ATFAQ038 Q1 iOS 10 Accessibility Features Q2 Odin Phone Q3 x10 alternatives

first_imgPodcast: Play in new window | DownloadShow notes:Panel: Brian Norton, Josh Anderson, Belva Smith, and Wade WinglerQ1. iOS 10 Accessibility Features Q2. Odin Phone Q3. x-10 alternatives Q4. OCR on smartphones Q5. AT Hashtags Q6. Wildcard Question: Fixing friends computers——-transcript follows ——WADE WINGLER: Welcome to ATFAQ, Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions with your host Brian Norton, Director of Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads. This is a show in which we address your questions about assistive technology, the hardware, software, tools and gadgets that help people with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives. Have a question you’d like answered on our show? Send a tweet with the hashtag #ATFAQ, call our listener line at 317-721-7124, or send us an email at The world of assistive technology has questions, and we have answers. And now here’s your host, Brian Norton.BRIAN NORTON: Hello, and welcome to ATFAQ episode 38. Super excited two of them into the studio today three of my good friends and colleagues. First one is Belva Smith. Belva is kind of the guru of everything vision and sensory related here at Easter Seals crossroads. Belva, you want to say hey?BELVA SMITH: Hey everybody.WADE WINGLER: She’s like Yoda. The Yoda of vision stuff.BRIAN NORTON: Also want to welcome into the studio Josh Anderson. Josh is the manager of clinical AT here and super excited you have them with us as well.JOSH ANDERSON: Hey everybody.BRIAN NORTON: And also Wade Wingler. Wade is our third panelist today. He is the popular host of AT update and I want to welcome you.WADE WINGLER: Hey guys. We have good news and bad news. I’m just taking your show away from you right away. Belva won the chili cookoff today. Belva brought chili with bacon and stuff in it so that’s a good news. The bad news is we all ate chili about an hour ago.BRIAN NORTON: I’m in a food coma.WADE WINGLER: We have two leaders of caffeine beverages in the studio today. They are popping now because the air pressure is changing in the room.BRIAN NORTON: I’ve got drool coming out of my mouth. They put a plastic sheet over my microphone.BELVA SMITH: Dan was asking for the recipe, and I was like it’s a pinch of this.BRIAN NORTON: It’s a secret.WADE WINGLER: That’s no fun.BRIAN NORTON: We are going to do the best we can today.WADE WINGLER: I meant to say, hi everybody! Glad to be here.BRIAN NORTON: For those who are new listeners to our show —WADE WINGLER: We apologize.BELVA SMITH: And I notice Brian has a two liter of Dr Pepper.BRIAN NORTON: We needed caffeine today, something to keep us awake. For new listeners, I want to let you guys know little bit about the show and how it works. This is a question and answer show where we receive feedback and questions from across a variety of different means, questions specifically related to assistive technology. We received those throughout the week and set around in a panel, just the folks that are here today that he introduced. We try to answer those questions together. If you are interested in asking a question for providing some feedback, give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124. You can also email us at Or you can send us a tweet over Twitter with the hashtag ATFAQ. We monitor all of those different channels and collect that information and put that on the show the following episode. If you’re looking for our sure what to tell us about the show, you can find us on iTunes, on our website at, also through Stitcher As we go through and answer questions, we are looking for feedback. We want listener participation. We set around here as a panel and try to answer the questions as best we can but we know you guys also have great answers. Please let us know if you guys have other information to chime in with, we want to be able to play that on our next episode so that we can get the folks that are asking questions good information and well-rounded information. Please participate.***Today I think we are going to jump in. We had a couple of questions over the past few weeks where some new information, some new things have come out. If you don’t know, we are going to tell you today, that iOS 10 came out. A new version of the iWatch came out. Apple made their big announcements for products for the upcoming year at their worldwide developers conference. A couple of questions that we had in the past I think have some new answers. One question that we had gone was from a person who is blind asking about a waterproof watch he could use. We mentioned that the Apple Watch at that time was only water resistant, so I believe if you try it out and it wasn’t working for he was hesitant to use it because it was water resistant and not waterproof. But it is my understanding that now the Apple Watch 2 is waterproof so it may offer a whole new option for him as far as a waterproof watch. Is that accurate? Is that what I understand?WADE WINGLER: That’s what I understand as well, that the new Apple Watch, Apple Watch Series 2 is water resistant to 30 meters or 50 meters or something like that. I forget the number but it’s basically like your regular dive watch in terms of water resistance. Even in the video that I saw where they announced it, they had this crazy machine that had a whole bunch of Apple Watch is dipping them, rotating and dipping them in water. It was supposed to be simulating swimming for 50 years straight wearing your Apple Watch. It would survive the amount of water. It’s supposed to be quite watertight this time.BELVA SMITH: Awesome. I’m glad we were able to get that for him. Well, get that information for him I should say.BRIAN NORTON: Really there aren’t a whole lot of options for folks who are blind or visually impaired for an accessible watch to be able to use. What a great thing for the new Apple Watch that came out to be able to provide that for him. Another option that came out was with the new iOS update. I think last week we tackle the question regarding voicemail transcription in our last show. I think it’s worth mentioning that in the new iOS update, depending on your cell phone provider, you can now get voicemail transcriptions. I know Josh, you are mentioning that you downloaded the new iOS update and you’ve seen that. What’s been your experience so far?JOSH ANDERSON: It works pretty good. Any transfer option, is that 100 percent good at everything but it’s really nice if I’m sitting there in a meeting with someone, the phone goes off, I can look down and get an idea of who called and how important that voicemail is. It does a pretty good job. It just pops right up. The only issue I’ve seen is it takes about 3 to 5 minutes for that to show up. If you have a missed call, you have about 3 to 5 minutes until your voicemail even pops up on the phone.BRIAN NORTON: They are probably doing some processing behind the scenes to make that work for you.WADE WINGLER: Is that on AT&T?JOSH ANDERSON: Yep.WADE WINGLER: I’ve got the new iOS and I have a voicemail a couple of hours ago, and is not doing it.BRIAN NORTON: My understanding is – I’m not getting them as he is as well.WADE WINGLER: I’m not popular like he is.JOSH ANDERSON: Have you seen