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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories discusses...

Page Readers

with Ron Linson

Ron Linson’s “Ghost Lights” and an accompanying discussion appear in issue 747.

[BwS] A question: Your punctuation and paragraphing are impeccable. How does NVDA [Non-Visual Desktop Access] handle that?

[Ron] It allows for character-level examination. You can also spell individual words or even entire lines, and it will spell blocks of selected text. Spelling with this voice is really s-l-o-w.

Paragraphing is done automatically in Word, but I set NVDA up so that it reports line indentation changes: "first line indent: 0.5 inches."

[BwS] That can be handy, all right. Paragraph indentation is very useful for handwritten documents or printed text that is single-spaced throughout. Bewildering Stories does not need paragraph indents because every paragraph is preceded by a blank line. We omit indentation for the sake of economy, but we maintain it as standard style for block quotes and lists, of course.

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[BwS] How does NVDA signal links? How do you know where there is one? Sometimes links are underlined; sometimes they're simply colored blue.

[Ron] You can adjust how much information NVDA reports. It can tell how many items are in a group or list, the style or color of text, and so on. I turned most of it off because it confuses me, but pressing the NVDA command key plus F will report text formatting at the cursor position.

I leave on the reporting of links and functional objects such as form fields and buttons. When it comes across a link, it will say "Inbox: link" or "Ghost Lights: visited link."

There are also easy one-key navigation commands for web browsers. There are lots of functions NVDA supports which I haven't explored yet, such as customized profiles, and others I don’t use, such as Braille support.

[BwS] Thanks, Ron. The information is encouraging. MacOS has a page reader built in, and it may have functions simillar to those of NVDA. I do know there is a choice of voices. The default voice makes your poem sound as though it were being read by Stephen Hawking. The style lends your poem a certain cachet, but I would like to explore further.

© Copyright 2018 by Ron Linson
and Bewildering Stories

Responses welcome!

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