Friday Finds Jan 20th 2017

Friday Finds Jan 20th 2017

Friday Finds for January 20 2017

The start of each article is marked with an asterisk.  Using the find/replace feature of your word processor, type in the asterisk (shift plus numeral eight) then hit enter to jump between articles.


1 donna’s corner.txt

2 Tap Water Good for Your Health and Your Wealth.txt

3 The Quest for “The Holy Braille” Full-Page Refreshable Braille Display,  An Interview with Alex .docx

4 VizLens and HALOS.docx

5 Money Saving Queen.docx

6 GoGoGrandparent a uber service for seniors who do not have access to smartphones.docx

7 public beta version of Dictation Bridge for NVDA free screenreadernow available.docx

8 Words of Wisdom.docx

9  facts for the week.docx

10 Draw Thou Our Hearts.docx

11 Verse of the Week.docx

Articles Start next

*1)  Donna’s Corner

So glad to have Donna back.  For some silly reson, always getting her postings from across the border in that great Country of Canada doesn’t go well.  But her contribution is here this week.  Thanks Donna for your wisdom

Hi there!  I am pleased to bring you two weekly features:

In the end zone with the entrepreneur and

Scam Alerts.

You can listen to these two features plus more by visiting and downloading

my weekly podcast at as well as going to  iTunes.


Donna J. Jodhan

In the end zone with the entrepreneur

Is there such a thing as an international entrepreneur?

My response to this?  Definitely so and there is no reason why  there could

not be room for an entrepreneur on the International stage.  When it comes

to international trade, There are countless opportunities; practically under

the nose of the one who is willing to go out there and take but just a few

minutes to have a look.

One should never limit their horizon to the domestic scene.  To do this

would be simply to be ignoring an ocean of opportunity that is just beyond

your city, town, State, or even country!  No, this is not a false picture

but rather a very realistic one.

So what could some of these possibilities be?  Well, here are just a few for

you to think about.

To export products ad services.

To import products and sell them on the domestic market.

To act as an agent for an international company.

To act as an international rep.

To provide translation and transcription services.

Think of this!  An international entrepreneur can import packaged foods and

spices from those countries that are known for their exotic products and

sell them to their domestic market.  Or how about this?  You can become the

translator of marketing materials for foreign companies.


A scam alert

You are being offered a terrific package by your cable and tv provider

Believe it or not; they are out there and they are only waiting to pounce on

those unsuspecting victims who only want to be able to have access to some

great cable tv watching.  All you want to do is to be able to find ways to

bundle all of your cable and Internet services into one cost effective

package and all that these scammers want to do is to take advantage of your


So how does this all take place?

You receive a phone call with a terrific offer.

You are being offered a bundle that includes tv, cable, and internet and

cell phone as an add on.

Rates are really enticing.

Bundles are flexible and for a good period of time.

Do not encourage this phone call.

Do not give out any info about the present services you receive, your name,

or anything else.

Just ignore all of this.

Hang up and go about your business.

What happens if you choose to take this offer?  Well!  Your information will

be used to help these hackers to start generating bills charging you for

services that are non existent.  They will look real and soon you won’t be

able to tell the real bills from the fake ones.

Until next week then!

I’m Donna J. Jodhan

*2)  Tap Water: Good for Your Health and Your Wealth

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when it happened, but sometime over the past decade or so, the general population of this country formed a belief that bottled water is better than tap water—safer and healthier, too.

It’s possible that the trend started in 1976 when the chic French sparkling water, Perrier, was introduced to the world. There it was elegantly bottled in its emerald

green glass in an era of glitz and excess. Who could resist? What could be more blatant than to package, sell and consume what most of us in the western world

consider a basic human right easily supplied through the convenience of a home faucet?

It is pretty ingenious how the bottled water industry has convinced millions of people to pay between 240 and 10,000 times more to purchase water in a bottle than to get it from the supply we’re already paying for that comes out of the taps in our homes!

TAP WATER IS CHEAPERThese days a 16-ounce bottle of “spring” water goes for about a dollar, which works out to about $8.00 a gallon—twice the cost of milk, and about par with

bottled soft drinks. Home delivery of water in those great big, heavy bottles is less per gallon but still around $40 a month, according to

online averages.

