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Empowering lives through non-visual access to technology
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NVDA 2020.1beta1 Available for Testing

Lun, 23/03/2020 - 08:11

Beta1 of NVDA 2020.1 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what the next version of NVDA has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

NVDA 2020.1 is a much smaller release in comparison to NVDA 2019.3, however it still contains several important bug fixes plus support for some new braille displays from both APH and HumanWare.

In-Process 20th March

Ven, 20/03/2020 - 12:48

In these uncertain times, we’re pleased to be able to be able to give you this week’s In-Process, right on time, two weeks after the previous edition! Lots to cover this week, so let’s jump in right away with the topic which is affecting everyone:

COVID-19: Business as usual at NV Access

Firstly, we want to reassure everyone that despite the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, it’s business as usual for NV Access. The NV Access team all work remotely already. So, in that regard we aren’t impacted by office building closures or restrictions on travel.

“We are open!” text with sunburst background

We are continuing to improve NVDA, Fix Bugs and add new features. If you have Telephone Support, either on its own, or as part of the NVDA Productivity Bundle, rest assured that help, as always, is not far away!

NVDA Productivity Bundle Sale!

Speaking of the NVDA Productivity Bundle, here’s some exciting news! We know a lot of people are home and needing to stay occupied. Keeping busy by learning new skills is one of the most productive and useful things you can do. We’d like to offer an incentive to encourage you that now is the time to take your NVDA skills to the next level. So, the NVDA Productivity Bundle is now 10% off it’s usual price. What do you get in the NVDA Productivity Bundle? Well, heaps! As well as a direct download of NVDA itself (which also includes the User Guide), there is:

The bundle is already a huge saving off the cost of all these items individually. An extra 10% off makes it even greater value. The Australian dollar has dropped, making it cheaper again for users outside Australia. Head to the NVDA Productivity Bundle to find out more, and purchase!

NVDA Certified Expert exam

Some users have honed their skills with the NVDA Productivity Bundle. Others have bought Basic Training for NVDA on its own (Maybe the Audio or Braille versions). Or do you feel you already have great skills from years of experience? Well, now is a great time put your knowledge to the test by sitting the NVDA Certified Expert Exam. The exam itself is free for anyone to sit. Once you pass, you may choose to purchase the certification. Being an NVDA Certified Expert gets you listed on the Certification Page. You also get a neat logo you can include in your email signature or website. That is a great way to advertise your skills.

Become a GitHub Sponsor

NV Access are pleased to announce a new way you can support your favourite screen reader. GitHub Sponsors is a way for you to support open source projects you love. NV Access has been accepted to the GitHub Sponsor program. Sponsorship tiers start at $5 a month and you get a cool badge on your GitHub profile which shows your support. Check out our GitHub Sponsor Page Here.

While we’re talking about Open Source, did you know that at least 20% of US government code has to be open source? Long gone are the days when management was wary of open source. Both government and the private sector embrace the movement. A movement we are proud to have been a part of since 2006. Find out more from the Open Source section of our Corporate and Government page.

Keeping in touch

We are all spending less time physically with other people at the moment. Especially now, it is critical that we still maintain social contact with others. NVDA works with all popular communications apps and websites. We encourage you to pick your favourite form of communication and reach out to some of your neighbours, relatives or friends.

If you’d like to keep in touch with the NVDA community, the NVDA Email List is a great place to start.

The NVDA group itself is primarily for NVDA-related conversation. For a less formal conversation, the NVDA group also has a “Chat” Sub-Group. Now is a great opportunity to visit the “Chat” Sub-Group for conversation with others!

For instant messaging, NVDA has dedicated commands to work with Miranda IM and Skype. NVDA works well with sites like Twitter and Facebook, and you can keep in touch with us on those. You might also use TeamTalk, Google Hangouts or Microsoft Teams. There are also newer alternative social networks like Mastodon. Accessibility geek Marco Zehe wrote a post on Mastodon’s Accessibility.

That’s all for this week. Do take care, stay safe and keep in touch with each other, and With Us if needed. Most of all, don’t forget to look after your own needs during this time as well.

In-Process 6th March

Ven, 06/03/2020 - 08:39

What a tumultuous week it’s been this week! For all the uncertainty, there’s plenty in this week’s post to be excited and happy about, so let’s get started:

NVDA 2019.3.1

NVDA 2019.3.1 has been out for nearly a month now. The reception to it has been fantastic. Many have commented on how they love the new functionality. Screen curtain, Braille viewer and more device support are all popular features. Most add-ons have been updated and are now available for 2019.3. The NVDA Add-ons and Python 3 page lists the status of their 70 add-ons. Currently, 59 add-ons are either updated or have been incorporated into NVDA. 3 add-ons are planned or in process, and the final 8 are not currently compatible. So that’s 84% of add-ons available now. A couple of users have had trouble with commercial synthesizers. In some cases reinstalling these has rectified the situation. If you have trouble with your 3rd party synthesizer, please contact the manufacturer. You can find the links from our Extra Voices Page. They are all keen to ensure a smooth transition for users.

