Podcast transcript, Mosen At Large episode 157, Is visual description a step too far, changes to JAWS Tandem, and the big reveal of Scribe from Pneuma Solutions
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Jonathan Mosen: I’m Jonathan Mosen, and this is Mosen at Large, the show that’s got the blind community talking. This week, visual description at meetings, is it a step too far? Pneuma solutions’ scribe document remediation service. Use Jaws Tandem and running an old version? You need to take action. All this and more.
It’s absolutely delightful to be back with you for another episode, love doing this for you and all the reaction and contributions that we get. So thank you so much for checking the episode out.
We are feeling somewhat on cloud nine with Tenderhooks. Cloud nine, with a caveat. New Zealand is in the finals of the T20 World Cup. Amazing. This is the short version of the game of cricket. We have three versions of cricket in common use. One takes half a day, which is the T20 version. One takes a whole day. That’s the 50 over version. One takes five days, that’s the original test match version of the game. And they now have world cup or world championships for all of them.
In 2019, New Zealand got into the one-day world cup final and was not awarded it in very controversial circumstances. The game was essentially tied and then they had a runoff and that was tied, and then they used a very dubious way of determining how to break the tie. But interestingly enough, it turns out afterwards that poor umpiring means that the scores were actually never tied. Anyway, live and let live. We try to live and let live. We are the world test champions after beating India earlier in the year. And now we are in the final of the other version of the game, the T20 version.
And when you think that this country is just five million people, I’m pretty proud of how our cricket team has done, I’m also proud of how we play the game. There are some cricket teams that are pretty nasty on the field at times, and abuse their opponents and get into some pretty poor sportsmanship. And I really like the fact that win or lose, we play the game generally in good fashion. We are playing Australia in the World Cup final. So it’s a Southern Hemisphere grudge match or something, as some people are portraying it. And that’s a bit of a surprise for many of the cricket pundits, because a lot of people were saying, this is going to be based on form, a Pakistan/England final.
England was knocked out by New Zealand and Pakistan was knocked out by Australia, both in thrillers, thrillers! The finishes were amazing as both Australia and New Zealand fought back to take their place in the World Cup. So this happens at 3:00 AM on Monday morning for New Zealanders, because it’s taking place in the United Arab Emirates and 1:00 AM Eastern Australian time, struth, on Monday morning. So there will be a lot of very blurry eyed people in the Southern hemisphere on Monday, of that, I have no doubt.
I’ll tell you what, it’s also been eventful for me this week because I have had a computer melt down. We take technology for granted don’t we, we switch it on and it does its thing until it doesn’t. This started happening for me last Sunday and it relates to my Dell XPS 15. This was the laptop that I got at the end of last year, just before Christmas. I know this really loud and clear because I now know from my service contract thing that I’ve got 42 days, or I did have 42 days of full hardware support left before that contract expires. And sometimes you boot up a computer, whether it be a laptop or a desktop and it takes a while and you think, oh, what’s going on? Is there a windows update going on or what’s happening? And these days I often find that if I run Narrator, it gives me some feedback while updates are taking place.
So I pressed my control windows enter when I powered it up and nothing was happening to find out what was happening. The other thing that I can do too, one of the few advantages of having a hearing impairment is that if I switch my hearing aids to the telecoil mode, the hearing loop mode, often you can put your hearing aid against different appliances and hear whether they’re on or not because they make all these bizarre electro mechanical noises. And we’ve talked about this before, in fact it was Harun who made this point again with a Dell funnily enough that you can use a magnetic pickup to do the same thing. If you don’t have a hearing impairment. So I could tell that it was on and doing things, but I could not get the thing to boot up and finally it did. It took a very long time to boot, probably over three minutes, but eventually I got to the desktop and I didn’t think much more of it.
I did what I have to do. The Dell XPS 15 of course is a great laptop when it works and it also helps me to produce Mosen at large, because what I often do is take contributions or interviews that I’ve done and I can curl up anywhere and edit because this is a really powerful computer, the XPS 15, it’s the first laptop I really owned where I can honestly say, I don’t notice any difference working on the laptop versus the desktop. Normally you take a little bit of a performance hit on a laptop and you just wear that. A lot of intense audio processing might take a bit longer, that’s all right. So I did my thing, I shut the computer down and I didn’t think anymore about it until Monday night when Bonnie said to me, Jonathan, she said we need to do certain shopping.
And there are certain things that I do around the house and shopping from this particular place is one of the things. And so I said, okay, dear, I’ll just turn the computer on and get this done. I turned the computer on and did I get it done? No, I did not, because again, it took a very long time to boot, so long that I actually started doing things like pressing the escape key. And that’s when things started getting really scary because eventually I got to a prompt, which I found after turning on narrator where windows was saying, enter your Bitlocker key. I’m thinking, oh no it’s all right, because I’m using a Microsoft account and so I could go and retrieve the BitLock a key, I didn’t actually have it handy in a text file or something and I probably should have.
And I thought what is causing this? And eventually I shut it down and messed around and got it to boot up but it was taking a very long time, then I thought, all right, I will troubleshoot this because it takes a lot for me to get to the point where I have to call the dreaded tech support. So off to the couch I go, the smart couch with USB ports and all the reclining buttons and I sat in there, reclined and relaxed and tried not to stress out, and I had the screen at just the right distance from the iPhone and I ran the seeing AI and then I pushed the power button and I thought, is there something strange about the lighting in this room? Because I wasn’t getting as much feedback as I traditionally expected from seeing AI. And I ran in vision and I wasn’t getting much more either.
And finally, of course I give Ira a call and I say to them, can you see my screen? And they say, “your screen looks weird.” I said, “what do you mean it looks weird?” And she said, “it’s half there and half not there and there are weird squiggly lines running through it.” I thought that’s curious, I did get it to go to the desktop, I did the shopping required of me by Bonnie, so happy wife and all that good stuff. And while I was at the desktop, I ran these diagnostics that you can find on the Dell tech support website. When you log into your Dell account, they will put your PC, if you want through some diagnostics and they got stuck at about 57% of the way through, in retrospect, I’m not sure if they got stuck because there was some prompt that I couldn’t access, but I don’t think so.
So things were not looking good. And at that point I thought I’m going to need some human help. I could just have called Dell tech support, but I figured there might be things that they want me to do perhaps relating to the BIOS or the built in diagnostics that of course are not accessible because those diagnostics run before windows runs and since seeing AI and Envision and similar apps were having issues because apparently the display was dodgy, I knew that I needed some help. And so this was a big test of all of the meditation I’ve been rabbiting on about on this show or the mindfulness because when I get a tech support issue, I tend to get very focused and I like to get it fixed, but I knew that I wasn’t really going to be able to get much further and so I put down the laptop, put that thing down, sir, and I left it alone.
And then the next day Heidi came over and we had a look at this together and she confirmed your screen looks weird, dad. Yeah, thanks Heidi, that’s helpful. So we called Dell tech support and it was a really good experience actually, I had to tell that I was a blind person and you know that with an issue like this at some point it is going to come up and I don’t know about you, but I dread that point because sometimes the conversation can go downhill really quickly, but this guy was pretty good, he wasn’t phased by the fact that I was a blind person and we did what we could do. And in the end I did hand over to Heidi and she helped perform some diagnostics that are built into the BIOS and I expected that would happen. In the end we have diagnosed that it seems to be the display that is at fault.
And so they said, we will send someone to your house and that someone will replace your display, and I guess this is because I’ve got this contract that runs out at the end of a year and you can renew that contract if you want to. So I thought, wow, that’s impressive, I don’t think I’ve had a laptop manufacturer offer to come to my house and do the business. So I said, this is good, so this all happened on Tuesday lunchtime when we called Dell tech support. And by Friday lunchtime, I had heard not a thing, not a sausage and my Dell XPS 15 is sitting there lonely and languishing and I did have a lot of editing to do and I thought I really would like to be able to do this outside of the confines, at least I do have the desktop.
If I didn’t have this powerful wonder machine in my studio, it would be far worse that PC built by Henry the wonder son-in-law. But I sent an email to Dell and I said, could you just help me set some expectations around timeframes here? I was very polite and I got no reply to that email. And so finally I phoned them and this is when it starts to get a little bit dodgy, because when I called the number that they gave me, you could do a number of things you could elect to talk to a salesperson, you could opt for tech support; when you opt for tech support, you have to enter this model number that’s on the back of the device and stupidly, I didn’t write that code down, but there are other ways to get to tech support. But what was interesting was they gave me a number that from memory is 10 digits and it’s a case ID essentially.
And there didn’t seem to be anywhere in their phone tree labyrinth where you could enter that 10 digit number. But anyway, I finally got on the phone to a person and they were able to look into it and they said, well, the part for your laptop has arrived and they should have contacted you by now. And I said, I know they should, I would like them to have contacted me by now. So they said they’d follow up and I still haven’t heard when this magical person is going to come to my house and fix the display. And of course my hope is that they’ve made the right diagnosis. It sounds pretty much like it is, if the display looks weird, dad, then it sounds like replacing the display is going to be the answer because remember this is happening even before you get to windows.
If you run the diagnostics, you can’t really complete them if you’re sighted, because you can’t see the screen, you can’t see the results. And similarly, of course, when you go into the BIOS, so it sounds pretty clear that it is indeed the display and hopefully when they bring this thing, it will cause the boot up delays to go and the display to be visible again. So I will keep you posted on the Del saga and I presume I’m not doing it any harm using it. I have this niggle of a doubt that maybe I am damaging it, but I think that’s nonsense really because it’s getting to the desktop, it’s working fine, it’s running as fast as it ever does.
It’s just that the display looks weird, dad and it takes a very long time for the computer to boot-up. So technology can go wrong, these devices are complex and what counts then is how well you are looked after. And for me, the jury is out when they said to me, someone’s going to come to your house, I was delighted by this. The thing is though no one has yet and so let’s see how we go with the repair of this Dell XPS 15. You can be sure that I will update you on the saga.
Recently Microsoft held its Ignite conference for 2021. This is one of the big technology conferences on the tech calendar, and it was online this year because of pandemic things. And they ignited, if I may use that expression a little bit of a firestorm when they said that not only did they want presenters to use gender pronouns, but they also wanted presenters to provide visual descriptions of themselves at the beginning of the presentations, so that blind and low vision people who were in attendance would know what the people looked like. And this is something that in the United States I have seen creeping in, I don’t know who we credit for this innovation. If you will, some people will consider it an innovation and some people will not and we’ll come back to this but yes, I have seen on some of these calls from the United States, people saying things like, hi, I’m Jonathan Mosen.
I’m a Caucasian male in my mid fifties, I have brownish hair. It used to be red and now it is not, and I’m wearing a suit jacket, it’s a Navy suit jacket with a tie and it’s got pictures of rubber duckies on it. I would not wear a tie with pictures of rubber duckies on and by the way, but that’s an example. And so people say these things now, and I’ve heard this a few times and now Microsoft has gotten onto this and they are encouraging it. Well, it prompted quite a voluminous backlash from people on the Twitter and other social media who said, this is woke political correctness gone mad. But as I thought about it, I thought, this is absolutely fair and reasonable. If sighted people have access to this visual information and if we now accept that audio description of TV shows is an appropriate thing, then why not have people audio describe themselves.
We’re not asking for anything extra. We’re just asking for an alternative version of the information that other people get. Parenthetically, I did have to have a little chuckle over the week when I saw the NFB taking credit for having lobbied Netflix for adding audio description in English to Squid Games because of course way back when, they opposed an audio description mandate that the ACB worked hard for and I thought to myself, my my, times do change don’t they? And that’s all right, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. And it’s good that they’ve come on board but anyway, returning to text, as they say, I thought that this visual description thing sounded eminently reasonable. It’s not something that I had thought of trying before, but I must admit, I am curious about what people look like men or women, I’m interested in how they’re dressed.
