Re: Magic Large Print keyboard from Freaky Science Fiction: What a joke!

Gary Ray



I learned the lesson you learned some years ago when the MAGic keyboard first came out.  I was using a KMV switch at the time and I piled up in the ditch the first time I tried to use the keyboard.  And, I was using MAGic at the time.  It is still sitting on the shelf as a reminder of buyer beware.


Gary Ray

From: Christopher-Mark Gilland [mailto:clgilland07@...]
Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2016 10:26 PM
Subject: [win10] Magic Large Print keyboard from Freaky Science Fiction: What a joke!
Importance: High


OK, I don't normally badmouth companies, especially ones like FS who, unlike many, I just so happen to have a huge respect for, but this is ridiculous!


I'm curious if anyone up here has had any luck using the Magic Large Print USB keyboard sold for $79 from Freedomscientific.


I bought one the other day, as I thought, according to what it says on their web site, it would be really useful.


I don't want certain people on this list who I know will do this to come back at me and say things like the comment I got the other day: "OK, Chris hasn't obviously taken his meds today."  I therefore am going to not just tell you my experience.  I'm gonna prove it, and back it up with solid evidence that you! as the reader of this post, can research through on your own time, should you wish to do so.


So, first of all, let me give you the product page.



The first thing when on this page that I'd like you to do is, with your screen reader, be it NVDA, JAWS, Window-Eyes, whatever, read your title bar of that page.


You'll notice something huge.  It says, "JAWS Compatible."  Does it not?


OK, so the first thing I thought was, OK, it's obviously compatible with JAWS, so it's not like I have to have Magic.  Yes, it's more designed for Magic, I'll grant you that, to others' defence, but, check this out.  This is the full reason why I still, as a non-screen magnifier user thought I still could use this thing.


Scroll down this page with the link I gave you a moment ago.


Here is an exact paste from the page.


---Begin content:---

The MAGic Large Print Keyboard provides low vision users an easy-to-read keyboard designed to enhance the MAGic and JAWS experience. Twenty-two dedicated
MAGic keys make learning and using MAGic easier than ever. Bold, high-contrast keys provide fast, accurate typing with less eye fatigue.

---End Content---


OK, so right here, it clearly states, "an easy-to-read keyboard designed to enhance the MAGic and JAWS experience. "  Key word:  "Magic and JAWS."


The page then continues by saying:


---Begin Content:---

• Single-key access to MAGic functions including:
list of 3 items nesting level 1
◦ Visual enhancements for mouse, cursor, and focus tracking
◦ Adjustable reading speed
◦ Quickly zoom out to check formatting and easily return to your working magnification level
---End Content---


OK, so I'm thinking, this is great!  I get nice big keys, which will be very tactile, and on top of that, I get extra keys for changing my speaking rate, and other such things.


Now before you say, "Chris, yeah, but that's for Magic, not JAWS."  Let me say this.  When I called FS and spoke to Hal in the Sales department, he told me flat out that I did *not!* have to be a Magic user to use this keyboard.  He also told me those keys like changing the speaking rate, Research It, Links List, and such would work with JAWS, and/or, Magic.  Key word there.  And/Or.  He said nothing about they'll only work with Magic.  Let me be very clear on that.


On the web site listed above, it further says:


---Begin Content:---

Easily reassign keys to match your personal preferences

---End Content---


OK, um, no?  I went to Keyboard Manager in JAWS, brought up my default.jkm file, and started looking around in there.  Before someone says, "you don't know what you're doing Chris," let me say I'd better!  I'm JAWS certified, 2016.  Yes, I know what I'm doing, so, excuse you in advance, if you're thinking that.  Not saying you are, but if! you are, then, yeah... Don't.


So, long story short, I take a chance.  I bought the keyboard which arrived today.  Upon openning the box, the first thing I noticed was that the keyboard was in a box with absolutely no padding.  I'm saying the FS box, not the Fedex box, although that wasn't padded either.  Once I got the box opened, which by the way wasn't difficult, I noticed that the keyboard was beaten to shreds!  One of the little feet which allows it to sit correctly on the desk without wobbling had not only broken off the thing during the process of getting to me, but it was so broken, it can't even effectively be superglued.  The odd thing is, this couldn't have been a Fedex issue, and here's how I can confirm this.  The broken piece was in a little sealed piece of

cellophane all off separate by itself, isolated from the rest of the box's content.  No, this isn't a matter of it needs to be snapped on.  Trust me.  It doesn't snap.  It's broken, I promise you.  I even had my mom look at it who's sighted, and she agrees 100%.  The end is totally jagged, so it's blatantly obvious.  I'm not saying that this was done purposely, but why in the world would it be sealed up in its own little section if it wasn't so.  Kind a makes me wonder a bit.  If anyone wants to see what I'm talking about, and has enough vision to do so, I can provide pictures upon request proving this factor.  Newo? Problem, so don't challenge me.