my name tag out there?WADE WINGLER: Captain wonderful?BRIAN NORTON: Captain awesome. My understanding is that you have to listen to the voicemail and then the transcription comes up , maybe I’m wrong and that as well. I know in my phone I’m having the same issue where I’m not getting the voicemail transcriptions. I’ve tried to look it up on the web them and I’m not seeing it 100 percent, but I’m very interested that I have the same phone you do, Josh, and we are on the same plan and it should work but is not coming across on my phone.BELVA SMITH: It does depend upon your carrier. Not all carriers are providing that service.BRIAN NORTON: That is my understanding. I know Verizon also offers it, but I think it is dependent upon your provider.BELVA SMITH: There must be a setting that has to be turned on.WADE WINGLER: Maybe it’s that. I’m playing a voicemail right now. Maybe it’ll come up with the transcript.BELVA SMITH: I haven’t done the update. My phone just showed that this morning. As of yesterday it wasn’t showing up.BRIAN NORTON: That’s interesting. I’ve had the iOS update since day one.BELVA SMITH: But was day one? Two weeks ago?BRIAN NORTON: Was it last Tuesday?BELVA SMITH: I know some folks in Illinois were saying that they had it two weeks ago.BRIAN NORTON: All really?BELVA SMITH: Yeah.WADE WINGLER: The beta came out before that but the day of the rollout, I actually saw a tweet that showed the time zones. It would say based on the city you are in it, here is the release time. It would say the 1200 hour, 1300 hrs., or whatever. It all came out on the same day or within 24 hours.JOSH ANDERSON: When it does come up, it does say transcription beta. Maybe it’s just not push through to everybody.BELVA SMITH: It is because it is still beta.JOSH ANDERSON: Underneath it it says it was this transcript and useful or not useful? You can click on it, and it says do you want to submit it to them to see how it is doing.BELVA SMITH: So maybe not everyone is getting it. Josh, maybe you are the lucky one.BRIAN NORTON: Captain awesome always gets the best bells and whistles.JOSH ANDERSON: Apple is now reading my voicemails.BRIAN NORTON: I do find it, as far as the accessibility piece of that , folks who are deaf or hard of hearing, being able to hear the voicemail along with seeing text – because I’m sure the transcription like you mentioned is asking you to rate, was it useful or not. I’m sure the transcript and doesn’t get 100 percent accuracy. Having the audio file with the text probably needs to be coincided with each other. What a great thing to be able to have a real visual voicemail.BELVA SMITH: I think the biggest thing for me is being able to see the phone number. Like I said when we talked about it before, people tend to say their own phone numbers so fast that oftentimes I’ll have to replay the message a couple of time to catch the phone number. Just being able to see it will be great.JOSH ANDERSON: Another thing that is nice is when the phone number comes through, you can touch it with a quick touch and calls them right back. It makes it a whole lot easier than trying to find something to write it down or remember while you’re going back and forth and typing it into the phone.BELVA SMITH: That’s awesome.WADE WINGLER: Since we are off track, do you guys know about the app called mobile day?BRIAN NORTON: No.WADE WINGLER: I’m on tons of conference calls. It’s part of my job. Several times a week I’m dialing into some number where you dial an 800 number and then dial the code compound, announce yourself and all that kind of stuff. Mobile day is a free app that tries to sell you something, I forget what it try to sell you. Basically you install it on your iPhone. It scans your calendar for anything that has an appointment and some sort of phone number in it in a conference call Bridge. It is smart enough to figure out based on that phone number, that is a certain calling service. It will dial the number and punching all the codes for you and get you all the way into the call. You just fire up the mobile day app and hit the forward bone throughout your day. When it finds when it can do it with, you had the dial button and all of a sudden it takes off, dials it, posit the right amount of seconds to wait and put the numbers in and you are in the call and don’t have to do that thing where you are trying to drive and jot down the number and listen or look at an email and write down the number and type it in. It’s much better. Mobile day.BRIAN NORTON: I’ll have to write that one down. It sounds interesting. This talk about iOS 10 and the new features with the new products Apple is coming out with, can lead us into our first question. One of the questions that came through is specifically related to iOS and the new update. It was, what accessibility features are you most excited about in the new iOS update? I’ll throw that out to everybody. What new features, specifically the accessibility features, are you most excited about in the new iOS update?WADE WINGLER: Brian, you are on local television about this last week.BELVA SMITH: I was going to say, Brian, you go ahead and go and I will bust your bubble.BRIAN NORTON: Last week we had the ABC affiliate and the NBC affiliate here in Indiana, Indianapolis Indiana out to do a story about the iOS update. I was it for everybody it was really exciting, but we kind of pitched the idea about how exciting it is for the accessibility features. Really the things that set out to me and I tried to bring up in the show’s or stories that we did with them were I am really super excited about the predictive text messaging, how it is using deep learning with the keyboard, and based on what was texted to you it will actually give you really predictive options as far as automated responses. If someone does text you and say what do you want for dinner, chicken and fish, above your keyboard you will have chicken, fish, or nothing, or something else already there for you. It is using deep learning on the keyboard to give you better understanding, help you make more automated responses instead of having to type everything out. I thought that was a little bit mind blowing to me to see how they can make that work. I believe as he used it, it gets better and better as well.Another feature that stood out to me is the display accommodations, is a new area underneath the accessibility tab, where you are able to set up color filters. It will tent your screen so when you’re reading text, and email, a webpage, or the things, it will tent the back end of the screen, the background, so it will help that text and not to you. If you have a learning disability or any type of print disability, having contrast and color schemes and options that can help you better read and navigate and use the phone when reading text. Those are two areas that stuck out to me. I’m excited.JOSH ANDERSON: Something I noticed from using it. We just talked about the captions which was really helpful. One thing I found really helpful was I keep the size of most of the things on my phone pretty large, just as it easy to read and see in the car. It seems like a lot of places that you go over, such as settings, everything stayed the same size. I notice now everything is much larger. Even the text in settings