why is the installer so large?

This seems to affect all the software, these days. It's like software is a gas: the more diskspace available, the more it expands to fill its container. I can only hope that the filesize bloat all over the everything is due to "security", or something. Otherwise, I'd have to blame it on a "because we can get away with it, now" attitude.

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At the times when I was using Windows, I used NVDA helping sometimes with ZDSR, but We was cool as I looked in to it in 2011 if I remember

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OK, so purely out of curiosity, I checked out System Access again. Former Serotek employees can't even recommend it anymore, however a couple of observations in my case are: that it did not correctly install on my (snapshotted, of course) XP VM, crashing with an exception in kernel32.dll; and that, in any case, it came bundled with all the other Serotek nonsense (you could not simply install the screen reader alone).

So, that's it, then.

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@Chris, I do know there is a Jaws demo, but since I have no hope in hell of affording it, either in initial license or upgrades, it really would be just idle curiosity at this stage.

Were it $50,  or even $100, maybe,  but at this point probably a better use of my time would be getting more familiar with nvda since unless Supernova really gets it's act together in it's next few versions Nvda will probably be my main screen reader from now on.

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30 (edited by turtlepower17 2017-05-17 19:56:52)

Jaws is so big and bloated because of the OCR feature, mainly. Also, Research it most likely isn't helping matters. If these were optional features, I wouldn't mind, but I think it's absolutely ridiculous to make people download things they might not even use. When I was a JAWS user, I never used Research It. I feel that it probably is useful for those who are just getting started with using a computer. But, then again, it would be much more empowering for them to learn how to use Google, or another favorite search engine of choice, rather than letting a screen reader hold their hand. I also object to the OCR package being included, because I think I used that thing a grand total of twice ever since it came out, and that was for testing purposes. I found that most PDF's I've interacted with could be told to play nicely if you converted them to text, usually with QRead, but there are other workable solutions. And, honestly, this was the only real benefit to the built-in OCR that I had foreseen, the ability to interact with PDF documents. Then again, I don't really use them that often; a restaurant menu here or there, or maybe a bank statement if I really need to comb through those for something, although these things have pretty much all been solved by my acquisition of an IPhone anyway.

And don't even get me started about why the JAWS training materials should be an optional feature. Oh, wait, I don't have to make a case for that, it should be pretty obvious why. I am also quite displeased that FS found it necessary to push their podcasts on you. Why that needs to be included in a screen reader is beyond me. If NV Access tried that, first there would be a rightly deserved uproar, then people would be told, in no uncertain terms, that they were able to type the address for NV Access into their web browsers just fine before. Nothing has changed, nor has their ability to add the site to their favorites suddenly disappeared. So where FS gets off doing the same thing and getting away with it, I have no clue.

The point is, what sense does it make, especially for people who have limited data connections, to download an installer that could very easily be cut in half just by removing what I would call bloatware? As I said, I don't deny their usefulness to some. And the Vocalizer voices are also an optional feature that must be downloaded. Why can't OCR, Research It, and the training book be the same? Oh, and FS Reader as well. I personally don't find that one as offensive, since I don't use a lot of Daisy books, and since accessible Daisy players are hard to find, I actually can see a strong use case for it. However, I'm told that FS Reader tends to crash a lot and is very slow, so I don't know.

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I've never gotten Fs reader to work; make of that what you will.

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If you did like Window-Eyes, ZoomText Fusion is still being sold.

I am a JAWS user and I use Research It and Convenient OCR all the time. I use Research It to quickly check the definition of the word because a) it's quicker and b) I'm too lazy to go to Wiktionary (the dictionary look-up source it uses) and search for the word myself. I also use it to check the weather for my city, which is almost always extremely accurate. I sometimes also use it for checking the latest news from the BBC.

As a student, I use OCR to scan documents from time to time. It varies with its accuracy, but generally it's good enough for my needs.

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[email protected]: Buyer's remorse/guilt. They spent upwards of $1000 (and no idea why it is that price, or why a lot of physical goods that are accessible are marked up on certain organizations), so they feel like they have to defend it or at least, explain to themselves why they bought the software and paid the asking price.

