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Exploring the AT&T Motorola Q9H Keyboard

July 5, 2008 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

This is a short article covering how to find all the special keys on the Motorola Q9H phone. It is very much a work in progress. All feedback to editor@blindaccessjournal.com is appreciated. Thanks go to Jeff Bishop’s son Brian for his assistance with several previously “unknown” keys.

Orientation

Place the phone face up with the small QWERTY keyboard on the bottom. In this orientation, you should find the following items in order, from top to bottom:

  • Small round speaker representing the telephone receiver.
  • Large smooth display screen covering approximately three inches of the surface.
  • A set of tactile lines in a cross-like formation, followed by a circle with dots followed by a second set of cross-like lines.
  • The QWERTY keyboard.

Special Keys

The Motorola Q9H has a number of special keys that are not found on the traditional computer’s keyboard. These will be described in reference to the orientation provided above.

Soft Keys

The phone has a number of “soft keys” that perform special functions when pressed. It is important to know how to use these keys in order to do anything useful with the phone. The soft keys are located below the display screen and immediately above the QWERTY keyboard. They are tactilely differentiated using those cross-like sets of lines mentioned earlier. Remember, there is a set of cross-like lines on the left-hand side of the phone, followed by a raised circle with dots followed by another set of cross-like lines. It is critical to understand this configuration, as it is the basis for the following description. There are a total of 8 soft keys. Four of these keys are located on the cross-like structure on the left side of the phone, while the second group of four are located on the cross-like structure on the right side of the phone. For ease of reference, we will refer to the cross lines on the left side as the first quadrant and the cross lines on the right side as the second quadrant. The cross lines themselves are *not* the keys. Pressing on these lines won’t do anything. Instead, these lines help to differentiate the keys. Instead, the keys are immediately to the sides of these lines. The keys are “soft” meaning they are
made up of the phone’s smooth front surface and they may be defined to perform different functions, depending on the situation in which the phone is operating or the software program you are using at the time you press them. Each set of cross lines can be seen as a tactile X-Y graph. There is a soft key in the upper right-hand corner, another in the upper left-hand corner, a third in the lower left-hand corner and a fourth in the lower right-hand corner of the grid.
It should now be possible to fully describe the names and locations of these keys from a blindness perspective.

Let’s start with the first quadrant of cross-like lines, those on the left side of the phone.

  • Dial (Send) – The Dial key is pressed immediately after entering a telephone number in order to complete the call, much as it is on a traditional cell phone. Keep in mind it may also have other functions in different circumstances. The Dial key is located in the lower left-hand corner of the set of cross-like lines in the first quadrant (the left-hand side of the phone).
  • Home – The Home key performs many critical smartphone functions, most essentially for us it represents the MobileSpeak screen reader command key you press before many other keys to issue special accessibility related instructions. The Home key is located in the lower right-hand corner of the set of cross-like lines in the first quadrant (the left-hand side of the phone).
  • Left Soft Key – The Left Soft Key performs different functions depending on the situation. In many cases, it is used as an OK or Done button you may press to confirm that you want changes to be saved, etc. This operates in much the same way as the Continue, OK or Next buttons found in the dialogue boxes of many typical Windows applications. The Left Soft Key is located in the upper right-hand corner of the cross-like lines in the first quadrant (the left-hand side of the phone).
  • AT&T Symbol – This key activates the phone’s built-in default Opera Mobile web browser, pointing it to the AT&T web site. It is located in the upper left-hand corner of the cross-like lines in the first quadrant (the left-hand side of the phone).

We now move on to the second quadrant of cross-like lines; this set is located on the right side of the phone, to the right of the circle with the four tiny tactile dots.

  • Back – The Back key is most often used as its name suggests, to back out of actions you decide not to perform. It operates as a backspace key in any situation where you find yourself editing text, as well as a Back button in the Internet Explorer Mobile web browser. In many cases, it may also be used in a similar way as the Escape key is pressed on a computer’s keyboard to choose a cancel button in a dialogue box. The Back key is located in the lower left-hand corner of the set of cross-like lines in the second quadrant (on the right-hand side of the phone).
  • End – The End (hangup) key is used to do just that, conclude a phone call. If no call is in progress, it moves focus to the Today screen, which is similar to the Desktop on a Windows computer. The End key is located in the lower right-hand corner of the cross-like lines in the second quadrant (on the right-hand side of the phone).
  • Envelope (Mail) Symbol – This key may enable the user to quickly open their e-mail application, though we haven’t noticed that it does anything when pressed on our phones. It is located in the upper right-hand corner of the cross-like lines in the second quadrant (on the right-hand side of the phone).
  • Right Soft Key – The Right Soft Key performs many different functions, depending on the situation or the application you’re using at the moment. In some cases, it operates as a cancel key, while in other cases, it opens a menu. The Right Soft Key is located in the upper left-hand corner of the cross-like lines in the second quadrant (on the right-hand side of the phone).

