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Coming in Version 1.4 of the VarioUltra: Unlocking mobile devices with the Braille Display, UEB Support, and more


by Scott Davert

Though not publicly available for download, Baum has unveiled what's coming in version 1.4 of the firmware for the VarioUltra braille display. Among the included features is the public beta release of support for Unified English Braille (UEB).

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Posted Friday, 24-Feb-2017 3:28 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Live on the Edge, or have an Ultra Lifestyle? An In-depth review of HIMS and Baum Braille Displays


by Scott Davert

Some of today's braille displays do a lot more than just display braille, but which one is right for your needs? In this in-depth article, I compare the VarioUltra (VU) from Baum and the Braille Edge from HIMS. I chose These 2 units because they both have 40 cells of braille and are what the market seems to now call "smart displays", a term given to devices which do not perform all of the functions of a traditional notetaker such as playing music, GPS navigation, downloading email directly to the device, or browsing the internet. At the same time, these devices are able to accomplish more than just connecting to an external gadget such as a computer, tablet, or smart phone. While these braille devices are in the middle in terms of functionality, they're also in the middle in terms of their price point when compared with other categories of braille devices. This article will examine both the Braille Edge and VarioUltra for their connectivity, support while connecting with some external devices, their internal applications, and physical appearance.

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Posted Wednesday, 22-Feb-2017 1:34 PM ET in Articles     2 comments

NVDA's 2017.1 Released with Kindle and Office Updates, Mor


by J.J. Meddaugh

NVAccess has Published the official release for NVDA 2017.1, the first milestone release of the new year. In addition to previously mentioned support for Kindle reading on PC, this update improves support for several Microsoft products including table reading in the Edge web browser and various improvements and changes for Word, and Excel as well as a variety of bug fixes. In case you missed it last week, the complete changelog is below.

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Posted Wednesday, 22-Feb-2017 12:15 AM ET in News     Post a comment

Ohio State Survey Examines Race Perceptions of Blind People


by J.J. Meddaugh

Researchers at Ohio State University have posted a short survey to examine racial perceptions as it pertains to people who are blind or visually impaired. According to the survey page, "The purpose of this research survey is to examine how indi viduals who are blind or visually impaired perceive race and culture. Through the results of this survey, it is our hope to better understand the perceptions of individuals who are blind within these areas in an effort to improve education and raise awareness of diversity among all individuals, including individuals with vision loss." No compensation is being offered, and the survey is expected to take 5 to 10 minutes to complete. Check the link on this post to learn more or take the survey.

Posted Tuesday, 21-Feb-2017 6:19 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Amazon is on Fire with TV Accessibility


by J.J. Meddaugh

Amazon continues to add accessibility to its lineup of products, and a recent blog post focuses on current and forthcoming improvements for Fire TV, Amazon's connected Smart TV product.

Amazon is focusing on the experience for speech and low vision users, including easy access to adjust the rate of speech, a review mode which can be used to reread information or spell names of actors and show titles, and global settings for higher contrast and closed captions. Apps like Netflix and Hulu now also play nicer with accessibility services, according to the blog post.

Amazon's Fire TV is a small device which plugs into an existing television or video display and displays and plays video content, such as television shows, photos, or videos. It's a direct competitor to the Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast among others.

You can read more from the Amazon blog post. Stay with Blind Bargains for more Amazon coverage from CSUN 2017.

Posted Friday, 17-Feb-2017 3:59 PM ET in News     Post a comment

This Ain't your Father'sChromeVox; Major Updates for Chrome's Screen Reader


by J.J. Meddaugh

Google's Chromebooks have come a long way since their initial introduction, and now the ChromeVox screen reader is taking a major leap forward as well. The new version includes a variety of enhancements including an enhanced keyboard layout, stereo earcons which provide contextual and positioning information, a panel for teachers so they can follow along with what the student is hearing, and USB braille support with the ability to use braille keyboard commands. New ChromeVox menus allow the user to find various menu options, links lists, and other features. All of this and more is explained in more detail on Google's blog post.

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Posted Friday, 17-Feb-2017 3:50 PM ET in News     Post a comment

The Expanded Blind Bargains Guide to Attending #CSUNATC17 on a Budget


by J.J. Meddaugh

It's time for what has become a bit of an annual tradition around here. This will be our 8th time attending the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, the largest such conference for the blind. We often hear from people who would love to go, if only it was within their budget. With room rates over $200 a night, a nearly $500 registration fee, plane tickets, meals, and other expenses, the cost often seems prohibitive. With this in mind, we've updated our list of tips for enjoying the conference on a budget.

