Tech Times Newsletter

Spring 2017





Get Social with Facebook and Twitter

Join us on Saturday, June 10 to get up to speed on social media networks Twitter and Facebook. Learn the basics and unique characteristics of each. Find out what makes them an easy way to connect with friends and discover what’s happening in the world. Our Twitter class, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, shows you how to use the native Twitter app on your iPhone. We’ll cover following Twitter accounts, posting tweets, retweeting and direct messaging. At our Facebook class, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, we’ll navigate the mobile version of Facebook on a computer with a screen reader and on your iPhone with VoiceOver. You’ll learn how to post status updates and comment on others’ posts. You must have a Facebook and/or Twitter account to participate. Contact one of our technology tutors if you need help creating an account. To register for this workshop, call our front desk or email David Flament.

Upgrade to Windows 10 and Office 2016

On Saturday, July 8, we’re offering you an opportunity to upgrade your computer skills with our new Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 2016 overviews. We’ll learn the differences between older versions of Windows and the new Windows 10 operating system. Our Microsoft Office 2016 overview focuses on the changes to Word and Excel. To register for this workshop, call our front desk or email David Flament.

NVDA: The Other Screen Reader

Join us on Thursday, August 10 from 1:00 am to 4:00 pm for NVDA: The Other Screen Reader. In this hands-on workshop we will delve into the world of NVDA. Topics include: downloading NVDA, navigating basics, using NVDA settings, reading commands, using the mouse, creating a portable copy of NVDA and navigating the web. To register, call our front desk or email To enroll, contact David Flament at 312-236-8569 or email David Flament.



This quarter I want to talk about a product I wrote about a while back that is still evolving.


In the 2015 spring issue of Tech Times I wrote about a new app I found called Workflow. Workflow is an app that allows you to automate tasks you perform frequently on your iOS device. You can create all sorts of Workflows – a tip guide to calculate restaurant tips, reminders for things you do often or posting photos on Facebook.

Tasks are dragged from a list of tasks on the left side of the screen to the workflow on the right side one at a time until you have created the workflow you need. Workflows can be saved in the Workflow folder or separately on your home screen just like an app. You can also choose a Workflow from the gallery of already created workflows that may meet your needs. It is almost like having your own app store!

Workflow won an accessibility award from Apple in 2015 because of its accessibility with VoiceOver.


The app Workflow was purchased this spring by Apple and is now free in the app store. The developers, who worked closely with Apple in the apps design and launch while they were students and attending Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference, will be joining Apple to further the apps development.

The Future

The purchase of Workflow by Apple promises a bright future for those who are not programmers but are creative. I, like many tech pundits, are guessing Workflow will be integrated into iOS, meaning it will be part of the software on every iPhone and iPad. Integration might also mean it would support even more of what Apple does like using SIRI commands in your workflows. Imagine being able to create a workflow that would automatically create an alarm when you schedule an early morning appointment on your calendar. Whatever Apple does with this app, you can be sure it will be interesting. Why not go to the App Store now and get a head start with WorkFlow. You can learn more about using WorkFlow on the Applevis website.



By Marvin Commerford

Goodbye WindowEyes

It’s a sad time for long time Window-Eyes users. Window-Eyes 9.5.4 is the last version to be produced.

VFO has extended a very fair offer to Window-Eyes users to migrate to Jaws.

I’ve used GW Micro products since 1990 and bought my first Windows PC from them in 1999. They installed my copies of Vocal-Eyes for DOS and Window-Eyes for Win98. The Window-Eyes tutorial really got me going with Windows. Doug and Dan from GW Micro had a lot to do with me being able to make a good living in the computer field.

Transition to JAWS

Over the years, I have used JAWS for Windows (JFW) while volunteering at Second Sense. Because of this exposure, I know I can learn JFW. I’m finding that the hotkey differences don’t bother me much. Internet browsing really is quite similar because many access keys are the same.

For me, the real headache is making changes to JFW itself. Basic changes are okay, but the logic they use to determine where things are located is just not intuitive in my mind.

The options menu is quite nice, but then you have a whole group of managers. I’m not sure when you need to use options or go into some manager. JFW also has a settings center and quick settings.

I feel like I’m running around in circles in JFW’s structure. I may find what I need, but I just might let some things stay the way they are. It’s easier to get used to the way things are than it is to figure out how to change them. Window-Eyes user interfaces, to me, are much more straight forward.

Getting Adjusted

JFW is stable on my system. So far, VFO‘s customer service seems good. I do wish Window-Eyes would have been continued, but VFO decided to drop it. I believe all Window-Eyes licensed users should take advantage of the migration offer, especially if you have SMA counts. You can keep both Window-Eyes and JFW on the same computer, just make sure only one of them comes up talking at startup.



I often get asked about text, object and image recognition apps for iPhones and iPads. Recently, I have even been asked by fully sighted people because of the release of AiPoly 2.0 and all the press it received. So, I thought I would review some of the more popular apps in this area. Here we go!

AiPoly 2.0

Let’s start with AiPoly as it is the reason for so much interest in recognition. Version 2.0 is a huge jump from the first version of this app. That being said, there are two things that you should know about the app. First, many of the apps features require you to pay a subscription fee. Second, the app, while very fast, is still not really accurate. The AiPoly app is a free download from the App Store so, it won’t cost you anything to try the app’s free features.


The app I use the most for object identification is Bespecular. What makes this app so good is the ability to send a question along with the picture of the object I want identified. BeSpecular is free in the App Store.

Tap Tap See

Tap Tap See is an old favorite. You take a picture, and in about 30 to 60 seconds, you receive a description of the picture. Tap Tap See is probably the simplest recognition program to use. I often use it to identify the color and pattern of clothes. The Tap Tap See app is free in the app store.

KNFB Reader

The KNFB Reader app is the most costly of these recognition apps, but it is well worth the price. Take a picture of any print material, or pull up a scanned image PDF file, and KNFB Reader will read the text. You can take pictures of slides on a PowerPoint or a store sign if you are within 25 feet and this app will read it back to you. The KNFB Reader app can be purchased in the App Store for $99.99.


Finally, there is Nantmobile. This app is a currency identifier. It is fast and easy to use. Simply start the app and place a bill in front of your rear camera. The Nantmobile app is free in the App Store.