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Assistive technology news and info.

Amazon is on Fire with TV Accessibility

by J.J. Meddaugh

Amazon continues to add accessibility to its lineup of products, and a recent blog post focuses on current and forthcoming improvements for Fire TV, Amazon's connected Smart TV product.

Amazon is focusing on the experience for speech and low vision users, including easy access to adjust the rate of speech, a review mode which can be used to reread information or spell names of actors and show titles, and global settings for higher contrast and closed captions. Apps like Netflix and Hulu now also play nicer with accessibility services, according to the blog post.

Amazon's Fire TV is a small device which plugs into an existing television or video display and displays and plays video content, such as television shows, photos, or videos. It's a direct competitor to the Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast among others.

You can read more from the Amazon blog post. Stay with Blind Bargains for more Amazon coverage from CSUN 2017.

Posted Friday, 17-Feb-2017 3:59 PM ET in News     Post a comment

This Ain't your Father'sChromeVox; Major Updates for Chrome's Screen Reader

by J.J. Meddaugh

Google's Chromebooks have come a long way since their initial introduction, and now the ChromeVox screen reader is taking a major leap forward as well. The new version includes a variety of enhancements including an enhanced keyboard layout, stereo earcons which provide contextual and positioning information, a panel for teachers so they can follow along with what the student is hearing, and USB braille support with the ability to use braille keyboard commands. New ChromeVox menus allow the user to find various menu options, links lists, and other features. All of this and more is explained in more detail on Google's blog post.

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Posted Friday, 17-Feb-2017 3:50 PM ET in News     Post a comment

The Expanded Blind Bargains Guide to Attending #CSUNATC17 on a Budget

by J.J. Meddaugh

It's time for what has become a bit of an annual tradition around here. This will be our 8th time attending the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, the largest such conference for the blind. We often hear from people who would love to go, if only it was within their budget. With room rates over $200 a night, a nearly $500 registration fee, plane tickets, meals, and other expenses, the cost often seems prohibitive. With this in mind, we've updated our list of tips for enjoying the conference on a budget.

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Posted Thursday, 16-Feb-2017 5:11 PM ET in News     Post a comment

NVDA's first 2017 Release Features Kindle, Edge, and Office Changes

by J.J. Meddaugh

NVAccess has Published the Release Candidate for NVDA 2017.1, the first milestone release of the new year. In addition to previously mentioned support for Kindle reading on PC, this update improves support for several Microsoft products including table reading in the Edge web browser and various improvements and changes for Word, and Excel as well as a variety of bug fixes. The complete changelog is below.

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Posted Wednesday, 15-Feb-2017 9:12 PM ET in News     Post a comment

The VFO Group Releases Magic 14 enhancing Mouse Echo, Upgrading Vocalizer Voices, and More

by Scott Davert

The VFO group has released Magic version 14, bringing several updates to the software. Improvements include upgraded Vocalizer Voices, updates to Mouse Echo, the introduction of audio ducking, and speech improvements to Office 2016.

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Posted Friday, 10-Feb-2017 4:44 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Saudi Arabia University Students Seeking Quick Feedback on iOS Game Development

by J.J. Meddaugh

A student team from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia is seeking to develop an iPhone game that can be played by both blind and sighted people and seeks your input. They've posted a short 6-question survey to gauge interest in the type of game they should create. To take survey, follow the link on this post.

Posted Friday, 10-Feb-2017 2:35 PM ET in News     Post a comment

NVDA Remote Access Releases Version 2.0, bringing several improvements and a new Feature

by Scott Davert

The developers of NVDA Remote Access, an add-on to NVDA which allows users who are both running the screen reader to connect to each others' computers, have released version 2.0. One enhancement in this version is the introduction of Remote Braille. If each connected user has a braille display connected, the braille output should match along with the speech output.

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Posted Thursday, 09-Feb-2017 04:28 AM ET in News     Post a comment

Make a Quick $20 for Taking a Short Survey on Screen Reader Usage

by J.J. Meddaugh

If you use a screen reader, a research company wants to hear from you and will pay you for your time. User Research International has posted a short survey about screen reader usage. The survey can be taken on a computer, tablet, or mobile device and should take about 10 minutes to complete. Participants who qualify will receive $20 for completing the survey. Follow this link to take the survey.
Update: This survey is now full and is no longer accepting respondents.

