FSCast #188 FSOpenLine

August, 2020


RACHEL BUCHANAN:  Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining us for FSOpenLine, Freedom Scientific’s global call-in show, on this 27th day of August, 2020.  And thank you again to all of us who are joining us live.  If you are listening to the archived recorded version of this show, you’ll notice that we’ve now added chapter marks in the archived version, so that’ll be nice for navigation.

Before we get on to the show, I’m Rachel, and I have a couple of housekeeping items to get out of the way so that you know how to interact with us throughout the show.  If you’d like to type in your question via text, and you’re on Windows using JAWS, the command ALT+H (Hotel) will open the chat box, where you can type in your question, press ENTER, and they’ll send it on over to us.  If you’re using a mobile platform, you may have to double-tap on the Participants button and then double-tap on the Chat button.

Now, if you’d like to ask your question verbally, which lots of you do, and we love it, you’ll need to raise your hand so that we know that you want our attention.  So if you’re on Windows using JAWS, again, you’re going to use ALT+Y (Yankee) to raise your hand.  And if you’re on a mobile platform, you’ll just double-tap that Raise Hand button.  And then lastly, if you are on the phone, if you’ve dialed in, and you would like to raise your hand, you’ll press *9 pretty quick, *9 back to back.  So those are the details.

Now, my colleagues who really need no introduction are also here, of course:  Eric Damery and Glen Gordon.  So guys, how are you doing?

ERIC DAMERY:  Great.  Hi, Rachel.

GLEN GORDON:  Doing well, Rachel.

RACHEL:  Good.  So, oh, my one little other tidbit is that you’re all muted for now.  We’ll call you by name when it’s time and unmute you.  You’ll see or you’ll hear a dialog box that says “The host would like you to unmute.”  And you should just be able to hit the spacebar, and then we’ll be able to hear you.  So wait for that.  You’ll hear your name, and then until then stay muted so we can all hear.  I forgot to say that little bit.  Now we’re ready.

ERIC:  Yeah, you know, Glen, we’re not going to be able to tell as many jokes as we usually because the hands just shot up as soon as Rachel mentioned it.

GLEN:  I think the fact that we’re threatening to tell the jokes is what got the hands up.  We’re right around the corner from Public Beta 1 for JAWS 2021.  I’m sure it’s a surprise to everyone that JAWS 2021 and ZoomText and Fusion are all going to release at the end of October because that’s never happened in past years.  But it is going to happen, and we have some great stuff coming.  And we’re going to preview a couple of those things for you during this podcast.

One of them is we’ve added something new for braille.  Kelly Ford, who’s one of our beta testers, actually recommended this originally.  JAWS, when you’re reading in braille, let’s say you’re on the web or you’re in Word, JAWS actually knows what the paragraph boundaries are.  But we historically have not let the JAWS panning portion know that there’s a whole paragraph of text.  We’ve actually only allowed you to pan through line by line, which meant that very often you’d pan right, and you’d get a few characters which were all that were left on the visible line on the screen.  And then you’d have to pan again to see more in braille.  So it was not an efficient use of screen real estate.

And we’re adding an option.  It’ll probably be out in the Public Beta 2, which will come in September.  But it’s an option that will say, when you’re on the web or when you’re in Word or any app that has a concept of a paragraph, you can say that braille always navigates by unit of paragraph.  That means that when you pan, you’ll actually make maximal use of your screen real estate.  And it actually is amazingly, amazingly good.  Something we should have done years ago.

ERIC:  Yeah, I think people will like that.  And we’ll talk  that up in the What’s New section as we post.  So as we post Public Beta 1, and we’ll tell this group if you all promise not  to tell anyone, but we are targeting the second week in September.  So you’ll want to keep an eye out around 10:00 a.m. Eastern time on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday there, that second week.  We should be getting it posted.  And I generally try to get the write-up for that posted at least 24 hours before the software appears.  So we’ll get the posting up there, and it’ll have the write-up.  And we’ll be talking about some of that stuff here, I’m sure.  But watch for that.  And then of course Public Beta 2 end of September.  There’ll probably be a Public Beta 3 early on in October or by the middle of the month.  And we should release in the fourth week before Halloween.

So what about Facebook, Glen?  Let’s talk about that because I know we’ve had some – some people have commented to us about it, and we took it up with Facebook, and I think we’re getting some resolution done on it.

GLEN:  This is one of those situations where Facebook has gone through a facelift for their UI.  And one of the things that got sacrificed was the feature that we jointly worked out with them back in 2014 or 2015 to allow JAWS to recognize some of the Facebook single-letter shortcut keys for navigating through posts and the like.  This was not done intentionally.  It’s just there’s a little bit of turnover on the teams, and the team who originally did it wasn’t around.  And the new team said, what are these AT shortcut keys?  We don’t need those in the new interface.  Which meant that people suddenly a couple of weeks ago found that those single-letter shortcuts didn’t work when using JAWS on Facebook.

Fortunately, we have some good contacts there.  Matt King in particular is a strong ally of ours.  And he managed to get a change into Facebook.  It should be out in the next few days, assuming all the testing goes well, which will allow those keys to be used once again.  So they’ve added those AT shortcut keys that JAWS relies on to the new Facebook interface.  So this is one of those cases where having friends in high places pays off.  And we’re happy to be able to say that we jointly worked with Facebook to get this one resolved.