The average household cost for town water in the U.S. is $ .66 per cubic meter, which is 265 gallons or 4,240 eight-ounce glasses of water—enough to last the average person 530 days (consuming eight 8-ounce glasses per day). Another way to price it: Sixty-two eight-ounce glasses of water cost about 1 cent.

It appears people really love their bottled water, today there are dozens of brands and that merits big advertising! In 2013 alone, Americans drank 58 gallons of bottled water per capita.

With the help of advertisements, bottled water has gone from reservoir to faddish luxury item to mass commodity.

Bottled water is being directly or indirectly sold as: healthy, smart, pure, sexy, clean and simple, it is “the stuff of life.” Ad slogans go like Dasani by Coca-Cola:

“Treat yourself well. Everyday.” Volvic: “Fills you with volcanicity.” Aquafina by Pepsi-Cola: “So pure, we promise nothing.” Arrowhead by Mountain Spring Water,

USA: “Arrowhead. It’s Better Up Here!” Evian: “Approved by your body as a source of youth.” Pure Life by Nestle: “Drink better, live better.”


This may startle you, but it is absolutely true: Tap water is safer than bottled water. How could that be? The reason is simple:

The water supply in the U.S. is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under very strict guidelines and rules that are heavily enforced.Bottled water is subject to FDA rules, which are far less stringent. For example, tap

water by law requires disinfection. Testing for bacteria must be conducted hundreds of times per month.

Bottled water, on the other hand, is not required to be disinfected; the frequency of bacteria testing is fewer than five times each month.

There have been controversies about chemicals leaching into the water from the soft plastic material of bottles, but the FDA determined the containers “do not pose a health risk to consumers.”


Tooth decay in children is making a big comeback. The culprit? Bottled water. It’s not the water that’s causing the decay, according to the World Dental Congress.

It’s the lack of fluoride.

Parents believe they are giving their children a superior product in bottled water, but in fact they are depriving kids of the fluoride and minerals they need to build healthy teeth and bodies.

Despite all of the controversy, fluoridation, present in most public water supplies, has become recognized as a key intervention in tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association.

So, the next time you feel thirsty, don’t reach for a bottle. Instead turn on the tap. You’ll be drinking water that is just as safe—or safer—than bottled water and saving money, too. Get the kids to switch and you just might head off big dental

bills down the road as well.

Don’t like the taste of your tap water? Invest in a filter pitcher or dispenser; install

an inexpensive faucet filter or a reverse osmosis system. Taste comes from negligible amounts of minerals. Filtered tap water removes minerals and chemicals rendering it with no hint of aftertaste, even at room temperature.

Author:  Mary Hunt

*3)  The Quest for “The Holy Braille” Full-Page Refreshable Braille Display: An Interview with Alex Russomanno
by Francesca Crozier-Fitzgerald If all goes as planned, The Holy Braille, a project from the University of Michigan School of Information to develop a full-page refreshable braille display, could revolutionize the pace of education for people with visual impairments. Project designers believe that the device could drastically improve the rate at which people with visual impairments receive and interpret information. In a recent interview, Alex Russomanno, one of the engineers involved in the project, talked about his team’s momentum, the project’s trajectory, and what we can expect to see in the next few years.

Source link:

If all goes as planned, The Holy Braille, a project from the University of Michigan School of Information to develop a full-page refreshable braille display, could revolutionize the pace of education for people with visual impairments. Project designers believe that the device could drastically improve the rate at which people with visual impairments receive and interpret information. Currently, braille readers or devices that attach to the bottom of a tablet can interpret only one line of readable text at a time.

The team’s two-pronged approach seeks to develop the technology needed to create a full-page refreshable braille display and tactile graphics on portable devices at a reasonable cost. It would do so through a new technology, a pneumatic system of air pressure and fluid below the screen, programmed to raise bubbles on the screen’s surface to produce braille and tactile graphics.

The epicenter of The Holy Braille’s development sits at The University of Michigan. Here, Brent Gillespie of the College of Mechanical Engineering, Alex Russomanno, PhD student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Mark Burns of the College of Chemical Engineering, and Sile O’Modhrain, Associate Professor of the School of Information are working to build their Holy Braille model. Their outlook is positive and their motivation strong.

