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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

Apple Rundown: The “Don’t Throw Away The Gift Receipt” Edition


by Joe Steinkamp

The holidays are usually a fun and happy time. You sing carols around the Festivus pole or holiday tree. You countdown the hours until midnight during New year's Eve with that shiny new Apple Watch. And you reflect back on the year that was with a sense of reverence. Um, yeah, that is how it is meant to be unless you factor in the party pooper of all years 2016. Not even the company Steve Jobs built was immune to the harshest of years as you will see in the stories below. Moreover, and I cannot underscore this enough, I had to quit capturing links for this edition because it was frankly making me depressed. Dogpiling, kicking you when you are down or even opportunistic doesn t begin to summarize the wide array of sadness that comes from Apple watching these days. Here s hoping that 2017 brings us an Amazon Echo competitor, foldable iPhones plus self driving iCars!

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Posted Monday, 09-Jan-2017 4:44 PM ET in Articles     Post a comment

Blind Bargains Qast 2016: By The Numbers Listener Edition


by Joe Steinkamp

BEFORE YOU READ THIS!!!!!

The Blind Bargains Qast can t thank enough our friends, fans and cast of Regulars. Chancey, Jeff, J.J., Joe, Liam, Patrick, Scott, Shelly and Ricky all work hard to bring you information and entertainment that we think our Community will enjoy. Our Sponsors deserve a huge round of applause as well, as their support allows us to bring you event coverage. However, and most importantly, you, the listener, matter most of all. Submissions, emails and social media mentions have enabled us to grow our download numbers by 30% over 2015 s download numbers. We can t wait to see where we will go in 2017, however, we can t go anywhere without your feedback. Please feel free to send us your ideas and suggestions to feedback@blindbargains.com or leave comments in the section below. Or, as you will read shortly, click on those shows and interviews that interest you the most. Your input shapes BBQ even if all you do is pass along a link to our content.

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Posted Saturday, 31-Dec-2016 7:41 PM ET in Articles     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

Cooking with J: Dead Simple Chicken Tikka Masala in the Instant Pot


by J.J. Meddaugh

A cooking column? This may be one of the last things you'd expect me to embark on but here we are. First of all, let me be completely honest. I am not a chef, nor do I know a lot of the intricacies of gourmet cooking. I do know that I like good food and meals which are simple to create. With these things in mind, I was enamored with the idea of the Instant Pot pressure cookers for their ease of use and the possibility of making all sorts of delicious dishes using only one pot. To learn more about the basics of the Instant Pot, check out Blind Bargains Qast 78 where Ricky Enger and myself discuss and demo the appliance in depth. And if you wish to purchase one, check out this page on Amazon which usually has the best prices.

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Posted Thursday, 15-Dec-2016 12:00 AM ET in Articles     Post a 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     2 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

Okay Google… Find Me First Impressions of Google Home


by Joe Steinkamp

It seems like we are going to have yet another first mover advantage debate in our community. Yep, Windows versus Mac is new again. Android versus iOS was over before the war even started. Now we can add Amazon Echo versus Google Home into the fray as many out there have started to form factions on which Digital Assistant they would like to use for asking everything from How far is the Taco Bell on 3rd street? to ordering an Uber to take you to get a crunchy taco on 3rd street.

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Posted Monday, 07-Nov-2016 2:48 PM ET in Articles     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

The Apple Rundown: The Command Triple Click Home Edition


by Joe Steinkamp

September 19th seems so long ago.
Back in those halcyon days of a month and a half ago, when I knew another Apple event was on the horizon, I mused that I would have little to post other than the iPod turning 15 years old. Maybe a few articles on the new mac OS would be in order. And, if it made the street date, I'd have some things to post about iOS 10.1. Sure, there would be the 4th quarter earnings report to ponder. And I'd end the article with something funny in regards to the headphone jack.

then 2016 happened with its ability to upend everything you know and expect in a rational universe.

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Posted Monday, 31-Oct-2016 5:36 PM ET in Articles     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

Apple Rundown: The Scratched Jet Black Edition


by Joe Steinkamp

Perhaps you are sitting patiently with a tracking number in hand waiting for the delivery of a shiny new product that has winged its way from China, designed by Cupertino of course, and will be the greatest thing you have ever owned ... until the next Apple keynote, in which you will start the buying process all over again like so many salmon swimming upstream. It is the "Circle of iLife" in perpetual motion. Or, you might be clicking in to see what links I've compiled for launch day based upon my previous posts under this banner. in either case, welcome to a few stories from around the net that deal with the subject of Apple.

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Posted Monday, 19-Sep-2016 5:18 PM ET in Articles     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

The Orbit Research and APH Tactile Graphics Display now has a Name; More Details Released


by J.J. Meddaugh

We now have some more details on the forthcoming tactile graphics display being developed by the American Printing House for the Blind and Orbit Research. For one, the device, which was announced at the recent AER conference, now has a name: Graphiti (notice the spelling). One of the reasons for the word graph in the product name is announced support for the Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator, also produced by APH and Orbit Research. Users will be able to connect to the calculator and feel resulting graphs in real-time.

