Spoiler warning, as we thought, this episode is full of event talk. Jeff Bishop, who just so happened to be on the actual Microsoft Campus during the big event in NYC, gives his impressions on many of our technology topics. We also managed to fit in some news and a "Last Word" too. So grab your dongles, sit back and relax while we discuss Apple and Microsoft.
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In The News:
The election is Tuesday in the U.S. and there are at least two numbers you can call if you have issues.
"The National Federation of the Blind will host an Election Day hotline that blind and low vision voters, poll workers, and voting rights advocates can call when problems with accessible voting technology or other barriers are preventing a blind voter from casting a private and independent ballot. The hotline will be available on November 8, 2016, by calling 1-877-632-1940 from 7 a.m. EST to 7 p.m. PST."
Election Protection also offers a hotline providing election assistance which you can access by calling 866-OUR-VOTE.
Discussion topic #1: Microsoft Surface Event
Jeff gives us an idea of what it is like to be in Washington the week before Halloween. We understood it to be somewhat rainy. Then we move on to talk about what is in store for the next Windows 10 update with just a few sprinkles of hardware talk on top. Below are some of the articles mentioned in this portion of the show.
Discussion Topic #2: Apple Macbook Event
Hmm, a lot has happened since we recorded this particular episode. The Cubs won the World Series of Baseball, 15 more reasons for wanting the U.S. election cycle to end arrived, and then there was the fury being vented on every social media outlet upon the new MacBook Pro. A lot of the news from the run up to this event can be found in the October Apple Rundown. However, because there was so much that transpired after our recording, here are even more items that coincide with the aftermath of the event.
How many times a month do you place your hand in the mailbox only to pull out a gigantic pile of newspaper? I know, that isn't really newspaper, or even liners for a bird cage, it is the collection of weekly ad circulars that many find useful. With Flipp for iOS -- sorry Android users, this one isn't Talkback friendly, you can now get an idea of just what is printed on all that stuff destined for the recycling bin. Now this app isn't 100% fully read by Voiceover. However, if the community reaches out to this developer, it could be an amazing tool for reading the weekly ads and flyers for many retailers in your local area. As it is now, at the time of this recording, you can skim through these circulars and even clip their coupons. The app is free from the App Store for iOS and we think that it has potential.
This is the email that Joe mentioned in episode 79, in regards to the Instant Pot, that unfortunately did not get posted in that show's notes.
"Hello Ricki and Jage,
Thank you very much for your demonstration of the Instant Pot. This device was recommended to us by another blind couple and we just purchased it a couple of weeks ago following our wedding. We have the bluetooth Smart Cooker. I find it very simple to use, there are tons of scripts and recipes out there and we are thoroughly enjoying this new kitchen gadget. So far, we have made rice, chili and cooked two whole chickens in it, and everything has come out perfectly so far. It is really quite something to have a whole chicken cooked in about 30-45 minutes without much fuss. The cheesecake is definitely on my to-do list.
You mentioned that accessibility seemed to be a thought that they had in designing these units. Although I do agree, and appreciate how simple it is to use, I don't think this is true. It's accessibility by accident, or at least that's the official takeaway. The documentation says that the device is not to be used by people with physical or sensory impairments without supervision. I have a problem with that type of statement, of course, and I'm sure that it is simply to cover their legal bases, but this is why I cannot say that the device was intended to be accessible. Nonetheless, we will be using my device, and there will only be two blind people here when that is happening. Certainly there are a couple of things around safety that need to be considered, but these should not warrant a statement like that. Besides that sour note, everything else about the unit would receive an A+ grade from me, and I would still recommend it - just be aware that you will be on your own if something happens while using it, but I am completely confident in the built in safety features of the product and am not concerned.
Victor and Marcia"
The Last Word:
We only had time for one story, so you know it was going to be about food, cats or music.
Canwich, a sandwich in a can
Oh and we almost forgot. Escape the Election from the Weather Channel
We still have our second part of the interview with Ginny Owens, our review of the new Google Home device and the Black Friday Holiday Special airing this month. The year might be winding down, but we'll ride it out in style!
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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.