Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Talking TEch for August 26 2014

3 funny tech jokes


These are just 3 short one liner jokes that I cam across on Twitter.


A programmers wife says “run to the Store to buy a loaf of bread.  If the have eggs, get a dozen”.   He comes home with 12 loafs of bread.

A Farmer had 97 sheep, but when he rounded them up he found that he had a hundred.

What did the CPU say to the managed memory pool? free you later allocator.


A Tech Fact: Interestingly The Definition Of A Computer in 1946


In 1946 the Merriam Webster Dictionary defined computer as “a person who tabulates numbers; accountant; Actuary; bookkeeper.”


QANTAS and Virgin Get Green Light for Inflight Gadgets


As of today you will be able to use your tablets and phones for the whole flight.  However, they will still to be in flight mode, but you can still do your work.





The First Of My Two Purchase’s this week


It is still tech, but probably not quite what you expect.  I am now the proud owner of a hands free sensor kitchen bin which I purchased from Kmart.  Just walk up to the bin, the lid senses you are there, and the lid pops up: put in your rubbish and the lid closes after about several seconds.  The lid of the bin is the thing that does all the work, so if the actual bin part breaks, you can just buy another bin that fits the lid.


The Second Of My Purchases For The Week


I wanted some good head phones for work to block out the noise in the open plan office, and also needed them to work with my iPhone and Mac.  After a bit of searching around I finally decided upon the Beats Wireless head phones (not to be confused with the Beats Studio Wireless head phones).   For some reason I couldn’t find the Beats Wireless head phones on the Apple online store, only places like Harvey Norman, JB etc: purchased mine at Harvey Norman.


The Beats wireless fold up in to a soft carry case (included) and come with a remote cable for iPhone (with clicker) to use them as wired head phones, Bluetooth supported, mini UsB cable for charging the rechargeable battery which lasts 10 hours on Bluetooth and 20 hours wired, and a user manual.


Whilst not completely over the ear, the soft filled part of the ear cups do cover all of your ear and block out quite a deal of background noise.


The left ear cup has the Beats logo on it and at the bottom the UsB mini port.  The right ear cup has in a  clockwise clock layout the multi function on/off/answer/hang up button 12 12, next track at 3, 

volume up at 4, volume down at 7, previous track at 9, in the middle play/pause button, and at the bottom the 3.5MM head phone port.


They were easy to pair, when you plug in the cable Bluetooth is turned off, and they make a cool sound when you turn them on and off.




Painting The Back Of The Accessibility Fence - iMore


In June 2014 Rene Ritchie from iMore wrote an article entitled: Apple and Accessibility: Pushing Back against uunacceptable realities:


which gained some attention in the blind and low vision community with him appearing on the Tech Doctors Podcast: Painting The Back Of The Apple Accessibility Fence.


Just another example of how main stream technology sites are mentioning accessibility more and more.




A Famous Steve Jobs Speech Is Hidden on the Macs Hard Drive


These two speech’s are Here’s To the Crazy Ones from the Think Different campaign, and the Commencement address to Stanford university in 2005. all in one file (apple.txt), just paste in to Go To Directory (Shift+Command+G) /Applications/Pages.app/Contents/Resources/.


Just remember, you’ll need Pages installed on your Mac for this file to exist.



Monday, 18 August 2014

Talking Tech for August 19 2014

Vision Australia Further Education Bursary Awards Announced for 2015


Yesterday Vision Australia announced that the Further Education Bursary Awards were now open.  The closing date is October 31 2015.  These Bursaries are to assist students in completing their course work by using adaptive and main stream technology.


For further information or to obtain an application form/guidelines, visit:




In Apple News


OS X Yosemite developer 6 has just been released.  Interestingly, no sign of iOS 8 beta 6 or a possible GM (Gold Master) release.


My Next Purchase: a New Pair of Nifty Head Phones


Beats Wireless head phones which are both Bluetooth and can connect via a 3.5mm cable to any other device.  .  In addition, the connecter cable for the head phones also has an inbuilt mic and the clicker that you would find on iPhone ear pods to control an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.




iBlink Radio for Android and iOS Now Available on the Mac


Serotech who developed System Access and the SAMn, have previously made available their iBlink radio app for Android and iOS with content for the blind or low vision community.


Content includes: Serotek news, audio tutorials and interviews, blindness resources, community radio, convention coverage, SPN radio, podcasts, and access to SAMN sampler.


This app is now available for free on the Mac App Store.


A Quick Round up of Starting Accessibility on All Apple Products


I tweeted about this over the week end and thought it would be useful to sure again.

iOS devices (iPod touch, iPhone or iPad): accessibility short-cut or triple click home as it was called before to toggle on/off accessibility settings via the Home button.

Apple TV; Accessibility short-cut menu to allow you to toggle on/off VoiceOver or Closed Captioning via the Menu button on the remote.

OS X (Macs): Option+Command+F5 to allow you to toggle on/off various accessibility options such as VoiceOver, Zoom, invert colours etc.


