So much for that pre-CSUN news drought. Seems we have a whole mess of news to talk about before we get to our feature interview on Dictation Bridge with Lucy Greco. Liam, our Gadget Guy, is back to answer some questions our listeners sent in about the Amazon Echo. Plus, learn about an accessible March madness promotion we have going which might net you an A T Guys prize. And somewhere in there is our "Last Word" and "Sound Off". it is an action-packed episode of the Blind Bargains Qast!
In The News:
Interview: Lucy Greco and Dictation Bridge
Typing using your voice has been possible in Windows for many years, but existing solutions have either been cumbersome, unreliable, or downright expensive. Dictation Bridge seeks to change this with a completely free and open-source project which will allow users to dictate using their voice using Microsoft's built-in Windows tools or a variety of Dragon products. We're joined by Lucy Greco, a member of the Dictation Bridge team, who explains what the forthcoming software will do and how it differs from current solutions. The project seeks to raise their money through crowdfunding and will soon launch a campaign to raise $20,000 to fund development costs. And the lead developer? A smart programmer you may have heard of by the name of Matt Campbell. In addition to the website linked above, you can learn more about Dictation Bridge by following @freedbsocial on Twitter.
Lucy is also on Twitter at @accessaces and has a similarly-named blog.
After Echo With Liam The Gadget Guy
Shortly after episode 54 was recorded, Amazon released two new models of the Echo. Liam is back to explain what's new with those devices and he answers some questions that came in as a result of everyone's interest for more Alexa info. But that's not all, oh no. Add some skill to your game with Alexa by reading this article.
Check out last week's Qast for our extended look at the Amazon Echo. If you have more Echo questions, be sure to send them in.
Tip: Siri and the The Friendly Skies
What flights are above me? J.J. demonstrates a Siri feature that has been around for a long time but is still fun to play with.
Play Accessible March Madness and Win!
It's time for March Madness at Blind bargains and the BB Qast. Yahoo! has recently made their iOS Tourney Pick'em March Madness app accessible, so we thought it'd be a great time to run our own pool. Plus, one lucky person may win a $64 gift certificate to A T Guys. That is, if you can beat Joe and J.J. with your picks.
Here's how it works. First, Go to Yahoo! to sign up for the game. You can do this now, even though the teams have not been announced yet. Then, on March 13, go back and make your picks. We recommend you use the accessible iOS app though the web-based interface or Android app may work as well. The iOS one is app we know is accessible. Be sure to enter your bracket into the Blind Bargains pool. Note you can also enter the sitewide contest for a chance at $50,000. If your bracket is the best in our pool and also scores higher than Joe and J.J.'s bracket, the gift certificate is yours. Even if you're not a big sports fan, you should enter the contest. Sometimes, trained monkeys have submitted better ballots than huge sports fans, so anyone can win. Good luck.
The show was full to the brim with info this week. Therefore, we only covered a few remarks. First up, from the treaty story in the news section, Dark nexus chimed in with two reflections.
"The only problem with the specialized format bit is that these organizations want to produce everything in DAISY, rather than a mainstream format like ePub which is more versatile. So-called specialized formats limit what devices we can use to access the material, and the methods we can use to do so. Otherwise I support this initiative wholeheartedly."
"Something just occurred to me. The ACB and NFB are actually agreeing on something. Coupled with Microsoft releasing SQL Server for Linux of all things, I really feel like I blinked and, in that small space of time, completely missed the apocalypse. I really wanted to see it, too."
MattFromFlorida let us know his thoughts on the episode 54 comments section.
"Hi, I have had the Amazon Echo since 2015 and love it and use it for all kind of things. The one thing I really recommend is that you get the remote! One it stops you from having to yell at the Echo . Also you don t have to say Alexa every time, as it has a button on the remote and just tap and hold it and speak normal into the remote. This really comes in handy especially when you are in another room or the TV is going and you need to ask her something. Also the remote gives you the ability to stop and start and fast forward and rewind and turn the volume up or down. It comes in handy when stopping the alarm or timer. So I highly recommend getting the remote with it. By for"
Food and funny phone lines. Yep, it's just another trip down memory lane with the "Last Word".
Fast Food in Space: Remembering McDonalds Star Trek Meals (1979)
And, we call Little Caesar's compliment line, at 855-Talk-Deep.
One last show before we begin the deluge of mp3 files that is our CSUN 2016 coverage. Will next week be a slow news day or a jam-packed free-for-all? We won't know until you hear, and we produce, episode 56. At this point it could go either way.
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I am attempting to enter the March Madness contest, and have signed in to Yahoo and downloaded the necessary appp on ios. I see a ton of unlabeled buttons when I try to make my picks. I am not finding an easy way to use the website either. I am sure I am missing something obvious, so those of you who have managed to choose your brackets, how did you do it? Thanks for any words of wisdom.
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Joe Steinkamp is no stranger to the world of technology, having been a user of video magnification and blindness related electronic devices since 1979. Joe has worked in radio, retail management and Vocational Rehabilitation for blind and low vision individuals in Texas. He has been writing about the A.T. Industry for 15 years and podcasting about it for almost a decade.