JennyK and Audient. One of the better changes. :) EVO 8 Offers ‘True Access’ To Blind Audio Producer

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EVO 8 Offers ‘True Access’ To Blind Audio Producer

25th September 2023

Jenny Brennan has worked her way through a few audio interfaces over the years. Using EVO 8 however has stopped her in her tracks. “Losing sight later in life, I’ve encountered so many situations that make me critical of the state of accessibility in software, on the web – and in society as a whole. It’s true that I have gone through a number of interfaces since starting working with audio. Yes, they were great pieces of gear and they served me well, technically. But in the end I have felt excluded at every turn,” says the prog metal vocalist, producer, mix engineer and educational live streamer…
Read this article on

Take care, be well.


Blind people hate change!

Reading Time: < 1 minute

It’s something I hear often. And I agree.
I think.
Well, actually, it’s much more complicated than that.

Change is bad. Until it’s not.

Ah, there we go. How should I say this to not sound like an ass.

Oh, never mind, can’t be done. I’ll just say it,

It fucking depends!


Three words into this post I realized that the perpetual rant of opinions, biases, anxieties, fears, and downright ignorant beliefs living in my head will not make the world a better place by being said out-loud. Or, as in this case, frenetically typed into a wordpress classic editor.

See? that’s one change I don’t like. I refuse to change the editor I use in WordPress.
However, I could if I wanted to, I suppose.

Ultimately, I will always and hereafter in perpetuity, reserve the right to change my mind.

Change is good man. It exercises the brain, the heart, and everyone around you.

Change is good. Until it’s not.

Need I say it again? Really?

It depends.

Take care and be well.


Install Reaper, Osara, and SWS on Mac running Voiceover – Step by step

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How to install Reaper, Osara, and SWS on Mac running Voiceover.

Last updated: July 1, 2021 at 14:28 pm

If you find something incorrect throughout these instructions, please leave a comment or use the contact link at the top of this page.
Thanks. –


Let’s grab all the stuff we need.

Download Reaper

For the latest Reaper application, visit the page.
Locate the macOS heading.
For MacOS earlier than Catalina or Big Sur, click on the first available download, macOS 64-bit.
(I do sincerely hope that your system is 64bit. Just saying’)
For Catalina and Big Sur, locate the download link that sounds something like:
macOS 10.15+ Catalina/Big Sur (Notarized)
And download that.

Download the Osara extension

Next, you need to download Osara by going to the Osara Reaper accessibility page
This page has all the information about Osara that you will ever need and the instructions you need to download and install Osara. I recommend doing some reading. If you are at all interested in what Osara is, what it does, and who created it and why, learn it all here.
Remember: Good people work really hard to make Reaper work for us and they keep this honestly very complicated extension alive and in constant development. I can’t speak enough about how impressive the Osara team is. Give them the credit they are due. “OSARA has taken countless hours of time to develop but is free to use.

Next, locate the
Osara snapshots link.
Once on that page, the easiest way to find the download is to search the page for the words: “for mac”. This will bring you directly to the download link for the current version of Osara.

One thing to remember is that Osara really is in constant development and this link changes frequently. It is a very good idea to keep Osara up to date. There are no notifications to let you know that there is a new version available. Chances are that if you update Reaper, Osara will not be far behind.

Download the SWS extension

This bundle of files can be downloaded from the
SWS extension page.
On this page, locate the “macOS” heading and select the
“DOWNLOAD X64” link

Downloads are done. Time to crack open your download folder with Command Option L and continue.


Installing the Reaper application

Open the Reaper disk image file you downloaded.
Copy the Reaper Application file.
Open applications with Shift Command A and paste with Command V.
Once the copying is done, go ahead and open the newly pasted Reaper application file with Command O.
This will take you through a standard Mac installation procedure which doesn’t present anything out of the ordinary and don’t need to be explained here.
Once the installation is done, Reaper should appear in your dock and you can open it from there.
If you have plugins installed on your system, this may take a while. Reaper will scan all the usual places and it won’t necessarily tell you what it’s doing. With some VO navigation you will hear that scanning is in progress, of something like it. Either way, it’ll be busy for a bit.
Once that is done, Reaper will ask you to select an audio device. This is a good time to do that so click the yes button to open the Reaper preferences.
You will land in a tree-view, which on the mac is called a table for some reason. You are focused on devices. Navigate into that with VO arrow keys and one of the very first options you find is the audio device selection list box. Pick your preferred device and select it with return. Now hit return again to okay your changes and close the preferences dialog.
Don’t worry, you will see much of those preferences in the future. For now, there’s nothing that needs to be done.
You can shut down Reaper for now.

