Re: what next

David Goldfield

If memory serves the American Printing House for the Blind once produced a device which allowed users to access BIOS settings during the boot sequence. I believe it was a hardware device and it was made for DOS-based PCs. It was pronounced Speakualizer although I don’t know the spelling. Needless to say the device is no longer available and it wouldn’t work even if you could find one on Ebay. Still it would be very nifty if we could have something like it for today’s computers assuming the technology on today’s machines would even allow for interfacing with such a device.


David Goldfield,

Blindness Assistive Technology Specialist

JAWS Certified, 2019

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From: <> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2021 7:47 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] what next


On Wed, Oct 20, 2021 at 07:32 PM, Arlene wrote:

I hope in the future blind users can go in there with Nairator.

Not likely.

What folks who use screen readers, as they currently exist, need to understand is that they are application software.  Mind you, a very specialized application, but still an application.  The operating system (whether Windows or any other one) must be up and running at least to a certain point before any screen reader can come online.

UEFI/BIOS occur in the boot sequence well prior to Windows (or other OSes such as Linux) ever being kicked off for loading.  While it would be conceivably possible to have a dedicated screen reader for that environment, and if memory serves a prototype was once made, long ago, it certainly would not be Narrator, NVDA, JAWS or any other screen reader as end users know them.  And it would also very likely have commands strictly limited to the environment at hand, which means it would be very different in that way, too.

And, as you mention, even if you were to have a screen reader of some sort available to navigate UEFI/BIOS, you still have to be very, very certain that what you're doing is precisely what you intend to do and that what you intend is actually what needs to be done to achieve the result hoped for.   If you can have this certainty, then go for it, otherwise, get assistance.  And this is completely separate from your visual status.  Most of my sighted clients have no idea that UEFI/BIOS even exists nor how to interact with it.  It's just not something most end users ever need to touch.

As far as turning off "media keys" or whatever a maker might call the actions associated with the function keys, lobbying them to create utilities such as the one Lenovo already has that allow these to be turned on or off from within Windows, or asking for some keyboard shortcut, likely a 4-key press to avoid accidents, to do this are both better ideas than a screen reader for UEFI/BIOS likely would be.  They're safer, too.

Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H1, Build 19043  

The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.

         ~ John F. Kennedy


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