Sometimes of course, it’s difficult to tell whether somebody’s a man or a woman and I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have put my foot in it by making some reference that makes it clear that I got someone’s gender wrong, it’s quite embarrassing actually. Sometimes you can get people’s race wrong as well, you make an assumption about the sound of someone’s voice, but also if you’re just a curious person, what are the latest fashions? What are people wearing? I think it’s really interesting. And sometimes people do wear colorful ties or something like that, why should I be deprived of that information? Now some people have said, “oh, it takes too long, this is ridiculous. We want to get on with it.” And I actually have to say, I’ve been on a bit of a journey with this, I think I’ve been guilty in the past at meetings that I’ve attended of wanting to get on with the business.
We are here to do this thing, let’s get on with it. And particularly with indigenous or any non-Anglo Saxon culture, there is a view when you have a business meeting that the relationships are important, the trust is important. And so you spend some time having a cup of tea or just getting to know someone before you go on to the business. So I have learned from experience to slow right down, that it’s not necessarily a waste of time to just wrap it on about the cricket or whatever you’re thinking about that you have in common and get to know the person because you’re building relationships, you’re building trust, you’re breaking the ice. And so if it takes a little while for people to describe themselves, who really cares, it could be a really good icebreaker and it’s doing nothing more than providing information that sighted people have already.
Now I think there need to be some expectations, some parameters set around these things. For example, if you are on a Zoom or a Teams call any kind of internet call, then usually it’s your upper body that’s visible. They can see your head, they can maybe see the shirt you’re wearing the jacket, you’re wearing that kind of thing. So you’re not going to describe yourself from head to toe, necessarily because that would be giving more information to a blind person than a Sighted person has on the call. And if you are on a good old fashioned telephone conference call or you are having a meeting where video is turned off, in my view, you shouldn’t be describing yourself because again, you’re giving information to blind people that is not available to everybody else. But then I thought, well, is this going to also work in physical meetings?
When people are meeting face to face, obviously sighted people can see somebody head to toe, especially when they’re coming into a room. Are we going to have full head to toe descriptions in physical meetings as well? And my view on this is, well, why not? This is no more than giving us access to information in an alternative format that other people already have. So in my view, bring it on. But the reason why I’m raising it here is that apparently not all blind people agree. I sent a few tweets out about this and got some snarky reply from a blind person who said, “don’t do this, I don’t want this information, this is OTT. This is ridiculous.” So I thought that I would put this question out to the Mosen at large community and find out what you think. Do you think that this visual description thing is fair and reasonable?
Is it access to information in an alternative format or is it just a time waster? Is it superfluous information that you don’t want? And do you think there are any dangers in asking for these descriptions, if you would like to share your thoughts, 8-6-4-6-0 Mosen in the United States is my phone number, (864) 606-6736, or of course you can email with an audio attachment that’s recorded on your phone, your PC, your Mac, your Chromebook, whatever records, or you can just write the email down and you can send it in to Jonathan J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N @mushroomfm.com. Hi Jonathan. This is Alison Malloy in Cincinnati, Ohio reads this email, ah, Cincinnati that’s where WKRP was what a great show that was Allison continues. I hope you and yours are all doing well. I am writing in response to your question regarding visual descriptions.
I personally believe that visual descriptions have nothing to do with political correctness. They are simply another way in which meetings and other events can be made more inclusive. A Sighted person can look at a presenter and can quickly take in all aspects of their visual appearance by including visual descriptions. We are afforded access to the same information, a few colleagues and I are leading the charge to try to incorporate visual descriptions into the large meetings at the agency for which I work. So I am rather passionate about this issue. This is a great topic, thank you for posing it. The more we talk about this important issue, the more visual descriptions will become a normal part of corporate culture. And this email from Scott Wheat, who says, I heard about the Ignite conference, although I did not listen to it. I think the visual description given by a speaker is going too far in a professional and most social settings.
This is information that I simply don’t care about. On a personal level, if I get to know a person well and am interested in such information, I will ask them. I realize that others are going to have a different opinion and that is what I like about the way you run your podcast. You don’t shut people down just because they happen to disagree with you, keep up the good work. Thanks Scott. I would just ask this question though. Isn’t it a bit creepy? If you as a blind person, walk up directly to one individual and say, what are you wearing? I think this could be particularly true for blind guys who walk up to a woman and say, so what are you wearing? And some people might take offense to that. But if it’s presented to you as just a point of information at the beginning of a presentation, it’s much less direct and potentially intrusive.
Rebecca skipper says, I strongly disagree with those who say that this is political correctness gone too far because we have a long history of discrimination and it is not limited to African Americans, Latin Americans or native Americans, individuals with disability, seniors and women have been discriminated against and this includes white people. In fact, disability comprises the largest minority group, sighted people can automatically see what someone looks like. So asking a person to describe themselves gives a blind person an interpretation. We are still not making judgements for ourselves, when we rely on descriptions from others, I can tell if someone is black, Hispanic, Southern, or Northern, just by hearing their voice. I try not to judge people by their accents, blind people may have prejudices and I fear that those biases, if any, will surface based on descriptions given, I understand why you are asking this question, but what we really need to focus on is why we still continue to judge people by their appearance and religious affiliation and lifestyle.
We have to acknowledge that discrimination still exists, and we need to think about intersectionality. Thanks, Rebecca. I would just caution that sometimes we think that someone comes from a particular place by their accent or that they are of particular ethnicity because of their accent. And sometimes those assumptions are wrong. Sally is in New Zealand and she says re-describing of people, it is creeping in at ministry level, I have noticed not at any of the meetings I have been at mostly health innovation, but one of the people there said there has been some training, which included this. As someone with 15 degrees of low vision left, who attends large conferences, 2000 plus at my last health informatics conference, one next March in Wellington loved to catch up, she says. I would like it in the large sessions, but on zoom, not so sure as everyone in the meeting in lockdown is out of context.
Robert Kinget Writes, I did not see the conference in question, but I did see the discourse around it. Quite frankly, the backlash to this practice by blind and visually impaired people perplexes me immensely. I watched the segments in question where the employees were describing themselves because they were clipped and shared around on Twitter. From my perspective, I see absolutely nothing wrong here, there are many light skinned people that are indigenous, for example. So you can’t figure out race by skin color alone, so it’s good to have people describe themselves on that front. Having pronouns doesn’t bother me because they take only a few seconds to say, understand, acknowledge, and then move on. As for the seemingly performative nature of this. I don’t think it’s performative because it gets sighted people to think about what it would be like living in our world. Even if they do performative things, I’m still happy.
They are at least thinking about something outside of their sighted world. In some cases is this could lead the sighted person to become even more curious and to do deeper research into blindness technology and culture. If they willingly advance their education, I’m glad the seemingly performative act they started propelled them to become a better ally. Lastly, podcasts are becoming very popular among the sighted, since you can’t see anything on a podcast with a few exceptions, I’m sure sighted podcast listeners would appreciate this as well. It certainly may seem inadequate to some now, but I don’t believe people have stopped to consider the benefits of allowing a seemingly rapid action, I fully support this and similar efforts. let’s rock over to Austin, Texas, where Kathy Blackburn says at blindness conventions, I have sometimes heard speakers describe themselves. While I understand that cited people take in this information without a second thought.
And that these self descriptions are well intentioned, I think that they could be a waste of time. I don’t mind it so much at an audio description conference, but I find it annoying when I’m attending a presentation about technology for example, I am not attending such presentations to find out what the speakers look like. I want the speaker to get to the topic at hand sooner, rather than later. Tracy Duffy says visual description, this is the first I’ve heard of it. My first thought is that it’s kind of neat, I don’t think much about what people look like or how they represent themselves. So this information might be interesting. On the other hand, I don’t think much about these things and I get along just fine, given that, why take up everyone’s time by adding such information.
Maybe I could even understand it if it’s for a group who will be meeting repeatedly, but if not, why not just get on with the business at hand, I guess you’d say I’m somewhat undecided on this, but if I must cast an opinion, we don’t really need this. Lena says I do visual description, I like to know what people are wearing, how they have their hair fixed, what jewelry they have. It adds interest, it fills in something that blindness takes away. I wonder how the sighted people felt about doing that. Well, if you have a thought on this, we look forward to keeping the dialogue going in next week’s show, so get those contributions in.
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Jonathan Mosen: One thing we can say with certainty about technology is that it’s evolving constantly. Many people use the Tandem feature in some of the Vispero software products to assist others or obtain assistance. And the technology behind Tandem is changing. To tell me about it and how you might be affected, I’m joined by Glen Gordon from Vispero. Good to have you back with us, Glen.
Glen Gordon: Hey Jonathan, good to be with you as always.
Jonathan Mosen: So what are you doing with Tandem then?
Glen Gordon: When we developed Tandem starting back in 2008, and it feels really hard to realize that it was 13 years since we did it at the time we used the best encryption technology that was available, and that’s essentially what we’ve been using since then. And as you intimate with your comment about technology moving on encryption technology has improved as the power of computers have improved and the ability to potentially crack algorithms has gone up if you have enough time and resources. And a lot of our encryption was based on very good thing back in 2008, but we did a couple of things that were more homegrown than we have now. And we’ve changed to use TLS encryption, if that’s a term that’s familiar, it’s the same one that web browsers use for letting people connect safely to websites and make sure that the website isn’t posing as someone else.
Jonathan Mosen: So that means that older versions of Tandem will not talk to newer versions of Tandem, is that right?
Glen Gordon: That is correct both in terms of Tandem center and in terms of Tandem direct, and so this is one of the reasons I wanted to come on and spread the word from the rooftops wide we have gone back to Jaws 20 and 2021, and just released new versions of those that will interoperate with Jaws Tandem 2022.
Jonathan Mosen: I did actually notice this, I was running 2021 for a reason. I can’t remember a few weeks ago and tried to Tandem in with someone who was running 2022 and we realized quickly what the issue was, so it is important that people upgrade to those builds. Is 2020 as far back as you will be going?
Glen Gordon: It is as far back as we’re going and what we’re telling people who are experiencing hardship is that to contact their local dealers. If they’re outside the us, if they’re in the us and they don’t have a dealer they’re comfortable with contact us directly and we’ll work with you to try to work something out to either get you current or get you the 2020, do something.
Jonathan Mosen: What’s the difference between Tandem centre and Tandem direct, and why would you want Tandem direct? That’s a premium feature, isn’t it? It’s not part of the jaws license.
Glen Gordon: Yes, it is a premium feature, and it has an interesting use case. I think the case where you most want to use it is if you have other machines on your local subnet that you may want to connect to and not go through our Tandem center. Tandem center is an extra, as they say hop, so the connection goes from us to Tandem center to the person at the other end. Where Tandem direct is from you to them on the local subnet. So essentially in your home network there is something, if you want to control one machine from another, that’s a place where Tandem direct would come in handy. And in fact, there is something that’s on the drawing board for Tandem direct, which is the ability to start the target from a command line and have that target wait for a certain amount of time for a client to connect. This would allow someone who’s, let’s say, managing a network. The best thing for them to do is to use Tandem to get Braille and/or audio. They can, if they have the skill and capability, launch the app on the target when logging in automatically and therefore allow the person running the controller to connect and actually control that machine themselves. Does that make any sense?
Jonathan Mosen: That does make sense and that actually moves me onto what I wanted to ask you about this, because I sometimes have to control the Mushroom FM PC, which we affectionately call the Mushroom Pot remotely. And at the moment, I use Microsoft Remote Desktop to do that. But it would be just as easy for me to do that with Tandem if I had a way of initiating the Tandem session without actually physically being in front of the computer. Would that be possible do you think? And can a user specify how long that timeout is?
Glen Gordon: It’s something that we’ve thought about periodically over the years and we’ve gotten requests for this. I think our hesitancy is it puts our knowledge of and concern for security so much more in the open than it is in our normal software operation. Because essentially you’re setting up your Mushroom Pot to be waiting for connections. And if we get any of that wrong, theoretically someone could get into that computer. This kind of connectivity is not our primary area of expertise.
We know these things as well as we possibly can, but I think there’s a little bit of a resistance just to make sure that we’re not in any way jeopardizing somebody’s information if by chance, and even though it would be a slim chance, we would get it wrong.