Posted Wednesday, 08-Feb-2017 4:17 PM ET in News     Post a comment

The Next Update to NVDA will Bring Major Access Improvements to Kindle Books

by Scott Davert

Over the years, many blind users have wanted to use Kindle for PC just as easily as their sighted counterparts. This is especially true in the field of education. Though the Kindle for Accessibility Plug-in exists, it only permits the user to read text out loud and to configure basic speech settings. Last year, James Scholes released his latest tool, Codex, a conversion tool which permitted both braille and speech access to the Kindle library once the book was converted to a more useable format.

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Posted Wednesday, 08-Feb-2017 12:42 PM ET in News     Post a comment

The Hashtag you have Reached, #CSUN17, has been Changed. The new Hashtag is #CSUNATC17

by J.J. Meddaugh

If you are attending the 32nd CSUN Assistive Technology Conference in San Diego this March or want to follow the action, you'll need to reprogram your brain to use a new hashtag. #CSUNATC17 replaces the traditional #CSUN17 as the official hashtag per conference organizers according to the CSUN Center on Disabilities [@csuncod](] Twitter account. The change was made to avoid confusion with other events. In reality, you may just need to follow both hashtags for the time being, as tweets seem to be split between the old and new hashtags as of this article. The CSUN conference is the most tweeted about assistive technology event of the year with many participants, exhibitors, presenters, and media outlets sharing their finds and tidbits.

Posted Tuesday, 07-Feb-2017 4:56 PM ET in News     1 comment

The Apex of Price Cuts: BrailleNote Apex from $1,995 from Humanware

by J.J. Meddaugh

HumanWare has drastically cut prices on its BrailleNote Apex products, the second price cut for the previous generation notetakers since September. Customers can now purchase a 32-cell Apex for $2,995 or an 18-cell model for $1,995. That's a drop of up to $2,000 on the previous prices and just a bit over half of the original retail price. Last September Humanware dropped prices of the Apex shortly after the release of the Touch. The Apex runs a version of KeySoft based on Windows CE and has not received a major software update since KeySoft 9.5 in May of 2015.

Posted Tuesday, 07-Feb-2017 12:09 PM ET in News     Post a comment

No excuses, Uncle Sam is Accessible with Hundreds of IRS Tax Forms

by J.J. Meddaugh

Perhaps the only things certain in life are death and taxes, but at least the latter is a bit more accessible thanks to the efforts of the Internal Revenue Service. Hundreds of tax forms are available on the IRS accessibility website in large-print, text, accessible PDF, e-Braille, or HTML formats. Assistance in filling out tax returns is also available for qualifying individuals. Check the link on this post for more info. Taxes are due a bit later this year, on April 17.

Posted Monday, 06-Feb-2017 9:08 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Watch a Video of DISH Accessibility Features on the Hopper 3 DVR

by J.J. Meddaugh

DISH has joined a growing number of television providers to offer accessibility services as a part of its set-top boxes. In a recently-posted YouTube video, Joseph Hodge demonstrates the Hopper 3, one of the DISH receivers with text-to-speech functionality. Pressing the Option button twice launches the service which speaks the program guide, loads on-demand content and lets you record shows. According to Hodge, some of the apps including Pandora and Weather also speak, though others including YouTube and Netflix currently do not.

Text-to-speech functionality is available on the Hopper 2, Hopper 3 and Wally receivers and can be requested by contacting DISH sales for current or perspective customers. More information can be found on DISH's accessibility page.

Posted Monday, 06-Feb-2017 8:34 PM ET in News     1 comment

Applicants Accepted for The Holman Prize, a $25,000 Aspirational Awarde

by J.J. Meddaugh

What would you do with $25,000? The San Francisco Lighthouse is asking this question as it seeks to bestow the Holman Prize, an award which is designed to, as they put it, assist in "FUNDING THE DREAMS AND AMBITIONS OF BLIND INDIVIDUALS WORLDWIDE."