If you do have any other feedback or any issues with NVDA itself, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Google Summer of Code

NV Access are very pleased to announce that we have been accepted as a Mentor Organisation for Google Summer of Code 2020! Google Summer of Code is a global program focused on bringing more student developers into open source software development. Students work with an open source organization on a 3-month programming project during their break from school. See https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/ for more details. To see our entry for the Google Summer of Code, go to https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/organizations/6691483551268864/. This is a great opportunity for students to get to work with open source projects like NVDA. For us, it’s a fantastic chance to share our knowledge with young people moving towards the workforce, to build awareness and passion for accessibility in a new generation of software engineers and work together to improve NVDA for everyone.

CSUN

The CSUN conference was due to take place next week in California. Regrettably, due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to cancel our attendance at the conference. We Have Published a Statement with More Information.

Rate boost

Intro screen from “NVDA’s Rate Boost” video

One of the new features in NVDA 2019.3 is that Rate Boost is now available for Windows OneCore voices. Rate Boost is a feature which triples the regular reading rate of NVDA. This has been available for eSpeak-NG since 2011. We are very pleased to now make this available to those using Windows OneCore voices as well. We have made a Rate Boost Demo Video to demonstrate this in action. Our intention was to unveil the video at CSUN. Instead, we are proud to share the Rate Boost Demo Video here first as an In-Process world premiere!

If you’d like to try Rate Boost yourself, you can find the setting in NVDA’s Speech / Voice Settings. Press NVDA+control+v to open the settings to this page, and tab to “Rate boost”. It is also available in the Synth Settings Ring. Press NVDA+control+left arrow and NVDA+control+right arrow to change synth settings. Press NVDA+control+up arrow to increase the current setting. Press NVDA+control+down arrow to decrease the current setting. If using Laptop keyboard layout, press SHIFT with these keystrokes.

Chrome issue

A few people have encountered an Issue with NVDA in Chrome. NVDA is not always refreshing new pages when following links in Chrome. This is a known issue with Chrome version 80. There are several workarounds that users have been employing to get around this issue. These include using TAB rather than down arrow on a new page, NVDA+f5 to refresh NVDA’s buffer, or even alt+tab to another program and back. The good news is this is fixed in Chrome version 81. This version is due to start Rolling Out Publicly on 17th March.

Open Source Archive

NVDA can be found all over the world and used in just about every setting imaginable. Like many open source projects, NVDA is stored on GitHub. GitHub is a platform which allows open source contributions, version control and issue tracking. This week we read an Interesting Article About One Unusual Place You Can Find NVDA, as well as everything else stored on GitHub: the Arctic Code Vault. The vault, 250 metres down an abandoned Norwegan coal mine, just up the road from the Global Seed Vault.

“The Arctic Code Vault was just the beginning of the GitHub Archive Program’s journey to secure the world’s open source code,” GitHub vice president of special projects Thomas Dohmke told news.com.au.

“We’ve partnered with multiple organisations and advisers to help us maximise the GitHub Archive Program’s value and preserve all open-source software for future generations.”

One of those partners is Norwegian archival experts Piql, who specialise in very-long-term data storage.

Mr Dohmke said open source code in particular was worth preserving.

“Today, almost every piece of software relies on open source. It’s the lifeblood of the internet, but much of the world’s data is ephemeral, kept on storage media expected to survive only a few decades,” he said. (Credit to News.com.au for the snippets of that story I copied)

That’s all for this week. Have a great rest of your week. Stay healthy and we’ll be back again in a couple of weeks.

Statement on CSUN conference

Gio, 05/03/2020 - 02:51

The 2020 CSUN Assistive Technology Conference was due to be held from the 9th to the 13th of March in Anaheim, California. NV Access was due to present a session at the conference as well as attend many meetings with individuals and companies. Over the past couple of days, many of the key participants of CSUN that we were intending to meet with, have cancelled their attendance at the conference. There is growing global concern over the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. Today, the Los Angeles County declared a local health emergency due to COVID-19. Limiting travel and large gatherings is one of the most effective ways of reducing the spread of the virus. See the World Health Organisation’s recommendations on basic protective measures you should take.

We have considered the emergency declaration, the cancellation of meetings, our risk assessment of the COVID-19 situation, potential difficulties around travel, and general public health and safety. For all these reasons, NV Access has also decided to cancel our attendance at CSUN this year. This includes cancellation of our session IND-001, “NVDA’s 2020 Insight”.

Various organisations and individuals have proposed the idea of a virtual event. We agree this is the socially responsible thing to do in the circumstances. NV Access is interested in such an event in place of meeting in person this year. Should a virtual conference be organised, we will share information on this in our In-Process Blog. and on Twitter. In the meantime, we are also looking at ways of delivering our planned presentation online. We appreciate everyone’s support, and we look forward to finding other ways of catching up with everyone we would have met at CSUN this year.

