JOHN GASSMAN: In FSCast 179, CSUN is getting closer. Eric Damery is here to talk about the next updates of 2020 products from Vispero. We’ll talk about Power Tips, a little about webinars, and we’ll do a quick demonstration of the brand new Microsoft Edge browser. All of that and more on this edition of FSCast 179.
LARRY GASSMAN: Hello, everybody. Welcome to FSCast 179 and to the year 2020. Hope you all had a very happy New Year and a very merry Christmas, if you celebrate Christmas. If you don’t, we hope your holiday season was a very happy, joyous one. And we’re so glad to be back with you again on FSCast.
Now, before we get to FSCast, here are a couple of items that we always talk about just before we begin. And it’s all about how you can contact the show. And there are a couple of ways to do that. You can email us, and it’s a very simple address, firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can call us, area code (727) 803‑8000, and the extension is 1010.
Now, a couple of things with that phone number that we probably need to stress more so than before. We actually needed to stress it then, too. But we’ll do it from this point on. Many of you leave us messages. And you leave the message, which is wonderful. But in some instances, when you require a callback or an email back, you don’t leave us any of that contact information. We need that.
Please, when you leave a message, leave your name. Please speak it slowly and distinctly because sometimes it’s hard to understand the name on an answering machine. And in some instances, if your name is a long name, you may want to spell it. That’s up to you. And then leave us an email address and a phone number. We will call you back and move further with your particular message, especially if it does require a response. Once again, the number is area code (727) 803-8000, extension 1010.
Before we continue with FSCast 179, we want to thank once again all of those of you who responded with regard to favorable feedback to our segment with our friend Brian Hartgen. We had him with us in December, and he talked a lot about his companies, a lot about the things that he was offering. And we got a lot of reaction from you. And we thank you so very much for that. When we had him with us in December, he talked about Leasey, which is a terrific product. And if you heard it, you know.
If you didn’t hear it, we encourage you to go back and listen to the December FSCast because he talked about, as I said, Leasey, which used to be a product for people who were brand new to computers, for the most part, and they needed help maybe getting around in terms of applications. Then he built Leasey Advanced for those of us who have been around the block a few times with regard to computers, and added to our productivity. And I use it; John uses it. And many, many, many of you who are advanced users also take advantage of the wonderful things that Leasey has. And so we talked a lot about that.
We talked about Zoom. He has created Zoom Scripts, which Freedom Scientific/Vispero has indoctrinated into what we all now use whenever we go to a Zoom meeting. Those basic scripts are in the Freedom Scientific JAWS product. And he also created JAWS Scripts Professional. They’re a little more advanced. They’re for Zoom. And those are a paid product, as well. And you can get those, as well. So he’s got a lot of things coming, and more coming in the future. And we were delighted to have him.
Brian just completed a tutorial on Microsoft OneNote, and that will be eventually available for purchase on his website. Brian’s last name is spelled H A R T G E N. The website: www.hartgen.org.
JOHN: Well, once again this year we have CSUN coming up in March at the Anaheim Marriott: March 9 and 10 for the pre-conference workshops; and then March 11, 12, and 13 for the assistive technology workshops that most of us go to. If you want to register for those sessions, and there is a cost, then I would encourage you to do so by February 4th to get in at the lower fee. If you wait and register from February 5th through the March 3rd deadline, you can register, but it will be at a higher attendee fee.
And you can really just Google CSUN Conference 2020, and that’ll take you to the page where you’ll have the information about all the sessions and the registration and the exhibitors. Now, if you’re just going to the exhibitor hall, and some of you locally in Southern California may be doing that, there is no charge. But you do have to register just the same. So be sure you take advantage of that. We’ll have more information coming up about the things that Vispero will be offering during the workshop, and we’ll do that probably in February.
So a great opportunity to meet people, maybe that you’ve only read about or listened to, face to face. It’s a lot of fun. I know we’re looking forward this year to meeting Scott Ericson, who is a listener to FSCast and a JAWS beta tester. And he lives in Australia, so it’s not as if he can walk here. So we’re looking forward to that. And anybody else that’s coming from outside the United States, please come up and say hello.
