Stop mouse settings from reverting in Windows 10: X Mouse Button Control

When I’m not using speech recognition, I’m using my trackball. My trackball drives everything, including my on-screen keyboard. Also, some of Dragon’s mouse commands rely on the Windows mouse settings. Therefore, I was rather peeved when I discovered that a bug in either Windows 10 or Synaptics resets the mouse settings–from pointer speed to scroll length–every time the computer reboots. Besides updating the drivers, I tried running regedit and setting HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Synaptics\SynTP\Install\DeleteUserSettingsOnUpgrade to 0 and setting HKEY_CURRENT USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WheelScrollLines to a different number, but neither worked for me, so if they don’t work for you either, you have a couple of third-party program options that can bypass the bug.

The easiest option is to install any enhancement software that came with your pointing device. I’m not fond of Trackball Works for my Expert, though, because no matter what I do to the pointer speed, it feels to my hand like it’s floating around. Also, it doesn’t offer scrolling by page. So I looked for universal mouse enhancement programs and found X Mouse Button Control, which is a mouse hotkey programmer that also handles the standard mouse functions and then some. Most importantly, X Mouse runs at boot up and overrides the standard driver, so whatever you set remains. (However, if you don’t want it to run on booting, you can disable it in msconfig.exe.)

Mainly, I wanted to keep the mouse speed and thresholds I’d set in the registry and the scroll steps I’d set in the Mouse options in Control Panel. (To increase your mouse speed beyond what the control panel offers, go to regedit.exe and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT USER\Control Panel\Mouse. Set MouseSpeed to 2 and both thresholds to 0 for maximum speed.) To adjust your pointer speed settings, double-click the X Mouse tray icon, then click the Settings button and set the speed slider to wherever you choose. You also have several wheel  options here, such as scrolling the window under the cursor or activating the window with the scroll wheel. Under the Advanced tab, there are several useful accessibility options, such as ignoring repeated scroll motions or setting the repeat rate.

To set your scrolling speed or amount, use the Scrolling and Navigation tab in the main window. You have the option of scrolling a page at a time or setting the number of lines, as well as locking your axes via modifier keys. (To set your modifier keys, click the Settings button, then the Modifier Keys tab.)

Finally, you have your standard hotkey and macro options for the scroll wheel and up tp 5 buttons, which can be global or program specific. Note: If you use dwell clicking software, your button actions will apply to dwell click buttons as well. While working native drivers would be nice, this isn’t a bad alternative.

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“Touch typing” with an on-screen keyboard: Virtual Keyboard meets Window Eyes

Note: The following will not work for typing in scan mode–only for a pointing device and a switch assigned to clicking. However, if your pointing device emulates a mouse using switches, that will work.

I posted before that I had a hell of a time getting Virtual Keyboard to work with screen readers without having the text output mangled. Fortunately, GW Micro has offered the Window Eyes screen reader to people with licensed versions of Microsoft Office, including Starter. Window Eyes appears to be the only screen reader that doesn’t screw up my text. So, enter the possibility of  “touch typing” on an onscreen keyboard.

1. Turn off dwell clicking in your onscreen keyboard.

2. Turn on Window Eyes. Bring it up by pressing Control Backslash and select Help, then select Show Advanced Options.

3. Expand the Mouse side menu and select Voice.

4. From the dropdown on the right, select one of the On options.

5. Mouse over the keyboard slowly to hear the letters and words and get a feel for the distance between them. Then accept your letter or word by clicking the switch.

6. If you’re using word prediction, it might speed things up if you turn off the learning function. That way, you’ll have a more consistent idea of when your words will show up so you don’t have to wander your cursor around more than you have to. Setting up shorthand expansions in AutoHotkey or your word processor might also be helpful.

Note: Window Eyes will interact with your other programs, too, not just Office. (Jarte Plus will automatically start in Screen Reader Mode, in fact.) However, there are glitches. For instance, I couldn’t type into the Tags field of this post; Window Eyes couldn’t tell the text cursor was in a text field and took letters for shortcut keys. Tumblr seems to break text fields sometimes as well. Also, it doesn’t always read Dragon’s correction menus even with the accessible menus option turned on.

