ATFAQ124 – Q1. Ergo tips for working from home , Q2. Free voice-input programs, Q3. Cause and effect toys for increasing use of legs, Q4. Best online meeting tools, Q5. Turn off Braille Dots 7,8 Q5. WildCard: Cellphones are dirty… do you use earbuds?

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Panel: Brian Norton, Josh Anderson, Belva Smith, Tracy Castillo – Q1. Ergo tips for working from home , Q2. Free voice-input programs, Q3. Cause and effect toys for increasing use of legs, Q4. Best online meeting tools, Q5. Turn off Braille Dots 7/8, Q5. WildCard: Cellphones are dirty… do you use earbuds?

————————- Transcript Starts Here ——————————–Brian Norton:
Welcome to at ATFAQ, Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions with your host Brian Norton, Director of Assistive Technology at Easterseals 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 to answer it on our show? Send us a tweet with the hashtag #atfaq. Call our listener line at 317-721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org, 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 124. 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 in, I just want to take a moment to go around and introduce the folks who are sitting here in the studio with me or, actually sitting on Zoom with me because we are still not in the office. So I just want to introduce Belva, Josh and Tracy. So Josh is the manager of our clinical Assistive Technology Program. Josh, you want to say hi?

Josh Anderson:
I never get to go first.

Brian Norton:
No, I’m switching it up today.

Josh Anderson:
Hi, everybody.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. He’s also the popular host of AT Update and so glad that you are here with us, Josh. Next we have Belva Smith. Belva is our vision team lead, with the Clinical Assistive Technology Program. Belva do you want to say Hey?

Belva Smith:
Hey, everybody.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Glad you’re here with us Belva. And then we also have Tracy. Tracy is the INDATA Program Manager, and oversees our depot, which is our Reuse Program. And our demo and loan library. Tracy you want to say, hi?

Tracy Castillo:
Hi Brian, thanks for finally mentioning me.

Brian Norton:
I just switch it up every once in a while, or maybe never. So it’s probably really shocked everybody here today. So, but no glad you guys are all here with me today. We got some great technology questions and we’ll jump into those soon. Just want to take a moment though, before we do. And for new listeners just kind of talk to you a little bit about how our show works. So we come across a various assistive technology questions throughout the week, and we kind of put those into a show. We have a variety of ways for people to share their questions with us.

Brian Norton:
That could be through our listener line, that’s 317-721-7124, through email, which is tech@eastersealscrossroads.org, or with the tweet #atfaq. We also love to get feedback in those very same methods. So as we go through questions today, we’d love to hear from you. If you have some additional information that we could add to our answers, we would love to hear that. You can provide that to us again through our listener line through email or sending us a tweet. Please do that. We’d love to include that with the answers that we provide. So, without further ado, we will go ahead and just jump into our questions today.

Brian Norton:
All right, so our first question is. I’ve been working from home for the past six weeks, and after a full day of work, my back and neck really hurt. Any suggestions for how to better set up my workstation so I don’t hurt everyday?

Josh Anderson:
So I can let Brian get into the actual science behind ergonomics and that kind of stuff, but really, and a lot of people I think are kind of experiencing this right now. And a lot of them think you have to go buy all this expensive equipment and everything. And while some of that stuff’s really great, you can really use the things that are sitting around your house. I think right now my computer is up on a couple of boxes of diapers, to bring it up to eye level. When I stand at the kitchen counter, I’ve got an external keyboard that’s sitting on a shoe box so it’s at the right level.

Josh Anderson:
And really just use things I can completely and totally find around the house, and be able to use … And then another really important thing is to just change position a lot. So if you’re sitting at the kitchen table, and kind of an uncomfortable chair make sure that maybe you’re moving to another place where you can stand or where you can sit in a totally different position. I will say trying to go out and buy things for that right now is a little bit hard. My wife works at … we have a very small desk, and uses the kitchen chair that’s slightly broken. So we looked at just a little cheap task chairs online, and for some reason they’re 25 to $30 more expensive than they were a month ago.