LARRY: Well, updates are coming in the month of February – JAWS ZoomText, and Fusion. And here to give us an idea as to what we’ll be seeing, and it’s just around the corner, is Eric Damery. Eric, welcome to FSCast.
ERIC DAMERY: Well, thanks very much, Larry. Happy New Year.
LARRY: Thank you. Happy New Year to you, too.
ERIC: We made it into 2020.
LARRY: I did. I did. So we all did.
ERIC: Yeah. So we had the releases in the fall. We got the December update out, which was I think a great update. And we’ve been cranking away since December on getting this next update ready and out the door. We’re expecting to post on February 4th, on or about that date. So you should be watching for that. As you said, it’ll be an update for JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion. They’ll all post as we do. And of course these are not SMAs. These are free for all 2020 customers. They’ll get an automatic announcement about it. And there’ll be a write-up on the website. I would make sure people go and see that because there’s going to be a long list of changes. There’s a lot of things that we got included in this build.
And I think the two things I really want to talk about, first is we’ve redone how we highlight information in HTML. So as you’re reading through a web page, we always try and put a visual indicator on the page at where you are. So if you’ve got somebody leaning over your shoulder that’s sighted, looking at your screen, they should be able to keep track of where you’re reading. That’s very helpful, and we’ve been using like a transparent green box when you’re running with JAWS. And in ZoomText and Fusion it would be a red box around the area that’s being read.
ZoomText does a pretty good job with how they track, but of course they’re not tracking with a virtual cursor. JAWS and Fusion have been tracking with a virtual cursor, and that’s when things can get a little wonky, when you’re arrowing down through a web page. Sometimes the highlight would disappear. Sometimes it wouldn’t be quite clear what you’re really reading, considering where the highlight is. So that’s all greatly improved, and it’s all the same now, whether you’re running ZoomText, JAWS, or Fusion. It’s the red box.
And of course in JAWS in the Settings Center there are places where you can make adjustments to it. You can make it bigger, darker, more transparent. And you can change the colors. You can make it a block that goes over everything, if that’s more helpful. You know, whatever works. But we think we’ve picked something that’s pretty consistent with the way ZoomText did it, and I think it works very well. And you’ll see when you move on to things like a list of items on a web page. So if you had like a list of links, and it’s seven items, when it says “list of seven items,” the box will be around all seven items. It’ll circle the whole list. And then as you move into the list, it’ll highlight each individual item as you move through it. So it’s much more consistent.
And when you do a “say all,” of course this box tracks along as you’re reading by word. But when you’re moving with a DOWN ARROW, we try and put the box around the virtual line or the text contained in the virtual line, which sometimes carries over one or two lines of text. So sometimes the box is going around several lines of text, and you’re reading inside that somewhere. But I think that’s a great improvement. And for trainers, for vision teachers, and for anyone who’s trying to get someone visually looking at their screen to follow along, this should be a vast improvement in this February 4th update of Fusion and JAWS for Windows. So that’s a great one.
The other big change is trying to streamline the reading on web content. So as you’re moving through a web page, JAWS has traditionally always stopped on blank lines where there is separation between paragraphs or sections. And so many times in HTML, as you’re down arrowing through a web page, you’ll hear lots of blanks. And we’re going to keep that option in there because a lot of people like that, to know where the separation is.
But we’re making the new default to avoid and skip over those blank lines on the web. So that’s probably best if you demonstrate it, and we’ll let you guys do a demonstration of this here on the FSCast so they can see the difference between how 2019 handles it and then how 2020 sounds on the same page. And as I said, it’s on by default. If users don’t like it, you can show them how to disable that in the Settings Center.
The other thing I really want to talk about is some upcoming training that I think is going to be pretty important. It’s a webinar that’s coming out in the month of January – it may have occurred by the time this FSCast went out; and, if it did, of course people can go back and still listen to it – on Focus Braille Displays. It’s going to be a pretty thorough discussion talking about the importance of braille literacy and really what is a Focus Blue Braille Display, kind of an overview of the buttons. There’ll be a lot of YouTube videos linked on the training page.
