Monday, 13 February 2017

Talking Tech for Feb 7 and 14 2017

Melbourne University Develops Device that Detects Obstacles


This will be a fantastic mobility aid if it comes to market for cane and Guide Dog users, detecting non protruding hazards such as descending stairs, pot holes, curbs, and the edges of railway station platforms will be of great benefit.


Blind People See Microscope images Using Touch Feedback Device


This story reminds me of the old Opticon.


My Playing around with Windows Preview 15025 with a Braille Display


Windows 10 15025 is looking promising with Braille display access.


Using Yammer with a Screen Reader from Microsoft


I was quite surprise how well Yammer for the web and the iOS version of the App works with screen readers.  Now using Microsoft office, Yammer, and Skype for Business on my Mac.


VA Connect Update


What’s New:

·   Ability to read text based content including all of the Newspapers and Magazines available through i-access®.

·   Displays the full text of a title when it is available, including Newspapers, with sentence highlighting.

·   Improved messaging feature to receive important messages from Vision Australia.

·   Improved usability and numerous bug fixes in response to feedback from Users.

New Vision Australia branding




The Apple Support App Now Available in the Australian App Store


Get help, read help documents or book an appointment for assistance.




The Talking Microwave Now Available From Vision Australia


Not yet on the online store, but apparently available for sale, retailing for $623.


iPad turned 7 last Week


The iPad was announced in January 2010, and I remember doing the Australian launch for it in May at the Spectronics conference in Brisbane.


AirPods get a Firmware Update


If you have the AirPods in their case, over the last week or so, when connected, you’ll notice in Settings, General, About that the version number will be 3.51.  Apple has not said what the update contains, but my bug with the keyboard talking louder when inputing text has be fixed.


Find my iPhone beta for Finding the AirPods


Like other devices for Find My iPhone, you can get a map reference or play a sound on the AirPods: which actually works quite well as I usually put an AirPod down where I am usually sitting.


Siri Beta Gives Cricket Info


The beta version of Siri with iOS 10.3 will give you the current scores for a cricket game in progress or tell you wen the next match is on for a particular country.


The Complete List of 3D Touch Short-Cuts


You never know how complete these lists are, but its a dual thing to have if you have an iPhone with 3D Touch.


Another Tip on Using the KNFB Reader: Reading the Computer Screen


When I’ve been updating Windows Preview to the next release, KnfB Reader has come in very handy for reading the screen when rebooting several times.


How to Identify Incoming Calls without Looking at Your iPhone


For VoiceOver users probably not useful, fbut for folks that don’t use speech output as such this feature is quite handy.


How to Disable the Tech Bar on the MacBook Pro for Taking Exams


Some States in the Us were the Bar exam is held, requires students to disable the touch bar for the examination.


NVDA Changing Lives in India


Always a good reminder how this free screen reader is changing lives for people who are blind who live in India and other country’s.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Talking Tech for Jan 31 2017

Synapptic Update


Please note that Synapptic version 6 has been released and is available to update via the settings menu in Synapptic. It could take 5 to 10 minutes to download and you will be taken to the Android screen where you need to press the install button after it has been downloaded.  Naturally when you go out to Android you will need to turn on Talkback or Voice Assist depending on what phone you are using. When you go back into Synapptic please remember to turn off  Talkback or Voice Assist again.


Following are the list of changes in version 6.


A new simplified calendar makes finding dates and typing appointments quicker and easier. The enhanced Agenda View allows upcoming appointments to be easily viewed, edited or deleted.


The new weather forecast option in the Tools Menu gives accurate forecasts and current weather details for anywhere in the world.


Android apps can now be launched directly from Synapptic. Find this new option in the Tools menu. This new feature, in combination with the triple tap feature to start or stop TalkBack, provides simple and powerful access to the more complex parts of Android.


The new magnifier option converts your phone or tablet into a premium hand-held electronic magnifier and has options to freeze, zoom up to x100, save, rename, switch colours/contrast, and also gives direct access to the reading machine!


A new line-view reading mode makes eccentric reading easy with text automatically scrolling across the screen at an adjustable speed. This can be used to read emails, text messages, reading machine documents, notes, etc.


If you use the Synapptic Radio player, you'll really appreciate the new features we've added to make it quicker and easier to find your favourite radio stations. A new search feature allows you to search easily though the thousands of stations, and a favourites list makes it quick and simple to play your favourite ones.