Josh Anderson:
I don’t know how that works, but for some weird reason, you still get them for 25, 30 $40. Now they’re all 65, 70 or 100 bucks for just a plain old mesh task chair. So, there is a little bit of kind of inflation on that for some reason but, using what you’ve got. Pillows can do really well to give you a little bit of padding. You don’t want to do it all day, puts a little bit of pressure on your spine and can really kind of change your posture, keeping your posture correct. The old thing that your grandma told you don’t slouch. Well try not to slouch when you’re working, it actually will cause more pain in your neck and shoulders and everything.

Josh Anderson:
And then a big thing and a really hard thing to do I think especially as we work from home is, take breaks, take constant breaks. If you work for a good 50 minutes, take 10 minutes and get up. You’re at home, fold the laundry then you don’t have to do it when you get off work. But, just get yourself moving and get yourself up and doing things. Because what you really don’t realize when you’re in the office, you kind of have these set times, “Hey, I go to lunch at this time. I go home at this time.” When you’re working from home, you may not know that you just sat in the same position for eight 9, 10 hours, without really moving.

Brian Norton:
Now that’s great advice. There’s a saying that I’ve heard and it’s the best position is your next position. And so, when you mentioned get up and move around, I have my main workstation here at … a desk in my home. And I know not a lot of folks have that opportunity to have a dedicated room with an office with a desk. This is where I work for the most part. But throughout the day, I’ll pick up my computer and I can go into the kitchen counter, work from there so I can stand up. And so just find different places around the home, so that you can just change positions. Our bodies are made to move. They’re not made to be sedentary.

Brian Norton:
And so, it’s important for us to get up and move and I think that is really hard. You mentioned it Josh, it’s hard when we’re working from home, we’re trying to get things done. We struggle with focus and attention. So things take longer than they typically do. And so we find ourselves sitting for longer and longer periods of time but, forcing yourself to get up and that’s really, maybe an opportunity for what you mentioned earlier today, the Forest app. And one of our previous questions is, set a visual timer that’s going to help you know when to get up and when to move around and maybe just remind you to do it because I think sometimes … I don’t know. I feel like every morning I jump into work and, by the time I realize it it’s already 11 o’clock in the morning.

Brian Norton:
I can’t believe how fast the day is gone. And it’s half over, and I haven’t moved. I’ve been sitting here the whole time. And so having something visual there to tell you to get up and move, would be really, really helpful. I think another really important thing too is, when you’re using your phone, I think a lot of us are working from our phone these days. And so, checking email, writing emails, sending text messages, looking at our calendars and things like that on our phones, it’s important for you to hold your phone up. Don’t put it in your lap. When you put it in your lap, you’re forcing your neck forward.

Brian Norton:
And for every inch your neck moves forward, beyond kind of the the straight line of having your neck and your back and your shoulders and all those things aligned, every inch you move forward, you put about 10 pounds of pressure on your neck. And so, that’s going to cause a lot of neck strain. So sit up as much as you can, keep your back in alignment as much as you can. It’s really important for you to kind of keep in mind that again, slouching down, looking over. I know it feels good, but it’s not good for your body. It hurts, it causes issues with breathing, and then other physical issues with just pain and being uncomfortable throughout your day.

Brian Norton:
You also mentioned creative. I know we’ve all got pillows, books, shoe boxes and other kinds of things around the house, use whatever you can find that’s great. Dedicated workspace is always helpful as well. I think it’s just amazing. We all find ourselves at these impromptu makeshift desks that we’ve put up and, I think we just all have to take the time to kind of think about it and put some thought into what can we do to make this more comfortable for ourselves? There are a lot of low cost types of things as well. Monitor stands and other kinds of things that if you do want to go purchase something, try it.

Brian Norton:
Maybe an external keyboard would be helpful. And maybe putting a book or two underneath your computer to get the computer raised up in better alignment with where you’re looking, then that external keyboard can be down where your hands are, that might be helpful. And so yeah, there’s a lot with working from home, being comfortable and keeping yourself productive without hurting yourself throughout the day.