The device’s catchy name was coined by collaborator Noel Runyan, and from what the team is telling us, it’s the holy grail for adaptive technology for the blind and visually impaired–the “answer” or wondrous revelation of truth after a long, laborious journey. The quest for The Holy Braille is the quest for visually impaired individuals to have the same digital experience as their sighted peers.

In a recent interview, Alex Russomanno talked about his team’s momentum, the project’s trajectory, and what we can expect to see in the next few years.

Francesca Crozier-Fitzgerald: What inspired you to join the team working to create The Holy Braille?

Alex Russomanno: I initially got involved in the project because of my prior experience with the technology that we’re working on, dealing with microdevices. I did research on similar technology during my undergraduate program. While the braille and tactile graphics applications were added elements to this project, they’re ones I’ve ended up being really excited about.

FCF: I understand that while refreshable braille displays do exist, the current technology only provides one line of text at a time. How did this factor into your team’s motivation for creating a full-page refreshable braille display?

AR: Sile O’Modhrain, from the School of Information, is a key member of our team. She is blind herself and an avid user of refreshable braille displays for many years, as well as other types of adaptive equipment and technology. She has firsthand experience on what’s not available in the industry, especially in the realm of refreshable braille displays. One of the big things I’ve learned from her and in talking to other people that use these devices is that they are very limiting. Reading a single line of rendered braille on the screen will not be like reading a full page of hard copy braille on a sheet of paper. It’s not equivalent. In the same way, there is no adaptation for images, spreadsheets, or other graphics, so there’s no way for visually impaired individuals to interact with these [types of] more interactive digital content. She is personally motivated to make these features available.

FCF: How has Sile O’Modhrain’s first-hand experience been important for the development of the project?

AR: In collaboration with my advisor, Brent Gillespie, she’s always been considering different ways they could make an impact for visually impaired individuals. Brent Gillespie works in the haptics domain–research involving the sense of touch, so there is a real clear overlap of their interests. Between Brent’s mechanical engineering expertise and Sile’s background in working with these devices and knowing where they are lacking, they are attacking this challenge to improve full-page tactile text and graphics.

FCF: If you had to narrow it down, what are your main objectives with developing The Holy Braille?

AR: Our first objective is to create multiple lines of text, electronically, that you could access just as you would access a hard copy braille, scanning and using both hands to really have a more immersive interaction with the content.

Our second objective is to use the technology to render images, and go so far as to render a tactile interface you can feel and interact with, similar to how sighted people interact with a desktop computer or any type of visual display with unique icons. If we could build a display that has a full page of dots that move up and down, you could use those dots to render images, to render the equivalent of icons, and you could have interesting new ways of interacting with digital content you don’t currently have with text to-speech software or other adaptive means of interacting with visual content.

FCF: Where are you in the trajectory of getting to the answers of these questions?

AR: It’s a two-pronged approach right now. On one side we’re working with building the technology–how can we enable the creation of a low cost full-page display. We’re not quite ready to be putting out a product, but in the next year we’ll be looking at attaining seed funding to pursue the commercialization of our technology, enabling the creation of a potential prototype model of our device.

The second part of our research is looking at how someone would interact with such a device. Currently, while full-page braille displays have been created, they are so expensive not many people can get their hands on them. We want to research how they are used and what they will be best used for. It’s hard to have these answers at this point without a prototype device, but we’re moving closer to these answers.

FCF: You talk about visual displays–graphs, charts, spreadsheets–being rendered in braille. Can you explain how your team would actually create those images with braille?

AR: The image or graphic would look like a grid of dots. By programming those dots to appear with appropriate spacing and heights, you will be able to render shapes or images. This is very similar to how you program pixels to appear as an image on a computer screen. To make graphs and different images on the screen, it’s just a matter of programming those physical features in the form of dots, to rise and fall in a certain, programmed manner.

Creating rendered images and graphics is obviously much more complicated than writing braille letters in a straight line. In times like this it has helped having contacts at SKERI (Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute) as they’re also very interested in studying the ways that blind and visually impaired people in particular are interacting with tactile images.

FCF: Are there alternative methods that you are currently using or can use to study how individuals will use the device?

