The BBQ Crew is back with another fabulous interview from Google i/o that places your virtual focus squarely on Android P and TalkBack. The news section is back with a vengeance, the Last Word stays true to the topics that have come to define the segment and Sound Off sports a fascinating status update from an infamous show note commenter. I got a feelin that tonight is going to be a good show. A good, good show.
In The News:
Interview: Google Accessibility Suite, TalkBack And Read Aloud
We return to Google i/o where J.J. caught up with Brian Kemler, Product Manager for Android Accessibility, and Victor Tsaran, Technical Program Manager on Android Accessibility Services, to talk about upcoming changes in Android P. The interview then expands scope to encompass features in the OCR Read Aloud feature and how it all ties into the future of the Google Accessibility Suite. Google Lookout and Google lens also gets a short mention. And so, does BrailleBack. It is one you don't want to miss if you are considering jumping head first into the public betas of Android P.
Tip: NVDA Settings Are About To Have A Makeover
J.J. gives us a quick look at the changes that will be coming in the NVDA 2018.2 release in relation to how you will b able to adjust common settings. That s right, the old Preferences/Settings is about to feel new and improved in the next release. Tune in to learn what is new in case you aren't interested in downloading the Master or Next builds of the screen reader.
Bob & Margrit, we like to think they sit at opposite ends of a computer keyboard like it was a piano, wrote in with their thoughts about the new Victor Reader Trek.
"Hi Guys and sometimes Gals,
I regularly listen to your podcast. It is always interesting and greatly helpful in keeping me informed as to what s out there in the way of assistive technology .
In your most recent podcast you spoke of adding Humanware products to your line-up, so I thought I should pass along my recent experience with Victor Trek.
First, let me say that I have purchased many Humanware devices over several years. I have been generally satisfied with their offerings within the limited choices available to blind users. In particular, with the exception of it s speech engine, I have only praise for the Victor Reader Stream which I ve been using for four or more years. Also, until now, I ve been highly satisfied with Humanware s technical support. Therefore, it is not surprising that I was among the first to pre-order the Reader Trek when I heard about it last year. I received mine in December and soon found that it would not create motorized routes. Over several long waits on the phone during the following months without any success, I eventually was advised that there was a software glitch which they were working on and that there was a forthcoming update that would fix the problem. I ve since had three software updates and a new map and the unit still isn t working as it should. It will now sometimes create a motorized route if it is no longer than 60 miles but, in other cases, it will simply fail even within a shorter radius.
I'm surprised, given that Humanware isn t exactly a newcomer to GPS devices, that they haven t been able to solve the problem. Fortunately, the unit has so much functionality beyond navigation that I ve held my breath while hoping there will eventually be a solution and it will operate as advertised.
I listen to a number of podcasts and I m somewhat surprised that others have not commented on the same problem. I m also surprised that others have not commented on the poor quality of its speech engine (thank heaven it has a spell mode) but one would think that in 2018 they ought to be able to do better.
I close by saying that I hate to gripe and, therefore, seldom do, but this is not an inexpensive device and Humanware is not a fledgling company. I also have more to do in life than hanging on the telephone waiting for tech support. Therefore, nuff said, I m done venting.
Do keep up the good things you do. Cheers, Bob Fallis
We have a message in to Humanware, and it appears the route bug may be fixed soon. Stay tuned.
Orko has left us a few comments in the pages of show notes during 2018. They tend to spark some great conversations and this week is no different. Check out the pair of musings below for the latest in an ongoing topic and then another about a speaker recommendation.
"I'm back! This time with an update on my experiences with Aira. I have just canceled my subscription with them and will be going back to Be My Eyes and Be Specular. The reason is because of a number of problems that ultimately Aira didn't seem inclined to correct, which I felt was unacceptable for a paid service. The first problem was the equipment they sent me, from day one it was always reporting a poor signal, but never identified which signal was the problem, which makes it difficult to troubleshoot since three wireless devices are involved. Nothing I did ever resolved the poor signal reports. Then when I tried using the glasses and the MyFi in a call to Aira, the agent reported that the video kept cutting in and out making it unusable, and eventually the connection with the agent was lost. All during this call I kept getting messages about the connection being lost, then reacquired, then lost again, and so on. When I complained about this to Aira, they blamed AT&T and promissed to send me a MyFi that used Verizon instead. That MyFi never appeared and I don't believe it was ever sent. More to the point, AT&T is the cell phone carrier I use and when I tried calling Aira using just my phone from the same location where their equipment failed, the call worked without a problem prooving to me that AT&T wasn't the problem. I continued to complain about the non functional equipment, and this time was told that I would be put on a priority list to be one of the first to get the new Horizon glasses. That wasn't followed through either, just like the promissed replacement MyFis. As you know they just released a small quantity of the Horizon glasses to the first 200 explorers to respond, I responded figuring that if I was actually going to be given priority as they had stated, that I'd be one of the 200 to get the new glasses in June. Nope! No subsequent email indicating that I had qualified, so obviously, just like the replacement MyFi, being given priority because of the equipment problems was yet another deception or promis that wasn't followed through. Then, two weeks ago I notice that the app is showing that I used way more minutes than I have actually used, it also shows that I appear to not be the only one using my account, which shouldn't be the case. When I inquired about this, I was first told that they would look into it and call me back, they never did. In fact a number of calls to customer service I have placed when nobody answered were never returned. So I inquired again, and this time I was told that it was a known bug in the app. I wonder, is it really a bug or just an underhanded trick to get people to sign up for plans with more minutes than they really need? They sure don't seem to worried about fixing this bug either way. At the end of it all I simply decided that all of these problems, especially the apparent deceptions, and the calls not being returned, were simply not acceptable in a paid service, so I have canceled my subscription. In six months time or a year, I will reconsider signing up with them again, but for now, they have some problems that need addressing before I'll spend any more money on them. It's too bad, I really liked the service."
And here is the second comment on the Polk Bit Boom.
"David, thanks a bunch for your remarks about the Polk Audio Bit Boom speaker, I had been looking for something just like it for use with my own Trek and this little gadget is perfect! Thumbs up to you and the Blind Bargains group for this tip."
Food and an upcoming marathon 55 year in the making crosses all of time and space this week.
Classic Doctor Who comes to Twitch for seven-week marathon
Not a Drill: Peanut Butter And Cocoa Pebbles Now Exist
Texas teens pose for prom photos at Whataburger
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Hi guys! Hey! It's nice to hear that both of you are back, safe and sound. So, I'm infamous? Interesting, I can think of a lot of ways to describe myself, but I don't think I'd have ever chosen that one, but it fits, in a way, I was born on December 7th, just not in that year. LOL! Regarding your comments in 146, I do know what it is to be an early adoptor, heck, I was on the phone to Humanware as soon as I heard about the Trek and knew that it was a Stream with GPS added to place my preorder. And it does have a few problems, but none are show stoppers for me, and the ones I've encountered had work arounds or simple quick fixes. For Aira, it wasn't the technical issues that turned me away, I could get around the equipment problems by just calling them with my phone and waiting for the Horizon glasses. Considering the number of moving pieces you had to manage to use them, I only used them when I absolutely needed hands free use of Aira, which wasn't all that often. The thing that was the straw that broke the camel's back and resulted in me canceling my subscription was being made promises at least three or four times that were never kept. To me that's not the way to treat a paying customer. I only wish that I had had a way to contact the CEO so that I could make sure that management is made aware of this problem. I suspect that this case, and the broken promises will never reach managements awareness so that they can be properly dealt with and resolved. Time will tell. Take care and be safe. Orko...
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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.