Josh Anderson:
And Brian you brought up a good point kind of talking about cell phones where I talked about taking a break, eyestrain is a big thing too because you’re sitting there on the computer or it’s just easy to walk by and look at it and then you sit down and work for a little bit even in the evenings or maybe early morning. So if you are working 50 minutes taking a 10 minute break or whatever works best for you, don’t spend that entire time looking at your phone, otherwise you’re just not really making any difference. You don’t spend the whole 10 minutes on Facebook or Twitter or something else on the computer.

Josh Anderson:
Get away from it for a minute and give your eyes a little bit of a break. I think we talked about proper lighting kind of earlier and that’s really important too, just make sure you’re somewhere with good lighting. Brian, I think you said up lighting is better when we kind of talked about this before, than just having something kind of shine down on you. But yeah, all those were big considerations too.

Brian Norton:
Yup.

Tracy Castillo:
[crosstalk 00:10:48] I saw a video on people that when they do take a break, if they just go to their phone, it’s still not really giving your brain a break. And the best thing is to actually just walk outside. Is just to walk outside for a few minutes and let your brain relax, and then go back to work. So.

Belva Smith:
I actually use my smartwatch to remind me, because I don’t have a good workspace at home. I’m sitting on a bar stool that usually before my watch has the opportunity to tell me my body will tell me, you need to move. But I have my watch set to give me a little reminder, and it buzzes me and then puts up a little notice that says, “Time to stand up.” So when I do my stand up break, I also take an eye break. I think eye breaks are very important, and I’m finding that I’m spending more time looking at the computer screen and the cell phone, than I would be on a normal typical work day, because our job is very physical.

Belva Smith:
So, when I get my little time to stand up, I will stand up and I make sure that I look away at something far away. I focus on something far away. So for me, I have a wall of pictures down the hall from me here and I focus on those pictures. Best thing to do though is like you said Tracy, if you can take a look out the window, because that gives you your natural lighting and more stuff to focus on. And I do it about every hour. So, unless my body tells me I need to do it before that.

Tracy Castillo:
Well, we’re going to be blessed today because it’s going to be a very nice day in Indianapolis.

Belva Smith:
Yeah.

Tracy Castillo:
If you can, I would just go outside and get some of that natural sunlight on yeah.

Belva Smith:
Yep.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. So those are all really great suggestions. We’d love to know what you guys think about working from home and ergonomics and making sure that you’re not hurting by the end of the day. What are your thoughts on that? Tools that you guys use, things that you think about, to be able to help you throughout your workday. You can give us a call on our listener line that’s 317-721-7124. Or send us a tweet with the hashtag #atfaq. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks. All right, so our next question is, anyone aware of a free voice input program?

Tracy Castillo:
Sure.

Josh Anderson:
Sure Brian.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, sure.

Brian Norton:
Let me know, what do you think?

Josh Anderson:
There’s always built in. So on a Mac, there’s dictation built in. In fact, Macs actually have full voice control now, where you control the entire computer just by talking to it. Windows has Windows Speech Recognition built into the Ease of Access Center. You can easily get to that. You can just go down to your little search bar in Windows 10. Type in voice input, speech to text any of those things that will take you to the Ease of Access Center, where you can turn that on. There’s also in certain programs, depending on what you need it for.

Josh Anderson:
Microsoft Word now has dictation built into it if you’re using O 365, or I think the newer versions of Microsoft Office. And it actually works pretty well, it was a little wonky when it first kind of came out. But it seems to work actually pretty well now. I believe some other office programs have those built in also. And also if you’re using Google, so if you’re using Gmail, if you’re using Google Docs or something like that, you’re also going to have the Google voice to text is kind of built in there as well. There should be a little microphone button kind of down at the bottom, that you can click on and use.