and other parts, it has really changed and it makes it so much easier to see those things.BRIAN NORTON: Excellent.JOSH ANDERSON: I haven’t had a lot of time to play with the other apps yet. Belva?BELVA SMITH: One of the things I’ve heard about but haven’t seen yet because I still don’t have it; I’m hearing you can unlock the phone without having to do the swipe. You actually said the name of what they were calling that.WADE WINGLER: Lift to unlock?BRIAN NORTON: Now you just have to pick your phone up and it will bring up your interface for you.BELVA SMITH: That’s also for our folks that have difficulty with this wiping. I know I’ve had several clients that have trouble with that. However, doesn’t that kind of remove my privacy?WADE WINGLER: It doesn’t unlock it for you. Right now when you want to unlock your iPhone, you have to hit the button to turn it on and then put your finger on the thumb pad to unlock it. It won’t unlock it, it’ll just bring up the lock screen for you so you can look at it. You still have to unlock it.BELVA SMITH: So I still have to swipe?JOSH ANDERSON: There is no swipe. You just push the home button. The Mac that’s what I was thinking.JOSH ANDERSON: So if you have fingerprint recognition, you just put your thumb on there and pushed the button and it will unlock it. Or you put in the code and pushed the home button.WADE WINGLER: It only works on 6S and newer. Every phone is going to have the thing up and read her in it. You just have your finger on the home button or on the fingerprint reader, and when you lift it up it will turn on for you.BELVA SMITH: That was exciting. However, for all of my folks that maybe using voiceover and especially for those that are using voiceover with a braille display –BRIAN NORTON: This is where she’s going to rain on my parade.BELVA SMITH: This is where the public gets busted. As always, they are just a little bit behind getting everything to work but I’m confident that they will. Maybe some of these issues have already been addressed because as of the 17th, has a list of some of the series bugs and moderate bugs. None of them are really going to keep you from being able to use the phone. More than anything they’re going to be frustrating. Your braille display will have a little bit of trouble keeping up with the voiceover. Voiceover isn’t going to announce everything the way we are used to hearing it. One of the biggest issues that I’ve had people complaining about is the inability to unlock the phone by putting in their code because voiceover is not reading the numbers. Sometimes it is reading, instead of one it will say ABC, so most of the folks can figure out what number they need by the letters. Again the information that was updated on the 17th, and we are at the 19th now. I’m sure that some of these things have arty been addressed. I highly recommend if you are using the voiceover, go ahead and go to AppleVis and check out the things to be aware of. Or just wait another week or so. I’m sure it will be good.BRIAN NORTON: That’s kind of the nature of the beast with adaptive technology. How long do you wait when the new update comes out. They really worked out the bugs they didn’t think of when they were beta testing and using that software.BELVA SMITH: One of the things they say on the AppleVis website is this is a small team of folks that they have working on this. There’s no way that they can address everything right away. It’s going to take time.WADE WINGLER: I was a little bit excited about the magnifier, the basic CCTV in a box or in your iPhone kind of thing. That wasn’t too bad. I played around with it. It has some basic judgments and I know a lot of people who just use their camera in the past and pinching him to do something similar, but I thought the controls were a little more intuitive and it gives you color divert and other things are kind of cool. That was nice.BRIAN NORTON: I was impressed with that.JOSH ANDERSON: Another thing I like about it, it’s not really accessible, but you can delete the stock apps now. You don’t have to keep those Apple apps that you aren’t going to use that you don’t really want and can actually go ahead and delete most of those off there.BRIAN NORTON: Wow, I didn’t realize that. That’s cool.JOSH ANDERSON: Makes it really nice. Frees up space, especially for folks who just use it for a magnifier or other things. You can get those out of the way.BRIAN NORTON: I’m really kind of excited about the Apple Watch coming out. There are a couple of features in the Apple Watch that seem pretty intuitive.WADE WINGLER: Guys, during the chili cookoff today I got my text message that says the Apple Watch was shipped today.BELVA SMITH: And you are still here? Oh, it’s just been shipped.WADE WINGLER: It hasn’t arrived.BRIAN NORTON: You got to go find the metal container on the boat to find it.WADE WINGLER: Exactly. Yeah, there are a couple of Apple Watch things that are interesting. First of all, waterproof matters because that’s going to make it easier for everybody. But a couple of things I thought were interesting were the one touch emergency calls you can hold down one button on the watch and have it dialed emergency services like 911 and/or you can put in three programmed contacts, so you can have it call the three people that you want to be alerting when you are sick or there is an emergency. It’ll send your GPS signal or something like that.BRIAN NORTON: That’s so cool. One of the questions I get a lot from folks is is there an alert system I can get, something mobile, easy to use. They are all tied to — you have to pay for a service.BELVA SMITH: We’ve had that question.BRIAN NORTON: I’m really excited about that.WADE WINGLER: The one thing is I don’t know if it works or not because you can’t fully test it. Hi, number one? Just testing here. I really did want to call my sister and why to see what it does when I hit the emergency button, but I’m nervous about doing that.JOSH ANDERSON: Will we try on the podcast one day?WADE WINGLER: We could do that. We can have the FBI or local police come in and drag you off. They would like that. The other Apple Watch thing, Brian, you wanted to point out was the wheelchair fitness tracker. Much like a step tracker for folks who are ambulating on their feet, there’s nothing for wheelchair fitness because wheelchairs don’t have that footstep cadence that gets a odometer to do its thing. You can now keep track of your “steps” or fitness activity even when you are in a power wheelchair.BELVA SMITH: Awesome.BRIAN NORTON: Super cool. I just want to go to more things out there and if anybody else has something else. I’m really excited about the Siri Kit and the Map Kit that app developers are going to be able to tie into and actually built in Siri to their particular apps, allowing Siri to access information within their apps, and then the maps as well being able to build an Apple maps to help them coincide and exist within other apps. I’m super excited about how that’s going to hopefully make apps be able to do a little bit more than what they’ve done in the past.BELVA SMITH: Maybe Apple could get Siri to work with creating a new contact.BRIAN NORTON: Maybe.BELVA SMITH: That would be really helpful.BRIAN NORTON: That’s one thing I’ve always been confused as to why