affected by that.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Yeah, yeah.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Because even though you can’t see it doing it, your brain can, and it can pick up on it, especially if you’re on the computer for a long amount of time, that can really start to affect you.  Some of that is the reason for eye fatigue and things like that, so folks with any kind of visual impairment, it can make a big difference, so ‑‑ and just to agree with Belva, I’ve been using the BenQ monitors for quite a few of my consumers.  They’re not that much more expensive than really any other one, and having that – they call it ZeroFlicker.  It’s just a really high refresh rate so that you don’t notice it really doing it very much at all, and that low blue light, it really makes a big difference in how long folks can work on a computer without having that eye fatigue, headaches, or other issues.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right.

>>  BELVA SMITH: And I’m not sure about the privacy screens, if they – I’m not sure that they would really have any effect on the flicker.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: No, it wouldn’t affect that.  It would affect the brightness for sure.

>>  BELVA SMITH: The brightness, absolutely.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Yep, yep, it’s going to bring the brightness down and make it to where that’s going to be a little less intrusive on your eyes, but it’s not really going to really change that flicker at all.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right.  You know, I don’t know.  Maybe some of our listeners have a little bit more experience with this or maybe are a little bit more tech savvy with regard to monitors and the refresh rates and those kinds of things and what all that looks like, but if you do, and you are, let us know.  Love to hear from you.  (317) 721‑7124 or you can send us an e‑mail at  Again, this is a little bit out of our ‑‑ we deal with refresh rates, we know how to modify those, but again, specific to the question of, you know, maybe there’s some more information or more knowledge that would be helpful to pass along to this particular caller.  I would love to hear from you guys on that, so if you do have something, let us know.


>>  BRIAN NORTON: Alright, so our next question is, “Do you have any AT ideas for someone who is having difficulty mousing with either hand, and the laptop speech recognition software isn’t working well for them due to the computer program they use, TrackWise .  This person has tried various mouse options.  They haven’t tried Dragon, and I know from previous conversations with you that it is programmable to a point, but I was curious if you had any other suggestions for someone whose job requires heavy mousing.”

And so I’ll just kind of throw that out to you guys.

>>  BELVA SMITH: So before I would take the dive into Dragon, there are a few things that I would suggest.  I really ‑- I think I’ve mentioned this several times in past podcasts, but I’m really a huge fan of that handheld finger mouse that you can just slide your pointer finger.  It’s very, very tiny.  You slide your pointer finger into a little circle, and then you roll a ball with your thumb, and you can do a left click and a right click also using– so basically you’re using your thumb and your hand can be any place that’s comfortable for you, so it could be on the arm of the chair or on your leg, and I don’t think that it has to necessarily be your pointer finger.  I think that they do have them to where you could actually not wear it on your finger and use your pointer finger rather than the thumb.  Those are very inexpensive, under 15 bucks on Amazon.  Handheld finger mouse, and then another thing that I would strongly encourage is checking out keyboard commands.  So maybe they can’t use the mouse, but if they can use the keyboard, for example, maybe they can’t point to the menu but they could press Alt+A to get to the application on the menu.  So I would look at the keyboard shortcuts and then, the last thing would be, with this program, and I’m not familiar with TrackWise, I have no idea what it is, but does it have touchscreen compatibility?  So would it be something to where maybe they could just reach up and touch the checkbox rather than having to click on the checkbox.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: I think there are touchscreen monitors that you can get installed on the computer if it’s not a — so that the monitor turns into kind of a mouse itself.  Right.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Yeah.  So the touchscreen, keyboard commands.  Keyboard commands, I would highly encourage that, because you may not realize that, for example, you can press the space bar to check the checkbox, or put an X in a certain place, or whatever.  So that’s what I’ve got for that.  I would try all three of those things well before trying Dragon.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: And I’m going to go back to my same answers as I think, number one maybe?  Maybe question one?  But just different input systems.  I mean Eyegaze, Smyle Mouse, HeadMouse.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Right, right.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: It says they have kind of a hard time, you know, with different mouse devices.  I’m not sure if you’ve tried everything.  You know, I mean rollerballs, joysticks sometimes.  Sometimes that joystick can make all the difference, and a lot of them have different handles, you know.  One of them’s like the super fast, you know, gearshift I always call it, like Belva probably used to do when she was a race car driver.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Well, yeah, and I’ve had – Josh, you just made me think about a consumer that I worked with way, many, many years ago.  Brian, I think you even worked with him at one time.  He used the Kensington rollerball mouse on a mount, with his chin.


>>  BELVA SMITH: So he didn’t even use his hands at all.  So, I mean, it could just be a different location of a specific style mouse.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: It’s a good point.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Oh, for sure, and we’ve had plenty of people, you know, access the whole computer using their feet, just because that was a little bit easier.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Absolutely!

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: So, you know, and there’s so many — and before Belva can say it, look up your local AT Act, and you can go, they probably have all different kinds of joysticks, you know, Switch Access.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: I always think of kind of maybe even moving towards that way.  Or, you know, Eyegaze, Smyle Mouse, HeadMouse, things like that could very well work as well, and also I know especially Craig here on our team has used Dragon as a combination with some of these things.  So like, he’s used a HeadMouse with Dragon.  So you take the HeadMouse, you look at whatever it is you want, and you say ‘click’ and Dragon will click right where that mouse is.