ERIC:  Yeah, it was pretty ingenious, actually, the notion of basically communicating to the screen reader through their markup on their web content to be able to tell us that they would like to use the letter J, for instance, to jump to a particular region on the page where a user might want to read something, and take over our quick navigation key.  So it was very intuitive.  And then, when you go to another site, that J would then do what we wanted you to do, jump to line or whatever, whatever the navigation quick key was.  So it’s a very, very good handshaking between the two companies.

GLEN:  So I say we get to some of those raised hands, and then we sort of double back and talk more about new features.  What do you think?

ERIC:  Absolutely.

RACHEL:  Sounds great.  And just while you’re unmuting, Eric, there is some excitement about, in the comments, I just wanted to let you know, about that braille paragraph reading.  So there’s a lot of people looking forward to that.

ERIC:  I think it’s going to be a great improvement.  So the first one on the list is someone named Rohan.  And I just clicked unmute, and I think you may have to hit the spacebar to unmute.  There you are.

ROHAN:  Hey, how are you guys?

ERIC:  Really good.

GLEN:  Good, how are you?

ROHAN:  Good.  So I wanted to ask something regarding Citrix Receiver.  Because of the pandemic, my internship is going to be remote, and they are giving me like a virtual machine.  So I was wondering, is it possible to use JAWS using a virtual machine through Citrix Receiver?

GLEN:  Assuming JAWS will be on that virtual machine, and I presume that’s an option, the idea – and we have this documented on our website.  You install JAWS on the virtual machine.  You have it installed on your local machine.  You do need to make sure that you have the remote access flag enabled for JAWS.  But assuming that’s done – and Eric can talk about that in a second.  When you connect, as long as you get JAWS running on that remote machine, both sound and braille will come through from the remote machine to the local machine.  We do some special buffering of the text.  So we synthesize the audio on the local machine and are able to get slightly lower latency than the typical Citrix redirecting audio from the remote machine to your local one.  So lots of people are using this.  Of course your mileage may vary.  But we expect it should work fine.

ERIC:  And I would recommend you start by going – go to the Freedom Scientific home page and go to technical support.  And when you land on the technical support page, search for the word “Citrix.”  You’ll find a link, what are Fusion remote desktop and Citrix requirements.  And I believe in this document you’ll find all the information there for JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion, and Citrix.  Now, Glen mentioned that there is an authorization requirement.  Was this for school or something, you said?

ROHAN:  So I have a personal edition, like a home edition of JAWS.  And they will have a professional edition of JAWS installed on their virtual machine.

ERIC:  You may need to get them to talk with our customer service.  Are you in the U.S.?

ROHAN:  Yeah, I’m in the U.S.  I’m calling from Philadelphia.

ERIC:  Okay.  So you may want to try and get in with our customer service and have them talk to the people at the office.  I think they may need some special licensing there on the network for you to then be able to log in and run the JAWS on that machine.  But that should work out just fine.  Again, go to the support page and search for Citrix and follow that link.

ROHAN:  Okay.  I just want a follow-up question.  So I remember a plan back in like the first quarter, during your FSOpenLine.  You mentioned something about RStudio and that they are working on their accessibility, and there are a few things that have to be done by Freedom Scientific to make JAWS more accessible with it.  So any update on that?

GLEN:  Unfortunately, I don’t have a good update on that yet.  I don’t have any update.  I don’t have it, good or bad.  So it still will be a work in progress.  Are you specifically targeting R, or are you trying to do statistics?

ROHAN:  Generally we are, like, calling R and Python back and forth.  So that’s, like, R.

GLEN:  So things that people have said, I have not tried it.  JAWS mostly works with Visual Studio Code now.  There are some wrinkles we’re still trying to work out.  I’m told that there is an R extension for Visual Studio Code that may work reasonably well.  And there was, with Visual Studio 2017, I have not personally tried this, but up through Visual Studio 2017 there was an R extension that would run in Visual Studio as part of the data science components.  And someone who wrote in said that that actually was the most accessible interface that he had found.  So you can’t use Visual Studio 2019, but for 2017 you can get that R plugin.  So those two might help hold you over till RStudio becomes available.

ERIC:  Great.  Thanks so much for your questions.

ROHAN:  Thank you.

RACHEL:  I have a question in the chat here I was going to throw at you guys real quick.  It’s from David Goldfield.  And he says that lately he’s noticed significantly slower performance with Firefox than he has with Chromium-based browsers.  He’s wondering if we’re aware of this and if there is any attempts to fix it, or what’s going on with it.

ERIC:  Well, I do know that we have a conversation going between your cohort there in development on the West Coast and someone at Firefox.  Because I do think there was something going on.

GLEN:  It’s not clear to me from David’s comment, has it gotten worse, or is Firefox slower than Chrome is?  The “Firefox is slower than Chrome is” has to do with the technologies that the respective companies are using.  We’ve managed, thanks to work at Firefox and some work we’ve done at our end, to reduce a lot of that.  But there are still some dangling things that we’re in the process of trying to get resolved.  It is something we care about and that we’re interested in, but it’s unfortunately a relatively small piece of the browser market.  And so we sort of dedicate our time accordingly.

ERIC:  But David, by all means, drop me a line if you would like, and I can try and follow up with you, as well.  So Mitchell, I’m trying to unmute you.  There you are.

MITCHELL:  I have a question.  If you have the Home Annual License, can you explain the uninstallation?  If you want to uninstall the previous version?  Because I’ve never done that with the Home Annual License.

