Accessibility

Will the Windows 10 free update expire for those using screen readers?

Ben from Fresno, CA

Episode 1304

Ben says that Windows 10 has extended the free update for accessibility users who need screen readers to use Windows because Microsoft is still having trouble adapting screen readers to it. Leo says that's great news. Eventually they'll work out the bugs and it's a great thing that Microsoft knows they have to keep offering the free update to screen readers until they do.

Why is Apple the only company taking accessibility seriously?

Tyrell from White House, TN

Episode 1280

Tryell says that Apple has done an outstanding job with accessibility while Google and Microsoft have a lot of work to do. Leo says that Apple is the gold standard on accessibility. The screen reader is great, and it doesn't cost any extra either. So many of those tools are so expensive.

There is an open source screen reader called Orca. He should check out NDVP.org.

What's a good mobile phone for the vision impaired?

Mike from Lubbock, TX

Episode 1280

Mike needs a phone that is easier for him to use. he's blind and needs a phone that supports accessibility. Leo says that there are two ways he can go:

1) A smartphone that supports accessibility and allows him to run programs. The iPhone is very good at that.
2) There's also a flip phone, or feature phone. Cricket makes them with huge buttons that are very easy to use.

Is there a simplified keyboard that has big buttons?

Episode 1274

Rocko from Lancaster, CA
BigKeys LX

Rocko wants to know if there's a simpler keyboard for someone who has motor control issues or are vision challenged. Leo recommends going to Living Made Easy, which is a British company. He should also check a local independent living resource center as well, as they could help him out. Hypertec is a good company that offers larger button keyboards. Rocko should also check out BigKeys.com. Fry's and Walmart are known to carry large key keyboards as well.

What do you know about eSight Eyewear?

Thomas from San Diego, CA

Episode 1267

Thomas wants to know if Leo has heard of eSight glasses. He has a friend who is legally blind and wants to know if they're worth the price. Leo says it sounds like he'd have to have some sight and it just amplifies the visual signal. Leo says that is a great thing, though. It's like Oculus Rift for the legally Blind. They aren't cheap, though, at $15,000. But they're brand new and the cost will likely drop really fast once the word gets out.

Is Apple ideal for blind people?

Episode 1265

Michael from Oxnard, CA
Apple MacBook

Michael is blind and is looking to get an Apple computer because he hears the accessibility is good. Leo says that Apple is one of the better ones, but he's by no means an expert. The MacBook is a great option, as its thinner and lighter. The Type C connector is fine and he can always get a dock for it to fit in other connectors. The only downside is that it isn't as fast as the MacBook Pro. As for smartphones, the iPhone is king for accessibility.

What printers have accessibility for the blind?

Den from El Segundo, CA

Episode 1262

Den's older inkjet printer died. He's blind, though, and finds it difficult that most printers use touch screens now. Are there any printers that would be better for accessibility? Leo says that's a serious problem. Office printers are often different from home printers because they have to adhere to the American with Disabilities Act. Leo says that the best thing to do is use software so Den doesn't have to use the printer screen. Everything he'll want to do with a printer he can likely do in the software. Then he can use NVDA, an open source screen reader, which Den says is excellent.

What's a good ad blocker for a blind web surfer?

Julian from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1236

Julian is visually impaired and is frustrated by popups that he can't see when he's using his screen reader, because it takes forever to read them all. He needs a good ad blocker that can prevent them. Leo says that this is one case where ad blockers are a good ethical use. Leo recommends the FireFox extension UBlock Origin. It's also available on Google Chrome. Advertising is important, as it helps to pay the bills online.

What's a good touch screen remote control?

Episode 1235

Ellie from Honolulu, HI
Logitech Harmony 650

Ellie wants to know what touch screen smart remote Scott likes. Scott says he's not a fan of touch screen remotes because you have to look down to find the touch button and the screen is bright which affects your vision as you return to watching the program. He prefers hard buttons. But Ellie has a sight issue. Scott says that there are remotes that have voice control out there. BlueMoo is interesting.