>>  JOSH ANDERSON: So even if Dragon doesn’t completely work with that program, the combination of the two might make it to where the person can access everything on the screen without having to even use a mouse at all.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right, right, and I think it is important to kind of look at what the cost of things are going to be.  Some of the adaptive trackballs and mice and joysticks that we talk about, they come with a price tag, and then what I would compare that to is Dragon is programmable to a certain point and, again, I’ve had some conversations with this person about that, but the cost of Dragon, really, at this point, we’re recommending Dragon Individual 15 Professional for folks just because of, in this particular situation, it comes with that programmable piece of it where the computer macros work, which really, once those work, you can have it do a variety of things where you can have it go out and click on specific things on your screen, you can have it record where you go with the mouse pointer and click and record a series of steps going that way.  I mean, there’s a whole lot to that and, although it would cost a little bit for the software and the customized piece of that, sometimes, in comparison to what you’re doing with the adaptive mice and other kinds of things, it’s ‑‑ the cost isn’t going to be that much more than what you are already spending.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: And I think that all kind of depends on this TrackWise and how many, you know, if there’s 26 different pages, all of them are completely different, with different icons, everything’s in  different areas of the screen, you’re looking at a lot of programming behind the scenes to get that to completely work.

>>  BELVA SMITH: I was going to say, and how much updating?

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Exactly, and then, you know, when the brand new version of it comes out next year, well, they moved all of the input boxes.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Right.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: It’s like suddenly everything that you’ve done might not actually work, so it’s kind of just looking at a combination of yeah, like you said, Brian, all of those different things but, again, borrowing some of that stuff from your Tech Act might be a great way to figure out what’s going to work best for the individual.

>>  BRIAN NORTON:  Mmhmm.  Oh, absolutely.  Yeah, always, always try it out before you buy it.  It just makes better sense that way, because you’re just not spending money on stuff that you don’t want or don’t need, and the returning process, a lot of times for those small companies where you get some of these adaptive devices is a little bit of a challenge, so there’s usually a service fee for restocking and all those kinds of things.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: A restocking fee, yeah.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: And so, definitely try it out before you do it.  And if you’re looking for your local Tech Act project, obviously for Indiana the INDATA Project, that’s would be our e‑mail address.  Just let us know.  Or you can go to our website and check it out.  It’s, but if you’re looking for the local one in your state or territory here in the United States, you can go to, put your state in there, and then it would give you a listing of the Tech Act in your state, so check that out.  Love to be able to connect you with those folks, as they do a lot of the same things that we do and would be a great place to be able to make some connections, and so if you guys have anything to add to this particular question as far as answers or maybe even a tag-on question that maybe was brought up as we’ve been talking about this, let us know.  You can give us a call on our listener line at (317) 721‑7124 or send us an e‑mail at  We’d love to hear from you.


And now it’s time for the wildcard question!

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Alright, so our next question is the wildcard question, and this is the question where we haven’t had a whole lot of time to prepare, and this week I’ve left it up to Belva Smith.  Belva, do you want to go ahead and ask us our wildcard question?

>>  BELVA SMITH: What’s for lunch?

>>  BRIAN NORTON: What’s for lunch?  Mmmm!  Bologna.


>>  BELVA SMITH: So here’s a question that I get asked frequently.  Is it necessary to safely eject your USB drives before you pull them out of the USB port every time?

>>  BRIAN NORTON: No!  I never do, to be honest with you.  I never really eject it.  Am I wrong in that?

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: I think as long as you don’t have anything open on it, I think you’re good.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Well, first of all, you shouldn’t be saving anything too important on those USB thumb drives, because they break.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: True, true.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Frequently.  But yes, absolutely, you’re supposed to safely eject it.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Why?  What happens if you don’t?

>>  BELVA SMITH: It’s like trying to take ‑‑

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: You can lose all your stuff!

>>  BELVA SMITH: Yeah, it’s like trying to take your key out of the car when you’re driving down the road.  There’s a reason.  It’s like Windows.


>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Have you ever ridden with Brian? (Indiscernible.)


>>  BRIAN NORTON: Hey, look, here’s my keys!



>>  BRIAN NORTON: I’ll jingle them, yeah.

>>  BELVA SMITH: But when you click that ‘Safely eject’ what it does is it looks at that drive and says, “Oh, all the files are nicely and neatly put back where they should be.  It’s safe for you to now take it out.”

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right.

>>  BELVA SMITH: If you don’t do that, then, as Josh was saying, you could have something.  Maybe you don’t have anything open, but maybe there is something that didn’t get put away properly when you did have it open, and the minute you pull it out, it just lost that information.  Now, has this ever happened to me?  No.  So am I just being overly paranoid?

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Uh huh!

>>  BELVA SMITH: Probably, but somebody very wise and very smart taught me years ago ‑‑

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Was it me?