Jonathan Mosen: You mentioned that Tandem Direct takes one of the hops away. This is one of the things about Tandem Center that I do sometimes notice is the latency. Sometimes, especially when you connect initially, there’s a bit of a lag and that can sometimes improve over time. Do you think any of the changes that you are making to Tandem will assist with that latency?
Glen Gordon: They will not in the short run. There’s more latency if you have video turned on. But my guess is you don’t have video on, so that’s probably not what you’re experiencing. We think that’s probably as good is it’s going to get, unless we go to a more distributed Tandem Center. It feels to me that part of the problem may be for you in particular because you’re in New Zealand, you’re coming back to the US and then going back to New Zealand, unless, of course, you’re connecting to people in the US, in which case there’s probably no way around it. Do you recall the scenarios that you’re…
Jonathan Mosen: Yes, certainly when trying to assist other New Zealanders, I’m really aware of it then, because obviously we’ve got a number of hops going in both directions in that case.
Glen Gordon: Yeah. And unfortunately, Tandem Direct isn’t a perfect solution for that either because you’re not on the same local network.
Jonathan Mosen: What use cases are you mostly seeing with Tandem? What do people tell you that they’re using Tandem for?
Glen Gordon: I think a big one is trainers. There’s more and more remote training being done I think largely spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. That certainly encouraged people, but there’s already been a push for this. I think that’s a really positive thing actually, because there is so many talented users of our software that not only know software really well, but know the other programs that a lot of people want to learn.
Having that one-on-one assistance available and allowing people to do it from their own locations and help other people is a really positive thing. And then, of course, there’s periodically just helping a friend out, trying to solve a problem or experience a problem that a friend is having to be able to understand it and maybe give some advice. I think those are probably the two biggest ones. Are you thinking of other possibilities?
Jonathan Mosen: Scripting as well, of course. People going into assist people remotely to tweak scripts in the workplace, where perhaps somebody has received an update overnight and it’s caused a little breakage to some proprietary scripts and the scripter doesn’t have to be on location anymore.
Glen Gordon: Yeah, I think that is one of them that may not be as common because a lot of workplaces don’t like Tandem from outside the organization. They may be much happier with something like RDP in situations like that. But yes, you’re absolutely right. It does happen, especially if the scripting is done for individuals or at least people working from home.
Jonathan Mosen: People who run JAWS 2020 or JAWS 2021 will be able to check for updates if they haven’t been prompted about these updates already because they are out now and just go ahead and update through the app itself?
Glen Gordon: 2021, unless you have turned off update announcements, you should be told. Because the update that just came out this week not only has the Tandem fix, but it has a variety of other fixes we made in 2022 largely on the web. Many of them for Google Docs that we’ve backported from 2022 to 2021. This is like the 2021 last hurrah. You get this plus the Tandem changes. For 2020, the only purpose of the update is the Tandem change. And for that, you will need to go check manually.
And at that point, you can download it or you can just go to the website and find the latest version. There’s a little bit of a carrot and a stick here, because we’re encouraging people to upgrade Tandem, but Tandem in the old form is going to completely go away by the end of the year. If you don’t update, not only won’t you be able to talk to JAWS 2021 or 2022, you won’t be able to talk to anything with an older version of JAWS Tandem.
And that’s why functionally if Tandem is something that’s important to you, you’ve got to get to at least 2020 and we’ll help you get there if that’s a problem otherwise.
Jonathan Mosen: Right. That really is critical then that people update.
Glen Gordon: It is critical and we don’t know what kind of deal we can strike with you, but we want to make you as happy as we can.
Jonathan Mosen: Very good. Can I ask you while you’re there what your views of Windows 11 are in terms of how well it’s working out from an accessibility point of view, whether you think it’s an impactful update at this point?
Glen Gordon: I think it’s impactful in the sense that you have to download it and install it. I’m not entirely clear why someone would rush to get it, especially if you’re on AMD. Because the last I heard on AMD, there was a performance hit, not terrible, but I had heard of something. Have you heard that as well?
Jonathan Mosen: I have heard that as well. And of course, it’s important to note that Windows 10 is still being updated. There’s a feature pack update coming out for Windows 10. It’s not yet an obsolete operating system.
Glen Gordon: In fact, I was running versions of Windows 11 on the insider track prior to their big announcement. I’m running Windows 11. Everything seems to be working pretty well. There were a few changes. The version came up after the big announcement, the one with the big reveal, and not that many things felt different once I upgraded to that version. It is certainly incremental and it seems to me to be largely in the area of settings where things have changed. Many more things are behind more buttons.
The fact that they have tried to come up with a cleaner interface visually I think in some cases makes it a little more awkward with a screen reader and the sense of having to go through more clicks to get somewhere. On the other hand, the positive thing in these settings apps where your way to nirvana is essentially the tab key, you may save some tab stops. Because if things are behind a more button, you don’t need to go through the options that you don’t care about.
There are a couple of changes with the system tray that are a little different. The chevron button, which I was talking to someone at Microsoft the other day and they were shocked that it’s announced as chevron button.
Jonathan Mosen: Yeah. What on earth is that? What is chevron?
Glen Gordon: Well, that’s their internal name for the symbol that you click on to expand. I’m probably really late to this party. Because on Windows 11 now, even if you’ve not explicitly said, “Show me these icons,” I didn’t realize that you could press space or enter on the chevron button and then left arrow and get to all those other icons. Did you know this?
Jonathan Mosen: I did not know this. I’m not running Windows 11, because I see no need whatsoever to run it. I see no benefits to me in running it. But I was told, we have had some discussion on this show actually, that it is no longer possible to go in and tell Windows 11 to show all icons on the system tray. You actually have to tell each app to be visible.
Glen Gordon: Yes, I believe that’s true, but there seem to be two different things. When you get to the system tray, you can arrow right from the chevron button. And that seems to show you all the icons that are either the ones that Windows believes you need to see like connect to wifi and the ones that you’ve explicitly made visible. But if you press space or enter on the chevron button, you can then arrow left and see those other icons that have not otherwise been made visible.
Jonathan Mosen: Where’s that chevron button located? Do you get that if you invoke the JAWS key F11 system tray view, or do you have to actually go to the task bar and find that?
Glen Gordon: Well, there is a key. This is another one I didn’t know about that also works on Windows 10, which is Windows B.
Jonathan Mosen: Yeah. Windows B has been around for quite a while.
Glen Gordon: They changed it now. On Windows 11, Windows B takes you to the chevron button.
Jonathan Mosen: Ah, okay.
Glen Gordon: And so then you can press space or enter and arrow left and get to those other icons. At least I think that’s so, right? You may get lots of mail saying I had no idea what I was talking about.
Jonathan Mosen: Well, I love getting lots of mails.
Glen Gordon: That’s what I experimented with yesterday and found to work.
Jonathan Mosen: From an accessibility point of view, you sound like you’re quite confident in the way that JAWS is working with Windows 11, correct?
Glen Gordon: Yeah. Tiny issues come up. We continue to fix them. We’ll have an update mid-December that fixes couple of things in Windows 11, a couple of things in Windows 10, but broadly speaking, if my main machine had been forced to update to Windows 11, I would not be climbing the walls. I’d just say, “Okay, fine. Windows 11, few things to get used to, but it’s not keeping me from getting work done.
Jonathan Mosen: Very good. Well, I appreciate you giving us the alert about Tandem. It’s an essential feature for many, and there are remedial steps that people should be taking. I’m glad that we could communicate that, and it’s always good to have you on the show.
Glen Gordon: Well, thank you, Jonathan. I listen faithfully every week. Thanks for allowing me to be part of it.
Jonathan Mosen: A few months ago on Mosen At Large, we talked to Matt and Mike from Pneuma Solutions about their Scribe for Meetings product. Now that was a little bit of a diversion due to the pandemic. They are back now to talk about the big one, and this is simply called Scribe. We did talk a little bit about what that would entail when we talked with Mike Calvo and Matt Campbell previously, but let’s talk in detail about Scribe now. Matt and Mike, welcome to you both. Good to have you back on Mosen At Large.
Matt Campbell: Thank you.
Mike Calvo: Thank you very much.
Jonathan Mosen: Before we get onto Scribe though, just a quick question that came up in last week’s podcast about promoting in using the Serotek Solutions. Where are they at? And is there a value add there, say if you are able to use Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol?
Mike Calvo: The short version on Serotek is that Matt and I inherited many of the old Serotek technologies being that we had invented them first. They were licensed to Serotek, and Serotek is no longer. When it comes to a product like System Access, we’re still of keeping the lights on. We’re still selling service. Behind the scenes, we’re enhancing. We’re getting ready to release a major update to Sero. It will allow System Access to be used to self-voice the operating system and certain things.
That should be completed by first quarter, beginning of second quarter of next year. What we are going to be releasing very soon is the Sero Browser, which we’ve mentioned or we’ve teased before. And that browser will allow you to use our various services. The remote stuff, as long as you have a Sero subscription, you can go ahead and use remote to your heart’s content. It still works. We are updating the sound drivers. Matt was mentioning pre-show that we got to give that a little love.
I’m sure we’ll be doing that soon, but thanks for supporting us for all the years. We’re still here. We’re just moving in a few other directions as well.
Jonathan Mosen: If you have Remote Desktop Protocol and you’ve got that up and running because you have a screen reader that supports it, I guess that the offering is similar in this space. Other than to say that not all screen readers actually have full support for RDP and the Sero solution seem to work on a wider range of platforms.
Mike Calvo: Yeah. Well, it’s more of a consumer type of solution. RDP tends to be something that people use in the workplace or the geekier among us. With our solutions, they’ve just worked. You want to connect remote, boom, you click a button and you’re connected remote. You didn’t have to open up ports here and set things up over there and set up things and make sure you give it access to this folder and that folder. It’s a very simple, very straightforward kind of automatic. RDP gives you…
I’m sure it gives you much more control, much more of everything. But if you got to tweak it all, it doesn’t help if you just need to get up and running.
Jonathan Mosen: All right. Let’s talk about Scribe then, and we did talk about this quite a bit when you both were last on the show. But now Scribe is ready. It is launching this Monday, November the 15th. That’s still the intention?
Mike Calvo: It is. It is. We’re really excited about bringing this to the consumer. I mean, we’ve been bringing it to companies behind the scenes, just demoing it for a good minute and we’re getting ready to release it to the enterprise as well for larger conversions. But we are able to bring it to people at regular people prices, which is awesome.
Jonathan Mosen: Regular people prices. That sounds good to me. All right. You’re excited. Why should those people, those regular people, be excited about Scribe? What does it do and how will people benefit from using it?
Mike Calvo: The easiest way to describe Scribe is that it is a just in time accessibility solution. And by that, I mean, it is a solution that provides accessibility to information now, just in time. Does it provide perfect? No, not yet. It is based on our own proprietary algorithms, which are being enhanced at this time by machine learning and will ultimately be taken over by machine learning for the full platform once we get a little bit more resources going.
But really the platform provides the opportunity for you to just load in any printable document from the web and then have it reproduced for you in a number of accessible formats. And if you’re not happy with that for whatever reason, if the document isn’t clear enough for you, then we provide human remediation for a document for as little as $7, which is unheard of in the industry.
Matt Campbell: $7 a page.
Mike Calvo: A page, I’m sorry. Yeah. When you do the augmented stuff, it’s as little as 10 cents a page. There’s annual subscriptions that bring that cost to that 10 cents a page.
Jonathan Mosen: Matt Campbell, let me bring you in. Talk me through a scenario where you might use this.
Matt Campbell: Let’s say you just bought a new appliance or consumer electronics or some other product and you need to read the manual for that product. And as is so often the case, this product manual is a PDF that hasn’t been tagged or generally isn’t accessible. With Scribe now, you would just open your favorite web browser, any modern browser on any device, and go to scribeit.io And you can upload this PDF file. You’ll then get a little preview, a two-page preview, of the accessible version.
