Switches and Switch Interface – Mystery Solved

 

switches

 

Hello Ability Powered Gamers!  I wanted to talk to you today about something that was a huge mystery to me before this year, Switches. I had seen switches on assistive technology sites and I knew what they did, but beyond that they were a mystery. With my disability progressing and certain computer tasks becoming more difficult, I decided it was time to learn. Thanks to help from Barry Ellis and his website Oneswitch.org.uk I started trying to figure out switches. All it took was a quick tweet to Mr. Ellis and he was happy to point me in the right direction and verify I had everything I needed.

 

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So what do you need and how does it all work? I will do my best to explain. A switch is basically an input device you can assign to do various computer functions when you can no longer do then in the traditional way. A switch may be a button or a device you can put to your lips and sip or puff to activate. The beautiful thing about switches is there is a large selection to meet a wide variety of needs. If you need a large button you can bump with your head, they have that. If you need a very sensitive button you can press with your finger, they have that. They even have a proximity switch you need to get your finger near. It’s almost like using the force!  A switch is just a trigger for the brains of the whole operation, the switch interface.

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A switch interface is what takes the switch you picked and basically tells your computer (or even cellphone, although I haven’t totally figured that one out yet!) to play nice with it. The switch interface I now have, the Xkeys USB 3, came with software to assign commands to my switch. Expect a full report on it and the switch I am using soon. In my case, I needed a switch to use that I could press to right click my mouse. The switch interface plugged into my computer and the software identified the switch connected to it. I could tell the software what action to do when I pressed the switch. It’s really that simple!

And that is it! To get started using a switch all you need is a switch that best meets your needs and a switch interface. It all looks overwhelmingly complicated at first, but it’s actually super simple! Since installing mine, computing has became less frustrating and since I have a better understanding of switches I can’t wait to try to add more for gaming purposes such as movement in certain keyboard reliant games. I’m looking at you Minecraft!

shortpurpleI can definitely see switches being a real game changer for many Ability Powered Gamers! But don’t take my word for it, check out Oneswitch and look at all the different switch options that are available. Do you use a switch and switch interface? If so leave a comment below and share your experience!

Addons for Accessibility – Move Anything

Hello Ability Powered Gamers! This week we checked out an addon for accessibility that helps with the user interface. It’s called Move Anything. Move Anything does exactly what it’s name suggests. It allows the user to move any part of World of Warcraft’s user interface which is a huge help if you are trying to reduce mouse movement. But that’s not all! Move Anything also allows people to resize all aspects of the UI which can help anyone who is having problems reading certain parts of the interface due to visual impairments.

shortpurpleThe ability to fully customize the user interface to meet the gamers needs by both moving and scalling any part makes Move Anything a perfect addon for accessibility. But don’t take my word for it, check it out on curse!

http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/move-anything

Backseat Gaming – Fallout 4 (PS4)

Cover of Fallout 4 featuring a Power Suit Armor Mask

Hello Ability Powered Gamers! I have been backseat gaming. What’s that you ask? You know when you are that second person watching that single player game giving the actual person playing suggestions? That’s been me. I do this for console games since controllers just aren’t doable anymore. This time it’s been a little game called Fallout 4.

Fallout has always been a game we enjoyed but wasn’t usually a game we would buy on opening day. This time that changed when we saw the addition of building settlements. Finally a reason to be a hoarder! We picked it up soon after release and dove in.

fo4dogmeat

At first it was amazing . The humor, the settlements, and dogmeat were all something that made me want to play and play alot! The more we played the more I noticed there was something ugly about Fallout that was becoming more and more annoying. Bugs! And I don’t mean rad roaches. There were npc’s bugging out, quests we couldn’t complete, and glitches happening everywhere. At one point we were running around shooting bullets out of an invisible gun. The thing about Fallout is there are tons of bugs but as they are happening they are only momentarily annoying because you are generally too busy to think much about them for more than a second. As a matter of fact, I didn’t really realize how many bugs we had experienced until I started adding everything up.

fo4nogun

I think the fact that so many bugs are overlooked attests to just how much of a distraction this game really is. There is so much to do that you are constantly busy. Four different factions all have loads of work and missions for you to do. Of course that’s if you can fit them in between building and fortifying your settlements or helping out random people of the commonwealth. From cereal killers to super heroes you will have your time booked without even getting into the story. What were we supposed to be doing again? Oh yeah, desperatly searching for our son. Well, maybe after we save this settlement.

fo4preston

From a backseat gaming point of view I enjoyed watching the commonwealth being explored and the story. There is an ending for each faction so seeing each ones different points of view was really interesting. I stayed interested through scavaging through building after building because you really never knew what you would find. Would it be a fatboy? Maybe a Deathclaw? I also loved the hacking of terminals. It’s a perfect job for a backseat gamer.

shortpurpleAll and all Fallout 4 was enjoyable to watch. While the bugs are plentiful, you will be to distracted to really realize it. Is it re-playable? Story wise once was enough for me but there’s so much to do that has nothing to do with the story that I can see us venturing back to finish up side quests or trophies eventually. I would definitely recommend everyone watch or play through it once.

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