AR: Right now our research is focused on mimicking the display, or a manifestation of our display, using methods like 3D printing. We can 3D print what our display might look like and then run small-group sample studies to see how people interact with the device. We can observe how well they can identify tactile images and then we’ll then use that information to guide the creation of an eventual display. We’re very interested in both sides, the technology and also how the technology might be used because it’s all brand new. No one has created such a device.

FCF: It seems like this technology could really change the way we are educating our blind and visually impaired students. What stands in your way of getting these devices into residential schools for the blind, or into the hands of visually impaired students around the world?

AR: We are well aware that one of the limits of creating a refreshable braille displays or multi-lined displays has been their cost. A full-page refreshable braille display could cost up to $55,000 for one device, and that’s obviously prohibitively expensive if you want to get it into the hands of a student or of someone that actually needs it. We think we have come up with a specific technology and a method to manufacture that device in a way that’s going to be much cheaper. We think by creating our technology, through a pneumatic system, will reduce costs of production.

With our technology, all of the dots that move up and down and all the interconnections and air channels and pumps, and everything needed to control them, would all come in one single piece. It’d be made in the same way that a computer chip is made. When you take away the need for assembling all the parts, and condense the technology into one piece, you remove some of the main factors that tend to drive up the costs. That’s where I think the bread and butter, where we make our impact, will be. We want to lower the cost of these devices so we can get these things into the hands of people that will use them.

FCF: Are there still technical hurdles that your team is addressing regarding the production of The Holy Braille?

AR: There are many open questions regarding turning this into a portable device, that is something that I imagine will be further down the road. I don’t think creating portable devices is impossible, but it’s an added technical hurdle to make that happen. Creating the full-page rendered braille display in a desktop version, the size of a CCTV for example, that you could put on a table or desk in a classroom, we’re not far from that. That is well within our current reach.

FCF: What keeps you motivated to work on this project?

AR: It’s fascinating. We went to the California School for the Blind with our collaborators from SKERI earlier this year to get more information about how tactile graphics can be used and what can be improved. It’s just very obvious that a lot of older children that don’t have access to these materials and devices early on have a lot of trouble reading the information in a graph or comprehending what it is trying to communicate, and that makes sense. If a child has not grown up reading or learning how to read graphs, how could they be expected to comprehend what a graph is and how it’s read later on in their lives? Even those who are getting access and experience with tactile images, are not getting enough to feel comfortable and fluent.

We want to get these things into the hands of these kids as early as possible, because teaching these things later makes it tougher to catch up. So, that motivates me.

If you have further questions, you can contact members of The Holy Braille team, Alex Russomanno or Sile O’Modhrain.


VizLens and HALOS – Making Touchscreen Appliances and Other Devices More Blind Friendly
Source Link:

New Developments in Appliance Access

VizLens and HALOS: Making Touchscreen Appliances and Other Devices More Blind Friendly
by Bill Holton This article describes an emerging and hopefully soon-to-be-available solution to a growing accessibility issue: the increasing prevalence of terminals, kiosks, vending machines, and other touch interfaces that are inaccessible to people with visual impairments. The article also introduces a brand new “low-tech” solution available right now that can help you better label and navigate the touch controls on your microwave, oven, dishwasher, and other home appliances.

If you have used an iPhone for any length of time, you likely have experience with an app called VizWiz.

VizWiz was developed by the ROC HCI Group at the University of Rochester, with the support of Google and the National Science Foundation. With VizWiz, you can take a photo and send it along with a question to a contact, Facebook friend, Twitter user, or Amazon Mechanical Turk worker, who can return an answer. Unfortunately, if you’ve tried using VizWiz lately, you have doubtless noticed a decided lack of response.

“VizWiz was produced as a research project,” says Jeffrey Bigham, one of VizWiz’s lead developers. “Once other people took the ideas and produced other free and commercial options, it became time to let it lapse.”

Bigham’s dedication to accessibility has not flagged, however. He’s now an Associate Professor at the Carnegie Mellon University Human-Computer Interaction Institute, where one of his PhD students, Anhong Guo, expressed an interest in using computer vision to assist people with visual impairments. Bigham became a project advisor to Guo, as the student began looking for ways to make non-voicing touch interfaces more accessible. Today they have a working prototype, called VizLens.