In-Process 19th February 2020

Mer, 19/02/2020 - 03:18

NVDA 2019.3 here we are! For those who have been following this journey, this release has been a long time coming. The reaction from users has been fantastic! So, let’s get right into the big news story:

NVDA 2019.3.1

NVDA 2019.3 came out on the 10th of February. We discovered an issue with a couple of translations and quickly rectified that. As a result, NVDA 2019.3.1 came out before most users had downloaded the initial release.

If you have NVDA set to check for updates, NVDA 2019.3.1 is offered as an update from any previous version. This includes the beta and Release Candidate versions.

One of the big changes, as we’ve discussed on this blog before, is the update from Python 2.x to Python 3.x. This has necessitated an update from most add-ons. I’m pleased to confirm most add-ons have been updated. This includes popular tools such as NVDARemote, and synthesizers. Code Factory’s Eloquence and Vocalizer bundle, Tiflotecnia’s Vocalizer and Acapela are all 2019.3.1 compatible.

Note that for some of the commercial add-ons, you may need to de-register the add-on before updating. If you encounter problems with activations, please contact the retailer of the add-on.

Other highlights in this release include 64 bit support for Java VMs, Screen Curtain and Focus Highlight functionality, support for more braille displays and a new Braille viewer, and many many other bug fixes.

Image of NVDA 2019.3 release announcement showing text highlighted using new Focus Highlight feature

Screen curtain

NVDA’s settings screen now includes a “Vision” Category. On this page you can find options for both Screen Curtain and Focus Highlight. It is possible to use a keystroke to turn screen curtain on or off, however this is not assigned by default. Since we’ve had a few questions about how to do that, I thought I’d share the information here.

NVDA’s “Input Gestures” dialog allows you to customise any of NVDA’s gestures. New gestures can be added, or existing gestures removed. It is the last option on NVDA’s “Preferences” menu. To open the Input Gestures dialog:

  1. Press NVDA+n to open the NVDA menu
  2. Press P for Preferences
  3. Press N for Input Gestures. The Input Gestures dialog appears.
  4. From here you can navigate the tree view of all commands. Use regular navigation keys such as arrows, or press the first letter of the desired item. Alternatively, the list can be filtered to show only commands which match a string of text. To use filter, press SHIFT+TAB then type the name of the command. Commands can be customised using keystrokes, touch gestures and braille keys.

    A new option in this dialog for 2019.3 is the option to reset ALL custom gestures back to their default. To access that feature press ALT+D for “Reset to factory defaults”, then ALT+Y to answer “yes”. For now, let’s browsing the input gestures dialog to add a keystroke to toggle Screen Curtain:

  5. Press V to jump to the “Vision” options.
  6. Press right arrow to open the vision options.
  7. Press T (or down arrow) to “Toggle the state of the screen curtain”).
  8. Press ALT+A to add a new keystroke
  9. Press ONLY the keystroke to add.
  10. Press ENTER to assign the keystroke for only the current keyboard layout. Or, press the down arrow then enter to select ALL layouts before pressing ENTER.
  11. Press ENTER to close the dialog.
By default, NVDA will save the configuration when it exits. If this option is not set, or you would like to ensure your settings are saved, press NVDA+CONTROL+C.

CSUN 2020

This year’s CSUN Conference is coming up fast. CSUN is one of the largest assistive technology conferences in the world. Held in Anaheim, California, it is on this year from the 9th to the 13th of March.

NV Access will be there. We are running a session on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 – 3:20 PM PST in Grand GH. We’d love to see you there!. We’ll have all the details on recent improvements to the free NVDA screen reader, the NV Access product range and an organizational update on progress to maximize impact and sustainability. If you’re coming to CSUN 2020, we’d love to catch up with you. Do Tweet @NVAccess and let us know you’ll be there!

Open Source Blindness

One of our users, Moses, shared a post with us we thought we’d share with you. “Open Source Blindness”, by Devin Prater. Devin highlights the benefits of NVDA’s software model, and community. He also discusses the open source movement, and about what that means.

There are a lot of misconceptions around Open Source. We spend a lot of time reassuring companies about how open source is as secure as closed source software. One concern people have is whether anyone can edit the software they use on their computers. With software like NVDA, that is absolutely not true. Open source means that the source code is available for anyone to view. One benefit is that it enables people outside the core developers to comment on bugs and offer suggestions for improvement. The final, compiled product contains only code which was either written, or directly checked and approved, by NV Access. Provided you download from https://www.nvaccess.org/ (the Official Site), you can be sure that you are downloading an official version of NVDA. Download from the Official Site assures you a copy of NVDA which is unaltered and free from malicious software.