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Posted Thursday, 16-Feb-2017 5:11 PM ET in News     1 comment

NVDA's first 2017 Release Features Kindle, Edge, and Office Changes


by J.J. Meddaugh

NVAccess has Published the Release Candidate for NVDA 2017.1, the first milestone release of the new year. In addition to previously mentioned support for Kindle reading on PC, this update improves support for several Microsoft products including table reading in the Edge web browser and various improvements and changes for Word, and Excel as well as a variety of bug fixes. The complete changelog is below.

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Posted Wednesday, 15-Feb-2017 9:12 PM ET in News     Post a comment

The VFO Group Releases Magic 14 enhancing Mouse Echo, Upgrading Vocalizer Voices, and More


by Scott Davert

The VFO group has released Magic version 14, bringing several updates to the software. Improvements include upgraded Vocalizer Voices, updates to Mouse Echo, the introduction of audio ducking, and speech improvements to Office 2016.

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Posted Friday, 10-Feb-2017 4:44 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Saudi Arabia University Students Seeking Quick Feedback on iOS Game Development


by J.J. Meddaugh

A student team from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia is seeking to develop an iPhone game that can be played by both blind and sighted people and seeks your input. They've posted a short 6-question survey to gauge interest in the type of game they should create. To take survey, follow the link on this post.

Posted Friday, 10-Feb-2017 2:35 PM ET in News     Post a comment

NVDA Remote Access Releases Version 2.0, bringing several improvements and a new Feature


by Scott Davert

The developers of NVDA Remote Access, an add-on to NVDA which allows users who are both running the screen reader to connect to each others' computers, have released version 2.0. One enhancement in this version is the introduction of Remote Braille. If each connected user has a braille display connected, the braille output should match along with the speech output.

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Posted Thursday, 09-Feb-2017 04:28 AM ET in News     Post a comment

Make a Quick $20 for Taking a Short Survey on Screen Reader Usage


by J.J. Meddaugh

If you use a screen reader, a research company wants to hear from you and will pay you for your time. User Research International has posted a short survey about screen reader usage. The survey can be taken on a computer, tablet, or mobile device and should take about 10 minutes to complete. Participants who qualify will receive $20 for completing the survey. Follow this link to take the survey.
Update: This survey is now full and is no longer accepting respondents.

Posted Wednesday, 08-Feb-2017 4:17 PM ET in News     Post a comment

The Next Update to NVDA will Bring Major Access Improvements to Kindle Books


by Scott Davert

Over the years, many blind users have wanted to use Kindle for PC just as easily as their sighted counterparts. This is especially true in the field of education. Though the Kindle for Accessibility Plug-in exists, it only permits the user to read text out loud and to configure basic speech settings. Last year, James Scholes released his latest tool, Codex, a conversion tool which permitted both braille and speech access to the Kindle library once the book was converted to a more useable format.

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Posted Wednesday, 08-Feb-2017 12:42 PM ET in News     Post a comment

The Hashtag you have Reached, #CSUN17, has been Changed. The new Hashtag is #CSUNATC17


by J.J. Meddaugh

If you are attending the 32nd CSUN Assistive Technology Conference in San Diego this March or want to follow the action, you'll need to reprogram your brain to use a new hashtag. #CSUNATC17 replaces the traditional #CSUN17 as the official hashtag per conference organizers according to the CSUN Center on Disabilities [@csuncod](https://twitter.com/csuncod?lang] Twitter account. The change was made to avoid confusion with other events. In reality, you may just need to follow both hashtags for the time being, as tweets seem to be split between the old and new hashtags as of this article. The CSUN conference is the most tweeted about assistive technology event of the year with many participants, exhibitors, presenters, and media outlets sharing their finds and tidbits.

Posted Tuesday, 07-Feb-2017 4:56 PM ET in News     1 comment

The Apex of Price Cuts: BrailleNote Apex from $1,995 from Humanware


by J.J. Meddaugh

HumanWare has drastically cut prices on its BrailleNote Apex products, the second price cut for the previous generation notetakers since September. Customers can now purchase a 32-cell Apex for $2,995 or an 18-cell model for $1,995. That's a drop of up to $2,000 on the previous prices and just a bit over half of the original retail price. Last September Humanware dropped prices of the Apex shortly after the release of the Touch. The Apex runs a version of KeySoft based on Windows CE and has not received a major software update since KeySoft 9.5 in May of 2015.