So I hope people will take advantage of checking out the webinar, learning as much as they can about the Focus. It’s always interesting to know how to get it connected. How do I connect it to my PC and my phone? How do I switch back and forth between the two? And this video will really – these videos and this webinar will really, I think, help people out when they’re trying to connect to iOS devices, Android devices, and so forth, and learn something about what status cells are in a braille display and understand better about how to use those. So watch for that.
Finally, I also wanted to mention that we have a great beta program. Larry, you and John have participated for years on the JAWS beta testing. And we’ve got hundreds of people out there that have participated in that, and it really helps us out, gives you an opportunity to get a hold of some software before the general public gets it. Everybody has different setups. And if you guys can run it and give us some feedback to make sure that we’re not introducing something new that we didn’t intend to, and to make sure that as we’re putting new features in, they work as expected. And I think that’s been very valuable for everybody.
And I think in general you guys don’t usually get bad software from us. We usually test it inside, make sure it’s pretty good. We’re also – we have a beta testing program for ZoomText and Fusion, and we don’t have as many participants involved in that. And this is an area that we’re very interested in. So if you’re aware of someone, or if you are a low vision person, and you’re interested in participating with the beta testing on ZoomText and Fusion in particular, we would really love to hear from you. Probably send an email in. If you’re not sure, you can throw it in through FSCast, or you can send it directly in to me at email@example.com, and I’ll be sure to pass it on to the test department.
They’ll send you a questionnaire. They’ll explain a little bit about what the program is. They do require that you sign an NDA, a Non-Disclosure Agreement. And we’ll get you set up and get you started. And we really do appreciate it. So anyone out there who feels like they’d be a good candidate to do beta testing, we would really like to hear from them.
So with that, Larry, I think I’ll wrap up, and maybe you and John might try and do a little demonstration. I’ll leave it to you.
LARRY: All right. I think that’d be fun. Eric, thanks so much, again, for joining us on FSCast.
JOHN: One of the really good new features in the February update is entitled “Say Blank Lines While Navigating.” And you can shorten it if you want to. But in essence what it does is it cuts out all the blank lines as you navigate down using JAWS. And this is also built into Fusion, and we’ll talk a bit about that in just a second. But what I want do is demonstrate it. And you can read all about it with the next update in JAWS 2020 if you go into Settings Center and search for “blank.” The entire write-up will be there. In fact, we’ll play that in just a minute.
But first let’s go to the Freedom Scientific web page. I’m running right now JAWS 2019. And we’re at the top of the page. I just did CTRL+HOME. I’m going to hit the letter H for Heading Level 1.
JAWS VOICE: Empowering Independence, Heading Level 1.
JOHN: And I’m going to DOWN ARROW now. And I’m using Google Chrome. Doesn’t matter which browser you use. It could be any of them. And of course we’re using the virtual cursor. And as you DOWN ARROW, you’re going to hear JAWS read, but occasionally you’ll hear the word “blank.”
JAWS VOICE: Blank.
JOHN: There’s our first blank.
JAWS VOICE: For over 20 years Freedom Scientific has provided access to print and computers for individuals with blindness and low vision. Our innovative technology...
JOHN: Okay. I hit CTRL. It’s going to continue reading. I’m going to DOWN ARROW one more time. And again.
JAWS VOICE: It’s designed to promote independence about what we do and commit it to the community. Blank. Blank.
JOHN: So it said “blank blank” to finish off that particular heading. When you hear JAWS say “blank blank,” it’s a separator for us audibly. But for this person looking at it on the screen visually, it’s also a separator, maybe from one section to another, or one paragraph to another. It says, okay, we’re done with Section 1, and now we’re going to move along to Section 2.
Now let’s see what happens as we move along to JAWS 2020, and we’ll do the very same thing. I’m going to ALT+TAB back to the Freedom Scientific page and unload JAWS 2019. And by the way, I want you to know that I have gone the extra mile. Yes, I’ve enabled that prompt so that JAWS would tell me when I’m leaving 2019. Normally I don’t have it spoken. But just so you can really tell that I am leaving one version and moving to another, I’m going to press INSERT+F4, and we’ll get that prompt.