Get the most out of every photograph and image with the super-powerful photo viewer. It can now magnify up to x100 and is easily operated with pinch and zoom.


To make it easier to group and find photos, each photo you take can now be given a name. The list of photos can be quickly and easily searched to find the photo or group of photos required.


If you take lots of photos the new photo viewer is now super-quick to operate and allows many unwanted photos to be deleted at once.


The reading machine now has two new modes. Normal Mode is great for normal text from books, magazines and newspapers. Ignore Columns Mode will ignore any columns of text and just reads from left to right. This mode is particularly useful for things like bank statements.


Reading machine text can now be saved and the file given a specific name.


A new Reading Machine search option makes it quick and easy to find previous text.


Reading machine text can now also be transferred to the Notepad for further editing.


When you have lots of Voice Memos, the new rename and search features allow you to easily organise memos and quickly find specific or groups of memos.


To help keep Synapptic even more simple to operate we have made the bottom left of the screen the standard location for buttons to continue or confirm a selection of emails, photos or folders, etc.


With an ever increasing number of emails being sent and received we have introduced a new feature to make it quicker and easier to delete multiple emails at the same time.


Synapptic can automatically fetch new emails, but a new Fetch Emails menu option towards the top of the Email Menu now makes it quicker and easier to fetch emails manually.


No one likes to suddenly loose an email, note or text message they're in the middle of working on. To help make sure this never happens, we've introduced a new prompt which asks if you are sure you wish to exit a Synapptic screen without saving the text.


To help with organising and quickly finding specific notes in the Notepad, we've added the ability to rename notes and to search for notes with a specific name or containing specific words.


When there are hundreds of contacts in your address book, we've improved the speed and responsiveness of screens that allow you to pick a contact.


If you like to write long emails, this new feature will definitely help! A new email drafts feature allows an email to be saved and worked on over several days.


To help make voice recognition easier, the button to turn voice recognition on and off for the keyboard has been enlarged, so it's easier to locate.


It's now easier to manage text you have spoken in with voice recognition. The delete key has two functions. It first deletes the complete last utterance, then continues to function as a normal delete key, deleting one character at a time.


If you use Synapptic in Double Tap mode, it can be slow and frustrating when using the keyboard. A new setting allows the keyboard to work in normal Single Tap mode, independently of the menus working in double tap mode.


If you're new to a computer keyboard, the QWERTY layout can be confusing and make it slow to type. A new keyboard setting now allows the keyboard to be configured as an ABC style keyboard or a QWERTY style keyboard.


Want to customise your Main Menu and add shortcuts for quick access, or delete options for an even simpler menu? The new Customise option in the Settings Menu makes this much quicker and easier. Move an option to a new location, add in an extra option or delete an unwanted option. Certain sub-menu items, like the new  Magnifier, Weather and App Launcher options can also be added directly to the Main Menu for quick access.


The comma key on the keyboard now changes to an at ( @ ) sign when typing an email address. This saves time and means you don't need to switch to the numbers keyboard to complete an address.


The option to password protect the Settings Menu has been removed due to the new lock screen options. A new lock screen adds new security and protection features. Set the lock screen to be operated by either a PIN, Swipe or disabled altogether.


With the line between Smartphones and Tablets becoming ever more blurred, a new setting allows you to manually select the type of device (Tablet or Smartphone) that Synapptic is running on, if it's not been detected automatically.


For overseas customers, a new feature is available to automatically detect, or manually set, the required language for menus and other text within Synapptic.


New stations have been added to both the Radio Player and Digital TV player.


Various other minor enhancements have also been made to version 6.


How to Get Siri to Read an Article Out Loud on iPhone or iPad


Siri can read any screen of your iPhone with the Speak screen command if this is turned on in Settings, General, Accessibility, Speech, Speak Screen.  Note - this doesn’t work on the Home screens.



How to Factory Reset the New AirPods from Apple


Where do AirDrop Files Go To


How to Use Skype to Spy on Your Pets


Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 1502: Narrator improvements


Access Technology Users Group Feb 8 2017


ATUG will hold its monthly phone based meeting on Wednesday 8 February.

Meeting starts at 7:30 pm Sydney time.

Anyone is welcome to participate, only cost is the cost of dialing a Melbourne number.