Posted Tuesday, 07-Feb-2017 12:09 PM ET in News     Post a comment

No excuses, Uncle Sam is Accessible with Hundreds of IRS Tax Forms


by J.J. Meddaugh

Perhaps the only things certain in life are death and taxes, but at least the latter is a bit more accessible thanks to the efforts of the Internal Revenue Service. Hundreds of tax forms are available on the IRS accessibility website in large-print, text, accessible PDF, e-Braille, or HTML formats. Assistance in filling out tax returns is also available for qualifying individuals. Check the link on this post for more info. Taxes are due a bit later this year, on April 17.

Posted Monday, 06-Feb-2017 9:08 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Watch a Video of DISH Accessibility Features on the Hopper 3 DVR


by J.J. Meddaugh

DISH has joined a growing number of television providers to offer accessibility services as a part of its set-top boxes. In a recently-posted YouTube video, Joseph Hodge demonstrates the Hopper 3, one of the DISH receivers with text-to-speech functionality. Pressing the Option button twice launches the service which speaks the program guide, loads on-demand content and lets you record shows. According to Hodge, some of the apps including Pandora and Weather also speak, though others including YouTube and Netflix currently do not.

Text-to-speech functionality is available on the Hopper 2, Hopper 3 and Wally receivers and can be requested by contacting DISH sales for current or perspective customers. More information can be found on DISH's accessibility page.

Posted Monday, 06-Feb-2017 8:34 PM ET in News     1 comment

Applicants Accepted for The Holman Prize, a $25,000 Aspirational Awarde


by J.J. Meddaugh

What would you do with $25,000? The San Francisco Lighthouse is asking this question as it seeks to bestow the Holman Prize, an award which is designed to, as they put it, assist in "FUNDING THE DREAMS AND AMBITIONS OF BLIND INDIVIDUALS WORLDWIDE."

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Posted Monday, 06-Feb-2017 7:49 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Mike May Sets his Destination as Seattle Lighthouse President


by J.J. Meddaugh

A founder and long time CEO of the Sendero Group is moving on up, literally. Mike May has accepted a job as the president of the Seattle Lighthouse. The Seattle Lighthouse is a nonprofit which employs over 400 people including over 260 that are blind and is one of the largest such organizations in the country. May takes his new post on April 3 and succeeds Kirk Adams, who stepped down in 2016 to accept the job of President for the American Foundation for the Blind.

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Posted Monday, 06-Feb-2017 3:41 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Public Beta of Dictation Bridge Add-on for NVDA Released


by J.J. Meddaugh

Dictation Bridge, an open-source, crowdfunded tool which aims to enable accessible dictation of text using screen readers, has released a public beta of its add-on for NVDA. This version works with both Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Microsoft Speech Recognition, the latter available for free with modern versions of Windows. Users can speak text and have it typed into their favorite app, or control NVDA itself with commands for Dragon. JAWS and Window-Eyes add-ons are still on the roadmap for the near future.
You can hear more about Dictation Bridge on Blind Bargains Qast 55 where we interviewed Lucy Greco. For more details about the features below, check out the Dictation Bridge Public Beta page.

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Posted Thursday, 19-Jan-2017 8:30 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Captcha Be Gone Now Available for the Chrome Web Browser


by J.J. Meddaugh

Captcha Be Gone, an online service which can decipher most visual CAPTCHAs on web pages, is now available for the Chrome web browser. This is in addition to support for Firefox and Internet Explorer which is already included. The service was launched last July and is available via a $3 monthly or $33 yearly plan. Both of these are introductory prices and may go up in the future.

Posted Thursday, 19-Jan-2017 8:13 PM ET in News     1 comment

NFB and ACB Conventions Don't Overlap; Hotel Reservations Accepted Now


by J.J. Meddaugh

If you had aspirations for attending both major blindness consumer organization national conventions, you can do this in 2017 and even have time to come home in-between. The National Federation of the Blind will once again hold their convention at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort though it will be later than in past years. Convention activities start on Monday, July 10 and continue through Saturday, July 15. This is the site used for the 2011 and 2016 conventions.
The American Council of the Blind's 2017 Conference and Convention is actually a day shorter than in past years, stretching from June 30 to July 7. It will return to the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nev. just outside of Reno. The ACB was last in Reno in 2011.
NFB online registration typically starts March 1 while ACB registration usually launches in May. Hotel reservations for both conventions can be made now. Check the links above for info.