>>  BELVA SMITH: No, it was Leo Laporte.


>>  BRIAN NORTON: Oh, man!


>>  BELVA SMITH: No, he taught me years ago, when those thumb drives first came out, number one, don’t save anything very important on it.  Some people actually try to use them for backups, and it’s okay for a minute, but don’t count on it.  And to always safely eject it.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: I can’t even tell you the last time I actually ‑‑

>>  BELVA SMITH: Do you know how to safely eject it?

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Yeah, just under the system tray, and you just right click down there, and you go ahead and say eject, but I can’t even tell you the last time I did.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Have you ever had one quit working on you?


>>  BELVA SMITH: Oh, I have.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: And, Brian, it’s so easy on a Mac.  You just pull up Finder, there’s a little eject button next to it, and you click the eject button and it’s ‑‑

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right, but I never — I just have never done that.

>>  BELVA SMITH: So, if you were connecting an external hard drive to your computer and could it then disconnect it, would you safely disconnect it, or would you just unplug it?

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Uh huh.  I haven’t yet!  I just unplug it.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: My goodness, Brian.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Oh my gosh, Brian!

>>  BRIAN NORTON: I know, I’m a rebel.

>>  BELVA SMITH: You’re living on the edge.


>>  BRIAN NORTON: You know, it’s probably one of those things where, until something does happen to me — once it happens once, I’ll do that every stinking time, but I just have never had anything bad happen.

>>  BELVA SMITH: So have you ever plugged in one of those thumb drives, and it gives you a message that says, “Hey, we’ve got to format this thumb drive before your computer can use it.”

>>  BRIAN NORTON: I have seen that, yeah.

>>  BELVA SMITH: That’s because somebody didn’t eject it correctly, so the files on that thumb drive were not put away properly.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Those crazy people!


>>  BRIAN NORTON: Yeah.  Not me.  I’ve not done that.  Do you do that, Josh? 

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Do what?


>>  BRIAN NORTON: Do you eject stuff?

>>  BELVA SMITH: Do you eject safely?


>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Yes, I do every time.


>>  JOSH ANDERSON: No, I really do.  I’m not going to lie, I hardly even use a thumb drive anymore.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Oh, I just used one today!

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Yeah, I never really use one.  I do have a backup, and I use it, but I always eject it, because it’s my backup.  If it gets corrupted, then I lose my whole backup.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Yeah, you know, that is true.  I don’t use thumb drives nearly like I used to.

>>  BELVA SMITH: I use them all the time. 

>>  BRIAN NORTON: I use — I either usually save it to Dropbox and send people a Dropbox link for the file, or usually what I’m using thumb drives for is just internal, moving a file, if Josh needs something, if Belva needs something, or somebody else on our team needs something, I’ll throw it on a flash drive and just get done with it real quick, but that’s about it.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Mmhmm.  Well, now that we all use OneDrive and everything, and SharePoint.  It’s so easy to share information with at least the team, with the rest of us.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Right, and I use Dropbox for people who are outside of our team.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Uh huh.  Yeah.

>>  BELVA SMITH: Right, and that’s why I use them so much, I think, because I use them transferring files for my consumers, like if we’re going from one computer to another computer, or whatever. 

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Excellent.

>>  BELVA SMITH: So I keep a blank one with me all the time, and I also keep software programs on there, so I can do a quick install.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Oh, yeah.  I’ve got three or four in my bag, I think, but I don’t remember what’s on them.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: So I wonder, for folks who are listening, are you like me and never do that?

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Be careful how you answer that!


>>  BRIAN NORTON: Are you like me and never do that, are you a rebel and just don’t ever eject it, or maybe do you guys follow the guidelines and the rules and do what Belva and Josh do and eject it every time?  But I’d love to hear from you guys.  Also, as we wrap up our show today, just want to make sure you guys know, we do value the questions you guys send in.  We value the feedback you send in.  We’d love to have you guys participate in our show.  Our listener line is at (317) 721 7124.  You can send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ or you can e‑mail us at  Definitely would love to hear from you.  In fact, without your questions and feedback, we really don’t have a show, so be a part of it!  I want to say thank you to Belva and Josh for being here today with us.  Belva, do you want to say goodbye to folks?

>>  BELVA SMITH: Thanks, everybody.  See you in a couple of weeks.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: And Josh?

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: Thanks, everybody.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Awesome.  Take care, and we’ll see you guys next time. 

And the same as every week, we have at least one blooper.  Here we go!

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Just as long as you and stay on mic.

>>  JOSH ANDERSON: What you mean? (Mumbling) What do you mean, Brian?

>>  BRIAN NORTON: Belva jumps off mic.

>>  BRIAN NORTON: You want to meet more often to answer more questions?


>>  BELVA SMITH: Happy, happy, happy!


>>  JOSH ANDERSON: I think the heat’s getting to her.


>>  BRIAN NORTON: I said say hello, not happy, happy, happy!


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 and produced by Brian Norton, gets editorial help by Josh Anderson and Belva Smith and receives support from Easter Seals Crossroads and the INDATA project.  ATFAQ is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel.  Find more of our shows at

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