Email sent to Freedom scientific regarding two Jaws bugs

This is an Email I have just sent to Freedom scientific regarding two bugs that are causing me particular pain every day. Even though these issues were reported well in advance of the recently released hot fix, they have yet to be resolved. If you are experiencing any issues with Jaws, I would encourage you to use the contact information below. More people need to speak out.

I am personally tired of the situation we have found our selves in as users of Jaws. Since around version 5, we have waited with bated breath for the next release to come out only to find that they’ve released new features and along with it, new bugs. What is even worse than this, they’ve continued this trend by building on this. They advertise that a bug has been fixed and in the next release, they’ll break the very thing they fixed the year before! For example: Jaws 8 fixed a bug in Jaws 7 with remote desktop. After some time in remote desktop, the alt key would stick. Obiously, it wasn’t a keyboard problem. The issue only emerged when Jaws was running. This was fixed for Jaws 8. The release notes said that customers who used remote desktop over slow connections encountered an issue where the alt key seemed to stick. In version 9, 10 and 11, this issue has returned with vengence. In fact, it has even been found in Jaws tandem! AGain, we report bugs, we pay our SMA upgrade fees, and again, we put up and shut up.

I’m tired of it. I’m not shutting up any more. I will email Freedom scientific continually until I am happy that the bugs that I am encountering are resolved. If the issues I am encountering are not bugs then I expect that as the maker of this software they at the very least give me instructions that will assist me in solving the issue my self. Instead, every email is responded to with a cannd paragraph telling me to upgrade my version of Jaws to the latest available from the Freedom scientific. website. If I emailed them telling them that the world was going to end, I bet I would get the same stupid response.

I’m through ranting.

Contact details: Manager at the top:
Manager of Technical support:
Escalations manager:

Here is the email:

Dear John,

Telling me that if it cannot be duplicated then the issue will be closed is not acceptable.
If I can duplicate it and document my system then you as Freedomscientific and the developer of this product have an obligation to fix this fault.

If you had a car where the drivers side door was particularly stiff to open but the manufacturer couldn’t reproduce the fault on their side would you except that there was nothing that could be done to fix this? Even if the manufacturer of the car couldn’t resolve the issue, the least you would expect would be that they would communicate a number of tried and tested instructions that would determine the cause of the problem and its associated solution.

If there is any information you require that would enable you to determine a solution to this then please contact me.

You acknowledge once again that the Windows explorer issue has been assigned to a development team. You have however not given any justification as to why, even after a hot fix has been released, paying users of Jaws are still left with a major bug without even a patch or an estimated time to the next hot fix.

Bringing this back to a common sinario, If you bought a TV and one channel didn’t work your first action would be to contact the manufacturer. If the manufacturer said that the issue was known and the relevant department were working on it, you would validly assume that an update to your TV would be released shortly to rectify this. Surely, after paying for a TV, the company would recognise that as a supplier, they had an obligation to you to ensure the product you had purchased was up to the task? In fact, you are protected by law to ensure that products you purchase are “suitable for merchantability”.
If an update was released after you had reported this fault I’m sure you can understand that you would be particularly frustrated that your new TV had still not been fixed and you still had an empty channel after shelling out good money for it.

It is not unreasonable to expect and in fact even demand that a product is free from defects. Of course. Being aware of the challenges Freedomscientific experience, it is understandable that certain issues are not caught during testing. However, it is not acceptable for those issues to be ignored or in the very least extensively tested and retested. I am aware and thankful that my reports have been actioned but more communication as to what is happening is required from Freedomscientific. I cannot afford to experience problems with my interface to my job and indeed my life any more. I am not sure if you are sighted or if you use Jaws, but imagine that tree views showed more information than you needed or wanted before the item you were looking for. Imagine that the title bar of Windows explorer wasn’t read. Imagine that, as reported earlier today, your monitor froze and went dim when two third party applications froze. Imagine that when you got in in the morning, your monitor wouldn’t turn on until you turned it on and off a few times just because you’d left your computer on overnight. Imagine that in Lotus notes 8, your monitor only showed the top part of the message in certain messages until you pressed tab for an undefinitive amount of times. You wouldn’t…. No. You couldn’t use your computer productively every day.