ERIC:  Okay.  So if you have a 2020 and a 2019 on your machine, and you have the Home Annual License on the machine, and you want to get rid of the 2019 version, you can just go into Control Panel, search for JAWS 2019, and uninstall.  Don’t remove shared components, and everything will work just fine.

MITCHELL:  I was asking the details because when I get to 2021 I was wondering how to pull.

GLEN:  The good news is they can coexist.  So you don’t really need to uninstall 2020 until you’re sure that 2021 works really well for you.  And there is some controversy over the topic of should we only let one version be installed.  But for those of us who are blind and rely on JAWS, I for one like having my old version.  Just in case some new version goes astray, I always have the old version to fall back on.

ERIC:  You know, I think we should make this a topic for the next FSOpenLine.  I think I’ll bring this one up the next time, and we’ll have a chat, and we’ll see what the consumers think.

GLEN:  Now, we would probably do it today, but you’re planning on stacking the deck, and you can’t stack it while you’re on the call.

ERIC:  Well, no, no, no, no.  No, not at all.  It’s just that we’ve got so many hands up, and I want to get to things.  But I think this is a great topic.

GLEN:  Okay, fine.  Yeah, yeah, okay.

ERIC:  All right.  Thank you, Mitchell.  And let’s see if we can bring in Tomaso.

TOMASO:  Can you hear me?

ERIC:  Yes, we can.  How are you?

TOMASO:  I’m fine.  So first things, I wanted to thank Eric.  I wanted to do it last OpenLine.  But for the meeting we had with Italian users, with myself and Andrea, you have got no idea how much turnout and how many great email responses I had, or how great it was.  And we hope, I hope we can do that again.

ERIC:  It was a lot of fun.  And Glen, you would have been so proud of me.  I was speaking Italian, I think.

GLEN:  You were speaking Italian like Eloquence in English speaks Italian, I think.

ERIC:  That’s right.

TOMASO:  I use Eloquence in Italian to read English, as a matter of fact.  But anyway, my observation was about Settings Center and Quick Settings.  So I was playing around with these two, and I said, do we really need two places?  Because a lot of people call me and say “I cannot find this particular setting.  Where is it?”  And turns out that most of the times they’re looking in one place and not in the other.  So I was imagining something like only Settings Center.  And depending on the application, you open it.  The first thing it would show the specific application settings like Word settings, Outlook, or other custom QS you might have done.  And then it would have the usual options.  And I know that Quick Settings is used to only show the most used settings.  So I was thinking of a checkbox, such as like Show Advanced Settings, where it would uncover all things like MSAA mode.

ERIC:  I do like the idea of, if you went in, the things that you’ve been adjusting or typically adjust always pop up for you right away.  That would be nice.  I will say that we’re, in the future, we are working on trying to redefine the UI and how you get to things.  So there’d be like a search option in the UI when it comes up, kind of like you have a Start Menu.  And today most of us spend a lot of time finding things just by going to the Start Menu and typing them, and you get to that item.  So you don’t think about I’m going to go to the Settings Center and search.  You just go to the UI and can search for things.

And I think traditionally we always had the Settings Center where everything was going to live, and the Quick Settings was really designed for those things that you might want to change on the fly when you’re working.  And most of the time they’re also going to be in the Settings Center, but they’re not always there.  And I know there is a lot of confusion around that.  So, yeah, I think we will get this addressed.  And hopefully we’re going to get busy and work on that for the ‘22 cycle.  I don’t think we’ll get to it this year.  Glen, anything to add on that?

GLEN:  I would be shocked if we get to it this year.  There are only 30 hours in the day, and they’re all filled.

TOMASO:  Yeah.

RACHEL:  It’s a great suggestion, though.

ERIC:  It’s a very good suggestion, and we are focused on trying to make this easier.  And we’ve got some good people thinking about it.  And so watch for that in the future.  Thanks.  Good to hear from you.  All right.  Let’s see if we can get Kenny in here.  So Kenny, I have unmuted.  You have to accept that.

KENNY:  I saw the latest update to JAWS 2020.  And so I read where it talked about the major update notifications for a newer version.

ERIC:  Yes.

KENNY:  So is that going to be like where you check it like a checkbox?  Or will it just give you the link to go to the website and get it?

ERIC:  So that’s a great question.  I’m glad you asked it.  Let me take a minute and try and explain this because it’s something that’s been needed for a long time.  And unfortunately for those of you who are chiming in from other countries using different language versions, this feature is not on yet for languages other than English.  But if you have an English version of JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion, and you’ve installed the August update that was posted today, about six hours ago, you can install over or use the auto update and get it.  Once that’s been installed, when updates come out, like they do every six weeks or so, you’ll continue to get notified.  Everyone will continue to get notified of the same version, 2020 updates that would come out.

But for English versions, when the 2021 final release posts in October, they will be informed that there is a whole new upgrade available.  And if they don’t have a license installed that’s up to date, if their SMA isn’t current or up to date so that when they install 2021 it would be a problem, they’ll be told that the new upgrade’s available, but your license needs to be updated.  If your license is already updated, you’ll just be told there’s a whole new version, and you’ll be able to have that selected and downloaded and installed right then.  So this is a big change so we can get people notified of these new versions when they come out.  So thanks very much for the question, Kenny.  And let’s try Francisco.

