Word Camp Atlanta 2018 (a weekend for learning about Word Press) was held the weekend of April 14 and 15th. The theme this year was Diversity. As part of that, there were several presentations on accessibility. The presentations were in addition to the Keynote from Aimee Copeland.
The three sessions covered Reasons for website accessibility, how to evaluate a website for accessibility and how to build an accessible website.
Previous posts looked at automating Word by using the AutoCorrect option. Typing a character string and having it replaced by strings of text and then adding a button to the Quick Access Toolbar to simplify the process.
Macros will be the next step to automate Word.
In its simplest form, a macro is simply a series of actions that are recorded, then with a single command execute the recorded steps
One thing a student might do repeatedly is to highlight information in a Word document, either for reference or later editing. It would be helpful to be able to quickly identify the highlighted sections. If it is a short document, a quick inspection can identify the highlights. A multi-page document will require more time and the possibility of missed sections.
By using the Advanced Find feature, all of the highlighted sections can be identified, selected, copied and then made available for pasting.
We’ll break this into two pieces. One, to walk through the steps to select the highlights, copy them and paste them into a new document.
The second part will be to add the Developer tab to the toolbar and then record the macro.
To begin open your document with the highlighting you want to extract. The document we’ll use is Taming of the Shrew downloaded from Gutenberg.org with selected passages highlighted.
The first step is to click the Find button in the upper right of the Ribbon on the Home Tab.
The Navigation pane will then appear. Click the down arrow next to the Search box and select Advanced Find from the dropdown list.
The Find and Replace Dialog box will come up.
Click the Button labeled More to get all the options.
Click the Format button in the lower left corner and select Highlight. The word Highlight will then appear under the Find What text box next to Formatting:
Click the Find In: button and select Main Document.
Close the dialog box and all of the highlighted sections will be selected.
Press Ctrl+C, then Ctrl+N to open a new Word document and finally Ctrl+V to paste the selections in the new document.
The new document is created with just the highlighted text that was selected.
The video below will also show the steps.
The second part will be creating a macro to do the same thing but with either a keyboard shortcut or a button.
When Microsoft created the Ribbon for Word, it was based on the concept of placing more options in the front of the user. Most of the options are now more readily available with only one click.
Unfortunately, the AutoCorrect option was buried fairly deep into the menus, requiring several clicks to bring up the Dialog box.
What we’d like to do is add a shortcut to the Quick Access Toolbar so AutoCorrect is quickly available with one click.
Start by going to the Quick Access Toolbar, clicking so the menu appears. On the menu, select More Commands.
When the customize Ribbon dialog box appears, Click the Show Commands From box and select Commands Not in the Ribbon.
This will show all the command that are NOT on the Ribbon alphabetically in the left box and the command in the Quick Access Toolbar in the right box.
Scroll down to find the AutoCorrect Option – It will be the one with Lighting Bolt icon.
Click the Add button to place the AutoCorrect command in the Quick Access Toolbar. Then click OK.
The AutoCorrect button with icon has been added to the Quick Access Toolbar
AutoCorrect is now only a click away. You can see the steps in the video below.
So far we’ve covered the basics of Balabloka. Let’s look at some of the extra things that can be done with Balabolka.
The speech engine for Balabolka relies on an API (Application Program Interface) built into the Windows Operating System. The most current Speech API is SAPI 5. SAPI4 and its voices could be installed on the computer but the voices are not as high quality.
Microsoft David and Microsoft Zira are the default US English voices in Windows 10. Windows 7 had Microsoft Anna 64 bit. There are other voices which can be installed, some free and some purchased. The bit rate, either 32 or 64 bit needs to be matched with the operating system bit rate. Otherwise, the 64-bit programs might not be able to access 32bit voice.
The voice in Balabolka can be changed as we’ve seen, by going to the Menu option for Voice, selecting voice and selecting from the list of recognized voices. This will change the speaking voice. There is a way to change the voice and its properties for selected lines. You can alternate between male and female voices.
Because SAPI5 allows the use of XML tags, there are a number of things we can change including a different voice, Volume, Rate, Pitch, Emph, and Spell.