You can also verify this by checking the digital signature in the “Digital signature” tab of the file properties.

While anyone could potentially download the NVDA source code and edit it, only NV Access can upload files to the Official Site. There is no more inherent risk with downloading NVDA from the Official Site than there is downloading a closed source program from its official site.

If you know anyone with those concerns, feel free to direct them to this post, or to our Corporate and Government Page. Or anyone is more than welcome to EMail Us with any questions or concerns.

That’s all for this week. Please do Let Us Know what you think of NVDA 2019.3.1, and we look forward to catching up with you in early March!

NVDA 2019.3 Released

Lun, 10/02/2020 - 13:31

This post has been updated for 2019.3.1, which includes updated translations.

NV Access is pleased to announce that version 2019.3 of NVDA, the free screen reader for Microsoft Windows, is now available for download. We encourage all users to upgrade to this version.

NVDA 2019.3 is a very significant release containing many under-the-hood changes including the upgrade of Python 2 to Python 3, and a major re-write of NVDA’s speech subsystem. Although these changes do break compatibility with older NVDA add-ons, the upgrade to Python 3 is necessary for security, and the changes to speech allow for some exciting innovations in the near future.

Other highlights in this release include 64 bit support for Java VMs, Screen Curtain and Focus Highlight functionality, support for more braille displays and a new Braille viewer, and many many other bug fixes.

Please note, after updating any software, it is a good idea to restart the computer. Restart by going to the Shutdown dialog, selecting “restart” and pressing ENTER. Updating software can change files which are in use. This can lead to instability and strange behaviour which is resolved by rebooting. This is the first thing to try if you do notice anything odd after updating.

While downloading NVDA, please consider becoming a monthly donor. Contributions like yours help NV Access continue our important work.

We also have a range of training material in the NV Access Shop to help you increase your skills with NVDA. Start with the popular Basic Training for NVDA in electronic text, audio and braille. Save with the NVDA Productivity Bundle. This includes Basic Training, all our Microsoft Office training, and telephone support.

Download NVDA 2019.3.1

To find out what’s new in this release, please visit What’s new in NVDA 2019.3.1

Close-up photograph of NVDA logo in notification area.

In-Process 6th February 2020

Mer, 05/02/2020 - 22:33

The big news this week is that we are very close to the stable 2019.3 release! NVDA 2019.3 RC 3 is now out, so let’s start there:

NVDA 2019.3 RC3

We encourage all users to download this Release Candidate (RC) and provide feedback. This is a release candidate for NVDA 2019.3. Unless any critical bugs are found, this will be identical to the final 2019.3 release.

Read the Release Announcement and Download the RC.

If you are using NVDA 2019.2.1, and want to try the release candidate, you will need to Download NVDA 2019.3rc3 manually. If you are using one of the 2019.3 beta or RC releases, they will prompt to update to the current release candidate shortly. From the beta, you can also find the RC build by choosing “Check for updates” from the help menu.

NVDA 2019.3 is a very significant release containing many under-the-hood changes including the upgrade of Python 2 to Python 3, and a major re-write of NVDA’s speech subsystem. Although these changes do break compatibility with older NVDA add-ons, the upgrade to Python 3 is necessary for security, and the changes to speech allow for some exciting innovations in the near future. Other highlights in this release include 64 bit support for Java VMs, Screen Curtain and Focus Highlight functionality, support for more braille displays and a new Braille viewer, and many many other bug fixes.

If you’re wondering how we jumped from a beta to RC3 so quickly, it was through being alerted to a couple of issues that we were able to fix in relatively short time. This highlights the importance of as many people as possible testing the RC release. If these issues had not been picked up until the “stable” 2019.3 release, it would have been more work to update.

So, do please Download the 2019.3 RC Release and let us know any issues you encounter. You can report issues on GitHub, in the NVDA User Email Group, or via Email.

Add-ons and 2019.3

Most NVDA Add-ons have required an update to be compatible with NVDA 2019.3. That is part of the reason we have waited so long before releasing the final version. We didn’t want anyone to be inconvenienced when they updated.

Most add-ons have now been updated. Some need a “beta” version of the add-on to be downloaded specifically. You can check the status of add-ons you use on the NVDA Add-ons and Python 3 page.

The list of updated add-ons was last updated on the 30th January. If your favourite add-on hasn’t been updated, be sure to write to the add-on developer to encourage them to update. Given that NVDA 2019.3 will be out very shortly. It can also be worth asking for alternate options in the NVDA User Email Group.

Add-on highlight: Clipspeak

We often talk about add-ons, but what are they? Add-ons serve various functions. Some add extra features to NVDA. Some change existing features. Others provide access to functions in programs that don’t work quite so well out of the box.

