Monday, 17 June 2013

Talking Tech for June 18 2013

Apple WWDC Keynote presentation direct link


If you would like to catch up on what happened at the Apple WWDC Keynote address 2013 last week on June 11, open up the following link in Safari for a direct stream.


Nokia Symbian based handsets to stop - no more Nokia C5's from Vision Australia


As the following link from PC World states:


Nokia has shipped their last Symbian handset.


I actually still remember when I got my first talking mobile phone (well PDA actually), it was the Nokia Communicator 910I with Talks I believe in 2003.  The actual phone part of the PdA didn't talk, but the actual PdA which interacted with the phone did quite nicely.  It was actually a demo done by FreedomBox (now Serotek) which put me on to the Nokia Communicator in the first place if my memory is not playing tricks.


Since then I only had two other Nokia Symbian based phones: the N70, and the N82.


On the AT Help Desk at Vision Australia, we still had folks purchasing the Nokia C5 with Talks up to now or upgrading their existing Talks licenses.  I believe we are still trying to source some more Nokia C5's, but I'm not sure what the outcome will be.  In the meantime, Vision Australia will continue to sell or upgrade Talks licenses as far as I know.  However, it really does sound like the end has come at last for Nokia Symbian based handsets in general.


if folks really really want a Nokia based Symbian phone capable of running Talks, there is always eBay.  After all they have been around for quite a long time, and this may be the chance to pick up a bargain for a second-hand handset.


I must admit for me, since I got my hands on my first iPhone in 2009 when VoiceOver was first introduced, I've never used a physical keypad based phone since.  Actually my work phone is my original iPhone, and my personal phone is the iPhone 5.


I guess most things have to come to an end eventually, 10 years or so for Talks is pretty good.


Orcam - Google Glass style device for blind or low vision


This technology just sounds amazing - similar idea to Google Glass but for blind or low vision


Orcam is a sensor that can be mounted on a pair of existing glass's (with the processor box in your pocket) that see's what is in front of you, understands what information you seek, and provides the information audibly through a bone conduction ear peace.


Orcam reads printed text, identifies objects, recognises faces, knows when the traffic light is red or green, locates bus numbers etc.


Vision Australia will be hoping to get a sample of the device, and as soon as we do, we will share are findings.  The following link will take you to the Orcam website for more information and a demonstration of the sensor in use covering reading a newspaper article, reading a menu selection, identifying a packet of tea, identifying money, and checking to see if a traffic light is red or green.


This article from the New York Times expands a bit more on the product:


Do we still need specialist technology - opinion by Dr Scott Holier Media Access Australia


AFB AccessWorld for June 2013


In this issue amongst other articles):

using VoiceOver with the iOS accessible Kindle app,

TextGrabber and the StandScan Pro,

Voiceye, and

Series - social networking for the blind or vision impaired part 3 - social networking on portable devices.


Mac App - Battery Monitor - monitor battery level via speech output


This is a Mac app that I've wanted for quite a while.  Rather than having to go to my Extra's Status menu on the Mac with the VoiceOver command VO+MM, and then VO+Right arrow over to read the battery level on my Macbook pro: I can just leave this app running and get notified by system speech every 10 percent of the battery recharge or discharge.


Once the app was downloaded and installed from the Mac App Store, all I had to do to enable speech output for the monitoring of the battery level, was to bring up Preferences with Command+, (comma), Notifications tab, and in my case, I selected to be notified of both recharge and discharge: Speech was already selected.


Now I can just use my Macbook pro, and get notified of the discharge state when on battery or the recharge state when I've plugged the power back in without having to go anywhere near the Extra's Status menu.


Link to the app in the Mac App Store follows:


Organising equipment for travel - buying a new computer bag


Finally updated my computer bag which I've been using for almost 10 years when travelling to see clients, attend conferences or give presentations.


I always dislike putting any of my equipment when travelling in to someone else's hands as I'm not sure how the bag that contains the equipment will be treated, and if possible, always preferred carrying my stuff onboard: whether an aircraft, train etc.



Unfortunately, due to the size of my current computer bag, it wouldn't go in to the overhead storage on aircraft, and the flight attendants usually had to stick it somewhere else, which meant again, I couldn't keep an eye on it as it were.


I had an opportunity this week to update my computer bag, and rather than going for bigger is better or getting a similar bag, decided to get a  bag that will fit in to the over head lockers on aircraft, hold it easily on a train or bus, fit in an overnight change of clothes, and be able to both carry or wheel it.


After only a small bit of shopping around, I purchased the HighSierra freewheel wheeled backpack.


The backpack has 3 zipped compartments (small, medium and large), indented wheels on either side, lugs on either side opposite wheels so that bag is sturdy when put down, a telescoping handle covered by a zipper when collapsed, a soft carrying handle just behind the telescoping handle, comfortable shoulder straps, and a reasonably large pocket on the side that you could stick in a bottle of water.


In side the large zipped compartment (behind the shoulder straps and where the handle extends), is a padded compartment to hold a laptop, plus plenty of room for clothes or anything else.


The middle medium zipped compartment, has an open pocket on the side closest to the large compartment, with the rest of the pocket being open to stick anything you like in to it.


The back small zipped compartment, has two pockets on the side closes to the middle compartment, two small pockets that you could fit a phone or digital recorder in to, and a bit of space for such items as UsB sticks, SD cards etc.


In to this backpack,  I was able to fit quite easily, my Macbook pro, Logitech solar K760 BT keyboard, iPad, Apple TV, Magic trackpad and Magic mouse, my iPHone, two digital recorders, all the necessary chargers/cables, and still have plenty of room for a change of clothes.


Haven't had a chance to wheel it around yet, but as a backpack, it is very comfortable, the wheels don't stick in to you, and it doesn't stick out to far behind you so if you turn around quickly, you won't knock anyone over.


Having this all in one bag, means that I have both hands free if its on my back or one hand if I'm wheeling it, which is a bonus if you have to control your Guide Dog at the same time (smile).


Of course, also having such a bag, means you can do the dash from aircraft to taxi without having to wait ages to get your bag from the baggage claim area.


Happy travelling again, including just going to and from work.

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