There are a couple of things left to do. So get back to your downloads folder.

Installing the Osara extension

These instructions are taken directly from
the Osara Reaper accessibility page:

Because OSARA is an extension (not a standalone application) and also needs to install a key map, the installation process is a little different to most Mac applications. Please follow these instructions to install it:

Open the OSARA disk image file you downloaded.
Open the “Install OSARA.command” file. On macOS Catalina and later, you have to choose open from the context menu, accessed with VO+Shift+M.
Follow the instructions. If you wish to replace the existing key map with the OSARA key map (which is recommended), answer yes when prompted. A backup of your existing key map will be made in Reaper’s KeyMaps folder.
The installer leaves a terminal window open. It can be closed with Command+Q.
Press command+e to eject the disk image.

Note that if you do forget to use the context menu to open the terminal script, you will be informed that it cannot be opened. Simply click cancel in that prompt. It will not hurt anything. Once opening the script via the context menu, you will be informed again that there is a problem but this time you have the option to choose the “open” button. Do that, all is well.

Installing the SWS extension

Open the SWS disk image file you downloaded.
Select and Copy everything in that folder with Command A and Command C respectively.

Open Reaper and go to the options menu.
Locate: “Show Reaper resource path in explorer/finder” and hit return.
In the folder that opens, hit the letter “u” to locate the “user plugins” folder. Open it with Command O and press command V to paste

Close all stray windows, close any leftover disc image volumes with Command E, and restart Reaper.

Test your Reaper

Now let’s see if this works. There are two simple tests we can perform to check this.
First, let’s make sure Osara is running. Second, we will check that the sws extension is active and running as it should.

With Reaper newly opened, you are in an empty project with no tracks. When you move the up and down arrows, which are the shortcuts to move between tracks in Reaper, Osara should say: “No tracks.” Because there are no tracks and that is the infomation we need from Osara.
This means that Osara is doing its thing.
If you hear nothing when pressing the arrow keys, something has gone wrong somewhere and Osara is not running.

Assuming that Osara is running, we can move on to test the SWS extension.
Do this:
Create a new track with Command T.
In the dialog, give the track a name if you want and hit return. This track is for testing purposes only so it doesn’t matter.
Why are we doing this?
One of the many functions that sws performs for you is to enable you to change the volume of a track and let you know what happens as you do.
Using the shortcut Shift + Option and up or down arrows will change the track volume in 1db increments. It will also speak the volume as it changes.
If the spoken feedback does not change and it keeps saying 0db when you use the shortcut, then something has gone wrong and SWS is not running properly.
However, if the numbers do change as you change the volume with the shortcut, all is well with SWS.

Limited troubleshooting, final comments and useful resources

This post doesn’t cover any real troubleshooting. First of all, I’m not really qualified. Second, the list of things that could go wrong on a system working with audio is far beyond anything I could put together or even reference properly.
All I can recommend when something doesn’t seem to work is to restart Reaper, perhaps restarting your mac as that really doesn’t hurt to do once in a blue moon, and run the Osara and SWS installations again. Or maybe just reinstall Reaper. It’s quick enough to do and it won’t hurt anything.

If it still doesn’t work, I can recommend asking on the RWP (Reaper Without Peepers) mailing list.
You can join the list by sending an empty email to
Most questions can probably be answered by a visit to the
Reaper accessibility wiki page

A note of caution: The Reaper wiki can become a rabbit-hole difficult to escape. 🙂

Remember, have fun, don’t fear the reaper, and know that with Reaper and the Reaper community you are in good hands and the possibilities are endless.

