Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Qast 134: Amber Vario Trio

This week we bring you a timely interview with David Bradburn, a person who is involved in one of the biggest stories of the year so far. We also have some great comments in the Sound Off" section, a tip and Joe finally talks about those iPhone chargers. The "Last Word" is Furby free. So relax and get ready for an amazing episode.

Sponsor: HIMS

Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

Also, read more about the Braille Sense Polaris in the January 2018 edition of "Access World"

Farewell to the Zone

If you haven't heard, the Zone BBS, a website which we started and ran for the past 15 years, was shut down last week. You can go to the home page to see some memories and farewell messages from users. There is also links to a Facebook and Reddit groups and a Twitter account which you can follow for any future developments. It's been a great ride.

Breaking News - Interview: David Bradburn

Friend of the show David Bradburn took time to talk with J.J. about the recent news with Baum. David is very candid about what is happening, what the possible path is moving forward and he gives an update about future support for existing customers. David also lets the cat out of the bag about which CSUN booth you can find him at next month. That is if we don't take him on as the new BBQ Food Critic first. Tune in to hear his thoughts on the current market and some real insights on the current trends in Braille Displays. We sincerely would like to thank David for his time and we hope this interview clears up any erroneous information that has been spreading about the company.

Remember, if you have questions, write Baum directly at and watch the official Baum USA site for further announcements.

In The Other News:

News about HR 620 has been falling between our scheduled recording sessions. However, we think everyone should be aware of what it is and why they need to speak with their Government representatives about how it may impact their lives. Below are two articles that explain what the bill is and where it stands as of the time of this recording.

Confrontation at the Capitol: The Fight to Stop H.R. 620

NBC News: {The GOP's H.R. 620 will gut the Americans With Disabilities Act, pushing disability rights back to 1989

If you want to learn more about this, or other access legal matters, you may want to visit Lainey Feingold's site on "Settlements in Structured Negotiation"

Announcing the Aira Employment Program

Hardware Review: iPhone 8 and 10 Charging Options

Joe picked up a Belkin Boost Up wireless charger and the official Apple 29 watt charger with Lightning to USB-C cable to see if rapid and wireless charging was all the rage. He was so impressed by both that it caused him to write this article about both charging options for the site. Joe gives J.J. an idea about the costs and setup of both chargers. And you should really look into one of these options if you have an iPhone 8, 8+ or X on hand.

Tip: Now Playing History For The Google Pixel 2

J.J. is really getting into the Pixel 2. He noted that the Google Assistant will listen for music in the area and notify you automatically what song was playing. but that wasn't enough for him. J.J. found this neat little app called Now Playing History that will capture this data and save it for later. You can then play the songs you heard in an Uber, at lunch at that trendy spot or even in the theater later on one of several music streaming sites.

Sound Off:

The tremendous feedback from episode 131 continues this week with two emails. First up, Ken Scott.

"Hi BBQ Team,

I am late in commenting on BBQ 131. I have no excuse or justification. I did enjoy this episode.

I am relieved that someone in the AT community Joe in this case does not subscribe to the idea that Window-Eyes lost the screen reader wars. A venture capital company in this case Vector if I heard Joe correctly bought out a successful competitor. I suggest that the members of the blind community that are supporters of Uber and Lyft seriously consider the implications of what Vector did for the screen reader community when it comes to ride share verses taxies for Uber and Lyft.

I am also relieved that someone beside myself has come to the conclusion that the developers of JAWS are devoted to supporting legacy applications at the expense of keeping up with current standards and practices. I probably am not correctly understanding Joe s comments about JAWS. If I am correctly understanding Joe s comments, JAWS users should realize that even U.S. government agencies and large U.S. corporations eventually update their I.T. infrastructures. JAWS may not be able to respond to these updates when they come along.

I beg to differ with Joe about economic advantage when it comes to AIRA. He pointed out that poor people not being able to drive and operate motor vehicles as a case of differences not meaning inequality. There is a serious critique within the transportation economic body of study that the current U.S. system of excluding the poor who are otherwise able to operate motor vehicles or providing an effective alternative to owning/operating a motor vehicle create a profound inequality issue given the U.S dependents on individually owned and operated motor vehicles to meet basic transportation needs. This pretty much destroys Joe s argument against inequality by analogy for AIRA.

I also have to point out that there are extensive studies showing that there are large numbers of unlikeness and uninsured poor drivers using old highly polluting vehicle, because they have no choice: provide for their families or starve.