he didn’t do that. The other one is the home kit app. Now on your home screen or one of the apps that does now is called home kit. Having one location for you to be able to kind of then interact with your environment and do some home automation types of things is helpful for everybody. I’m excited about that stuff too.BELVA SMITH: Like maybe unlock the door, locked the door, that kind of thing?BRIAN NORTON: Yeah, to be able to control appliances, turn things on and off, fans, lights.BELVA SMITH: They are making that Apple Watch more and more irresistible, right?BRIAN NORTON: That’s with your phone. That’s not a watch thing. That’s just the phone. Super excited about that.BELVA SMITH: They changed the sizes on the new phones. Did you hear that?BRIAN NORTON: No.WADE WINGLER: No.BELVA SMITH: They did away with the —BRIAN NORTON: Oh, the different memory?JOSH ANDERSON: Sixteen gigabytes is gone. 32 is the smallest you can get.BELVA SMITH: It goes from 32 to 128.BRIAN NORTON: 132 is really just 26.WADE WINGLER: Because of the system stuff.BELVA SMITH: I was like, okay?BRIAN NORTON: If you ever look in the memory on your phone, I’ve always looked at a 16 gig phone that I thought, really only has 11 available. It’s always like, they gypped me.WADE WINGLER: Microsoft started that years ago. You buy a computer with “X” size hard drive but you have to remember Windows takes up so much of it.BELVA SMITH: That was one of the questions that I had in a different group last week, is it going to be justifiable to say that a person using different accessible features and things and apps, are we going to be able to justify the 128 because before they’ve never – we’ve never gone that big.WADE WINGLER: You’re talking about when you recommend them for various folks with disabilities? We are becoming a more immediate environment. That’s the way technology is. We just use more gigabytes all the time.BRIAN NORTON: I wonder if app developers as they built in things to be able to use it with Siri, to be able to use it with maps, if they are going to be apps in general that will need more space.BELVA SMITH: That’s what I’m thinking.BRIAN NORTON: I don’t know. That’ll be interesting.***BRIAN NORTON: So don’t forget, if you have feedback, if there are accessibility features you are super excited about, or you have any other feedback or questions, please give us a call on our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124. We love to hear from you.Our next question is a voicemail and I’m going to have us play that message.SPEAKER: This is Alina Silva and my question is to do with the Odin phone produced by Odin Mobile. I understand that they made some upgrades on it. I like more information about that. The reason I did not purchase the phone is because when I called in, they said I could not connect it to the computer to download ring tones. It only comes with three basic ring tones. I’d like to know what upgrades have been made to that phone. Also any other phone that is completely accessible without using the touchscreen. If you have any information about that, because I’m not really enthusiastic about buying a phone that is touchscreen. Any other information about telephones would be appreciated. Thank you.BELVA SMITH: I can start off with that one if you want, Brian.BRIAN NORTON: Go ahead.BELVA SMITH: I’ve actually recommended the phone a couple of times. As far as whether or not you can add different ring tones, I’m going to have to say I don’t know about that. It does announce who’s calling. As long as I have Brian and Josh and Wade in my phone, when the phone rings it will say call from Brian or call from Josh. So I know who’s calling by listening to it. It is very simple to use. It literally has like five buttons. Not all the carriers offer the service plan for it, but the service plans are usually very reasonable like $35 per month for voice and texting. But I will say some of the places what you to pay the $35 for the basic plan and then they’ll charge you if you happen to go over your limited amount of data. Be aware, be wary of those kinds of situations because you usually end up paying way more than what you should. But I would suggest that if you would like to get your hands on one of those phones, going in someplace where the phone is carried or contacting in data here in Indiana, our state –BRIAN NORTON: Assistive Technology Act program.BELVA SMITH: Yeah. They will be able to give you the opportunity to at least see the phone. If you see it from your state’s AT Act, you are probably not going to be able to see it in action because they probably don’t have a data plan with it. But I think Sears at one time was carrying it, so you might be able to go into your local Sears and see it. The folks that I’ve recommended it for have been just like the caller. They wanted absolutely nothing to do with the touchscreen. They didn’t need it to do the Internet and all that stuff. They just wanted to be able to text and get their phone calls with voice. It does that very well.BRIAN NORTON: Great.WADE WINGLER: For folks who aren’t familiar, is their website. They are a phone company, mobile provider, who specifically does mobile phones for people who are blind or visually impaired. I’m looking at their website right now – we are recording on September 19 – and it looks like most of their phones are out of stock. The only available is the one they call Imporia Essence, which does have five ring tones – so for how: was from a ring tones, there are five – but it doesn’t look like it is where you can download your own and do that. I think one of the service here is this is a very simplified accessible phone. It intentionally doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, so when you talk about things like the ability to download your own ring tones, that starting to get into the bells and whistles built territory. I think there’s a balance. I would encourage the caller to use folks who are using touchscreen phones and try those and get a little more experience with them. If you really are looking for features and accessibility, give it a chance because smart phones today, especially iPhones and android phones, have so many features, and you can shut off the stuff that you don’t want an really rely on the things that you do want. The experience is getting better all the time. There’s just so much more you can do.BELVA SMITH: You are exactly right. I just had someone say to me the other day, how could a blind person possibly use an iPhone? I was shocked it was like, wait a minute, what do you mean? You really don’t realize that a blind person can use an iPhone? It’s so normal for me now.BRIAN NORTON: Is the number one tool I think that folks use at this point.BELVA SMITH: I think Wade’s exactly right. I think if she’s got a little bit of fear of that, she might want to talk to someone who is using it and maybe see that it’s not that scary.BRIAN NORTON: I just want to throw out there just a couple of options. I agree: getting more familiar and more comfortable with touch screens is great. There were a couple of other options. I went to the American foundation for the blind and they do a really good job of different articles and helping people sort through all of the accessibility features of different types of devices. I found an article they did on accessible featured phones for people with vision impairments. Along with the Odin, there are a couple of other Kyocera phones. The Kyocera Kona and Kyocera Verve were all once they recommended as the phones that stood out as far as their feature sets for folks who are blind or visually impaired. Two other non-touchscreen phones Kyocera Kona and Kyocera Verve. I just want to throw those out to you as well.