Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Qast 63: Guardian Guide Cats

News about conventions, a timely tip plus a couple of music clips in the "last Word"... you would think we might be back to a regular series of shows or something. Don't worry, "Summer is coming" and that will put a damper on that for a bit. until then, sit back and relax with episode 63 including an interview with the app developer of "Guardian Circle".

In The News:

Google Posts Video of 140 Developer Talks from #IO16 including 3 Focusing on Accessibility

American Council of the Blind Convention Pre-registration is now Open

A Mock Election: We Tested 3 Modern Voting Machines for Accessibility

The Perkins School for the Blind and Raizlabs Aim to Solve the Last Inch Problem with GPS

Dictation Bridge Makes Prototype Available for all Users

Startup Disrupter Robinhood Makes their iOS Stock Trading App Accessible

A Free way to Gain Access to Skills to Make you More Employable is now Available
Free Access to Digital Accessibility Courses for People with Disabilities from Deque

Interview: Guardian Circle

As they put it, Guardian Circle is "A free app that lets friends, family and neighbors protect each other." It's ideal for situations where you may need some help but calling 911 would be just a bit overboard. It's available now for iOS and Android and accessible with screen readers. We speak with founder Mark Jeffrey about the app and its possible uses especially for someone who is blind or visually impaired. In addition to the website, Guardian Circle is on Twitter @Guardian_Circle


The latest release candidate of NVDA will now alert you to spelling errors as you type. J.J. demonstrates how this feature works and also how to turn it off in case you find it annoying.

Sound off:

John Wesley Smith left us this comment on the show notes page for episode 62 shortly after its release. he wasn't the only one who ran into this of course. But remember, with Windows 10's initial install and up to 30 days after that, you can roll back to your previous OS if you need to for whatever reason.

"Hey Guys, I was one of those who got caught by the automatic update to Windows 10. I wish this stuff wouldn't happen so late at night. It happened May 15th, and it created a bit of chaos the first couple of days; but for the most part it hasn't created the nightmare I expected. I wouldn't have chosen to upgrade until later, but now that it's here, I'll stick with it. I don't plan on rolling it back to Windows 7. I figure that would create more problems than dealing with the changes. There are still several things to tweak along the way, but I'll cross those bridges when I get there."

Next, Luis has some thoughts on Ride hailing apps;

"Greetings BBQ Hosts,
I would like to comment on the Uber topic you discussed in episode 61. I know we as blind individuals would like to be treated equal and not have a company go out of their way to accommodate us. As if they forgot about us, and at the last moment added accessibility to the blind. I know what I am going to say won t be favored by most, but here goes anyways.
I don t see why the constant suing of share rides for discrimination. We say we want to be treated equal, but when a service like Uber denies a ride to one with a guide dog. We cry bloody murder. When they had put out Uber Assist, which is meant for riders with disabilities and not just the blind. After talking to some of my local Uber drivers. They commented that hardly anyone with a disability uses Uber Assist. And many of the Uber Assist drivers are properly trained to deal with people with disabilities, including those with guide dogs. However, Uber Assist is slowly dying. Not because Uber doesn t want to give that service anymore. But because the people using Uber Assist are people that have no disability and thus those drivers are loosing money. Because of the area that I am at, the area is all spread out. So when one uses Uber Assist, they go from one side of town to another. Normally drivers wouldn t mind because they understand that Para Transit isn t always reliable. But just like with a flavor of M&Ms or ships, if the flavor isn t a hit. Then it gets pulled. Same as Uber Assist, if not many disabled riders use Uber Assist. Not Uber, but the drivers will volunteer to drive that service. And go back to drive for regular Uber where the money is made.
One final thing. I have seen on FaceBook and Twitter about fake service animals. And again, I m going to mentioned that the following may not set too well with some. But some of the guide dog handlers are responsible for the fake service animals. Even though they are the ones behind the campaign to stop fake service animals. The reason for that statement is, after talking to a Lyft driver and asking him about service animals vs fake service animals. He mentioned, because of some people getting offended when they ask for something extra to prove that the animal is legit. The person complains to the office, and all it takes is one complain before the driver gets pulled from the service. They don t even check if the harness is a legit harness that a service animal would be waring. So, because of all of this rules and laws of what a public place or service can or can t ask. A lot of companies don t even ask anymore about the service animal, because they are afraid of getting sued. Which then gives all service animal handlers a tough time when encountering these fake service animals.
Great job on the podcasts, keep up the awesome work."