That, and Jaws is a well known screenreader. . So people feel like it's worth $1200 or however much it is. That being said, I don't agree with the pricing at all.

Then again, when you're buying your own stuff....ya, things like that are, sadly, nudged into luxury status, which is wrong for something that is essential to use a computer for a large number of people. Yes it's business pricing but the average user can't easily drop a grand on a screenreader then go down an upgrade path.

/opinion

Oh and, I'd be all for a decent, $30 to $50 screenreader that works cross platform, is stable, is lightweight, and is....actually...ya know, worth the asking price.

IMO FS have a lot of issues, but they are certainly not the worst company around.

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I don't think that the price of JAWS is justified, but there does need to be a several-hundred-dollar price tag because developing something that very few people use is expensive. Remember that Freedom Scientific has to pay its developers, technical support staff, administrators, translators, training and documentation authors, outreach team and marketing and promotion teams ... and that's just for JAWS. They need to keep their websites up and running and to provide on-time bug fixes. They need to buy braille displays and software to test for compatibility. They need to license software and code. Because of its popularity, they need to be able to test it in myriads of ways to mimic the setups that people have. They need to partially fund the deal that they are now doing with APH and the deals that they do with really large companies.

So, you ask, how does NVDA survive? Let me ask you some questions then: How many large companies that employ blind screen reader users use NVDA? How many pieces of software does NVDA need to license? Does NVDA have the amount of training and support that there is for other similar products?

Sorry for the rant.

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Open Source projects don't have the same constraints and limitations that commercial projects do. NVDA can crowd source alot of the code work, technical support, translations, documentation, and hardware support through their community, which is basically a free bottomless skill pit. They also accept donations and sell training books and certification, though there are also plenty of free guides written by the community, and as far as i'm aware they don't licensing anything from anyone. Even in the unlikely event NV Access should up and die, the source code and NVDA will live on through its community for as long as people care to maintain it. Linux is much the same way, and its slowly dominating the world.

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yeah, 35 has it right.  Take a look at how far Android has come in just a decade.  Ten years ago, the iPhone was the hype of it all.  Today, I know more people who own droids to iOS devices.  That changes when you get into the blind community; I know more blind/VI users with iOS devices than with droids because iOS devices are overall easier to use, hold your hand and don't tell you to install anything other than the apps you wish to use.  Even here, however, droids are quickly catching up; droids will, I believe, eventually catch up where accessibility is concerned, much like NVDA ahs caught up to JAWS in many regards.  Today, we aren't bound by the money restraint; we can have it free and use it that way for the most part, and so what if facebook's main site works better with JAWS anyway?  The losses are minimal, the chances of success with a free screen reader like NVDA are greater than they ever have been before, and the urgency to make FS quit raising prices to their own ends is not as prevalent as it once might have been. In short, big bad monopoly, otherwise, nothing to see here, children.

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@35:
Fair point, however.....it's not like Jaws is the only thing FS sells, they do have other revenue streams and as MS showed, you can sell quality software and shift more units by lowering a price point, and getting more people buying a $100 screenreader, than having a few people buy a $1200 screenreader, it is simple economics. If Jaws was the only thing FS were marketing then they may very well eventually have wound up in trouble simply by pricing themselves out of the market. As is, I do feel they could have marketed WindowEyes as a cheaper screenreader for home users, and kept Jaws for the higher end business type users that can drop four figures on it for commercial usage. That though would make way too much sense wouldn't it?

@36:

Not when companies willingly pay for the business license and use it. Businesses buy expensive software and enter into license negotiatitons that state you will use Jaws at work and like it and you are not, legally at work, allowed to use NVDA/WindowEyes/Narrator/etc. A common example of this is a company using MS Office instead of OpenOffice for example, despite OpenOffice being exactly the same function wise. As long as companies are willing to cough up the licensing costs, that in itself will keeep FS thinking they can raise the prices and then such.
Also no, it's not a monopoly in the slightest, because there are alternatives and you are free to choose what screenreader you use, . To be a monopoly in the legal sense, not just the colloquial sense, FS would have to have a significant market share, be able to fix prices and exclude competition. The fact NVDA, and other sceenreaders exist means, at least according to the letter of the law, FS do not hold a monopoly on screenreaders. As per the FTC's information.

