GTT New Westminster Meeting Summary Notes, JAWS and NVDA OCR, November 28, 2018 with Link to Podcast Episode

Get Together with Technology (GTT)

New Westminster Meeting

A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind

in partnership with

Blind Beginnings

Vancouver Community College

And

Canadian Assistive Technology

Summary Notes

November 28, 2018

Theme: JAWS and NVDA OCR Link to Podcast Recording

Presenters: Matthew Alvernaz, matalvernaz@me.com and Albert Ruel, Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net

Apps Demonstrated and Discussed:

This is an older recording from November 2018 that we thought could still assist those who are struggling to access PDF and other graphical images from their PCs.

Matthew Alvernaz and Albert Ruel demonstrated the use of the JAWS Layered Keystrokes to scan and read printed documents, convert PDF files to text, and how to access some graphics on the computer screen.  These features have been available to JAWS users since version 14.

NVDA OCR features were also discussed and demonstrated by Matthew.  NVDA may work better at this task with the OCR Add-on installed in order to provide access to PDF files with the keystroke NVDA/Insert R.

 

NVDA Download Page:

NVDA OCR Download Page: Important: if you are using NVDA 2017.3 or later on Windows 10, please consider using buit-in Windows 10 OCR.

Performs optical character recognition (OCR) to extract text from an object which is inaccessible. The Tesseract OCR engine is used. To perform OCR, move to the object in question using object navigation and press NVDA+r. You can set the OCR recognition language by going to the NVDA settings panel and selecting

JAWS For Windows Download Page:

JAWS Layered Keystrokes for OCR: Layered keystrokes are keystrokes that require you to first press and release INSERT+SPACEBAR, and then press a different key to perform a function in JAWS. Layered keystrokes are easy to use and remember, and they do not interfere with native keystrokes within applications.

Kurzweil Scan and Read for PDF Conversion: Kurzweil 1000 combines traditional reading machine technologies such as scanning, image processing, and text-to-speech with communication and productivity tools.

Openbook Scan and Read for PDF Conversion: OpenBook converts printed documents or graphic-based text into an electronic text format on your PC, using high-quality speech and the latest optical character recognition (OCR) technology. OpenBook is innovative software designed to enhance success for people who are blind or have low vision who need access to printed and electronic materials. OpenBook and the PEARL document camera create a complete scanning and reading system for work, home, and school.

For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:

 

Albert Ruel                   or                             Kim Kilpatrick

1-877-304-0968,550                                    1-877-304-0968,513

albert.GTT@CCBNational.net                   GTTProgram@Gmail.com

 

CCB Backgrounder:

 

The CCB was founded in 1944 by a coalition of blind war veterans, schools of the blind and local chapters to create a national self-governing organization. The CCB was incorporated by Letters Patent on May 10, 1950 and is a registered charity under the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada).

The purpose of the CCB is to give people with vision loss a distinctive and unique perspective before governments.  CCB deals with the ongoing effects of vision loss by encouraging active living and rehabilitation through peer support and social and recreational activities.

CCB promotes measures to conserve sight, create a close relationship with the sighted community and provide employment opportunities.

 

The CCB recognizes that vision loss has no boundaries with respect to gender, income, ethnicity, culture, other disabilities or age.

The CCB understands in many instances vision loss is preventable and sometimes is symptomatic of other health issues.  For the 21st century, the CCB is committed to an integrated proactive health approach for early detection to improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

As the largest membership organization of the blind and partially sighted in Canada the CCB is the “Voice of the Blind™”.

 

CCB National Office

100-20 James Street Ottawa ON  K2P 0T6

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968 Email: info@ccbnational.net URL: www.ccbnational.net

 

GTT Beginners National Conference Call Summary Notes, NVDA Session One, January 22, 2019

GTT Beginners National Conference Call

The NVDA Screen Reader, Session One

 

Summary Notes

 

January 22, 2019

 

What is NVDA,

NVDA is a screen reader.