FRANCISCO:  I always bring on the top issues that affect the South American and sometimes European users of JAWS because, you know, sometimes offices and things work differently than they do in the United States.  And the point I wanted to make today is that at this point it should be a priority for Vispero, especially to aid those users in South America and Europe, to create JAWS scripts for the WhatsApp web feature.  And I find that sometimes it is tricky to switch between charts.  And sometimes I even press ENTER on a chart, and it opens a different one.  And if I don’t check that I’ve opened the right one, it can really embarrass somebody or embarrass myself by sending the wrong message to the wrong person.

ERIC:  I’ve made a note on this one because I know that WhatsApp is very popular, as you say, outside the U.S.  There’s a lot of people using it.  And I’ll certainly put it on our list.

FRANCISCO:  So the same way that in the United States you’re tied to iMessage, in Europe and South America you are tied to WhatsApp.

ERIC:  Yup.  Well, we’ve had access to it, and there are several of us that have experimented with it and used it.  So I’ve put it on my list, and I’m going to bring it back up because I don’t think it’s that tough to get it solved.

FRANCISCO:  I’m a beta tester.  I’m being inactive for the time because I’m very busy with work.

ERIC:  Chime in with the beta group.  We might find some other beta testers using it, too.  Okay?

FRANCISCO:  Right.  I’m really willing to help you guys.

ERIC:  That’d be great.

FRANCISCO:  Get to resolution.  Thank you, Eric.

ERIC:  All right, thank you.  All right.  So let me get back up to the top of the list here and see who’s next.  Howard Goldstein.

HOWARD:  Okay, I think I’m here.

ERIC:  You’re here.

HOWARD:  Okay.  Are you aware that emojis are spoken, but there is no indication of them at all in braille?

GLEN:  Should we be putting the words that describe the full emoji in braille?  Because that may break the flow of whatever else you’re reading.  Or how else do you think we could best handle it?

HOWARD:  I think the emoji, the words describing the emoji should be displayed in braille, with maybe some kind of brackets or something around them so that you’ll know that it’s an emoji.

ERIC:  What if we put like an emoji symbol with brackets around it?  Then if you cursor out above it you could get the flash message of what it is.

HOWARD:  Yeah, that would be okay.  It might also, for speech, too, it might be nice if there was an option so that the speech would say that something was an emoji.  Because I had a message that said, I don’t know, something, and then it said “musical keyboard.”  And it took me the longest time to realize, oh, that was a picture.  That was an emoji picture of a keyboard.

GLEN:  Yes.  Point taken.  Good example.

ERIC:  Good, good points.  Good, good thing.  This is the kind of thing that I always like because I’ve got to remember this.  We’ll have to write this one down.  About three months from now he’s going to call up, and he’s going to say, “Hey, thanks for fixing that.”  So, yes, I’ve got it on the list, and we’ll see what we can’t do to – or we’ll see what we can do to get that resolved and working.

GLEN:  Well, that’s good, Eric.  That’s a great way to get Howard to come back next time.

ERIC:  Yes.  So Howard, give us a quarter here, and let’s see if we get something done; okay?

HOWARD:  Great.  Thank you very much.

ERIC:  All right.  Thank you.

GLEN:  So speaking of things that I think we have finally fixed, and people will be able to try this in the public beta coming out in the early part of September, last time on FSOpenLine we had a discussion about Windows Explorer.  And for some people on some machines, on rainy days only, it would announce the wrong number of files.  So it would announce the number of files on the screen rather than the number of files in a particular directory.

ERIC:  Only if it was raining, though.

GLEN:  Only if, yeah.  As it turns out, there was some inconsistency which made it really hard for us to figure out what to do.  But I think we have a fix for this now.  So keep your digits crossed.  Try it in the Public Beta 1.  And if it’s not fixed, let us know so we can get it fixed for sure for the official 2021 release.  And assuming this works, we’ll also backport it to whatever the next 2020 update’s going to be.  There are not going to be very many more, but there likely will be one more.

ERIC:  I hope we get one in December.  I know there’s a couple of things we’ve already got on the list.  So I’d like to see us try and get those.  Okay.  We’ll see if we can get Paul Hunt in here.

PAUL:  Hello, everybody.

ERIC:  How are you, Paul?

RACHEL:  Hey, Paul.

PAUL:  I like to use Mail Merge, and the recipients list in Microsoft Word is not accessible.  I can make it work, but it’s really not accessible.  What it is, it is a table within a dialog box.  You can get into the dialog.  You can get into a dialog, and you can do all kinds of things like sort.  You can filter out and all that kind of stuff.  But when you want to enter data, it’s an inaccessible table.  So when you tab over, JAWS might speak what’s in the cell, but it’s not going to tell you what column heading you’re on.  There’s a list view that’s up there somewhere, and a list view kind of speaks randomly.  And, I mean, I can make it work, but it sure would be nice to work like Excel, to actually make it work.

GLEN:  Okay.  Point taken.  I do need to ask you, just because I’m curious, you actually send out printed mail?

PAUL:  Yes.  And email messages, as well.  And do labels.

GLEN:  Ah, okay, yeah.

RACHEL:  So it basically makes it possible for you to personalize mass mailings, basically.  You have this [audio dropout] once, and then you can manufacture large bunches of emails or print it.

PAUL:  Exactly.  And I can do it like, when I send an email, I can say “Dear so and so” and actually address the person by name and all that.  And it all works.

GLEN:  I didn’t realize it worked for email.  So I have learned something.

RACHEL:  Yeah, it’s super handy if you can get it working.