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Posted Monday, 06-Feb-2017 7:49 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Mike May Sets his Destination as Seattle Lighthouse President

by J.J. Meddaugh

A founder and long time CEO of the Sendero Group is moving on up, literally. Mike May has accepted a job as the president of the Seattle Lighthouse. The Seattle Lighthouse is a nonprofit which employs over 400 people including over 260 that are blind and is one of the largest such organizations in the country. May takes his new post on April 3 and succeeds Kirk Adams, who stepped down in 2016 to accept the job of President for the American Foundation for the Blind.

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Posted Monday, 06-Feb-2017 3:41 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Public Beta of Dictation Bridge Add-on for NVDA Released

by J.J. Meddaugh

Dictation Bridge, an open-source, crowdfunded tool which aims to enable accessible dictation of text using screen readers, has released a public beta of its add-on for NVDA. This version works with both Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Microsoft Speech Recognition, the latter available for free with modern versions of Windows. Users can speak text and have it typed into their favorite app, or control NVDA itself with commands for Dragon. JAWS and Window-Eyes add-ons are still on the roadmap for the near future.
You can hear more about Dictation Bridge on Blind Bargains Qast 55 where we interviewed Lucy Greco. For more details about the features below, check out the Dictation Bridge Public Beta page.

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Posted Thursday, 19-Jan-2017 8:30 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Captcha Be Gone Now Available for the Chrome Web Browser

by J.J. Meddaugh

Captcha Be Gone, an online service which can decipher most visual CAPTCHAs on web pages, is now available for the Chrome web browser. This is in addition to support for Firefox and Internet Explorer which is already included. The service was launched last July and is available via a $3 monthly or $33 yearly plan. Both of these are introductory prices and may go up in the future.

Posted Thursday, 19-Jan-2017 8:13 PM ET in News     1 comment

NFB and ACB Conventions Don't Overlap; Hotel Reservations Accepted Now

by J.J. Meddaugh

If you had aspirations for attending both major blindness consumer organization national conventions, you can do this in 2017 and even have time to come home in-between. The National Federation of the Blind will once again hold their convention at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort though it will be later than in past years. Convention activities start on Monday, July 10 and continue through Saturday, July 15. This is the site used for the 2011 and 2016 conventions.
The American Council of the Blind's 2017 Conference and Convention is actually a day shorter than in past years, stretching from June 30 to July 7. It will return to the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nev. just outside of Reno. The ACB was last in Reno in 2011.
NFB online registration typically starts March 1 while ACB registration usually launches in May. Hotel reservations for both conventions can be made now. Check the links above for info.

Posted Thursday, 19-Jan-2017 8:06 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Be My Eyes has Nearly a Half Million Users on their Platform; Android App Coming Soon

by J.J. Meddaugh

Be My Eyes, an iPhone app which provides visual assistance to blind and visually impaired users, says that an Android port of their app is imminent. The original Be My Eyes app was released just over 2 years ago and was one of the first in a line of crowd assistance platforms. According to a recent Email, The app is now served over 32,000 blind and visually impaired users with the help of more than 450,000 sighted volunteers.
You can select this link to be informed of the release of the Android app.

Posted Thursday, 19-Jan-2017 7:08 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Catching Up: Android TalkBack 5.1 Adds Smattering of Enhancements; Ends Support for Pre 5.0 Devices

by J.J. Meddaugh

Recently, Google's Eyes-free team released version 5.1 of the TalkBack screen reader for Android devices. This version is the first to only run on Android 5.1 and newer, which encompasses most current devices. Those running Android 4.4 or earlier received a bug fix release, version 5.0.7, which is said to be the last for these devices.
TalkBack 5.1 includes a list of minor improvements including announcing of page load percentages in Chrome, an assignable shortcut for the Quick Settings Panel, and improvements for scrolling in large lists. We've included the message from the Eyes-free mailing list below.

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Posted Thursday, 19-Jan-2017 6:57 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Facebook announces Live Audio feature for iOS and Android

by Michael McCarty

Facebook has announced that it is introducing a Live Audio feature that allows live broadcasts of audio-only content. The company will be testing the feature with a small number of established broadcasters including the BBC World Service and LBC. iOS users will get a worse version of the service than using Android devices: while Android users can continue listening to a Live Audio broadcast while using other apps, iOS users will need to remain within the app. You can, though, browse other Facebook content while listening. If you fancy yourself as a live radio host or live podcaster, the company says that it will be making the feature more available to publishers and people early in the new year.

