Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Talking TEch for April 19 2016

A Great Episode of the Tech Doctor Podcast: Celebrating 40 years of Apple


From the Tech Doctor Blog page re this episode:


We were fortunate to have author and Mac journalist, Shelly Brisbin join us. Shelly started using the Mac in 1986. She brought us a very unique perspective as a technical writer, publisher and low-vision Mac user.

With around 400 instructional podcasts under his belt, David Woodbridge is arguably the most prolific Apple accessibility podcaster. We all learn from the excellent podcasts that David produces.

Larry Skutchan harnessed the power of the Apple II in 1983 when he wrote one of the first fully accessible talking word processors. We introduce this podcast by playing a sample of the Echo II speech synthesizer which Larry’s word processor used to speak the text that was on the Apple’s screen. Larry went on to write a very popular terminal program for the Apple II. ProTerm enabled us to access such popular online services as GEnie, CompuServe and hundreds of BBS systems. Larry went on to write a very popular screen reader for DOS called ASAP.

At present, Larry is the Director of Technology Product Research at the American Foundation for the Blind.


The link to the Tech Doctor Episode 40 years of Apple is:




From Info Sound: Cobolt’s talking Microwave and Talking Combination Oven


Now if only these devices were available in Australia.



Microsoft is Putting Windows 10 and Cortana at the Centre of Smart Homes


Great to see that all major organisations are putting a lot of effort in to the connected home and internet of things.



FAceBook Adds Alt Text to Photos


This works straight off the bat as it were: i.e. go through your time line and receive a description of a photo.  For example a camping photo may have Alt-Text like “Water, Sky, people outdoor”.



Talkback Public Beta 4.5 soon Released with Enhanced Web Support


Not quite out yet, but great to see upcoming improvements in web navigation.



Audible's Channels offer short audio programs for members


These are free books that you can listen to across a whole range of categories.  You will find the channel tab at the bottom of the app screen with the other tabs.



How To Get Your eBook to Read (iBook or Kindle) When your iPhone Screen is Locked


This is a nifty feature of getting iOS to speak and scroll the screen in an iBook or Kindle book and have your iOS device locked at the same time.



Only Just Recently Discovered This: Using Siri to Call Emergency Services in Australia


You can now say to Siri “Call Triple Zero, and Siri will respond calling emergency services in 5 seconds.


Giving Feedback to the ABC iView Trial for Audio Description


If you have not yet given feedback to the ABC iView trial, please use this link to give your feedback.



Talking Tech for April 12 2016

Google Releases App To Test Accessibility


When I was talking about CSUN last week, I didn’t get to mention the Accessibility Scanner from Google to test app accessibility.



In Other Google News: BETA of Voice Access


Control your Android device via your voice: navigate, activate items on screen, and dictate.



Access World for March 2016


Two articles of interest that caught my attention: ATIA conference highlights, and NvDA Remote overview.


In particular from ATIA: The I.D. Mate Bar Code Scanner, and the Orcam makes another appearance.



For Star Wars Fans


Star Wars: the Force Awakens is now available in iTunes with audio description.


Caption Bot AI from Microsoft To Describe Any Image



Microsoft Cognitive Services Seeing AI app



Night Shift Mode


Help you sleep better.  In iOS 9.3 it is referred to as Night Shift, and in Fire OS 5 Amazon has named it Blue Shade.



How to Get Access to Free Radio Dramas on the Internet



Monday, 4 April 2016

Talking Tech for April 5 2016

Happy Birthday Apple: 40 Years And Still Going Strong


Bloomberg, CNBC, Associated Press, The Verge, and others reflect on the first 40 years of Apple which is now "at the top of its game” and pay tribute to the company’s humble beginnings in a garage to an industry leader with over 100,000 employees and a "string of culture-defining products.”

  • CNBC shows where the company is today by the numbers calling out one billion active Apple devices around the world, 11 million Apple developers, and that the company is responsible for 2 million jobs in the U.S. alone and over 4 million in China. 
  • Stories call out the company’s mission to change the world and that the "fundamental notion — that technology should enable culture — has remained a core piece of Apple’s mission.” 
  • Walt Mossberg shares his favorite product moments commenting, “The iPod is what made Apple begin to explode and become the Apple that now, on their 40th anniversary, we know of as this highly innovative, highly intriguing, hugely influential tech company.” 
  • While many use the moment as a time to look back, stories also look forward commenting, "Even after Jobs’ death, Apple isn’t sitting still.” Bloomberg focuses on “Tim Cook’s Apple” stating that "None of the genius that is attributed Steve Jobs would have ever been able to happened without the supply chain Tim Cook built." 