Which Apps Are Draining Your Battery


This app is quite interesting, based on other iOS users data tries to give you info about which apps may be draining your battery.  Some accessibility issues, but overall no to bsd.




How to Make Free Ring Tones in iTunes for Windows

I came across this info during the week doing some research for a client that had rang up the adaptive technology help desk.  These two article links show you how to use iTunes to create ring tones for your iPhone from your own music.




How to Make Free Ring Tones in iTunes for Mac



Monday, 11 August 2014

Talking Tech for August 12 2014

AFB AccessWorrld for August 2014


Two of the articles that caught my attention in this issue were: the FitBit exercise band, and an evaluation of an accessible Samsung television.




How to Reboot an iOS device without touching the Home/Power buttons


Just in case your hardware buttons on your iOS device are not working, you can either simply choose Settings, General, Accessibility. Bold text (on) or choose Settings, General, Reset, Reset Network settings to reboot the iOS device.





How to Share your Macs Internet Connection


This is a handy tip particularly if your in a hotel room and you only have one connection and you have a number of devices.




Beats Gets its Own Section on the Apple Online Store


Recently Apple purchased Beats who amongst other things produce speakers and head phones, they now have their own section on the Apple online store: previously they were just listed under other sections within the store.




Accessible crossword for iOS


Lots of folks over the years have asked about an accessible crossword puzzle app for iOS that would work with VoiceOver, well, now there seems to be one.




The Trialling of iBeacon Technology for travel 


Two story’s concerning trialling iBeacon technology by RNIB in the UK, and at San Francisco airport in the US.


SFO App for Guiding Passengers who are blind




RNIB trialling iBeacon on Railway Stations





Monday, 4 August 2014

Talking Tech for August 5 2014

Assistive Technology Puts Creativity Within reach


To me this is what Assistive Technology is all about: from the Age and other sources


“Christopher Hills, 18, is quadriplegic, born with athetoid cerebral palsy, which severely limits his ability to control muscle function and speech”, writes Katie Cincotta for The Age. “His brain works fine but to use a computer he relies on his neck muscles to operate a switch control… Apple recently built Switch Control directly into OS X, which Hills says is a huge benefit. To his parents’ surprise, Hills has become so masterful on his Mac that he’s qualified as an Apple Certified Pro in Final Cut Pro X, software recently used to edit the award-winning Australian feature film Mystery Road. He has similar ambitions to be a visual storyteller and is studying video production online at RMIT”.


http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/assistive-technology-puts-creativity-within-reach-20140730-zw926.html                   “Assistive Technology Puts Creativity Within Reach”


Quick Apple News Update


New beta’s available for iOS 8 beta 5, Yosemite beta 5, and Apple TV.


Shazam  now Available  for the Mac


The music and TV identification app that is available on iOS, is now available on the Mac, and is just as good for identifying what might be playing on your radio on the backroom as you work on your Mac: just runs in the background and is free.




Smart shoes vibrate you in the wright direction with Google Maps


These shoes vibrate on the left or right foot to let you know when to turn, if you have left your phone behind, and can count your steps etc.  Originally designed to assist the vision impaired, the shoes developers have found a much wider market.




Gw Micro Connect ended  as of August 4


The GW Micro Connect Skype client has now ceased due to Microsoft closing down Skype Kit which Gw Connect was built upon.




Braille Tutor


Compatible with: iPad, not iPhone or iPod touch.

Developer: iEnable - Technology Solutions and Consultancy.


App provides an introduction to learning and writing Unified English braille (UEB) for sighted and blind Braille learners.

App is free with in-app purchases: 18 non contracted Braille lessons are free and 72 contracted Braille lessons cost #2.49.

App is compatible with VoiceOver for navigating, and self-voicing (Voiceover turned off) when interacting with lessons.

App provides a Braille on-screen keyboard with 6 keys and the Space bar, and on the home row of a Bluetooth keyboard for Braille keyboarding.

Whilst refreshable Braille is supported with voiceover for navigating, can not currently input Braille from a refreshable Braille display.

Up to 28 activities in each lesson, press Enter to repeat an instruction on a BT keyboard, shake iPad to clear your answer before pressing Enter, if incorrect answer after 3 tries hint give, if incorrect answer after 5 times moves on to next activity.  Lessons are scored for each activity and each activity can be run through as many times as required.




Friday, 1 August 2014

Talking Tech for July 29 2014 - notes posted 1/8/2014

OwnFone Now has Braille labelled buttons


Last week OwnFone in Australia (similar to overseas) made their 3d printable custom phone available with Braille buttons.  You can have 2 to 4 Braille labelled buttons for pre-dialing.




Some Info on Android


Last week, the Adaptive Technology Consultants at Vision Australia received their Nexus 7 tablets.


This means that staff will not only be able to demonstrate iPads, but Android tablets as well.


In relation to this, here is a good site to start off using Android.  The website is still being level;per, but has enough food info hopefully to get the beginner Android user up and going.