And if you’re satisfied with the preview, you’ve confirmed that you uploaded the right document and so forth, you can then either pay for this one document on demand, pay by the page. And in that case, it’s $1 per page. Or you can, if you haven’t done so already, get a subscription, which is $250 per year for up to 2,500 pages per year, or you can buy prepaid packs of pages at a rate of 25 cents per page with a minimum of $25.
Mike Calvo: And they never expire, by the way.
Matt Campbell: Yeah, yeah. Those prepaid packs never expire. That’s the pricing. But once you’ve taken care of payment, then you can choose your output format. Be it tagged PDF or Braille or Microsoft Word or MP3 or a handful of others. The MP3, of course, is based on text to speech, and then Scribe will start processing your document. You can either watch it work in real time, or you can go away and let it email you when the conversion is done.
Jonathan Mosen: What’s the text to speech engine that you give us when we render an MP3?
Mike Calvo: It’s currently Google Cloud Text-to-Speech, which is some of the most amazing sounding text to speech around.
Matt Campbell: When you look at the cloud stuff, I mean, the stuff on our computers is actually really good. But when you think about the Google stuff and when you hear the Google stuff, it’s just amazing.
Mike Calvo: Now, Microsoft has some pretty good cloud-based text to speech as well. We might offer that choice, but right now it’s Google.
Jonathan Mosen: What inputs does it take? You went through what I can have the file formats in when the rendering process is over, but what can I feed to Scribe for processing?
Matt Campbell: I have not committed the whole list to memory, but I’ll cover the highlights, PDF, Microsoft Word, EPUB, Moby, Excel and PowerPoint, and a boatload of image formats, including, of course, JPEG, PNG, and GIF.
Jonathan Mosen: If I’ve got a screen reader that supports OCRing of an accessible content and I think that NVDA possibly also has some add-ons, I’m not an NVDA user that can do OCR as well, what do you perceive the value add to be of Scribe?
Mike Calvo: First of all, NVDA is using the Windows OCR engine.
Matt Campbell: Which is good if you’re in a pinch and you’re browsing Twitter and you need to know what an unlabeled image says.
Mike Calvo: Yeah. You’re not going to read a book with it. The JAWS offering is significantly more powerful. It takes some training. And if that is part of a workflow, that’s important. We believe we’re going to make consumers more productive. But if injecting something like Scribe into your workflow doesn’t work, then it simply becomes another tool in an arsenal you can use from any platform and not just where JAWS is.
But if you do work it into your life flow, it’s a lot easier to use Scribe to read that document, that manual than it is to learn not only how to do it, but just the whole concept of, okay, what do you do with the file after you’re done with it? Do you save it? There’s a lot you have to learn that you and I take for granted maybe to be able to just scan a document in JAWS.
Matt Campbell: I also forgot to mention that we have a browser extension for Scribe on both the Chrome and Firefox add-on stores. And with this extension, when you download a file in one of the supported formats, you’ll get a little popup notification asking you do you want to convert this with Scribe. Beyond the convenience and the ease of learning, other things that we offer beyond what you might have with something like JAWS OCR.
Our automated processing includes running any images that might be in the document through a cloud-based image description service. If the images don’t have alt texts on them, then you will end up with some kind of description of the image. These automate descriptions, of course, vary in accuracy and usefulness, but at least it’ll be something.
Mike Calvo: Unless you’re using iOS, in which case you’re probably going to get a really good description out of stuff from iOS.
Jonathan Mosen: I suppose it depends on the image. iOS, for example, will describe individuals a little bit of their appearance. I suppose. But if you use one of the Microsoft Cloud recognition options, sometimes you actually get told the name of the person, particularly if they’re a famous person.
Mike Calvo: Yeah, we do that.
Jonathan Mosen: Right.
Mike Calvo: Whenever we see you in a picture, sir.
Jonathan Mosen: Yeah right. What about the OCR engine being used by Scribe? What are you doing to process the image? Are we likely to get more accurate results with Scribe than perhaps other solutions?
Mike Calvo: Scribe uses a number of processes. The OCR portion, meaning what actually looks at the graphics and converts to text, that OCR engine is the ABBYY FineReader engine, which is indisputably probably the best scanning engine on the planet. What we do with that information we get from ABBYY, the formatting, the conversion, all of the different things that we do in the workflow, is all in addition to.
It’s not like, oh yeah, well, they’re just using a copy of ABBYY and just sending us the output. I wish. It’s a much, much more complicated. Much more complicated than that.
Matt Campbell: And it’s worth pointing out that we are using the most up to date available version of that OCR engine, unlike some desktop scanning and reading products.
Jonathan Mosen: Obviously we’re doing a lot more on our mobile devices these days. Even if you have a Windows screen reader that does a bit of OCR, there may be times when you want to do that on your mobile device increasingly so. The data is compelling about how many of us are switching to using mobile for almost everything. How well is this going to work with my iOS or Android device?
Mike Calvo: Matt was talking earlier about the document that you download from a Home Depot or from an electronics place or whatever. But what Matt didn’t mention that I’ll mention now is that we can also take the URL from there and just paste it right into describeit.io website and it will do the conversion there and display it in your cell phone. I’m actually looking into… I was sitting around yesterday going, man, there’s got to be a way to write an iOS shortcut.
We will pay if someone writes us a shortcut for iOS and whatever the Android equivalent is, because this has to be something that should be relatively easy.
Jonathan Mosen: Safari for iOS now supports Safari Extensions. Isn’t that a possibility
Matt Campbell: I don’t know yet. I’ll need to make a note to follow up on that. I mean, my understanding was that Safari Extensions are fairly restricted in what subset of the Chrome Extension API they support, but it might be enough. We will definitely look into that.
Jonathan Mosen: But in the meantime, if you found yourself on a page that is an accessible image, you could copy the URL of that to the clipboard and then go describeit.io on your phone and paste it in.
Matt Campbell: Yep, absolutely. And because the whole thing is just a web app, you can use it on your phone just as well as you can on your PC or your Mac or your Chromebook.
Jonathan Mosen: Is there a danger that some companies are going to put their documents through the automated part of Scribe? Not use human remediation, but put it through the automated part of Scribe. What they generated as inaccessible content is rendered accessible again, which is bizarre, but that can sometimes happen.
And then they send the stuff to a blind person and a blind person opens it up and they think, “Oh, good. This is a fully accessible document. Then they read through it,” and find that there are occasional errors because it’s been put through OCR.
Mike Calvo: Wow! Why do you always want to start something, man? Why do you always want to start something? You’re outing me here. First of all, all documents are not created equal. I feel very strongly that anytime a company provides any form of augmented document remediation, until we quote, and I’m holding up big quotes on my fingers, arrive at the nirvana of 100% human accessible, compatible, whatever, AI remediation, a company if they’re going to use that solution to save money.
And I get it, because sometimes we get just enough out of the solution. And as we grow as a company, as the technology gets better, it is going to get better for everybody. But in the meantime, any company that provides a document to a person with a print impairment has the obligation, in my opinion, to provide a direct path to human remediation when needed.
I think it’s ridiculous for a company to have to spend between $17 to $19, $20 a page for a document that a human being may never see just to meet some sort of accessibility guideline. Does that make any sense?
Jonathan Mosen: Well, it does, but I guess my query is they must have to work pretty hard to generate an inaccessible document in the first place, right? I mean, most processes can generate something accessible.
Matt Campbell: I don’t think it’s that they have to work hard to make it inaccessible. I think that it’s common for someone producing a PDF document in particular to legitimately end up making it inaccessible without being aware of it. I’ll give you an example that I came across a couple months ago, a programming book that was self-published by a very, very smart, very savvy programmer. He wrote the book in HTML essentially. And then when he went to self-publish the PDF version, he went through a whole process with Adobe InDesign.
You might figure that Adobe InDesign would automatically generate a tagged PDF out of the box. But somehow because of the custom workflow that he used, he ended up unwittingly generating an untagged PDF. And sometimes even if the PDF that comes out of InDesign is tagged, it’s not tagged in a useful way. It might not have headings, for example.
I think there’s still a lot of unintentionally creating inaccessible documents because somehow the structural or semantic information that was there in the original source material doesn’t make it all the way through the pipeline.
Mike Calvo: The problem with that, of course, is that that means that you and I, as blind folks, get that information when the organization decides to make it accessible. With solutions like Scribe, you can now… We create that document. We make it as accessible as possible. If we do incorporate Scribe into a corporate infrastructure where it’s outward facing, doing the document remediation. We insist that they have a human remediation alternative. It doesn’t need to be us.
We’re not forcing that down anybody’s throat. But if we’re not going to be blind people ourselves and knowingly going to a company that says, “Well, yep, yep. We got the automated stuff. We’re done,” no, that’s not the end of the road. We’re here to make the technology better to hopefully be able to do this for ourselves. Matt and I started a low cost screen reader because the cost of screen readers was just way too high. That’s not a judgment of any company. It’s just a fact of life.
The problem is that for a consumer to get a human remediated document, it takes a corporate decision. It takes a court of law, and now you have the solution in your hands and you can do with that what you want. We’re bringing it at a very reasonable cost. Corporations are paying $17, $18. We do a $7 a page. If you’re just doing a one-off document and we don’t have any other sort of relationship with you, it’s $10 a page if you don’t have a subscription.
The cost of the technology for the consumer is many times worth having that information right now. We all want to push for that accessible world. People are doing that. And as a company, as we grow, we’re going to advocate for that. I will definitely use my platform in this community and outside of it as a member of this community to say, “Hey, we need to be an accessible world.” But I’m not going to sit here and wait for the world to come to me to give me the information that everybody else has access to.
I’m going to go get it for myself the same way I did with a screen reader back in the day.
Jonathan Mosen: When you do your automated remediation, when you’re performing OCR on the image and doing other processing, are you endeavoring to ascertain when some text should appear as a heading so that it’s easy to navigate? And what logic are you using to determine is this a heading or not?
Mike Calvo: We have our own way of looking at the document and laying it out and getting information. That’s part of our workflow and kind of our secret sauce. If we told you, we’d probably have to kill you. But we do come out with WCAG compliant documents, whether that be HTML, whether that be Word documents. I mean, you’ve seen the Word documents. I think you saw it with…
Matt Campbell: With Scribe for Meetings. You converted the slide deck to Word. Having proper headings is absolutely important to us. Of course, as with any automated process trying to reconstruct structure from pixels, we don’t get it perfect, but we are doing everything we can to make it better all the time.
Jonathan Mosen: What would you say to people who say, “This is actually nothing but an accessiBe for printed documents?”
Mike Calvo: I adamantly disagree for a number of reasons, the first of which is because we’re blind people. We use this stuff. We know this stuff, and we talk to other blind people. We have a whole team of beta testers. And if you want a beta test for us, you’re welcome to contact us. We are building the world we want to live in for ourselves. We’re not building it to keep those pesky blind people off our back. And that’s what accessiBe does for companies.
It’s like, “Ah, get those blind people out of here. Just put that up there and they’ll work their way out.” And that’s not what we’re doing. We’re actually building technologies that we use ourselves, that we use on a daily basis, and that we believe have a value, which is what we’re here to do. We’re here to provide value to people’s lives, value to people’s educational and job experiences. The technology makes you more productive. Period.
All the other things we’ve talked about today are very useful and they’re great. Why am I going to knock somebody else’s technology?
Jonathan Mosen: But you see the analogy, right? Because essentially taking all of the missteps that are unquestionable that accessiBe have performed in terms of their lack of liaison with the blind community and all of those dreadful things, there is some similarity in the sense that what you’re doing is you’re taking inaccessible content and remediating it. The mileage may vary, right, depending on the documents that it gets fed in the same way that the mileage varies with the remediation that accessiBe is performing.
I suppose the fundamental question is, aren’t they similar because it’s letting the original creator of the content off the hook who should be creating born accessible documents?