Posted Thursday, 19-Jan-2017 8:06 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Be My Eyes has Nearly a Half Million Users on their Platform; Android App Coming Soon


by J.J. Meddaugh

Be My Eyes, an iPhone app which provides visual assistance to blind and visually impaired users, says that an Android port of their app is imminent. The original Be My Eyes app was released just over 2 years ago and was one of the first in a line of crowd assistance platforms. According to a recent Email, The app is now served over 32,000 blind and visually impaired users with the help of more than 450,000 sighted volunteers.
You can select this link to be informed of the release of the Android app.

Posted Thursday, 19-Jan-2017 7:08 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Catching Up: Android TalkBack 5.1 Adds Smattering of Enhancements; Ends Support for Pre 5.0 Devices


by J.J. Meddaugh

Recently, Google's Eyes-free team released version 5.1 of the TalkBack screen reader for Android devices. This version is the first to only run on Android 5.1 and newer, which encompasses most current devices. Those running Android 4.4 or earlier received a bug fix release, version 5.0.7, which is said to be the last for these devices.
TalkBack 5.1 includes a list of minor improvements including announcing of page load percentages in Chrome, an assignable shortcut for the Quick Settings Panel, and improvements for scrolling in large lists. We've included the message from the Eyes-free mailing list below.

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Posted Thursday, 19-Jan-2017 6:57 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Apple Rundown: The “Don’t Throw Away The Gift Receipt” Edition


by Joe Steinkamp

The holidays are usually a fun and happy time. You sing carols around the Festivus pole or holiday tree. You countdown the hours until midnight during New year's Eve with that shiny new Apple Watch. And you reflect back on the year that was with a sense of reverence. Um, yeah, that is how it is meant to be unless you factor in the party pooper of all years 2016. Not even the company Steve Jobs built was immune to the harshest of years as you will see in the stories below. Moreover, and I cannot underscore this enough, I had to quit capturing links for this edition because it was frankly making me depressed. Dogpiling, kicking you when you are down or even opportunistic doesn t begin to summarize the wide array of sadness that comes from Apple watching these days. Here s hoping that 2017 brings us an Amazon Echo competitor, foldable iPhones plus self driving iCars!

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Posted Monday, 09-Jan-2017 4:44 PM ET in Articles     Post a comment

Blind Bargains Qast 2016: By The Numbers Listener Edition


by Joe Steinkamp

BEFORE YOU READ THIS!!!!!

The Blind Bargains Qast can t thank enough our friends, fans and cast of Regulars. Chancey, Jeff, J.J., Joe, Liam, Patrick, Scott, Shelly and Ricky all work hard to bring you information and entertainment that we think our Community will enjoy. Our Sponsors deserve a huge round of applause as well, as their support allows us to bring you event coverage. However, and most importantly, you, the listener, matter most of all. Submissions, emails and social media mentions have enabled us to grow our download numbers by 30% over 2015 s download numbers. We can t wait to see where we will go in 2017, however, we can t go anywhere without your feedback. Please feel free to send us your ideas and suggestions to feedback@blindbargains.com or leave comments in the section below. Or, as you will read shortly, click on those shows and interviews that interest you the most. Your input shapes BBQ even if all you do is pass along a link to our content.

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Posted Saturday, 31-Dec-2016 7:41 PM ET in Articles     Post a comment

Facebook announces Live Audio feature for iOS and Android


by Michael McCarty

Facebook has announced that it is introducing a Live Audio feature that allows live broadcasts of audio-only content. The company will be testing the feature with a small number of established broadcasters including the BBC World Service and LBC. iOS users will get a worse version of the service than using Android devices: while Android users can continue listening to a Live Audio broadcast while using other apps, iOS users will need to remain within the app. You can, though, browse other Facebook content while listening. If you fancy yourself as a live radio host or live podcaster, the company says that it will be making the feature more available to publishers and people early in the new year.