We often get asked how to make NVDA report editing operations such as when you copy text with control+c. Clipspeak is an add-on which does exactly that. From its description: “Clipspeak is an addon that allows NVDA to automatically announce clipboard operations (such as cut, copy and paste), along with other common editing operations such as select all, undo and redo”. ClipSpeak installs like any other NVDA addon. You can get the Clipspeak add-on from the NVDA Add-ons Site.

When you run the downloaded file, NVDA will install it, then restart. From then, clipspeak will report editing actions. Clipspeak announces actions when the default keystrokes for English are pressed. For instance, control+a for select all, control+x for copy and control+v for paste. These can be updated from NVDA’s Input Gestures dialog if needed.

Find the author’s full description of the add-on and instructions on The ClipSpeak Add-on page. I’m also happy to confirm that like most add-ons, ClipSpeak has been updated and works with NVDA 2019.3.

NVDACon Recordings

NVDACon was a couple of months ago in November 2019. I realised I never followed up to let you know that the Recordings from the 2019 Conference were online. For those not familiar, NVDACon is a yearly online conference all about NVDA. One of the most exciting things about the conference is that it’s not even organised by NV Access! NV Access definitely support and promote the conference. It is passionate volunteers from the NVDA community though, who run the conference. We are very grateful for all their hard work. For anyone who didn’t get to join the conference in November, all the recordings are online. The recordings are on the NVDACon Site, in “Past Conferences”.

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for NVDA 2019.3 final which should come out by the next In-Process. In the meantime, do please download the NVDA 2019.3 Release Candidate and Let Us Know any issues you encounter!

NVDA 2019.3rc3 now available for testing

Mer, 05/02/2020 - 14:30

The Release Candidate (RC) of NVDA 2019.3 is now available for download and testing. We encourage all users to download this RC and provide feedback. This is a release candidate for NVDA 2019.3. Unless any critical bugs are found, this will be identical to the final 2019.3 release.

Changes from RC 2:

  • Updated translations for many languages

NVDA 2019.3 is a very significant release containing many under-the-hood changes including the upgrade of Python 2 to Python 3, and a major re-write of NVDA’s speech subsystem. Although these changes do break compatibility with older NVDA add-ons, the upgrade to Python 3 is necessary for security, and the changes to speech allow for some exciting innovations in the near future. Other highlights in this release include 64 bit support for Java VMs, Screen Curtain and Focus Highlight functionality, support for more braille displays and a new Braille viewer, and many many other bug fixes.

NVDA 2019.3RC2 now available for testing

Lun, 03/02/2020 - 23:49

The Release Candidate (RC) of NVDA 2019.3 is now available for download and testing. We encourage all users to download this RC and provide feedback. This is a release candidate for NVDA 2019.3. Unless any critical bugs are found, this will be identical to the final 2019.3 release.

Changes from Beta 3:

  • Say all with OneCore and SAPI5 no longer stops. (PR #10730)
  • Elements list dialog now shows all controls on low resolution screens. (PR #10738)
  • Fix set row and column header script for Microsoft Word. (PR #10735)

NVDA 2019.3 is a very significant release containing many under-the-hood changes including the upgrade of Python 2 to Python 3, and a major re-write of NVDA’s speech subsystem. Although these changes do break compatibility with older NVDA add-ons, the upgrade to Python 3 is necessary for security, and the changes to speech allow for some exciting innovations in the near future. Other highlights in this release include 64 bit support for Java VMs, Screen Curtain and Focus Highlight functionality, support for more braille displays and a new Braille viewer, and many many other bug fixes.

NVDA 2019.3Beta3 now available for testing

Gio, 30/01/2020 - 02:38

Beta3 of NVDA 2019.3 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what NVDA 2019.3 has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

NVDA 2019.3 is a very significant release containing many under-the-hood changes including the upgrade of Python 2 to Python 3, and a major re-write of NVDA’s speech subsystem. Although these changes do break compatibility with older NVDA add-ons, the upgrade to Python 3 is necessary for security, and the changes to speech allow for some exciting innovations in the near future. Other highlights in this release include 64 bit support for Java VMs, Screen Curtain and Focus Highlight functionality, support for more braille displays and a new Braille viewer, and many many other bug fixes.

Job: Dev Ops Engineer

Ven, 17/01/2020 - 02:24

Apply your skills in server infrastructure development, system administration, web development and test automation, to empower blind and vision-impaired people globally through technology.

  • A great opportunity to gain experience through diverse aspects of a software development organisation
  • Open source development – global, life-changing impact
  • Remote first – Flexible working conditions – work from home

NV Access is a global non-profit organisation, based in Australia, dedicated to the ideal that access to technology should not incur an extra cost for blind and vision impaired users. The purpose of NV Access is to lower the economic and social barriers associated with accessing Information Technology for people who are blind or vision impaired. NV Access develops the free, open source NVDA screen reading software for Microsoft Windows, enabling more than 100,000 blind and vision-impaired people across the globe to access computers.