JAWS VOICE: Quit JAWS dialog. Are you sure you want to quit JAWS? Press ENTER to quit now, or ESCAPE to cancel. OK button. 2019 dialog. OK.
JOHN: All right. So JAWS 2019 is gone. And we’ll now move along to JAWS 2020.
JAWS VOICE: Leasey 4.2 build 34. JAWS Home Use Edition.
JOHN: And it said “Leasey” because I have Brian Hartgen’s Leasey program and scripts on the computer, as well. But we are now back at the Freedom Scientific web page. And we will go ahead, and we’ll demonstrate this very same feature in JAWS 2020, which has the new feature in it. So we’re going to hit H for Heading Level 1.
JAWS VOICE: Empowering Independence, Heading Level...
JOHN: And now we’re going to DOWN ARROW.
JAWS VOICE: For over 20 years Freedom Scientific has provided access that’s designed to promote independence.
JOHN: I’m down arrowing. Going to DOWN ARROW again.
JAWS VOICE: Allowing – about what we do and commit it to the community. Heading Level 2.
JOHN: We’re missing a blank. It took it out. So now we’re in the Heading Level 2.
JAWS VOICE: Heading Level 2, Software Solutions. Freedom Scientific...
JOHN: DOWN ARROW.
JAWS VOICE: ...provides software solutions, software, magnification software such as ZoomText. We have a variety of software to provide accessibility.
JOHN: And for Fusion users and ZoomText users, you’re going to love this because there are no blank spaces anymore. No more white spaces, either, for Fusion users. So a great new feature. You can choose whether you want it on or off. And that’s the case with a lot of the JAWS features. And that’s really one of the things that sets JAWS apart from other screen readers. You have a choice, and it’s very easy to turn it on or off in Settings Center.
And remember there are a couple of ways to get to Settings Center. You can do INSERT or JAWS KEY+F2 and then hit S until you hear Settings Center. Press ENTER. And then you should be right about the point in time where you’re in the edit field and can search for an individual item. The other thing you can do while in an application is the JAWS KEY+6 on the numbers row. And then if you want to make it a default CTRL+SHIFT+D, we’ll help you do that.
All right. Now I’m in JAWS 2020 in the Settings Center with the default applications. And I’ve done a search for the word “blank,” B L A N K. And I’m going to do a “say line” now.
JAWS VOICE: Search box edit blank. Two search results list box. Skip blank lines while navigating checked. Reading WEB/HTML/PDFS.
JOHN: Okay. And there’s a great write-up about it. I’m just going to tab at the moment here, and we’ll listen to it together. I’ll do a “say all” to have it read without stopping.
JAWS VOICE: Read. When selected, JAWS and Fusion will skip over blank lines while navigating using the virtual cursor. This improves reading when navigating web pages, PDF documents, help files, and the JAWS results viewer without announcing all of the blank lines. Clear this checkbox if you want to hear blank lines as you navigate text. This checkbox is selected by default for all applications except Outlook and Thunderbird.
JOHN: So this will be in the February update, and some of you may figure, oh, that’s kind of nice, but I probably won’t use it. And yet others will say, “I love it. I can’t wait to use it.” And of course that’s your choice. That’s why it’s there. Take advantage of it. It’s really a great brand new feature. If you think the new update sounds less verbose when arrowing through virtual cursor documents, now you’ll know why.
JAWS VOICE: And now it’s time for an FSCast JAWS Power Tip.
JOHN: We have two JAWS Power Tips for January, and the first one is from Mike Fulton.
JAWS VOICE: If you are trying to insert a symbol into a Word document or email, an easy way to find that symbol is to open the JAWS “Select a Symbol to Print” dialog box by pressing INSERT+4. This will open a list of symbols. And pressing ENTER on the symbol will insert it at the position of your cursor.
LARRY: Well, this month we have a JAWS Bonus Power Tip. It comes to us from Paul Ferrara of the American Printing House for the Blind.
JAWS VOICE: We encounter forms on web pages quite often, and there are several useful ways to navigate them. Most users know about navigation quick keys to find the various element types. Pressing the letter B moves to the buttons. Pressing the letter C moves to combo boxes. E will move you to the edit controls, et cetera. For those of us who work with forms on web pages all the time, there is a feature that lets us create a list box of any of these items, which is very helpful.