Posted Friday, 23-Dec-2016 06:58 AM ET in News     1 comment

Cooking with J: Dead Simple Chicken Tikka Masala in the Instant Pot


by J.J. Meddaugh

A cooking column? This may be one of the last things you'd expect me to embark on but here we are. First of all, let me be completely honest. I am not a chef, nor do I know a lot of the intricacies of gourmet cooking. I do know that I like good food and meals which are simple to create. With these things in mind, I was enamored with the idea of the Instant Pot pressure cookers for their ease of use and the possibility of making all sorts of delicious dishes using only one pot. To learn more about the basics of the Instant Pot, check out Blind Bargains Qast 78 where Ricky Enger and myself discuss and demo the appliance in depth. And if you wish to purchase one, check out this page on Amazon which usually has the best prices.

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Posted Thursday, 15-Dec-2016 12:00 AM ET in Articles     Post a comment

Microsoft Announces Accessibility Plans for 2017 including Built-in Braille Support and Unattended Installs for Narrator


by Scott Davert

At the beginning of 2016, Microsoft presented a Road Map moving forward which laid out their plans and visions for the future of accessibility on Microsoft products. Microsoft has now published a list of things they hope to achieve in 2017.

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Posted Friday, 09-Dec-2016 4:56 PM ET in News     2 comments

Microsoft's New Free CaptionBot Demo Showcases New Automatic Image Recognition Technology


by J.J. Meddaugh

Microsoft is taking automatic picture recognition a step further in an online demo which recognizes and describes images. According to the home page, for CaptionBot, "I can understand the content of any photograph and I'll try to describe it as well as any human."

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Posted Tuesday, 06-Dec-2016 4:58 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Rice University Researchers Want to Make Urine Accessible; Seeks Survey Participants


by J.J. Meddaugh

When it comes to issues of a personal matter, blind people are often left without an accessible way to perform tasks that they may wish to remain private. Team SEER at Rice University is conducting a survey seeking input on a possible accessible urinalysis) device, a tool which can detect blood in a person's urine. The survey is estimated to take 5 minutes to complete and no compensation is provided. We've linked to it from this post.

Posted Tuesday, 06-Dec-2016 4:35 PM ET in News     Post a comment

City Lights App Will Alert you of Upcoming Traffic Lights


by J.J. Meddaugh

A new app aims to alert blind and visually impaired people of oncoming traffic lights. City Lights is a free iPhone app which will vibrate three times while someone is walking when they near an intersection with a traffic light. The app currently works in San Francisco, Oakland, Chula Vista, Boston, Manchester, Montreal, Victoria and Athens and other cities are being added regularly. An Android version is also being explored. Check the link to learn more or to download the app.

Posted Tuesday, 29-Nov-2016 4:52 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Roku Adds Audio Guide to Streaming Players in Latest Update though Much Remains Inaccessible


by J.J. Meddaugh

Roku, makers of the most popular line of streaming media players, has added a basic Audio Guide feature in its latest update. Version 7.5 allows the user to navigate through menus, adjust settings, and load some of the many channels available, though users report that accessibility in this initial release is spotty at best.

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Posted Tuesday, 29-Nov-2016 4:31 PM ET in News     5 comments

Voter Experience Survey Seeking your Election Input


by J.J. Meddaugh

If you voted in the 2016 election in the U.S., the National Federation of the Blind wants to hear about your experiences good or bad. This year, there are two surveys available depending on the method you used for voting. Blind and low vision voters who cast their ballot at an early voting center, local polling place on Election Day, or by absentee ballot that was received by regular mail, should complete this survey Alternatively, blind and low vision voters who used a personal computer or tablet to mark their ballot should complete the electronic ballot delivery survey Responses are due by November 29.

Posted Tuesday, 15-Nov-2016 5:56 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Santa Again Contracts with the NFB to Send Braille Letters to Blind Kids


by J.J. Meddaugh

In what has become an annual tradition, Santa Claus has partnered with some of his elves in Baltimore to send braille letters to blind children. Parents or teachers of children under 10 can visit the Santa Letters page to request a braille letter from Santa, which will be produced by National Federation of the Blind elves in contracted braille and mailed to the child. A print version of the letter will also be included. Letters are free, and requests must be received by December 16.

