Doug hasn't had a computer or smartphone, but now he wants to connect. He also wants to watch TV, and his sets are too old. Leo says that you may be able to get a converter for free still since Doug is disabled. But they aren't that expensive to buy. Doug will also need an antenna or at least an internet or cable subscription. Another option to get an iPad or tablet with internet access. Leo recommends connecting with an Independent Living Resource Center and can get an adaptive living expert to help you find the solutions you need.
Marcia has lost 80% of her hearing and has had the Envoy Esteem implantable hearing aid installed. The nice thing is that one never takes them out and it's about as close to natural hearing as anyone can remember. It has a two-year battery. Leo says they aren't cheap though, at $30,000. But can one put a price on being able to hear again?
Heather wants to know if there's a show for adaptive technologies for older retired people. Leo says that while that would be valuable and we should see more content like that, advertisers seem to want to cater to younger demographics with disposable income. But he hopes that as boomers get older, advertisers will see value in this larger audience segment. But Leo pledges to do something about it.
Mike is blind and wants to know what computers he can use that will speak to him. Leo says all of them have accessibility features, but most use screen readers to read what's on the computer screen. The programs aren't cheap, however. JAWS is the best known.
But there are open source options like ORCA. If you're fluent in braille, a braille screen reader reads your screen and displays them on a refreshable terminal with dots that go up and down.
Gary wants to know if there's a way to change the closed captioning from being displayed where it does. Leo says that sometimes, TVs use different positioning for CC1, CC2, etc. Some systems allow you to modify the style of the captions for background, size, outlined, etc. Depends on the provider you use. Check out this article from the NY Times.
Claire would like to know if there's a mechanism for her brother in law that will enable him to communicate with noises he can make. He's very limited. Leo says that Google has done a lot of work on voice recognition through its Google Assistants. But it may be very customized. Leo recommends going to the local Center for Independent Living and consult with an accessibility expert. They would know what can be done with a custom solution.
Sometimes we get older and our fingers become less mobile, causing our fingertips to stay on the same key for more than a split second. If your keyboard is repeating letters against your intentions, there are ways in Windows to prevent that from happening. An accessibility feature will disable key repeats and can be accessed in the Control Panel to switch on. Or you can try this... From tollie in the chatroom: Hold "RIGHT SHIFT" for eight seconds to turn on FILTER KEYS
John wants to know how good the accessibility features are in a Chromebook. Leo says that many Chromebooks have Google Assistant, enabling you to dictate. There's even a button on the keyboard that can enable it. But the screenreaders may not be very good. John is also looking for an affordable mobile service. Leo recommends Mint Mobile. You can pay as you go.
Mark's mother in law has failing eyesight and still wants to use her email. Is there a program for that? Leo says that Windows has a text to speech option. Look in the accessibility settings for it. But the easiest for Gmail is an extension for Gmail called READ ALOUD.