This is what I am encountering.

I administer a system with hundreds of virtual servers, hundreds of physical servers and thousands of work stations. Believe me, I am not exaggerating the numbers. In 1 OU in active directory there are 690 computers. This is the average size of an OU in this organization. I am fighting to keep my job as it is becoming known at a high level that my screen reader is causing problems for me when navigating around VMware VSphear, I cannot access the Dell Console utility, I cannot access Dell open manage, I cannot access IT assistant, I cannot access the lists in Trend micro, I cannot access any of the HP SAN software, I cannot access the SAN switches. The list goes on. I am fighting to keep this job and it is not helping that I have had to send you almost ten emails today alone to highlight defects, problems and issues in your software. It is not helping that I cringe every time I want to look around active directory because every tree view is speaking a lode of irrelevant rubbish before the item. It isn’t helping that I cannot use Data protector because it is also an MMC based application and I am having issues with the tree view in this also.

I expect an acknowledgement of this mail detailing a summary of steps that will be taken for all the issues that I have reported to Freedom scientific today as well as a time frame for the resolution of same.

Best regards

Darragh Ó Héiligh

From: John Carson []
Sent: 20 May 2010 15:45
To: Darragh Ó Héiligh
Subject: RE: Escalations Issue # 198219

Hello Darragh;

As stated in a previous email, the title bar issue in Windows 7 using Windows Explorer has been duplicated by us and is assigned to the development team.

As to the issue with the MMC in Windows XP, this issue has not been duplicated by us, and is currently being looked at by our test department, if it can be reproduced, then it will be assigned to the development team for resolution, and if it can’t be duplicated then we will close this issue.

Kind regards,

John H. Carson, Jr.
escalations Manager
Freedom Scientific, LLC.

From: Darragh Ó Héiligh []
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 1:54 AM
To: Darragh Ó Héiligh; John Carson
Subject: RE: Escalations Issue # 198219


I have not recieved a further update from you in relation to what Freedomscientific are doing to assist in determining a solution to this issue. As specified in my origional message on this matter, this is having a particularly noticeable affect on my efficiency therefore I require an answer detailing the steps Freedomscientific are taking to address this.

I await your response.

Best regards

Darragh Ó Héiligh

From: Darragh Ó Héiligh
Sent: 07 May 2010 11:28
To: John Carson
Subject: RE: Escalations Issue # 198219

Hello John,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

I have run Jaws 11 with the default settings and in fact, this morning, I had the opportunity to install Jaws 11 on a new installation of Windows XP and a second poweredge 1950 server running Windows 2008 standard and I replicated the issue again.

The steps are:
1. Start mmc from the run dialogue box.
2. Start something like computer management by adding it to the console.
3. Open system for example. Now arrow around the items below system.
4. Jaws will speak the sub title of the window. I.e, the line below the menu bar.
Again, this only happens with Jaws 11.

This is the very latest version of Jaws11 available from the website.

There are no applications installed on the Windows 2008 server. I have not even applied any updates to it as for obvious reasons, I needed to install Jaws on it first.

If you like, you or someone in your department can tandem onto my machine to verify this. The port should be open. At least, it was 6 months ago when I was using tandem every day of the week. If this is something you would be interested in doing let me know and I’ll ask our firewall person to open the required port for my machine.

Thanks for your assistance iwht this. As I’m sure you can understand, I use the MMC very regularly at work so although this would be considered a minor bug it’s very frustrating when I’m trying to do things very quickly like adding a cert to the default route authority. Actually, come ot think about it, I was manually configuring group policy on a stand alone server earlier and I found the same problem in the tree view in the group policy editor @gpedit.msc@ so maybe it’s a larger tree view related issue?


