Wow, time certainly does fly, and it seems like only yesterday when we were recording our first, then-unnamed show. 20 episodes later and we now have a name, a bit of a format, and this week, a giveaway. With Joe still away (more on that in a bit), J.J. is joined by Ricky Enger, to talk about the latest AT news. We also learn about a new shopping app from Chris Maury of SayApps, Ricky tells us about a new way to mow your lawn, and much more.
This episode is brought to you by HIMS, who would like to remind you that "Your needs are our solutions". Check out the E-Bot Video Magnifier, the Blaze EZ and ET reading solutions, the new Smart Beetle Braille Display and more by visiting the HIMS website. Or, follow them on Twitter.
We are also sponsored this week by Mystic Access, where the magic is in learning. You can save 10 percent on their new Victor Stream tutorial using our exclusive coupon code BBQ through June 21. To learn more about Mystic Access or get the tutorial, visit http://www.mysticaccess.com and follow them on Twitter
BB Qast Secret Sound
The PowerQube is an electrical power system that can charge up to 9 devices at once, and is one of the coolest gadgets we've seen. It features both AC and USB outlets, and they're all spaced far apart from each other so you don't end up with unused outlets. You can buy one now from SpeedDots, or win one from us with the BB Qast Secret Sound.
To enter, listen to this episode to hear the secret sound. Once you think you know what it is, go here to enter the contest. We'll pick one winner after June 28 to get the PowerQube. It's courtesy of http://www.SpeedDots.com and the BB Qast. Good luck.
During the show, we mentioned that Joe's father, Bill Steinkamp, passed away recently. If you would like to donate in memory of Bill, a scholarship fund has been set up for his granddaughter Adelynn Steinkamp. The fund is at Prosperity Bank, and the easiest way to donate is to contact the Hempstead branch by phone at (979) 826-2431.
In the News
With Apple and Android conferences out of the way, we've got a pile of assistive technology news to digest.
Meet Canute, a Multiline Braille Display for the Masses that's Being Tested Now It's likely we'll be hearing more about this one.
We've been talking about this since 2012, but alas, National Braille Press has recently published more information on the B2g. Looks like this one may finally be seeing the light of day.
And speaking of things that some have been waiting for for a long time, NLS Bard App Now Available for Android
Baum is enhancing the VarioUltra braille displays with a PowerPoint Viewer and Bluetooth Channel Affinity. The latter means that the same devices will live on the same Bluetooth channel when switching between them.
And meanwhile across the pond, Baum Continues Expansion with Imminent Launch of UK Office
First there was Voice Dream Reader and Writer, now there's Voice Dream Mail, an Email client which lets you read and reply to messages with your voice.
AI Squared now offers a subscription plan for ZoomText Mac where you can pay $19.99 per month.
A hashtag note:
@acbnational #acbcon15 presently returns no results; hence, we are suggesting use of this hash tag for this year's ACB convention in Dallas.
In case you're humming All About that Braille after hearing part of it on our show, you can listen to it from OSDJazz on SoundCloud.
Interview: Chris Maury, Say Shopping
Chris joined us to talk about SayApps, a platform which supports conversational voice-driven apps. Say Shopping, an app which lets you browse the Target.com website and place orders using your voice, will be in the iTunes App Store any day now. Chris gives us a demo of this app and talks about his vision for voice-enabled apps and how it might change the app landscape.
Here's more in the developer's words:
Say Shopping is a voice-enabled app that allows you to easily shop online. Built specifically for the blind and visually impaired, Say Shopping places the blind at the center of the design process, allowing for a simpler and overall more enjoyable shopping experience.
Shopping in general can be frustrating and time consuming. Say Shopping focuses on making your shopping experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. The Say Shopping app allows you to shop on your iPhone without leaving the comfort of your home. You can tell Say Shopping what products you want to buy, and the app will help you find the best option for your needs.
In addition to contacting him through the <sayapps.com> website, Chris is also on twitter
Ricky talks about TaskEasy, a website where you can hire people to do common maintenance tasks like mowing your lawn. She is especially impressed by the geographical coverage of this service versus others.
Thanks as always for your feedback and comments. Here's a few of our favs from this week.
First, Darknexus comments on the NLS app for Android:
About time. Been waiting for this for a while now. It seems a well-designed app, and I can't help think that the team developing the Android app cared more about quality than the iOS team did. I get crashes and slow response all over the iOS app on my iPad, but this Android version runs like a champ on my 2nd gen Moto G. They do have one thing in common though: neither version includes a sleep timer. Too bad, that. Also, they forgot to have the Android version respond to system play/pause events from headset buttons, though the iOS version eventually stops responding to those anyway.
@alimoosa191: I hope Buddy will be on the show again in the future.
We agree. It was a treat having him on the show last week.
@Ducktail: I know liblouis, and thereby NVDA isn't ready yet. What about the other major AT and production software?
@mehgcap: If you're still looking for topics, I was recently asked: Nemeth, UEB, or teach both? That's a whole show in itself. :)
Unified English Braille is a big deal, and a topic we may very well dive deeper into in the future. There's lots of unanswered questions related to UEB.
@bbrannan: Crowd fund for Buddy to get a Canute! Only kidding.
Let us know how that goes, man.
This Japanese artist is being ultra-creative with some amazing takes on the standard balloon animal. Reptiles, fish, insects, and even people.
Some places don't operate with the most modern of technology. The Grand Rapids Public Schools run much of their heating and AC systems on an 80's Commodore Amiga
Have a great week everybody, and don't forget to enter the Secret Sound contest.
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Re Android BARD app; it's great to have but I wish NLS would update the IOS app. It's still on version 1.0 nearly two years after its release when IOS 6 was current. There are bugs that need fixing and changes that need to be made. Kevin Barry
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.