***BRIAN NORTON: Don’t forget to send us your questions and feedback if you have any additional information about accessible phones for the blind or visually impaired, or had a question that pops into your mind as we were going to that one. Please give us an email at We would look forward to receiving that and including your feedback or any other of your questions that you might have in our next few shows.Our next question is I have a client who uses X 10 modules throughout his own to control various appliances, and we’re looking to upgrade them with current technologies. And it suggests on what and where we need to look for those types of devices?WADE WINGLER: I’m going to get us a can of worms sound effect when we get questions like that.BRIAN NORTON: That opens up a bunch of different options.BELVA SMITH: My first question is – appliances. That narrows it down, right? Do they have to be newer appliances to use some of the newer technologies, or can they still be a 10-year-old appliances?BRIAN NORTON: I think it’s a little tricky. That’s part of the cans of warm. What kinds of appliances are talking about? When you talk about X 10 modules, a lot of those are things that turn on and off. Lamps, fans, we have a disco ball in our lab.WADE WINGLER: Light switches and thermostats.BRIAN NORTON: So there’s typically on and off. You get an on button, and off button. Anything that has a simple switch to it. But then you get things like stoves and other things. With the computerized interfaces those have to it, there is more accessibility and way to tap into that to be able to control those differently. X 10 modules, I will tell you, our basic modules. Most of the time I think those are just on-and-off settings. I’m thinking fans, lights, those types of devices.WADE WINGLER: And there are extent compatible thermostats, so there are smarter devices that are asked and compatible. But the biggest thing I think to think about is how do these things communicate with one another? The reason I say can of worms is I find them in general to be unreliable. That’s true with X 10, the Wi-Fi stuff. In general, I found problems with reliability for all of these devices for years. That’s the can of worms. Do you want to give a quick overview of the different types of conductivity that there are or different devices?BRIAN NORTON: X 10 controls often use what is called RF, radiofrequency, signals. You’ll have transmitters and receivers spread out throughout your home. They use radiofrequency to communicate with each other.WADE WINGLER: And they rely on the wiring in your house. They run over the circuitry in your house.BELVA SMITH: It’s my opinion that those are some more reliable than some of the newer things that are relying on your Wi-Fi.BRIAN NORTON: The reason that is the perception because a lot of the newer things are Internet-based, so they require a solid Wi-Fi signal. Having good coverage and good conductivity with regard to Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi is intermittent, what is your signal. That can cause a lot of issues. We actually have here in our building a sensory room that is the perfect example of the trouble you can get into with these types of controls. This particular room used to be a fab lab, so we used to fabricate different types of things in this room. Each wall is on a different circuit. Right now we’ve got extra controllers in there and those extra controllers use that the circuitry in the wall to communicate with each other. Because all three walls are in different circuits, one wall communicates with one wall. It doesn’t communicate with the other things around the room. We’ve got transmitters and receivers spread out there that it is just saturated with X 10 modules all over the place to make sure that we get the conductivity we want.WADE WINGLER: The old-school way to do with those different circuits is to put circuit breaker bridges between the breakers and the fuse back. You actually figure out these are the three circuits in the room and you put these wire jumpers from one to the next to get them to communicate. That gets a little deeper than we usually go with environmental control systems. We don’t do a ton of it.BRIAN NORTON: We are not hiring electricians to come out with us and why those things up and do those kinds of things.BELVA SMITH: Sage technologies would do something like that, right?WADE WINGLER: That’s one of the wonders that we know that would spend some time making that happen for sure. Wi-Fi was supposed to fix that, right? WeMo and all the stuff from Apple and smart things, Samsung stuff, that stuff was all specific stuff.BRIAN NORTON: Right. But in all of those things rely on that Wi-Fi signal and we all know that Wi-Fi signal comes and goes. When you want to turn the light on or when you need to turn light on or do something, it’s just got to work. Reliability then becomes your issue.WADE WINGLER: We will get it up and go. We will make it work. We’ll get the lab set up. It’s doing all this great stuff and it’s reliable. You come back a week later to give a tour and nothing works.JOSH ANDERSON: Because it’s all disconnected from the Wi-Fi.BELVA SMITH: is like my clients who want to use their printers Wi-Fi rather than using the cable. I always tell them this is a good option; however, you’re going to be using conductivity. You are going to be redoing your router, reconnecting it. If you can hardwire it, it seems to me it’s going to be more dependable.BRIAN NORTON: I’m excited to see where it goes because they can only get better. The conductivity is going to get better – I hope. Then again, in our lab, we have the Amazon echo. I just saw that that they came out with the Echo Dot. I’m interested to learn more about that. The apples home kit app on the iPhone now. All of these interesting – Belkin, WeMo, all these apps that you can download will interact with these modules, these appliance modules, and allow you to control anything and everything from a mobile device to your phone –WADE WINGLER: Lightbulbs.BRIAN NORTON: – To voice activation using an assistant, a digital voice assistant like echo or Siri and things like that. I’m just really excited to see where it goes because environmental controls have always been very expensive, especially when you go to a company and they put in a proprietary piece of equipment to be able to control your environments. I’m so excited to see it become more of a mainstream option for folks and to see where that goes as prices will drop and accessibility will rise. I’m excited about it. Back to the question the client asked, are there any suggested on what and where we need to look? We can put a link to a website about X 10 home automation which gives a lot of the pros and cons between the different ones. But again, I would maybe just go to your