I also have to beg to differ with Chancey when it comes to VFO s acquisition of the Paciello Group. She attempted to present as a potential positive the idea that consultancies working with the same corporation that has other service agreements could provide synergies. My reply is Enron and Arthur Anderson. For those who do not know the history, there was strong evident that the consultancy arm of Arthur Anderson encouraged the accounting arm of the same company to fudge the books for Enron. We do not have conclusive proof as Arthur Anderson went bankrupt before a final legal finding. There are other cases that suggest that combining consultancy with other services is a bad idea.

Best Regards,

Next, Darrell Hilliker has some fantastic thoughts about AIRA.

"Hi Blind Bargains Team,

I just finished listening to episode 131, and, wow!

Here are my thoughts on Aira as a totally-blind husband and father of a busy toddler.

Although it is not perfect, Aira has been revolutionary for our family!

It ultimately comes down to this...

There seem to be about a million and one tasks that absolutely require some level of sighted assistance: accessing print medical records, fixing the settings on inaccessible electronics, identifying medications, reading the mail, etc. Etc. Etc...

I am talking about those situations where having sighted help is our only option in order to achieve success.

Prior to Aira, getting this kind of help required that I schedule a specific time with a specific sighted person, and, in some cases, that I pay a specific amount of money, in order to get the job done.

Although I could sometimes Facetime a friend or relative, most of these scenarios also required that I invite some stranger into my home.

In the case of friends and relatives, sometimes, the need for help changed the nature of the relationships.

All this required extensive juggling and planning, and sometimes higher executive management functions like hiring and firing, in order to just do the thing we wanted to do!

That's just about all over now that Aira's around...

Instead of the previous crazy planning, all I need to do whenever I need a bit of sighted help is open the app, get the glasses ready (if necessary) and press what I like to call the Aira button.

In about 30 seconds, I am connected to someone who can work with me to accomplish the task at my convenience and on my terms.

I think the value of this capability is simply incalculable!

Does Aira break accessibility? Heck, yes! Owners of kiosks, websites and other inaccessible tech may decide they no longer have to insure their products and services are accessible to blind people, since we can, after all, use that new-fangled Aira thing to get help.

On the other hand, ultimately, what it all comes down to is that I just need to get things done!

If I can do an important task in a few minutes with an Aira agent, that's far more productive than waiting days or weeks to schedule a sighted helper, or potentially months or years to fight a protracted accessibility battle.

I do realize this is bad in a way, because, ultimately, I will likely forget about some of the accessibility battles that need to be fought, file fewer official complaints, write fewer letters, etc.

Remember, I've got my hands full!

Then there's the concern over teaching the use of Aira in blindness training programs.

If this is done at all, it should be explored near the end of a person's program, when they have largely achieved all their other goals.

Accessing information using hardcopy Braille, computers and smart phones, managing one's home using alternative blindness techniques and traveling independently using the long white cane should always be emphasized first and foremost in any quality blindness training program long before the introduction of remote sighted assistance technologies like Aira, or even Be My Eyes, Bespecular, Seeing AI, TapTapSee, etc.

I guess the one positive aspect of Aira in a training center is that we're returning to the old-fashioned skill of learning how to "use a reader." In other words, we're learning when and how to most effectively leverage sighted help to get visual jobs done!"

Thanks to both ken and Darrell for their comments about episode 131. We really enjoy hearing these views and we'll keep featuring them as they come in as it provides some great contrast to what we said within that portion of the program. Joe noted during this email that there was another deep look at the business aspects of the A.T. Industry that popped up up on the net this week. If you are interested, or if you want to learn more about investment language, you may want to take a gander at this OrCam article and their drive to IPO.

Lastly, let's get an update on the arrival of the Orbit Reader from Stan...

"Feb 14 (5 days ago)

I wanted to keep you informed about my experience with the orbit 20
reader. Luckily, it has been a case of so far so good with respect to
sticking pins on my orbit 20 braille display. I received my unit at
about 4:38 pm yesterday afternoon pacific time. After letting my unit
charge up I've only had a little time to test the unit. I haven't had
any pins stick. The only time that I ever had any slight issue is
when I put my fingers on the display too quickly as the unit was
refreshing. I really love the feel of the braille because it is so
crisp and sharp. It is important to be patient with the refresh rate."

Last Word:

A new mythical phone and J.J. brings the noise for this week's internet distractions.
A little NSFW, Introducing The Banana X phone
Ember Trio - Hip Hop Medley Violin and Cello Cover

Thanks to Tom dekker for speaking about our show on AMI's "Kelli And Company". Check out AMI's new iOS and Apple TV apps. Here's a look at the new app's features from AMI itself.

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Length: 69:53

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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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