Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Qast 130: CES To The Max

Happy New Year and welcome to the first show of 2018. Traditionally, if you are a long time fan, you know the first show has been reserved for a glance back at the previous year's AT news. However, due to crazy schedules on everyone's part here at BBQ, we'll delay that look over our shoulder and talk about it as the focus for episode 131. This week we will assume the Discussion Topic" format as we cover J.J.'s recent trip to Vegas for the 2018 Consumer Electronic Show and Joe's review of the 12 pound Google Home Smart Speaker. We also have a tip, some quick thoughts in "Sound Off" and our first "Last Word of the year. This one is a little longer than usual because there was just so much to talk about.

Sponsor: HIMS

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Discussion Topic: CES 2018

This year the big show in Las Vegas sported the ability to filter the more than 4,000 booths by an actual Accessibility track option. J.J. talks about how that worked and how some companies fit under that new banner. He also offers a few suggestions of vendors to be on the lookout for during the year.

J.J. sat in a bus from Accessible Olly,
[APH showed off the full-size Graphiti.
Robotix Learning Solutions are the makers of the TACO Playbits and TACO Robobrix educational learning tools. They also offer the Phiro the robot that teaches kids to learn robotics, coding, computational thinking and problem-solving skills in a fun and easy way.
are the creators of The world s smartest tape measure

Vditory! states that their mission is: "Aiding from the low vision to the completely blind users in living an independent and disability-free life"

Qwertyfree is a gesture-based keyboard for iOS

XYZ Printing offers a cool-touch 3D pen under $50

Eyesynth is working on alternative User interface options that involve soundscapes using Aftershokz

Ultra Haptics are haptics using puffs of air to simulate button presses and gesture based swipes

beltmap is a wearable vibrating belt that allows you to feel where to go next or detect objects in your path

Makerbuino is a retro styled Arduino video game console that J.J. thought Joe might want to know about

Joe, on the outside looking into the fishbowl that J.J. was swimming around in Vegas, thought these mainstream stories were interesting.

CES 2018: Everything is too complicated

Apple s Indirect Presence Fades from CES

All the new HomeKit gear unveiled at CES 2018

Google takes on Echo Show with four new smart displays

This Bluetooth Air Filter Will Tell You Just How Filthy Your Air Is

Netflix hid a fake biotech booth in the middle of CES

Smart Toilet Kohler announces Konnect, its line of premium smart appliances

Sennheiser s first soundbar has 13 speakers and sounds amazing

Amazon s Fire TV OS is a total no-show at CES 2018

Audio company Klipsch announces two mid-century modern speakers with Google Assistant

Industry players say self-driving cars are years away

Hardware Review: Google Home Max

Joe talks about how his holidays were filled with music. Music that the neighbors could enjoy as the Google Home Max is really loud. J.J. asks Joe about his review and drills down on some of the setup process, what sounded best and just who is this smart speaker best for in what is about to be a very crowded marketplace.


Thanks to James Teh, now at Firefox, who mentioned this one in a recent tweet. Use Windows plus the letter V to hear those notifications that can pop up in Windows 10 from time to time. Joe shows J.J. that he can read a Dropbox notification by using this handy Windows hotkey.

Sound Off:

Rhonda Hornbacher writes in,


individuals to provide information on cruising as a person who is blind. My husband and I have taken 3 cruises since 2012. We have cruised to Hawaii, Alaska and various islands in the Caribbean..

On a whim, I decided to request audio description services for our 2012 cruise to Hawaii and I was surprised to receive a describer. Since then I have requested and received describers for both of the other cruises.

If you would like to know more just let me know.

I would be interested in your cruise experience too.

Have an awesome day,
Rhonda, who also lives in Charlotte:

Three more of Joe's friends on social media happened to take a cruise since we aired episode 128. It seems to be a trend. We don't have an air date in mind just yet though. so, stay tuned.

cW, not to be confused by "The CW" TV Network, left us a comment on Joes story regarding the launch of the audio RPG "A Hero's Call".

"I got the game yesterday. All I can say, without giving anything away, is that it is worth the money. So far, it appears to be the kind of game I like. Most if not all of the problems I had with FPS games in the past is the hand ear thing. Ok, that is not that big of a problem for me. What I really like about this game is that I can think through my actions within battle and be reasonably sure the action I took is the best one. Whereas swamp, I am running away until I have a good plan of attack before I turn and strike. Different styles of play where neither is bad. A Hero's Call basically, for me, is a lay back kind of game where I can ease my way through it with enjoyment while thinking about the clues I have been given via asking about town. Anyway can someone get Liam Erven on talking about his favorite parts of the game. I, personally, would like to see if he can talk about his favorite parts without giving away any hints and or spoilers. I have found that the overall sound scape of the game to be good. Is sound scape the right term here? Anyway, it sounds good so far and the background music is a plus. If anyone asks me, I would say that it is a text adventure put into a first person audio game. That might not describe it well, but that is sort of what it reminds me of. Anyway. Love the game and can t wait for this to be covered in BBQ."

this game is so, so good. But it might not be for everyone. Be sure to check out BBQ Regular Liam Erven's YouTube demo if you need to get an extended look at the game before you commit to a purchase.

Last Word:

Before we begin the links bit, here is a mashup tune Joe had been saving for J.J..
Amazon is now offering a monthly Oreo Subscription

The 9 Absolute Weirdest Gadgets We Saw at CES This Year

We are only two months away from San Diego. That is so hard to believe. Then, if you let your mind drift, we are six months away from the major conventions. yep, that is half the year down already. We like to plan ahead. Still, before we can move ahead, we'll look back at the year that was 2017. have a great week everyone!

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Displaying 1 comment.
cw Friday, 26-Jan-2018 09:29 AM ET:

First of all, I agree with joe when it comes to people trying to stilling A Hero's Call. Here people will go out and buy a pizza and have it delivered for about $20 but yet they will try to get around not paying for a computer game? That is just not the right thing to do. Now for CES, I found it itneresting that the power when off there. Here it seems like voice control typed stuff was being showed off, or should I say show how worthless they can be without power. Of all the things talked about on this podcast, the google home max currently got my eye per say. Speaking of speakers and the like, I wonder if we will see a apple home pod review some time in the future? As for Sennheiser s first soundbar, I hope it sounds as good as their HD380pro headphones. I am currently not in the market for new speakers but I can only dream.

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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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