Hello tech nerds,
Well, the days of snapshot NVDA for my current system are over and done. I’m happy to report that 2015.3 will be used now, and that’s what I’m typing this post on. Please check out the What’s New system of your NVDA menus, blind geek folks out there.
For years, I’ve told you this, guys, but for years I wanted a better solution and that I wanted access to the same info as sighted people get. I mean, for you sighted peoples, how many times do you often wonder how we read books, of all things? The saddest excuse for not teaching Braille to our young blind is the most pathetic: technology. Computer speech can do wonders, I admit, but reading is reading and reading and writing are important to the human experience.
NVDA does have Braille support, and if I could get a Braille display, I would be so happy. Sadly, the displays cost the consumer too much, and price gouging is common in the blindness technology market. Freedom Scientific to my knowledge has been notorious for making JAWS for Windows, its Blazie products, and many other things overpriced so that agencies are the only way even a poorer blind person can have equal access to information and media content.
Thus, I believe the founders of NV Access have struck gold. I want to praise the guys in Queensland who have worked tirelessly and thought of others consistently. You guys rock, totally. Australians all should be pouring in to your headquarters and whatever else you have, but I still want to point out some stuff. For one, why base it in a faraway place? Why not expand and seek out ways to communicate more effectively with the people you’re servicing? I am an American citizen, I live worlds away from the NV Access people, and I would hate to use Skype credit. I like Skype for its ease of use and flexible way of making sharing the moments in my life a success. But having left the NVDA founders in Australia, I think we need to try putting up a central HQ in America for the American consumer. Why not!
First, I would think Chicago in the midwest would be an ideal place for headquartering a branch of NVDA’s arm in America. We would provide a phone number, one toll free and another specific one that isn’t 800 or whatever but has a way for Americans to reach a person, not just a Twitter client or whatever. There’s something refreshing about being on the phone with a real blind geek who can help you get through your tech troubles.
What NVDA has done for me is endless. I seriously love the light amounts of memory, open source resources, an flexible pimping out that this thing does. To you sighted people, NVDA may seem like just another program. But take a look at the things I am able to do as a result of any screen access software:
- I can read emails. So if you email me, I can read and reply.
- I can type Word documents, which was an essential thing with university papers. The latest versions of Word allow you to click Styles, then throw in the details, and then voila and Eureka! The style is perfect. For instance, I want to write a paper in Chicago style for a history professor, and he knows all about the formatting. I can use Word’s bibliography tool like the other students do to compose the single spaced section with works cited in the paper. Like a god student should, I can do a lot with some forms of formatting. I can change the font and size of a document, and yes, even emoticons are important now in expressing oneself in a text portion of a small document.
- I can keep charts and graphs in Excel. I have yet to experiment with a budgetary pie chart. I like the idea of a pie chart because each section of the pie is representative with a number, and the roundness of pie is always the norm. Charts can also be of great use to companies and their proposals. Hey, my friend is a CPA and she has the magic in her to play with numbers. Any set of numbers she seems to touch turns to gold. Remember the song about the guy who takes music and whatever track he touches turns to gold? The same thing applies to her numbers. IF my friend had the numbers spoken aloud to her, and if she had to use the software I use, it would be equivalent to her performing job duties she already does. She is a tax person, an accountant who does nothing but crunch numbers and Excel helps with that process. Want to know more?
- NVDA is also slick and can be made portable from the installer one downloads. I can click a USB thumb drive into any hard drive computer and boom! It can be made usable by the blind. I could move to a second work station if required by my job. Think of how my employers would view me while I use NVDA Portable on a USB drive. I could go to my own account. What I am wondering, of course, is whether the boss could have put Narrator on the sign in screen just for the sign in process. But afterwards, I can throw NVDA on the thing and away I’d go.
- NVDA and a computer allows me to read bank stuff, and with the new Windows 10 stuff, I could potentially download apps that have value. No games, just the ones I can take for a while. NVDA does allow me to play some games, but those games are freeware and I should do a whole separate post on my favorite one, the RS Games Client. It’s got a lot of good stuf in there, and NVDA works with it. I enjoy making moments on those games with a friend. I remember lots of times my boyfriend would play with me and beat me at such games as Farkle, Uno, and maybe I could bankrupt him in Monopoly, all without having to use a humongous board. The enormity of a game board is something I could never fathom. Since I have no room for board stuff here, I can log on and play games virtually with friends any time using RS Games. While I do believe Microsoft had intended to embed Candy Crush Saga on my computer, I see it as Evil. I can’t stand the concepts behind Candy Crush myself, and the victims of this crushed candy land are older or younger women, moms, dads, children. Even a former friend’s mom plays it. I am personally a sworn enemy of the game itself, but I don’t see a purpose behind the weird games. Candy Crush Saga has gotten too much attention here, so I’m done ranting.
- NVDA has scripting capabilities, and you can pimp out your voice synthesis engines like never before. JAWS has that, but at a lot more money.
- While the good boys at Serotek have created a virtual monster when they invented System Access, and I mean that as a compliment because I have Serotek reps on my page on Facebook, I do believe their stuff is the best top of the line stuff in the world. I would use SA Mobile or SA To Go, but I enjoy listening more than anything to the podcasts. Serotek is a company, but above that, they have been a phenomenon. They are the best source of tech news anywhere, forget my friend in Florida. I have plenty of debate topics Serotek could throw out there. Like this: is it wise to kill a disabled child because you as the anguished mom feel that she’s in pain? Does it matter anymore? I don’t think anyone should play God, but that’s a different post for a different time. But that’s an example of Serotek’s forum debate stuff, and they have made a huge footprint in the blindness market. I love their stuff and the access to entertainment makes my life more meaningful along with thousands of others. NVDA can read some if not all of the stuff I’m looking for. Haven’t seen much in the way of movie updates, and I am dying to see the Giver described. I love the book, and with NVDA I could read such a book if available. I don’t understand Nook being the way it is. Barnes and Noble have created a good thing.
- NVDA is amazingly flexible. And lighter than JFW. I said this a billion times. But I will say this: NVDA has literally saved my faith in technology, but it hasn’t changed my viewpoint on literacy for blind children or adults. All must become literate in order for them to succeed in life, period.