FA & I: Celebrating 25 years together
My diagnosis
My scoliosis
Using a wheelchair
My powerchair
Foot surgery
Using a catheter
My diabetes
The other stuff
As FA progresses
Ataxia UK Coventry and Warwickshire Support Group
Independent Living
Getting the care I need
Using a hoist
My Hive
Using my computer
Using public transport
The Open University
Working life
Travels in the UK
Walt Disney World

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My guestbook
Last updated: July 2017

Using a computer
My set up

I'm so pleased to finally found a computer setup I can use - text dictated through my microphone, the mouse curser controlled with my joystick with right hand and separate buttons to press with my left. Not forgetting Alexa of course and then everything on a dycem non-slip mat so it doesn't slip:

  • My microphone is a Logitech one - it was about £15 but I had to be careful to buy ones which were Mac-compatible. I asked my PA to tape them at the side as I was fed up with readjusting them every time I put them on my head.
  • I use this to dictate to my computer using Dragon NaturallySpeaking so I speak and whatever I say is converted into typed text. Having used early versions of this software about 20 years ago I was astounded at how well it recognised even my less-than-perfect speech. Straight out of the box it was correctly dictating about 90% of what I say - no training need and its recognition rates improve as it learns from corrections made.
  • I've known about joystick mouse controllers for years but couldn't get into my head how you'd control a mouse with one. I finally tried one at Naidex this year and knew immediately that one would be the answer to all my problems. Using the mouse made using a computer so frustrating for me - I really do love it. I got mine and the separate buttons from https://www.inclusive.co.uk (look under "switches"). I wasn't really sure what I needed so I phoned them for their advice. They said to actually place the order online as then I could get VAT exemption.
  • My friend Matthew Law bought me Amazon Echo for Christmas and it works really well. It even has no trouble understanding my speech. From "Alexa it going to rain today?" to "Alexa spell Aardvark" to Alexa play Ed Sheeran".
  • The dycem non-slip mat stops everything from moving when in use such as the keyboard and joystick.
This website has been around sinse 1998, and although it's changed a lot over the years it's always been about me and my disability. Over the years I have used many different hosts and website design packages. For the past ten years or so I have used 1&1 as my host and I have always been very happy with it. I have always wanted to learn how to build a website from scratch using Adobe Dreamweaver, so about three years ago I got in touch with Polar Solutions and arranged for a trainer to come out to my home to teach me at my own pace. So I now design this website using Adobe Dreamweaver and the skills I learned on that course. I designed the buttons using Cool Text.