 

What does NVDA stand for.

Non visual desktop access.

 

Where do i get NVDA.

You can do a google search for NVDA free download or you can go to NVaccess.org and hit enter on the download which will take you to a donate page and if you hit the up arrow on the thirty dollar field you will see it change to not this time, now tab twice to download now.

Remember that NVDA relies on donations so if you can afford it send a donation to support and they also have a tutorial and language pack you can purchase.

 

During the install process you will get the option to select capslock as the NVDA modifier key; by default the insert key is the modifier key.

To get into the menu after completing the instal press the NVDA key and the letter n at the same time then down arrow  which will be preference, then right arrow to settings and hit enter.  You are now into a tree view of all your NVDA settings.

 

In the tree view the first item is general, use the tab key to go through the items for your general settings.

To move to different settings, ie from general to speech, use the down arrow.

 

 

Now lets talk a little about addons. An addon allows you to enhance NVDA.  You can get add ons at the following link,

https://addons.nvda-project.org/index.en.html

The first add on you should install is the windows 10 essential, after you have downloaded the add on just go to your download folder and install it as you would any program or app.

 

Now lets go back to the NVDA settings,

Below preferences

You will have tools and right arrow and up arrow to addons. There you will see all the addons you have installed and there you can uninstall or disable the ones you wish. We will expand on our next call.

 

Ok if you are not bored to death yet lets talk about shortcut keys, don’t run away just yet i will only give you a few and you can go to the user guide for specific ones.

To start NVDA, control+alt+N

To close NVDA, NVDA+Q

To learn what keys do what and learn your keyboard layout, NVDA+1.

To put NVDA in sleep mode, handy for applications with built inreaders, NVDA+S.

To wake up NVDA, NVDA+S twice.

To check battery level, NVDA+shift+B.

To check the time and date, NVDA+F12 will give you the time, press twice for the date.

 

I hope this was helpfull and join us February 26th for our NVDA beginners session part 2.

 

GTT WordPress Blog, Facebook and Twitter Feeds:

 

If you wish to follow the CCB-GTT Groups now starting to gather all over Canada, you can do so by registering your email address as follows.  Registering will have you receiving each announcement in your email inbox without any effort on your part.

 

Here’s how to register:

 

  1. Point your Web Browser to,

www.GTTProgram.Blog

  1. Find the link near the bottom of the Web Page called “Follow” and press the Enter Key.
  2. This will take you to a page where you may type in your email address.
  3. Tab to the “Sign Me Up” Button and Press the Space Bar or Enter Key. This will prompt the sending of a message to the email address provided.
  4. Launch your Email Program and find an email message from the GTT Program Blog and open it.
  5. Scroll through the message to find the Confirm Link and Press the Enter Key.
  6. This will take you to the GTT Program Blog and should display a message confirming that you have been successfully registered to receive ongoing Blog Posts.

 

Congratulations!  You’re part of the GTT Team.    Welcome aboard.

 

To stay in touch with the CCB and GTT on Twitter please follow the three Twitter Feeds listed below:

 

@GTTWest @GTTProgram @CCBNational

 

To see what GTT is up to across Canada, and to ask your burning questions you can become a member of the Facebook Group at:

 

https://m.facebook.com/groups/414313508657159?refid=27

 

For more information please contact:

 

Albert Ruel on the West Coast:                   or          Kim Kilpatrick in Ottawa

Email: Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net                              Email: gttprogram@gmail.com

Or Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968

 

 

 

GTT Toronto Summary Notes, NVDA Session One, November 15, 2018

Summary Notes

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group

November 15, 2018

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

In Partnership with the CNIB

 

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Toronto Group was held on Thursday, November 15 at the CNIB Community Hub.

 

*Note: Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading.