Posted Friday, 23-Dec-2016 06:58 AM ET in News     1 comment

Microsoft Announces Accessibility Plans for 2017 including Built-in Braille Support and Unattended Installs for Narrator

by Scott Davert

At the beginning of 2016, Microsoft presented a Road Map moving forward which laid out their plans and visions for the future of accessibility on Microsoft products. Microsoft has now published a list of things they hope to achieve in 2017.

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Posted Friday, 09-Dec-2016 4:56 PM ET in News     2 comments

Microsoft's New Free CaptionBot Demo Showcases New Automatic Image Recognition Technology

by J.J. Meddaugh

Microsoft is taking automatic picture recognition a step further in an online demo which recognizes and describes images. According to the home page, for CaptionBot, "I can understand the content of any photograph and I'll try to describe it as well as any human."

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Posted Tuesday, 06-Dec-2016 4:58 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Rice University Researchers Want to Make Urine Accessible; Seeks Survey Participants

by J.J. Meddaugh

When it comes to issues of a personal matter, blind people are often left without an accessible way to perform tasks that they may wish to remain private. Team SEER at Rice University is conducting a survey seeking input on a possible accessible urinalysis) device, a tool which can detect blood in a person's urine. The survey is estimated to take 5 minutes to complete and no compensation is provided. We've linked to it from this post.

Posted Tuesday, 06-Dec-2016 4:35 PM ET in News     Post a comment

City Lights App Will Alert you of Upcoming Traffic Lights

by J.J. Meddaugh

A new app aims to alert blind and visually impaired people of oncoming traffic lights. City Lights is a free iPhone app which will vibrate three times while someone is walking when they near an intersection with a traffic light. The app currently works in San Francisco, Oakland, Chula Vista, Boston, Manchester, Montreal, Victoria and Athens and other cities are being added regularly. An Android version is also being explored. Check the link to learn more or to download the app.

Posted Tuesday, 29-Nov-2016 4:52 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Roku Adds Audio Guide to Streaming Players in Latest Update though Much Remains Inaccessible

by J.J. Meddaugh

Roku, makers of the most popular line of streaming media players, has added a basic Audio Guide feature in its latest update. Version 7.5 allows the user to navigate through menus, adjust settings, and load some of the many channels available, though users report that accessibility in this initial release is spotty at best.

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Posted Tuesday, 29-Nov-2016 4:31 PM ET in News     5 comments

Voter Experience Survey Seeking your Election Input

by J.J. Meddaugh

If you voted in the 2016 election in the U.S., the National Federation of the Blind wants to hear about your experiences good or bad. This year, there are two surveys available depending on the method you used for voting. Blind and low vision voters who cast their ballot at an early voting center, local polling place on Election Day, or by absentee ballot that was received by regular mail, should complete this survey Alternatively, blind and low vision voters who used a personal computer or tablet to mark their ballot should complete the electronic ballot delivery survey Responses are due by November 29.

Posted Tuesday, 15-Nov-2016 5:56 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Santa Again Contracts with the NFB to Send Braille Letters to Blind Kids

by J.J. Meddaugh

In what has become an annual tradition, Santa Claus has partnered with some of his elves in Baltimore to send braille letters to blind children. Parents or teachers of children under 10 can visit the Santa Letters page to request a braille letter from Santa, which will be produced by National Federation of the Blind elves in contracted braille and mailed to the child. A print version of the letter will also be included. Letters are free, and requests must be received by December 16.

Posted Tuesday, 15-Nov-2016 5:51 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Quiet Cars Will Finally be Required to Become Less Quiet

by J.J. Meddaugh

Nearly 6 years after the passage of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, rules have finally been put in place to ensure that quiet cars will make noise when traveling at low speeds. Most vehicles traveling under 18.6 MPH will need to emit an audible sound, though the ruling gives automakers flexibility on what exactly that sound would be. The rules have been delayed for years which has also delayed their implementation. The new rules are set to take effect by September 1, 2019 and cost the auto industry roughly $39 million annually.