ERIC:  Paul, I’ve made some notes on this one.  But maybe if you would send me an email offline and outline that one, and I’ll get a bug entered with you attached to it so we can have someone, a professional to follow up with.

PAUL:  And your email is edamery.

ERIC:  Edamery.

PAUL:  That’s D A M E R Y?


PAUL:  At Vispero.  Okay.

ERIC:  Okay?

PAUL:  I will do that as soon as we get our ACBT convention done.

ERIC:  That’s great.  Just I want to get your name attached to that one.

PAUL:  Okay, great.

ERIC:  Okay.  Well, thanks, Paul.

PAUL:  Appreciate it, thank you.

ERIC:  How about next we’ve got Les Kriegler.  How are you, Les?

LES:  I have a quick follow-up question before my main question.  And that is, if we’re running a public beta of 2021, when the final release comes out, will it behave the same way?  Will it uninstall the beta and then download it?

ERIC:  You shouldn’t have to uninstall the beta versions.  They’ll just install on top.  So you’ll get an announcement, like when Public Beta 1 comes out, if you go to the website and you install it, when Public Beta 2 comes out, you’ll actually get an auto update telling you that Public Beta 2 just came out, and allow you to download an auto update.  And when we get to the final release, it’ll do the same thing.  So you should not have to uninstall.  That’s our goal.

LES:  But my question relates to Outlook.  I’m running Office 365, the latest version of JAWS including this morning’s release.  I’ve been having problems for a while with losing speech when I load Outlook.  Yesterday I did an online repair rather than a quick repair because I thought the issue was Outlook related.  So after I did an online repair this morning, I lost speech again, and this time was able to find out that Outlook had loaded, JAWS had loaded, but I couldn’t get any sound.  And I tried loading Narrator and NVDA, nothing.  So what I wound up doing was I called Microsoft Accessibility, and we did update one of the audio drivers that I use for the output.  I’m just wondering if you guys are aware of this.  Has this been an issue?  I’ve seen some comments on a list related to this, and I’m just wondering if you’re aware of it, or if you have any recommendations at this point.

GLEN:  So I am aware of it because I was afflicted by it.

LES:  Okay.

GLEN:  But it went away as quickly as it had come.  So let me  tell you what my symptoms were, and tell me if they match yours.

LES:  Okay.

GLEN:  You’re starting Outlook afresh.

LES:  Yes.

GLEN:  And it for some reason in my case was prompting me for my email password.  Was that the case for you, as well?  Or not?

LES:  I’ve had that in the past.  But in this particular case, no.

GLEN:  And how about if you shut down JAWS?  I’m not suggesting this as a final fix.  I’m asking as a diagnostic.  You launch Narrator.  Then you launch Outlook.  Does it have the same problem?  Because in my case, when I was having the problem, Narrator suffered from the same thing.

LES:  Well, the problem I ran into was I had no speech.  I wasn’t even sure if I could shut down JAWS.  And I wound up rebooting.

GLEN:  Okay.  So one cool trick to try in the case where you’re hosed is pressing INSERT+WINDOWS+F4.  And that will create a JAWS memory dump, which sometimes helps us for diagnostics.  But if you’ve not done that in the last five minutes, it’ll automatically restart JAWS.  If you have done it in the last five minutes, it’ll shut down JAWS, which means that you’ll be able to restart.  At least you very well may be able to restart it and save needing the reboot.

RACHEL:  And you hold that down; right, Glen?  You hold that down, INSERT+WINDOWS+F4?

GLEN:  You don’t really need to hold it down.  I mean, it’s like any other key combination.  You just need to hit them.

RACHEL:  All right.  I wasn’t sure.  Just clarifying.

GLEN:  Yeah.

LES:  Well, I’m hoping the audio driver that I updated will resolve it.  We’ll see.  I’ll know soon enough.

GLEN:  I’m not a gambling man.  But if I were a gambling man, I’d give you odds that it does not.

LES:  I’ll accept that.

ERIC:  All right.  Well, let us know next time, Les.

LES:  I will, thanks.

GLEN:  Thanks, Les.

ERIC:  Bye.  You know, a lot of times people have problems like Les is describing, and the support team has to call them up and say, well, what version of Windows is it?  And what version of Outlook?  And can you get us crash dumps?  And can you do this, and can you do that?  And it’s a lot of back and forth, and a lot of work for the consumer.  So in the 2021 version there’s a new thing called the Support Tool.  And when you run that, you basically say to JAWS, go gather all that information, put it all in a nice zip package, and safely upload that into a server location with my email attached to it so that the support team can look me up, and all of my details are right there.  So it’s a great way of getting information into our team and do it in a fast fashion.

GLEN:  It also makes it really easy for us to diagnose the problem because, as I’ve said as recently as the interview with Laura Wolk on the most recent FSCast, 90 percent of the problem often is being able to replicate it.  And the more information we have, the greater the chance we can duplicate on our systems what you’re seeing.

ERIC:  The thing even pulls in the user’s settings, which is oftentimes where the problems sometimes can lie, that they’ve got some setting in there.  So it gives us an opportunity to see everything and kind of really diagnose it.  You know, you mentioned FSCast.  You also had a good friend of ours on there, Dan Clark, this time.  That was a great interview.

GLEN:  Dan is great.  Yeah, I thought he was wonderful, too.  Really a nice, nice sendoff for him.  He’s retiring; right, Rachel?

ERIC:  She’s muted.

RACHEL:  Can you hear me?

GLEN:  Yes.