Matt Campbell: Yes, it’s true that the results of automated remediation vary in quality depending on the source document. But the reality is, that sometimes automated remediation is the only option we have. If you’re getting receipts from your bank or documents from your doctor’s office or your dentist’s office and those documents are untagged PDF files because the bank or the doctor’s office are using a retrofitted system that was originally designed for print and the PDF output was retrofitted onto that, you need that information now.
Automated conversion is the only way you’re going to get that information now. And as much as we want a world where the original structured information that the PDF was produced from makes it all the way into the final document, that’s not the world we live in. And as blind people ourselves, we have to work with what we’ve got. And if a byproduct of that is that some companies feel that they are let off the hook, then that’s regrettable. But we need to do what we’ve got to do to get access to the information that we need.
Jonathan Mosen: I do have a scenario actually right now, and I’m interested to know if Scribe can help me with this. Sometimes you go to a webpage and it’s mostly accessible, or you open a PDF file and it’s mostly accessible, but then usually it’s tabular data that somebody sort of drops into that document as an image. It’s completely inaccessible. Is there a way to somehow have Scribe for Meetings only get to that inaccessible data on a website or in a PDF file?
Matt Campbell: If it’s dropped in as an image on a website, then assuming that you have a way of getting your focus or your mouse cursor onto that image that you can right click and copy the URL, then sure. For an image embedded in an otherwise accessible PDF, we don’t really have a good answer right now. You would have to run the whole PDF right through Scribe.
Jonathan Mosen: How long does human remediation take if I really wanted this in pristine form? How long will it take between when I submit my request for human remediation and when I get it back?
Matt Campbell: If it’s a hundred pages or less, it’s three business days. Between 100 and 200 pages, it’d be between three and five business days. And then from there, add another business day per additional 200 pages. That’s our estimate.
Jonathan Mosen: What should I expect in terms of the quality? Obviously I’m paying $7 US per page for that. Is it 100% accurate? What expectations are you setting with regard to that?
Mike Calvo: No more, no less than you should get from any other remediation company. I mean, the bottom line is, is it usable and does it give you the information? I’m not going to sit here and argue with someone who buys the document. Oh, you use this kind of tag when you should have used that kind of tag. These documents are not meant to be used in a court of law as a demonstration of 100% accessibility. They’re not certified as such. They are meant to convey information as humanly accurate as possible.
I’ve discussed with our remediation team the processes that they use and the tools that they use to make sure that their stuff is compliant, and they seem to be in order with whatever any of the big guys that are charging $15 and $17 a page to remediate documents or charging and doing. They use screen reader testing at the end of the process, a number of different processes that go through. It’s just more economical.
Jonathan Mosen: But if I’ve bought an appliance, coming back to Matt’s really good example, and it’s got this user guide and there are so many annoying little symbols. I finally find the section and the manual that I want and it says, “To perform this function, press the button,” and then there’s some kind of weird graphic and you don’t know what that is. If I invest in human remediation, will all of those buttons be clearly explained to me?
Mike Calvo: They better be.
Jonathan Mosen: Right. Okay.
Mike Calvo: I would expect it. I’d be really ticked off if I got something remediated and it wasn’t. I’d give you your money back and give them one good talking to, I’ll tell you that. I mean, or better yet, give you your money back and still give you the document, because that would be a horrible thing for us to do as a company really. It would just be stupid.
Jonathan Mosen: Well, congratulations to you both.
Mike Calvo: Thank you.
Jonathan Mosen: It’s a real milestone when you’ve been working on something for a long time and you get to a point where you can chalk off another really big deal on the roadmap. We appreciate you having a chat to us about it, and we’ll look forward to putting it through its paces.
Mike Calvo: Awesome. Thanks.
JAWS: Mosen At Large Podcast.
Jonathan Mosen: Now I’m going to give you a quick demo of Scribe. And as I do this, I should say that I am using a pre-release version of this so that we could get this demo to you just ahead of the launch of Scribe. If there are some differences between what you get when you have a look at this and what I’m showing you, that’ll be why. It’s under development as we speak.
I’m on the Scribe for personal documents page. And a reminder that you can get there when the service launches by going to scribeit.io. That’s S-C-R-I-B-E-I-T, all one word, .io. And when I check the title of the page.
JAWS: Welcome dash Scribe dash Microsoft Edge.
Jonathan Mosen: Well, thank you for the welcome. I’m going to navigate to the first heading on the page.
JAWS: Welcome to Scribe for personal documents heading level one.
Jonathan Mosen: This explains what it is. I’ll ask JAWS to read continuously and we can hear a description of it from the site.
JAWS: Heading level one. Welcome to Scribe for personal documents. What is Scribe for personal documents? Scribe for personal documents makes it quick, easy, and inexpensive to make your documents fully accessible for as little as 10 cents per page with a yearly subscription. Our augmented document remediation technology accepts documents in a variety of formats and automatically produces fully accessible output in several formats, including text dash to dash speech, Braille, large print, Microsoft Word, and tagged PDF.
For more complex documents, we also offer human remediation in as little as three business days for as little as $7 per page. Scribe for personal documents brings enterprise dash level document remediation services to print dash impaired consumers.
Jonathan Mosen: That’s the description. And the first option we have here.
JAWS: Link add funds to someone else’s Scribe account.
Jonathan Mosen: If you’re familiar with the concept of prepaid smartphones, then you’ll be familiar with how this works. Anybody can top up your Scribe account. If you are a university student and you have parents who are willing to help you out by topping up your Scribe account, that is possible. Also, of course, the learning institution or a rehab agency may choose to top up the Scribe account for you. That’s that option there. We’ll down arrow.
JAWS: Heading level. To get started.
Jonathan Mosen: And we’re onto the get started section of the page.
JAWS: To get started, select a document to remediate.
Jonathan Mosen: The document that you want to remediate could come from several sources. Let’s explore them.
JAWS: File button.
Jonathan Mosen: The first is a file. If you have a document on your local hard drive, you can upload that document using this option, and we will do that in just a moment.
JAWS: Alternatively, you can provide the URL of the document that you want to remediate. Note that this must be the URL of a downloadable document file, such as a PDF file, not a webpage. Also, note that Scribe cannot use a URL that requires you to log in. If you want to remediate that type of document, you will need to download it first, then choose the file using the button above URL edit.
Jonathan Mosen: And there’s a bit of hesitancy there because I’m down arrowing line by line through that document. Here’s the place that you can paste a URL. The scenario here might be that if you find yourself on a page that contains an inaccessible document, you could go to the address bar and then copy the URL to the clipboard and paste it here into scribeit.io. But I’m going to use a file that is on my hard drive, and I’m going to alt tab into that file to show it to you. It is open in Adobe Reader at the moment, and this is a textbook.
It has been scanned and the OCR is very poor. It’s a PDF file. You have the image here, but you also have an attempt at OCRing it, which has been rendered as text. I’m going to all tab into this file.
JAWS: Router and Spooner chap…
Jonathan Mosen: And just let you hear a little bit of this.
JAWS: Router and Spooner chapter one.pdf. [Inaudible 01:15:32] More content. More learning. More inclusion. Diane M. Browder and Fred Spooner. The bell rings and school begins. We have been invited to visit two of our neighborhood schools. We meander through the chattering students making their way from the buses to their classes. The artwork on the wall includes illustrations and pictures of Little Red Riding Hood told from the Big Bad Wolf’s perspective.
Although we know the purpose is to teach the students the characters’ point of view, the pictures and stories make us smile. One of the pictures belongs to Simone, a student with an autism spectrum disorder who participates in the alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards. She selected a wolf picture from the internet and filled in sentences by selecting words and pictures. One of my favorite sentences is, the wolf said Elle was hungry.
Today, along with other fourth graders, Simone is going to be working on reading paragraphs with fluency and answering comprehension questions about the characters in the story. At first, it may not be clear that Simone is a reader because she is non-verbal except for some echolalic speech. She reads silently and then uses her response board with raises and pictures to answer each question.
Jonathan Mosen: I’m going to stop the reading there. What you heard is that it started off really badly, and then it did settle down a bit. I’m going to see if I can navigate by heading.
JAWS: No headings.
Jonathan Mosen: There are no headings in this document. While it settled down, there were some errors in the text as well. I’m going to try and upload this file to Scribe for Meetings and see what I can do with it. I’ll alt tab back into my web browser.
JAWS: Welcome. Scribe Personal Microsoft Edge
Jonathan Mosen: And using JAWS’ quick navigation features, I will find the button that allows me to upload the file.
JAWS: File button.
Jonathan Mosen: And I’ll press space bar on that button.
JAWS: Open dialogue. File name.
Jonathan Mosen: And I will just upload this now from my downloads folder. I have it highlighted and I’ll press enter.
JAWS: Welcome. Scribe Microsoft Edge.
Jonathan Mosen: Now that I’ve uploaded that file, we can give it a preview.
JAWS: Now that you’ve selected a document, we’ll provide a preview of the first two pages. If you’re satisfied with the preview, you can then remediate the full document and convert it to several alternate formats. Preview button.
Jonathan Mosen: I will activate the preview button by pressing the space bar.
JAWS: Loading page. Still loading.
Jonathan Mosen: I am not editing this because I want to see how long it takes.
JAWS: Welcome. Scribe preview button. Loading complete. Two regions. One heading and one link. Loading… Scribe navigation region. Visited link. Graphic home. Navigation region.
Jonathan Mosen: Let’s navigate to the heading on the page.
JAWS: Wrapping to top. Browder and Spooner chapter one. Heading level one.
Jonathan Mosen: I’ll press the down arrow key.
JAWS: This document has 14 pages. Preview ready. Same page link. Remediate full document. Delete document button. Section I. Greater access to general curriculum. Heading level to remediate full document.
Jonathan Mosen: Now we’re on the options pertaining to remediating the full document. We only got the briefest of snippets of the document here, and I suspect that that’s a glitch that will be resolved, because you are supposed to get a couple of pages so you can assess the quality of what you’re rendering. But we have quite a few options if we want to remediate the full document.
JAWS: Read in browser. Radio button not checked. One of nine.
Jonathan Mosen: Nine choices to be precise.
JAWS: PDF radio button not checked. Two of nine.
Jonathan Mosen: You can turn it back into a PDF that is more accessible.
JAWS: Audio radio button not checked. Three of nine.
Jonathan Mosen: We’ll check this out and find out how good the audio is.
JAWS: Braille radio button not checked. Four of nine. Downloadable webpage radio button not checked. Five of nine. EPUB radio button not checked. Six of nine.
Jonathan Mosen: The text-to-speech engine I’m using is mispronouncing that. That is the EPUB format.
JAWS: Microsoft Word radio button not checked. Seven of nine. Daisy radio button not checked. Eight of nine.
Jonathan Mosen: And finally.
JAWS: Moby radio button not checked. Nine of nine.
Jonathan Mosen: I’m curious about the audio version, so let’s try that first.
JAWS: [Inaudible 01:20:03] Audio radio button not checked. Three of nine.
Jonathan Mosen: I’ll select that radio button.
JAWS: Browder and Spooner chapter one Scribe. Main region. Form region. Audio radio button checked. Three of nine.
Jonathan Mosen: And now let’s find a button.
JAWS: Customized settings button collapsed. Purchase and remediate button.
Jonathan Mosen: And we have a purchase and remediate button. I’ll press the space bar on that.
JAWS: Loading page. Purchase and remediate button. Browder and Spooner chapter one Scribe. Browder and Spooner chapter one Scribe. Browder and Spooner.
Jonathan Mosen: All right. We’ll press H to navigate to the heading.
JAWS: No headings.
Jonathan Mosen: No, there’s no heading. Let’s see what we have.
JAWS: Pneuma’s visited link. Preview. Test. Add code button. Pay Pneuma Solutions $14.00. QTY 14 $1.00 each. View details you. Email. Edit.
Jonathan Mosen: This is a standard perfectly accessible form where you complete your email address and provide your credit card details. I will go ahead and do that and then we’ll resume our demo.
JAWS: Pneuma Solutions Personal Microsoft Edge.
Jonathan Mosen: Let’s see if we have our document.