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Posted Tuesday, 15-Nov-2016 5:41 PM ET in News     Post a comment

You Have TO Pay TO Have Your Say On What You Will Play

by Scott Davert

A Kickstarter campaign has been launch by Audio Game Hub which seeks to develop 5 audio games. Backers of the campaign will be permitted to choose what the 5 games would include. The choices of games range from side scrollers to boxing to casino oriented choices.

Audio Game Hub may be a familiar name to readers, as they have produced a suite of 8 audio games that were released earlier this year on the Android, iOS and Windows platforms. According to the campaign page, the 5 chosen games will be added to what has already been created. For a demonstration of what the already created app sounds like on iOS, you can check out this AppleVis podcast

At the time of writing, the campaign has raised $3018 of $4259, with 23 days left. The page also says that the project will only be funded if the previously mentioned goal is met.

Posted Tuesday, 15-Nov-2016 4:12 PM ET in News     Post a comment

BrailleNote Touch 2.0 is here: but It's Not a Hardware Upgrade

by Scott Davert

This fall has been full of new software and hardware releases from Apple, Google, Microsoft, and the VFO Group. And now, Humanware has one to add to the pile. BrailleNote Touch 2.0 was released last week and delivers the features J.J. wrote about before. The only difference between what was reported, and what Humanware is advertizing is that it's being called "BrailleNote Touch 2.0" instead of Keysoft, the operating system name for all BrailleNote products prior to the Touch.

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Posted Wednesday, 09-Nov-2016 3:28 PM ET in News     Post a comment

JAWS 18: Not A Minor Update

by Scott Davert

Every October, VFO, formerly Freedom Scientific, releases a major update to the JAWS for Windows screen reader. Some years include more new features than others, but this year's update has a variety of changes that may effect you. This is the first major update since the VFO acquisition of AI Squared, makers of the ZoomText magnification software. We've detailed many of the new features below.

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Posted Wednesday, 02-Nov-2016 2:56 PM ET in News     5 comments

2017 ACB Scholarship Program Announced

by J.J. Meddaugh

The American Council of the Blind has announced their 2017 scholarship program. Approximately 20 scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 will be awarded to entering freshmen, undergraduate and graduate college students who are legally blind, maintain a 3.3 GPA and are involved in their school or local community. The application deadline is February 15, 2017. Check the source link on this post for more information.

Posted Tuesday, 01-Nov-2016 5:08 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Seedlings Braille Books for Children Hosting Online Auction to Pay for Braille Books

by J.J. Meddaugh

Seedlings Braille Books for Children is hosting an online auction featuring a variety of items in an effort to raise $10,000 to pay for braille books for children. items range from restaurant and Amazon gift cards to themed experiences and also include a large variety of local and regional items for those in or near Michigan, their home base. The auction ends November 14.

Posted Tuesday, 01-Nov-2016 2:11 PM ET in News     Post a comment

NFB Scholarship Program Now Accepting Apps for 2017 Class

by J.J. Meddaugh

Applications are now being accepted for the National Federation of the Blind's 2017 scholarship program. 30 students will win amounts ranging from $3,000 to $12,000, a free trip to the 2017 national convention in Orlando, and a variety of additional prizes. Those attending college in the fall of 2017 may apply. For more details or to view the application, visit the link on this post. Deadline is March 31, 2017.

Posted Tuesday, 01-Nov-2016 1:51 PM ET in News     Post a comment

BlindSquare 4.04 Utilizes iOS 10 Voices, Adds History Mode

by J.J. Meddaugh

A new update for the BlindSquare navigation app has just been unleashed on the iOS App Store which may make some iOS 10 users happy. Version 4.04 supports the new built-in voices which are included in iOS version 10, assuming they have been downloaded. Also, the new feature list includes the ability to repeat previously spoken messages in a speech history mode and a fix to reenable the use of the map in iOS 10. The complete changelog is below.

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Posted Tuesday, 25-Oct-2016 6:06 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Chicken Nugget 4.3 Fixes Blank Tweets, Rolls with Twitter's Changes

by J.J. Meddaugh

Accessible Apps has released another free update to the Chicken Nugget Twitter client for Windows. Version 4.3 was largely necessitated by some changes from Twitter's API in how tweets are displayed. Some parts of a tweet, such as a picture or quoted tweet, no longer count in the 140 character limit, allowing for slightly longer tweets to be written in these situations. Version 4.3 accounts for this change and also includes some other improvements. You can download version 4.3 from the source link below, and look at the complete changelog after the jump.