So, when I bought the keyboard online through the web site, before I did so, as I said, I talked to Hal in the Sales area.  He told me that all of the keys and their functions, as well as a written description of the keyboard, and where each key was located was available through the JAWS Help system.


Um, wrong, Mr. Hal?  The closest thing that I see is under my JAWS help, something called "Keyboard Commands," but even that! doesn't say anything in reference specifically to the keyboard.


OK, so I'm thinking, OK, search the help index.  Nothing.  OK fine, search the help system with the key word search tab.  Nothing rellavent came up.


OK, so, plan B.  I look on the CD that came with the keyboard.  All that I see on there are a few folders which very obviously wouldn't have a manual:


  • Installers
  • Language
  • Autorun.inf
  • Freedom.ico
  • Setup.EXE


When I went under the Language folder, thinking, well, maybe that's where the docs reside, all I found under the ENU folder was, "Setup.dll."  So, nothing that'll help.


Finally, I went to the FS web site, and after searching for about 10 minutes, I found this PDF:


In this document, it clearly states that the keyboard will work with JAWS.


Then, it however says, oh, by the way, to assign any of the keyboard extra keys, you open up the Keyboard Manager located in Magic.  Well Golly gosh shit!  I don't have Magic, nor any desire to get it just to force myself to be able to use this damned thing.  Please excuse the language, but I'm really! P O'd!  BTW, Thanks FS for giving me the manual included in the box plus a diagram of the key layout.  Oh, never mind that it's in print, and no, I didn't even say large! print.  Braille or audio, one, would a been nice! Ey?  Guess not, according to them.


It also in this PDF says that all common keys between the two screen readers are supposed to work even if Magic isn't running, but only JAWS is.  I can tell you first hand this isn't true, and if anyone wants me to record audio proving it, just tell me, and I'll do so tonight.


Also, I don't know why, nor if this totally is or isn't FS's fault, but I use a KVM switch, as I have both a mac, and a windows PC here.  I only have this one keyboard though, so I use the KVM so I can toggle with this one keyboard between both systems.  Normally with all keyboards, including those with extra keys, this never has been an issue before.  Well now, when plugged to the KVM, none of my function keys, F1-F12 work on the Magic Keyboard.  They work fine on the keyboard however if I plug it directly into the USB port of my tower.  No, before you say it, this isn't a power thing.  If it were, then none of the keys would work at all.  It's working aside from F1-F12 and the extra function stuff.


Yes, I tried on a Windows 10 machine.  I tried on XP, 7, 8.1, and 10.  I have systems around here with all of those OS's.  And no.  They're not VM's, and no, they're not macs running Bootcamp either.  They are native PC's, so trust me, this isn't a hardware issue.  Yes, I did install the driver from the CD.  Yes I did so before plugging in the keyboard.  Yes, I did reboot, I'm not that much of a moron, trust me.


Suffice it to say, this keyboard's going back, unless you all think you may know of something.  I'll give a day or so to let you all try helping me with this.  If you think you can, then great.  Yeah, it's possible I just got a lemmon.  Certainly that is something worth considerring, in FS's defense, to their credit, but I'd say it's not likely, even if it were! likely, that still doesn't overrule that it was very difficult to get any sort of documentation on this thing, which believe me.  I'm an RTFM doc kind a guy.  If I can't have a man page, or something in braille, audio, text/html, pdf, or whatever that I can reference, then what good's the product?


I mean, if you look at that quick start guide, oh sure.  It is plenty accessible to read with Adobe Reader, don't get me wrong, and yes, it definitely does indeed list the keys and their functions, but what it doesn't! do is, it doesn't tell me where the keys are, and no.  JAWS keyboard help with jawskey+numrow 1 isn't helping either.  Neither is it helping going to Keyboard Manager, tabbing over to the list view, pressing ctrl+F to find key, then trying to search individually for each key's function.


For $79, I say I not only was incredibly misinformed, but was very much let down with this.  It by far has majorly disappointed my expectations.  Just wanted to throw this out to see if any of you had any further ideas, and if not, to just warn people that this keyboard really, at least for now until proven otherwise seems, key word, seems! to be a utter piece a junk!  Don't waist your money.

Christopher Gilland
JAWS Certified, 2016.
Training Instructor.

Phone: (704) 256-8010 Extension 401.

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