We are looking to appoint a full-time Dev Ops Engineer / System Administrator to join our small team. Your work will focus on maintaining and improving our public-facing server infrastructure (including website and other back-end services), and in-house development tools.

Technologies we currently use:

  • Ubuntu server
  • Nginx
  • WordPress / PHP
  • Mysql, Postgresql
  • WSGI / Python, Flask
  • Freeswitch
  • Github, Appveyor
  • Vmwear

Daily activities in this role will include:

  • General server administration (Ubuntu, Nginx) including OS updates, addressing performance and security issues.
  • Maintaining the NV Access website, including feature updates and performance tuning. (WordPress / php / javascript).
  • Maintenance of Continuous Integration infrastructure (currently Appveyor).
  • Increasing our platform coverage for testing NVDA on various versions and SKUs of Windows
  • Designing and maintaining tools for processing and viewing usage statistics stored in postgresql.
  • Maintaining the online NVDA Certification Exam system; An interactive web app implemented with Python, Flask and Mysql.
  • Maintaining / improving the NVDA translation system (Currently Subversion, Assembler and custom shell scripts).
  • Maintaining telephone infrastructure, currently Freeswitch.
  • Planning for and assisting in disaster recovery, including backup and restoration of data, and creation and updating of infrastructure documentation.

Your key attributes will be:

  • Thorough previous experience with Python or similar languages
  • Past experience maintaining public-facing server infrastructure
  • Experience with various Virtual Machine packages and services
  • Experience with Linux server administration (specifically Ubuntu).
  • An understanding of testing processes and bug isolation
  • An interest in testing and community engagement
  • Ability to pick up new concepts and technologies quickly and follow agile development methodologies
  • Good communication skills
  • Self motivated
  • Solid grasp of issue tracking and version control
  • Able to communicate with people in different time zones and from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds
  • An understanding of software project management, including triage and planning

Highly desirable attributes are:

  • An understanding of accessibility
  • A university degree in information technology (or similar)
  • Past contribution to open source projects
  • Experience implementing automated test frameworks
  • Experience in web development

To apply for this position, you must be able to work in Australia, and be prepared to work full time from home with occasional face to face meetings.

To apply or if you have any queries, please email info@nvaccess.org.

All applications must include a cover letter and a resume.

In-Process 16th January

Gio, 16/01/2020 - 12:08

Welcome to a new year! We hope you had a great Christmas and New Year and are busy getting into everything 2020 has to offer. As we all get into the new year, this week’s In-Process provides an update on where things are at currently.

NVDA 2019.3

First of all, yes things are still moving on 2019.3, in fact, we’ve just released a New Beta! Yes, we’re also well aware of the new year, but we’re sticking with the “2019.3” version number anyway. Partly it’s stubbornness, mostly it’s because the 2019.3 name has already been communicated in a lot of places. While it wouldn’t affect add-on compatibility, it would likely cause confusion and concern. Add-on authors have been hard at work updating their amazing offerings to work with NVDA 2019.3. So we’ll stick with that name and put forward that the moniker is “retro” but the software is cutting edge!

So, that’s the name sorted, where’s the software? Good question. We’ve all been getting back to work, and catching up on correspondence and GitHub issues from over the break. Before Christmas, we released NVDA 2019.3 beta1, and this week we’ve followed up with NVDA 2019.3 beta2. Head over to the announcement page to find out what’s new and download the new beta.

We’re watching for any issues anyone has encountered with NVDA 2019.3 beta2 to see how everyone finds it. If you do find anything amiss with the beta, lease do Report Issues on GitHub. If there are issues with the beta, then we’ll work on addressing them and put out a new beta shortly. If everything looks to be running smoothly, then we’ll move to a “release candidate”, or RC build. The RC build is the last step before the final stable version. If anyone finds any issues with an RC build, then we’ll go to another RC build before the final version comes out.

Basically the timeline from here is:

1) Release beta version (done) 2) Any issues, return to step 1. 3) After allowing several weeks to test, release RC build. 4) Any issues, return to step 3. 5) After a week or so with no more issues, release NVDA 2019.3.

If you haven’t yet tested the beta, now is a great time to do so. You don’t need to install it, you can “Continue” from the license screen for a quick look. You can also setup a portable version so you can run it to test things without affecting your installed 2019.2.1.

If you do test it and find issues, please, report them as soon as possible! Please also check against 2019.2.1 as well. This will confirm whether the reported issue is new, or an existing problem. That will help us know where to look for the problem.

Should I download the beta?

