KeyStrokes and LayoutKitchen compatibility with Sierra

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Adam Simonides
Erland's picture
KeyStrokes and LayoutKitchen compatibility with Sierra

Hi,
I'd like to ask you when we would expect updated KeyStrokes and LayoutKitchen compatible with macOS Sierra?

Enrique - Moderator
Enrique Ballesteros's picture
Hi Adam,

Hi Adam,

We are looking into an update to fix the issues but KeyStrokes was coded in a very old language called Carbon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_(API) that was a stopgap for developers to port their old Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9 applications to OS X. Currently AssistiveWare only has one developer that knows this old language as most young developers do not have knowledge of Carbon. Currently this developer is very busy.

Please let us know if you have additional questions by sending us an email to support@assistiveware.com

With kind regards,

Enrique

AssistiveWare Support

Michael Feger
Big Mike's picture
Why don't you re-write it

Why don't you re-write it using a modern language?

We paid a premium price of $299 for software that is old!! Seriously! At that price it should at least work on the latest OS!

KeyStrokes works okay on Sierra but LayoutKitchen crashes too often to use!

Please update or re-write KeyStrokes and LayoutKitchen for Sierra!

Anne Verhulp
anne's picture
Hi Michael,

Hi Michael,

Please know we are looking into what we can do about making it work on the latest OS version. But, when Apple breaks something in an OS update it is not always easy to fix it on our side.

It is impossible for us to invest in entirely new versions because Apple is building all this technology for free into Mac OS. What we are doing is everything we can to keep these programs running as long as Apple has not completed the transition of putting everything in their OS.

Please also know that Sierra has a completely functional on-screen keyboard with word prediction and dwelling build in to the OS and also offers a panel editor to make custom keyboards. Look for Dwell Control in the Accessibility Panel. Do you have a separate drive or partition you could use to install Sierra on and try out these new features?

If there are reasons why those new Apple features do not meet your needs please let us know exactly which features of KeyStrokes or LayoutKitchen you are missing. We may have suggestions or we may be able to submit feature request to Apple.

Best wishes,

Anne

Michael Feger
Big Mike's picture
Thank you for the reply Anne.

Thank you for the reply Anne. I rely on keystrokes & LayoutKitchen everyday. I am a graphic designer with a C3-C5 spinal cord injury. I understand it's not easy to update older apps. I would not have a problem paying for a new version!

I have tried apple's on-screen keyboard & panel editor. Keystrokes is so much better! I agree with everything Blake & Adam said below!

LayoutKitchen is way better than apple's panel editor! LOL I can't make shortcut buttons in apple's panel editor with an on-screen keyboard. I have to ask someone to push the keys on a physical keyboard just to record the multiple keys. Apple has a long way to go before it works like LayoutKitchen.

I have always thought of Keystrokes & LayoutKitchen as the "Photoshop" of on-screen keyboards & panel editors. Yeah there are cheaper alternatives but AssistiveWare is the best! Please don't make me use anything less!

Joe - AssistiveWare
joe's picture
Hi Michael,

Hi Michael,

This is Joe from the support team at AssistiveWare. I just sent you a message through your website. Please let me know if you are interested in helping with this project. :-)

Cheers,

Joe

Blake Watson
Blake Watson's picture
The one thing that keeps me

The one thing that keeps me from using the Switch Control keyboard on macOS is that the keys are activated on mouseup. In KeyStrokes, most keys activate on mousedown, which is much preferable to me. I type with the mouse and I can scarcely use the Switch Control keyboard because, as I am mousing fairly quickly, my pointer moves off of a key before I have released the click.

In other words, I click down on a letter, and before I am able to release the click, I am already moving my pointer to the next key. Using the Switch Control keyboard, this results in inadvertently missed letters. Instead, I have to significantly slow down and make a deliberate, full click on each letter.

With KeyStrokes, I don't have that problem. I can type 15-20 WPM using my custom layout. With the Switch Control keyboard, that's significantly reduced.

This is a feature I would love to see in Mac's keyboard: a panel editor option to make a key activate on mousedown.

If you guys have the means to pass that suggestion along to Apple, please do.

David - AssistiveWare
david's picture
Hi Blake, thanks for sharing

Hi Blake, thanks for sharing the issue regarding the problem of clicks not registering on mouse down but only on mouse up. Note that Apple does offer a panel editor that allows you to make custom keyboards. It is found in the Switch Control section of the Accessibility Preferences. Click on the button called Open Panel Editor. Also, could you contact support@assistiveware.com and ask our support team to forward your email to me personally?

Adam Simonides
Erland's picture
This is the excerpt of an

This is the excerpt of an reply email I've sent to David Niemeijer.

First of all, please excuse my poor English.

As a C5 quadriplegic I use KeyStokes 100% of time spent with a computer, which is roughly 12 - 14 hours a day. Yes, I'm very computer-centric person. So I can say without exaggeration that KeyStokes is one of the most important things of my life after the accident.

My friends often tell me that I can type more WPM than they can. Thanks the KeyStrokes and HeadMouse I felt not as healthy again in such a moments, but I felt SPECIAL! I was able to achieve things than others can't. I use "was" intentionally...

So I upgraded to macOS Sierra because I have to. I started to use the Switch Control keyboard solely. After 5 days I can tell, that it is much worse than I expected. I'd normally say it's a catastrophe, but more accurate expression is, that I feel DISABLED again! Yes, I'm still able to type and operate my Mac, but how difficult it is.