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@post 30, I think you have a misconception about comercial products. A product, which is sold at a particular price, is not designed especially to meet only one's needs or desires. It is designed to meet all the customers' needs with all the features that it can possibly offer, and if missing one, the company should be eager to add it to the product. Consider iOS, for example, do you need the Zoom service? Do you need the stocks Ap, do you need all the text-to-speech voices included in Voiceover? I would personally say no to most of the above questions, but there's supposedly someone somewhere out there who needs any of them. Consider, for example, a sighted user. Does he need any of the assistive features like Voiceover, Zoom, Assistive touch, or any other of them found on the accessibility section? I don't think so. In most of the cases, they post questions on the forum, like, what is Voiceover? Why do I need it? How the hell do I turn it off? These features are there because someone needs them, and there is not only a single category of people who uses the iPhone or the iPad. The same is true when we consider JAWS. It's true that you and I may not use the OCR feature, nor FS reader, nor research it, but my friend may use some of them. What can he do if any one is missing? Shall he ask the company to have them delivered on demand? That cannot work because there will be a crrowd of people waiting on the line, or thousands of e-mails waiting for an answer. The solution is to include all the necessary features on the product so as to attract more and more customers. JAWS follows that strategy too.
I think some of the features you mention can be taken away from JAWS in the first place, particularly OCR. If you just disconnect from any network, the JAWS setup package will continue the installation, without any error. It will display a message though, by the end of the installation, but that causes absolutely no problem. As I said, just disconnect from any network, and everything will be fine. FS Reader can be uninstalled as well without having any effect on your current copy of JAWS. It's as simple as that.

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I asked GW for my SMA counts to be added to my existing JAWS license, which already had a single SMA count, to enable all the feature flags, and to take my license back to Pro. Result is that I now have 18.0+3, which, really, isn't too shabby ...

Of course, I am absolutely not going to boast about this fact on a random forum full of blind people, in order to inspire the kind of bitter resentment and envy felt by users of other screen readers, who (for whatever reason) cannot afford a high-quality, commercial screen reader that every government and corporate client, and his dog, will happily pay for.

No, siree! Absolutely not. big_smile

Seriously though, NVDA is perfectly adequate for many (most?) types of applications that you will meaningfully use, just like VO on the Mac. But, I think it's fair to say that JFW is needed for robust support for certain applications. MS Office is probably the best known of these, if we're being brutally honest here.

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40 (edited by turtlepower17 2017-05-18 19:00:35)

I think that it would make much more sense to have two different packages that you could purchase for JAWS, a lite edition, and a full edition. The lite edition wouldn't contain Research It, OCR, FS Reader, etc. I bet that would cut the price significantly. But even so, the lite edition should still be a choice, even if they both cost the same. NV Access has it right. You can pick and choose which add-ons you want, and it's not like the add-ons are difficult to find. Furthermore, with a very few exceptions, the size of NVDA's add-ons are so small that they're practically insignificant. For most of us, hard drive space isn't something we have to worry about. But I don't like having things on my computer that I'll never use. In my case, Research It and OCR for Jaws fall into that category. With NVDA, I can choose whether I want to install an OCR package. I can select all kinds of additional features that may or may not be useful to the next person. All I'm saying is that, if FS took a page out of that book, my disdain for JAWS would decrease exponentially. Of course, FS is not the only company that's guilty of doing this. Office also contains a lot of bloatware, as do most Windows computers themselves if you buy them off the shelf. The difference is, with a Windows computer, I can format it and start over, building a system from the ground up that has exactly what I want when I want it. Office is actually a closer comparison to JAWS in the sense that you can't just pick and choose which apps you want, so, well, I just don't use it. If I ever do need to use it in a professional capacity, I'll grin and bear it, but I won't like it. Same with JAWS. I do think this whole fear of open source software in the workplace is ridiculous, but that's a rant for another day.