The VizLens user begins by taking an iPhone photo of a touch interface, and giving it a name (such as “Home Microwave,” or “Office Vending Machine”). Then, the user uploads the photo to the service, where the image is crowdsourced for text labeling of each of the interface controls, along with its accompanying position. The image is then sent to a server where it is stored for access whenever the user wants to operate the device.

The user receives a text map of the touch panel, which can be explored using VoiceOver touch and swipe navigation. Say your dishwasher has a single row of touch controls. You would now know that the extreme right button is “Start,” and the one to its immediate left is “Rinse and Hold,” and so on and so forth. You could also snap a pic of your new TV remote, and then use the resulting map to familiarize yourself with the various controls.

But wait–as they say on TV infomercials–there’s more!

After a touch controlled appliance or other device has been mapped, the user can open the VizLens app, activate the named item, then hold the phone with one hand with the camera aimed at the controls, then hover a finger from the other hand over the touchpad. The app announces, button-by-button, which control your finger is pointing at. A second mode allows the user to tap the control they wish to use, at which point the app guides your finger toward the correct position with either beeps or spoken “left, right, up, down” instructions.

“This works well for touch panels with a single layer of controls,” says Guo. “But there are many touch interfaces, such as the ones on our office coffee pot and copying machine, that offer dynamic displays, using Mode buttons that change the entire layout with each new press.”

The solution the VizLens team has developed involves a one-time series of photographs, one for each mode. “At this point, the app could identify which mode the device is in, and offer navigation for that particular screen,” says Guo.

The VizWiz team does not plan to use a library of appliance and other touch panel devices, since the angle and lighting for each user will vary. However, once you have taken the first picture, it will be placed in an on-device library so it won’t be necessary to reshoot every time you wish to preheat the oven or start a load of wash.

Future enhancements include using OCR to verify that the information you enter is correct, and combining OCR with crowdsourcing to enable near-real-time use of dynamic displays that have not already been added to your device’s library–such as the ticket kiosk at an airport where you have never traveled from before.

“It would also be a simple matter to use the scans to produce 3D templates with tactile controls,” notes Bigham.

As to what these tactile controls might conceivably feel like, read on.


Currently, the best solution to operating touch interface home appliances is via adhesive dots to mark often used controls or a braille overlay, either handmade or produced by third-party providers or one of a very few appliance makers who offer them. Recently, a new alternative has appeared which offers tremendous potential. It’s called the Home Appliance Label and Overlay System (HALOS), produced by Anne DeWitte, proprietor of Tangible Surface Research.

Read more here:

As an engineering grad student, DeWitte studied tactile displays. “Today we have LEDs that can change colors. Hopefully, soon we will also have materials that can shrink or expand using similar display commands to produce touchable buttons, sliders, and even graphics.”

It occurred to DeWitte that these same developing screen technologies could also be used to help consumers with visual impairments to operate the touch-sensitive control panels that are becoming standard on more and more home appliances. Thinking ahead toward this possibility, DeWitte began to wonder, “Once we do have the ability, what will the universal tactile representation for, say, a timer clock feel like?”

DeWitte was familiar with braille appliance overlays, but she rejected these as programmable tactile elements. “Not everyone, especially newly blind seniors, reads braille, so they cannot be considered universal design elements.”

DeWitte wanted to develop a tactile icon library that identifies tactile shapes that have meaning for the home appliance domain. She took her proposal to, a crowdfunding site for scientific research. Her project received funding, and with the help of design students at the Rochester Institute of Technology–who designed some of the tactile icon shapes–and guidance from members of the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) in Rochester, who also supplied test volunteer subjects, she began compiling a library of proposed universal tactile icons that could be used over a variety of appliance models and manufacturers.

“The tactile Start button on a Microwave should be the same as the tactile Start button on a dishwasher,” observes DeWitte.

Too much research winds up being published in a journal, then put on a back shelf waiting for someone else to turn the theoretical into the actual. But DeWitte is an engineer, and wanted to see tangible results of her work. So she began creating transparent silicon appliance overlays, which used shapes instead of braille to note various functions. If you’ve used an NLS player you are already familiar with several of these tactile icons: a left-pointing arrow for Rewind, a raised letter X for Stop.