Inclusive Android can be found at:




Indoor Outdoor Weather Station


The Netatmo Urban Weather Station consisting of a metal cylindrical  indoor and outdoor module wirelessly links to your iPhone giving you the following information via the Netatmo app:


current temperature,

Min temperature,,

Max temperature, and



In addition:

For indoor: comfort level, CO level, air pressure, and acoustic comfort.

For outdoor: air quality, and feels like.


In the box you get the indoor and outdoor modules,  2 ’aaa’ batteries for the outdoor module, usb/mini cable, USB wall charger, universal plug adapters, screws to wall mount the outdoor module, velcro strap, and a getting started  guide.


Set up was accessible: i.e. installing batteries in to the outdoor module, plugging the indoor module in to its own USB style wall charger, downloading the free Netatmo app, and going through the guided setup for the weather station.


The app updates information every 10 minutes from the indoor and outdoor modules, and if you want a “now” reading, you can touch the top of the indoor module which will send the current reading to the Netatmo app.


As the account within the app is actually on the Netatmo website, and this is where data is sent via the modules, you can check your weather station anywhere via the app or the netatmo website.


A couple of points to note:


when first connecting the indoor module to your wireless network, you have to touch and hold until  the blue light flash’s.

there is no on button on either the indoor or outdoor module, a green light comes on when both are on (power conducted or batteries installed).

When both the indoor and outdoor modules are setup for the first time, wait for an hour or so for the temperature reading to be accurate.

Besides the data you can read concerning temp etc in the Netatmo app, the graph and event screens are not accessible.

The current weather forecast on the main app screen where the data appears is also not accessible.


Overall, the amount of info you can get from the Netatmo Weather Station is great.  I don’t need to see graphs or events, and I can get the current weather forecast from other apps.


The Netatmo website is not very  accessible.  Better off just using the app.


Online Apple Store link to purchase the weather station:




Netatmo app for iOS:




Last Week Apple had its Quarterly Financial Call


Mention this in passing, iPhone sales increase, iPad sales decrease, but still Apple made over billion dollars in profit.


Wondering if the reduction in iPad sales is just a reflection of overall tablet sales going down, rather than just the iPad going down.


10 ways to control your iOS device with your EarPods


I find it is always good to go back and revisit what you can actually do with the Apple Ear pods.  These tips taken from TUAWB.


The clicker on the Apple EarPods has 3 buttons, a Centre button, and two Volume buttons on either side.


The volume buttons control: yes: the volume.


The Centre button is where all the Magic happens:


Press once to play/pause media.


Press quickly twice to skip to the next track/chapter.


Pressed quickly  twice and hold to fast forward media.


Press 3 times quickly to go to the previous track/chapter.


Press quickly 3 times and hold to rewind media.


Press once to answer/hang up an incoming call.


Hold down for 2 seconds to decline an incoming call (didn’t know this one smile).


Switch from a call to an incoming call press centre button once to put previous call on hold, talk, and press centre button again to return to initial call.


Switch from a call to an incoming call and hang up on initial call, hold down centre button for 2 seconds.


Hold down Centre button to use Siri.




Talking Tech for July 22 2014: notes posted 1/8/2014

Voice Dream Reader demo


Last week on the program I mentioned the ability now to download from Vision Australia I-Access within side the Voice Dream Reader app and the possibility of me doing a demo of this process: this has now been done.

You can download the demo from my podcast website:




Just a note about the Closing Date for the ACCAN Apps For All Competition


Just a quick reminder that the Apps For All competition from ACCAN closes tomorrow the 23rd of July.


More News on the Inquisitor Audio Heart Beat Adventurehttps://itunes.apple.com/au/app/inquisitors-

The other week I mentioned that the Inquisitor Audio Heart Beat adventure game had been released 





Apple releases new seed/beta updates


Yosemite developer build 4 was released.


iOS 8 beta 4 was released with the bug feedback app being taken out.  Amongst other updates and improvements, a Tips app is now included to give the user some tips and tricks in getting the most out of iOS 8.


iTunes 12 beta was released with a newer interface:i.e. some of the extra items found in the source list now under a More option.


Get credit on your older iOS devices to update to newer ones


Last week Apple rolled out to Australian retail stores the ability of customers to bring in their old iOS devices and use the trade in money to get a newer device.

First gen iOS devices and the most recent iOS devices are excluded: bet to check with the store.


Adding iTunes credit to your App Stores credit


Another rollout recently for Australian Apple retail store customers is now the ability to go in to the store and via the iTunes and Passbook apps on your iOS device, purchase credit for the various app stores without having to use a credit card to do so.


Mastering the Macintosh with voiceOver


This free book on using the Macintosh with voiceOver is now available from the iBooks Store for free.

It does cover some low vision options, and takes the focus of using the trackpad on the Mac with voiceOver as you would use it on an iOs device.  I.e. does not get bogged down in to many keyboard commands, but tries to use the trackpad gestures for most actions.