The Circle

The Circle is a special grouping of five keys located between the first and second sets of cross-like lines. They consist of up, down, left and right arrows and an enter (select) key. Careful exploration will indicate that the circle contains four small, tactile dots. These dots reside on each of the arrow keys, which are located in a logical position representing their direction of navigation. The middle of this circle contains a smaller, slightly raised round key. This is the Enter (select) key. It is used to select choices in menus, as a real enter key when entering text in some scenarios and in many other cases where one might press Enter on a computer’s keyboard.

QWERTY Keyboard

The QWERTY keyboard is a grouping of 37 keys found immediately below the soft keys and the circle. It enables entry of all alphanumeric characters as well as punctuation using a special Function key. The keyboard does not include a numbers row as would be found on a typical computer keyboard. Entry of numbers is described shortly. There is a tactile dot on the f key. Given the compressed nature of this keyboard, it is potentially useful to list out each key by row from top to bottom and left to right, with the first row representing the top of the keyboard, as found immediately below the soft keys and the circle.

  • Row 1: q, w, e, r, t, y, u, i, o, p
  • Row 2: a, s, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, Enter
  • Row 3: Function, z, x, c, v, b, n, m, . (period), Shift (Caps)
  • Row 4: Calendar, Contacts, 0, Space Bar, Music, Camera, Speaker

The space bar is slightly domed and elongated in comparison to the other keys.

Entering Numbers

As we have already observed, the QWERTY keyboard in this phone does not include a separately defined numbers row. This situation is an unfortunate side-effect of the phone’s small size, though we are rather impressed with the keyboard in general given this constraint. Numbers are entered using a specific set of keys, preceeded by the Function key. For instance, pressing Function followed by f would enter the number 5. The keys assigned to numbers are as follows:

  • e, r, t = 1, 2, 3
  • d, f, g = 4, 5, 6
  • X, C, V = 7, 8, 9
  • The number 0 is entered by pressing the Function key followed by the key immediately to the left of the space bar.

Dialing the Phone!

Of course, the most important thing we want to do with our phones right away is to dial. Dialing is performed from the phone’s Today screen using the number keys previously indicated without preceding them with the Function key. When the Today screen has focus, it is assumed that you wish to dial rather than enter text. Follow these steps to place a call:

  1. Press the End key to ensure the Today screen has focus.
  2. Enter the numbers without using the function key. For example, press g, e, e to enter 611, which is usually the number used to contact the service provider.
  3. Press the Dial key to place the call.
  4. The numbers will continue to work without the Function key while you are on the call.
  5. Press the End key to hang up.

Simply press the Dial (Send) key to answer an incoming call.

This document completes the exploration of all the keys found on the front of the Motorola Q9H smartphone. Just as it is critical to know how to type before one can use a computer, it is essential and highly recommended to thoroughly learn the location of all these keys before delving into the use of this phone and MobileSpeak.

Categories: tips

An Accessible Way to Manage Permission of the Programs on Your Computer to Use Skype

June 7, 2008 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

This morning I received a call from a fellow blind Skype user asking for help with one of the program’s few significant accessibility quirks. He had installed a new program for automatically voicing Skype events, yet he could not figure out how to access the automatic prompt for allowing the utility to use Skype. This dialogue box is, in fact, inaccessible in all recent Skype versions. If you are a blind screen reader user who wishes to allow another program to use Skype, you are not out of luck. It turns out that an advanced configuration option exists to manually specify which software on your system is permitted to access Skype. Follow these steps to control the use of Skype by the software installed on your system:

  1. Run Skype or open it from the System Tray in the usual manner. In JAWS, press JAWS Key+F11, down arrow to Skype, press enter, down arrow to Open Skype and press enter to open the program’s main window.
  2. Press alt+t to pull down the Tools menu followed by p to access the Options dialogue.
  3. Down arrow to Advanced Settings.
  4. Press shift+tab three times to select “Manage other programs’ access to Skype” and press the space bar to open this window.
  5. Press tab to enter the list of programs about which Skype is currently aware. Arrow up and down this list. Notice that the program’s name is given along with information indicating whether or not it is allowed to use Skype.
  6. Locate a program whose settings you wish to change.
  7. Press tab to select the Change button and press the space bar to open the window.
  8. Press tab to move into the group of two radio buttons used to determine whether or not the selected program is permitted to use Skype. If desired, press down arrow to change to the opposite setting.
  9. Press tab followed by the space bar on the OK button to accept any changes made to the program’s status.
  10. Press tab three times followed by the space bar on the OK button to accept all changes made for the entire list of programs.
  11. Finally, press shift+tab twice to select the Save button followed by the space bar to save all changes made in Skype’s Options dialogue box.
Categories: Skype, tips