Jenny K. Brennan
House of Imp Studio 2021

Have story, will code – Do I need another obsession? ? Interactive fiction calling – again. The ideas that won’t go away.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Interactive fiction – Another game?

I wonder, as I so often do.
: I sometimes get this uncomfortably sharp urge to write another epic
Interactive Fiction game.. Several ideas sit and wait just a folder browse away. All I have to do is awaken that obsessive part of me and let it dominate.
There’s just something very soothing about building a world that is defined yet so random, creating rules that are insanely complex but purely logical, give it life, and have a limitations on how random the end result can possibly turn out. Very… compelling. Ultimate control, but not set in stone. It’s game in prose. A life in poetry.
A wicked waste of time.
But I miss it.
And I tell myself I don’t have that time.
But surely I do.
surely, I can just take a quick look see.

! section 1 Setting the scene
location = SmallRoom;
move ivan to location;
move coat to ivan;
give coat worn;
move JanitorsKey to coat;
move letter to coat;
move dog to SmallRoom;
move collar to dog;
give collar worn;
startDaemon (dog);
startdaemon (rat);
print "Would you like to restore a saved game? ";
if (YesOrNo()) ;
print "You grew up never knowing what was real. You learned early on that fathers lie and mothers are too stupid to get it. Scam after stupid lie taught you that promises were as lofty as autumn leaves and that money, despite what your parents kept insisting, do not grow on trees or come without a price.
After nearly twenty years of endless expectations of shady fortunes that never actually manifested. Oh, what a shocker.
As soon as you could, you got the hell out of there, that town, that family of good-for-shit trash. You were better than them.
Now, your dad is gone. Someone caught up with him for reasons unknown and you could not care less.
they did him good. they did him dead. But before going into the stark and wormy night, as sonofabitch fathers sometimes do, he left you a rundown, rat-infested, crappy old house.
Yeah, thanks dad.
But that is why you are here. It could be nothing, just another lie. But maybe not. You touch the outside of your coat. In an inside pocket is an envelope and it rustles softly. His last gift to you.
you glance around and before you can change your mind and walk away from your past once and for all, you go inside.
Because, your father didn't give you a house. Not quite. He gave you instrutions and a key. And another promise.
You breathe noisily through your teeth and look around. You catch the foggy outline of yourself in a filthy window pane and glare at it. Like father, like son. Dad, this better be good.";
!Section And here starts the fun. Starting with a dummy object.
thing window"Grimy window"SmallRoom
with description
"Seemingly placed there without any thought on symmetry or esthetics, set somewhat crookedly in the west wall, is a window. Flaking offwhite paint and grimy cracks in badly abused wood serves as a sad excuse of a frame. A long since dead spider probably haunts its abandoned dwelling that adorns one cracked windowpane. Beyond the dirty glass looms and even dirtier brick wall; not more than a foot away. You wonder about the view beyond the neglected barrier. This room could use a bit of light. ",
name 'west' 'glass' 'window' 'pane',
if (crowbar notin player)
"With what? Your head?.";
"Okay, so you have a crowbar. do you even know how to use it? No, because I didn't write code for that yet."
thing crowbar"Crowbar"SmallRoom
with description "A crowbar. Very useful in a text adventure game with windows in it.",
name 'crowbar',
has ;

This is something I was working on years ago in Inform 6. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get Inform 7 -a natural language IF version– to run on my Mac. It appears to me that either it doesn’t play well with Mac in general, or with it’s screenreader, Voiceover. It’s not a big loss to me, even if I am intrigued by it, because I enjoy working directly in I6.
Want to see what a real Interactive fiction master does, visit Emily Short and be amazed. If you thought text adventuring has died in the shade of the new world of attention deficits, well it has not.

It’s okay to not be okay. Attitudes change, that’s great. But is it? Is the word Anxiety losing its meaning?

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It’s okay to not be okay

It is isn’t it?
Well, in one very important sense it is; it’s okay to not have it all together. Mental illness is something so many of us deal with and it’s the new normal to some degree. Not that it’s something people are comfortable talking about, but it’s getting better.

True. Yes?