Today, DeWitte offers custom appliance templets on her Etsy store for just $30. Instead of raised dots, these overlays use different shapes to signify what each control does. A raised right-facing triangle shape signifies the Start button on an oven, microwave or a dishwasher, for example, while a popped kernel shape signifies a microwave’s Popcorn setting.

“Once I get a product model name and number I can usually find the display layout in a parts list so I can get the layout and measurements,” she says. “If it isn’t available, I ask the customer to place a quarter against the display for context and then snap a photo for me to work from.”

Since the overlays are transparent, a sight-impaired individual can use them without blocking the view for their sighted spouse, children, or other housemates. DeWitte also offers a second option if you don’t wish to use a full template. Currently, she produces three different sets of foam-based, stick-on Tactile Icons, which include HALOS for most popular controls. HALOS are priced at $5 per set, but DeWitte is also willing to consider creating custom HALOS packs, or even creating individual custom icons with the shapes of your choice.

“My most popular custom requests are for clothes washers and driers,” she says. Which is why DeWitte is actively seeking feedback on what shapes would work best for various appliance functions such as “Delicate Wash,” and “Air Dry.”

Further Information

You can read more about VizLens and stay up to date on the VizLens website, which includes research materials and a YouTube video

Visit the link below for a YouTube demonstration:

*5)   Money Saving Queen

Sprouts Farmers Market – Jan 18 – Jan 25             

Rock out those double coupons with our Homeland Store coupon and sale matchups

Multi-Item Deals

Found at this link:

Here a few to wet your couponing appetite.

Buy 8, Save $8


Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese, 5 – 8 oz – $2.69

Final Price: $1.69


Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts, 20 oz – $2.99

  • $1.00/2 Planters Products – 1-15-17 SS; Includes 6 oz or Larger Only; DND (exp. 03/12/17)
  • $1.25/2 Planter’s Products – 1-15-17 SS; 6 oz or Larger; DND (exp. 03/12/17)

Final Price: $1.36

Capri Sun Original Juice Drinks, 10 ct – $2.69

Final Price: $1.69

Cracker Barrel Cheese Sticks, 10 pk – $3.79

Final Price: $2.79

Gevalia Bagged Coffee, 12 oz – $6.99

Final Price: $5.99

Gevalia Coffee Pods, 6 – 12 ct – $6.99

Final Price: $5.99

  1. Some printable coupons

FREE Colgate Mouthwash at Walgreens with Coupons

Barbie President & Vice President Dolls 50% Off, $10 with Coupon

V8 Veggie Blends at Target for $0.86 with Coupon and Cartwheel

Welch’s Fruit Snacks for $0.99 with Coupon at Walgreens

There is access to many more current printable coupons for January 20 through 25 at this link:

*6)  GoGoGrandparent is a service designed so that those who do not have smartphones, or their families, can book rides with Uber or Lyft for a nominal additional fee:

Affordable senior transportation.

Rides within 15 minutes. 

Families stay in the loop.

Tailored for older adults.

Call (855) 464-6872 or

Sign up at the link below.

When accessing the sign up link above, you will find a form rto fill  out that contains the following request for information.

Phone Number


Home address


Family member contact

Under this section there is a checkbox to or not to  Send safety and usage updates to this person.

Billing information

When all fields are filld in, there is a button to hit enter on or click.   Individuals signing up are reminded that:

” By clicking the button, you agree to our  partners terms of use  and permit us to request services on your behalf.

 By using our service, you agree to our  terms of use statement found here:

*7)   public beta version of Dictation Bridge now available

After a period of silence, we’re excited to see that the public beta version of Dictation Bridge, the free program being developed to enable screen reader users to use Dragon or Windows Speech Recognition, is now available. This version lets you dictate text and control NVDA while NVDA is the active screen reader, with JAWS and Window-Eyes support said to be coming:

From  the Dictation Bridge Public Beta page: 

The dictation bridge team is proud to announce the release of our first public beta. Over the past several months our team of excellent engineers, private beta testers, and technical writers, (the people responsible for creating documentation to guide you), have been working hard to bring you the world’s first NVDA add-on to allow screenreader users access to leading edge speach recognition software.