Resolving the "Click to Run ActiveX Control" Error in Internet Explorer 7.0 When Playing Audio on Web Sites

July 15, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

For quite some time now, I have been experiencing the annoying “Click to run ActiveX control” error message when playing audio from various web sites, including those providing audio CAPTCHA alternatives. In some cases, the browser would crash completely after pressing the OK button. An example of a page that can cause the issue is the FormShield audio CAPTCHA demonstration. Thanks to Jeff Bishop for finding and resolving this rather frustrating issue. Follow these steps to reset Internet Explorer to its factory defaults, associate all media types to Windows Media Player and reconfigure your desired media player.

Reset Internet Explorer

Warning: Resetting Internet Explorer returns it to original factory defaults, deletes all temporary files and disables browser add-ons. Though resetting Internet Explorer is recommended to assure full resolution of media and other browser issues, you may wish to skip this first step to see if you can resolve the issue without performing a full browser reset. Follow these steps to reset Internet Explorer to its factory default configuration:

  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. Press Alt+T to open the Tools menu.
  3. Press o to open the Internet Options dialogue.
  4. Press Shift+Tab to move to the list of Internet Explorer tabs, then press End to navigate to the Advanced page.
  5. Press Shift+Tab to move to the Reset… button and press Enter to begin the process of disabling add-ons and completely resetting the browser to its factory defaults.
  6. Follow the confirmation prompt by pressing Tab to another Reset button and pressing enter.
  7. Press Tab to move to the Close button and press Enter.
  8. Press OK to restart Internet Explorer.
  9. It is necessary to reconfigure Internet Explorer’s accessibility settings. Press Alt+T followed by o to return to the Internet Options dialogue.
  10. Press Shift+Tab to move to the list of Internet Explorer tabs, then press End to navigate to the Advanced page.
  11. Press Tab to navigate into the Settings tree view.
  12. Press down arrow to navigate to the “Always expand ALT text for images” checkbox and press the space bar to activate this setting.
  13. Press down arrow to navigate to the “Move system caret with focus/selection changes” checkbox and press the space bar to activate this setting.
  14. Press Shift+Tab twice to navigate to the Apply button and press the space bar.
  15. Press Shift+Tab twice to navigate to the OK button and press enter.

Configure Windows Media Player as the Default for all File Types

  1. Press Windows Key +M to minimize all applications and focus on the desktop. If Windows Media Player is not found on the desktop, press the Start button, select All Programs and choose Windows Media Player.
  2. Arrow to Windows Media Player and press Enter to open the application.
  3. Press Alt+T to pull down the Tools menu.
  4. Press o to open the Options dialogue.
  5. Press Control+Shift+Tab three times to navigate to the File Types page.
  6. Press Tab to navigate to the Select All button and press enter.
  7. Tab to OK and press enter.
  8. Press Alt+F4 to close Windows Media Player.

Reconfigure File Type Associations on the Desired Media Player

If you do not use Windows Media Player exclusively, it will now be necessary to reconfigure the associations in your preferred player. For example, follow these steps to select all file types in Winamp:

  1. If you are not already on the desktop, press Windows Key+M to minimize all application windows and return focus to that location.
  2. Arrow to Winamp and press Enter to open the application.
  3. Press Control+P to open Winamp’s preferences dialogue.
  4. Press down arrow until you reach File Types. These options are found under the General Preferences branch of the tree view.
  5. Press tab until you reach the All button and press the space bar. This selects all audio and video file types for association to Winamp.
  6. Press Shift+Tab until you reach the Close button and press enter to dismiss the preferences dialogue.

After making these changes, you should find that audio CAPTCHAs and other web sites that play inline audio and video content will function properly without presenting the “Click to run ActiveX control” error message or crashing the browser.