From: John Carson []
Sent: 05 May 2010 20:16
To: Darragh Ó Héiligh
Subject: RE: Escalations Issue # 198219

Hello Darragh;

Thanks for being able to assist us in working towards a resolution for you, however, an audio file in is not necessarily what we need.

If I can be more specific, we need information from your computer, such as what configuration settings do you change in JAWS?

Also, if you run JAWS in default mode, does this still happen the way that you originally described?

You can run JAWS in default mode by following these directions if you are not familiar with doing this already:

1. Unload JAWS with Insert + F4
2. 2. Go to the Run dialog and type the following: JAWS11 /default and press enter.
Then test your application with the steps you provided to us.

Thanks again.

Kind regards,

John H. Carson, Jr.
escalations Manager
Freedom Scientific, LLC.

From: Darragh Ó Héiligh []
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 2:47 PM
To: John Carson
Subject: RE: Escalations Issue # 198219

I will record the audio produced by Elequents to demonstrate the issue tomorrow in work.

Thanks for your assistance.

Best regards

Darragh Ó Héiligh

From: John Carson []
Sent: 05 May 2010 19:46
To: Darragh Ó Héiligh
Subject: Escalations Issue # 198219

Hello Darragh;

Recently you contacted our technical support department about an issue with JAWS 11.0.1430, specifically, you’re reporting 2 issues, one in Windows 7 with insert T not speaking the title and the second is in Windows XP running the MMC.

I am writing to inform you that the first issue, pressing Insert T while in Windows Explorer in Windows 7 has been reproduced, and is being assigned to our test and development team for their review for possible resolution.

The second issue was also tested, and we can’t reproduce this issue, the MMC loads the correct scripts, and the tree view worked fine during our testing by using the steps you provided. If you have any further information that you can add that might help us to reproduce this issue, please provide them to me so that we can test further, otherwise we will close this part of the record.

Thank you for reporting these issues to us and we appreciate your patience in this matter.

Kind regards,

John H. Carson, Jr.
escalations Manager
Freedom Scientific, LLC.

Your thoughts would be very welcome.

9 Responses to Email sent to Freedom scientific regarding two Jaws bugs

  1. What can I say, Darragh? I have been there, and completely feel your pain and frustration.
    I have had similar dealings with FS, on a different issue – my issue was memory leaks. To be more specific, ever since Jaws 9, which I think was one of the worst versions ever, came out, I noticed that Jaws does tend to crash more, and it’s use of memory is huge compared to previous versions. This issue is now a bit less intrusive, since some major fixes had been implimanted, but when the version first came out, I wrote e mails every single day, sometimes twice a day to FS, in the US as well as in Europe, and was told, just like you, that the issue cannot be duplicated and would therefore be closed.
    To “shut me up” FS sent me tons and tons of “private betas” which I was not to let anyone else have, but nothing fixed the issues.
    For a long time I and some other advanced users have been wanting to join the beta team, but they”no longer take new beta testers” which in and of itself tells you a lot.
    The arrogance of FS astonishes me to no end. Yes, there is a good product there and no, unfortunately no other product on the market gives quite that level of assistance, but is this a reason to treat us, paying users, with disrespect and almost contempt?
    To be fair, I did have one “small victory” about five years ago, when I started a petition to oust the local dealers of the product, since they were assisting a competitor to develop a product and I proved a conflict of interest there. It took months for them to listen to meand I have to say that now we have a much better dealer, but when I spoke to the guys in charge, and had an e mail exchange, they said”we don’t usually ask our end users who they like or don’t like to deal with”. Excuse me? Who is paying all the money? Who is keeping you guys alive financially if not the end users?
    While FS does have the best product around, in my opinion they have the worst attitude towards their users.
    I wish there was an equal product around, but so far, I don’t find System Access, GW Micros or Dolphins products anywhere near as good for my purposes, and NVDA, while full of potential, is not there yet, and so, in order to continue to be productive, I am stuck with a good product from a company that does not care enough about their users, and does not take anymore beta testers.
    So, once again, as you say, Darragh, we are forced to put up and shut up.
    And of course, what happens if we lose a job because of reduced productivity due to bugs that won’t be fixed? Nothing what so ever, they still make their money, and we still pay the price.

