Re: New NVDA user


JM Casey <crystallogic@...>
 

Hey Damien. No, you are right, JAWS officially has nothing like this, and it is a shame, but I guess, typical of commercial products. The closest thing would probably be the JAWS users page, which has a page with a bunch of script links, but it’s hardly everything and I never got the impression FS really encouraged people to do this.

 

 

 

From: nvda@nvda.groups.io [mailto:nvda@nvda.groups.io] On Behalf Of Damien Sykes-Lindley
Sent: November 1, 2017 2:14 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] New NVDA user

 

Hi,

The reason I say NVDA addons are managed better than JAWS scripts is because NVDA has the addon repository. Admittedly I haven’t visited the JAWS website in some time, but last I checked they didn’t have a similar repository for JAWS scripts so you had to search high and low for them.

Cheers.

Damien.

 

From: JM Casey

Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 8:01 PM

Subject: Re: [nvda] New NVDA user

 

Hi. Thanks for the awesome response.

 

Yeah, the eSpeak voice – you know, I recently got an emulator for the Apple 2 and old Echo speech synthesizer. It was really eerie to hear that singing robotic voice again after so many years. It’s weird that I have an easier time listening to that than I do eSpeak, a synth still in use today, but there you go. I don’t demand the human-sounding ones; Eloquence is really good enough for me, but I’ve gotten used to Vocalizer with JAWS now and mostly like it … only as you say, it sounds worse when you increase the  speech rate.

 

 

 

Interesting that you say NVDA add-ons work better than JAWS scripts for their respective products. Why is that? They do seem a little easier to install. I use both Goldwave and Winamp, so I’ll gladly give those ones a try.

 

Thanks again.

 

 

 

From: nvda@nvda.groups.io [mailto:nvda@nvda.groups.io] On Behalf Of Damien Sykes-Lindley
Sent: October 31, 2017 3:36 PM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] New NVDA user

 

Hi,

Running JAWS in 40 minute mode was about the best I could hope for before getting NVDA. There are a whole bunch of voices you can get for NVDA, including recently Eloquence, the same voice that is generally and traditionally associated with JAWS. If you prefer the complete JAWS keyboard layout you can of course remap NVDA’s commands to your liking, as well as have separate configurations per application. A lot of this has only happened over the past few years. I have been using NVDA as my primary screen reader now for the past four or five years.

As for speech synthesisers, they are the most important component for those relying on audible feedback only and have thus opened up plenty of cans of worms for people. Especially if they are not understood.

As far as I’m concerned, though ESpeak is free, responsive and portable, I struggle to understand it due to its robotic nature, its sharpness, and it’s tonal timbre. Reminds me of a distorted version of the Dolphin Apollo 2 with a bit of feedback.

Concatenative speech synthesisers also have their drawbacks. They can pick the wrong samples, you can hear audible artefacts at faster speeds and different pitches, and they are less responsive than the formant ones.

While Eloquence is not my be-all-end-all, it is definitely one of the most readily available. What’s more, fortunately there is a legal way to use Eloquence with NVDA now.

While I believe wholeheartedly that without commercial screen readers we would probably never gotten as far as we have with such as NVDA, I also believe, just as strongly, that we shouldn’t have to pay any more than a sighted person should have to pay for a screen to be able to access information on our computers. Therefore even were I given the choice I would probably never upgrade to a commercial reader on principle, unless of course the price was significantly lowered.

As for addons. NVDA works a lot better with addons than JAWS did with scripts. NVDA has a central repository of addons that you can browse and use. While some people do create addons and host them privately, the vast majority of things that need to be scripted are available officially.

What addons you use depend on what applications you use. Personally, I use the GoldWave and Winamp addons. I used the Station Playlist addon until recently when I stopped broadcasting.

As for generic addons, again it depends what functionality you’re looking for. I wrote an addon to try and simulate, if not improve, the announcements that JAWS makes when you access the clipboard. Though it does have some known snags...