International coverage is widespread and positive, focusing on the key products and milestones that “changed the world.” Many feature historical product and employee picture galleries, and highlight that after 40 years "Apple remains a company that is both unique and admired” with products that continue to command "a cult-like following.” Looking at where the company is today Japan’s My Navi News states, "True innovation requires consideration for everything. Apple believes it, executes it, and is trying to open up a future for us by fulfilling its responsibilities as an enterprise.” China’s Qdaily calls Apple’s first 40-year “a unbelievable mystery in tech industry”  and IT home note, “Apple is continuing Job’s legacy under Tim’s lead.”  


Key Apple software and hardware that I used with Apple over the last 30 or so years have Included:

The following first two Apple computers I used were with the Echo Speech Synthesiser:


Apple II+

Two Apple IIE’s,


The next 5 Apple computers were used with Outspoken for the Mac:

Mac Se,

Mac LC 475 and 525,

Power Book,

Power Mac,


quite a long wait until using VoiceOver with OS X which became available with 10.4 Tiger:

 Mac mini.

After VoiceOver on Mac in 2005, the flood gates continued to open after 2009 with:

 iPod nano and iPod shuffles with speech taken from the Mac/Windows PC,


Then, VoiceOver in all its glory on:


iPod touch’s,


iMacs, Mac airs, and Macbook prose,

Apple TVS, and of course,

The Apple watch.


Apple Accessibility Line Now Available In Australia


There is now an Apple Accessibility line that you can call to get your questions answered on accessibility issues to do with Apple products 7 days a week 24 hours a day.


1300 365 083


Posted my 400th official podcast


Just to let all know that I have now posted my 400th podcast,and feeling quite please about the effort.


You can subscribe to my podcast (iSee) in iTunes or at the feed:




Or go to my web site at:



Monday, 28 March 2016

Talking Tech for March 29 2016

CSUN 2016


A number of items that caught my attention from the CSUN Conference this year, including some resources for further reading/listening.


The Great Big List from the CSUN 2016 Conference


Great resource link for CSUN 2016.




Blind Bargains Interviews from CSUN


Great audio interviews from Blind Bargains with more to come.


Get their app for iOS or Android or go to the following link to access their website:




Blind Bargains Android app:




Blind Bargains iOS app:




Microsoft at CSUN


Microsoft Had a Number of Sessions at CSUN including:

Getting to Know Windows 10, Accessibility in Windows 10, What’s New in Microsoft Edge, Accessibility Improvements in Office 365 etc.


Google At CSUN


Amongst other presentations, Google introduced the beta of Voice Access which allows a user to control their google device simply by using their voice for basic navigation (“Go back” “Go home”), interact with items on the current screen (“scroll Down), and voice dictation.

Access help by saying “What can I say”.

Once Voice Access is downloaded, activate it from Settings, Accessibility, Voice Access and run through the tutorial.

Link to join the beta:




Google also has released their Accessibility Scanning tool so that developers can test there apps for accessibility.




Amazon at CSUN


Amazon has done more work on their latest Amazon Fire tablet running Fire OS 5, introducing their own screen reader: Voice view which has a number of changes to that of the default screen reader in Android: Talkback including Jog.  You will still need to use BrailleBack to support Braille displays.




The Dot Smart Watch


The prototype of this watch was shown based around 4 Braille cells which are scrollable to read notifications from your iPhone or Android device.  The watch will also come with its own app to allow setup of the watch for such things as what apps do you wish the watch to notify you about.  The watch is due to ship in August with a possible price of $290 US.





Quite a few Braille products announced/shown at CSUN


This seemed to be the year for announcing/showing  new Braille products including the ElBraille, BrailleNote Touch, Orbit, B2G, InsideOne, the Commute, NeoBraille, and the Dot Pad (same company for the Dot Smart Watch).




Modular Braille Tablet: Windows 10 dock, JAWS, and Focus 14.  Beauty of this system, is that if you already have JAWS and a Focus 14, you can just buy the Windows 10 dock: a fantastic idea.


There will be an English page at the following link at the End of March:




BrailleNote Touch


Android tablet running KeySoft with touch screen Braille key input or physical overlay keyboard.






