February 2017 Technology Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

Calendars: All of our 2017 Large Print Calendars are either in the mail or already spoken for. We ordered 5,000 Large Print Calendars this year. And roughly 3,500 of them we distributed ourselves, to Virginia Residents. Thanks to our volunteers and staff who made this possible. And a special thanks to our donors who make this program possible!

Holidays and Inclement Weather Closings: Should Roanoke County or Roanoke City Schools be closed due to inclement weather we too shall be closed. Additionally, we’ll put a notice on the answering machine here at New Vision. That’s at 540-985-8900.

Braille Calendars: You can order 2017 Braille Calendars by emailing the following Non-Profit your address and request a calendar. calendars@actionfund.org


Are you a screen reader user? If so would you like to make 20 bucks. J.J. over at the Blind Bargains website mentions a survey for screen reader users that pays $20 for those who qualify. See the link below.

Have you ever tried to prepare you own taxes? J.J. over at Blind Bargains mentions several ways to do it and online accessible services and forms. See link below for his article.

Interested in an accessible TV experience. Check out this article that links to a video about a new set-top-box that DISH offers customers. See link below.

Big News

There’s big news. ZoomText 11 was just released at the end of January. This is quite a rebirth of the product visually and functionally. If you’re a screen reader user likely you’re thinking I’ll just skip this section. But there’s one thing you might want to know first, especially if you have friends with failing eyesight. JAWS the screen reader, version 18, and ZoomText 11 are officially compatible. That’s to say if you have a friend who loves ZoomText but might need to start moving over to more screen reader like tools this offers a easier transition, where they can use both. Ok screen reader users you can skip this section now if you want.

So what’s the big deal with ZoomText 11? There is a cosmetic difference but that’s typical of most upgrades. Here’s what might flip you lid. Almost all if in fact not all keyboard commands have changed. Yeah, that’s right it is all different. I’ve been using ZoomText for 17 years, it is all new. So we’re all in the same boat. So you might ask, “Why change the keyboard hot keys?”. A lot of the keyboard shortcuts were really starting to show their age; you might have experience some of the same problems I have in recent years. Conflicts with browsers and Windows 10. Here’s one that constantly got me, I’d be trying to adjust the zoom level using the CTRL Key with the mouse scroll wheel and I was forever changing the Browsers Zoom level seperate from the ZoomText magnification level. And needless to say with Windows 10 there’s a few conflicts as well.

So the new ZoomText Model of keyboard commands uses a modifier key technique similar to JAWS. A modifier key is a key that you use in combination with other keys for a specific application, in this case ZoomText. Now the problem the old ZoomText was running into was the CTRL Key and ALT keys were being used as modifier keys. The conflict came in when Browsers, Web Applications, Microsoft Word, and Windows 10 wanted to start using these keys. So back to an example of a modifier key scheme on JAWS the modifier key is the Insert Key. The Modifier key in ZoomText 11 is the Caps Lock key. Now you might say, the Caps Lock key, are you crazy! I need that key! Well the industry has decided you don’t, get use to using the Shift key for capital letters. No, really you can still use the Caps Lock key but its a bit more of a chore to do so now. But in all seriousness, Google Chromebook laptops have replace the Caps Lock key functionality, NVDA offers an option to use the Caps Lock Key as your primary modifier key, and lastly the Magic Magnifier uses the Caps Lock key as it’s modifier key. Ok, enough about the modifier key and down to what you need to know.

Out of the box ZoomText 11 will not, I say again, will not import you ZoomText 10 settings. So if you love your 8x Magnification with Inverted colors, guess what ZoomText 11 won’t automatically import those settings. Which is to say you start with a default configuration. This starts you off at 2x magnification. Now at this point you’d use your keyboard commands to crank up the magnification but remember, they’ve all changed so the way you use to do that is no longer the new way to do that. So you could get stuck pretty quick, hopefully I can help you avoid that.

So here are a few of the primary keyboard commands you’ll need to get things back to where you need them.

  1. Caps Lock Key + the up arrow key will increase magnification.
  2. Caps Lock Key + the down arrow key will decrease magnification.
  3. Caps Lock Key + the letter C will activate color enhancements or color inversion.
  4. Caps Lock Key + ALT Key + Enter Key will toggle the voice on and off.

Now to turn on ZoomText assuming it isn’t set to start automatically you’ll press Ctrl Key + Alt Key + Shift Key + letter Z key. Now depending on your ZoomText 10 installation this may or may not work out of the box. But you’ll find on Windows 10 especially that CTRL Key + ALT Key shortcuts often can run into conflicts so it seems adding Shift to the mix seems to help avoid this. That’s a long way to say the days of CTRL + ALT then a letter for your shortcut are pretty much gone at least on Windows 10.

So for more about ZoomText 11 see the heading below named ZoomText 11.


Check out episode 89 of the Blind Bargains Qast. Shelly and the gang talk about the ATIA conference, the ZoomText Digital Certificate problem, NVDA’s new blog, and much more. See the link below.

Blind Bargains Episode 87 is part 1 of a two part break down of the amazing A.T. news from the 2016 year. Topics discussed include the Fire TV Stick, Google Home vs. the Echo Voice Assistant, and much more. See the link below.

Blind Bargains Episode 88 is part 2 of the A.T. news review for the 2016 year. Topics discussed include Object Recognition Apps, the Orbit Reader, Microsoft’s Narrator, and the new even bigger VFO Corporation. See the link below.

On episode 9 of The Parallel podcast Shelly talks to two gurus about Windows 10 and Microsoft. Jeff Bishop and Joe Steinkamp are deeply entrenched in the Microsoft world and the new innovations comming from the Microsoft Accessibility team. I haven’t listened to this one yet but it is on my to do list. See the link below.

To hear more of Shelly’s work on The Parallel Podcast check out the following website. You can navigate by heading to find different episodes. See link below.

ZoomText 11

Here’s some helpful guides and videos about using ZoomText 11.


iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for January 2017. Read about the new Autour App for recognizing visual surroundings and objects. Or read some neat break downs about games or updates made to AiPoly or other apps. See the link below.

Did You Know?

If you are a ZoomText user and you are moving to 11 you’ll likely need a new serial code. The serial code unlocks the software and tells the company your a paying customer. You’ll likely receive this serial in the mail if you have an active software maintance agreement. Otherwise you can run the software for 60 days in demo mode.

Amazon Smile Program

Picture of Amazon Smile Logo If you’d Amazon to make a donation to New Vision everytime you make a purchase you can use the link below to sign up for the Amazon Smile Program. Follow the step by step directions. A more complete set of directions, for screen reader users, will be included in the next newsletter and on our website. See link below.

Local News and Events

Reoccurring Events: Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) meets the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting of the Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) will be on Wednesday the 15th of February at 7:00 PM. For more information contact Dianne Decker at rdeckerjr2@cox.net.

Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts about what could be mentioned in an upcoming newsletter or comments on this newsletter feel free to reply or fill out the following form. See the following link.

Contact Info

New Vision 4504 Starkey Rd. Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24018 (South Park Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900

David Ward – Assistive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center