Josh Anderson:
And it seems to work pretty well too. With any of those, the thing to kind of remember is just some of the commands like saying, “Punctuation.” It gets a little difficult at first especially, to really remember to put those periods and exclamation points and question marks and stuff. And then just saying press enter or new line, new paragraph, those kind of things but, there’s a lot of pretty good ones out there that work pretty well too just depending on what kind of programs you’re trying to use them with.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, so I found an app. It’s called dictate2us transcription. And it’s an app that’s for free in the iOS App Store. I believe it’s also available for Android, but I’m not 100% sure of that. It has great reviews. Of course, I’ve never used it. But you notice that I said, dictate2us transcription, because one of the features that this app allows is for you to dictate your, or record your notes or your files. And then you can securely they say, upload them to then … And they will actually transcribe those audio notes into text.

Belva Smith:
They do charge for that service, which makes sense. If you go to the App Store and pull it up, it will tell you exactly how much they do charge for that. But also, that’s available 24.7, 365 days a year. And they do lots and lots of different languages. So, if you do have a need to not only be able to dictate your files, your notes, and then have those transcribed, that might be an app worth looking at for free. But like I said, if you want the translation, then you do the transcription, not translation, transcription, then there is a small fee for that.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, for me Josh you mentioned all the built in things and really those have become pretty remarkable these days. So the new features within the iPad and the new features within Mac have really gotten so much better.

Belva Smith:
And Windows. Windows has gotten-

Brian Norton:
Well, on Windows has always been kind of pushing the market in some of those things. And so yeah, I would say the built in stuff in Windows, has been around for a long time, I think Windows Vista was the first rendition where it was really, really high quality voice input. And it’s gotten better over the years. But Apple kind of lagged behind for a long time with theirs and they finally allowed you to start having control over your computer, to whether you can really navigate really well within programs and things like that and to be honest with you, I’m impressed with both.

Brian Norton:
I’m impressed with both what’s built into Windows, what’s built into Mac, what’s built into iOS. I know the same things exists within Android and being able to voice open programs and other types of things. So, the built in stuff is pretty good, and they’re using artificial intelligence so it’s not a memory hog on your computer to be able to make that happen. So essentially what you’re doing is when you say something, it’s going to some cloud computer someplace, it’s translating it and sending it instantaneously back to the device to be able to operate whatever command you’ve done.

Brian Norton:
Although in some, whether it’s Windows and Mac, you can have it done locally if you want it, but a lot of it’s done through AI. And it’s just impressive with what is out there as far as the recognition accuracy and the ease of use using natural commands to make that stuff happen. And so, if you really are looking for a free version, start with what’s built in. We do that with some of our clients even when they are connected to a funding source because we just want to make sure it’s going to be a viable tool for them to be able to use on the job and so instead of going and paying a couple hundred bucks for a paid for version of voice input, like Dragon.

Brian Norton:
Dragon is, I would say, the best product in my mind as far as voice recognition. It’s cost about 200 some odd dollars for the professional individual program, but it does a really good job and it kind of pushes the envelope with what can be done. But the built in stuff is pretty good. So if you’re looking for free, it’s definitely the way to go.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, Brian I think hasn’t Dragon discontinued some of their products that they used to offer? It’s my understanding that they have, but I definitely would … Did or what you said, if you’re looking for voice recognition, I would start with what you already have on the device that you already have. And it’s really also very important to note that you do need good processing speed. So, if you’re getting a poor result, it could be more not necessarily the program that you’re trying to use, but maybe the microphone, as well as your processor. Now I will say on my ThinkPad laptop, which was originally … It’s got an i5 processor and was originally a Windows 7, which we have upgraded to Windows 10.

Belva Smith:
If I want to use the windows recognition, I don’t even use an external microphone, I just use the microphone that’s built in. But I always make sure that I’m in the appropriate environment to do that as well. So, I would start with the free stuff that you already have. And perhaps check out the microphone and maybe improve your microphone rather than the software.