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Posted Tuesday, 25-Oct-2016 1:27 PM ET in News     Post a comment

iOS 10.1 Released; Focuses on Camera Improvements with a Smattering of VoiceOver Fixes

by J.J. Meddaugh

Apple has officially released iOS version 10.1, the latest update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users. This update includes several camera improvements including a portrait mode camera, improves connectivity to some Bluetooth devices, and fixes a laundry list of other issues. As for accessibility, AppleVis reports that a couple of bugs were squashed, including a showstopper for some users which displayed extraneous information on a braille display while using the Mail app. We've linked to the AppleVis post which has more details on mainstream and accessibility updates in this release. iOS 10.1 runs on any device which received the iOS 10 update.

Posted Tuesday, 25-Oct-2016 1:23 PM ET in News     1 comment

Survey on Technology Challenges from University College London Students

by J.J. Meddaugh

Often, students will decide to focus on blind or visually impaired individuals when developing a new technology as a part of a school project. This survey comes from Master’s students studying Human-computer interaction at the University College London and asks about technology usages and challenges for blind and partialy sighted individuals. The survey is on a single page and is estimated to take about 15 minuts to complete. Follow the source link to take the survey.

Posted Tuesday, 25-Oct-2016 1:17 PM ET in News     Post a comment

HIMS Releases Patch for Braille Edge: Bringing enhancements for JAWS Users, Full UEB Support, and More

by Scott Davert

HIMS Inc. has announced a "maintenance" patch for the Braille Edge 40 that brings a few new added functions to the device. Some readers may be thinking this is old news, but it's not really. Though this patch was originally announced in September, it was pulled from the website shortly after due to some customers having the update fail.

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Posted Tuesday, 18-Oct-2016 3:24 PM ET in News     1 comment

Orbit Reader 20 Manual Posted; Supports All Major Screen Readers, Text Editing

by J.J. Meddaugh

The American Printing House for the Blind has posted an early version of the manual for the forthcoming Orbit Reader 20, the sub-$500 braille display which is due to be released shortly. In the manual, we learn more about the unit's operation and screen reader support. The Orbit Reader 20 will include two modes: a stand alone mode is designed for reading already translated files from an SD card to display on the unit. Basic text editing is also available in this mode. In remote mode, the unit can be paired with a screen reader using Bluetooth or USB. Support for all major screen readers is currently possible, either directly or through emulation of a RefreshaBraille 18. Details may change between now an the actual release of the unit. Check out the manual to learn more. Thanks to Josh Kennedy for the tip.

Posted Tuesday, 11-Oct-2016 6:20 PM ET in News     Post a comment

BlindSquare Authors MIPsoft Have Been Working on Android App for the Past 18 Months

by J.J. Meddaugh

MIPsoft, makers of the BlindSquare GPS ap for iOS, has been working on GPS software for Android for the past 18 months, though details are scarce. This according to some recent tweets from the @BlindSquareGPS Twitter account.

Android is getting better and better. We have been building something for Android for last 18 months or so
…not BlindSquare, but something on same area. We don’t have any release dates set yet.
Android users can currently use Nearby Explorer as well as Google's built-in navigation apps and some other free alternatives, but it sounds like more options may be on the horizon. If you care to speculate, post your thoughts in the comments.

Posted Tuesday, 11-Oct-2016 5:10 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Jaws 18 is Coming Soon; Here's what to Expect

by J.J. Meddaugh

Jaws 18 public betas have been flying out the door in anticipation of the upcoming release of version 18. After the recent acquisition of AI Squared, Jaws 18 and ZoomText 11 are advertised as playing much nicer together, with Jaws handling most speech output and ZoomText handling magnification. Touch support gets a lot of love in this update, including the ability to start Jaws using a hotkey from a touch-enabled device. Google Docs improvements include the ability to enter text using contracted braille and a variety of tweaks to improve speech output. Users of prior versions of Jaws may be happy to learn that you can once again import settings from a previous version of Jaws, though this will only work from Jaws 17 currently. No release date has been given, though new versions of jaws typically are release around the end of October. A laundry list of additional features and bug fixes included in the two public betas is listed below.

