Monday, 26 May 2014

Talking Tech for May 27 2014¬

Some Podcasts from Vision Australia to Add to your Podcast Catcher (such as iTunes etc)


As promised last week, here are a few podcasts for you to download or stream from Vision Australia. I have also put in the link for  Talking Tech as well.  Most of the podcast names are self explanatory, but Hear This is the podcast from the Vision Australia Library, and Talking Vision is a podcast on news and interviews in relation to the blind or low vision community.





Hear This


Talking Tech


Talking Vision

Luis Perez Presentation's at Vision Australia Sydney and Brisbane May 2014

More than 100 people who are blind or have low vision gathered in Sydney (Enfield) and Brisbane (Coorparoo) to hear from Luis Perez, an American educator, author, presenter and inclusive learning consultant with a passion for accessibility and universal design.


Use the following links to listen to either presentation.






The OwnFone Braille


Produced by 3d printing technology, can have from 2 to 4 Braille buttons which will call preset numbers set by the purchaser when the phone is made, can have colours and pictures on the phone, and currently is available in the UK for $60 but company looking at expanding internationally.


In Australia, the OwnFone is currently sold for seniors and children strting from $70 with either a pre-paid or paid plan.  On the Australian website, it is noted that the Braille button based phone will be coming soon.


The first following link is to the Australian website for the Seniors or children’s phone, and the 2nd link is an article about the Braille addition of the OwnFone.


 yThese bone conduction head phones have been previously available in a wired version, and now the 2nd version of the Bluetooth model.


I think the bottom line to this review, is that given the cost of the ear phones, it is a good idea to try them out first, and there are some quirky issues with VoiceOver and Siri with the audio.


Hands On with LG’s Heart Rate monitor Ear Phones - From TechHive


These ear phones sound interesting, besides the thing you stick in your ear and wrap a wire around your ear.  Can monitor on a smart phone, but I have know idea if the app is accessible for blind or low vision folks.


BEM Wireless Speaker Band - From TUAWB


This is a Bluetooth wireless speaker which like the name suggests, is on a band that you can ware on your wrist.


If features a speaker beneath a grill, talking caller ID,  Play/Pause, Answer, inbuilt microphone to connect to your phone/use Siri, 6 hours battery life recharged by a micro UsB port, and 6 band colours.


Oh and yes, I’ve actually ordered one, and will do an audio demo on it as soon as it arrives.


Does the Digital Age spell the End of Braille - From The Independent


I actually think not, perhaps Braille hard copy books may decrease, but electronic Braille will still be around: still important for education and literacy.


Incorrect Posture and Tech Use can lead to Injury - From Mashable


Posture at your desk is important when using your computer.  Hand and thumb injures due to texting can occur with smaller phone screens.  Repated button pressing on non touch screens can lead to damage in the tips of our fingers according to a source sighted in this article..


49 Million Tons of Electronic  Waste Generated in 2012 - From Mashable


This just goes to show you how much stuff we actually throw away and appreciate manufacturers like Apple wwhwho actually have a recycling program.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Talking Tech for May 20 2014

Catching Up With Other Stories Not Covered In Talking Tech 


My Twitter feed is where I favourite all of the stories that I may or may not cover during the Talking Tech program for the week.  You can use my Twitter feed favorites to see what all the stories I have been collecting. 


Global Access Day


Global Access Day May Have Been Last Week, but here Are Ten Things You Can Still DO - From Media Access Australia. 

I just picked their top 5 and generalised a little bit.

1. Make links on webpages meaningful.

2. Transcribe your podcas.

3. Provide captioning for video content.

4. Provide audio description for video content.

5. Have a go at the inbuilt accessibility options found in most operating systems for desktop and mobile. 


My Podcast Of The RIVO Keyboard from Mobience 


I mentioned in the show last week that I was going to do a demo of the RIVO keyboard, so here is the direct link to the audio demo. 

Here is the Mobience website again for your info. 


New Remote Access in BlindSquare 


Great new feature in accessing the BlindSquare GPS app from ear phones that have the clicker for Play/Pause, Previous, and Next. If you press Play, you will start going through various options including Location, Sleep Mode, Look Around, Around me, Start Tracking, GPS Info, Time, add Place, and Weather.  Pressing Play on one of these options selects it, and in some cases deselects it: e.g. such as Sleep Mode toggle. If you also press the Play button twice and hold, this extends the area around you for BlindSquare to search, and press the Play button 3 times and holding decreases the area. 


Some other new features include Weather as above in the remote function: also to be found in Tools.  You can also share your current or simulated location with other people as well.  The button above your Home button also cycles between compass heading, speed, and GPS accuracy. 


Here is a podcast from going through BlindSquare plus the new features. 


Here is the BlindSquare link in the App Store: 


A Couple Of Announcements From Apple 


OS X 10.9.3 Officially Released, iTunes 11.2 released, and Podcasts for iOS released as well. 


If you have not yet got the update to 10.9.3, in the App Store app from the Dock, choose check for Updates with Command+5. If you haven't got the Apple Podcast app yet, here is the link: 


My two take away points from these releases is that both iTunes and the podcasts app can stream podcasts rather than having to download them.  In addition, you can get Siri to play a podcast by saying “play podcast name”. 