There’s also the Day of the Week addon that I’m fond of, sometimes I use NVDA Remote (though generally only to access my home PC should I be away with my laptop etc, very rare for me!), Virtual Review, System Tray etc. Of course there’s also ones that I have no need for, such as OCR, weather retrieval, speech recognition, translation, enhanced clock etc.

Hope that helps.

Cheers.
Damien.

 

From: JM Casey

Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 6:21 PM

Subject: [nvda] New NVDA user

 

Hello folks. I’m sure other people have posted testimonials of some sort here before, but I fancy some enjoy reading such things, so here goes with mine. Feel free to ignore this message as I’m not posting for help or anything like that, though I will end with a question of sorts for the list.

 

I’ve been a JAWS user since, roughly, 1999. I recently got a Windows 10 machine (upgraded from XP!) and was able to get new JAWS at a discounted price from my former employer. I took advantage of the discount just before they laid me off! *grins*

 

Well, obviously perhaps, I’ve been spending a lot of time looking for employment since then. I recently had an interview where they needed me to do a test on a computer. They had not much idea about accommodations for blind folks but seemed very willing to give it a go. With a faint glimmer of hope, I told them about JAWS: that it was the most professional screen-reader around; that “yes, I know it’s really expensive, but there is a demo you can run for forty minutes at a time!”, etc, etc. ‘There’s also this thing called NVDA,” I muttered a little under my breath, “which is a free one; if you can’t get JAWS working, I suppose I could work with that.” I showed up to the interview, foolishly hoping my ole’ buddy the shark would save me. Nope! They couldn’t even get the demo to run, for some reason (the test computer was an old one, I think, running XP). So, NVDA it was to be!

 

I’ll back up a bit and say I’ve known about nVDA for quite some time. I always thought it might come in handy and that I should get it on one of my machines and start using it, but never got around to it. The closest I came was using it on my ex-wife’s laptop, mostly to play music. I still don’t like eSpeak, I’m afraid, and I used it on a Linux machine running Orca before, too. Because that laptop wasn’t mine I never really spent a lot of time with it; didn’t realise it would in fact be possible to change the synthesiser to something more to my liking.

 

Well, there I was, sitting in this open office, sweating profusely and feeling tense because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I managed to switch the voice to the XP narrator one, and that was reasonably ok. I found that everything worked like a charm! I only had to use three programmes at that time: notepad, MS Word and a programme for audio playback/transcription that had (thankfully) native keystroke commands. A part of the test was related to spelling and grammar, so I was able to configure NVDA, without reference to the user guide or any prior experience, to speak the level of punctuation I wanted and to indicate capital letters in a way that was convenient. There was a time limit involved, so I really wasn’t able to play around as much as I should have, yet I was very pleased that I was basically able to get everything up and working to my satisfaction.

 

Now I’m at home, running nVDA, and really liking it. I have no JAWS upgrades left, and that doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, though I’m not abandoning it altogether as I’m sure both screen-readers have their strengths.

 

So, I read the user guide. Great. A lot of very familiar keystrokes. Some small differences, but that’s fine and even welcome. I stumbled across the “switching from jAWS to nVDA” wiki page today and read through it; it confirmed some of what I’d already noted. I have also been looking through the add-ons on the official page and just installed the Windows 10 Essentials one. I don’t like these modern universal apps much, but, you know, may as well get used to them if they’re the up-and-coming thing, and maybe they’ll actually work better with NVDA than they do with JAWS.

 

What do you all think, those of you who have expereince with both screen-readers? Any thoughts that might not have been mentioned on the wiki over there? I’m not looking to start an argument, obviously, but I didn’t get a lot of feedback when I posted a similar message (without some of th e sarcasm) on the JAWS list, and I thought it might actually go over better here.

 

Also, what add-ons do you all like to use?

 

Cheers, and glad to be a part of the NVDA community.

 

P.S.: I didn’t get the job. That’s ok. I still learned something.

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