For example the XML tag to change the voice is <voice required=”Name = voice_name“>. The placeholder, voice_name, is replaced by the full name of the voice, such as Microsoft David Desktop. The completed tag is placed before the line you want the voice to speak. The full tag will look like this:
<Voice Required =”Name = Microsoft David Desktop”>
“The question won’t be what devices are connected – it will be what devices are not connected.” Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest
I recently attended a symposium on the Internet of Things (IoT). Depending on how you count, this is either the Second or Third Industrial Revolution or the second part of the information age. Most likely, it is the merger of the industrial and information ages. It will also be disruptive.
The major theme for IoT is Connectivity.
Everything communicates with everything else.
When your thermostat talks with your alarm clock and your alarm clock talks with your coffee pot and the candle stick dances with…. oops, that was another movie. But everything is connected so when you set your alarm clock, the thermostat automatically sets the temperatures and the coffee pot time and orders the driverless car to arrive at the appropriate time. All you need to do is say to Alexa/Siri/Cortana is, “Get me up at 07:00 AM”
When this technology becomes widely available, it will be less expensive than devices that might be just for AT more mainstream.
What does this mean?
It’s a given that the US Population is aging. From 2000 to t2010, the population grew at a faster rate in the older ages than in the younger ages. The over 62’s accounted for over 16% of the population.
With more AT available at a lower cost, the older population will be able to stay in their own homes longer with less physical monitoring needed.
Worried that your aging parents didn’t take their meds today? Their medical bottle will tattle on them – not only will it be able to tell if the cap has been opened but can count the number of pills as well.
Worried about them falling at home and not being able to summon help? Their floors and walls will be able to alert emergency services if they’re sensed not moving or in a strange position. They won’t even have to tell Alexa/Siri/Cortana to call for help.
They’ll also be more mobile, with driverless cars, they won’t have to worry about keeping their driver’s licenses.
There will also be a reduced need for doctor’s visits since wearable technology will be monitoring their vital signs.
It’s going to be a connected world whether we want it or not. For those with special needs, it will be a boon.
Choose a laptop that meets your needs – try the keyboard by typing a short document. In math and science courses, look at either a built in or usb numeric keypad.
For taking Pictures of the board when the lecturer is wiring formulas – a front facing camera (selfies don’t go the lecture review much good).
Look for adequate battery life – will it last through at least two back-to-back lectures without dying?
Number of USB ports – probably at least four
External microphone – most built-in laptop microphones are totally inadequate Digital Recorder
Ease of use – optimally look for single handed operation
Features – Ability to index/bookmark, fast forward, variable speed playback, USB connectability
Size – portability and weight can be a huge factor if you’re also carrying a tome of books
Need for external microphone – test it in a classroom environment to see if it’s necessary. It might also be possible to have the recorder place with the lecturer or closer to the podium.
Review the different models – at the high end, you might not need the Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity
Here’s a comparison sheet for the different Livescribe models
Ensure you have sufficient quantities of either purchased or printed Livescribe paper.
Make a habit of keeping your pen charged.
If you’re taking notes, a keyboard is a must.
Be familiar with the operating system and keyboard shortcuts
Make a habit of keeping your tablet charged.
If you plan to use the tablet to record, test it,
Make sure you have a front facing camera
Know how to backup to your preferred system, whether it’s the cloud or another device.
If you’re using a touchscreen, make sure you have stylus pen
Have the appropriate apps loaded and up-to-date
Be familiar with their usage
If recording, check to see if an external microphone is needed
Make a habit of keeping your smartphone charged
Know how to use the front facing feature of the camera
Know how to offload your recording/notes – smartphones have a limited amount of storage
Simple paper – if you use a spiral bound notebook for different classes, ensure that you have the correct one with you. As a personal preference, I prefer three hole punch paper. This permits me to also place any handout received along with the class notes.
For copying and writing math formulas, I find that unlined paper works best. If you are creating a mindmap, you definitely want unlined or at least a graph type paper.
Write only on one side when taking notes. If when reviewing the notes there are additional annotations, they can be made on the blank side of the turned sheet. It’s possible to overlook material written on the back of a sheet when reviewing
Number each page – sequence is important.
If using a pen, ensure that the ink won’t smear or smudge as you write