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:

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Talking TEch for March 1 2016

Podcast Chapters 


A great Mac app for producing chapter based podcasts. 

There is No Such Thing as a Normal Human


A very interesting article on how Microsoft is looking at moving forward with universal access and design.


How to Find Audio Described Movies in the iTunes Store


More Audio Described movies coming online in the iTunes Store.


Siri Beat Google Now in a Show Down


The take away from this article was that more iOs users actually use Siri than Android users use Google Now.


Over 30 Reasons that Distinguish’s Apple from the Rest of the Tech Crowd


Here are are some of the points:


1. Siri.

2. Camera: take photos face identified, iTunes gift cards, and Face Time, 3rd party apps.

4. Use of BT keyboards across devices for screen navigation and keyboard input.

5. voice dictation across devices.

6. Turn accessibility of easily across devices.

7. Audio described movies access across all devices.

8. Read iBooks on OS X or iOS.

9. Spell check monitoring in OS X and iOS. 

10. Turn a doc on OS X in to a text audio file.

11. For screen reader users various input methods: voice, BT keyboard, hand writing mode, hard Braille input, on screen Braille input, and on-screen standard keyboard.

12. Apple watch still only fully accessible smart stream watch.

13. Connected Home hardware accessible via accessible apps.


Full blog post here: