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ATFAQ170: Best of Questions Episode – Q1. Live Caption Apps for Events, Q2. Favorite productivity apps, Q3. Tools for reading around the home, Q4. Mental Health Apps, Q5. Mind-mapping software, Q6. Wildcard: Decision tree for recommending AT

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Panelists: Brian Norton, Josh Anderson, Belva Smith, Tracy Castillo

ATFAQ170: Best of Questions Episode – Q1. Live Caption Apps for Events, Q2. Favorite productivity apps, Q3. Tools for reading around the home, Q4. Mental Health Apps, Q5. Mind-mapping software, Q6. Wildcard: Decision tree for recommending AT

—– Transcript Starts Here —–

Intro:
I have a question. Huh? Like what? I’ve always wondered. What about? Do you know? I have a question. I’ve always wondered. I have a question. I have a question. Oh, I have a question. I have a question. I have a question.

Speaker 2:
Welcome to at 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 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:
Hello and welcome to ATFAQ, episode 170. My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of the show. And I’m so glad that you’ve taken some time to tune in with us this week. This week we’re going to be doing something just a little bit different. We’re going to go back in time and choose some of our best of questions and answers. And so I hope you enjoy as we jump into our first question.

Brian:
All right. So our first question is?

Brian:
Email from Alvin. He mentions we are hosting an event where we’re looking for a tool or app that would help hearing impaired attendees have access to live captioning of any discussions or presentations during that time. Do you have a suggestion on what we can use? And I’ll just jump in. This is a question we’ve had often over the last year or so, and I think the reason we get it more often is because a lot of these meetings, these conferences, meetings, whatever you want to call them, they’ve moved online. And so being able to provide some accessibility to hearing impaired individuals, so those are who are hard of hearing or who are deaf, is of utmost importance for a lot of folks. Making sure that those folks have access to whatever content they’re sharing that day. And so this is something, again, that we’ve gotten quite a bit.

Brian:
And I’ll just say a lot of the tools have the option or the ability to have built in captioning or be able to provide subtitles. And so if you are using Zoom, that’s a program that we use often here for a lot of our virtual meetings here at Easter Seals Crossroads and with [inaudible 00:02:38] project, it’s got it built right in. And so they call it live transcript and you just simply turn it on. The little caveat about that is it uses artificial intelligence to be able to transcribe and oftentimes if you talk real fast or you have poor audio quality, it doesn’t do a great job of totally getting and doing word for word what you’re trying to say. And so in a lot of situations, the best option for anything with regard to subtitles or captioning is to have a live cart person in your meeting and typing them out themselves. Because not only can they do the transcription, or the captioning, they can also listen for context and add certain things in and there’s a higher rate of recognition accuracy when you’re using a live person versus the artificial intelligence.

Brian:
But lots of great tools built in. Another one I know we talked about a lot here is a program called Otter AI. In fact, I think we mentioned that in an earlier question today for note taking. But we’ve used Otter AI, it’s a really great tool. It’s available on all platforms. So whether you have a tablet, you have a computer, if it’s a Mac or Windows, an Android or iOS device, you can have that particular tool. It’s a free app up until about 600 minutes per month. And then anything above that you need to pay for, but it automatically transcribes everything that you hear. You may need it on a separate device, maybe not on the computer that’s having the Zoom meeting. You might want to separate that out. But we’ve had lots of success with that particular app and it seems to have a pretty good rate of recognition accuracy. But again, not as probably high as when having a real life person there.

Speaker 4:
Brian, does teams also offer the same thing? I know they have live captioning.

Brian:
Yes, I believe they do. They actually do offer some captioning. I have not played with that a lot. What’s the Google platform? Google Duo? Oh, there you go. Google Meet. Yes, Google Meet does this as well. You even have built in subtitles in PowerPoint these days. And so you can just turn that on as you’re sharing your PowerPoint and PowerPoint will give you built-in subtitles. It’s using artificial intelligence to create subtitles right there on your slides in whatever you’re sharing. So I think most of those programs have the ability to have it built in. I don’t know if it’s necessarily free or you have to use a third party to be able to do that.

Speaker 4:
And I think with Teams, there are some government facilities that can’t use the live transcription. I’m not sure, but there’s something about security I think that keeps them from being able to use it. Did I misunderstand the question or was he specifically asking for the transcription of the side notes? Like the chatting that’s going on rather than just the speech.

Speaker 5:
Isaiah, I think he was trying to make sure he got the side conversations. You know what I mean? If somebody had questions or something like that as opposed to maybe just the speaker.

Speaker 4:
Okay. See I’m not sure you’ll get that with Teams. I think Teams is just the straight… But I don’t know because I’ve only used Zoom really for that kind of a situation.

Speaker 5:
I think, Brian, you brought up a good point that just a person, a cartographer, is going to do better than any of the AI. And that actually gets rid of that problem, Belva, you were talking about, because yes, for some sensitive conversations and things like that, it shoots up to the cloud and back to you. Not that there’s a lot of places information can go in between there, but you don’t really know where it’s going. So I know there are sometimes where that information isn’t allowed to go through those kind of channels. I know we’ve went into that with Otter AI before for folks using it for not to go back to note taking, but for note taking, doing their clinicals and things like that as a nursing student or doctor student. They’re not allowed to use those kind of things because you’re discussing people’s medical records, you’re just using names, there’s private health information, and that is not a secure means by which to get that information.

Speaker 4:
So going back to Zoom, since we all know that it does do all that we are looking for to do, are we pretty confident that it’s also secure even if I’m just using my own little free Zoom account? I don’t know what we have. Do we have a enterprise or professional or something? We have something more than just the standard Zoom account, right?

Brian:
Well we have licensed versions of Zoom. And so there’s a basic and free account, but I know early on during the pandemic there were these people reference Zoom bombing when people would jump into bigger meetings. I think a lot of that’s been handled. And there are a lot more controls for the host of a meeting to be able to lock it down so that only people who are invited can show up, only people with a specific login code can show up. So you can really lock it down if you want to. You can also lock down the chat room or lock down the Q&A and those types of things that happen within meetings as well. So there is a lot more control. Not to say you’re going to keep everybody out, but you can certainly limit what can be said and who can access your meetings.

Brian:
To answer your question back about Teams, and I think we mentioned Google Meet as well, both of them have live captions and it’s a built in feature. So you can just turn them on just like you can in Zoom. I will say I believe I’ve heard Microsoft Teams is a lot more secure. That’s where you’re finding a lot of federal, state agencies using. And I think it’s mostly because it’s free, but I think there’s also a part of their Office 365 accounts and stuff like that. It’s already built in and so they’re using those as a free option but also some just added security of Microsoft being behind it. But to be honest, we’ve been using Zoom for a long time. I’ve seen them do a lot with security and improving that and we have had less issues than we’ve had in the past.

Brian:
And I really, from a host perspective, can lock things down to the point where it’d be pretty hard for someone to be mischievous and cause trouble. I’ll also just throw out a couple of different apps out there. We’ve talked about these before as well. There’s the Ava app. So Ava’s a great tool depending on the size of your meeting. If it’s a small group, four or five people, people can load the app. One of the drawbacks is each person has to have the app on their device and then as you’re kind of going around the room, it’s basically a caption or subtitled conversation, that it’s even got speaker attribution. And so if Josh is speaking, he’ll show up in a little Josh bubble on my phone as he’s speaking and then if I start to speak, what shows up on his phone is a little Brian Norton bubble on his phone as we go around the room and we’re carrying on conversations.

Brian:
Again, not made for maybe a big conference or maybe lecture style, but it does provide some level of subtitling and captioning for folks if they need that. So definitely check out Ava as well. We’ve had some success with that in the past too. So I’d love to just open this up to our listeners. You can give us a call on our listener line at (317)-721-7124 or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. If you’ve had some experience with captioning tools or apps, let us know. We’d love to hear what you’re using so that we can pass that on to our listeners. Thanks so much.

Brian:
All right. So our next question is what is your favorite productivity app? And this is similar to the question we just got done answering, but this would be kind of different in the fact that I’m looking for what are the apps that you guys use to help you guys be productive? And this could be a computer app, this could be an extension, this could be something you use on your phone. What do you guys use to help you guys be more productive with the jobs that you guys do?

Josh:
So I use the normal things. Outlook and all that stuff for emails and all those. But I use Todoist for pretty much everything, and it’s just a very simple to-do app. Belva would hate it because it has lists and she’s scared of lists. I personally will forget to do almost everything if I don’t put it in there. And I had gotten to the point where things were not getting done. I would get home and stress out and end up working into the evenings because there would be things that I would just forget because you sit down to do something, the phone rings, you get two emails, Brian comes in your office and asks you for something, suddenly all that stuff’s just completely gone. So it’s a very simple app, is what I like. You can put things in it like call Tracy back tomorrow, and it’ll automatically put it as a to-do for tomorrow. Or you can even make them more important, less important.

Josh:
I believe there’s a paid version, but I’ve been using the free version for a little over a year now and they just keep giving you the paid version features if you just keep using it. So it’s pretty cool. It’s not HIPAA compliant so I can’t put meeting with Mr. Jones in wherever Indiana, but I can put initials and things like that. So there’s easy ways to work around it to make sure that I do my billing and actually call back the folks I need to. But it’s very easy to use. I have used it with a decent amount of individuals I’ve worked with, especially if there’s a learning disability or a traumatic brain injury, something else where memory can be an issue. But for me it works great. It works on my phone, my computer, my tablet, and they all sync together. So I don’t know if I could get everything done without it.

Brian:
That’s cool. Excellent. Others?

Speaker 4:
I think Tracy mentioned this a while ago, Read Aloud. I used that to proofread my reports. And then also the spelling and grammar that’s part of Outlook and Word and all that. I’m like the world’s worst speller. So if I’m not near my Alexa or… I don’t know. I’ve never really relied on Siri for spelling, but Alexa’s a very good speller. So is Google. So those are the three things that I rely on.

Brian:
Yeah. So you said you’re relying on the built in grammar and other types of things?

Speaker 4:
Yep.

Brian:
If you ever get a chance, try Grammarly. Have you ever used Grammarly before?

Speaker 4:
I did download Grammarly a while back when you first talked about it. I thought it was not that good. I thought it…

Brian:
Not that good. Okay.

Speaker 4:
Yeah. I thought it was in my way more than it was helpful.

Brian:
I will say the icons that are kind of put into the text boxes can get in the way. I do love the suggestions. I think they’re really helpful with suggestions. I would agree that sometimes it’s a little in the way and a little bothersome, you’re trying to see behind it or whatever. But yeah. Okay. Yeah. Just thought I’d ask. Yep. Tracy, what about you?

Tracy:
I was looking on how to say it, but it is those timers, and I have one here, it’s the focus to do timer and what it does, it gives you amount of time to work and then take a little break and then you work a little bit more. And it’s just that work a little bit and it helps you get through tasks that you really don’t want to do. If you have a mountain of paperwork and you have to get through, it’s tedious, you work on it for 30 minutes, you might take a five minute or 10 minute break afterwards. There’s also Busy Cal, that’s just a neat little calendar app. I’ve used Alexa a ton. And what happens is if you have multiple timers going on with Alexa, you can name the timer and she’s like, what do you want to call this timer? Well, let’s take the bird out of the oven timer. So in 15 minutes Tracy has to take the bird out of the oven, but not to be confused with let her dog back in the house. So I like to use Alexa with all her timers and reminders and I really like being able to label them funny. Can I tell a story? It’s a Thanksgiving story.

Brian:
Sure. Just as long as you’re not going to take the dog out of the oven.

Tracy:
No. I’m not going to take the dog out of the oven. But for Thanksgiving, I hosted it and I had timers and reminders going on Alexa, but I did not label them. So this was a problem that I didn’t see coming. And I made my dad this oyster dressing and I put it in the oven and I thought I told her to set at a timer for 45 minutes. And I didn’t. And I learned that because a little bit of time went by and I was like, hey, Alexa, how much time is left on my 45 minute timer? And she said, you don’t have a 45 minute timer. And I said, oh. Well then I got busy doing something else and then before you know it, I’ve just made this best cat food ever because the oyster dressing was brown. We did make fun of just I knew when I messed up when I didn’t reset the timer. But being able to set the timers and actually name them is very important to me and it helps me help go along with the day. And everybody saw the mix up and everybody also saw how well it was working because I was able to keep on task with all the other goodies I had made. Anyhow, the oyster dressing did not make it.

Brian:
Isn’t it amazing how much technology we have these days to be able to help us in those ways just be more productive? I don’t know. There’s just so many devices. Sometimes the hardest thing is deciding on what to use for a particular situation. And sometimes what I struggle with is I’ve got so many tools at my disposal, I don’t know which one to choose to be able to handle a particular task.

Tracy:
[inaudible 00:17:46], isn’t it?

Brian:
Yeah. So here’s just a couple that I use that I think are pretty helpful. I don’t know if folks have heard of WorkFlowy. That’s a website, but you can also download it as an app. It’s a real simple note taking, journaling type of an app. It’s just basically a list. Talk about not liking lists, this is all it is. Basically you just create lists and you kind of put lists in different categories and topics. I’ve got two. I’ve got projects and I’ve got to dos on my WorkFlowy. And so I use that to kind of help keep myself organized. But one of the cool tools, and I think this will probably be new for most folks because I’ve learned about it just more recently and I’m really liking it, there’s something called Hook. Hook, that’s the name of the app and basically I can make a link for anything on my computer.

Brian:
And so what I’ve often found is when I’m making a to-do, I create a to-do and it’s always in reference to maybe it’s an email message that I’ve gotten or it’s a document that was sent to me. And what I can do is now when I’m in that document, I can just press a hot key and it’s going to make a link to that document, whether it’s in my email, in my Outlook, or it’s on my desktop or it’s in One Drive or it’s some other place, it’ll make a link for me that I can paste into my to-do, and then when I’m in my to-do list, my WorkFlowy list, I can just simply press on that link and it’ll go ahead and open up my Outlook and then open that particular email that I was linking to.

Brian:
And so just helps connect information or, in their terms, it hooks you into that information that’s important about that particular to-do. I don’t know. I found it really helpful because sometimes I look at my to-dos and I wrote it down and it made sense when I wrote it, but now it doesn’t make any sense to me. And with those links there, now I can just go back to the original messages and fill in, provide a little bit more context on what I’m trying to do and what I’m trying to accomplish. And so Hook is the name of that app. To find the right one, you might look in Google Hook productivity app links or something like that. The icon for it looks like the infinity symbol. And so it’s a pretty good little app and it’s free at this point, for me.

Brian:
I’m not sure if it’s got an in-app purchase. I’ve been playing around with it for a couple of weeks and I’ve really liked it. I don’t know. Maybe in a week it’ll tell me, hey, now you owe us some money. But I don’t think so. I think it’s free and it does a really good job. And helps me better organize myself for some things. I will say the other things I do like, I do like Hey Siri. Being able to jump in and just capture a thought really quick. Sometimes I’m driving in the car and it’s like, oh, I don’t have any place to write it down. It’s going to be dangerous for me to pick up my phone or try to type it or write it down with pen and paper. And so I can just say, hey, Siri. And then it’ll just go ahead and allow me to make a comment or send myself an email or create something in my calendar.

Brian:
It just helps me really quickly create some things on the fly. And again, I just think about some of these things and it’s pretty remarkable the tools that we have today that, again, oftentimes I’m struggling with I’ve got so many tools, which ones do I choose and which one do I use for a particular task? And so those are just a couple of productivity apps that I wanted to throw out there for folks today as well. We’d love to open this up to our listeners if you guys have any that you use. Maybe it’s creating to-do lists or timers or other types of things to help keep you on task, keep you productive, help you be more efficient in the day. We’d love to hear from you. You can give us a call on our listener line. That’s (317)-721-7124. Or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Thanks so much.

Brian:
All right. So our next question was an email from Nicole. She mentioned I have a client who struggles to read things like mail, prescriptions, books, and menus, and to also fill out forms, identify grocery items. Seems like there’s a lot of things that they really struggle with reading or filling out stuff. He is getting a new smartphone. Not sure if it’s an Android or iPhone though. Are there helpful apps that could help him with these tasks? And so I’ll kind of just open this up to the group.

Speaker 4:
Of course there’s a lot of different options for these kinds of task with a smart device. First of all, we don’t know if the person is totally blind or if they’re just low vision. So if it’s a low vision situation, I like using the camera to just snap a picture if it’s my prescription bottle or something. And then you can just stretch it and make it bigger so that you can and move it around to get the information that you need. The iPhone and the Android phone both do include a magnifier as well, which is not going to be very helpful with the filling out forms, but it’s going to be very helpful for identifying what you’ve got in your hand or reading the mail as it comes in. The number one app on the iPhone for identifying things, reading text, color identifier, that kind of thing is the Seeing AI app. That’s S-E-E-I-N-G, A-I.

Speaker 4:
And I know that Android has one that’s similar but I’m not familiar with the name of it so I’m counting on one of y’all to know. Also, you can use the magnifier for filling out forms, but you’re going to want some sort of a stand. It does not need to be a fancy type stand, but you’re going to want some way to be able to lift your phone’s camera about 10 to 12 inches away from whatever it is you’re trying to fill out so that you can turn the magnifier on and maybe see it a little bit better and tell where you’re writing at. I love the scan jig with either device, whether it’s the Android or an iPhone. It’s a $60 device on Amazon made out of plastic. I use one myself on a regular basis because it has a place for you to sit your device, so your smartphone or your tablet, and then located behind it is a place for you to stand up your document so that you can capture it and have it read or capture it and magnify it, whatever you want. So I would consider maybe getting one of those to go along with it. And as far as the stand goes, there’s just probably hundreds of different ones that are available, again, on Amazon anywhere from $10 to probably a hundreds or more. I don’t know.

Brian:
And I was going to mention just from you mentioned Seeing AI for the iOS. There’s something called Envision AI. And I think there’s also another less expensive. Envision AI is very similar to Seeing AI, although it has a subscription component to it. So in order to do I think it’s a certain quantity or to get access to some of their more advanced features, you have to pay for that. So in this particular case, I would always steer folks to the free stuff first, but Envision AI that is a subscription based. It’s a pretty good app from what I could tell, but it does cost a little money per month if you want some of those advanced features. And then you mentioned just Google Lookout. Google Lookout is the Google version of being able to hold products up and it’ll identify that product for you. Really it’s built in, it’s free, there’s no cost to it. It’s a really, really nice app as well. As I was reading kind of when they’re filling out forms, I don’t know, I guess with the scan jig, that kind of stands things up, I don’t know if you could really fill it out. It’d definitely be pretty easy to magnify information on one of those. There’s a lot of document stands that are out there as well.

Speaker 4:
Brian, the scan jig will allow you to turn it on its side and [inaudible 00:26:17] up so you can put your document down and write underneath it. It’s not the most convenient but it does have that option.

Brian:
Okay. Okay. I did not know you could flip it upside down or on its side. That’s cool. But I was even going to say, man, for those types of things, it may be just kind of a handheld magnifier, video magnifier, desktop video magnifier would obviously be really helpful. Although those are pretty expensive. For kind of a handheld video magnifier, you’re probably talking $500 to $900 depending on the size. Sometimes even upwards of 1200 if you get the bigger one from Freedom Scientific. Forget what that’s called, the Ruby XLHD maybe. I think that’s like 1200 bucks. But anyways. Those are all really nice. They kind of are just handheld video magnifiers. That’s their only purpose. They kind of can be mounted at an angle, you can run that over top of the paper, and of course desktop video magnifiers, they’re made for that type of activity. But they can be upwards of two grand or more depending on the bells and whistles that you get with those.

Speaker 4:
Brian, let’s also not leave out My Eyes. I’m sorry. The Be My Eyes app or Ira.

Brian:
Yeah. That’s true.

Speaker 4:
Both available on your smartphone. Both can be free. And what it does is it connects the visually impaired individual with a sighted individual somewhere in the world that can give them guided information. So if you want to, again, hold up a can of chicken noodle soup or tuna and say what have I got in my hand? Then they can tell you what you’ve got in your hand. Or if you are in a building and you’re trying to find room five on the first floor, you can again show them where you are and they’ll let you know that, yes, you’re on the first floor and it looks like you’re next to room one. Now Ira does also have a paid for service and their prices change all the time, so I’m not even going to try to quote what that is, but you can also use it for free. I think both of those are great applications that you would probably want to recommend anybody who’s new to getting a smartphone.

Brian:
I think Ira, it’s free if you do a three minute to five minute phone call. Any longer they’re going to probably tell you you need to be able to get to the paid version. But that’s an amazing service. I can’t even believe it’s available. Still kind of shocks me that they can do that and provide that type of assistance free of charge.

Speaker 5:
Hey, Brian, when it comes to the forms and stuff, can you do that with like Claro PDF? Will it allow you to actually fill in the forms? Cause I just realized that the question says struggles to read.

Tracy:
Yeah. And we don’t know if that’s vision.

Speaker 5:
We don’t know if it’s vision at all.

Tracy:
Or just you can’t read.

Brian:
Yeah. There are a lot of take a picture, have the app read it to you. Seeing AI does that. Obviously that’s a vision primarily, but I use it for my folks with reading difficulties. But Claro PDF is a really good app where you can snap a picture, you have a bunch of annotation tools like writing on it, putting text notes on it, other kinds of things. That’s true.

Speaker 5:
So you could actually use it to take a picture and maybe sign or initial or whatever it tells you to do within that box, you might be able to do that.

Brian:
Yeah. Yep. Absolutely. And then I think you can then send it from there too. Once it’s all filled out, you can send a PDF of whatever you’ve done. I’d have to look at it more closely to see if that really would fit the bill for this particular situation. But it might. What were you going to say, Belva?

Speaker 4:
Well I was getting confused, I think, because when he said snap a picture and then sign it, you can’t always just sign or edit. But then he was talking about doing it with the Claro and that may be totally different.

Brian:
Yeah. And Tracy, I thought we hit your funny bone earlier. What were you going to say?

Tracy:
Well, I had a list of things to talk about. Josh hit one of what I was going to say and then Belva skipped right over it, so I thought I had it. But what I was going to say is I have used Be My Eyes in the situation where a person was not able to read. They had some type of print disability where reading a form was absolutely difficult. I showed them different apps, I showed them Seeing AI, I showed them Lookout. And Lookout I don’t think has very good functionality. I kind of stumbled all the way through it and didn’t make the app look very good. So maybe if someone from Google wants to show me how to use it, I’ll perform the duty better next time. My name’s Tracy.

Tracy:
Anyhow, moving forward. So Be My Eyes… Well, let’s move on. So he also tried a scan pen. So he was doing scan pen, trying to scan his prescriptions and he wasn’t able to do it. I said, well, let’s try this one, let’s get the human touch in there.

Tracy:
So I showed him the free app Be My Eyes, and he was absolutely amazed. And the person that came on there, she was so kind and I let her know that I was just showing him how to use it and we pulled out a pill bottle, medicine bottle, and she was able to read it and he was just so happy. And as a human person that’s there, you can actually explain what you need for that person to do for you. I wonder if that would be handy if you had a form with you just needed someone to help you fill out a form.

Brian:
Yeah. And I think in this situation mean you mentioned the scan pen. I’m also thinking about just reading devices like Clear Reader. We just had a demo this morning of the lyric. And so, I don’t know. I wonder this might be a great opportunity to connect with a local assisted technology act program. There’s one in every state, every territory, and I just think it’d be a good opportunity to connect with them, have a demo set up so you can kind of take a look at all these different types of devices. Because there’s a lot of things that will help folks read different things in and around their home. Like mail, prescriptions, books, menus, the things that you’re talking about, to fill out forms. And it would be good to see these things all comparatively one next to the other to see what might work for them.

Brian:
And or if you’re working through voc rehab, at least here in the state of Indiana and in other states, you may ask voc rehab to have that taken a look. Because that’s certainly something that would apply to a vocation and maybe get an assessment to be able to see which one of these would work best and to get a recommendation for those. Sounds good. So hey, I’d love to open this up to our listener line. That’s (317)-721-7124. Or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. If you have any additional tools or devices that would be helpful with this particular situation, let us know. We will look forward to hearing from you. Thank you so much.

Brian:
All right. So our next question is do you have a list of apps for mental health maintenance? Thanks, Nancy. A couple notes as I was thinking about this question, there’s lots of apps out there that deal with mental health. Depending on the specific situation, you’ll find one app might work more effectively for one person than it does the other. It really depends on what’s going on. I know, Josh, you and I have kind of presented on some of these things throughout Covid-19 as we’ve kind of talked about work from home and ways to be able to relax and make sure that you’re keeping your anxiety and the stress and what’s happening in life. And some of the apps we’ve talked a little bit about in some of our presentations have been Happify, there’s another one called Talk Space, another one called Anxiety Reliever, and Reflectly are a couple of apps that we’ve listed out before. But I know with health maintenance apps, those types of things, depending on what you’re dealing with, is it anxiety, is it depression, what are you specifically dealing with? You’ll probably find those apps will address different needs.

Josh:
Oh. I approach this from the different angle, which is probably wrong, but that’s fine. We can do whatever. I looked at this more from a provider standpoint. So I don’t know if this is a person asking how do I help myself or maybe how do I help those people I serve. So we’ve had Steve Sutter on the other show ATF Update a couple times. He runs Credability here in Indiana, and they got a couple of products, one of them’s called Evaluate Now. So it’s kind of standardized web-based assessments and interventions that can monitor your client’s health and wellbeing between visits. So it’s kind of avatar based, very easy, simple questions, but all their stuff comes to a dashboard for you. But the apps there on their phone, their tablet, whatever device they’re kind of using, and can really give you that kind of to the minute how are you doing health wise, how are you doing mental health wise? Or if you have a crisis or something, you can open that instead having to call and talk to a human being, you have that and then information goes back to the provider.

Josh:
I think they have another one called Ava Talk, which is the same kind of things. You can text these questions with answers to folks. Just how you doing today? Whatever was bugging you kind of thing. And there’s a couple of other things kind of available, but those are more if you’re serving more people, but much more from a provider kind of sense just because it didn’t really say if this person was looking for something for themselves or maybe for those they serve. But there are some different kind of ones out there to really help with that. But Brian, yeah, the ones you kind of talked about. I will say, and I can’t remember which one it is, because when we’re doing that presentation, I got all of them and signed up for all of them and set up free accounts, and one of them emails me like every single day, which causes much more anxiety than it gets rid of.

Josh:
So whatever that one was, get rid of that one. Because that one’s just silly. Because I don’t need emails every day to tell me I need to think about things. I don’t know. Just get enough emails, that just seems like a silly one. But yeah. There’s so many out there. And the other nice thing is I think all the ones you mentioned, Brian, have a free trial or a free version. So try them out, see what kind of works best and see what might be able to help you. But yeah, with mental health, that is such a spectrum of needs and of things that it’s really hard to have one, so you got to kind of try out each one. Another thing that can really help that I know we’ve worked with in the past is sometimes games like the Brain Games, the kind of ones that get your brain moving and that can be anything from word finds to, I don’t know, Craig uses Cut The Rope a lot just because it kind of gives you the skill thing.

Josh:
Sometimes those can really help as well just because you’re actually putting your mind on something else, you’re focusing on something else. So maybe what’s bothering you and what’s kind of got you going or maybe causing a little bit of that mental health kind of crisis or need can get a little bit, I don’t know, easier or just easier to deal with because you’re taking your mind and putting it on something else. It should be definitely noted that none of us are psychiatrists or a psychologist, so please just take these as suggestions and not as any sort of prescriptions and or diagnoses. Just throwing that out there.

Brian:
Yeah. We definitely need a disclaimer on that for sure.

Josh:
We put a disclaimer at the beginning of the show on everything we say.

Brian:
Right. Exactly. Exactly.

Speaker 4:
Right. And when I was trying to get an answer for this, I found a place called verywellmind.com and it looks like a great website worth checking out, but they also have the eight best mental health apps according to them. And I think you’re kind of proud probably if you put five people in a room and ask for their eight best, you’re going to probably get a whole bunch of different ones. But what I did appreciate as I was researching, they kind of have them broke down. So the best for learning coping skills, they recommend Moon Mission. The best for therapy is Talk Space. So they have them broken down. But again, that was very well mind, all one word, dot com. So that might be worth looking at.

Brian:
Excellent. Well, hey, I’d love to open this up to our listeners. If you use an app for meditation or mental health or to be able to help address depression or other types of anxiety issues, good for good mental health maintenance, let us know, we’d love to be able to share that with folks. 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.

Brian:
All right. So our next question is do you have a good recommendation for a mind mapping software that integrates nicely with Office 365 and SharePoint and can be centralized on a desktop or mobile devices? Thank you. And I thought maybe as we start answering this question, it might be helpful for folks who aren’t familiar with mind mapping to talk a little bit about what mind mapping is and then we can talk maybe about some of the products that might be helpful for folks in this area. And so I think the way I think about mind mapping is it’s just a little bit differently. So you have your traditional note taking way, which is very linear. If you think outline form, it’s one, 2a, 2b, 2c, three, and it kind of goes down the list. Mind mapping’s a little bit differently where you just start putting thoughts down on paper.

Brian:
And if you see a mind map, the way it traditionally looks for folks is there’s little thought bubbles all over the place and then you can connect those thought bubbles and it makes this little diagram on your paper and helps get your just thoughts out very, very quickly. You just start putting things down and these little thought bubbles and then later on go back and try to connect them and make sense of them. And so it’s a really useful tool. Things that you can use it for, note taking is certainly something. Brainstorming, writing, problem solving. If you’re reading a book, making summaries for those books. All sorts of things that you can do with mind mapping. And I think it all goes back to what that person’s preference is. For me, I like my notes more linear, more of an outline form, but I do know other folks, my boss is one of them, Josh and I both have a boss who prefers putting things out in these little thought processes and linking and connecting and putting just a bunch of stuff down on paper to give you a more visual look at what’s going on.

Brian:
And so mind mapping is certainly a useful tool and is used by a lot of folks. Back to the question just a little bit for folks, something that integrates into Office 365 and SharePoint. Thoughts?

Josh:
So really the one that just popped into my head would be Mind View by Matchware. It actually has the ribbon on there, so it looks a lot like a Microsoft kind of program, which makes it easy. It integrates pretty seamlessly from the way I’ve kind of used it into O365, into PowerPoint’s the big one I think of, but into Word. I think even into Excel. Now I’m not sure, I’ve never tried to actually use it with Excel, but even with PowerPoint to where my branches of my brainstorm, of my thought tree, whatever the heck they call that thing, can just become different slides. All my information. If I’ve got sources, it automatically sources them and does that. Also, I believe you can have a bunch of people working on it at the same time. So if you’re looking for a project management kind of tool, it can be used that way as well.

Josh:
I do know in the question they said kind of, let me see, and mobile devices. Now, that’s where it gets a little bit more tricky with Mind View by Matchware. There is an online version of it, but I don’t believe it has quite as many tools or integrates quite as easily with everything else as the desktop kind of version. But I do know that it works well with SharePoint, with OneDrive, I think you can even have cloud integration with Google Drive. I’ve used it before. It’s huge. It’s a big program with a ton of tools, but since it kind of looks like Office, it’s a little bit easier to kind of learn. The other thing is if you have the desktop tool, it can integrate with Dragon. So if you’re using speech to text and also it integrates with screen readers. So Jaws is able to read the stuff. And the keystrokes are very similar if not exactly like the ones you’re already using in Office.

Josh:
So if you are using other assistive technology to go wrong with it, it does work with that. It’s expensive, I’m not going to lie. I think there’s a yearly price and I think you can actually buy the whole program maybe still, although it may have went to full-on subscription, I’m not sure. But it does have a free trial. Like a 30 day free trial you can put on there. Really, if you’re going to try to integrate in Office 365, you almost have to go that way. I really do think. I haven’t found other ones that do a great job of really integrating. Maybe some copy and pasting at best, but there are tons of free or very low cost ones out there if you’re willing to do the mind map in one place and then maybe put your data into Office 365 at another time. You could really save some money.

Josh:
But just because you’re talking about the Office 365 and SharePoint integration, I think you have to go with that one. And again, it looks just like it, it feels just like it. And the integration part, you could make your outline of a presentation basically in a mind map, click a button, and it’s in PowerPoint and ready to go. And maybe do some touch up, but you’re not doing anything else. You’re not transposing all that information over, you’re not bringing all that, you’re not bringing over your references pictures. Everything you put in that mind map pops over and it’s pretty seamless and pretty simple to use. But again, you’re going to pay for that kind of feature and that kind of coolness. And it’s really just on a computer. I believe it’s Windows and Mac. And like I said, there is an online version, but your online version don’t think gives you as much, especially on a mobile device.

Brian:
Yeah. To find that information about that, that’s the one I was going to mention that I know integrates well. Matchware.com is where you can go find that and you can find all sorts of testimonials, you can figure out a little bit more information about some of those features that are available for folks. And so definitely Mind View is where I would steer folks as well. Couple other ones that I have used in the past, they’re more Mac based, and they may be available for Windows as well, I’m not quite sure, but I’ve used those in different situations. Simple Mind Pro, and another one called Mind Node. I believe Simple Mind Pro you can purchase outright. Mind Node is a subscription-based one. I think they do a monthly or yearly subscription for it, but I’m not exactly, to be honest with you, sure about the integration.

Brian:
I don’t know if it integrates with Office 365 or SharePoint at all. I do know they’re good programs and maybe the way it does integrate is you have to copy and paste like Josh mentioned with a lot of these other programs that are out there. But then again, you’ve got a lot of formatting to do after the fact. And so that doesn’t necessarily help all that much. But if you’re interested in different mind mapping solutions, those two are also pretty good from just the mind mapping features that it offers and being able to link things and get thoughts out of your mind and onto paper very quickly. But again, that integration piece is so important and that Mind View is a really great app.

Josh:
And then another one that I’ve used quite a bit and used for a long time is Inspiration Maps. It does a pretty good job. I think I still use the free version. I think you get the full thing for $10 but I just keep clicking no. But it’s very easy on a tablet to just move things around. So if you’re looking for one kind of more on the mobile space, it’s not going to integrate. But one thing I like is you can make that full mind map with one touch of the screen. It flips it over to your normal kind of outline, part A, part B, and going down that kind of tree, which I find very, very, very easy. You can attach pictures, you can do all this other stuff, put more information. Super simple and a great kind of starting place if you’re new to mind mapping, then if you find out that mind mapping’s something that’s super helpful, then maybe move on to the little bit bigger kind of the Matchware products for full line integration into that Office 365.

Brian:
Great.

Speaker 4:
Well, I just noticed that the Microsoft store has Mind Maps Pro for $19.99, but I’m looking at it and it says for the next five days you can get it for free. It also says that it’s very easy to learn how to use, but I would only assume that if it’s in the Microsoft store, it would probably integrate with Office. However, I’m looking through the description and it does not ever specifically say that it does integrate with Office, but it’s worth checking out Mind Maps Pro productivity in the Microsoft store.

Brian:
Interesting. Great. Great catch there that. What’s it called again, Belva?

Speaker 4:
Mind Maps Pro.

Brian:
Mind Maps Pro. I’m going to write that one down just so I can go look it at some point. I would love to open this up to our listeners. If you’re familiar with mind mapping and have a program that you love and that integrates into Office 365 and or SharePoint that would be great to know about, please let us know. You can give us a call on our listener line. That’s (317)-721-7124. Or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Thanks so much.

Speaker 8:
And now it’s time for the wild card question.

Brian:
All right. So our next question is the wild card question. And this is a question that Belva’s had time to prepare or put together for us, but we’ve had no time to prepare for it. So Belva, what do you have for us today?

Speaker 4:
Well, my memory is kind of crazy. I think in our previous show we were asked the question what would we purchase if we had $10,000 to start a new library of technology? So my question today for this wild card is how do you make the best choices whenever you’re trying to purchase any kind of technology? What kind of research and how do you go about getting the information to make the decision to buy the best available?

Brian:
Great question. Great question. I know for me, I look at the reviews a lot and I don’t start at the top. I click on the one star or two star reviews and start reading through those first. A lot of times, some of those are just things I’ll just discount and say, ah, maybe that’s a one-off. But if there’s any kind of consistency with those types of reviews, then I start to really pay attention to it. But I spend a lot of time with reviews trying to figure out who’s used it. And then I’ll also consult with you guys, the team. Especially when I’m talking about adaptive technology, I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by 16 folks on our team who have a lot of experience with this stuff. And so it’s not anything to be able to throw a question out on our Teams channel or in conversation or through email to say, hey, anybody got any suggestions for this type of thing? And then, a shameless plug here, that’s kind of the whole purpose of our show. If you have questions about certain types of technology, let us know. We want to try to hopefully provide you guys feedback on that too. But those are just a couple of the ways that I kind of deal with it, or start with when I’m looking at considering what to buy.

Speaker 4:
Go ahead, Josh.

Josh:
Oh, I was going to say, I do about the same thing. I look at the Google search, 10 best, whatever I’m looking for, and then try to look through five, six different sites, realizing that you can pay those sites usually to get yourself up a little bit higher, depending on the site. But at least they usually give you some good pros and cons, especially if you’re in between two or three different ones, trying to figure out exactly what you want. But Brian, yeah, I read so many reviews and I tell you, it makes it so hard to make a decision. Because my wife says I’m a Libra and Libras can’t make decisions anyway. But then when I have to read reviews and it’s like, oh, I don’t know what to do. Not that it’s technology, but I’ve been trying to buy a new grill for almost a year and I still can’t figure out what the heck I want because I keep reading reviews and it almost gets you at an impasse. But yeah. That’s kind of thing. And then, yeah, asking other folks what experience have you had? That kind of stuff.

Speaker 4:
So I like to try to read reviews, but I find myself caught in that rabbit hole and I usually will just end up, oh gosh, too much information or not enough of what I’m looking for. So I give up on the reviews. That’s the written reviews. But then I will look at YouTube and see if I can find someone who’s doing a live demo of whatever it is that I’m considering. And then like you, Brian, I will also reach out to my coworkers, but I also try to reach out to my clients because the chances of what I’m looking for being a product that maybe one of them have used or have known someone who has used it just to get their insight on it. And I know every user’s experience is going to be a little bit different. But then I will also perhaps call the manufacturer and ask questions, ask questions. Make sure that you clarify exactly why you’re buying or you’re looking at buying whatever it is that you’re looking to buy. So an example. Individual walked into the Apple store and wanted to buy the… What’s it called? The Apple Pod? The iPod?

Brian:
Home Pod.

Speaker 4:
Home Pod. And asked the salesperson, is this going to play my podcast? Well, of course his answer was yes. So the guy buys it and he gets it home and he takes it to his metal warehouse and he connects it to his wifi and he tries to get it to play his podcast. And guess what? It’s not playing his podcast. It’ll play it, it’ll cut out, it’ll play it, it’ll cut out. So the important part of his question that he didn’t ask the gentleman at Apple was, is this going to work very well in a metal warehouse with the wifi? Because that answer would’ve been totally different than it’s going to play your podcast. So just ask as many questions as you can possibly think of and make sure that you’re very descriptive with what it is that you want to do with whatever it is. And I know we don’t know what we don’t know, so we may not know the right questions to ask, but that’s why asking others that may have had the opportunity to use it.

Speaker 4:
And Brian, earlier in the last show when we were talking about, again, if you were given that money to start the library, you suggested call some of the folks around you and find out what it is that is frequently used. So that’s my best advice. Don’t ever just have someone say to you, oh yeah, that thing’s so cool. I’m going to get one. It works great for such and such. Because what works for one person doesn’t always work for another. Just try to do your best to get as much information as you can before you make that investment. Sometimes the stuff’s returnable, sometimes it’s not.

Brian:
Right. Right. Great question. Great question. Thanks, Belva, for that one.

Brian:
Well, hey. I hope you enjoyed the look back at a few of our questions from previous episodes. Thank you for joining us today. As always, want to thank Belva, Josh, and Tracy for their tremendous input and all of the answers to our questions. Thank you for joining us and I would encourage you again if you have additional comments, feedback, answers to the questions that we covered today, even though they’re from previous episodes, let us know if you have any other suggestions in these areas in regards to these questions. We’d love to hear from you. You can give us a call on our listener line. That’s (317)-721-7124. Can send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org or you can send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. Those are all the ways that we get your great information, and we’ll love to hear from you. Thanks so much. Have a great week.

Brian:
And it seems like every week we have at least one blooper, so here you go.

Josh:
People with pitchforks and tiki torches out front.

Tracy:
That’s okay. As long as they bring hot dogs and marshmallows, we’re all good.

Brian:
So Let me try to explain because I know Josh did an excellent job, but I always get jealous when he does a really good job and I do a poor job. [inaudible 00:55:52] Did she go get it?

Speaker 4:
I think you scared her off.

Brian:
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 from Josh Anderson, Belva Smith, and Tracy Castillo. Receives support from Easter Seals Crossroads in the [inaudible 00:56:16] data project. The show transcript is sponsored by INTRAC, the Indiana Telephone Relay Access Corporation. To learn more about INTRAC, go to indianarelay.com. Assistive Technology FAQ is also a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. To find more of our shows, go to accessibilitychannel.com.

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