Also, going back to mmy earlier point about empowerment, who feels more satisfied? A person who learns things by trial and error, and a healthy dose of frustration here and there, or the person who constantly needs tiny bits of information spoon fed to them, the person who constantly leans on others whenever they need a question answered, the person who can't tolerate failure? I would certainly say the first person has a better time of things, generally speaking. Taking things like learning disabilities out of the mix, or other factors of that nature, of course. Unfortunately, people in general, no, this is not a rant about those damn lazy blindies, because I don't think that's a real thing, are becoming more and more dependent on technology to do all the heavy lifting for them. I'm just as guilty as the next person of this. I use Siri to check the weather, and I dictate my texts if I just can't be bothered to type. There are probably other things I do that I don't even realize or haven't thought of in those terms. All I'm saying is that NV Access created a screen reader that is designed to bolster the user. Freedom Scientific did the opposite.

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So I got an email with order confirmation information saying I now have a JAWS license. However, I can't find my authorization number. I sent an email back asking what to do. Why did I get a generic email with no registration info?

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@40, the very point of JAWS is to be accommodating to users of all skill levels. JAWS is much easier to use for computer beginners than NVDA because JAWS is so refined that it allows so much customisation in such a simple way compared to NVDA. I'm not saying that NVDA is impossible for beginners to use because that's completely incorrect, but research that has been done shows that trainers and first-time computer beginners find JAWS a better learning tool than NVDA.

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I think that's less true now than it was in the past. You do have a valid point, but NVDA is not nearly as intimidating as it used to be in its infancy. When I switched to using NVDA, I adjusted quite well. The only thing that took me awhile to get the hang of was object nav. That is a bit more complicated than using the JAWS cursor. But most commands that NVDA has are similar enough to JAWS commands that I don't understand why it's not as easy to master, unless you have to use a specific application which works better with JAWS. In that case, of course it makes sense to use it.

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44 (edited by magurp244 2017-05-19 08:05:08)

@DracoSelene89
It could be that windows eyes was too similar to Jaws and they wanted to consolidate their products, their recent bundle deal though seems interesting. A 90 day renewable license for $179 for both Jaws and MAGic, it seems like an attempt to get new users to opt in to long term milk licencing by pricing it in a more affordable range. In the short term people may feel their getting a deal because of the absurd $1100 base price, but long term they make a lot more of a sustained income off them through perpetual renting.