Anne Verhulp asks "[...] If there are reasons why those new Apple features do not meet your needs please let us know exactly [...]". So after 5 days I wrote up these pros and cons of using Switch Control keyboard on macOS Sierra:

CONS:
- no audio feedback when key is pressed (causes a lot of missed letters)
- no key repeat
- no interactive keys (keyboard doesn't show special symbols when modifier key is pressed)
- no support for any text expansion software, not even Apple's own text replacement feature (System Preferences > Keyboard > Text)
- any keyboard shortcut with an arrow key doesn't work (e.g. Control-arrow to move a space)
- press and hold any modifier key doesn't work (e.g. to select multiple files in the Finder with Command key down)
- Command-click on link in Safari doesn't work
- function keys F1-F12 don't work
- change of input source doesn't reflect keyboard layout
- right click menus and other UI elements always display under Switch Control keyboard, so in such a case, they are unusable
- as Blake wrote the keys are activated on mouseup which cause a lot of inadvertently missed/typed letters
- unstable and buggy (in my case I have to restart AssistiveControl process in Activity Monitor many times during a day)

PROS:
- I haven't found any yet, but still looking for...

So David, if your passion is still creating software that truly makes a difference in people's lives, please don't throw us to the wolves. Things like "developer is very busy" or "it is impossible for us to invest in entirely new versions" we cannot accept as relevant reasons.

Best wishes,

Adam

David - AssistiveWare
david's picture
Thanks for your email Adam. I

Thanks for your email Adam. I have responded to you by email. I would like to pursue a more in depth email conversation with you and the others in this thread.

Adam Simonides
Erland's picture
correction: I've somehow

correction: I've somehow managed to convince Apple's built-in text expansion to work :-)

Robots and Cake!
Robots and Cake!'s picture
If you don't have the time to

If you don't have the time to update something we paid a fortune for, why not open source it under the GPL or something similar so we could get some developers with time on their hands to help fix the problems?

I can't believe I waited all this time, and the custom panel I've been using for years is now totally broken. Shortcuts to work any more, LayoutKitchen crashes everytime I try and open a new panel, everytime I try and save any panel LayoutKitchen crashes and everything is just broken. And I also can't reverse back down to the previous version of Mac OS X, granted this is not your fault, but with people paying so much for your software is definitely your problem.

Please fix this, my work depends on being able to use a computer efficiently and I've been able to build a a business using your tools and her praise them highly during talks with people like Google, Apple and talks with the UK foreign office. This is just making everything I said look foolish.

Please fix this

Stuart

robotsandcake.org

Joe - AssistiveWare
joe's picture
Hi Stuart,

Hi Stuart,

First, please know that we are very sorry for the problems you and other KeyStrokes and LayoutKitchen users are having with macOS Sierra. As a KeyStrokes user myself for over 15 years, I understand the pivotal role it has in work, play, and living. I am not happy with the issues with KeyStrokes and LayoutKitchen under Sierra and can understand your frustration.

I do not think it would be possible to offer KeyStrokes under a GPL as many of our iOS apps, particularly those that use word prediction, use some of the same code. Right now, I think your best option would be to roll back your version of macOS (http://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/mac-software/how-downgrade-from-macos-s...) and then restore a Time Machine backup. This way, you can go back to using KeyStrokes and LayoutKitchen and working without problems.

We will try to offer an update to fix these problems, but it may turn out that Apple might wind up offering a solution before we issue an update.

Regarding the issue with shortcuts, are you referring to the problems with the function keys under Sierra or is there a problem with the Shortcuts in KeyStrokes?

In addition, have you tried the Switch Control or Dwell Control Panel Editor to create new keyboards? I can see how it may not work with Dwell Control as it seems when you pause dwelling and then click a key it automatically unpauses dwelling, but it may work with the Switch Control keyboard where you could set it to scan with a key or mouse button that you do not use and then use your Tracker Pro and an adaptive switch to click the keys.

Would you be willing to share more about your needs in email? We really want to help KeyStrokes and LayoutKitchen users and would greatly appreciate any input in improving accessibility on the Mac. :-)

Peace & Thanks,

Joe Barnick

Robots and Cake!
Robots and Cake!'s picture
Thanks for the quick reply,

Thanks for the quick reply, but rolling back my OS would require but I enlist the help of an able-bodied person and I'm not really prepared to do that.

If we could get rid of the automatic DwellClick on the OS X version and then that would be usable, but it doesn't seem to be possible to turn it off. So that's really a no-go.

Anyway, I'm happy to continue this conversation via email with a view to coming up with a solution that can help everybody. Feel free to contact me through the Robots and Cake website.

Hopefully we can come up with something because at the moment I can't in good faith recommend keystrokes to other disabled people at the moment and that's a shame, I also can't recommend it to the occupational therapists and all the other people in the NHS I speak to, which is a real shame because they would probably spend a fortune on this stuff!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Joe - AssistiveWare
joe's picture
Hi Stuart,

Hi Stuart,

Sounds great! I just sent you an email from within our support system. :-)

Cheers,

Joe

Joe - AssistiveWare
joe's picture
Hi Everyone,

Hi Everyone,

To everyone who is following this thread, we are happy to let you know that Apple's 10.12.2 system update fixes the problems with the function keys and Mission Control hot key not working in KeyStrokes and LayoutKitchen crashing. If you have not installed macOS Sierra 10.12.2, we strongly recommend that you do so to fix these problems.

To check what version of macOS you are running, do the following:

1. Click the Apple Menu (Apple icon) in the top-left corner of the screen.

2. Select About This Mac.

3. Look at the version number under the words "macOS Sierra" to make sure you are running macOS 10.12.2. If it is macOS 10.12 or 10.12.1, you will have to download the update.

To install the macOS 10.12.2 update, do the following:

1. Click the Software Update... button in the bottom-right of the "Overview" window. The Mac App Store will open to the "Updates" section.

2. Click the Install button next to the macOS 10.12.2 update or the Install All Updates button if you have more than one update to install.

3. Follow the onscreen prompts to install the update.

Cheers,

Joe

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