Categories: CAPTCHA, tips, video

Update: Accessible Version of CallBurner

July 8, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

It appears the CallBurner team has not yet made their accessible version available to the public. Since many of you have asked how you can get started right away, please feel free to download a copy of the accessible version. Since this version of CallBurner is not currently provided on the company’s web site, this software should be considered to be a beta release, with all the “play at your own risk” caveats that status entails. Stay tuned for another update as soon as the CallBurner Team has informed us of the public availability of the accessible release.

Categories: JAWS, reviews, Skype, tips

CallBurner: Finally, Fully Accessible Skype Call Recording is Here at Last!

July 7, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

The people at Netralia, developers of the Skylook Skype call management and recording application for Microsoft Outlook, have recently released a new Skype call recording product that does not depend on Outlook. The new CallBurner application enables annotation and recording of all Skype calls while providing a clean, simple user interface.

After learning of the existence of this new product, I downloaded a trial copy of the software. While finding it reasonably usable for basic call recording, I found the call detail window largely inaccessible with any screen reader, including JAWS, System Access and Window-Eyes. I promptly wrote a short note to the company’s support e-mail address requesting accessibility enhancements to permit full use of CallBurner with screen reading software. On Thursday, July 5, I was absolutely flabbergasted to receive a response from the company’s senior developer offering a beta copy of an accessible version of the software for my testing! This response came in less than three weeks of my initial request!

After downloading the test copy of CallBurner, I immediately began to put it through its paces. After enabling “Screen Reader Compatibility” in the Accessibility sub-menu of the program’s System Tray icon, I was instantly delighted to discover extensive keyboard navigation, a tabbed Call Details dialogue box and full accessibility without need of screen reader configuration or scripts. Follow these steps to enable “Screen Reader Compatibility” after downloading and installing CallBurner:

  1. Minimize all running programs and focus on the Desktop by pressing Left Windows+M.
  2. Press JAWS Key+F11, Modifier+F11 (System Access) or Insert+S (Window-Eyes) to open the System Tray menu.
  3. Down arrow to CallBurner and press enter to right click its System Tray icon.
  4. Press enter on the Accessibility sub-menu.
  5. Press enter on “Screen Reader Compatibility”. This is the only option currently found in the Accessibility sub-menu.
  6. The following dialogue box is shown: “Screen Reader Compatibility is now turned ON. NOTE: You need to restart CallBurner for this change to become effective.”
  7. Press enter on the OK button to accept the change.
  8. Press JAWS Key+F11, Modifier+F11 (System Access) or Insert+S (Window-Eyes) to return to the System Tray menu.
  9. Down arrow to CallBurner and press enter to right click its System Tray icon.
  10. Up arrow to the Quit option and press enter.
  11. Press the Left Windows key or CTRL+Escape to open the Start menu.
  12. Press p to open the All Programs menu.
  13. Down arrow to CallBurner and press enter to open its sub-menu.
  14. Press enter on CallBurner to start the program. The Call Details window opens, presenting a tabbed dialogue box that delivers a fully accessible user interface to all CallBurner functions.
  15. Press the End key to move to the Help tab.
  16. Press the Tab key once to select Browse On-Line Help and press enter to open CallBurner’s documentation in a typical web browser window. This help will serve to get you started with CallBurner in short order.

The latest version of CallBurner, incorporating the “Screen Reader Compatibility” enhancement, has been made available as of Saturday, July 7, 2007. I highly recommend CallBurner to anyone, blind or sighted, who needs to record Skype calls. The ability and willingness of the developers to make their software accessible in less than three weeks of such a request demonstrates the commitment of this company to high quality, reliable customer service and technical support. We should all send a quick note of thanks to the CallBurner Team expressing our appreciation for their prompt attention to our accessibility needs and encouraging their developers to continue the excellent work in this area for all their software. Stay tuned to Blind Access Journal and other blind community online resources for demonstrations, reviews, tips and other information covering the use of this excellent application.

Categories: JAWS, reviews, Skype, tips

Broadcasting a Skype Voice Chat Over Station Playlist Studio Using Two Sound Cards and No Mixer

May 12, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

I have figured out how to broadcast a voice chat session using Skype over Station Playlist Studio using two sound cards with no hardware mixer. This configuration was tested for the first time this afternoon during a four hour show on ACB Radio Interactive. Feel free to try this procedure and give us some feedback with your own results.

Sound card settings

Make the following adjustments to the sound card volume control in the Control Panel:

  • Playback: Microphone and wave not muted. Reduce microphone volume to prevent distortion.
  • Recording: What you hear selected with 100 percent volume setting.