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Fire IE: trick Dragon and websites into thinking you’re using Internet Explorer (sometimes)

I noticed recently that some sites I used at work didn’t display properly in Firefox, whether I had Flash enabled or not. At home, I couldn’t read the comments on sites that used the Disqus commenting system. They worked fine in Internet Explorer, though, and I’m really not fond of switching browsers for switching tasks. So I remembered something I tried a long time ago and discarded because of the bugs: one of those add-ons that tricks Firefox into believing you’re using IE. Fortunately for me, the bugs appear to be worked out in the add-on I’m currently using: Fire IE. Extremely fortunately, there are side effects: Dragon usually thinks I’m using IE too, and sometimes I can watch content requiring Flash while the Firefox Flash plug-in is disabled. And so Dragon doesn’t crash!

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Reviews: SpeechWare TravelMike and SpeechWare 3-in-1 TableMike

I was having one problem after another recently with the Andrea Superbeam microphone and its drivers. So, even though my budget kind of hurt for it, I bought a SpeechWare 3-in-1 TableMike.

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Online resources for lipreading/speechreading

Something struck me the other day–for all that deaf and hard of hearing people are encouraged to lipread/speechread, there aren’t a lot of classes offered for it around here. You can always practice with DVDs with captions on, or–now that Amazon and Netflix have gotten it together somewhat–streaming video. (There seems to be a glitch between Firefox and Silverlight at the moment, though, so that might not be so helpful.)

However, there are some starting places online. YouTube, once you filter out NFL and Bad Lipreading, comes up with a few things. A series of about 30 lessons offers unvoiced sentences which appear neutrally US accented and are followed by captions after a pause. Sometimes the captions are mismatched, and once the woman clearly swears.🙂 But it’s usually pretty obvious when the sentence doesn’t match, and it keeps you on your toes. There are also a few videos in a British accent, and what appears to be an explanation of lipreading Spanish for hearing people.

If you want to go a little more polished, offers practice videos for vowels, initial consonants, numbers, names, and guessing missing words. The multiple choice games are useful to a point, but particularly helpful might be the lipreading alphabet at the bottom of the page. There are not only pictures, but verbal descriptions of how the vowels and consonants are formed.

If you want practice with concentrating or hearing in noise, LACE has a demo that asks you to recognize one of two competing voices–male, female, or child.

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Vocola commands for interactive fiction

It’s possible to dictate into many interactive fiction interpreters, such as Win Glulxe or Windows Frotz, but there are occasionally glitches–words run together, or the correction command doesn’t work right. These commands minimize the possibility of run-together words by inserting a space.

# Voice commands for frotz

Up = u{Enter};

Down = d{Enter};

North = n{Enter};

South = s{Enter};

East = e{Enter};

West = w{Enter};

Northeast = ne{Enter};

Northwest = nw{Enter};

Southeast = se{Enter};

Southwest = sw{Enter};

Zed = z{Enter};

Again = g{Enter};

Examine <_anything> = x{Space}$1{Enter};

Yes = y{Enter};

No = n{Enter};

inventory = i{Enter};

scrollback ={Ctrl +l};

Get <_anything> = get {Space} $1{Enter};

Drop <_anything> = drop {Space} $1{Enter};

Open <_anything> = open {Space} $1{Enter};

Close <_anything> = close {Space} $1{Enter};

Unlock <_anything> = unlock {Space} $1{Enter};

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King’s Quest 3 Redux: Point-and-click/switch access goes retro

I can’t really play computer games outside of interactive fiction. That’s all right, though; I’m a word person, and playing the contemporary games reminds me of playing things like Moonmist vicariously on my neighbor’s Tandy. I was also interested in King’s Quest 3 with its evil wizard and his ambitious servant Gwydion, but never got the chance to play.

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