But I’ve noticed something a bit odd and quite disconcerting. I admit, this is my perspective and I do not speak for you or anyone else. These are just thoughts that have come up lately. I’m not even sure if it’s an actual viewpoint, a definite opinion, if it’s something that has actually changed in the last few years, or If I’m just completely full of it.

So here it is.

Yes, mental illness is okay to deal with, to admit having issues with. Everything from slight social anxiety to serious cases of OCD and beyond where serious medication is needed. I think it’s going the right way if nothing else.
but the first thing I find myself uncharitable enough to think at times is that, “If everyone and their aunt claims to have anxiety, then what does the word “anxiety” actually mean in real life for me?” The odd thing is that if I tell someone that I have anxiety, Joe Blow down the block might say “Oh, that’s okay, we’ve all got that. Pot helps with that these days, doesn’t it? I get anxious all the time. You should take a walk or something. Join a club or whatever.”


the thing is; I don’t think Joe Blow down the block knows what anxiety is. he most certainly doesn’t know what an anxiety attack does to a person. Or how crippling social anxiety can be. Or how stress hormones in the body from cronic anxiety will make you sick, physically. It’s not something to be taken lightly. Joe, I know you mean well, but before you minimize the suffering of those who actually do suffer, you might want to talk to a few of those who know what it’s like.

Really, I do feel like my anxiety, which is both crippling and makes me physically sick, and prevents me from doing so many of the things I deep down wish I could do, gets viewed as nothing more than a slight case of being a bit scared or nervous. Oh, everyone has anxiety these days, no big deal. If it gets bad, there’s pot, and there are drugs. What’s the big deal?

Now, you tell me, am I being fair?

let me know in the comments if you think, as I do, that just the normalizing of the word “anxiety” has made it pretty much meaningless. Or maybe I’m thinking about this a bit screwy, then tell me that.


Music: Demo of “Hey, it’s okay.” by JennyK.

When the hunt for accessible WordPress plugins makes me exhausted and frustration takes over the keyboard. A blind webmasters commentary

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When the hunt for accessible WordPress plugins makes me exhausted and frustration takes over the keyboard. A blind webmasters commentary

There are great plugins. There are bad plugins. There are fantastic plugins. There are accessible plugins.

And I quote from my latest encounter with one of those: It’s fantastic -according to the 5.0 rating and 200k active users,

“Easy to use and 100% FREE social media plugin which adds social media icons to your website with tons of customization features”

I’m not naming this company because I know I can find something else to use and I don’t have the energy to try to make them change things. But here is the deal: It’s a simple thing one would think. A few buttons, a few links, five minutes to set up, set and forget. Unfortunately, after thirty minutes of fighting with it, I deactivated, deleted, and drew a deep breath, backing away from the computer.
And I remember perfectly decent people say to me,
“Well, at least you can do some of the things you need. Better than nothing isn’t it?”

Let me say that again,

“At least you can…. Better than nothing…”

Oh, pardon me while I throw my prospects in the waste bin and cleanse work ethics from my brain. Let me also tie myself to a corner and promise to never want to excel in anything, ever. Allow me to learn the concept of Good Enough, I am blind after all, why want to be professional?
, Now, let me reframe all of that:

“Boss, you know that new computer?”

“Yeah, it’s amazing isn’t it? It’s really fast.”

“Yes, I’m sure it is. But there’s no monitor.”

“Yes, I’m aware of that. We’re thinking of getting the monitor sometime in the future. I’ve got people looking into it, I think. It is something I thought about but it seems complicated.”

“Okay, so how am I supposed to do my work? I have video to edit for the Friday show.”

“Oh well, I can’t see a real problem. Just build yourself a monitor and use that.”

“Err, well, it’s not something I ever thought I’d have to learn. So, no I cannot.”

“No? I thought you were capable and could do anything.”

“I’m a video editor, it’s not my job to build the equipment I need to use, is it?”

“Funny, it’s not my job either. I don’t even know who makes those. But don’t fret. You can always use the 486 over there can’t you?”

“You mean the DX? The one with the broken mouse and 16 mb of RAM?”

“Yes, of-course. Hell, At least you’ll have a chair and a desk to work at. That’s more than some have. It’s better than nothing, isn’t it?”