RACHEL:  Yeah.  He is.  Today is his last day.  So we’re losing a monument in the field.  But not really losing him.  He’s really just down the street and available to us.

ERIC:  Yeah.  And he’s actually going to keep going, and he’s really anxious to do stuff, and he asked me if he can get his license all updated.  And he’s ready to go do scripting.

RACHEL:  Yeah, he is game.  I mean, he’s already – he’s ready to script.  He’s already planning on testing beta next year.  So he’s still going to be with us.

ERIC:  So Lazar James, or James Lazar?

LAZAR:  Yeah, Lazar James.  Can you hear me?

ERIC:  Lazar, yes.  Tell us what’s the question.  How can we help you today?

LAZAR:  I have got three questions.  The first one is reading about – reading their numbers.  This problem I’m facing from last week, like JAWS is reading for 3,500, 4,500, or 10,000,  it’s reading like 34 hundred or one zero zero zero.  Like how to – is there any option to fix that issue?

ERIC:  Number processing.  Now, what synthesizer are you running?

LAZAR:  Eloquence.

ERIC:  So if you go into Settings Center – and correct me when I make a mistake, Glen.  But I think if you go to Settings Center, search for the word “number,” I bet you’ll find it.  There’s a number processing option in there, and you can play around with that and change the way we’re going to read numbers.

GLEN:  And if you want that changed everywhere, make sure in Settings Center you do, is it ALT+SHIFT+D to get to the default file?

ERIC:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

RACHEL:  And you’re right, Eric, it’ll come up as Number Options.

LAZAR:  And the second one will be tandem or remote access.  Is there any option to share files in a folder?

ERIC:  There isn’t.  And when we first did this, we purposely didn’t do that because we didn’t want anyone ever accusing anyone in our support group or our dealer channel that helps people from taking a file from someone’s computer.  So you literally have to email it to them.

LAZAR:  No, because we have many files like sharing each other when some apps are not accessible for us in File Getter.  In phone it’s [crosstalk].

GLEN:  It’s something that we will probably do in the future, if and when we get around to changing it.

LAZAR:  Then in future if you do it, I appreciate it.

ERIC:  Okay.

LAZAR:  I appreciate Glen and Eric.

GLEN:  Thank you very much.

ERIC:  Great.  Thank you, Lazar.  And Glen, I’m going to bring someone in we haven’t talked to for a while.  I don’t think you have.  But we used to talk to him almost every day.  Marco.  Marco, are you there?

MARCO:  Hello, everybody.

ERIC:  How are you?


GLEN:  You heard us mention Firefox, and you decided you’d call and be a representative.

RACHEL:  He was excited about that braille paragraph reading, is what he’s excited about.

MARCO:  I totally am excited about the braille paragraph reading.  I think this is going to be a great feature to have.

ERIC:  Good.

MARCO:  And, yes, I’ve been off the JAWS grid for quite some time, and I recently came back and thought I’d just call in.  I wasn’t even online before I knew somebody would ask about Firefox.

GLEN:  For those of you who don’t know, Marco is part of the Firefox Accessibility Team.

ERIC:  And before that he was part of our team, and a very valuable part of our team out of the European community.

MARCO:  Yeah, I’m based in Germany.

GLEN:  Marco and I had a great reunion conversation a week or so ago.  And it was like – it was like old times.  So welcome back.

MARCO:  It definitely was.  And I actually have a question.  I was actually asked this by a friend recently, and I didn’t have an answer because I hadn’t tried it, because all this Fusion stuff is new to me.  So if I have JAWS installed already, what’s the best path to get it up to Fusion?  Like should I just grab the Fusion installer and run it, and it’ll detect that JAWS is already there and install the ZoomText part?  Or how does this work?

ERIC:  That’s right.  When you get Fusion, when the installer starts, it looks to see if you already have JAWS or ZoomText.  If they’re not up to date, it’ll update them.  If they’re up to date, it’ll just leave that one alone and take care of the other one.  So definitely, definitely download the full Fusion, or download the connected install for Fusion, and just execute that, and it’ll take care of it.

MARCO:  Oh, okay.  So, very good.

GLEN:  Thanks, Marco.

ERIC:  All right?  Thanks.  Good to hear from you.

MARCO:  You’re welcome, and thank you for having me.

ERIC:  Yup.  Bye.

GLEN:  You know, you said “someone we used to talk to every day.”  And I was thinking, oh, my god, it’s Ted Henter.

ERIC:  No.  But Marco and I used to talk all the time because he was up before any of us in the U.S.  And he would be testing new builds and getting me information; and, boy, he was a lot of help.  All right.  Let’s try and bring Becky in.  Becky, I just tried to unmute you, and I already see you.

BECKY:  Oh, yeah.  Hi, there.

ERIC:  How are you?

BECKY:  I’m the one who won the Focus 14.  I love it.  You know, from the exhibit.

ERIC:  Congratulations.

BECKY:  Thank you.  The only question I have is about the Scratchpad.  Is there a way to add word wrap so that when you’re panning you don’t get part of the word?  Now, I already emailed tech support, and they said you can’t do that.

ERIC:  Nope, we don’t have that yet.

BECKY:  Yet, okay.  What about, okay, for some odd reason I’m having trouble hitting Menu Key M.  I don’t know, because I’ve got small hands, and it’s – is there a way to maybe reassign it where you could just hit the M chord to open up, say, if you want to open Scratchpad immediately when you start?  Remember how the old note takers used to open right in a blank document?