Someone asked on the user group recently whether they should try the beta. Here’s my answer:

The main purpose of alpha and beta releases, is to test new features and bugs. (I mean bug fixes, we never introduce new bugs! wink)

These builds are mostly used by developers and more technically-minded types. End users are welcome to download these pre-release versions with a couple of caveats:

  • Alpha and Beta versions play an error sound whenever NVDA writes an error to the log. This may or may not coincide with a problem experienced by the user. Often, an error occurs, but NVDA then tries something else which works. In this case, an end user would otherwise not notice anything amiss.
  • If reporting an issue, make sure it IS an issue, and not just an error beep. Errors in the log should be fixed, but aren’t as high priority as something which impacts users. Also, if reporting a bug in a prerelease build, please test against the last stable build as well. Knowing that a bug is new since then (or that it was always present) helps with knowing where in the code to look to fix it.
  • Of course we aim for alpha and beta builds to be stable and fully working. Newer code may produce unintended consequences on some systems that weren’t anticipated. We recommend anyone testing prerelease builds be comfortable using portable or temporary versions. Always keep your stable build handy, just in case.
  • When we get to a “Release candidate” build, that is the last step before releasing a stable version. At that stage we DO want as many people as possible to test it and install it. If we don’t have any issues reported with this build, it will basically be identical to the final release. It is much easier to fix a problem found in an RC build, than one reported two weeks later in the final release.

    One of the big changes in 2019.3 is the move of our source to Python 3. Followers of In-Process will be aware that this has meant that add-ons need to be updated also. The majority of add-ons have now been updated. There are still some in progress, and some which we are not aware of work on.

    For those asking, I am happy to provide an update on NVDA Remote. NV Access submitted pull requests for updates to NVDA Remote yesterday. These should resolve most of the issues to make NVDA Remote compatible with 2019.3. Thanks Reef for your hard work on that! It is also worth testing the beta now to determine which other add-ons you use, if any, have not yet been updated. If you find any, you can encourage the developers of those add-ons to update them before 2019.3 is released.

    Correspondence

    Speaking of correspondence, thank you everyone for your emails over the new year. We came back to lots of messages, wishing us well over the break, reporting issues or asking questions. We are almost caught up with emails which have come in to info@nvaccess.org. I’ve also caught up on the NVDA Email List and our Twitter and Facebook mentions and messages. If you haven’t got a reply, feel free to reach out again just in case it’s fallen through the cracks.

    That’s all for this week. Next In-Process we should be at or very close to, the release of NVDA 2019.3. We look forward to joining you then! In the meantime, do please test NVDA 2019.3 beta 2, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be the first to know when the Release candidate build comes out!

NVDA 2019.3beta2 now available for testing

Mer, 15/01/2020 - 01:34

Beta2 of NVDA 2019.3 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what NVDA 2019.3 has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

Changes from beta1:

  • The new Windows console support using UI Automation is no longer used by default as it is not yet ready for production use. However, it is still available from NVDA’s advance settings panel. (#10684)
  • NVDA no longer freezes in the new version of Microsoft Edge that is based on Chromium. (#10675)
  • A short sound is now optionally played when screen curtain is turned on or off. (#10611)
  • Fixed an issue when upgrading configuration from recent alpha builds. (#10598)
  • Fixed an issue when navigating lists with table navigation commands. (#10623)

NVDA 2019.3 is a very significant release as there are a great deal of under-the-hood changes which improve security and allow for some pretty cool innovations in the future. The most significant changes are the upgrade of Python 2 to Python 3, and a major re-write of NVDA’s speech subsystem.

As these changes require add-ons and custom synthesizer drivers to be re-written, we plan to make the 2019.3 beta cycle much longer than normal, so that we can ensure that add-on developers have plenty of time to upgrade and test their add-ons with NVDA 2019.3 betas before 2019.3 stable is officially released. the current plan is to release several more betas over this month, and hopefully make the official release very early in the new year.

Other than the move to Python 3 and the speech subsystem rewrite, there are many other new features and bug fixes. We recommend you read the what’s new document to find out all of them. However, some highlights are: Java Access Bridge is now included (providing access to 64 bit Java VMs), New Screen Curtain and Focus Highlight features are now included in NVDA, support for more braille displays and a new Braille Viewer, improvements on the web, and much more.

In-Process 12th December

Gio, 12/12/2019 - 08:09

Well the year is nearly at an end, but things aren’t winding down at NV Access! In fact, we’ve got a new beta version for you, so let’s start with that.

NVDA 2019.3 beta 1

Text reading “NVDA 2019.3 BETA 1” with sunburst background.

We’ve been working solidly towards 2019.3 for a long time. Now, we’re finally bringing you something with a little polish. 2019.3 beta 1 is still a beta version, but we’re confident it is on the right track. So, what’s new? In the 29th November In-Process, we noted some of the new features. This time, let’s check out some of the things which have been fixed, or changed:

  • Running NVDA now defaults to replacing an already running copy of NVDA
  • NVDA now reports the state of Track Changes in Word when control+shift+e is pressed.
  • NVDA now reports displaying non-printable characters in Word when control+shift+8 is pressed.
  • Updated LibLouis to commit 58d67e63.
  • Updated eSpeak-NG to 1.51-dev, commit ca65812ac6019926f2fbd7f12c92d7edd3701e0c
  • NVDA now prevents the systems from entering sleep mode when scrolling text on a Braille display
  • Braille follows when editing cell contents in Excel and other UIA text controls where it used to lag.
  • Aria 1.1 combo boxes are now supported in Chrome and Firefox.
  • NVDA reports details of search results in the start menu.
  • NVDA no longer announces progress bar information constantly for volume meters in the system sound page.
  • Composite Unicode characters such as é (e acute) are treated as one character when navigating
And a heap of other changes, fixes and updates for developers!