different hardware big-box stores. A lot of them have smart things from Samsung, Insteon, Belkin, Wemo. The in-store advice you can get on those, they know a lot about them. They know enough about them to be advantageous and give you information about how this stuff works and some pros and cons of that. I maybe would start their but then also start doing some research, comparing things like Wemo, Insteon, Belkin, Samsung Smart things and other kinds of things. Do some Google searches on the and comparative searches to figure out what might work best with you.BELVA SMITH: I think the first place to start is to figure out what kind of Internet service you have, or does this person have. Do they have a good provider in their area? Are they getting good reception? Is it pretty dependable? For example, if they’re living in a block apartment building type situation, they may not have a very good Wi-Fi capability. That would be the first thing that I would do, is check out —BRIAN NORTON: Check your connectivity.BELVA SMITH: Yes.BRIAN NORTON: Make sure you know what that’s like for sure.JOSH ANDERSON: Just what exactly it is you need to control, because that can change. If it is just doing switches and things, how well they can get Internet and what they are really used too. If they can use the Apple home kit app on the phone they already have, that might be helpful. If they are just using a switch, maybe it’s different.BRIAN NORTON: Right. We met the other advice I guess I would have for this listener is it is not only called home automation or environmental control or electronic aids for daily living anymore. If you start looking for the Internet of Things, you’re going to find a lot more publications about that because when we talk about Wi-Fi enabled lightbulbs and switches and Wemo, Belkin devices, we really are talking about the Internet of things, or IoT is how you see it abbreviated these days. Google search on that are going to help as well. The other advice that I would have is there are a number of standards that facilitate the communication between these devices. We are most familiar with X 10 and have been talking about that because it’s a very long-standing protocol. Some of the newer ones that are out there are Zigbee and Z Wave and even some newer ones called Halo and Homeplug that are not the products but they are the language that those products speak. If you start looking for some of those things, even in Wikipedia articles, you’ll find some good introductory information on these protocols. That would be a good place to start digging around. We just can’t have nice things. I still have issues of conductivity and reliability. I hope it gets better. The really good news is we are seeing more products and more companies doing work and development in this area. It just has to get better, I Brian says. But it’s got to get better.BELVA SMITH: Try it in different rooms because you may have a great Wi-Fi connection and living room and dining room, but then in the bedroom you’ve got nothing.BRIAN NORTON: Excellent.***BRIAN NORTON: The next question has a little bit to do with that. If you’re going to be using twitter to send us a hashtag ATFAQ question or feedback, this question has to do with twitter. Keeping up with what’s happening in the world of assistive technology amongst all the other stuff I have going on. How do you suggest I stay in the know? It’s not all about tweets or those kinds of things. I have found through lots of other professional relationships, just finding out all these things that you can actually follow quite a bit of information by following people on twitter. A couple of different hashtag for folks to be able to keep in on and follow, if you’d want, to learn a lot about what’s going on in the world of assistive technology. I’ll read them off to you. One is #ATpeeps, #UDLchat, #AEMforall, #ATchat, #SPEDchat, #AXSchat, #A11Y, which talks about web accessibility, there is #assistive. There’s also the hashtag #PWD.WADE WINGLER: People with disabilities.BRIAN NORTON: There you go. I would’ve thought password. I knew it had something to do with it because I’m following that one at this point. I found it fascinating the amount of information because it just kind of scrolled across my screen when I had it up and in front of me. Lots of stories, lots of current events with regards to assistive technology. It’s a great way to have something constantly in front of you or you can continue to learn about what’s going on.WADE WINGLER: One thing that I’ll add about those is the ones that say chat are usually three chats, which means there is a designated time and day of the week when people get together. This is a made-up example, but if you’re going to have the ATFAQ chat, you could say every Tuesday night at 9 o’clock Eastern we are going to have a list of topics or questions and we are going to three questions and conversation points using that hashtag. The beautiful thing is if it were Tuesday night at 9 PM Eastern, everyone could chat back and forth during that timeframe. But because it’s on twitter it stayed there for a long time so you can go back and look at them later and realize everybody had this great chat Tuesday night at 9 PM but I was walking my dog or whatever and couldn’t do it, so you can go back later and search on that hashtag and find the conversation. If it says “something-chat”, it’s a time specific chat that then sort of lives on. That’s a handy thing.BRIAN NORTON: Excellent.BELVA SMITH: I use Google alerts. I have to admit, I don’t do the twitter thing. That and just listening to different podcasts. I know it can be consuming, but you can do in the morning when you’re in the shower; you can do it on the right home. If you really think about it, there are lots of times throughout the day you can listen to a podcast while you’re doing something else.BRIAN NORTON: Those are great. I get Google alerts. I probably have 50 or 60 Google alerts. What I love is the digester can get. It just sent you one email, a very long email, but it has all of the stuff in one. I don’t have to have 60 able to go through. I can get it in one big chunk. The Mac and you don’t have to read them right then, like you were saying earlier about the chats. You can do it when you’ve got time to actually sit down and do it.BRIAN NORTON: I look for that particular email address that comes with Google alerts, and I’ll have it forwarded on to folder, and I go to the folder periodically and pull those things up. It works out really well. Again, all great ways. Podcasts, Google alerts, tweets, following hashtags on Twitter are the great ways to keep up with stuff. As we all know, we are really busy. It’s hard to sit down and have time, half hour, 45 minutes to plug in to what’s new and happening. These are great ways to be able to have the Internet, Google, and Twitter, kind of get all the information, and you can go back to the anytime to catch up on stuff.BELVA SMITH: Technology is ever-changing. It’s constantly, there’s something you’re going to be something new that we need to be aware of and to learn about as quickly as we can.BRIAN NORTON: Great, excellent.***BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is an email we received. I’m looking for a tip or lead in hunting down information for how I can combine an app like Abbyys Text Grabber app and Google’s text to speech engine. The result I’m looking for is the ability to take a picture of something with my android Samsung smartphone and have the phone read the word content or the picture audibly back to me. They want to take a picture of a document or a picture that has text embedded in it and then have the text read back to them. I’ll throw that out to the group.BELVA SMITH: KNFB Reader.JOSH ANDERSON: KNFB ReaderBELVA SMITH: There is no sense in messing around with the rest. Just go for the best.BRIAN NORTON: Is that iOS and Apple?BELVA SMITH: IOS and android.BRIAN NORTON: IOS and android compatible?BELVA SMITH: Absolutely.JOSH ANDERSON: I believe for android it’s $19.99 now?BELVA SMITH: It’s all different prices for android. Sometimes it’s free, sometimes it’s $19.99, sometimes it’s $49.99. Anywhere from free to $50 on android. But you’re going to pay $100 on iOS.BRIAN NORTON: I wonder why there is a price difference.BELVA SMITH: I have no idea.BRIAN NORTON: That’s interesting to me. I have played with KNFB Reader. It’s probably the most accurate and instantaneous.BELVA SMITH: Yes.JOSH ANDERSON: Yes.BRIAN NORTON: What’s nice about it is you take a picture and it automatically, it’s almost instantaneous the feedback and print that you start to get back from it. It doesn’t process the whole document at once. It starts at the top and will start fitting your information as it does the rest of the processing. I just loved the app. Take a picture of something, get the text read to you. It’s a great app. Another one I’ll throw out there that I don’t know nearly enough about but I have had on my phone before, and it seemed to be a good enough job, was something called text detective. Because played with the app before?BELVA SMITH: I either still have or did have it. I used a two or three times. Like I said, seriously, I played around with a lot of them and they are so finicky. Some of them just take forever to do the processing. I have never had that experience with KNFB. Trust me, when it first came out, I was very skeptical because it was $100. I just didn’t believe an app should cost that much money. Even from the first release of it, it was better than the rest. Each release since it’s only got better and better. There’s more that you can do with it other than just instantaneously get your text. You can email the information to yourself if you need to do something else with it. You can save it. It’s good to do an entire book with if you want to. I’ve always had good luck with it and I recommend it for all my people that are blind.JOSH ANDERSON: I’ve actually recommended it for folks with different kinds of learning disabilities as well, just for the need for the text to speech featured. Even if they don’t have blind or low vision, it still works great.BRIAN NORTON: Right. You still want the reading piece for the comprehension and understanding piece so that goes along with that. Some people, when they hear it, they better understand it, they have better comprehension.BELVA SMITH: The one thing I would like to see them do that they haven’t been yet is the need to incorporate more voices.BRIAN NORTON: I’ve always been fascinated. They get this KNFB, but also on the computer side of things, they designed two separate products. There is Kurzweil 1000 and then there’s Kurzweil 3000. I know that is the Kurzweil side of it so the KNFB, Kurzweil, and National Federation for the Blind designed the software. But on the Kurzweil side of it, they’ve got two separate programs, one for folks who are blind or visually impaired, one for folks who have learning disabilities. The KNFB Reader is great for people with many different challenges. I just think if they could incorporate some of that visual stuff that they do in the Kurzweil 3000 software for the folks who have learning disabilities –BELVA SMITH: Isn’t that what firefly –BRIAN NORTON: No. It’s different.BELVA SMITH: Okay. I’ve not had a lot of expense with it but that’s what I thought.BRIAN NORTON: It’s an e-reader, is what Firefly is.BELVA SMITH: Oh, okay.BRIAN NORTON: It doesn’t come full-featured like the software itself.BELVA SMITH: Okay.BRIAN NORTON: I just wish that would be such a good app for folks, much like Claro Read is a program. It does allow you to take a picture of something but it certainly gives you all the tools and a lot of the bells and whistles that the Kurzweil software does for mobile applications. I can’t wait for them to come out with something and include some of those visual features that they do in some of that Kurzweil 3000 software. I think that would be a fantastic app for people to use. KNFB Reader and Text Detective would be great.BELVA SMITH: For this individual, you might consider looking at Amazon and that for the Scanjig. That’s a little plastic foldable device that will give you the perfect distance to capture your text. If you have a smartphone or android or iPhone, you just set it down in there and place for paper and the paper holder position, and it’s the perfect position. It works great every time. It’s under $50.JOSH ANDERSON: Easily portable, fold right up. It is a great piece.BRIAN NORTON: Perfect.***WADE WINGLER: And now it’s time for the wildcard question.BRIAN NORTON: Okay, we are ready for the wildcard question. I’m going to pass it over to Wade and he’s going to ask us a crazy, off-the-wall question.WADE WINGLER: Okay, according to the Internet, here are the top five computer problems that people have to solve. The personal is malicious software or viruses, the second is a slow computer, the next one is problems with Internet or network connectivity, the next one is a hard drive failure, and the next one is a dead power supply. So here’s my question: if you guys have a life like me, you have friends and family members who come to me and say, “I’ve got a problem with my computer. Could you help me understand? I think I’ve got a virus. Or the FBI once $500 for me. Or my computer won’t turn on.” How do you guys handle the question? There was a time years ago when I was excited and would say you buy me a pizza and I’ll come out and fix your computer for you and have a nice visit. I don’t want to do that anymore. Most of the time I’m thinking, I don’t want to mess with that. How do you guys handle that question when you have friends and family or you go to an event and people say could you look at my computer? Where do you direct them? What do you say to people?BELVA SMITH: Back when I was young and energetic –WADE WINGLER: Before the chili cookoff.BELVA SMITH: I would always welcome the opportunity because I look at it as a learning opportunity, because no two problems are the same. But, yeah, as I’ve gotten slower and older, I guess it’s a little less exciting to tackle somebody’s “My computer won’t turn on”. In fact, Todd bought me a shirt for Christmas that says, “No! I won’t fix your computer.” But I do try to offer free support when I can, but it’s usually short and sweet. It won’t turn on? Did you hold the button? Is it plugged in?BRIAN NORTON: The basic troubleshooting steps.BELVA SMITH: Exactly. I don’t know. Usually if I can’t give them a quick answer, I recommend geek squad.WADE WINGLER: Is that where you send them? Geeksquad? It used to be every town had the computer shop and there were a couple of guys are people who were there, and they did it, and you could get to know them a little bit and recommend them.BELVA SMITH: That’s gone away. Where is it?WADE WINGLER: There are still some, but not much.BELVA SMITH: People still need their computers fixed, so where have all of the little computer shops gone and why are they gone? That’s what I don’t get. Is it because people are buying new ones now because it’s so easy to do?BRIAN NORTON: There so cheap for new computer. I get that question a lot from my family. Again, I don’t consider myself an IT person. I’m not a computer repair. I know enough about the computers to be dangerous with it, but I find myself getting put in that ITC where the IT person is the bane of society. All you want them to do is fix your computer, make it work. If they can’t do it, you loath that person. It’s sad. I’m sitting there and I’m going to do my best, but I’m probably not going to be able to fix it. Let’s try a few things. I’m doing Google searches looking up Google chats trying to figure out if anyone else has had this problem, how did they fix it, doing a few things. If I can figure it out, I do the same thing. I say I don’t know, maybe bring it to geek squad. The nice thing about geek squad as they charge a flat rate for service repair. And that you have some hardware malfunctions, it may cost you a little bit more. It’s so nice to send them to someplace you say they will permanently fix it. I’m always afraid if I fix something, three weeks later I’m going to get the same question again. Without this doesn’t work. Why doesn’t this work? And I feel obligated.BELVA SMITH: Then you become responsible for everything there forward that doesn’t work.WADE WINGLER: It worked before you messed with it.BELVA SMITH: Exactly. I do tell people, I have a serious fear of my possibly doing something that could cause them to lose everything on the computer. I don’t want that responsibility. I have done some bartering. You change the oil in my car and I’ll update your computer.JOSH ANDERSON: That’s a good idea. I looked out where most of my friends are much more advanced in the IT part, like they are programmers or have made their own website or own their own computer businesses.BRIAN NORTON: You are breaking your computer them, right?JOSH ANDERSON: I don’t get asked to do much of that stuff at all. Usually when it comes to family, my mom doesn’t even own a computer at home. The one she has at work still has a dot matrix printer. There is absolutely no way I would know how to work on that at all. Then with my dad and other family members, my Wi-Fi is not working or there’s adware on there, something that’s not too hard to fix. I know how to change a power supply and do a few things hardware-based , other than that I do the same thing. Geek squad, or think OfficeMax and Staples, do a lot of that stuff nowadays. I’ve had folks have luck with them. I try not to go too far because I’m going to cost a lot more damage than good.BRIAN NORTON: You’re cutting into my vacation time. I’m here to have a relaxing weekend. I don’t want to mess with your computer. That’s what’s going to the back of my mind. I’m a nice guy and I’m going to say sure, let me look at that.WADE WINGLER: How many times do you just grab your phone, Google whatever they told you.JOSH ANDERSON: Watched the YouTube video. Here you go.WADE WINGLER: Look at how smart I am.BRIAN NORTON: It is amazing how much is available through chat and YouTube videos. You can really fix just about anything.WADE WINGLER: Have you guys found the website “Let me Google that for you”?BRIAN NORTON: No.WADE WINGLER: Look for the website Basically you go to the website and you type in the search terms, and it gives you a link. You send that link to them and all it does is go to Google, open it up, type it into the search engine and hit enter. Here, let me Google that for you, and it just Google’s it in front of them. They do what you would’ve one.JOSH ANDERSON: Wade, you might need to take that out of the notes. People will stop listening.WADE WINGLER: ATFAQ replaced by Let Me Google That For You.BRIAN NORTON: How funny.BELVA SMITH: At the beginning of Todd’s and my relationship almost 10 years ago, I would say just Google it, because he would always ask me questions and I would say just Google it. Now I’ll forget sometimes and say I wonder how you can change the filter in the car. Well, just Google it. Oh, come on. I taught you that, right?BRIAN NORTON: Excellent. Super fun today. Here is how to find our show. You can search as assisted larger questions on iTunes. You can look for us on stitcher. Or visit us at our website Also check out where you can find our other podcasts that are produced here at Easter Seals crossroads. That would be Accessibility Minute and AT Update. Don’t forget to send us your questions by calling our listener line at 317-721-7124. You can also send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. Or email us at We certainly want your questions. We also would love your feedback. If there are questions that you would like to chime in on from this past episode, please do so. You can send that feedback to those very same things, the phone number, a tweet, and also our email. But be a part of the show. We love to have you. Have a great week.WADE WINGLER: Information provided on Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions does not constitute a product endorsement. Our comments are not intended as recommendations, nor is our show evaluative in nature. Assistive Technology FAQ is hosted by Brian Norton; gets editorial support from Mark Stewart and Belva Smith; is produced by me, Wade Wingler; and receives support from Easter Seals Crossroads and the INDATA project. ATFAQ is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more of our shows at***Transcript provided by TJ Cortopassi. For requests and inquiries, contact***Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterest1LinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATFAQ037 – Q1. Live Captioning Options Q2. Vocalize free cell pone equipment? Q3.Voicmail Transcriptions? Q4. Graphing calculator solutions for folks with dexterity and fine motor control issues? Q5. Hooking up iPad to a large 32” touch screen? Q6. Wildcard Question: How reliant are you on Internet connectivity?September 12, 2016In “Assistive Technology FAQ (ATFAQ) Podcast”ATFAQ059 – Q1 JAWS won’t read my icons Q2 Where to find a SmartVision 2 phone Q3 Accessible music technology Q4 Contacting JAN Q5 Sip/Puff mouth joystick Q6 Accessible textbooks for kids with dyslexia Q7 What do you use instead of MS OfficeAugust 14, 2017In “Assistive Technology FAQ (ATFAQ) Podcast”ATFAQ032 – Q1. Pick one AT device for person who is visually impaired? Q2. Important factors for selecting an AT solution? Q3. Abbreviation Expansion software options? Q4. Questions or steps that need to be taken to prepare for your child’s transition from K12 to Higher Ed. Q5. What certifications are available in the field of AT? Q6. Wildcard Question: What podcasts do WE listen to?June 27, 2016In “Assistive Technology FAQ (ATFAQ) Podcast”last_img

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