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Posted Thursday, 01-Sep-2016 3:40 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Braillo Norway Announces Comparatively Affordable $23,000 300CPS Braille Embosser


by J.J. Meddaugh

There are consumer braille embossers that cost under $5,000 and commercial models which can run you upwards of six figures, but not a lot of options in-between. Braillo Norway, a company known for its commercial-grade embossers, has announced an updated version of the Braillo 300 at a reduced price of $23,000. Announced at the World Blind Union and ICEVI General Assembly in Orlando, the embosser prints at 300 characters per second and comes with a free copy of the Duxbury braille translation software. That price may look scary, but to a braille production house, it could be a huge break. An earlier model of the Brailo 300 was being demonstrated at CSUN in 2013 at a price of $57,000. Preorders are being taken now, with shipping expected to begin in October. Check out the Braillo web page on the new embosser for more information.

Posted Tuesday, 30-Aug-2016 4:50 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Are you Pregnant or Planning on Becoming Pregnant? You can get a 3D-Printed Ultrasound for a Euro


by J.J. Meddaugh

An ultrasound is one of those magical moments of pregnancy, but to many blind people, it's just a flat picture. A company called IN UTERO 3D is providing accessible 3d-printed ultrasounds for virtually nothing. The free tactile models are available for blind and visually impaired couples around the world for the low cost of 1 Euro. Residents of Poland, where the company is based, will received the actual 3D printed model while those in other countries will receive a digital file which can be produced using a 3D printer. This news article provides more information.

Posted Tuesday, 30-Aug-2016 4:33 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Chicken Nugget 4.2 is Breaded for Windows 10 Anniversary Edition


by J.J. Meddaugh

As Windows 10 adds more hotkeys, especially with the new Anniversary Edition, other programs are trying to avoid keyboard conflicts. Many of the hotkeys for Twitter client Chicken Nugget have fallen into this trap and often didn’t work properly in Windows 10. The new Version 4.2 resolves this and makes the program much easier to use in Windows 10. It also now plays audion from video service Vine, fixes YouTube support, and includes several additional bug fixes. You can download version 4.2 from the source link below, and look at the complete changelog after the jump.

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Posted Tuesday, 30-Aug-2016 4:02 PM ET in News     Post a comment

You can now Also Explore What's Nearby With iOS


by Scott Davert

While we regularly see apps get ported over from iOS to Android, it's rare the opposite occurs. One such occurrence is APH's Nearby Explorer which is now live in the iOS App Store. Having a brief look at the Manual for iOS, and also a read through of the manual for Android, it appears that many of the same features appear in both versions.

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Posted Monday, 22-Aug-2016 1:03 PM ET in News     3 comments

Braille Comes to the Echo in a Challenging way


by Scott Davert

Michael Doise, who has developed several apps for iOS including PocketBraille Reference, Visual Brailler, VO Starter, and blind Bargains, has now brought his skills to the Alexa platform. The Braille Challenge is an Alexa skill that asks the user questions to test their knowledge of braille. Most questions deal with the dot formations found in uncontracted braille, though there are also a few questions about braille itself. The skill, like all others on the Echo platform is free to play and can be activated by telling Alexa to enable The Braille Challenge. While a simple utility, it can be a great reference for those trying to learn braille who just want a bit of practice and who may learn better with this approach.

Posted Monday, 22-Aug-2016 1:01 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Despite Really Long Version Number, new TalkBack 5.0.4.3 includes Variety of Updates for Android Users


by J.J. Meddaugh

The latest release of TalkBack, version 5.0.4.3, has now been pushed out for Android users. Despite the long version number, this is actually a major update with new features for web users, text editing and multipage views, among othres. Those testing Android N, the forthcoming version of the operating system, also get some love in this release including features which support the new multi-window mode that will be availavle. It's a free update and available now from Google Play. The complete release notes, as posted to the Eyes-free mailing list, are below.

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Posted Friday, 12-Aug-2016 6:44 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Humanware Roles out First Update for BrailleNote Touch Customers Offering Access to More Video Content, More


by Scott Davert

While some customers may still be waiting for their BrailleNote Touch to arrive, the ones who have it are now able to get a brand new update, with some major feature additions. Among the new functionality this update provides are access to the camera, louder internal volume/improved sound quality, updated video encoders and decoders for popular apps, and more.

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Posted Thursday, 11-Aug-2016 1:45 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Learn Audio Editing, HTML, Powerpoint, and More with CAVI's Latest Course Offerings


by J.J. Meddaugh

The Cisco Academy For the Vision Impaired is currently accepting enrollments for its fall slate of courses. These online courses are specifically designed for blind and visually impaired individuals and include online instruction via voice chat, one-on-one instructor time, and many other support tools. Courses generally require at least 10 students to enroll, and several offerings are already scheduled to run this term including three audio-related courses and instruction on HTML and Powerpoint. Learn the ins and outs of multitrack audio editing with Reaper, or how to design a good-looking web page with HTML. Use Powerpoint to create visually attractive and functional presentations. Other courses, including network-related offerings and a course on Linux, will run if more students sign up. Fee are well below comparable offerings at a college or university, and scholarships are often available. Check the source link for more information. Deadline to register is August 15.

Posted Wednesday, 10-Aug-2016 8:12 PM ET in News     Post a comment

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