Studio Settings

This configuration requires at least Station Playlist version 4.0, as it takes advantage of the software’s built-in mixing capability:

  • Input > Mic Input tab:
    • Recording mixer: “What You Hear”
    • Output mixer: none
  • Output > Mixer tab: Switch device to another sound card or possibly Null output. Switch the screen reader to the sound card selected on Studio’s Output > Mixer tab or a second sound card if null was selected in Studio. Use a second pair of earbuds or headphones to hear broadcast monitoring and speech from the screen reader.

Skype Settings

In Tools > Options > Audio, uncheck “let Skype adjust my audio settings”. This adjustment is necessary to prevent Skype from significantly reducing the volume during the broadcast.

Categories: broadcasting, Skype, tips

Moving JAWS to the System Tray

May 11, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

The following tech tip is derived from a message I wrote to a mailing list in response to a request for help to remove JAWS from the order of windows presented when changing tasks using the Alt+Tab command.

You can run JAWS from the System Tray instead of the Taskbar, which will remove it from the alt+tab order of windows.  Follow these steps: 

  1. Press JAWS Key+J to open the JAWS window.
  2. Press alt+o for the Options menu.
  3. Press b for the Basics dialogue.
  4. Tab over to “Run JAWS from the System Tray” and press the space bar to check this box.
  5. Tab to OK and press enter.
  6. The next time JAWS or your computer restarts, JAWS will be in the System Tray.
  7.  

Note: In the vast majority of scenarios, the JAWS Key is the insert key on the lower left-hand corner of the numeric keypad.

Categories: JAWS, tips

Set Message Priority and Request Read Receipt in Outlook Express

May 11, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Karen has asked me several times to teach her how to set the priority and request a read receipt for outgoing messages in Outlook Express. Setting the priority tells the recipient that you deem the contents of your message as being of low, normal or high importance. Requesting a “read receipt” is an attempt to determine whether or not the intended recipient has actually opened and read your message. The recipient may choose whether or not to acknowledge receipt of your message. The ability to do this can sometimes be helpful when dealing with advocacy situations where e-mail communications are involved. It seemed like these features might be sufficiently significant to warrant a tech tip here on the journal, so I hope some of you find these instructions helpful. This procedure is not screen reader specific.

Follow these steps to compose a new message, set its priority to “high” and request that the recipient acknowledge receipt:

  1. Run Outlook Express as usual.
  2. Press CTRL+N to compose a new message.
  3. Complete the “To”, “CC”, “BCC” and “Subject” fields as you normally would when sending e-mail.
  4. Write the text of your message.
  5. Press Alt+M to pull down the Message menu.
  6. Press p to open the Set Priority submenu.
  7. Press h to check the “High” option. You may, instead, press l to choose “Low” or n to choose “Normal” priority. Normal is the default.
  8. Press Alt+T to pull down the Tools menu.
  9. Press t to check “Request Read Receipt”.
  10. Press Alt+S or CTRL+Enter to send the message with high urgency and a request that the recipient acknowledge receipt of your communication.

Categories: tips

Showing Internet Explorer 7.0 How to Get Along with VIP Conduit

May 6, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Are you having trouble accessing the chat rooms at http://www.vipconduit.com using Internet Explorer 7.0? Are you seeing various browser security related messages? Even though you know you have downloaded and installed the latest version of the VIP Communicator, is the client showing you strange error messages and unceremoniously closing? The solution is to add vipconduit.com to Internet Explorer’s “Trusted sites” zone and reduce the security of that zone. Here’s how to get that done:

  1. Open Internet Explorer 7 as usual.
  2. Press alt+t to pull down the Tools menu.
  3. Press o to select Options.
  4. Press Control+Tab to move to the Security page.
  5. Press tab to “select a web content zone”.
  6. Press right arrow until you reach “Trusted sites”.
  7. Press tab twice to move to the “security level” field.
  8. Press the End key to set the security level to “0 percent” which allows trusted sites to download, install and run most content without prompts.
  9. Press shift+tab to move to the “Sites” button, then press the space bar.
  10. If you are not already there, press shift+tab to move to the “Add this website to the zone” field.
  11. Press tab to select the Add button and press the space bar.
  12. Tab to the “Close” button and press the space bar.
  13. Tab to the OK button and press enter to dismiss the dialogue box and return to the browser window. You have now added vipconduit.com to the list of web sites that are implicitly trusted by your browser.

You can repeat this procedure for any sites you wish to use without running into frequent security related prompts displayed by means of Internet Explorer’s new info bar. Exercise extreme caution when adding a site to those trusted by Internet Explorer. It would be a very good idea for you to implicitly trust the authors of the web site before even thinking about asking your browser to do the same.

Categories: security, tips