For example, while on a web form, if you press JAWS KEY+CTRL+E, you will get a list with all the edit controls on the page, along with any of the text that has been entered in them already. Now use DOWN ARROW or press the first letter in order to jump to the item you are trying to find. Review what is there and press ENTER on any item and you will be placed on the page right on the edit control to change it using this method.
You also can quickly scan the form to see if there are any unlabeled or clearly labeled fields you would like to correct using the JAWS custom label feature. But that is a Power Tip for another day. Fusion users in particular will really benefit from pulling all these controls together in one window where you can easily navigate and review with magnification. This can be a real time saver.
LARRY: And we thank both Eloquence and Nathan for reading our Power Tips for this particular month. We want to thank everybody who submitted Power Tips over the past couple of months. We received many of them. We can’t use them all. But we do our best, the most interesting and the ones that will benefit the most number of people. And we have Power Tips selected through March at the moment.
So if your tip is selected, you will win another year’s worth of JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion automatically. It will just be added to whatever you already have. If you’re in the United States and are using the Home Annual License on the Freedom Scientific web page, then you’ll automatically be updated. And if you’re outside of the United States or are using the perpetual license, it will be extended for another year, as well. Send your name, serial number, and your Power Tip to firstname.lastname@example.org.
JOHN: I think all of us who use a computer spends some time surfing the Internet, and JAWS has been there throughout our surfing history, with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, most recently Microsoft Edge. Most recently probably the Chromium beta. And now the new Microsoft Edge, which debuted on January 15th. It’s a new experience. It’s really a combination and a collaboration between Microsoft and Google to create really the best of everything in a browser, from Microsoft Internet Explorer to Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.
So if you remember what it was like in Microsoft Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, you’ll really enjoy the Microsoft Edge browser. And Freedom Scientific/Vispero have really gone to great lengths to make the new Microsoft Edge work very, very well. It’s quick, it’s fast, it’s a very seamless experience in web browsing.
Now, let’s talk a little bit about a couple of glitches that you may have noticed if you’re running Microsoft Edge and are using JAWS before this February update of any version. Also Narrator is having this problem, and other screen readers, as well. If you go into an edit field and type something into the edit field, it doesn’t read correctly. And JAWS was having this problem, too, and still does, if you’re looking at JAWS 2020 or previous versions. But all of that has been fixed by Freedom Scientific, beginning with this brand new February 4th update, which is about to come out.
And so what this really means for those of us using JAWS is that, if you’re going to use Microsoft Edge, the brand new one, which starts with number 79, you will want to update to the JAWS 2020 February update, due to be released around February 4th. If you don’t, you are going to have the current problems with edit fields not reading properly and also JAWS hanging, meaning it just sits there and does nothing. It’s tough to demonstrate the JAWS hanging because it happens sometimes; sometimes it doesn’t. But it shouldn’t happen anymore with the February update. So we’re sitting on the desktop, and I’m going to press ENTER on the Microsoft Edge beta.
JAWS VOICE: New tab, Microsoft Edge beta.
JOHN: So we’ll just type in Freedom Scientific, or at least FR, and that’ll get us on our way.
JAWS VOICE: ...web address, HTTPS slash.
JOHN: Okay. And we’ll wait for that to load. There it is. And what I’m going to do is just hit E to take me to the edit field.
JAWS VOICE: Search. Edit. Banner region.
JOHN: And we’ll just type in JAWS. As we RIGHT ARROW...
JAWS VOICE: J A W S.
JOHN: It reads it perfectly.
JAWS VOICE: Sierra.
JOHN: So everything is working as it should. Several of us have already made Microsoft Edge our default browser. And I know a lot more of you will once you have an opportunity to try it out.
JAWS VOICE: Empowering its software...
JOHN: So I’m just kind of hitting H.
JAWS VOICE: Low vision solutions and blindness. Upcoming events software. Contact us heading. Wrapping to top.