GLEN:  Yeah.

BECKY:  So if you wanted to set that by default?  I know it’s primarily a display.  But it’s so nice and light that I could just take it with me and just jot a quick note.  Otherwise I love the display.  Those were just the two features I was going to request on that.

ERIC:  You know, I did just come up with a solution for this.

BECKY:  Okay.

ERIC:  It’s not ready for you yet.  But this is a good suggestion.  So in 2021 JAWS, when it comes out, we’re going to have this great feature called Voice Assist.  And Voice Assist is going to be designed to allow you to communicate with speech commands to ask JAWS to do things.  And I bet we could do something with that down the road to say open the Scratchpad, which would communicate to the braille display and be able to have it open.  Unless you’re using it on your iPhone, of course.  That wouldn’t work.

BECKY:  Unfortunately, I was using it outside of the iPhone.

ERIC:  Outside of the iPhone, okay.  Well, maybe someday, well, I don’t know that we’ll ever get Voice Assist into the Scratchpad or the operating system of the braille display.  So that probably won’t work.  But for those of you using our software, you’ll have to watch for that Voice Assist feature and enjoy that.  Thank you, Becky.

BECKY:  Thank you.  Sure, thank you.

ERIC:  Bye.  Let’s try Viola.  Viola Bentson?

VIOLA:  Hi, Eric and everybody.  I’ve been using JAWS since, oh, let’s see, ‘90.  Anyway, some version like around 2000, ‘99, something like that.  And I just purchased a, well, I purchased it two years ago, the Focus 40 5th Generation.  And I had to send it in because they said I needed two key domes replaced.  They had to do the cell block, clean that.  I had to replace three cells.  Okay.  I can understand that.  However, this braille display never leaves the house, never leaves the case.  I clean it at least once a month, if not more often, depending on how much I use it.  And I still had to send it in for repair.  I’m just not sure what else I could have done.

RACHEL:  I have one other suggestion.  And it sounds a little fiddly, I know.  But one of the things we talk about a lot is, just because, you know, braille displays are usually not mass assembled, they have thousands and thousands of tiny working pieces, and it’s just a very complicated machine that does what we need it to do.  I guess the only suggestion I would have to add before Eric and Glen may have some is make sure you have clean hands, if you’re a person who uses a lot of lotion.

VIOLA:  Oh, yeah.  Always wash my hands.  Always exercise it upside down.  You know, I’ve done everything that the manual suggests.  And I just don’t – I don’t know how I could have...

RACHEL:  And how are you cleaning it?

VIOLA:  ...avoided this, you know.

RACHEL:  How are you cleaning?

VIOLA:  With the alcohol, the 99.5.

RACHEL:  Okay.

GLEN:  So my answer is a different one.  Sometimes stuff just stops working.  And you can be the best, most conscientious user as you possibly could be.  And still, over time, right, you won the lottery, but you won the reverse lottery.  Right?  I don’t think it happens to most people.  And so the fact that you are such a good caretaker of your device, I think that makes it less likely it’ll happen again.  There aren’t that many people who are conscientious as you are.  And I know that’s not...

VIOLA:  Well, thank you.  I appreciate that.  You know, I think a lot of people use them too hard.  And so they have problems with the keys.  But I definitely don’t.

GLEN:  And have you gotten it back yet?

VIOLA:  Oh, yes.  I have, and it’s working perfectly right now.  I was afraid to take it out of the case, out of the shipping box.

RACHEL:  Well, it sounds like you care for it really well.

VIOLA:  I do.  I really love it.

ERIC:  Well, thank you, Viola.

VIOLA:  Thank you.  Thank you.

ERIC:  All right.  So let’s see.  I’m going to bring in the next one, and I think I want to say hi to my friend Andrew Zeman, who is out there listening in today.  Hello, Andrew.

RACHEL:  Hey, Andrew Z.

ERIC:  I’m going to unmute Alex’s iPhone.  Alex, can you get in?  Maybe *6.  There you are.

ALEX:  Can you guys hear me?

ERIC:  We can.

RACHEL:  Yes, we can.

ALEX:  Oh, excellent.  I’m doing good.  First off, I must ask, I hope you guys are safe from Hurricane Laura and Marco and all that stuff.

ERIC:  Well, you know, I know Glen is because he’s way up there in the north.

GLEN:  Yes.

ERIC:  And I’m way over here in Florida.  And we’re not really...

ALEX:  Right.

ERIC:  We didn’t get anything from it.  But maybe someone in the Texas area might have gotten something.

RACHEL:  Yeah, so I’m in Texas.  But I’m in North Texas; so I was telling everyone yesterday, it’s not going to impact us.  But I am joining you today via 3G because we do not have electricity.  So I was clearly wrong.

ALEX:  Right.

GLEN:  Wow.

ALEX:  Yeah.

RACHEL:  But mostly not impacted.  Very safe, thank you for asking.

ALEX:  That’s good.  And so good, good, and hope you guys stay safe.

RACHEL:  Thanks.

ALEX:  So the first quick thing is I know from – I’m subscribed to some other newsletters that come out with voices and stuff.  And I know there’s a new updated Vocalizer thing called Cerence trademark now, I guess.  It’s a spinoff from Nuance.  Are we going to be including those in JAWS 2021?

ERIC:  They won’t be in the initial release.  But we are intending on updating our Vocalizer Expressive Voices this year.  So I think during the 2021 cycle, I hope that we get those updated.  So watch for that.