Brian Norton:
Sounds good. Well, if you have any feedback, maybe there’s some other programs you know of, or maybe some personal use cases where you’ve used some of the built in stuff or another free program, we’d love to hear from you. You can give us a call on our listener line that’s 317-721-7124, or you can send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org love to hear from you. Thanks. All right, so our next question is, my nephew is two years old and suffers from central core disorder. This is a muscle disorder which has caused some motor impairment. He also has to be on oxygen when he sleeps, or if he’s sick.

Brian Norton:
They are looking for what kind of device would benefit him and that could be hooked to his crib so that he could kick at something like a toy, to make things happen like lights flashing, cute noises or musical sounds, that would encourage him to use his legs. And so, we spend most of our time … all of our time doing assistive technology more or so for employment, computer access, schooling, other kinds of things. And so I had to kind of reach outside of our group here, and I reached down and talked to someone in our early intervention program. I talked to Catherine, she’s the manager of our program down there.

Brian Norton:
And she gave me a couple of things to be able to think about and to share about this question. And then what I’ll do is I’ll just open it up to folks to provide their feedback, if they have anything that they would like to share on this question but, her comments included, obviously anything that would be suggested, would need to be done with constant supervision. And then if a toy was put in the crib, when the activity was complete, her recommendation would be to remove it from the crib, not to leave it in there full time. But, as you’re working on that with the child, being able to kick the toy or do those kinds of things, only have it in there while you’re doing that activity and then to remove it when you’re done.

Brian Norton:
That way, there’d be some safety concerns with that. She also mentioned and really commanded the caller for their proactive thinking and suggested that she or he, or the family brainstorm some ideas with their physical therapist. She mentioned that perhaps, something commercial that could be done is something like a musical piano mat, you can purchase those at a lot of different places, typical toy stores or other places could be affixed to the side of the crib. And that would then give you that musical sounds, or other types of things that you’re looking for. And then maybe that could be attached to the crib slats using Velcro so the child will receive some auditory feedback from his kicking and so.

Brian Norton:
But again, it’s really important to kind of think about the health and the safety of the child, only leave it in there while it’s being used and then to remove it when the activity is done. And then to think about things like maybe a musical piano mat or something else like that, that would be helpful and so, would love to be able to just hear from other folks, if you have anything to add to this question, again, looking for a way for some cause and effect activities for a child to use his legs while laying down in a crib, to be able to get some of that cause and effect that when I kick, I get to hear something or play something, those types of things.

Brian Norton:
And so, we’d love to open that up, you can give us a call on our listener line, that’s 317-721-7124 or you can send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Love to hear from you. Thanks. All right, so our next question is, “Any information on the best online meeting tool? I think we’re all using those these days. But the question is, there seems to be a lot of great solutions out there, but I’m concerned about security and I’ve heard some of them for example Zoom, have had some security issues, any suggestions for a secure online meeting tool?” And so, we use Zoom here at Easterseals Crossroads for a lot of our programming, simply because it’s very accessible, it’s basically all keystroke driven.

Brian Norton:
So screen readers work pretty well with it. However, you’re right, they did have some security issues when all of this stuff started happening with COVID-19. And people started working from home, folks were jumping on and basically starting up Zoom accounts and starting to have Zoom meetings. And there was a lot of what was referred to as Zoom Bombing, where someone would just show up in your meeting uninvited, I don’t know how they got there, but they would show up and say something or show something and then they drop right back out. And so that was a real concern. We think about privacy of the people that we serve, and just privacy for the conversations that we have that are work related.

Brian Norton:
We don’t want folks jumping into meetings and jumping out and doing those types of things. And so, I think at this point Zoom’s fixed a lot of those issues. When people come into a meeting, they have to be actually signed in, or you as the post have to admit them. They can’t just jump into a meeting anymore. So there have been lots of incremental updates over the last few weeks from Zoom, to kind of fix some of those issues. You also once you’re in a meeting, you can lock the meeting so that nobody else can join. So there’s a lot of extra tools that have been built into Zoom, and we’re finding that Zoom is a pretty good tool, because it does offer you just about everything that you’d ever want, to be able to help folks.

Brian Norton:
And so, I think about our clinical program. When they work with people, they need to take remote control of computers and so they can do that. However, not everybody needs that type of access or that type of tool. So a lot of folks like I think of therapy programs, we’ve seen a lot of things come through with funding really being opened up a little bit. And hopefully, they’re going to remain so moving forward but, several things like early intervention services is a service that I know of where, they provide therapy services for younger folks. And, the funding didn’t allow for remote services.

Brian Norton:
But now because of COVID-19, they’ve opened up that gate a little bit and have allowed providers to provide remote therapy sessions to individuals and I’ve heard lots of great things from them. The fact that parents are getting more involved, because the therapist isn’t there doing the work with the child, the therapist is helping the parents do the work. And so there’s a lot more family involvement in the therapy that’s going on and things like that. But, again with that type of service, you don’t need to take remote control of anybody’s computer, you just need a meeting space.

Brian Norton:
And so, there are lots of tools that are HIPAA compliant doxy.me and several other tools out there that are just more of a secure face to face. It’s like FaceTime and Skype with added security, where you’re just basically having a video phone call back and forth and, they can see what you see, and you can see what they see and those kinds of things. And so it’s more of a face to face interaction but, there’s a lot to be said about some of those tools that are HIPAA compliant. Haven’t had necessarily the issues that some of the more mainstream products have had. But, again, I think some of the mainstream products have fixed some of those issues as well. Any other thoughts?

Tracy Castillo:
Well, when I first read the question, I wanted to see, what were the issues with Zoom and then I found that the Zoom Bombing and the other … There were some other security issues. I also read that. So in Indianapolis, our school system is using Zoom. But what I read was in New York, they are no longer using … the teachers are banned from using Zoom. And they are using Teams. Now Teams doesn’t give them all the benefits that Zoom did as the live streaming and everything but … yeah, so [crosstalk 00:29:26].

Brian Norton:
Is that right?

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah, the Microsoft Teams was the one that they were using.

Brian Norton:
I think that’s very secure, because you have to admit, or whoever joins one of those meetings, has to be somehow given permission to be invited. I think they have to be an invited guest. They can’t necessarily just jump in or join by a number, you have to be somehow invited by whoever the host is. Is that right?

Josh Anderson:
I think so Brian. I know some folks that work for the state, they’ve moved over to using Teams for all their kind of meetings like that and everything. Skype of course is still one that I think’s used here and there. It’s just you’re going to have different security issues with all of them. It kind of depends on what kind of business you’re doing. My wife, they use Google Hangouts all the time, but their whole email system, everything’s Google based, so it just makes more sense for them.

Belva Smith:
I think you’re right, all of them run some kind of a risk, but it’s a question of the company behind them. Are they willing to and actively working to keep it as secure as they can? And I do believe Zoom did take a big hit in the news a couple of weeks ago, but they had already before it actually hit the news they had already been made aware of some of the issues [inaudible 00:30:55] are more working on them. And I think they’re working very hard. Let’s face it, if you’re the developer of this type of a program you know you’re going to be faced with security cracks.

Belva Smith:
And, you don’t want to be the one that nobody wants to use. So they’re going to do their best as they can to keep it as secure as they can. And I do think that, probably in the next few months, we’re going to see an explosion of different online meeting programs, so that somebody can come up with that next best one that all the schools are going to want to use and all the businesses are going to want to use. I feel secure with Zoom, I feel secure with Teams. Because, isn’t Teams Microsoft?

Josh Anderson:
Yeah.

Belva Smith:
Yeah. So-

Tracy Castillo:
[Crosstalk 00:31:50] Microsoft.

Belva Smith:
Yeah. So if you can’t feel secure with Microsoft, that’s the big problem. I understand that you probably want to be careful and you don’t want to be … Especially like for us, you don’t want to be discussing personal information concerning a client or yourself or anything like that, but for the way that we’re using Zoom to do the podcast, I think it’s perfectly fine. So in most cases, I think you should be comfortable with one of the well known ones that are already out there.

Tracy Castillo:
I just want to point out that I now notice that our meeting is locked. I don’t care.

Brian Norton:
Yes.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, it’s locked and it’s being recorded. So yeah, we’re safe.

Tracy Castillo:
We can all see that.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. So I would love to hear what folks are using for their online tools. Throughout this time I’ve used FaceTime, I’ve used Skype, I’ve used Zoom. I’ve used Teams. What other tools are people using? We’d love to be able to share those with our listeners, you can give us a call on our listener line that’s 317-721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Love to hear from you. Thanks. All right, so our next question is, “When using a Mac with a braille display, how do you get rid of the line under all the text on the Mac? All the dots seven and eight are up. How do you set it so that all these dots are not raised?”

Belva Smith:
So the purpose in the seven and eight dots being raised is to indicate the position of the voiceover cursor. So that that can help you locate within the line of braille, where your cursor’s at. So, that can be turned off, but my guess is if you turn it off, you’re probably going to quickly wish that you had it back on. But that’s something that can be adjusted in your VoiceOver utility. So, it’s not a setting within the braille display, it’s actually a setting within the VoiceOver utility. So just go to accessibility and voiceover and look for the braille settings and just choose to turn off the cursor indication.

Belva Smith:
And that will stop the dot seven and eight from flashing.

Brian Norton:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, I think sometimes I’ve noticed on braille displays, they are all up at the same time. So the entire line, anything that has a letter on it, it has the seven and eight dot up. And sometimes I think that’s used to indicate highlighted text and maybe some other things. Because I thought computer braille used all eight dots and not just six dots. Is that not correct?

Belva Smith:
No, I believe that that is correct. But I don’t know that that has … They’re saying dot seven and eight, meaning that every word they go to has dot seven and eight raised, whether it’s part of it or not correct?

Brian Norton:
Correct.

Belva Smith:
Okay.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. So I don’t know. Yeah, that’s a really good question. I’ll have to dig into that a little bit further too, but you are right when the cursor is indicating where it is within the line of text that seven and eight dots are up and it’s flashing up and down to give you that indication of where that is. And I do believe that’s a setting you can turn on and off.

Belva Smith:
No, it can be turned off in the VoiceOver utility. But definitely if you’re editing the text, you’re going to want that to be on, so that again you know your exact location. And what I don’t know is, if there’s a quick way to turn it on and off, or if it’s a setting that you have to go in there and turn on and off.

Brian Norton:
Right. Yeah, I would dare say you’re going to find that in the settings. If you go through those settings, whether you’re using JAWS on a Windows computer, or whether you’re using VoiceOver on a Mac, I am sure there’s probably a way to turn those off. And so, we can kind of throw this out to our listeners. For folks who are using a screen reader, are proficient at braille, let us know about dots seven and eight. And what that would look like to be able to turn those off beyond turning off the flashing cursor. Love to hear from you guys on that. So you can give us a call on our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124 or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org and love to hear from you.

Brian Norton:
And now it’s time for the wild card question. Belva I know you have a wild card as well. What do you got?

Belva Smith:
Yeah, so mine is for personal reasons. One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot is, we keep hearing how our cell phone is one of the dirtiest things that we touch regularly, hundreds of times throughout the day. So recently, I know Tracy’s rubbing hers on her face right now. But recently I’ve been thinking about getting some sort of a Bluetooth earbud, to use with my cell phone just to alleviate some of the times throughout the day that I have to touch my phone. So my question is to all of you, do you use a Bluetooth earbud? Do you have a favorite one? Do you have one that you just don’t like?

Belva Smith:
Because they’re expensive. Well, I know they can be cheap, but I don’t want to buy a cheap one, because I want it to be good. And I want it to be comfortable so that when I put it in in the morning, I’m not wanting to take it out the minute it’s in. So I’m just curious, do you guys use one? Do you have one that you would recommend? And I throw that out there to all of you guys as well as our listeners.

Tracy Castillo:
I do not use any Bluetooth speaker or earbud, I don’t like putting things in my ears.

Belva Smith:
See, I don’t either Tracy.

