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Just a quick "Hi. y'all!

wordytom

I've been away from writing and writing for a while... Blindness is a bitch, even the "mostly so.

I'm now legally blind and have the sixty inch mnitor and giant keyboard to prove it. (Fuck the tee shirts..) To read stories, I first have to download then and then convert everything to 42 pica bold and read slooow, oh so slow.

I plan to begin to write short stories again, if I am able to surmount a few obstacles that stand in my wsy.

Tom

Ernest Bywater

@wordytom

I hope you know if they're html stories you can simply set you browser to show at a very high percentage to blow everything up. Also, if you set you OS to use large font display it helps, as does setting your monitor to a slightly lower resolution than what's the best for the screen size..

I find PDFs can go up to a few thousand percent to make them easier to read, and so can e-pubs.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Geek of Ages

@wordytom

Fuck the tee shirts


I suspect a number of readers here did when they were younger, though it's not something I particularly recommend. You might get some nasty rug burn.

sejintenej

Hi, Wordytom. I suggest that you investigate text to speech and speech to text. An internet correspondent (not on SOL) used them for many years to produce several books sold in airport booksellers.

Dominions Son

I've used voice recognition software in the past. I work in IT, and I broke my arm a few years back. Kind of hard to type efficiently with one hand.

Dragon Speaking Naturally works fairly well for speech to text, I don't know if it does text to speech.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I hope you know if they're html stories you can simply set you browser to show at a very high percentage to blow everything up. Also, if you set you OS to use large font display it helps, as does setting your monitor to a slightly lower resolution than what's the best for the screen size.

Reducing the color display to b/w will also help, as it's often difficult to discern color variations. You should also consult (wordytom) your social service agency (or whatever they're called in your area), as they often have tools and training to adapt on your new visual status. Everything from magnifiers and readers to computer software to read whatever is ON the screen. The software is expensive, but most government agencies will cover it if your vision is bad enough.

Heck, many of the blind I know are much more adapt with computers than the vast majority of sighted people. Unfortunately, most who go blind in their later years have a difficult time adjusting and simply never learn how to compensate for their lack of vision. :(

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Dragon Speaking Naturally works fairly well for speech to text, I don't know if it does text to speech.

No, Dragon doesn't, but many browsers add-ons do. Apple has always been better at test-to-speech than PCs, but in his case, he'll probably need the more elaborate software which will read the multiple notices which pop up on a screen, often obscuring what's underneath.

Unfortunately, Dragon and other voice recognition programs are notoriously poor at homonyms and homophones, as well as converting figures. You often loose a significant amount of time proofing the conversions, assuming you can read it! Hopefully, editors can catch many of those.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Reducing the color display to b/w will also help, as it's often difficult to discern color variations


Depending on what the actual cause of the eyesight lose is that may be the worst thing to do because it may result in contrast glare distortion. Black on a light blue or pale screen reduces the contrast glare. While I know a lot of what it's like living with a blind person (my mother was legally blind before I was born and totally blind before I left primary school) I learned a lot about working with the sighting impaired in the late 1980s due to my work with the state gov't health authority resulting in a lot of interaction with them then. One thing was we never printed notices for the sighting impaired on white paper, they were always black ink on pastel paper so they were easier for them to read.

Black on a pastel colour or light grey is usually easier to read for people with eyesight issues.

Replies:   sejintenej
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Dragon and other voice recognition programs are notoriously poor at homonyms and homophones, as well as converting figures.


Much of the speech to text issues you mention can be dealt with in the software training stage. I once worked with a fellow who had to train an early copy of Dragon Dictate for his use in writing reports at work - he had an issue with his arm that meant he couldn't type for several months so we got him the software.

Text to speech normally doesn't have an issue with the homonyms etc, but you do have to worry about 'alt' text for images etc.

I'm going to start a new thread to ask people to mention text to speech and speech to text software because I know we have a few authors and many readers who use them.

StarFleet Carl

@Dominions Son

I've used voice recognition software in the past. I work in IT, and I broke my arm a few years back. Kind of hard to type efficiently with one hand.


That's almost the same reason I was using the same program. I had carpal tunnel surgery, first on one hand, then on the other less than a year later. Dragon worked okay, but I didn't have the patience to make all the corrections needed. For me, getting my thoughts to the screen via words didn't work nearly as well as it does through my fingers.

(I had taught myself to type using basically my right hand only on a manual, with just using my left hand to do the shift and spacebar when I was about 7. Had a heck of a time in high school retraining myself to touch type.)

Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

That's almost the same reason I was using the same program. I had carpal tunnel surgery, first on one hand, then on the other less than a year later. Dragon worked okay, but I didn't have the patience to make all the corrections needed. For me, getting my thoughts to the screen via words didn't work nearly as well as it does through my fingers.

That was my main point, not that the software isn't useful, but that it takes significant time in retraining and managing. It was intended merely as a 'heads up' about what he might face, rather than a blatant 'do not use' notice.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

No, Dragon doesn't, but many browsers add-ons do.


I checked their web site. It does, for audio proof reading of your dictation, but it's not a screen reader.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I checked their web site. It does, for audio proof reading of your dictation, but it's not a screen reader.

No, screen readers do a lot more. That's mostly for editing, as many authors catch typos when they hear the text read aloud. You'll also find that many author sites, like Grammarly, have 'spoken word' features.

robberhands

... the usual disclaimer

Ross at Play

Welcome back, Tom. A quick look at your author's page suggests you have been sorely missed.

May I suggest that if your sight is still deteriorating, then it may be better to become accustomed with using voice-activated software while you still have visual cues to assist. But I'd also suggest, emotionally, the higher priority now is reacquainting yourself with the joys and horrors of being an author. :-)

I have some experience working as an editor for an author who needed voice-activated software. There are things an editor can do which are very simple for them but will make your tasks much easier.

The author I worked with wanted everything I did inserted into his text - so he could use the function that skips through changes in text (i.e. Edit > Changes > Record is turned on) and he either accepts or rejects whatever I have done.

The only complication arose when I wanted to add an explanatory comment to a suggestion. This is how it can work:
* the editor only replaces full words or a group of words. They start a delete with the letter following a space and end it after any punctuation PLUS the following space, and
* they insert any comments before the space that precedes their change and enclose the comment in backslashes.

When the author is told the next edit for their consideration begins with a backslash, they know it is an explanation of the following change. They always reject when asked whether to include that in the revised version of the text. Note that the next space, which comes from your original text, acts to separate the editor's comment from the actual change suggested so the software will treat them as different suggestions.

It takes your editors almost no time at all to just be careful where they insert things but will make things much easier for you.

It has already been mentioned that voice-activated software is notoriously bad at getting homophones (different spelling but same pronunciation) right. I have some ideas about that. Would you please email me at rossmurray.aust@gmail.com. [I have some software problems at the moment. I can log in to SOL okay but the Tor browser I use gives me displays that appear as if I'm not logged in. I'll get that fixed soon, but until then I will not see any messages sent via the SOL internal mail system.]

Cheers, Ross.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@StarFleet Carl

That's almost the same reason I was using the same program. I had carpal tunnel surgery


That's almost the opposite reason. :)

I broke my right humorous just below the shoulder joint.

My right hand worked just fine, I just couldn't get it anywhere near a keyboard.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Slutsinger

I'm totally blind. PCs Macs and smart phones all have fairly good screen readers built in that are good enough to use the computer and that cost no extra money. For Windows, this started with Windows 8; the older versions did have a screen reader but it wasn't good enough to use the computer on a daily basis in my opinion. If you're willing to spend some real effort training yourself to listen and to interact with your computer via the keyboard, then you can read at hundreds of words a minute using voice and type rapidly as a touch typist. It requires real work and dedication, but certainly is possible for someone who is totally blind. In the US if you are legally blind, you definitely ought to be able to get people to help you from the various state commissions for the blind and similar agencies. But ultimately, you'll have to figure out what you are comfortable with. Do you want to use what sight you still have as much as you can, or do you want to face jumping to another sense as your primary interaction. Feel free to reach out via mail and I'd be happy to share what experience I can. I'll warn you that I am very much a computer person and some of the approaches I use are unlikely to work for non-programmers.

StarFleet Carl

@Dominions Son

That's almost the opposite reason. :)

I broke my right humorous just below the shoulder joint.


There's nothing funny about breaking your humorous...

Yeah, but neither one of us could utilize the keyboard properly due to injury / surgery, was my point. When your hand is wrapped up so that only your fingertips are visible, and your arm is mostly in a sling, it's also pretty hard to do things. Such as wiping your own butt after going to the bathroom. Learning how to do that with the left hand was ... messy.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

I have some experience working as an editor for an author who needed voice-activated software. There are things an editor can do which are very simple for them but will make your tasks much easier.

Excellent suggestions, Ross, and probably the best advice offered yet.

I agree that you should prepare for eventually losing what little eyesight you have remaining. If it never happens, then you lose nothing, but if it does, you won't be left fumbling in the dark and despairing (which often happens when people lose their eyesight at an advanced age—they often NEVER recover—depending on others to take care of them).

If you have access to social services for visual impairments, they'll likely also have access to local or national access groups, so you can converse online with others in similar straits, so you can get firsthand knowledge about which techniques work and which don't (and also, which Social Service personal are worth a damn, and which AREN'T)!

Dominions Son

@StarFleet Carl

Such as wiping your own butt after going to the bathroom. Learning how to do that with the left hand was


One word, bidet.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

One thing was we never printed notices for the sighting impaired on white paper, they were always black ink on pastel paper so they were easier for them to read.
Black on a pastel colour or light grey is usually easier to read for people with eyesight issues.

If it is possible can someone please tell wordytom how to change the background to text on his PC from white to an appropriate colour? He might have to experiment with different ones to find the one best for him.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

If it is possible can someone please tell wordytom how to change the background to text on his PC from white to an appropriate colour?


How you do that varies with the operating system, but it's essentially a personalisation of the display setting for the window colours or a personalisation setting for the program being used. You can set the system to show all programs with a particular set of colours and some software allows you to do that for their program. I've one set of colours for the system and another for Libre Office.

StarFleet Carl

@Dominions Son

Those are not actually very common in this country, not in standard houses, anyway.

I'm not really sure why they never caught on here. My second ex-wife made sure that when we built our house that our master bathroom had one. A spray type, not a fountain.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@StarFleet Carl

Those are not actually very common in this country, not in standard houses, anyway.


No, they aren't common in the US, but you can get an add-on bidet that will attach to any standard toilet.

I have a similar and longer lasting problem due to a combination of weight and disproportionately short arms.

Goldfisherman

A couple of years back I switched from Windex OS to Linux Mint Cinnamon. It is a free OS for either IBM OS or Apple machines. It has over 35,000 free appsm of which text to speech and speech to text are free downloads. I occasionally use the text to speech to listen to stories I write to catch some grammatical errors.

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