You can find the download for the beta, and the full What’s new, linked from the NVDA 2019.3 Beta 1 announcement

End of year and Timeline for 2019.3

Since it’s a week and a half into December, we thought we should update you on the current timeline for 2019.3. and what NV Access are doing for the end of the year.

Our plan is to track feedback to the beta (as we always do), and release updated beta’s as needed before Christmas.

NVDA Christmas bauble (Purple with NVDA logo and sunburst)

NV Access is shutting for the year on Friday 20th December. We’re coming back from about the 6th of January (slight variations for each of us). Depending on beta feedback, we may or may not get to releasing an RC (Release Candidate) build in December. Either way, we will wait to release the final 2019.3 early in the new year. Due to the version numbering being in various places beyond the public name, this release will still be called 2019.3.

Please do try out NVDA 2019.3 Beta 1 and do give us feedback!

Running the beta

When you run the launcher for 2019.3 beta 1, it loads like any other version of NVDA. Music plays, a temporary copy of NVDA starts, and the license agreement appears. When the license agreement displays, read it, then check the “I agree” checkbox. From there, you will find four options:

  • Install NVDA on this computer. This option installs NVDA, overwriting any other installed copy. We advise against installing pre-release versions, just in case something goes wrong. If you do install it, be sure you know how to get to a portable copy of NVDA 2019.2.1 just in case.
  • Create portable copy. This creates a portable copy of NVDA, in a folder you choose. You can create a desktop shortcut and run this version like an installed version. It won’t work on the logon and other secure screens. You can customise it and save your configuration changes. This does not affect any installed version of NVDA.
  • Continue running. A temporary copy of NVDA is already loaded. This is what speaks in the license agreement screen and through the install process. If you want to quickly test the new beta, you can choose this option and NVDA will keep running as normal. Any changes you make to settings are lost once you exit. This does not affect any installed version of NVDA.
  • Exit. This exits NVDA and closes the launcher. NVDA will stop running and close. This does not affect any installed version of NVDA.
  • Track Changes

    One update coming in 2019.3 is reporting of whether track changes is on or off when you press control+shift+e in Word. So let’s have a quick look at what track changes does. The following is based on Office 365. The same process works in previous versions of Office, but some of the keystrokes may vary.

    Track changes is often used when providing feedback on documents others have written. The basic process is:

    1. Person A writes a document.
    2. They send the document to Person B to review.
    3. Person B opens the document and turns on track changes.
    4. Person B edits the document, making any changes needed.
    5. Person B saves the document and sends back to person A who can read through and accept or reject each change.

    To turn on track changes, press control+shift+e. Visually, anything which deleted appears red with a red strikethrough. Text which is inserted appears red and underlined. These are purely visual effects and will not be reported by NVDA’s report formatting options.

    NVDA reports text which has been inserted or deleted while navigating. First, open NVDA’s document formatting with NVDA+control+d. Ensure “Editor revisions” is checked (press alt+e, then spacebar).

    To move to the next change, press alt+r, h, 1.

    To move to the previous change, press alt+r, f.

    (If, for some reason those shortcuts aren’t completely obvious to you, feel free to raise your questions with the Microsoft Disability Answer desk).

    NVDA treats changes as “Annotations”. To move to annotations, first put NVDA in browse mode with NVDA+spacebar. To move to the next annotation, press A. To move to the previous annotation, press SHIFT+A. To open the elements list, press NVDA+F7. Press ALT+A, and spacebar to select annotations. Press TAB to move to the list, and use the arrow keys to move through the list. Press ENTER to move to a selected annotation.

    To accept the current change, press alt+r, a, 2. From the accept menu, select the desired action (accept and move to next, accept all, accept all and turn off track changes, etc).

    To reject the next change, press alt+r, j, then select the desired action.

    Well, that’s all for this YEAR! We will keep the NV Access webpage, twitter and facebook updated with developments. If you install the beta, it will update to subsequent betas, release candidates, and the final 2019.3. Keep trying NVDA 2019.3 Beta 1sending in your feedback via email on the beta. We might be away with our families, but we’ll get back to you as soon as possible in the new year. Thank you for making 2019 such a special one for NV Access, NVDA and the whole community. Merry Christmas and a happy and safe 2020 to all our users, friends, supporters and followers!