Transcribing Recorded Audio To Text Using the Mac 


I came across this great tip for using the Mac’s inbuilt dictation feature to transcribe recorded audio (such as a meeting, instructions etc) in to text using a utility called Sound Flower which allows you to pipe audio from one application to another on the Mac. Here is how you do it.


1. Download and Install Sound Flower.

2. In System Preferences Dictation and Speech, change the Microphone to Sound  Flower 2ch (which just stands for 2 channels).  So in effect, we’re recording the output of Sound Flower rather than a microphone listening to our voice directly dictate.

3. In your favourite recording app for the Mac such as Audacity or Amadeus Pro, change your output to Sound Flower 2ch.  So in effect, we’re sending the audio we are about to play out to Sound Flower which will then be picked up by the Macs dictation function.

4. Open a text editing application on your Mac such as TextEditt.  This is what we will be using to capture  dictation.

5. Now open up an audio file in your recording application, and start playing,.  You want here anything as the audio output is going to Sound Flower.

6. Jump back to TextEdit, press the FN key twice to start dictation, the audio now coming out of the recording application will now be being translated in to text in TextEdit.

7. For sighted people, when you stop seeing new text appear, you know the audio has finished as which point you can press the FN key again.  For folks using VoiceOver, I usually determine how long the audio file will be playing, and set a timer: so when the timer is up, just press the FN key.Its


sounds like a lot of work, but when your actually doing it, it is quite straightforward. All you are doing is sending the output of your recording app via Sound  Flower to the Macs inbuilt dictation function. Sound Flower 


Here is the link to Sound Flower: Amadeus Pro 

Here is the link in the Mac App Store to Amadeus Pro which is the recording app that I use:

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Talking Tech for May 13 2014

Revisiting the Hills Set Top Box Story from Last week/post


No problem, Hills still manufacturing, Vision Australia working on stock to get in.


My Experience with the RIVO (Remote Input to VoiceOver) custom Bluetooth Keyboard


Never thought I would want another Bluetooth style keyboard, but because the RIVO keyboard is so VoiceOver specific, it fits in well with the rest of my keyboards.


Find it particularly useful when I am on the treadmill and I can use single button press’s to perform multiple finger gestures.  Only exception to this so far is the command to start/stop music and to answer/hang up a call, but can’t have everything (smile).


Fleksy is Back with Their Main App being Accessible


People might remember that a few months ago the developers of the Fleksy app made a separate accessible app: Fleksy VO: the point being that the main Fleksy app was no longer accessible.  A couple of weeks ago, they made their main app accessible again.


AccessWorld for May 2014


Amongst the articles in this issue: evaluating the accessibility of Microsoft Office for the iPad and an article on My Fitness Pal.


The Word app in particular is quite disappointing.


I use the FitBit app on my iPhone which is similar to the Fitness Pal, still find I am exercising a lot more.


Global  Access Day May 15 2014


It is Global Access day on May 15 where we can celebrate digital accessibility, here is a link to take you to a site where you can get more information.


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Talking Tech for May 6th 2014

Hills Set Top Box 


I am still trying to confirm whether the box is still available from Hills itself, but at this time of posting, Vision Australia is not showing them as a stock item on our online store.


Note - a check with Hills on Wednesday confirmed they are still selling the box, VA to decide how many to have in stock at a time.



GWMicro and AI Squared Merge - from the AFB Blog


This will be interesting to see where this leads.  Freedom Scientific this this quite a long time ago with the integration of 3 company’s.  AI Squared will be the main company.


Find My iPhone and other Like GPS Tracking Apps - from New York Times


This is a bit of a timely warning, if your phone is stolen and you know where it is via Find My iPhone, probably not a good idea to try and go and grab it yourself: depending on where it is.


Mac App to Replace Read4Me (text to audio): Babble


For quite a while I had been using Read4Me to produce Text To Audio files, rather than using Add To iTunes As a Spoken Track as I found the whole process a bit faster.  When Mavericks arrived on the scene, Read4Me stopped working so I was without a solution up until now with the Babble App for Mac.  Works in a similar way to Read4Me with the ability of changing voice rate and voice type: sends output to an AIFF file.


Another Twitter Application for Windows: TW Blue


I haven’t tried this one yet.  Will give Windows users and accessible Twitter client.  st a warning, this application is still in alpha so some instability may be experienced.


Keep in mind there is still the other client for Windows: Chicken Nugget.  Both links follow.


TW Blue


Chicken Nugget


Telstra Testing Google Glass Apps for people who are blind or deaf: from Media Access Australia


This sounds very very cool: bar code reading for someone who is blind, but very exciting; translation of someone talking in to text for a person  who is deaf.


A Touch of Light (Adaptive Photography)


This multi-touch book as Apple calls it (or eBook for everyone else - smile) is a book available on the iBooks Store in iOS for blind or low vision photographers.  Can only be read on an iPad or on the Mac with iBooks.