  2. Avatar Sky Mundell
    Sky Mundell says:

    Hello, I have to agree with you on the behavior of fs. The only reason i am still sticking with JAWS for now is because as far as i’m aware, it has the best support for CakeWalk Sonar, with the cakeTalking or jSonar scripts, however NVDA is being worked on for Sonar, and the new version now has add-on support, and the NVDA Sonar script uses the jSonar interface, but it is still in development and it doesn’t do what i want to do with Sonar yet. Until someone comes up with a solution like, say CakeTalking, for Window-Eyes, i’m sticking with jaws for work. i have been able to use Window-Eyes with Sonar but it is pretty basic. As for the PacMate, the PacMate is defnetly obsolete. They haven’t released a new update in three years. and Jonathan Mosen, who did the FSCast on the new 6.5, says. and then, maybe have a chat about why pacMate onni remains the leading notetaker, and all the things that you can do with this device, that you still can’t do, with any other notetaker. in actual fact, it hasn’t really remained the leading notetaker in recent years.

  3. Hi,

    I am getting my MCSE certification now and have noticed major issues with CTRL and Alt keys sticking with RDP and VMware. When using VMware the Application key gets disabled on the physical machine until I restart the machine.

    Below are the details of my e-mail to tech support. I guess Johnny boy did not comprehend properly that I was running VMware locally on my physical machine.

    I agree with you that we need to speak up Darragh. JAWS stands for Job Access with Speech. However, they invest their R+D and man power into Research It, which is an RSS feed basically. Can’t we go to Amazon and check our orders? Can’t we go to some dictionary online to check out the meaning of a word?

    They sure were working like crazy on Research It before JAWS 16 came out to ensure it communicated properly with those companies servers. Who cares? What does Research It has to do with screen readers?

    I spoke in the past to Johnny boy and even to Bryan Carver about other issues with the Windows platform and JAWS. Bryan sent me to John and John sent me to nowhere.

    Are you still facing that sticky keys issue with JAWS 16 Darragh? I would love to know.

    Sent: Wednesday, September 09, 2015 12:40 PM
    To: Freedom Scientific Technical Support
    Subject: JAWS Conflicts with VMware and RDP


    I have always experienced an issue with JAWS 14, 15 and 16 after switching from, or closing a remote desktop session or a VMware workstation. I am trying to find out if this is a known JAWS issue and if not, FS needs to find a solution for it. I did not concern myself with it in the past, but now I am heavily involved in virtualization and it is becoming a real problem especially with the Application key.

    I spoke to Hal yesterday regarding the purchase of a RAL – Remote Access License, but if the issue is with JAWS then why do I have to pay extra $200 if the issues will continue to occur. So I asked him to hold off on that purchase until I check with your department.

    I have always used the following on both the physical and virtual machines:

    • Windows 7 Ultimate X64
    • JAWS 14, 15, and 16
    • Virtual Machines using Windows 7, Server 2008, 2008 R2, 2012 and 2012 R2

    Here are the problems:

    When I log in to a virtual machine whether through RDP or VMware, everything works just fine inside the vm. The problem has always presented itself only on the pm when I try to switch to it or log off from the vm.

    The Application Key stops initiating the pop up menu on my pm. Also, the CTRL or Alt keys go into sticky mode. Sometimes it is the CTRL and other times it is the Alt key. They never stick together.

    The only ways to work around each problem are as follows.