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Perhaps this is complete naivety, but am I the only one who feels like we should start seeing this as an issue of right rather than privilege?  How many years have we had screens and devices with them?  How often have you come across a device on a shelf that you can't use because either, A, it has no buttons and depends entirely on its display or, B, the menus are so complex that memorization is highly an unlikely way of navigating the device?
Companies have come and gone, some I imagine with the great intent of giving us an equal playing field, while others it is obvious, with the pure intent of creating a centralized system under which they can take as many under their umbrella as possible.  I don't believe we should sit around arguing about whether or not FS has empowered users through JAWS; I'm actually thankful to Dan Clark for all the amounts of advice and knowhow provided on every Daisy book and other recordings I've heard, starting with tapes that shipped with JAWS 4.51.
These recordings provided the basis by which I was able to learn windows and sometimes stay ahead even of sighted individuals.  Priar to that, I had some experience with windows 98, and JAWS was there, guiding me through every step of the way.  Once Windows Vista came out, I took the leap from XP without hesitation and had an altogether good experience because I knew what kind of hardware was necessary to run it successfully.  It was different, but doable with some learning.  Windows 7?  Same thing.  windows 8?  MS did a number on us and JAWS didn't work quite as nicely at first, but by then NVDA had picked up the slack.  All the same, it was material provided by FS that allowed me to get comfortable on it, even if I didn't end up keeping it.
If you take a look at what Apple has done with iOS, you can clearly see that everyone who has an iPhone is using it without added expenses.  Here is the obvious evidence that those who use such a device can be both more creative and productive members of society.  Grab an iPhone and an Apple watch and you have a huge selection of tools at your disposal, from navigation and mobility apps, to apps that will read sheets of paper aloud to you, to apps that'll help you shop for goods without ever leaving the safety and comfort of your home if you don't need to.
Information, human contact, entertainment and productivity software become available to everyone who uses voiceover with just a few swipes and taps; I just got done asking Siri to help me grab Crafting Kingdom.  The iPhone is the luxury device, not the screen reading software on it, because whatever you may think of Apple, they were willing to provide us a screen reader at no extra charge.  this is a device blind and sighted individuals can go and grab and use together to game with, colaborate on, and socialize through, equally!
turn it around on the sighted users and ask them if they'd want to pay an extra 1000 dollars just to be able to read their luxury devices by purchasing an extra set of glasses or some other such nonsensical bit of hardware or software, and I'm sure that under every occasion you ask that question you'll get a firm and solid, NO!  so why should we!  why are we paying obscure companies for a right sighted individuals have right out of the box, which could easily be encorporated by companies from the start under many circumstances?  Apple has shown they can do it; why not MS? If they want to continue to pay FS on our behalf so we have a screen reader that helps both novice and advanced users they should feel free to do so, or advance narrator to compete with or raise the standard.  This takes the strain away from the government and the disabled individual at the same time, and places the responsibility where it belongs!

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Remember when I said I wouldn't pay for SMA upgrades unless I had a very good reason? Well, I finally got my license number today and unsurprisingly, I have no SMA upgrades left because the Window-Eyes license wasn't current. When I went to check the price on the website, I found it wasgoing to cost $260 for just two more upgrades. That is ridiculous. I thought it was $200 for the Pro version. Where did the extra $60 come from? [wow]! I'm not paying that much for just two upgrades. That is madness. Oh well, at least I can enjoy JAWS 18 for now and eagerly wait for the Narrator improvements later this year.

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that's how business works. Find something people need. Find a way to get it to them. Charge for it. If a product is good enough, people can get away with charging as much as they want to some extent. Sometimes high prices are necessary to keep a company going as well. Compared to the rest of the tech market, the VI and blindness market isn't that large. So while I agree that the prices for JAWS and assistive technology in general are a bit insane, it's worth looking at all the potential variables before saying prices are ridiculous and unwarranted. That isn't to say that it's fair to us that we have to purchase such an expensive piece of software to use a Windows machine that a sighted person can use out of the box, but until things change, it is what it is. We can either purchase JAWS if we can afford it/get an agency to purchase it for us, or we can use NVDA.

As far as I know, FS and MS are working closely together to make sure JAWS works as well as possible with Windows 10, and at the same time, MS is improving Narrator quite a bit. If Narrator is improved enough, we may no longer need JAWS or any other screen readers in the future. Note that I say "need." People may still want to purchase JAWS or use NVDA, particularly if they offer enhancements that go beyond what Narrator can do now and in the future. It's all personal preference. If enough people stop using JAWS, FS would most likely discontinue it simply due to the costs associated with maintaining it.

As for Apple products, they cost an arm and a leg as it is last I knew. People can either buy a Windows machine and a screen reader unless they plan on using a free one like NVDA, or they can buy an extremely expensive mac that comes with a screen reader built in.

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48 (edited by jack 2017-05-20 18:13:33)

Draq, while it is true that Apple device's cost an arm and a leg, you can't directly compare that to a screen reader. !, you are getting what you pay for, if you buy a mac. I can go into why the phones shouldn't be so expensive, but that's a whole other argument altogether. But a mac is a solid, long-lasting computer, and worth the money. And even so, it doesn't matter. Obviously, with mainstream products, everyone pays the same price. Not with screen readers. The way I see it, people need to stop letting computers hold their hand, period. Use nvda. Use Linux. Use the command line/terminal. Buy the training material if you need, or if you're gonna donate more than 30 bucks to nv access at one given time, you might as well buy the book. The money's going entirely to nv access anyway. My point is, use software that really teaches you how to use a computer. Teaches you how to work around issues rather than holding your hand the entire way. With the exception of virtual assistants on smartphones obviously, since those actually have very good use. But I'll just let this raticle explain why I brought this topic up, of all things. And if training is what someone needs, then fine. Make a training program. An nvda addon. We already have Leasey, and if Jaws wasn't so expensive Leasey just might've been a fair investment. IT serves its purpose for the absolute beginner as well as the more advanced, but not highly advanced, of users. Look at what Iplex did with the voiceover tutorial. Stand-alone app, there when you need it but not foisted on you. Android, Voiceover, and Chrome all have built-in tutorials for their screen readers, that won't bug you after you're situated with the phone. But with those, the good thing is that once you're done with the tutorial, you're on your own. At least on Android that's the case. You're left to find the apps that suit you, and to find the app that fixes a problem should one arise. This, my friends, is actually learning how to use a computer. Ok, rant over.

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Nice article, and thumbs up for a great post. I completely agree that an add-on for NVDA that provided some sort of training module would be a good thing to have. Not everyone learns by listening to a tutorial, many folks are intimidated by documentation, and, even if that is a great help, there's nothing quite like hands on practice to cement the concepts in your head.

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That's exactly what I was thinking, Turtlepower. The nvda guide, as great as it is, is nothing short of a nice ebook that you read in your book reader of choice. Just fine for anyone who's comfortable with that and doesn't mind reading a manual-style guide that's not exactly a manual, but is at the same time because it's not human narrated. Guess we'd have to get someone in the community with good audio gear to narrate it for free or for a reasonable rate. Better still, sometimes there is just nothing better than an interactive tutorial. It's a kin to learning the keyboard. Why read a manual on where each key is when there are interactive programs like talking typer which, as a sidenote, thanks to ios availability, is now nothing more than the cost of a trip to Starbucks, as opposed to the windows version's 90 dollar cd distribution with a nice high quality a t and t natural voice so that you get what you're paying for. And might I also point out, since you did mention choosing what you need and don't need, APH dose give you that choice. Don't need the natural voice because you've already purchased a voice or two? No problem, purchase the downloadable distribution. But back on topic. An interactive tutorial for the screen readers is the same concept. Just like the typing programs disallow the universal ctrl+alt+del command to execute, that's precisely what an interactive tutorial would do. Voiceover does this same thing. Puts you in a simulated environment that is just like the real thing, but doesn't actually allow anything to go wrong so you can feel free to have a playatround without causing anything catastrophic, if you will. You could say that Jaws once was guilty of providing nothing interactive, but 1 there's Leasey now, and 2 at least the tutorials were very nicely narrated cassettes and daisy books, and, sometimes, Clark would actually demonstrate the topic rather than just read it. JAWS and I definitely have a love-hate relationship, mostly hating it ,but I genuinely like the efforts they put into training. As much as I am in complete agreement with the article as it not only is direct and to the point, but it also is exactly the problem we're facing in this day and age summed up completely, I will acknowledge that some folks still need training of some sort, which is why I thought an interactive tutorial would be what people need. And then there's Leasey, and the reason I'm glad there's 2 packages, one for novices and one for, I'd say semi-advanced users. How bout another one that does the behind the scenes scripting to make facebook, Spotify and all others accessible, but doesn't leave you with this closed off, noob-friendly *no offense* interface? It's true that you can kind of let Leasey work in the background, but using it requires that interface, and I feel there should be some level of customization of how much the interface holds your hand. Think of programs like q-seek, which assume you know what you're doing with searches, while still making it easy to search wikipedia, manpages for linux, perform calculations, or laugh your ass off by seeing how urban dictionary defines your name. Lol! But that, is exactly what research-it did, only in a much smaller, much more affordable program at 10 bucks. That's what I would've liked to see in Jaws, optional convenience not at the expense of the user should they not need it.

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