Our team is still working hard on bringing you access to JAWS and Window-eyes access and will be rolling that out shortly. In the meantime, please feel free to download the beta and try it with your favorite speech recognition package. This beta works with Microsoft speech recognition and Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Please be sure to let us know what you think and stay tuned for our next public beta and final products.

Please see below for your own copy of the beta and our product release notes. Thank you once again for your patience and support in our crowdfunding campaign and development of this free software.

Release notes for dictationBridge beta 1

Currently working features

  • Echo back of dictated text in Dragon and Windows Speech Recognition also known as WSR.
  • Speech only support of the WSR correction box.
  • Support to control NVDA from Dragon and WSR. At this time, only Dragon commands have been written.
  • A verbal notification of the microphone status when using Dragon. WSR has this feature built-in therefore no support needs to be created.
  • Command NVDA by voice from Dragon.

Feature Descriptions


When you dictate into any application with either Dragon or WSR running, dictationBridge will speak the text that has been recognized by either engine if the NVDA screen reader is active. There are no additional settings that have to be done. The functionality works out of the box. If you want to disable echo back, then disable the dictationBridge addon.


When you need to correct misrecognized text in WSR, do the following.
Position the cursor on the word you want to correct. Once your cursor is positioned, say “spell”. A floating window will come up on the screen. This window is invisible to NVDA and other screen readers. NVDA will read out the choices. You then say “choose” followed by the number of that choice; for example, if you wanted to select the fourth choice, you will say “choose 4”.


It is possible to execute any script in NVDA. This is done by sending the script name to dictationBridge which in turn sends it to NVDA. So, you can say “speak focus” to have NVDA say the contents of the keyboard focus. There are over 70 commands that have been added for Dragon. Commands for WSR have not yet been written. These commands, in the background execute NVDA scripts that have keyboard shortcuts assigned to them. These scripts are present in NVDA 2016.3. These script names should be the same with earlier versions of NVDA. To get this feature to work, you need to add the dictationBridge folder to the system path. Instructions for doing this will be included in the installation section.


It is important to know if the microphone is active or not when using speech-recognition. This avoids the transcribing of unwanted text into your document. DictationBridge will now speak the status of the microphone as it is changed when using Dragon. WSR already indicates this status and there are distinct sounds mapped by default to microphone status changes.


It is possible to control NVDA by speaking voice commands from dragon. The commands should have been imported into your user profile. If this has not happened, please see the section on importing them. These commands map to the majority of NVDA features giving you complete hands free control of this program. You can then use native Dragon commands as well to control other programs such as the Windows desktop, note pad and Microsoft Word.

Installing dictationBridge

This version of dictationBridge like the ones before is a NVDA addon. To install it, do the following.

  • Launch NVDA. Ensure that you are running an installed copy of NVDA. This addon has not been tested in a portable version of NVDA.
  • Download the Dictation Bridge addon
  • From this link:

Once accessing the above link, do the following to download the  addon:

  1. Invoke the find mode of your browser.
  2. copy and then paste in the following line in the find edit field.

Dictation Bridge addon

  1. Hit enter.  The cursor is placed on the download link.
  2. Press the application key or shift plus f10.
  3. You will be asked to sve or run the download.  Pressing alt plus r will run the program.

I chose to save the download.  So if that is what you wish to do, continue to the next step.

  • 6.  Presss alt plus the letter n.
  1. Press tab once.
  2. Arrow up to “save as” and hit enter.
  3. Press shift plus tab twice and navigate to where you wish to save the file.
  4. Press alt plus the letter s once determining where to save the file.
  5. When finished downloading you might here, “running security scan” don’t worry, it is just a security check of your anti-virus software.
  6. If you are presented with a close option, press the spacebar on the close button.

Now on with the rest of the document from the actual webpage.

Once the addon has been downloaded, highlight the file and press enter on it.

  • Follow the prompts and allow NVDA to restart.
    The dictationBridge addon is now loaded.

Importing commands automatically

Once dictationBridge is installed, you will have an item in the tools menu called “Add Commands.” Activate this menu item and follow the prompts. It is crucial that you have already exported your commands that you want to import. These commands should be exported as XML files for this feature to work. If you have exported them as dat files, use the manual import feature from the Dragon command browser. You can do the same for XML commands.

