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Enlarging The World Screen
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s1mp13m4n
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Default Enlarging The World Screen - 09-22-2008, 08:17 AM

Hello everyone. In a post I made a while back I was running Linux and Alice. I have sense then gone back to Windows XP with a faster P4 2.6Mhz machine with a 17in CRT monitor.
I have a vision problem and Alice is hard for me to see. I am trying to do my homework well for my college class and it is hard for me to do because of that small window that Alice gives you to see your world while you are adding objects to it. Can that little box be made larger, like half to full screen size? I know you can resize the playback window to whatever you want, but what about the world view when you are creating a world? Thank you for the help.
   
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Enlarging the World Screen.
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hgs
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Default Enlarging the World Screen. - 09-22-2008, 10:01 AM

17 inch CRT? In my experience (and for detailed work, such as punctuation, I normally work about an inch or 2 from the screen) CRTs are a pain to position usefully. I have a monitor arm so my screen is above my keyboard, but I asked for a 19 inch flatscreen monitor some years back. They seem to be getting cheaper and larger with time, so my first question is whether you can negotiate for a bigger monitor. Your college should be able to help you get hold of funding for this sort of thing.

The next thing is access technology. I don't know what you noramally use, I don't use much because when I got my workplace to shell out for a screen magnifier it worked well when it worked, but it crashed my PC twice or more per day. This was about 7 years ago, and I think things are better now.... There is a certain amount of competition in this area, the names that come to mind are Zoomtext and Lunar or LunarPlus.

You are aware of the Magnifier built into XP? Quickest way to get at it is to hold down the Windows key (like you do for ctrl) and press U, which brings up the accessibility features Utility Manager. The magnifier is less than perfect, you can't set it to any size, but it is better than nothing, and it dows allow you to invert the colours to reduce glare. If you are aware of that, then it may be useful to other readers of this thread to note its existence.

Unfortunately Alice won't interact usefully with speech. Given that the speech in Vista is better than that in XP I hope the Alice 3 developers are taking notes on accessibility. [Oh, dear! That wasn't very subtle, was it :-)?]
   
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Hmmm
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s1mp13m4n
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Smile Hmmm - 09-22-2008, 10:36 AM

OK here is the deal. I did not have a PC at home untill recently. I was given an old Celeron 500Mhz machine, which was very slow, I installed Linux on it, and it was a pain.
Then I found for free on www.craigslist.com someone who was giving away a P4 2.6Ghz machine because it did not work. I got the machine, put a hard drive in it and it is fine now. It has WinXP Pro on it. I got a free legal copy of XP from my college.
My state dept for the blind is sapose to be in the process of getting me free of charge to me, a new laptop for college . I am not sure about the details but they are talking like it will have a docking station and also a large external monitor for home use. It will also have a copy of Zoomtext on it.
My vision problem is called Optic Atrophy, I can only see a computer monitor close up no matter the size, also I have depth proception issues....basically I do not have any. LOL So working in this 3D world of Alice I can not see the 3D. I can not tell if objects are far away or simply small, or are they on the ground correctly, is the object hovering just off the ground, it is laying flat, etc.
I am not trying to complain or anything, I just want to do well in my class. I did the college things about ten years ago and did networking, but not being able to drive, transportation, etc are issues with that. I thought I would try programming because then it becomes just me and the computer. The only issues I would need to work out there is simply seeing the monitor and my work. So here I am in an intro to programming class where Alice is used.....a 3D world that is not friendly to use "blind" folk. LOL I thought we would be typing code or something. Doh, hate it when that happens.
I am open to suggestions. I will talk to my instructor today to see what we might be able to work out. Thanks for the help and keep the ideas coming. :0
   
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Enlarging the World Screen
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hgs
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Default Enlarging the World Screen - 09-22-2008, 11:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by s1mp13m4n View Post
I am not sure about the details but they are talking like it will have a docking station and also a large external monitor for home use. It will also have a copy of Zoomtext on it.
My next advice is to try to get a demo copy of zoomtext that will allow you to work, usually with demos, for 15 or 30 minute bursts, for up to a month (said he, guessing based on past experience). It will help familiarize yourself with the controls as well. I don't know where you source Zoomtext locally, but a dealer should be willing to give you a time limited demo like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s1mp13m4n View Post
My vision problem is called Optic Atrophy, I can only see a computer monitor close up no matter the size, also I have depth proception issues....basically I do not have any. LOL So working in this 3D world of Alice I can not see the 3D. I can not tell if objects are far away or simply small, or are they on the ground correctly, is the object hovering just off the ground, it is laying flat, etc.
Well, everyone is in that position because it is 3D displayed on a 2D screen. I know people working on 3D displays, but until they become real you must move the camera around and use parallax a lot, or the (alas, smaller) quad views to get the layout right. It is tricky. My depth perception is a bit iffy as well with one eye better than the other. I also find it easier to program the characters into position than to use the mouse to move the parts. That is, when doing setup, use the menus. Your mileage may vary (YMMV as they say).

The points about transport are all too familiar. If I could ride into work on a guide horse :-)....they wouldn't let it on the car park!

If I recall correctly the Americans with Disabilities Act came in at about 1991, so this ought to be easier by now. The school/college/whatever who is hosting this course should have people who know this stuff, and they may have kit you can borrow till yours arrives. The worst they can do is tell you to go away, so I'd badger them for local advice, and about how they expect people to access these courses as well. They won't know about all the different flavours of eye condition, but they will know many of the wrinkles in the system of getting kit, because that's usually the same across disabilities. This stuff is probably handled by Student Welfare or Student Support or something of that sort.
   
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Talk With The Instructor
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Default Talk With The Instructor - 09-22-2008, 04:21 PM

After class today I spoke with my instructor and she is willing to work with me. She told me that she is interested in us learning to concepts of programming, not Alice in itself. If my worlds are not perfect, my city roads are not completely flat, or my people do not stand perfectly on the ground, etc....those things are not a big deal to her. She wants to know that we understand how it works, not how it looks. She wants to know that we understand why and to worry about the code rather than the graphics. She told me that because of my vision that a traditional class may be better for me, however Alice is required by the college for a degree. Alice is the first or intro class that you take before moving on to Visual Basic, C++, etc.
I will look into a trial for Zoomtext. The college does have two computers for people with visual problems on the campus so I will see what they can do for me as well. Thanks for the help.
   
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Default 09-22-2008, 06:01 PM

A bit of a trivial answer after the good help you've already gotten - sounds like you have a really good teacher, and the advice would be good for anyone.

But in answer to your original question, you can change the size of the preview window or any of the other areas of the main screen just by moving to a border and doing a click and drag with the mouse. Not always the best results - I personally like using a magnifier also if you have that option - but certainly simple.
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Last edited by DrJim; 09-22-2008 at 06:05 PM.
   
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