Tracy Castillo:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). It hurts. Like those the standard ones you get from the Apple, the little earbuds they put in there, those are so painful, my air actually starts hurting within a few … Like hurt-

Belva Smith:
I think those were made for giants. I don’t know anybody that’s got a ear canal as big as those things are. But I have put in Todd’s Air Bud, earbud whatever they’re calling it. An air pod and it’s pretty comfortable.

Tracy Castillo:
If they could have one that was just like an over the ear one, I don’t know.

Josh Anderson:
I don’t use them. I never really have. Really though, if you use your phone on speaker, unless you’re somewhere where you can’t. It’s still going to keep it away from your face and everything. You’re still going to pull it out, look up websites and check your GPS and touch it all the time anyway. So really just keeping it away from your face.

Belva Smith:
Good point Josh, good point.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah, you’re still going to do all those kind of things with it. So really, you’re just saving that face contact but, you hold it back a little bit or use the speaker, you should probably be fine. Unless you like wearing those. I know a lot of people do. And they’ll have their air pods in all day long, or have one of them in all day long and be able to use them. And does Todd have the new ones or the older ones?

Belva Smith:
He does not have the new ones. The new ones hadn’t been released at Christmas time.

Josh Anderson:
Oh, this Christmas is coming up fast.

Belva Smith:
Aint it tight?

Josh Anderson:
But no, I know the new ones have a different design I think, or a different kind of plug kind of thing. So they might not be as bad. But they’re kind of expensive.

Belva Smith:
I know.

Josh Anderson:
But there are a lot of cheaper ones that do about the same thing. And some of them are made a little bit differently. Some of them even have a little plastic piece that kind of goes into the cartilage of your ear, so it holds it in without having to smash it into your ear canal. So.

Belva Smith:
Well one thing I’ve noticed from all the Zoom meetings too, is a lot of people are wearing them.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah.

Belva Smith:
A lot of people are.

Josh Anderson:
Yep. And I know when we first started kind of working from home, I wore a headset to do everything just because my wife was working 20 feet away from me, so that we didn’t have to listen to each other’s meetings all the time, it just made it kind of need be. So, I think you see that a whole lot. But yeah, I’ve never been a real big fan of them. They just get on my nerves, and I’ll take it out and I’ll lose it.

Brian Norton:
Right. Yeah. I would agree with that as well. So yeah, absolutely.

Belva Smith:
Well, I’m not one to want something for a long time and not get it. So if there’s some listeners that have some feedback, I would welcome it. But, I’ll probably not spend too much more time kicking this idea around, I’ll probably make a jump pretty quickly. And then if I don’t like it, I’ll just get rid of it. But yeah.

Brian Norton:
Sounds good. Well, hey, I want to thank everybody here. I want to thank you guys for being here with us, to help answer these questions. I’ll give you guys an opportunity to say goodbye to our listeners, and so Belva, I’ll let you go first.

Belva Smith:
Thanks for listening everybody. See you … in a couple weeks.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. And then Tracy.

Tracy Castillo:
Goodbye everyone seeing or hope you get to hear me next time.

Brian Norton:
Then Josh.

Josh Anderson:
See you next time folks.

Belva Smith:
Wash your hands everybody.

Brian Norton:
That’ right. Also send us your questions. If you guys have questions or your feedback, if you have feedback, 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 a tweet with the hashtag #atfaq or an email to tech@eastersealscrossroads.org, would love to hear from you. Have a great one. We’ll talk to you later. Bye bye. And it seems like every week we have at least one blooper, so here you go. Okay.

Speaker 5:
Can you hear me now? You turn on the studio monitor. There you go. Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? What are you wearing?

Belva Smith:
I am extremely loud.

Speaker 5:
Well Belva we didn’t really want to say anything but.

Brian Norton:
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. It’s editorial helped by Josh Anderson and Belva Smith, and received support from Easterseals Crossroads and the INDATA Project. ATFAQ is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more of our shows at www.accessibilitychannel.com