 

November Topic: NVDA Session One

 

GTT Toronto Meeting Summary Notes can be found at this link:

 

Ian White (Facilatator, GTT)

Jason Fayre (Presenter, CNIB)

Chris Malec (Note taker)

 

Ian opened the meeting:

The meeting began with a roundtable discussion. A member is getting a new computer soon, and asked about what software is compatible with what. Jason answered that Jaws 2018 and Office 365 work well together, as do Office and NVDA. For browsers, Microsoft Edge isn’t quite there yet in terms of accessibility. Chrome is quite reliable, and Internet Explorer is increasingly not useful. It’s not being updated, so it can’t support new web technologies. It’s really important, if you can, to keep your screen reader up-to-date, because browsers and websites are constantly being updated. Office 365 updates monthly for example. The latest version of Jaws is 2019, which came out two weeks ago. Jaws has always done the typical upgrade system, where you can purchase a maintenance agreement that gives you the next two upgrades. In the U.S. they’re going to an annual subscription fee around $60, which gives you regular upgrades. This plan isn’t in Canada yet.

Jason then demonstrated the small speaker he will be using for his presentation. It’s called an Anker SoundCore Mini. It’s about the size of a tennis ball, and they’re quite cheap, $30 on Amazon. Anker makes iPhone chargers and speakers. It’s Bluetooth enabled, has an audio jack, an FM radio built in, and a micro SD slot. It has a really good battery life too.

Jason also demonstrated a new type of Bluetooth keyboard available for the iPhone, called a Tap keyboard. You wear it on your hand. It looks like five rings connected by a cable, and goes on your thumb and each finger. You type by using defined gestures, tapping on a hard surface. For example, each finger is a vowel, and other letters are made by various finger combinations. It’s possible to get quite fast with it. It’s fully accessible. It’s useful for typing on the go. It’s about $200 off Amazon. The company is called Tap Systems. There were some blind people involved in designing it. It allows you to type with one hand. It has a VoiceOver mode, so that you can control your phone with it. It’s gotten a lot of mainstream press related to virtual reality systems. A member asked about the best browser to use with Jaws. Jason said Chrome is the safest, but that FireFox works well too. There was an issue with FireFox for a couple of weeks, but it’s resolved now. Compatibility can be a problem; FireFox won’t work with Jaws16 for example.

 

 

Primary Presentation, NVDA:

Ian introduced the topic. NVDA is an acronym for Non-Visual Desktop Access. According to their website, it was the idea of a couple of Australian developers who have vision loss. They wanted to design a free screen reader as a social justice cause; many people in the developing world need screen readers, but can’t afford what was available. Whole sectors of the populations were cut off from computer technology. They decided to build an open-source screen reader, so that anyone who wants to, can add content. It’s available as a free download. They now occupy about 31% of the screen reader market globally.. Jaws has about 48%. This trend has been steady. It’s been translated into 43 languages, and is being used in 128 countries world wide, by millions of users. They do ask for donations if you’re able, because that helps keep it going. The updates come automatically, and are free as well.

Jason discussed making the topic of NVDA a multi-evening topic, in order to focus on different aspects of using it.

You can find NVDA at NVAccess.com or dot org. From the site, there’s a download link. When you do this, the first screen asks for donations, either one-time, or on-going. The default is a one-time $30 donation, so you need to find the button on the page that says “I don’t want to donate at this time.” You have to have Windows7 or better to run it. NVDA is labelled by year, then by version, so that NVDA 2018.3 is the third release for this year. There are usually four releases per year.

Jason then demonstrated the installation process. In response to a member question, Jason said that you can also download it to something like a Microsoft Surface. It does have limited touch control. It works on Windows only, not Apple or Linyx. The installation process is a series of simple steps, and then a very short installation time compared to Jaws. Jaws typically takes 5-10 minutes, and NVDA took less than a minute. Once you start the installer, NVDA will talk to you in its own voice during the install.

A dialogue comes up inviting you to configure. You’ll be asked which keyboard layout you want to use: laptop or desktop. The desktop layout uses a numeric keypad for many functions. Laptop mode uses other key combinations, assuming you don’t have a numeric keypad. If you’re installing it as your primary screen reader, check the box that says to load automatically when starting your system.

You are then asked about whether you will allow data collection about your use of NVDA, for development purposes.

The voice that came up in Jason’s demo was the default Microsoft voice. This is new. E-Speak, the voice that used to come up had a well-earned reputation for being intolerable. Though unpleasant to some, E-Speak has lightning-fast response times and speech rate compared to the Microsoft voice.

There are other options for voices. You can buy add-ons for around $100, that will allow you to use Eloquence or Vocalizer voices, some of the voices you might be used to from Jaws or on your iPhone. You could have Apple Samantha as your default NVDA voice. Even within Microsoft there are a few passable voice options.

Many navigation functions will remain the same, because they’re Windows hotkeys with no relationship to the screen reader. You can adjust the speech rate from within NVDA preferences, or there’s a shortcut keystroke.

There’s a quick-help mode that you can activate with insert1. The help mode is a toggle, and it’s the same keystroke as Jaws. NVDA has tried to reproduce as many of the same keystrokes as they could.

If you go to the NVDA menu under help, there’s a quick reference section. This brings up a webpage with all NVDA commands. All of the commands are reassignable. There’s also a “what’s new” section, and a user guide.

NVDA works with a good range of braille displays.

It will work with all the major applications that you’re likely to use. In terms of browsers, you’re still better off with Chrome or FireFox.

 

There are built-in sound effects to indicate actions like pop-up windows. The level of announcements you get is configurable. Navigation commands within documents are the same as Jaws. Just as with Jaws, insert F gives information about the font.

Because NVDA is a free product, it doesn’t have free tech support. You can, however, purchase hourly tech support, in blocks of hours, at around $13, and the block will last a year. There’s also a very high-traffic mailing list to ask questions of other users. There’s also a training guide which you can purchase. It’s more structured, and has a series of tutorials. It’s $30 Australian, and is  quite good. There are three different courses, basic, Excel, and Word. Each are $30, and worth it. You can get them in audio for a bit more money, or as braille, which is also more expensive.

Ian contributed that you can ask an NVDA question in a Google search, and will most likely find an answer.

Excel, Word, Outlook, Thunderbird, and the major browsers work well. Occasionally you’ll find an application where NVDA works better than Jaws, perhaps because the developers wanted to use it.

Because of licensing, you can’t use your Jaws Eloquence voice in NVDA. To compare, the NVDA installer is 21 meg, and the Jaws installer is well over 100. NVDA also works faster. There’s an NVDA pronunciation dictionary.

As Jaws does, opening Google lands you in the search field. NVDA has the same concept of forms mode. The home and arrow keys work the same as Jaws when navigating webpages. There’s a current Chrome bug in which entering text into the search field causes the phrase to be spoken repeatedly as you enter each keystroke.

You can use H and numbers one, two and three to move through headings. Insert F7 brings up an elements list. It defaults to a links list, but if you hit shift tab, you have the choice to switch between which elements you want a list of, headings, buttons, landmarks etc. You can use insert Q to quickly turn off NVDA, and control alt N, to start it. Entering and exiting will give you a four-note tone to let you know it’s doing it.

Add-ons for NVDA are what Jaws calls Jaws scripts. These are little bits of code that people have designed to do specific tasks, remoting into a machine for example.

A member asked if it can be used on a Chrome book. Jason answered no, because Chrome books run Chrome OS, which is a totally different operating system.

NVDA does have a built-in OCR function.

 

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Next Meeting: Thursday, December 20 at 6pm
  • Location: CNIB Community Hub space at 1525 Yonge Street, just 1 block north of St Clair on the east side of Yonge, just south of Heath.
  • Meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at 6pm.

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group Overview:

  • GTT Toronto is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Toronto promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, questions and answers about technology, and one-on-one training where possible.
  • Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:

http://www.GTTProgram.Blog/

There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.