Friday, December 16, 2016

Episode 3.1: The Dragon is in the House, but I'm Locked Out

I did it.  I bought a Windows 10 laptop.  It is a 2 in 1.  The monitor folds under the keyboard and can be used like a tablet.  It has a touch screen.  Only weighs a little over 3 pounds.  Just what the occupational therapist ordered.  The Geek Squad installed all of the software including Dragon Naturally Speaking.  Now I have a laptop that is more than any average user needs with three programs that sometimes listen to each other instead of listening to me.  It only took two trips to the store to have all of the software and the desktop the way I like them.


I made the mistake of not asking where the On/Off button is.  A kind librarian showed me.  No instructions came with the laptop.  They are online, but I couldn’t get online because I didn’t know how to use a computer with Windows 10.  I tried to open the email with the computer’s tutorials on my old Windows 7 computer that I do know how to use, but the link for the tutorial took me to a screen that wanted to download Windows 10 on the old computer.  I sat looking at my computer screen like a deer staring into headlights and started to sing, "Big Girls Don't Cry."


While I might have a vision impairment that makes my life interesting, I also remember from time to time that I am a certified teacher/librarian who does not need to know all the answers but can find them.  A search located both the print and NLS audio versions of Windows 10:  The Missing Manual. 

When I was brave enough to turn the computer on, a librarian showed me where the volume button is on the side of the computer.  There are also volume keys near the function keys.  One is a mute key.  I touched it by mistake and lost all sound.  I thought I had uninstalled the screen-reader.

Somehow through trial and error and asking a lot of questions everywhere and anywhere, I connected the laptop to my TV monitor using a cable and USB3 adapter.  That required finding the Input button on the TV remote and clicking on items in the onscreen menu until the computer desktop appeared on the TV screen.  I only needed my CCTV (closed circuit TV magnification device) and a lot of hope.  Connecting the laptop to YFI was not so easy.  It required a sighted person who gave the laptop a few simple commands.  Setting up the YFI connection was one of the functions that the JAWS screen-reader could not read.  These little bumps in the road occur most often with programs that use Internet connections such as installing software, especially antivirus software.  Even when software is cleared by Freedom scientific, there are no guarantees that the program and JAWS will be 100% compatible.


Warning:  The newest generation of laptops is slim.  Mine only has room for one USB port and one USB3 port.  USB hubs are required purchases.  There is no DSL port that would allow connecting the laptop to a modem.  These laptops are meant for travel and business.  Adjustment must be made, but they are worth it for anyone who can benefit from the smaller size and lighter weight.


I had help loving myself while loving what is left while living with low vision.  I came across the children's book, Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days by Stephen Manes.  This very humorous author teaches his young readers that the only perfect people are the people who are doing nothing.  I was so inspired that I finally published my own children’s book (available on, The Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse.


The time has finally come to open the door and learn how to play with my Dragon.  All that is missing is the J-say software that will work with the JAWS screen-reading software and a visual rehabilitation specialist or tutor who is familiar with this technology.



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