Low cost Braille display: not yet available: around $500 US.






From Insidevision. Windows 10 with a Braille display all in a tablet design.  Braille keys where you rest your fingers are etched in to the touch screen.




From Bristol Braille Technology.  Braille eBook reader: not yet available.



Dot Pad


Currently in research and development.  Either will come in a 16 by 16 or 20 by 20 Braille display grid.  Can read content from a sd card or connect to iPhone or Android devices (and other O

s’s as well).  Prototype out after March next year.  Company says trying to get the cost below $1000 US.





National Braille Press (NBP) Releases their B2G 20 Cell Android Braille Notetaker.  Appears to be only sold in North America.






Android Braille tablet.



Monday, 21 March 2016

Talking TEch for March 22 2016

CSUN Conference 2016


On this week from March 21 to 26 in the US, will bring you highlights and resources next week.




Braille: a blind spot in the main Stream Technology industry


Great article, whilst other consumer tech costs have gone down, Braille displays have remained at a high cost.  Let’s see if anything comes up at the CSUN conference!!!



For Netflix Subscribers


Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2 is now available with audio description.


I really enjoyed season 1, and season 2 is just as a good.



A New Podcasts from Me


A preview of my Connected Home




Audible App Has Two Handy New Features


You can now share a clip from your favourite Audible book, and if you are using Apple Maps, you can get Audible app to stop playing whilst maps is talking.




Apple Keynote: March 21 (22 in Australia) 2016


Was streamed on the Apple tv, Safari on iOS/Mac or via Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.


Its also available as a downloadable podcast: Apple Keynotes: to listen to in your favourite pod catcher.




Apple 40 years old in April.

Over 1 billion devices.

Comments on the FBI privacy issue.


Protecting the Environment:

All the different ways that Apple is protecting the environment - solar power, packaging, recycling old iPhones  etc.



Medical research. via Research Kit. Announcing Care Kit to inform Carers  in different situations available in April.


Apple watch:

New woven nylon band in different colours, space black milanese loop, new sports and leather bands.

Nylon woven band: $79

Drop price of apple watch to 38mm $429 and 42mm $499 au.


Apple tv 4 generation 9.2 update:

Discussing apps on the 4th generation tv - tv os 9.2 update  Siri, folders, dictation (including user names and passwords): tv os update available today.


iPhone Se:

Replace the iPhone 5s (now gone), 4 inch, similar to the iPhone 6s, a9 m9 (hey Siri), 12mps camera, touch id, Apple pay.

Cost: $679 16gb and 64gb $829, orders from this week, and shipping the following week.


iOS 9.3 available today - overview including Night Shift, Notes (password/finger print protection), Health app suggestions, News app updated, Car Play, education apps for iPad.


iPad pro 9.7 inch:

iPad pro with a 9.7 inch screen, 4 speakers, Hey Siri support, smart keyboard, Apple pencil, lightening usb adapter to support ethanet/microphones etc, 12mps camera.

Cost: 32gb $899, $128gb $1149, and 256gb $1399 au, orders begin this week an shipping next week.

iPad pro 12.9 inch also gets the 256gb upgrade: $1749. 


Apple also released an update to Apple watch 2.2 to support multiple Apple watch’s on one iPhone which is great for me, and they also released OS x 10.11.4 with secure Notes support as well.


Posted demos on 9.3:


If you go to my podcast site, you can pick up 5 demos in respect to iOS 9.3: Night Shift, 3d touch on default apps, Notes password or touch id protection, offline voice dictation, and 4 finger flick left or right app switching.



Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Talking Tech for March 8 2015

Some Changes at Pacific Vision and Humanware


Sam Taylor who has been one of the staff looking after blindness related products at Humanware has moved from Humanware to Pacific Vision.


Scott Erichsen has taken the place of Sam and is now working at Humanware previously working at Vision Australia, Pacific Vision, and Quantum Technology.


Pacific Vision

 amongst other products sell the HIMMS range of products including the Braillesense U2 etc.





Amongst other products sells the Braille Note.




Humanware Tease’s about a new product to be launch at the CSUN Conference Mar 23: Touching The Future. 

We don’t know what it  is, touching the future could be either a touch screen or touching Braille, we’ll find out at the CSUN Conference later in March.