JAWS: Very important. Heading level two. Please remember to print or bookmark this page to make sure you can access your document at anytime. We also sent you an email with a link to your document. In case you don’t receive that email, please check for it in your spam or junk folder. If you still can’t find the email, we have also assigned an order number to this document.
Please save this order number so you can enter it on the Scribe website to get back to this document. The order number is. Thank you for choosing Pneuma Solutions. Print button. Link continue.
Jonathan Mosen: I’ll activate the continue link.
JAWS: Continue link.
Jonathan Mosen: I’ll press enter.
JAWS: Loading page. Browder and Spooner chapter one Scribe. Browder and Spooner chapter one Scribe. Loading complete. Two regions. One heading and two links. Heading level one. Browder and Spooner chapter one. This document has 14 pages. Due to the high quality of our text-to-speech voices, the conversion to audio will take time. If you check the check box below and verify your email address, we will email you when the conversion is complete. Alternatively, you may bookmark this page and check back later.
The conversion will continue in the background, so feel free to leave this page now. Checkbox not check notified by email when conversion is complete. List of one item. Bullet. Visited link read and browser. List and main region end.
Jonathan Mosen: I have bookmarked this page so that I can come back to it at any time, while the processing is going on for the audio.
JAWS: List end. Bullet visited link read in browser.
Jonathan Mosen: We can read it in the browser. And I’m curious about the job that it has done, so I’ll press enter.
JAWS: Loading page. Browder and Spooner chapter one Scribe. Bullet visited link read in browser. Loading complete. One frame, two regions, nine headings, and five links.
Jonathan Mosen: Well, immediately you can see that there are nine headings on this page. Whereas with the PDF document that we started with, there were none. Now that said, I did also pass this PDF file through Microsoft Edge’s PDF read and it did a slightly better job. There were two headings on the page. It did find the main heading for the beginning of the content.
But clearly Scribe is rendering a much better structure than either Adobe Reader or the PDF Viewer in Microsoft Edge was rendering. Let’s see if these headings make sense. I’m going to press H.
JAWS: More inclusion. Heading level two. More content. Heading level two. More learning. Heading level two.. Getting from where we are to where we want to be heading level two. Summary. Heading level two. References. Heading level two. Wrapping to top.
Jonathan Mosen: That’s pretty oppressive. What has happened here is that it has taken the original image, not that awful gobbledygook text that we saw at the beginning. It’s taken the image from the PDF file and started over. We’ll go to the top of the page.
JAWS: Browder and Spooner chapter one. Heading level one.
Jonathan Mosen: And then we’ll just continuously read at this point.
JAWS: This document has 14 pages. Document ready. Section I greater access to general curriculum. Heading level one. Chapter one. More content. More learning. More inclusion. Diane M. Brower and Fred Spooner. The bell rings and school begins. We have been invited to visit two of our neighborhood schools. We meander through the chattering students making their way from the buses to their classes. The artwork on the wall includes illustration and pictures of Little Red Riding Hood told from the Big Bad Wolf’s perspective.
Although we know the purpose is to teach the students the characters’ point of view, the pictures and stories make us smile. One of the pictures belongs to Simone, a student with an autism spectrum disorder who participates in the alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards, AAS. She selected her a wolf picture from the internet and filled in sentences by selecting words and pictures. One of my favorite sentences is, the Wolf said, “I was hungry.”
Today, along with other fourth graders, Simone is going to be working on reading paragraphs with fluency and answering apprehension questions about the characters in the story. At first, it may not be clear that Simone is a reader because she is non-verbal, except for some echolalic speech.
Jonathan Mosen: Actually, as far as I can tell, that is 100% perfect. So that’s pretty impressive. Of course, we do have the heading navigation here as well. This renders similarly if you export to other formats. If you download it as a Word document, you will see these same headings as well. If you download to EPUB or similar format, you will see the same document structure. I’m now in Microsoft Outlook because we’ve got mail.
JAWS: Scribe. Browder and Spooner chapter one. Order confirmation.
Jonathan Mosen: So here’s my email from Scribe. I’ll open that email.
JAWS: Read only edit. Hello. Thank you for ordering an on demand augmented document remediation. Link click here to access Browder and Spooner chapter one. Thanks again and we hope you find Scribe useful. The Pneuma Solutions Team.
Jonathan Mosen: We’ll go back up.
JAWS: Blank. Thanks again. Blank. Blank. Link click here to access Browder and Spooner chapter one.
Jonathan Mosen: This is another way for me to get to my document, so I can keep this email if I want to refer to the document. I’ll press enter.
JAWS: Click here to access Browder and Spooner chapter one. Link. Opening new window. Browder and Spooner.
Jonathan Mosen: And I think we will find by this time that if I press B, which is the JAWS quick navigation key to navigate to a button on the page.
JAWS: Mute button.
Jonathan Mosen: Oh, looks like we’ve got some audio.
JAWS: Play button.
Jonathan Mosen: Here’s the play button. I will press the space bar on the play button. We’ll have a listen to what the audio sounds like.
JAWS: Chapter one. More content. More learning. More inclusion. Diane M. Browder and Fred Spooner. The bell rings and school begins. We have been invited to visit two of our neighborhood schools. We meandered through the chattering students making their way from the buses to their classes. The artwork on the wall includes illustrations and pictures of Little Red Riding Hood told from the Big Bad Wolf’s perspective.
Although we know the purpose is to teach the students the characters’ point of view, the pictures and stories make us smile. One of the pictures belongs to Simone, a student with an autism spectrum disorder who participates in the alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards, AAS. She selected her wolf picture from the internet and filled in sentences by selecting words and pictures. One of my favorite sentences is, The Wolf said, “I was ha hungry.”
Today, along with other fourth graders, Simone is going to be working on reading paragraphs with fluency and answering comprehension questions…
Jonathan Mosen: I’ll stop this. I press the space bar on the play button and now we are paused. You can listen in your browser, but most important of all, there is a link here.
JAWS: Link download MP3 file.
Jonathan Mosen: You can download this as an MP3. What this means is that you can take an inaccessible document, render it inaccessible format, and then as icing on the cake really, download the MP3 file and put it into your Victor Reader Stream or an app like Voice Dream Reader read to you by high quality speech. If for some reason you weren’t happy with the remediation of this document, there is a button to request human remediation.
And that’s where a real human takes this document and make sure that it’s fully accessible for you. What I’m going to do now is open Adobe Reader once again.
JAWS: Search box edit. Adobe Acrobat DC App.
Jonathan Mosen: That’s what it’s called. All right. We’ll press enter.
JAWS: Adobe Acrobat Reader DC 64 bit. AV left container. View recent button. Chat.
Jonathan Mosen: And I’m going to press control O.
JAWS: Open dialogue.
Jonathan Mosen: To open a file. I’m going to open the user guide for my Focusrite 8i6 audio interface. Now that is a Scarlett audio interface.
JAWS: Scarlett 8i6 third gen user guide and dot PDF.
Jonathan Mosen: I found it by pressing S in my PDF folder. I’ll press enter to open it.
JAWS: Scarlett 8i6 third gen user guide and dot PDF. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC64 bit. 41 links. Scarlett 8i6.
Jonathan Mosen: This has 41 links and no headings when you render it in Adobe Reader. I’ll perform a say all of this point.
JAWS: Scarlett 8i6 third gen user guide and dot PDF. Three graphic. User guide. 271 graphic. Five graphic. Www.focusrite.com version 1.0. Table of contents. Overview. Introduction. Thank you for purchasing this third generation Scarlett 8i6.
Jonathan Mosen: The first thing you notice is that while it said table of contents, the table of contents was not rendered at the top of the file. I’m may be able to fix that by fooling with some of the options in Adobe Reader. If I press H and navigate by heading.
JAWS: No headings.
Jonathan Mosen: There are no headings. And if I press the JAWS key with F7 to get into my list of links.
JAWS: Links list. Dialogue. Links list. View. [Inaudible 01:30:03] Page five. Six of 41. Http//focusrite.com/getstarted. Page 20. 10 of 41. Overview three. Introduction three.
Jonathan Mosen: Eventually I did find the table of contents and I presume.
JAWS: Introduction three.
Jonathan Mosen: If I press, well, it’s down arrow.
JAWS: Features three. Box contents four.
Jonathan Mosen: And I’ll press enter.
JAWS: New links. Document. Scarlett 8i6 three graphic. User guide.
Jonathan Mosen: It did not actually take me to that link. So not a very good experience. Let’s load it into Microsoft Edge for a comparison.
JAWS: Loading page. Scarlett 8i6. PDF document. Loading has completed.
Jonathan Mosen: Do we have any headings on this page?
JAWS: User guide. Heading level two.
Jonathan Mosen: Yes, we do, but there’s a problem with them. I’ll navigate. These are just the headings. I’m not pressing any other key.
JAWS: Overview. Heading level two. Introduction. Heading level two. Features. Heading level two.
Jonathan Mosen: So far, so good.
JAWS: Box contents along with your Scarlett 8i6 you should find. Heading level two.
Jonathan Mosen: This is where it starts to come unstuck in Microsoft Edge, which is doing better than the Adobe Reader with this file. But you now hear some of the contents bleeding into the heading levels.
JAWS: System requirements. The easiest way to check that your computer’s operating system, OS, is compatible with the Scarlett 8i6 is to use our online OS checker at https//customer.focusrite.com/download. //customer.focusrite.com/download. As new OS versions become available over time, you can continue to check for further compatibility information by searching our help center at https//support.focusrite.com/hc/ngb. Https//support.focusrite.com/hc/ngb. Heading level two.
Jonathan Mosen: Now, I’m sorry to let that go on, but that was all at heading level two. That is not very nice. If I keep navigating.
JAWS: Getting started. Heading level two.
Jonathan Mosen: Some of them are all right.
JAWS: Quick start tool. Heading level two.
Jonathan Mosen: Let’s see if the table of contents is in the right place when we load this with Microsoft Edge I’ll go to the top of the file.
JAWS: Go to any page between one and 26. Edit five. Find control plus F button. Zoom out. Zoom in, more option. Pin tool. Heading level two. User guide. Version one. Table of contents. Overview three. Introduction three. Features three.
Jonathan Mosen: The table of contents is in the right place, but it’s not linked. You can’t jump to those sections when you load it with Microsoft Edge.
JAWS: Box contents four. System requirements four.
Jonathan Mosen: You know what’s there and you can probably navigate by heading. But the trouble is that when you do navigate by heading, you’re going to get a lot of extra verbiage. Now, I don’t know whether Scribe is going to do a better job of this. I haven’t actually tried, so this is a genuine real world demo. It’s not really up to me to sell you this thing. It’s up to me to demonstrate it and see whether it can make a difference. Let’s try putting this document through Scribe and see what we get back. I’m back in that correct tab in Microsoft Edge.
JAWS: Settings button. File button.
Jonathan Mosen: All I have to do is press space on the file button.
JAWS: Open dialogue.
Jonathan Mosen: And I will navigate to my folder of PDF files, and I will go to the Scarlett one.
JAWS: Scarlett 8i6 third gen user guide dot pdf.
Jonathan Mosen: I’ll press enter, and it will upload it.
JAWS: Welcome. Scribe Microsoft Edge. Welcome. Scribe Microsoft Edge page.
Jonathan Mosen: I’ll be interested to see how much of this document it actually renders, so we’ll navigate.
JAWS: Documents. Heading level two. Table with one title. Visited link. Browder and Spooner chapter one.
Jonathan Mosen: It’s remembered that I have this document. And if I have an order number, I can also type that order number into the edit field. If you have a notetaker type device or a notetaker app, you can write down your order numbers and you can have those as a reference. There are all sorts of ways that you can back up your purchases, but I want to navigate to the preview button on the page.
JAWS: Preview button.
Jonathan Mosen: I’ll press space.
JAWS: Loading page. Loading complete. Welcome. Scribe preview button. Two regions. One heading and two links.
Jonathan Mosen: Let’s see how much of this document we have.
