[BCAB] Costs of screen readers with modern day operating systems (was: windows 10 updates)

Steve Nutt steve at comproom.co.uk
Mon Dec 11 18:13:23 GMT 2017


Hi Andrew,

But here's the thing, and what I've been discussing on the NVDA mailing list recently.

I don't think NVDA is fit for work purposes, and here's why.

I had some crashing going on in Outlook 2016 and JAWS.  Turns out this is caused by Office firing too many UIA events and the screen readers get confused.  This can also be seen even now, in Narrator.

Go into Outlook in narrator or NVDA, then try to switch folders with Control-Y.  Bye bye, screen reader.

Now in the case of NVDA, I was told that if the crash wasn't reproducable in Narrator then NVDA devs would shift it to the highest priority, but if it was, then it's in the queue to be fixed.  It still isn't fixed incidentally.

However, Freedom Scientific put out a patch for JAWS 18, and then subsequently in JAWS 2018 that fixes these crash issues, by hacking around the MS problem.

So long story short, if I had to rely on NVDA in my work, where I live in Outlook, there is no real support in place for it, because it is free.  But because I pay for JAWS, it gets fixed.  This was also the case with Window-Eyes when it was around, that if there were serious problems in Microsoft apps, they would generally get fixed quickly by the paid-for screen reader vendors, but not so quicly by NVAccess.

So my view is still that when the rubber hits the road, NVDA is not really suitable for work purposes, but only for hobbyists.

Open Source and free is very nice, so long as the support systems are there in place to work out problems with commonly used apps.

I know that in this case it is the fault of Microsoft that this bug exists, but if you pay for a screen reader, they tend to be more proactive in fixing or hacking around such problems.

I do agree though that the model of selling commercial screen readers should change, perhaps to a subscription model, like Office 365.

All the best

Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Andrew Hodgson
Sent: 11 December 2017 17:56
To: BCAB Discussion List <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
Subject: [BCAB] Costs of screen readers with modern day operating systems (was: windows 10 updates)

Hi all,

Georgina raises a point which I have been looking at in the past few months.  Windows 10 Home pushes out large updates fairly frequently (around 2 a year), and those may have issues with screen readers.  We are also getting versions of Office delivered through Office365 which update frequently and cause issues.  Look at the crashing Outlook, this was one issue which the screen reader manufacturers had to fix and was caused by an Office 2016 update.

JFW has supported Windows 10 I think from version 16, however there are several features I know that are broken in new Windows updates which were fixed in later versions of JFW which weren't backported.

It is for this reason I advise people to switch to NVDA unless they can keep up the costs of running JFW.  That means every other year paying the maintenance agreement.

In the future I think the whole pricing model of JFW especially for the home version needs to change.  I think the best system would be a monthly or yearly subscription model whereby users pay to receive the latest versions of JFW, and if they stop paying, then the software deactivates.  This means we pay a lower amount for the monthly subscription which is easier to budget for, or pay the yearly subscription if we want to do that.

As for the Pro version that is a different kettle of fish altogether, and is something we have discussed earlier on today on this list.  As more and more software is being delivered in a subscription manor though now, a lot of companies are setting themselves up to work with it.

Discuss.
Andrew.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Georgina Joyce
Sent: 11 December 2017 17:24
To: BCAB Discussion List <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
Subject: Re: [BCAB] windows 10 updates

Hello,

Nice catch Steve, I didn’t know that because I’ve always had K1000 attached to a desktop and getting too old to reach around to unplug everything. <Grin>

But Derek raises an interesting point. Here on my Mac I get a request to install High Sierra but I refuse. While Microsoft Windows now has taken that choice away from it’s users. This thread, as I read it was referring to patch Tuesday updates etc. rather than the version upgrades. But they have become invisible to us now either way. As mentioned by some this is going to change how we buy screen reader products in the future. For example, when will JFW 18 not support Windows 10? Vendors will need to sell us newer versions. But with Apple giving free Operating Systems free of charge Microsoft are changing their model. With Mac and Windows having version 10 who is going to move on first or are desktops going to fade away and we have IOS and Android i.e. mobile operating systems only?

What an exciting time of change!

Gena
“Why not?”

Michael Hinson 2011

> On 11 Dec 2017, at 15:08, Steve Nutt <steve at comproom.co.uk> wrote:
> 
> Hi Derek,
> 
> If you open K1000 and you don't have your scanner connected, it would change the scanner source setting to none, because it can't find a scanner.  It would not put it back, so you'd have to go in and change it back manually.
> 
> So always make sure the scanner is connected before you open K1000.
> 
> All the best
> 
> Steve
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Derek 
> Hornby
> Sent: 11 December 2017 12:10
> To: 'BCAB Discussion List' <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
> Subject: Re: [BCAB] windows 10 updates
> 
> Hi Ed
> 
> A few weeks ago I had a scanner installed.
> Then  few days later my scanner failed.
> I got message "scan failed"
> 
> I arranged for remote help from Sight And Sound.
> They got my scanner working again.
> I was told a  setting had  changed.
> 
> So I am just wondering how can a setting change if nobody did that change! 
> 
> If an update is an automatic update, can this sometimes Change a  setting on the computer?
> 
> When Jaws does an update I get a message so I am able to click A yes, or a no.
> But Windows doesn't seem to give me that  option of choice!
> 
> 
> Regards,  Derek
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Edward 
> Green
> Sent: 10 December 2017 09:29 PM
> To: BCAB Discussion List <bcab at lists.bcab.org.uk>
> Subject: Re: [BCAB] windows 10 updates
> 
> Hi Derek,
> 
> There have been three major updates to Windows 10 as far as I recall: Anniversary Edition, Creator's Edition and the annoyingly entitled Fall Creator's Edition.
> 
> In addition, there have been innumerable minor updates and patches.
> 
> I agree with Gena that it's better to apply updates to benefit from new features and guard against operating system vulnerabilities.  However, reasons not to want to apply them automatically might include stability - many corporate environments won't apply updates automatically - and if an update were to break accessibility.
> 
> Cheers,
> 
> Ed
> 
> 
>> On 10 Dec 2017, at 19:27, Georgina Joyce <gena at gena-j.me.uk> wrote:
>> 
>> Hello Derek,
>> 
>> You can’t turn off updates furthermore, why would you? Microsoft don’t develop updates for no reason. They believe it is in the users interest to keep their machine up-to-date. Of course, you could turn off internet access which will prevent updates until you access the web again.
>> 
>> HTH
>> 
>> Gena
>> Braille is a reading and writing language that all blind people should learn to use.
>> 
>> Michael Hingson 2011.
>> 
>>> On 10 Dec 2017, at 19:14, Derek Hornby <derek.hornby_uk at btopenworld.com> wrote:
>>> 
>>> Hi All
>>> 
>>> How often does windows 10 do an update?
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> How can I find out whether automatic updates is set?
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> And lastly!
>>> 
>>> If I turn automatic updates off, can I update as and when I want to update.
>>> 
>>> My  sister believes there is no point doing the updates,
>>> 
>>> Is she correct?
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Regards,  Derek
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
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