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Posted Tuesday, 11-Oct-2016 4:49 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Learning Ally Relaunchs their Mobile Apps as Link; Now Available on iOS, Mac, PC, and Chrome

by J.J. Meddaugh

Learning Ally, the U.S. based nonprofit that offers 80,000 books primarily aimed at students, has relaunched their suite of reading apps as Link, offering more flexibility when reading and searching for titles. It's available now for iOS, PC, Mac, and Chrome and coming soon to Android. Previously, users could not search for books directly from their device, an improvement present in the latest release. Here's a list of features in the new software from the iOS version.

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Posted Tuesday, 11-Oct-2016 4:31 PM ET in News     Post a comment

KeySoft 2.0 for the BrailleNote Touch will Include KeyMath, Braille Embossing, Braille Terminal, More

by J.J. Meddaugh

More details have been released regarding the forthcoming version 2.0 of KeySoft which will be available soon for the BrailleNote Touch. Humanware's Greg Stilson described many of the improvements in a recent webinar.

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Posted Tuesday, 04-Oct-2016 5:34 PM ET in News     Post a comment

For Readers in 20 Countries, the Marrakesh Treaty is Now a Reality

by J.J. Meddaugh

Vision Australia and the CNIB in Canada have made the first exchange of books under the Marrakesh Treaty, which is now in effect in 20 countries. The treaty, which allows books and other materials to be shared in accessible formats across borders, took effect September 30 after Canada ratified it in June, pushing it across the 20 country threshhold necessary for adoption.

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Posted Tuesday, 04-Oct-2016 4:41 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Not Feeling so Touchy? You Can Experience the Apex of the Situation for Slightly Less

by Scott Davert

Humanware has announced that The BrailleNote Apex will not be retiring. Instead, will be available at a slightly reduced price from what it was before the BrailleNote Touch took its place. The BrailleNote Touch 32 is currently selling for $5495, while the Apex is selling for $4995. The 18-cell Touch sells for $3895, while it's older counterpart is selling for $3495. The BrailleNote Apex, a notetaker first introduced in 2009, saw it's most recent update in May of last year with Keysoft 9.5.

If you have a BrailleNote Classic, mPower, or wish to replace your older Apex for some reason, Humanware is offering you the chance to trade it in for an aditional $500 off the prices listed above. Check the Source link for further details.

Posted Monday, 26-Sep-2016 1:18 PM ET in News     1 comment

HIMS Releases Firmware Update for U2 Customers, Older Customers: there's an update for you too

by Scott Davert

Hims Inc, has released an upgrade to its firmware for the U2 line of notetakers. This update includes some bug fixes and also introduces 2 new features.

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Posted Friday, 23-Sep-2016 5:47 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Humanware Releases Updates to Victor Reader Stream Second Gen and Brailliant BI

by Scott Davert

Humanware has released 2 new updates to its products. For Stream users, version 4.7, which adds support for the saving of NFB Newsline content and also adds the ability to subscribe to specific publications right from the device. Previous to now, it was not possible to subscribe to newspapers on the Stream directly, the user had to log in to NFB Newsline to manage what they would get on the Stream. But if you aren't in a place that supports Newsline, there is still a reason to upgrade. Version 4.7 allows you to synchronize the time you have set to an online server. This involves setting your Stream to the correct time in your time zone and then enabling this feature. The update is free, and you can update your Stream Second Generation by following the instructions in the source link.

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Posted Thursday, 15-Sep-2016 4:49 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Call for papers and presentations opens for #CSUN17

by Scott Davert

If you plan to attend the 32nd CSUN conference, The Center on Disabilities at California State University, Northridge have announced the call for papers in the General Track, as well as for Pre-Conference Workshops. If you plan to attend sessions, one of these opportunities could be a good way to get your name out there and to also save some money. The source link is to the announcement, which also lists guidelines for submitting proposals to the committee. CSUN will be held at its now traditional spot at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego from February 27 through March 4.

If you plan to attend, but are hoping to do so on a budget, J.J. has provided a lot of tips on doing so. Though this guide was written for the 2016 conference, many of the tips and ideas will carry over to next year's conference.

Posted Monday, 12-Sep-2016 1:25 PM ET in News     Post a comment

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