Fixing random Windows 7 noises

My first problem in an otherwise – touch wood- wonderful Windows 7 experience.

A few weeks after installing the Windows 7 release candiate, and a year into using W7 in some form, I noticed that my tablet frequently and randomly made the clunky device connect / device disconnect sounds usually associated with adding and removing USB items. After taking away all my USB peripherals, and upon still hearing the sound, I realised I needed to do something about it. Obviously this was muting the computer. But sooner or later (later) I needed to watch things on iPlayer and the noise was becomming irritiating.

Anyway for the information of any interested readers or those who have stumbled across this page searching for a solution I fixed this problem by manually installing the chipset drivers. In my case I downloaded the nVidia nForce drivers suited for my HP tx2130ea tablet (tx2100 series). I ran the setup program in Windows Vista compatibility mode to ensure it would all install (there aren’t any drivers for W7 at the time of writing) and after a quick restart…


Not AT related I know but at least I’m writing something.

Add comment July 2nd, 2009

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Out of A&E

If you’ve noticed that things have been a bit quiet on this blog again, and on the main website, it’s because I’ve been caught up in a pretty intensive hospital practice placement. Well I’m back now and I have stuff to share so time to get cracking.
Just got an essay to write first…

Add comment May 27th, 2009

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Communication Works 2009 @ Charlton School, London

Perhaps a little late in posting this but CENMAC/Charlton School are having a drop-in day with well-known exhibitors and some interesting free seminars. From Imogen Wedgewood:

“Everyone is welcome at this exciting drop-in day, packed full of hands on technologies for communication, inclusion, access and gaming.  Look out for leading organisations including Widgit, Possum, Dynavox, Crick, SoundBeam, SmartBox AT, TraxSys, the RIX Centre, OM Interactive, Signalong, Just Different and more.  Put your questions to the experts, play on the Wii and share the day with us.

  • Where? Charlton School, Charlton Park Rd, London SE7 8HX
  • When? Wednesday 18th March 2009 11.00am – 4.30pm
  • More information, list of seminar titles, directions etc on

View the poster for this event.

Add comment March 16th, 2009

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Windows 7 to Include Free Improved Magnifier

Great news for visually impaired computer users. The basic Windows Magnifier utility that has been knocking around since Windows 95 has finally been ditched for something significantly more practical.

The new version due to ship free with Windows 7 allows full-screen magnification and a moving lens. It is operated simply by holding Windows Key and pressing plus/minus. It supports zoom increments of 25% and will magnify up to 1600%. The program doesn’t smooth text as well as Zoomtext, Lunar and the other commerical programs but doesn’t do a bad job.

See for yourself in this video of the Windows 7 magnifier in action:

A higher quality version of this video is available on the video’s youtube page.

Don’t forget my main website contains lots of information about making Windows XP accessible for people with low vision.

1 comment January 6th, 2009

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Video of Windows 7 On Screen Keyboard

I’ve spent part of today making this video demonstrating the new features of the Windows 7 on-screen keyboard. Try to ignore the mystery mouse cursor floating around the middle of screen.

Add comment December 18th, 2008

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Windows 7 to include improved on-screen keyboard

Windows 7 OSKHurray! The up-coming new version of Windows (Windows 7) will include an improved version of the existing, free on-screen keyboard found in Windows XP. I haven’t personally seen it yet but I have heard that it is now:

  • Completely resizable
  • Has a ‘refreshed’ modern look
  • Has built-in prediction
  • Supports switch scanning access

If anyone has a beta copy of Windows 7 then I’d appreciate some feedback on the new Windows 7 OSK. When I get my copy I’ll be sure to update this post

Apparently the new Windows 7 operating system is expected to ship before Christmas 2009. What’s more it’ll run on most computers that are currently capable of running Windows Vista and possibly even a little faster.

DOSKEdit: Just thought I’d quickly add that it is possible to resize the Windows XP on-screen keyboard using my free little utility that will also dock it up against any program to avoid overlapping.

Download DOSK for free!

2 comments December 17th, 2008

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Converting Inspiration mind maps to Word Documents

I use Inspiration all the time to plan and write my essays, and so do many of the students I work with. However since you can’t hand in an Inspiration mind map to your lecturer you’re going to need to convert it to a presentable format.

I have just added a new step-by-step guide that takes you through the process of transferring your essay from Inspiration 8 to Word 2007 and then formatting it into a beautifully presented and readable document!