JAWS: Wrapping to top. Scarlett 8i6 third gen user guide in. Heading level one. This document has 26 pages. Percent. Preparing preview dot dot dot. Adding image descriptions dot dot dot. Percent. Preview ready.
Jonathan Mosen: You could see because we navigated to that page fairly quickly the progress of the conversion.
JAWS: Link. Learn how you can save money with Scribe augmented document remediation packages. Preview ready. Same page link. Remediate full document. Delete document button. Scan text graphic. Scarlett 8i6. Heading level one. User guide. Diagram graphic. [Inaudible 01:35:22]
Jonathan Mosen: I’m sorry to say it, but wow! You will remember that when we loaded this in Adobe, we got a couple of graphics at the top. And even in this preview, what we can see is that what it’s done is it’s done OCR on those graphics. We can see that this is an image of the 8i6, and we can see the controls that are on the audio interface. It’s pretty impressive.
JAWS: Link www.focusrite.com. Heading level two. Table of contents. Navigation region. Same page link. Overview. Same page link. Introduction.
Jonathan Mosen: And look at this. These are same page links and I will render this document in full so we can check that they work. But right there, neither of these other tools gave us same page links that actually took us to the table of content section.
JAWS: Same page link features. Same page link box contents. Same page link system requirements.
Jonathan Mosen: I’ll see if I can navigate to another heading. I’m not sure how much we have left on the page.
JAWS: Remediate full document heading level two.
Jonathan Mosen: Fair enough. I’m going to do that.
JAWS: Format, read and browser radio button not checked. One of nine.
Jonathan Mosen: I think what I would like in this case is a word version of the document.
JAWS: PDF radio button not checked. Audio radio button not checked. Rail radio button not checked. Downloadable webpage radio button not checked. Apple radio button not checked. Microsoft word radio button not checked. Seven of nine.
Jonathan Mosen: I will choose this radio button.
JAWS: Scarlett 8i6 3rd Gen User Guide and Scribe.
Jonathan Mosen: And now.
JAWS: Customized settings, button collapse, purchase and remediate button.
Jonathan Mosen: We’ll choose the purchase and remediate button. It will tell us how much this cost of course and it’s a 26 page document.
JAWS: Loading page. Purchase and remediate button. Scarlett 8i6 3rd Gen User Guide and Scribe, Scarlett 8i6 3rd Gen User Guide and Scribe. Scarlett 8i6… Visited no headings. Test. Add code button. Pay numerous solutions dollar to card number edit 1000…
Jonathan Mosen: Now we’re at the card number screen again and you can of course save your credit card information if you wish to, to speed this process up. I have paid for this and now I’m on the page.
JAWS: Percent. Pre-processing page eight of 26. Pre-processing page nine of 26.
Jonathan Mosen: And we can see the status going up here. I will pause the recording while the pre-processing continues.
JAWS: Pre-processing page 16 of 26.
Jonathan Mosen: I sat here and watched it all tick over on the webpage but you can close your browser and you will receive an email notification when the conversion process is complete. And remember that it’s not necessary to pay for every version that you want. Once you’ve remediated the document, you can come back at any time and choose another version. Let’s see if we can find the link to download the word version.
JAWS: Document ready. Link learn how you can save… Document link download Microsoft word document.
Jonathan Mosen: I’ll press enter.
JAWS: Loading page. Loading complete. Downloading Scarlett 8i6 3rd Gen User Guide and.docs. 514 kilobytes. Percent. Percent. Downloads completed.
Jonathan Mosen: Let’s go into my downloads folder with Windows Explorer.
JAWS: Download item…
Jonathan Mosen: And it should be at the top.
JAWS: Scarlett 8i6 3rd Gen User Guide and.docs. One of 254.
Jonathan Mosen: I’ll open this and it will open Microsoft word.
JAWS: Opening word, opening word. Scarlett 8i6 3rd Gen User Guide and.docs word.
Jonathan Mosen: I’m going to turn navigation quick keys on in Word by pressing the jaws key with Z.
JAWS: Quick keys on.
Jonathan Mosen: And then we’ll read.
JAWS: Misspelled Scarlett. 8i6, heading level one user guide page break, section two page one, image to image, two, gain, air, inst, Scarlett equals, pad, inst, gain, air, pad, monitor, midi, blank, section three page one. For link www.focusrite.com page break, page two section four, heading level 2 getting started with the third generation Scarlett interface is introduce a new quick start tool. All you need to do is…
Jonathan Mosen: So let’s navigate the table of contents is not at the top that I think it’s probably somewhere.
JAWS: Heading three quick start tool, page three, heading four east Scarlett 8i6 USBD. Heading five select to choose what happens with removable drives. Page four, heading three audio set up in your door. Page seven section seven, heading three examples of usage. Page eight, heading to Focusrite control. No more headings found.
Jonathan Mosen: The headings that it generated were logical and structured. They went down various levels to reflect the importance of the content and the structure and they were clear. They stopped at a sensible place. So it’s a definite improvement and you also get some representation of the scanned image. You get that, no matter how it’s rendered. I rendered that as a word document but if you view it in the browser, if you view it in Adobe Reader it’s much, much better than the original document was. Interestingly, when we got the preview of the document, the table of contents was there and there was same page links to the various parts of the document. When I rendered it fully, they were not there. And that also applied when I viewed the full document in the browser. So there was some discrepancy between what the preview did and what I got.
I think what the preview did was better. So, perhaps that’s just something that is going to be rectified in the testing phase. There are other very impressive things about Scribe as well, including the fact that if you take a multilingual document that hasn’t been marked up correctly, it will add the correct markup so that your text to speech engine will change appropriately and render the language correctly. For example, if you are in Canada, English and French are both official languages of Canada. So it’s quite common to see English and French rendered in the same document. And if the document hasn’t been marked up correctly, then you have French often being read by your English text to speech voice which doesn’t sound good at all Scribe can take care of all of that as well. So, that’s an introduction to Scribe. You may like to put it through its paces by taking documents from the web.
Often you find that a page is largely accessible but then they put an image in the middle there. So you might like to try sending that to Scribe, you can try showing various documents at it and see how well it does. Obviously there are free solutions that do most of these things but whether they do them as well is the point. And if you’re looking for a really high quality rendering of a document, then this is definitely worth a look. And of course, we’ve got the human remediation option as well if you need the documents to be absolutely pristine.
For those of us who need to get the job done no matter how we get it done, we know we can’t wait for the world to become accessible. We have needs right now and this is another tool that can help us meet those needs. If you want to kick the tires and find out more about it, you can go from the 15th of November onwards to Scribeit.io. And remember that you can also install a browser extension for Firefox and Chromium compatible browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Brave. Thanks to Numa Solutions for giving me a sneak peek of this service.
Speaker 2: What’s on your mind? Send an email with a recording of your voice or just write it down. email@example.com. That’s J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N@mushroomfm.com or phone our listener line. The number in the United States is 864 60 Mosen. That’s 864 60 667 36.
Scott: Hi, Jonathan. It’s Scott from Arizona. I still use Digit-eyes to this day. It’s still very handy. I use it mainly to identify soda cans where you just roll the can slowly and have your phone towards the bottom of the can and roll it. Lay it down on a table and roll it slowly. And it’s usually pretty good about identifying soda cans and also cereal boxes and other snack boxes of different things. So, it still comes in very handy for a barcode ID.
Petra: Jonathan it’s Petra. I use Digit-eyes all the time. It works very well for me. I have their tags that you can get from them and they can be glued on the top of your containers where you might be saving your leftovers or putting something in a container. They are dishwasher and washing machine safe. I have those. I also use just my phone and love it. It works great. They suggested when I go shopping to have my cited help put a piece of clear scotch tape over the barcode. So, there’s something actually tactile that you can feel and be able to locate the barcode more easily on a can of food or a box, whatever. Oftentimes the Digit-eyes app will actually even read the cooking directions and ingredients and whatnot. So I happen to love the Digit-eyes people a lot. They’re wonderful and it works on iOS 15 just fine. So, I think they’re keeping it up to date. They may just not have any new features but if it works, why fix it? Great show. Love it. Be listening. Have a wonderful day.
Jonathan Mosen: Thank you to Scott and Petra for those Digit-eyes testimonials. I do remember having some great email dialogue with Nancy from Digit-eyes many years ago now. And she was able to import for me a bunch of New Zealand barcodes. And so suddenly the Digit-eyes app came alive. To be fair I have not used it for a while and I have it on my phone so I will try it again. It sounds like it’s still around and still being supported. You’re right Petra. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? But I suppose the one danger is that people think if this app hasn’t been updated for a wee while then it could be abandonware. But it sounds like in the case of Digit-eyes, that is not what’s happened.
As we talk Apple things, let’s hear an email from Tom Reynolds who says “Hello, Jonathan. First of all thank you so much for all that you do and your continued excellent contributions. I eagerly look forward to your weekly podcasts on Saturdays here in Southern California because I know they will always be informative in some way”. Thank you Tom. That’s very generous. “I wanted to confirm an issue that was mentioned in your most recent podcast by a listener. It has to do with the ability to send an attachment via text messaging under iOS 15.1 to non-Apple devices even if both the SMS and MMS options are turned on as they are by default. You cannot send a brief audio message, PDF document, et cetera under these circumstances. A notification informing you that there was a send message failure will result. You can at the same time successfully send equivalent text messages with attachments to Apple devices. And you can also send normal text messages to non Apple devices as long as they don’t include attachments.
I’ll take this up with Apple accessibility shortly. One exception seems to be the ability to send an attached audio message that was created within the voice memos app. I’d also like to quickly share my thoughts concerning the new quick settings feature in iOS 15. Generally speaking, there are three types of settings. Those you change frequently, those you change once in a blue moon and those you never change. Parameters that you change frequently should be put in the rotor. Those settings that you change every now and then should be put in quick settings. And those settings you never change should be hidden in both the rotor and quick settings so that you don’t change them accidentally. Thanks again Jonathan and keep up the great work”.
Pete is writing in and says, “Hi Jonathan. Thanks for your comprehensive work on Chromebooks. I have been interested in these devices for a while as my children use them at school. I thought some people might be interested in my roots or accessing Chrome OS. I have been looking at a way to use an old windows seven machine which was painfully slow and would have struggled to move to windows 10. I found some YouTube videos and details on cloud Ready OS from Neverwhere now apparently part of Google. This company and I think some others have created a version of Chrome OS using the open source Chromium OS. It works on an X86 based machine so it can be installed on an old PC. The creation tool works with screen readers, I used Narrator and using this, you can create an installation USB drive. This can then be plugged into the new machine and run from the drive to see if it works. If you are happy, you can then install onto the machine’s hard drive.
I needed some cited assistance to access the install link but once in, ChromeVox works. Pretty much everything else appears as it does in your demo. For context, I installed it on a 2010 Sony Vaio with one gigabyte of memory and a Celeron processor I think. I can’t recall. Some sited assistance might be needed if you need to access the machines bios to ensure it will try to boot from USB before it’s hard disk. The software also potentially runs on old Intel based max. I have a 2008 iMac which might get the treatment. My wife also has a 2013 MacBook but as I am also looking to try to learn Linux, I am hoping one of those might make a Linux machine. I understand there are a couple of accessible distros of Linux which have been designed for blind and partially cited people. When or if I get brave enough to have a go, I’ll let you know results.
I will say that cloud ready does not support the Google Play Store. And although I understand that the developer Linux support is available I don’t have it on my machine. This I think is down to my machine’s inability to support virtual machines, et cetera. I was hoping to install things like Libra Office, et cetera. I think there might also be some challenges here as the Linux screen reader Orca may be needed. I’ll be interested to see what web based productivity apps other than Google are around. I tried Office online briefly but didn’t have much fun. If anyone has or can get access to an old machine then this could be a really cost effective way to breathe some new life into it. CloudReady can be downloaded and is free for home use. For someone who only has light usage it might be all they need. Better still it gets an old PC off the recycling heap for a while and back into use”.
