Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Talking Tech for 21 October 2014

Apple News


In the Apple event last week,Apple Announced iPad 2 air, iPad mini 3, iMac 5k, OS X Yosemite release, iOS 8.1 to be available as Oct 21 in Australia (today) which includes Apple pay (for US only) and other bug fixes and improvements.


Will go more in to the Apple announcements in next weeks show.


Apple and Android Apps Highlighted at Vision Australia Texpo 2014


At the recently held Vision Australia Texpos held in Sydney and Melbourne, the App Fantastic workshop highlighted a number of Apple and Android apps for use by people who are blind or or have low vision.


The apps that were highlighted have been put up on the Vision Australia Adaptive Technology Blog page which can be accessed with the following links for both Apple and Android:


Android Highlighted Apps



Apple Highlighted Apps



Monday, 13 October 2014

Talking Tech for October 14 2014

In this weeks show, spending some time talking about android accessibility as I did a presentation on it at the recent BCA NSW/ACT state conference in Newcastle and will be presenting on it again at the Vision Australia texpo in Sydney this Friday.


Next weeks program I will be talking about the Android and Apple apps that were highlighted at both the Melbourne and Sydney VA Texpos.


Android accessibility includes:



Screen reader: Talkback: supporting Braille displays via BrailleBack, and general Bluetooth keyboard navigation: i.e. no specific Talkback commands.
Low vision: magnification, large text,
Hearing: Closed Captions.
General: auto rotate screen, speak passwords, accessibility shortcut, and text to speech output control.
´On phone, ability to set the power/sleep button to hang up call.

No other accessibility options such as with iOS with assistive touch, switch control etc.

All accessibility settings in Settings, Accessibility. NB to find accessibility, remember to scroll down to bottom of the Settings screen.
Android does not have toggle function for quicly turning accessibility features on or off as with iOS.

Some general usage comments

1. Various manufactures of Android devices such as Samsung, LG, HTC, Amazon etc.
2. Can get different versions of Android on different hardware or different on same hardware depending on manufacturer update schedule.
3. Google itself produces its own range of Android devices which are the first to be updated: hence why ATCS at VA have Nexus 7 tablets.
4. Recommend that users try and get a phone or tablet with at least 4.21: i.e. 4.21 introduced magnification settings. Current version is 4.4.
5. Recommending that the Samsung range of phones and tablets is the best way to go for most users. Eg S5 has triple click for turning Talkback on or off, and user experience seems to be a lot more stable.
6. Google Now is not as good as Siri for speech users: eg asking Google Now “where am I?” results in a map not, telling you where you are in the case of Siri. SVoice may be as good as Siri, have not yet verified this.
7. When purchasing apps from the Play Store, you can return it within 15 minutes (i.e. uninstalling it) and receive a refund if the app was not free.
8. Using the Play Store to purchase music, books, movies et is all accessible particularly with Talkback.
9. Home button at middle bottom of screen is your friend, plus apps button directly above this when at a home screen to easily locate apps or scroll between app screens. Always have Back, Home, and recent apps at bottom of all screens.
10. Can get Eloquence as a software synthesiser. Other synthesizers are widely available including Acapela.
11. Can use Talkback with a BT keyboard and Braille display. NB no Talkback commands are assigned to the Bt keyboard as with Voiceover on iOS.
12. Oddly, on the Nexus 7, Talkback does not tell you when the unit is charging, only the charge percentage. The Kindle Fire hd on the other hand with Talkback does report if the unit is plugged in and charging.
13. Using Alt-tab on a Bluetooth keyboard switch’s between recent apps. Start typing an app name with the BT keyboard to locate an app.
14. Main difference between navigating with Braille on the home screens with Talkback as with iOS, is that all icons are shown on the Braille line and you have to locate the icon that is shown with dots 7 8flashing underneath. Some Talkback commands are used with the Braille display. No UEB at this time.
15. Overall Android absolutely ok for low vision users, still not as good for speech users as with iOS.
16. Good starting web address is:

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Talking Tech for October 7 2014

A couple of quick announcements, and then an overview of the Vision Australia Texpo.

World Sight Day October 9 2014.

See what Vision 2020 is doing for World Sight Day on October 9, and catch the World Sight Day National Press Club address on the 8th of October via ABC Streaming 12:30PM ESD.

Vision 2020 Australia World Sight Day October 9 2014


ABC 24 Streaming



World White Cane Day October 15.

See how Vision Australia is celebrating International White Cane Day in:







Presentation at the BCA Computer Users Group: a comparison between Apple and Android.

On Wednesday at 1PM I will be giving a talk on comparing Apple iOS accessibility to Android Accessibility.

For further information about this meeting or the Computer Users Group in general please email Branch Secretary, Adam Morris:

Presentations at the BCA NSW/ACT State Conference

On Saturday the 11th of October I will be giving two presentations at the BCA NSW/ACT State Conference: one on Apple devices, and the other on using Android devices.


Texpo - Melbourne 10-11 and Sydney 17-18 October 2014

Texpo show cases Vision Australia services, assistive technology exhibitors, talks on finding out about assistive technology including Apple, and Android devices, and product specials to save money whilst visiting texpo.

Simulated office, classroom and kitchen will be on show as well, including a place to watch audio described movies.

Exhibitors at Texpo 2014, Melbourne

1. Optek Systems

2. Oricom
Special offer: Visit Texpo 2014 for your chance to win 1 of 6 Care60 phones.

3. Quantum - Reading learning Vision
Special offer: choose between a free minimax hand held CCTV with any purchase of a desktop CCTC or 10% discount across the product range for orders placed at Texpo.

4. Visitech Magnifiers

5. Pacific Vision International Australia) Pty Ltd

6. Australian Lions Visual Independence Foundation Inc
Special offer: Purchase a Kaptan Plus GPS device at a special price of $100, marked down from $700.

7. Sight Management Pty Ltd

8. Beonlight

9. Blind Citizens Australia

10. Real Thing – RealSAM
Special offer: Visit the Real Thing stand at Texpo to purchase a RealSAM device at a special price of $199, a discount of $100 off the retail price.

11. Glassbrick

12. Optelec

13. KISA

14. Own Fone Australia
Special offer: Receive a voucher code for a 10% discount off all OwnFone handsets.

14.. HumanWare
Special offer: Receive a 5% discount on any product ordered at Texpo and a 10% discount and free deluxe leather case worth $77 with the purchase of a new generation Victor Reader Stream during the Texpo period: 9-17 October.

Seminars on Friday

Your library, anywhere, anytime

Introduction to adaptive technology, hardware and software (Entry level)

App fantastic – the latest apps for daily living (intermediate to advanced)

Accessible Android devices

Latest Apple devices and IOS8 accessibility features

Seminars on Saturday

Your library, anywhere, anytime

Introduction to adaptive technology, hardware and software (Entry level)

Latest Apple devices and IOS8 accessibility features

Accessible Android devices

Equipment Solutions Shop Specials

1. Zoomax Aurora HD + free handheld video magnifier
The cheapest 24” Widescreen Desktop Video Magnifier with movable screen and high definition technology.
When you purchase a Zoomax Aurora HD ($2599) you will receive a free Zoomax Snow handheld video magnifier (valued at $475.00)
Available while stock lasts.

2. ScanBox+
Paper thin portable scanner for your smartphone.
Scanbox is made of durable, laminated card that folds to create a stand for your phone similar to a lightbox used for photography. Once set up, the phone sits on top at the correct height to scan any object that fits in the box. Used in conjunction with apps such as Prizmo, TextGrabber or KNFB Reader. Attach a 9V battery and this will power the LED lights. Was $55 now $20.
Available while stock lasts.