Monday, 23 June 2014

Talking Tech for June 24 2014

BEN Bluetooth Speaker Band


A couple of Talking Tech programs ago, I said that I was going to purchase this little Bluetooth speaker that you wear on your wrist, which I have now done, and it is absolutely fantastic.  I can listen to music or audio books, and rather than having to take my phone out of my pocket to answer a call, I can just use the band on my wrist.

Here is a demo of the speaker I did on my podcast feed


And here is the link to BEM Wireless Speaker Band page:


Amazon Fire phone


This is a new phone which will only be available in the US, initially, but it is good to see Amazon ensuring that it will be accessible via a number of accessibility features, much like the Kindle Fire HD eBook reader.


Features include screen reader, screen magnification, high contrast combinations, captioning, hearing aid support, TTY, mono stereo, voice recognition, one handed mode operation, 


Good summary article written by Media Access Australia.


And here is the link to the Amazon Fire phone page itself:


VoiceOver for iOS just celebrated its fifth birthday


Yes, VoiceOver for the iPhone is now 5 years old, released on June 19 2009, I still remember by shock when I learned that it really did work, and how much Apple got it wright.


Here is a blog article from Applevis celebrating 5 years of Voiceover, and it does reflect my exact feelings and hopes for VoiceOver.


New iPad app - Exploring Braille with Madilyn and Ruff


This app allows children who are blind to learn the Braille alphabet.  For low vision children, Braille is displayed on the screen of the iPad, whilst a refreshable Braille display can be used for children who are blind to both hear the instructions and read in Braille.


Two main selections:

Teach Me - Flash cards (each letter is spoken, dot combination, letter is displayed and the child can then choose next to go on to the next letter), and Alpha guide  puts the Braille letters up automatically both speaking the letter, dot combination and displaying the Braille letter)).

Let’s Play - Reading (select the correct letter when spoken from several choices),Write the Braille letter when asked on the Braille display) and Writing.


Here is the link to Exploring Braille in the iTunes Store:


BlindSquare 2.02 (GPS) now supports Bluetooth keyboards in Braille devices with input keyboards


You can get help for the commands in BlindSquare by simply entering a question mark to get a list of all help topics or by entering a topic followed by a question mark.  Works quite well, and it a great way to remind yourself about how to use Blind Square.


BrailleSense v8.2 has been released


Amongst other features, the update to the Braillesense 8.2 allows you do use Facebook besides Twitter.


Other new features include creating and running macros, waking up to your favorite music or radio station, have a 2nd word processor file open, record a daisy book with the daisy player and insert headings, pages etc.


Here is a link to the HIMS page where you can download a audio demo of the new features in V8.2.


Inquisitors Heart Beat game for Mac and PC


A follow-up to the original Inquisitor adventure, this game is again self voicing, works on Mac or PC and will also be available on iOS.


In this game, the inquisitor himself has been charged with Heresy, thrown in to a dungeon for reading a forbidden book, and now he needs to escape out of the dungeon past soldiers and monsters to get the book before it is destroyed.


When I checked, there was no trial of the game, just an option to purchase the Mac or PC version at the moment.


No sign of the iOS version yet.


Here is a link to the webpage.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Talking Tech for June 17 2014

Catching up on the WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) 2014 1st week in Jun


A bit late, but I wanted to still go through the main items for the beta’s of iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 called Yosemite.




1. 10.10 called Yosemite.

2. New transparent theme with dark theme.

3. Notifications Centre with iOS like today view.  Widgets available from the Mac App Store for Stocks etc.

4. Spotlight now appears in the middle of the screen, and search’s not only on the Mac but on the internet as well.

5. Safari stream lined with most controls hidden allowing a larger viewing area of a webpage.

6. Can send large files using Mail via iCloud or as a link to non iCloud users.

7. If you have an iPhone: Messages can now send/receive SMS messages.  Short audio clips can also now be recorded.

8. iCloud drive to share documents between all devices using iCloud.

9. Make/receive iPhone calls on your Mac.

10. Handoff: What ever you are working on your Mac, hand it off to another device or if you have started something on your iPhone, finish it off on your Mac.

11. Easily connect to personal hotspot on your iPhone.


iOS 8


1. Photos now accessible on all devices.

2. Add Audio or video to a Message plus add current location. Can also lift phone to your ear to reply to an audio message.

3. Access recently contacted people from the App Switcher.

4. Predictive word suggestions when using the on-screen keyboard.

5. Ability to use a 3rd keyboard such as Fleksy when available.

6. Family sharing for up to 6 people with Music, iBooks and apps.

7. Access to iCloud drive.

8. Handoff with Mac.

9. All Health Apps will now be able to talk to each other.

10 Enhancements to Spotlight.

11. Improvements to enterprise functionality.

12 Extended functionality to apps including access to touch id.  In addition, developers will be able to have videos of their apps in the App Store plus give users test drive versions.

13. Home kit will allow various home smart appliances to talk together.

14. New modern programming language called Swift with 4.000 new API’s.

15. The Clock app icon now has the time on it, including seconds.

16. Double tap and hold on an individual email and swipe to the left will send the email to the Trash

17. When touching on the Dock, VoceOver will say Dock then the name of the app: e.g. Dock Safari.

18. Can check Battery app specific usage in Settings, General, Usage, Battery.

19. In Notifications Centre, only two tabs now: Today and Notification tabs.

20. iBooks now comes pre-installed rather than having to download it to a new device.

21. Airplay no loner requires a wi-fi connection to play to an Apple TV.

22. Manage AppID from iCloud in Settings.





1. Can now say “hay Siri” if ;plugged in to power to activate Siri without touching the device.  Option controlled by the new Voice Activation toggle in  Settings Siri

2. Siri can now listen to a song and tell you what it is.

3. Siri will take  you to the iTunes store to [purchase a song after it has identified it.



1. Enhancements to System Zoom.

2. New Grey scale feature for low vision folks.

3. VoiceOver now has a Braille input keyboard plus access to the Alex voice usually found on OS X: only available on the iPhone 5s and the most recent iPad.  You can toggle audio ducking on/off via the rotor.  New Braille page turning option toggle.  New typing mode selection of standard, touch and direct.

4. Use touch id to exit guided access.

5. Speak screen.

6. Besides captioning, now supports video description (which assuming is audio description).