JOHN: So it’s like any other web page. It works really well. We’re going to go into the menus right now, ALT+F.
JAWS VOICE: Menu. Setting and more menu. New tab. One of 19.
JOHN: So there are 19 different choices here.
JAWS VOICE: New tab, one of 19.
JOHN: I’m not going to talk about all of these. You can go in and look for yourself. But I will DOWN ARROW.
JAWS VOICE: New window. Two of 19. New and private window, three of 19. Zoom out CTRL+-, four of 19. Zoom and CTRL plus full screen F11. Favorite submenu, seven of 19.
JOHN: So they don’t call them “bookmarks.” They call them “favorites,” just like Internet Explorer did, which is really nice. And it’s a submenu, so we’ll go into that submenu right now.
JAWS VOICE: Favorites menu. Manage favorites, one of 53. Zoom accessibility, 14 of 53.
JOHN: I’ve imported a whole bunch of things from Internet Explorer and Google Chrome.
JAWS VOICE: Settings and more.
JOHN: I just hit ESCAPE.
JAWS VOICE: History submenu, eight of 19.
JOHN: So you can take a look at the History submenu.
JAWS VOICE: Downloads, nine of 19.
JOHN: And that’s going to basically ask you if you want to be told every time that you download a file where it’s going to be heading. And you can say yes or no on that.
JAWS VOICE: App submenu, 10 of 19. Extensions, 11 of 19.
JOHN: Now, if you’re a Google Chrome user, you know about extensions. They are add-ons that you can download and utilize to make your applications run even smoother and to give you a little bit extra flexibility. The Microsoft extensions work very well. The Google Chrome extensions don’t work in Microsoft Edge at the moment. The plan is for them to work. They just don’t work at the moment.
JAWS VOICE: Print, 12 of 19. Share, 13 of 19. Find on page, 14 of 19. Read aloud, 15 of 19. More tools submenu, 16 of 19.
JOHN: More tools is another submenu, has a lot of nice stuff in there.
JAWS VOICE: More tools menu, save page as, one of five. Pin to taskbar. Cast media to device, three of five. Browser task manager, four of five. Developer tools, five of five. Save page at, one of five.
JOHN: Okay. So that’s what that is.
JAWS VOICE: Settings and more.
JOHN: So we’ll ESCAPE out of that.
JAWS VOICE: Settings, 17 of 19.
JOHN: Settings is interesting.
JAWS VOICE: Leaving menus. Untitled and one more page personal Microsoft Edge. Settings Microsoft Edge. Search region. Search settings edit.
JOHN: So I can search for things there.
JAWS VOICE: Main region. Heading Level 2 your profile. At Profile button. Blank. Personal – icon personal – setting up sync graphic. Setting up sync.
JOHN: This is interesting.
JAWS VOICE: More actions, button menu, setting up sync.
JOHN: With Microsoft Edge, you can now sync all of your data and information, all of your browsers, on all your devices. So I have Microsoft Edge on my computer. I now have it on my iPhone. And so I can sync all of my settings and all of my information on both the desktop and iPhone, which is really very convenient. CTRL+W does take you back a tab. And so we’re sitting on Settings.
JAWS VOICE: Help and feedback submenu. Close Microsoft Edge, 19 of 19.
JOHN: So there’s a lot you can do. And it’s going to take you some time if you want to go in here and set everything up. Some of it may be imported from another browser, which is very nice, as well. And what really is cool is that a lot of the keystrokes that were used in Microsoft Internet Explorer have found their way into Microsoft Edge. Same thing is true with some of the Google keystrokes. So if you’ve used one or both of those browsers, then you should feel right at home with Microsoft Edge. You can download it by going to microsoft.com/edge or wait for a Windows update. And either way, it will come to you, and I would encourage you to play with it. It’s really a terrific browser.
LARRY: Well, as you’ve already noticed, we have a lot to look forward to in February with Freedom Scientific/Vispero. And we hope you’ll be with us in February, FSCast 180, as we move forward. Remember, if you’d like to call, it’s area code (727) 803-8000, extension 1010, or you can email us, email@example.com. Thanks so much for joining us, and we’ll be with you again in February with FSCast 180.