Importing commands manually

  • Launch Dragon and ensure that your user profile is loaded.
  • Get to the Dragon bar and then to the tools menu.
  • Launch the command browser.
  • Hit alt+m to get to the Mode menu and arrow down to “Manage” and activate that option.
  • Hit ctrl+i, set the file type to XML and navigate to where you have saved the dictationBridgeCommands.xml file and highlight it.
  • Tab to the button labeled “Open” and activate it.
  • In Dragon version 15, you will be asked if you want to validate the commands. Agree to do this to ensure that the XML file is valid.
  • Tab through the resulting dialogue until you reach a button called “Import” and activate it.
    The commands should be imported.


After this procedure, it is crucial to have the following dynamic link libraries (DLLs) in the system path.
* DictationBridgeClient32.dll
* DictationBridgeClient64.dll

Making Dragon easier to use

There are a few options you need to configure in Dragon so that it works optimally when using a screen reader. You should make these changes immediately after creating your user profile.
Go to the Tools menu in the dragon bar and then to the Options menu item and activate it. This is a large multi-page dialogue and we need to change a few settings here. In Dragon 15, you will be unable to tab to the names of the property sheets in the dialogue. Use ctrl+tab to move forward to the next property sheet and ctrl+shift+tab to move backward to the previous property sheet.

On the Corrections tab, enable the options “Correct commands bring up Spelling Window” and “Spell commands bring up Spelling Window”

Navigate to the appearance tab and set the dragon bar to tray only mode.

Navigate to the miscellaneous tab and ensure that the option titled “Use menus that are compatible with screen readers” is checked.

Press “ok” to close the dialogue.

Known issues

The Dragon vocabulary editor is not usable as the list of words is not read by NVDA. We are waiting for the NVDA team to fix certain items before we can support this feature.

The training dialogue in Dragon is not fully supported. We are working on supporting this dialogue and hope to bring out this feature soon.

The word “New paragraph” may be heard in various situations. Please report when this occurs as we are actively tracking this issue.

Certain features such as the invoking of the WSR corrections dialogue may not work on versions of Windows that are set to a language other than English. This is because we have had to use English specific names to interact with portions of Dragon. We are working on enabling translations and hope to allow translators for your language to fix this problem soon.

Submitting bug reports

You should submit all bugs using the dictationBridge issue tracker. There are 3 components into which dictationBridge is split:

the NVDA add-on,

the jaws scripts,

and the dictationBridge core.

In order to file a bug report, you will first need to ensure that you have a Github account. When you navigate to one of the issue trackers above, Github will ask you to either sign in or create an account. If you have not done so already, create a Github account. Once this is done, you can sign in and file your bug report on the appropriate tracker.

*8)   Words of Wisdom

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to  your former self.” 

Ernest Hemingway

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
Groucho Marx

*9)   Facts of the week:

Facts you didn’t know about Saturn

  1. Saturn’s rings are not solid. They are made up of bits of ice, dust and rock.
  2. Jupiter has 67 moons, Saturn has 62, Uranus 27, Neptune 14, Mars2 and Earth just one.

  1. If you were to put Saturn in water, it would float.
  2. The atmosphere in Titan, Saturn’s Moon, is so thick and the gravity so low, that humans could fly through it by flapping “wings” attached to their arms.

  1. If you were to put Saturn in water it would float.

Facts about Bullying

160,000 U.S. children miss school every day due to a fear of bullying.

75% of school shooting incidents have been linked to bullyingand harassment.

*10)   Draw Thou Our Hearts

O  Lord Jesus Christ, draw thou our hearts unto thee; join them together in inseparable love, that we may abide in thee, and thou in us, and that the everlasting covenant between us may stand sure forever. O wound our hearts with the fiery darts of thy piercing love. Let them pierce through all our slothful members and inward powers, that we, being happily wounded, may so become whole and sound. Let us have no lover but thyself alone; let us seek no joy nor comfort except in thee.


Author Myles Coverdale:  Bishop of Exeter, 1530

*11)   Verse of the Week

1 John 3:18-24 (ESV)

Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.

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“This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.” —Peace Pilgrim

“God is the mind that imagines physical reality. We are each like a cell in that mind.” —Peter Shepherd


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