Pete continues “With regard to camera apps for iOS users, I have to be honest I have dropped a great deal of seeing AI use as just starting the camera from the lock screen gives so much detail including OCR for spot reading that I often don’t need it. I have also found the barcode scanner has dropped off a little. If anyone has free alternatives, I will be interested. We use Surfshark to access U.S. TV and have been playing cat and mouse with IMDB TV for a while. Surfshark are quite responsive and when they find a server that works, they post it. My wife tends to be the one who uses this more than me. I don’t know where they put the details up but perhaps reach out to the support team and they will let you know where to look”.
Now the question says Pete. “I have finally got used to Braille screen input but find starting from the rotor a nuisance. I know I can change its position. However, do you know of a way to start it with say a triple back tap or any custom gesture? Thanks for a great podcast”. Well thank you for writing in Pete. No, I don’t believe that what you want to do is possible because at the moment Braille screen input is intrinsically linked to the rotor. The reason for that is that if you want to make corrections, you do have to Rotor out of Braille Screen Input, navigate to where you want to be, make your correction and then rotor back into Braille screen input if you want to continue typing. So I don’t see under the current user interface how they could separate Braille screen input from the rotor.
And Theresa Cochran is writing in and says “Hi Jonathan. I’m new to the podcast”. Well, welcome Theresa. “But I’ve been listening to you on Mushroom FM and ACB”. Oh you go way back. “I really like the podcast format. Sort of a grab bag various ideas and topics which is how my mind works. I laughed out loud when you invoked the soup drinker. That should be one of its wake words. I appreciate the Chromebook tutorial. I have worked as an access tech trainer and I love playing with tech toys. I may consider getting one as an inexpensive option if the need arises. Right now I’m pretty embedded in the Apple verse. A question for you on the Chromebook. I didn’t notice any hearing settings in the accessibility category. In fairness, my Mac is older and doesn’t connect to hearing aids. Does the Chromebook have this capability? I switched to an iPhone SE from an Android phone because of hearing aid compatibility issues. Thanks so much for doing what you do”.
Well, thank you Theresa. Great to hear from you and I hope you’ll continue to download the podcast. All the accessibility settings we’ve already explored. This is one of the reasons why whenever I get new hearing aid technology, I always make sure that my aids are compatible with a direct audio input cable. The cables have a special connector that is unique to hearing aids. I think they call it a Euro connector. So, what happens is that often you get a special battery door that goes on your hearing aids and there’s a little Euro plug there, a socket that you can plug the cable into. You plug one cable into each aid and it’s a splitter cable. It terminates in a 3.5 millimeter jack. And actually I have it plugged in right now to my mixer. I plug it into the headphone jack of my laptop.
I use this thing all the time. And before I got made for iPhone compatible hearing aids, I used to use it in my iPhone as well which is one of the reasons why the headphone jack’s removal was so impactful for me. And I still use it sometimes because unfortunately I have found handoff between Apple devices really unreliable. It could be that my original iPad Pro is getting a bit old but I’m reluctant to update my iPad just to try and find out whether it fixes the issue. I cannot reliably get my hearing aids to hand over. So, my hearing aids are paired to my iPhone 12 Promax.
Yes. I really did not get any iPhone 13. It wasn’t worth it for me. And when I switch my iPhone off, what’s supposed to happen because I have them paired with the iPad as well is that when I switch the iPad on, when I wake it up from sleep, it should take over the hearing aids and I should be able to hear voiceover from the iPad and then when I lock the iPad screen, maybe give it a couple of seconds and then turn the iPhone back on the iPhone should take over. That’s how it’s supposed to work and for me it does not. So, made for iPhone hearing aids and their implementation with Apple for me have some serious constraints. So, until that goes away and until I find a zero latency way to work with my mixer which is also really important when you’re editing audio and talking a lot, then I’ll keep my direct audio input cable.
And once again, that music Heralds another edition of the famous Bonnie bulletin with the famous Bonnie Mosen. Welcome to you Bonnie.
Bonnie Mosen: Hi guys.
Jonathan Mosen: If people can hear any noise and I’m hoping that the noise reduction algorithms will take care of it. But if not, it’s because it’s a ferociously windy day out there.
Bonnie Mosen: It is. We’re under gale force warnings and heavy rain for the weekend. So welcome to monsoon season.
Jonathan Mosen: Yep. So, noise reduction do your stuff. We don’t have monsoons in New Zealand.
Bonnie Mosen: Typhoon season.
Jonathan Mosen: No, we don’t have those either. Bah. Now I want to ask you first of all because people will be interested about the famous Eclipse who is actually here as we speak.
Bonnie Mosen: She is doing well. As many of you know she had surgery this week to remove a cancerous tumor, a mass cell tumor on her ankle. So, she went into surgery Tuesday, came home late Tuesday afternoon. I don’t think she was as fussy as she was when she had the original biopsy a couple weeks ago.
Jonathan Mosen: No. I don’t think so either.
Bonnie Mosen: No, she was on some pretty good pain meds. She had a fentanyl patch on her tail and she was on some pain meds and she is doing really well. She got the bandage off yesterday and the fentanyl patch off her tail and..
Jonathan Mosen: Now she’s got a bald spot on her tail.
Bonnie Mosen: She has a bald spot. When the vet was taking the patch off, she was watching. She was very concerned. What are you doing to my tail now? Are you taking it off? And then when he took it off she inspected her tail to see, Hmm. But she’s half golden retriever so her tail’s very fluffy. Half of her tail’s very fluffy now and the rest is bald. And then you have this fluffy spot up at the top. So, it looks funny.
Jonathan Mosen: Like a jaded rope.
Bonnie Mosen: Yeah, exactly. It’s like a furry rope that’s ropey in the middle. It’s very strange. It looks like one of her toys or something but I hope in the fur grows back because she does like to wag her tail and she has a nice furry tail. It’s very cute but it’s very bushy at the bottom and bald at the top. But she’s doing well. We don’t have the results back yet but hopefully that’ll be next week and she gets her stitches out next week. If the margins are clear, she’s good. Just monitor. If the margins are not clear, it’s probably going to be chemo for a few months.
Jonathan Mosen: Pam Quinn was writing an email which I read on the Mosen explosion which you can hear every weekday at 2:00 AM and 2:00 PM Eastern here on Mushroom FM. Or not here but on Mushroom FM. And Pam Quinn said that she had heard that chemo isn’t quite as energy sapping for dogs.
Bonnie Mosen: Yes, yes, yes.
Jonathan Mosen: So that’s good.
Bonnie Mosen: Yeah, that it doesn’t affect them the same way it affects humans.
Jonathan Mosen: Now our topic today, one of anyway is this question of the visual description. Hi, I’m Jonathan Mosen and today I’m wearing… And I’m a Caucasian male. What do you think of this?
Bonnie Mosen: It’s a bit much. I can see giving your pronouns because sometimes you honestly can’t tell. And if it’s a name that’s androgenous like Chris or Terry or Pat or Kim, Sean. Something like that.
Jonathan Mosen: Ashley’s another one. When I was a boy only blokes were called Ashley.
Bonnie Mosen: In the U.S. it’s only Ashley Wilkes, the Gone With The Wind character Ashley. That was the only male Ashley I knew of. All the others were girls.
Jonathan Mosen: Oh, okay. Well, it was the opposite when I was a boy. All the Ashleys were guys. You don’t subscribe to the notion that if the information is visually accessible to someone with working eyeballs, then we should be given access to it too?
Bonnie Mosen: Well, it depends on the zoom. If you’ve got 40 people on a zoom call, it’s going to take up the entire 40 minutes for everybody to describe themselves. And most of the time on zoom calls I’m on, no one introduces themselves.
Jonathan Mosen: Aren’t you curious about what people look like?
Bonnie Mosen: Well, if I’m curious and there are certain zoom calls where I am curious about what people are wearing, I ask. I just say what was Phil wearing? Because Phil’s known to wear Hawaiians shirts a lot or something. So, I might ask was Phil wearing that today? But it’s not something I really think about.
Jonathan Mosen: Is that easier for a woman to do though? If a guy says what was she wearing? Would that come across as creepy?
Bonnie Mosen: No. Not in my mind.
Jonathan Mosen: I don’t know. And then of course, why limit it to zoom meetings? A sighted person can see a lot more from head to toe of a person when they’re in a physical meeting. So, are people going to describe themselves from head to toe in a physical meeting from now on?
Bonnie Mosen: I don’t know. It’s just not something I really think about. It really isn’t. I’ve had sight before so a lot of times I’m just imagining what people look like.
Jonathan Mosen: But your imagination could be completely wrong. I get this on the radio. When I was on the radio full time, people thought I was super tall. And when they found out that I was blind, I wouldn’t mention it all the time but if it came out, if it was relevant in some way, I wouldn’t hide it either. And the switchboards would light up with people who say, oh, you don’t sound blind.
Bonnie Mosen: Yeah. So what is sounding blind?
Jonathan Mosen: I don’t know but people’s imaginations can be wrong.
Bonnie Mosen: But I don’t know. It’s just I’d just rather get on with the meeting.
Jonathan Mosen: Why not though?
Bonnie Mosen: If you do that, it’s going to take forever.
Jonathan Mosen: Well, who cares? Isn’t that equitable access to information?
Bonnie Mosen: Yeah. But I guess my thing is from what I’ve understood from sighted people, you can barely see people on Zoon anyway.
Jonathan Mosen: Right. So, if you’re looking at someone on zoom, all you really got is a headshot on zoom. So, I think it is fair that you only describe what’s visible in the camera. And also if you’re on an audio call, don’t do it. If you’re on an audio conference call no one can see anybody. So there’s no need to do it then. But equally, I think it’s interesting to just explore this if you’re in a physical meeting and someone can see. Why not describe how you look?
Bonnie Mosen: I don’t know. It’d interesting to see how many people would actually be comfortable with it. Whether they be blind or sighted.
Jonathan Mosen: If you can look at somebody and see what they look like, why would anybody be uncomfortable about making sure that those deprived of that information visually… They’re not giving anything extra away. They’re just disclosing what somebody can see with a human eye.
Bonnie Mosen: I don’t know. A lot of people have trouble describing things. Lot of sighted people that I know have a lot of trouble. Oh, I’m wearing this old ratty tardy shirt. I don’t know. It’s old and faded and… I don’t know. It’s not something that particularly… My world is not going to come to a screeching halt if people don’t come on board with this.
Jonathan Mosen: No, I find it really interesting though.
Bonnie Mosen: It is interesting. Yeah. But it’s…
Jonathan Mosen: And if we audio describe TV, why don’t we audio describe real life? I guess that makes some context out of the old Aira. They had the slogan for a while. The description of life.
Bonnie Mosen: But even in audio description, they don’t always do that.
Jonathan Mosen: No, you’re right. They don’t.
Bonnie Mosen: They don’t always do that.
Jonathan Mosen: And I actually think that audio description is lacking in that regard because sometimes I am interested in what the characters are wearing.
Bonnie Mosen: Well, example the show that I’m watching on Apple TV right now, Invasion, which I’m not sure if I recommend or not but I’ve gotten hooked into it so I’m curious to see what happens. Well, it’s about different people. It’s in real time of alien invasion of earth basically. And it follows different people. And one is this family from New York and they are obviously either Indian or Arab because it’s Anisha, Ahmed and they have Arab sounding or Indian sounding names. So, I assume they are but there’s never been any description of she’s a brown woman or he’s a brown man and the same thing there’s some people in..
Jonathan Mosen: But she is the brown haired woman. Isn’t she?
Bonnie Mosen: She was the brown head woman now she has a name Anisha. But she could just be a Caucasian brown haired woman.
Jonathan Mosen: Yeah. Well that’s true.
Bonnie Mosen: But she did say…
Jonathan Mosen: See. So..
Bonnie Mosen: And then one of the Japanese characters is blonde.
Jonathan Mosen: I love to hear from you so if you have any comments you want to contribute to the show drop me an email written down or with an audio attachment to Jonathan J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N@mushroomfm.com. If you’d rather call in, use the listener line number in the United States, 864 606 6736.