Dial-in Number:

03 86720100

 Participant Access Code:



Jim Pipczak from VA will talk about the following.

beacon technology

a recorder that can record 60 messages

Talking Microwave

Samsung tv and computer screen with voice guidance – better picture for VIP’s

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Talking Tech for Jan 24 2017: late post

Certificate Fix for Zoomtext Products

The digital certificate used to certify newer ZoomText and Window-Eyes software products has been compromised. As a result, our certificate will be revoked on or around January 26th, which will result in startup failures for the following Ai Squared products.

Affected Ai Squared Software Products

When attempting to start the following Ai Squared software products, the product will fail to launch and display a Windows error message: “A referral was returned from the server”

  • ZoomText Magnifier – Build numbers 10.10.8 through 10.11.6
  • ZoomText Magnifier/Reader v10.1 – Build numbers 10.10.8 through 10.11.6
  • ZoomText Fusion v10.1 – Build numbers 10.11.1 through 10.11.5
  • ZoomText Keyboard v4 – Build numbers 4.0.0 and 4.1.0
  • Window-Eyes v9.5 – Build numbers 9.5.1 and 9.5.3

When attempting to start the following Ai Squared software products, the product may launch even though the certificate has been revoked. Anti-virus utilities may detect the invalid certificate and block the software from running.

  • ZoomText ImageReader v1.2 – Build numbers 1.2.16106
  • ZoomText Voices (language packs) v1.0 – Build numbers
  • Vocalizer Expressive v1.3 (for Window-Eyes) – Build numbers

Note: Inspection of the certificate will show that the certificate is invalid. Inspection and validation of certificates is a process performed by some organizations.

Solution (software updates)

For each of the affected products, software updates incorporating a new digital signature will be released and available for download prior to January 26th. These updates will be available using the Check for Updates wizard where available or by download :



Problems with me Blogging


Mars Edit that I use on then Mac doesn’t work well with VoiceOver, hence these straight text posts for Talking Tech.   Hopefully trying to resolve this in the next few weeks.


Public beta of Dictation Bridge Now Available 

AccessWorld for Jan 2017


Articles: braille, VizLens and HALOS (Home Appliance Label and Overlay System).  Really excited to see the development of Vizlens which allows the use of an iOS device to access a touch screen system. 

iOS KNFB Raeder Tip


You can use the volume buttons to snap a picture with the KnFB Reader rather than using the on-screen button.


How to Get Siri to Read an Article Out Loud on iPhone or iPad


Siri can read any screen of your iPhone with the Speak screen command if this is turned on in Settings, General, Accessibility, Speech, Speak Screen.  Note - this doesn’t work on the Home screens. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Talking Tech for Jan 17 2017

Here are my two Xbox One demos


Xbox One demo 1 posted - overview




Xbox One Demo 2 posted - Settings, Apps, and keyboard navigation:




iPhone out for 10 years Last Week


I missed celebrating 10 years of the iPhone last week, as for me, the celebration is in another two years when it will be 10 years since VoiceOver came to the iPhone in June 2009.


MacBook Pro with Touch Bar


I really enjoyed having a play with the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, replacing the function key row with the touch bar and Touch ID (finger print) brings an extra level of functionality to the Mac.






The new AirPods from Apple, really does make you enjoy using Bluetooth ear phones.




Ballyland Rotor app


Teach children how to use the VoiceOver rotor.



Monday, 9 January 2017

Talking Tech for Jan 10 2016

Talking Tech for Jan 10 2016


In this weeks show, I spend most of the show talking about my experiences using the Xbox One game console from Microsoft with the builtin screen reader Narrator.

In the next week or so, I will be producing a podcast on using the Xbox and will post it on my feed at:


Some Items from CES 2017 that Caught my Attension


The Blitab Tablet for the vision impaired shown off at CES 2017 from Tech Crunch:


Speech and Braille notetaker based on Android using liquid to form the Braille.  Reported to see for aaround $500 when it comes to market.


From Smart Canes to Wheel Chairs from Tech Crunch:


The idea of having a cane that gives your GPs location, and if you have a fall or need help, you can get the cane to text or email an identified person for assistance.


Why Accessibility Matters To Tech Leaders: talk presented at CES 2017:


I think it was great that accessibility overall got a good showing at CES 2017, and this panel talk just highlighted why accessibility is important for everyone.


Interesting use of Smart Glass’s linked up to a smart phone to give live video/audio assistance to the user, already available, and is planned based: i.e. how many times you use the service.


Aira uses Smart Glass’s to assist the Vision Impaired at presented at CES 2017 from Engadget.