Thank you sir! Perhaps Lyft's latest feature to schedule a ride up to 24 hours from when you want it could have a checkbox for assistance needs? And if Uber would follow along and copy that from Lyft? Well here's hoping that could happen as it may help all sides involved and move us one step closer to no longer relying on community-funded transit for some types of rides.

Lastly, because we've mentioned our friends "Down Under" a few times, a podcast recommendation from Steve Pattison;


I just thought I'd pass on this link to a podcast on SoundCloud called "The DC Washup Podcast" in case you want to mention it and put it in the show notes for a future edition of the Blind Bargains Cast. The podcast comes from a group of Australian correspondents from the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) who are currently living in the USA and they discuss US politics from an Australian perspective. A new episode comes out just about weekly. There are 14 episodes available so far. They plan to release episodes regularly up until the presidential election later this year.

Feel free to mention this on your podcast if you like and to edit my message for clarity etcetera if necessary.

I really look forward to hearing each edition of the Blind Bargains Cast and find the information each edition contains interesting and informative."

Last Word:

Cats and music once again dominate the last part of the show... okay, the internet too.
Pink Panther in a Major Key
Spongebob West
Pickles the guide cat helps visually impaired owner around the house

WWDC is only a few weeks away. We'll see if next week holds more rumors in the run up to that event. Have a great week everyone!

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Category: News
Displaying 2 comments.
cw Saturday, 28-May-2016 11:11 AM ET:

I have a bit of a tip for those who know they do not want the upgrade to ten at this time. Not automatically installing recommended updates helps of course, but there is the never10 program over on that might prove useful to some. The warning of being careful about what you are doing goes without saying. For a while, I used the program called GWX control panel. Seeing that I am running a windows seven machine with jaws v15 as my main screen reader, it goes without saying that windows 10 is not really free for me is an understatement. I could switch over to NVDA. Speaking of NVDA, I do need to give it some more attention. As for what some of these devices are doing about their upgrades, it basically comes down to a question of where you store your data. If you store your data in the cloud, then the risk of deleting things to install the next OS may not be that big of a problem. On the other hand, if you store your data on your hard drive, then you will want to do a backup of some kind before a major jump, like from windows 7 to windows 10. From what I understand, I could be wrong, is that the best install of windows is a clean install. Now for another subject. Thanks for the cat story. That was one amusing story to say the least. Guide cats, that is something I got to see. Now to another story. The whole voting machine story is something that everyone in the US needs to be aware of for sure seeing that voting is coming up fast in November. I know I would love to have a good one at the place I vote at. I really hate having someone else vote for me. Yes, I always do everything that I can to make sure that I have someone that will vote the way I want them to vote for me. Without a good way for us to vote will mean that we are at the mercy of others. As far as I am concerned, we should have a voice when it comes to running our country. I am pretty sure that the same could be said for other countries too. Now for the google story. Google is for sure in the news, and at a good time too. It is time for me to update to a new phone. I know I am going to have to get a new phone, but I am looking at android and IOS. I have an idea what one I will go with, but the google stuff is making me think about their platform at the very least and to think it is cross platform… Anyway, I will have to go watch the video to see what they are focusing on, or at least what they are telling their Developers.

Bargain Hound Tuesday, 31-May-2016 10:50 AM ET:

Guardian Circle is great. Just remember: Be very careful going to the hospital using a friend or a ride sharing or cab service. When I had bad stomach pain 2 years ago, I was certain it was gallbladder and I went by EMS, due to the slim but present possibility of a gallbladder rupture, a friend or transportation service driver couldn't have helped me if anything had happened. Also, you get seen much more quickly if you go by ambulance, which doesn't mean you just do that to get seen faster, it must be serious to go by EMS. Turns out my gallbladder was so inflamed that I had to be on IV antibiotics for a few days before surgery, thankfully they could do it laparoscopically. Beth

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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.

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