Posted Tuesday, 15-Nov-2016 5:51 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Quiet Cars Will Finally be Required to Become Less Quiet


by J.J. Meddaugh

Nearly 6 years after the passage of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, rules have finally been put in place to ensure that quiet cars will make noise when traveling at low speeds. Most vehicles traveling under 18.6 MPH will need to emit an audible sound, though the ruling gives automakers flexibility on what exactly that sound would be. The rules have been delayed for years which has also delayed their implementation. The new rules are set to take effect by September 1, 2019 and cost the auto industry roughly $39 million annually.

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Posted Tuesday, 15-Nov-2016 5:41 PM ET in News     Post a comment

You Have TO Pay TO Have Your Say On What You Will Play


by Scott Davert

A Kickstarter campaign has been launch by Audio Game Hub which seeks to develop 5 audio games. Backers of the campaign will be permitted to choose what the 5 games would include. The choices of games range from side scrollers to boxing to casino oriented choices.

Audio Game Hub may be a familiar name to readers, as they have produced a suite of 8 audio games that were released earlier this year on the Android, iOS and Windows platforms. According to the campaign page, the 5 chosen games will be added to what has already been created. For a demonstration of what the already created app sounds like on iOS, you can check out this AppleVis podcast

At the time of writing, the campaign has raised $3018 of $4259, with 23 days left. The page also says that the project will only be funded if the previously mentioned goal is met.

Posted Tuesday, 15-Nov-2016 4:12 PM ET in News     Post a comment

BrailleNote Touch 2.0 is here: but It's Not a Hardware Upgrade


by Scott Davert

This fall has been full of new software and hardware releases from Apple, Google, Microsoft, and the VFO Group. And now, Humanware has one to add to the pile. BrailleNote Touch 2.0 was released last week and delivers the features J.J. wrote about before. The only difference between what was reported, and what Humanware is advertizing is that it's being called "BrailleNote Touch 2.0" instead of Keysoft, the operating system name for all BrailleNote products prior to the Touch.

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Posted Wednesday, 09-Nov-2016 3:28 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Okay Google… Find Me First Impressions of Google Home


by Joe Steinkamp

It seems like we are going to have yet another first mover advantage debate in our community. Yep, Windows versus Mac is new again. Android versus iOS was over before the war even started. Now we can add Amazon Echo versus Google Home into the fray as many out there have started to form factions on which Digital Assistant they would like to use for asking everything from How far is the Taco Bell on 3rd street? to ordering an Uber to take you to get a crunchy taco on 3rd street.

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Posted Monday, 07-Nov-2016 2:48 PM ET in Articles     Post a comment

JAWS 18: Not A Minor Update


by Scott Davert

Every October, VFO, formerly Freedom Scientific, releases a major update to the JAWS for Windows screen reader. Some years include more new features than others, but this year's update has a variety of changes that may effect you. This is the first major update since the VFO acquisition of AI Squared, makers of the ZoomText magnification software. We've detailed many of the new features below.

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Posted Wednesday, 02-Nov-2016 2:56 PM ET in News     5 comments

2017 ACB Scholarship Program Announced


by J.J. Meddaugh

The American Council of the Blind has announced their 2017 scholarship program. Approximately 20 scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 will be awarded to entering freshmen, undergraduate and graduate college students who are legally blind, maintain a 3.3 GPA and are involved in their school or local community. The application deadline is February 15, 2017. Check the source link on this post for more information.

Posted Tuesday, 01-Nov-2016 5:08 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Seedlings Braille Books for Children Hosting Online Auction to Pay for Braille Books


by J.J. Meddaugh

Seedlings Braille Books for Children is hosting an online auction featuring a variety of items in an effort to raise $10,000 to pay for braille books for children. items range from restaurant and Amazon gift cards to themed experiences and also include a large variety of local and regional items for those in or near Michigan, their home base. The auction ends November 14.

Posted Tuesday, 01-Nov-2016 2:11 PM ET in News     Post a comment

NFB Scholarship Program Now Accepting Apps for 2017 Class


by J.J. Meddaugh

Applications are now being accepted for the National Federation of the Blind's 2017 scholarship program. 30 students will win amounts ranging from $3,000 to $12,000, a free trip to the 2017 national convention in Orlando, and a variety of additional prizes. Those attending college in the fall of 2017 may apply. For more details or to view the application, visit the link on this post. Deadline is March 31, 2017.

Posted Tuesday, 01-Nov-2016 1:51 PM ET in News     Post a comment

The Apple Rundown: The Command Triple Click Home Edition


by Joe Steinkamp

September 19th seems so long ago.
Back in those halcyon days of a month and a half ago, when I knew another Apple event was on the horizon, I mused that I would have little to post other than the iPod turning 15 years old. Maybe a few articles on the new mac OS would be in order. And, if it made the street date, I'd have some things to post about iOS 10.1. Sure, there would be the 4th quarter earnings report to ponder. And I'd end the article with something funny in regards to the headphone jack.

then 2016 happened with its ability to upend everything you know and expect in a rational universe.

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Posted Monday, 31-Oct-2016 5:36 PM ET in Articles     Post a comment

BlindSquare 4.04 Utilizes iOS 10 Voices, Adds History Mode


by J.J. Meddaugh

A new update for the BlindSquare navigation app has just been unleashed on the iOS App Store which may make some iOS 10 users happy. Version 4.04 supports the new built-in voices which are included in iOS version 10, assuming they have been downloaded. Also, the new feature list includes the ability to repeat previously spoken messages in a speech history mode and a fix to reenable the use of the map in iOS 10. The complete changelog is below.

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Posted Tuesday, 25-Oct-2016 6:06 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Chicken Nugget 4.3 Fixes Blank Tweets, Rolls with Twitter's Changes


by J.J. Meddaugh

Accessible Apps has released another free update to the Chicken Nugget Twitter client for Windows. Version 4.3 was largely necessitated by some changes from Twitter's API in how tweets are displayed. Some parts of a tweet, such as a picture or quoted tweet, no longer count in the 140 character limit, allowing for slightly longer tweets to be written in these situations. Version 4.3 accounts for this change and also includes some other improvements. You can download version 4.3 from the source link below, and look at the complete changelog after the jump.

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Posted Tuesday, 25-Oct-2016 1:27 PM ET in News     Post a comment

iOS 10.1 Released; Focuses on Camera Improvements with a Smattering of VoiceOver Fixes


by J.J. Meddaugh

Apple has officially released iOS version 10.1, the latest update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users. This update includes several camera improvements including a portrait mode camera, improves connectivity to some Bluetooth devices, and fixes a laundry list of other issues. As for accessibility, AppleVis reports that a couple of bugs were squashed, including a showstopper for some users which displayed extraneous information on a braille display while using the Mail app. We've linked to the AppleVis post which has more details on mainstream and accessibility updates in this release. iOS 10.1 runs on any device which received the iOS 10 update.

Posted Tuesday, 25-Oct-2016 1:23 PM ET in News     1 comment

Survey on Technology Challenges from University College London Students


by J.J. Meddaugh

Often, students will decide to focus on blind or visually impaired individuals when developing a new technology as a part of a school project. This survey comes from Master’s students studying Human-computer interaction at the University College London and asks about technology usages and challenges for blind and partialy sighted individuals. The survey is on a single page and is estimated to take about 15 minuts to complete. Follow the source link to take the survey.

Posted Tuesday, 25-Oct-2016 1:17 PM ET in News     Post a comment

HIMS Releases Patch for Braille Edge: Bringing enhancements for JAWS Users, Full UEB Support, and More


by Scott Davert

HIMS Inc. has announced a "maintenance" patch for the Braille Edge 40 that brings a few new added functions to the device. Some readers may be thinking this is old news, but it's not really. Though this patch was originally announced in September, it was pulled from the website shortly after due to some customers having the update fail.

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Posted Tuesday, 18-Oct-2016 3:24 PM ET in News     1 comment

Orbit Reader 20 Manual Posted; Supports All Major Screen Readers, Text Editing


by J.J. Meddaugh

The American Printing House for the Blind has posted an early version of the manual for the forthcoming Orbit Reader 20, the sub-$500 braille display which is due to be released shortly. In the manual, we learn more about the unit's operation and screen reader support. The Orbit Reader 20 will include two modes: a stand alone mode is designed for reading already translated files from an SD card to display on the unit. Basic text editing is also available in this mode. In remote mode, the unit can be paired with a screen reader using Bluetooth or USB. Support for all major screen readers is currently possible, either directly or through emulation of a RefreshaBraille 18. Details may change between now an the actual release of the unit. Check out the manual to learn more. Thanks to Josh Kennedy for the tip.

Posted Tuesday, 11-Oct-2016 6:20 PM ET in News     Post a comment

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