    Application Key:
    I have to restart the pm for the Application Key to start working again. That issue is the biggest pain in the neck, because I become limited to what I can do on my pm. In certain places in Windows or applications, the Application key brings up menu items that aren’t found in the dropdown menus or ribbon bar. If I have to switch constantly between the vm and pm, it depletes my performance and even forces me to restart at certain points.

    CTRL or Alt Keys:
    I have to press the CTRL or Alt keys quickly a few times to get them out of sticky mode. That solution does not require a restart of the pm. Here is a good example.

    If a message box pops up through the VMware UI, which activates JAWS on my physical machine, the CTRL or Alt keys go in sticky mode and remain in it. If I press the space bar to OK the message box and CTRL + g to go into the virtual machine, the CTRL or Alt keys would not be in sticky mode inside the VM. Also, the Application key would continue to work just fine in the vm.

    It is highly important to notice that both problems occur at the same time. For example, the Application key gets disabled and the CTRL key goes into sticky mode. Another example, the Application key gets disabled and the Alt key goes into sticky mode. Normally, the CTRL sticks when using VMware and Alt sticks when using RDP. However, I have never witnessed them sticking together.

    The bottom line is that a conflict occurs between JAWS on the physical machine and VMware, or Remote Desktop Session. You may think that I am too quick to blame JAWS for it, but I have investigated the issue thoroughly in the last month. Here are the results.

    • None of my sighted peers have that issue on their physical machines.
    • They have never experienced those issues on my physical machine if JAWS is off.
    • The issue is not present if I turn JAWS off on the physical machine before connecting to the virtual machine. I tested it with Narrator and NVDA 2014 and 2015 running on the physical machine. The Application key kept working and the CTRL and Alt never went into sticky mode, despite switching back and forth for hours.

    No other keys cause problems on the physical machine besides those 3 keys.

    I have gone into all of the settings in VMware and ensured nothing was conflicting. I have tried different combinations of settings to no avail. The issue always presents itself while switching as explained above.

    Keep in mind that I always go into Ease of Access Center and turn off all of the accessibility shortcut keys on both the virtual and physical machines to ensure they do not conflict with JAWS. However, turning them off has yielded no difference.

    As mentioned above, I do not own a Remote Access License. I run JAWS on my physical machine authorized as a home user with a USB dongle. I run JAWS, typically the same version as my physical machine, in demo mode. Yet, I am in need for a RAL so I am not forced to restart the VM every 40 minutes.

    I have mentioned that I have been reluctant to purchase the RAL because if this is a JAWS issue and FS is not willing to investigate it further, then FS does not deserve my money.

    I am not trying to be rude or disrespectful with the previous statement. I am just not willing to pay $200 for a RAL if those issues continue to present themselves on the PM. Paying the $200 for a RAL should give me a product that allows me to function productively at my home or workplace.

    Have you heard of those issues through other users? If not, the issue should be escalated to your tier II or III software engineers. Virtualization is getting more and more common at the work place and even at some home environments as well. For example, the only way to log into any machine on the Amazon cloud, Azure or Google App is through remote desktop sessions. Also, most companies are relying on AWS datacenters to lower cost and enhance productivity and availability.

    As a loyal JAWS user for over 10 years, I would be more than happy to work with any higher teck support specialist to locate this issue. It is quite obvious that JAWS has a robust control over the keyboard of any physical machine. I think that somewhere JAWS has to be told how to handle the Application, CTRL and Alt keys when VMware, or Remote Desktop Session is loaded. Currently, it seems like JAWS is conflicting with those 2 applications on which one should control the keyboard drivers.

    I will await your response to figure out how this matter can be resolved. Thank you for your time and support.

    Johnny boy, the same FS genius that replied to you, informed me that I have to buy a Remote Access License and that would solve the issue. I am glad he went to my voice mail.

    It will be interesting to see what he will say on Monday when he gets my voice mail response.