Add comment December 5th, 2008

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An Apology

My last entry on this blog was in May (2008). When I first created this blog I decided I really didn’t want it to become one of those forgotten-about blogs gathering cobwebs in the corner of the Internet. Woops.

Unfortunately I’ve been somewhat busy and – same old story- have been finding it difficult to find the time to add content. It’s not because I haven’t got content to add, either. I’m still assessing and training and coming up with fresh new ideas. Incidentally I’m available for assessments and training in the southern area – contact me if you’re interested!

In addition to my rather busy work schedule I’m also completing a full time degree in Occupational Therapy which I feel is adding a significant amount to the professioniam and effectiveness of my AT work. Unfortunately this and the locality of several good pubs has resulted in a lack of updates for this blog and the main BLTT website.

There are plans to take things forward. The main BLTT site receives a surprisingly high number of visitors: 11,454 unique visitors in October 2008 compared to 5,492 in October 2007. The page reading depth isn’t so impressive which is why I really want to improve the site’s layout and navigation. I also want two parallel text options – the first using technical jargon aimed at clinicians and the other using a simpler language for the majority of the people using the technology. The new site will be database-driven so language style can be changed on the fly. In addition I’m planning on making videos and really want some interesting case studies.

Hopefully it won’t be another six months before my next posting. And keep an eye on as I really want to make something good of it. Gotta just finish that essay first (and that pint)…

Charlie Danger

1 comment November 28th, 2008

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Switch access and the Internet

Grrr… I’ll try and keep this short. I’m annoyed by something and it may be unjustified so please let me know if I’m missing something.

Jelly bean switchLots of switch users want to be able to access the Internet, right? The number of potential meaningful activities out there is enourmous and the very popular BBC iPlayer (as well as the ITV and C4 equivalents) should be able to offer TV on-demand to switch users as well as anyone else. But there’s a problem.

I generally see three recurring problems when attempting to access the Internet using one or more switches:

The first is the sheer number of links on a page that need to be scanned through. This can often be fixed by creating a ‘Scan 5 Links’ button (which I generally always do using The Grid 2) or by convincing the webmasters to build pages with less links (I’ll let you try that one).

Tabbing highlight screenshotThe second major problem is the focus highlight as the tab moves around the web document. It’s almost impossible to see. Now you can use a User Style Sheet but these do not work properly for Internet Explorer 7 on many websites (including the BBC iPlayer). The user styles work beautifully in Firefox as can be seen in this screenshot. The yellow block is the moving highlight caused by a local userContent style sheet.

Unfortunately Firefox won’t allow a switch user to access Flash elements. The tab key just skips straight past unless a mouse is used to select the element first. This is a pretty significant flaw as it prohibits switch users from accessing video content on YouTube, iPlayer and pretty much everywhere else.

We’re left with the option of having an easy-to-follow tabbing focus highlight OR access to video content. Not both. Please fix it.

3 comments May 30th, 2008

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Access your Computer using your Mind

Emotiv Headset

This certainly isn’t the first time that someone has come up with a way of getting computers to respond to brain activity but now there’s finally an actual tangible commercial product on the horizon.

An American company, Emotiv, have created a headset that tracks thoughts, emotions and facial expressions and uses this information to control software. Although designed with gamers in mind (is that a pun?) there’s no reason why the headset couldn’t, in theory, be linked up to other software such as onscreen keyboards. Even if this proves to be a problem the accessible gaming aspect is really quite exciting.

So is this thing actually going to work and can it be used to improve the lives of people with severe physical disabilities? Maybe. Emotiv promises that the headset will be in the shops by next Christmas at a remarkably low price of £150. That’s cheaper than some rollerballs and thousands of pounds cheaper than current eye control systerms. But whether the device is going to be practical and useful is another matter. Daniel Terdiman from CNET recently reviewed the device and had some success but felt there was some way to go.

Via Crave.CNET

Add comment March 20th, 2008

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I’m an occupational therapist based in London. I have been helping disabled children and adults benefit from technology for 14 years. I’m available to provide specialist assessments for individuals including setting goals and providing ongoing support where required. Get in touch to find out more! Charlie Danger. More

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Equipment I use

I often get asked which laptops I recommend. I use a Lenovo notebook computer as I have found them to be the most reliable, have great build quality and incomparable customer service.

If someone is relying on a computer to help improve their lives then I believe it is best to use something that's going to run and run!