GLEN:  Have you experienced them?  Or gotten enough details that it’s making you excited?

ALEX:  Well, you know, first off, in iOS 13, I believe they’re using the new engine because you can tell they’re saying certain words differently and things like that.  So that’s how I’ve experienced it on the iOS platform.

ERIC:  Yup, we’ve got them on the list.  We paid for them.

ALEX:  Oh, okay.  Well, if you paid for them, you’ve got to fulfill your due, I guess.

ERIC:  We’ve got to get them in, yes.

ALEX:  Right.  Okay.  So this is a follow-up to something that was mentioned by someone, some OpenLine some months ago, I guess.  We were talking about having a sound play when JAWS for Windows would load and unload, perhaps.  Like NVDA and other screen readers.  And I remember someone talking about that and, like, for instance, a little chime before it says JAWS Home Use Edition.  But what would really be useful is when we log out of Windows because, you know, Windows 10 no longer plays a logoff sound.  So when the thing plays a little sound, that kind of lets you know, both of the machines shutting down.  And if JAWS were to crash, it would play that sound and let you know, oh, JAWS crashed.  Now I know I’ve got to restart it or do whatever.  So I’m wondering if there’s anything happening with that kind of thing.

GLEN:  I’m putting my technology hat on now and trying to figure out, if JAWS is crashing, JAWS can’t play the sound.  So we’d need to come up with a different place to play it from.

ALEX:  Well, okay.  I wasn’t sure because I know some things can still – it just depends on how it crashed things.  I don’t know.  But, yeah.

ERIC:  And we do have that one on the list because it comes up often enough.  It’s on our list, and I hope we’ll get to that one in the 2021 cycle, as well.

ALEX:  Right.  And I would still like it to say after, even when it plays a sound turning on, JAWS Home Use Edition, JAWS Professional Edition, you know, beta or not beta, you know, like it usually does.

ERIC:  Okay.  I’ve got some notes.

ALEX:  Thank you very much.

ERIC:  Yeah, thank you.  Thabo from South Africa, from Botswana.  Can you unmute?  There you are.

THABO:  Hello, Eric.


THABO:  Hello, Glen.  Hello, Rachel.  I have a question and a suggestion.  And my question is, are we seeing the JAWS scripting training coming up, or what?  Then, as for a suggestion, I’m thinking, like, is this other application I’m using on my mobile device, and as I read, when the page changes on a book it will make a page sound, like maybe this one.  So I’m wondering if I could have that on JAWS because I use JAWS to read a lot than on my mobile device.

ERIC:  That’s kind of a neat idea.  If you move to a new page in a Word document, instead of saying “Page 2” or “Page 3,” have the page turn.

RACHEL:  Right.

THABO:  Yes, please.  But I was thinking maybe it could be a personal preference.  Maybe one would prefer a sound, or maybe one would prefer just to say page number.

ERIC:  Or both.  Or both.

THABO:  Or maybe we could prefer both, yeah.

RACHEL:  Yeah, that’s a good idea.

GLEN:  I was pausing because I was wondering if one could do it with Speech and Sounds Manager now.  But I don’t think you can.  I think this is going to require a change on our part.

ERIC:  Yeah, yeah.

THABO:  Yeah, I tried that, but I couldn’t find it.

RACHEL:  That’s a neat idea, though, because I know I enjoy that with – iBooks has a sound.

THABO:  Yes.

RACHEL:  And, you know, a lot of the different readers have a little sound when you go from page to page.

ERIC:  I put that one down.  That’s a good one.  My list is getting long, but...

RACHEL:  As for your scripting question, why don’t you email me?  You have all of our materials currently right now?

THABO:  Yeah.  Yeah, I do.  Thank you.

RACHEL:  I thought you did, okay.  So I know that scripting is a big need, and we are working to get some scripting training going.  So email me, and we’ll talk more about it.

ERIC:  Rachel, we’ll have to send you – we’ll have to send you guys down to South Africa to do it, Rachel.

RACHEL:  That sounds fabulous.

THABO:  That will be nice, yeah.

RACHEL:  Yes, I would love that so much.

ERIC:  All right.  Well, thank you for calling in, and thank you for the Power Tip.

THABO:  Oh, thank you.

ERIC:  Yeah, bye-bye.  So Rachel, tell us about the upcoming event.  What’s next?

RACHEL:  Well, I think the next time we’re going to get together – correct me if I’m wrong, Glen – is the Thursday before Thanksgiving.  So it’ll be November 19th, 2020.  And the time will be announced sometime in the future.  If you want to get an idea of all the updated information on FSOpenLine, just go to FreedomScientific.com and pull up your links list, hit F until you hear “FSOpenLine,” and it’ll take you straight to the page.  And we’ll update the information on time as we get a little closer.  As you guys know, we’ve played a little bit with the time.  But I have to say, Eric and Glen, we’ve had a great turnout this round.  I mean, almost a hundred folks joined us for this call.

GLEN:  That’s great.  That’s really good.

ERIC:  Wow.

ERIC:  Yeah, that’s wonderful.  Thank you.  That’s it today for FSOpenLine.  We’ll see you in November.  And make sure you give that public beta a try in September.  And there’ll be a form on the web, too.  Please fill the form out, send us as much information as you can, if you find some issues that you want to talk about.  So enjoy.  Have a good fall.



edigitaltranscription.com  •  09/01/2020  •  edigitaltranscription.mobi