News From Freedom Scientific


FSCast 121


Interesting development, you will get notified by a JAWS 17 update due out on March 15 when there is a new FSCast to listen to: a bit odd, but makes sense from a marketing point of view.


iOS Training

In more FS news, on March 4 FS announced a iOs training bundle with a daisy book training tutorial bundle with a Plextalk Pocket daisy player: not sure yet if this is available in Austrlia.


No news on yet when Quantum Technology may be bringing this in.


The training starts with an introduction to touch-screen devices, including basic navigation gestures and setting up an iOS device for the first time. This is followed by modules on navigating the Home screen, opening and closing apps, and making and receiving phone calls with an iPhone®. It then progresses to lessons for specific apps, including:

  • VoiceOver and iOS settings
  • Using Siri®
  • Using iCloud and iTunes®
  • Using a traditional Bluetooth® keyboard or refreshable Braille displayand Safari


$599 Us, and not sure if currently available in Australia.


Update to Openbook


Update to OpenBook V9 with OCR improvements and the ability to use Onyx or Topaz video magnifiers as cameras instead of the Pearl.



Extra Large Mouse and Cursors for Windows from 22 Point


Very handy for low vision users of Microsof Windows.



Send To Braille from APH


The American Printing House has created a free program, Send to Braille, that will generate a bare-bones UEB Contracted Braille Document from Word or other types of documents:




Microsoft Ongoing Commitment to Improving Office 365 and Beyond


Microsoft was very busy in 2015 ramping up its accessibility input in to their products, and in 2016 for Office 365 they have the following that they are committed to work on:


1. To insure authors that their content is accessible to screen reader users,

*Adding the Accessibility Checker to Office  for Macs,

*Enhance PDF support for the PDF standard to better support screen readers when Word docs are exported to PDF files with appropriate tags..

2. Better meet the needs of diverse writers:

*Enhance the spell checker in Word and Outlook 2016 for PC’s.

3. Enable users of screen readers to work with graphical objects in Word, Excel, and Power Point on desktop and mobile platforms.

4. Increase productivity of screen reader users of Office 365 apps on PC’s.

5. Increase the accessibility of Word for Mac.

6. Improve the accessibility of office 365 mobile apps including Windows 10, iOS, and Android.

7. Improve the accessibility of Office online and Outlook on the web for vision impaired users.



Sunday, 6 March 2016

Jabra Storm Bluetooth Headset review notes

My Notes on the Jabra Storm Bluetooth Headset


In The Box: 

Sabra Storm Bluetooth Headset

Micro USB cable

Extra ear bud and wind sock

Getting Started Guide


Main features: 

9 hours of Talk Time

2 hours battery charge

Bluetooth and NFC pairing

Pair up to 8 Bluetooth devices, 2 activate at same time (only one activate at a time talking)

Win resistant (if to noisy, put on wind sock).

Ware on either ear

Very light and comfortable to use

Jabra  Assist app for tracking headset, BT pairing tips and battery status (battery status seems not to be accessible)


Physical description: 

Arm with Mic and Answer/End button on end

Curved tight letter C to form body of headset that goes around ear

Most controls positioned towards end of boom and on to curved C

Answer/end button

On/off switch

Volume down/up

Micro UsB connector with protective flap

rotate ear piece to put in either ear


Voiced prompts: 


Battery low Redialling 



To connect your headset, go to the Bluetooth menu on your phone and select it from the list 



When first used, is in paring mode,

Hold down Answer/End button for 3 second s pair



Switch side switch up to turn on headset or down to turn off headset

Press Answer/End to hear Connected

Press Answer/End to answer an incoming call or say yes or No

Press Answer/End twice to reject an 

incoming call or say No

Press Answer/End twice to redial last call

Press Answer/End for 1 second to activate Siri

Press Answer/End for 3 seconds to put in pairing mode

Press Answer/End plus Volume Down to turn off low battery warning

Press volume down or up to adjust volume

Press volume Up/Down at same time to mute

Headset is capable of answering multiple calls and putting calls on hold


Points to consider: 

low battery warning starts at 50 percent and announces every 10 minutes if not turned off

Turning off voiced low battery warning sometimes doesn’t seem too work

No charging voiced indication



light weight

Comfortable to ware

Can use in either ear

Have to active devices at the same time

9 hours talk time does last all day

voice prompts

Reasonably good volume

Clear when on phone call




I’m mainly using the headset to use my work Windows phone and my personal iPhone so I can simply answer either phone when it rings.


I’ve also  used the headset with my Apple watch and iPhone.


Online manual for Jabra Storm Bluetooth Headset: