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Want Vorail on Android? So do the Developers of the app if They can get Funding

by Scott Davert

The developers of Vorail, a rather popular social networking type app which just uses your voice, are looking to bring this platform to Android by raising money through a Kickstarter Campaign. At present, the app is a free download in the iOS App Store. Using voice only (there is no text, video, pictures etc), the app seeks to generate discussion by allowing users to pose questions which other users can respond with answers if they feel like joining the discussion. The app does not require you to give your phone number or to create a password, as it is associated with your iCloud account. At the time of writing, the campaign has raised $1659 of it's goal of $10,000. There appears to be no indication from the developers as to whether the development of an Android app will take place if the financial goal is not met, though the Kickstarter campaign says it will not be funded if the $10,000 amount is not achieved by July 18. For more information, please see the Kickstarter Campaign which also lists several podcasts interviewing the developers and a podcast demonstrating how the app works.

Posted Tuesday, 21-Jun-2016 8:25 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Sling TV offers new users a 32GB Apple TV for $89

by Michael McCarty

One of the mentions in Monday's Apple WWDC keynote was the addition of Sling TV, a subscription service that brings over 20 popular channels to your device for $20 per month. With this news came the announcement of a promotion that new subscribers can receive a 32GB Apple TV for $89 when three months of service is paid for in advance ($60). This is a $209 value as the device itself sells for $149. You're basically receiving a free three month trial with a purchase of an Apple TV.

Sling TV offers over 20 channels in its base package that includes ESPN, HGTV, TBS, TNT, and more. You can add up to an additional 65 channels such as HBO, Cinemax and more. If you ve been looking to cut the cord, this is a great way to get started. Use the provided link to take advantage of this offer. Note some users report having accessibility issues with this app as it currently stands.

Posted Thursday, 16-Jun-2016 09:16 AM ET in Articles     3 comments

WWDC Video Released to the Public Unveils new Accesibility Features

by Scott Davert

A video was posted as part of Apples World Wide Developer Conference, which discusses a few new accessibility features in the soon to be released Apple operating systems. A summary of the video is provided below.

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Posted Wednesday, 15-Jun-2016 7:41 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Nv-Access releases NVDA 2016.2.1, Removing a Feature to fix a bug

by Scott Davert

NV-Access has released NVDA 2016.2.1, which fixes a bugs in Microsoft Word. It also removes their grammar reporting feature in order to correct the issues. This was done in response to Windows XP users having Word crash on start up. Like NVDA itself, the screen reader is free, though donations are encouraged. If you are using the grammar feature successfully, as this is the only fix in 2016.2.1, it may be worth considering skipping this update.

Posted Wednesday, 15-Jun-2016 1:20 PM ET in News     1 comment

Are you Blind? Do you use Twitter? You could make $75 for an Hour of Your Time

by Scott Davert

If you live near Redmond Washington, and use twitter with a screen reader, Microsoft is interested in observing you using Twitter. They will allow you to use your platform of and client of choice, and will then ask you questions related to this activity. Participants will receive a $75 Amazon gift card, and will be reimburse for a taxi ride to their office. They didn't list any limit on the amount they would compensate for the taxi ride, though it's unlikely they would fund your ride if you live in Miami, for example. Follow the source link to get in touch with Microsoft if interested.

Posted Tuesday, 14-Jun-2016 9:15 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Geoffray: I'm putting everything I have into this venture and I wouldn't do that if I didn't believe in it.

by J.J. Meddaugh

The following was posted by AI Squared's Doug Geoffray on the Window-Eyes Talk Email discussion list about the VFO acquisition of AI Squared. We've included the complete message below.

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Posted Tuesday, 14-Jun-2016 8:44 PM ET in News     4 comments

Breaking: VFO Group, owners of Freedom Scientific and Optelec, Acquires AI Squared

by J.J. Meddaugh

With news that is sure to have ripple effects across the assistive technology landscape, VFO, the company which was formed last November to manage the Freedom Scientific and Optelec brands, has added AI Squared to its portfolio.

Adding the brand, product portfolio and capabilities of Ai Squared to VFO gives us the broadest portfolio in the industry, unmatched global distribution and market leading customer support, said John Blake, CEO and President of VFO and former President of Freedom Scientific. The combined company will offer customers the industry's most recognized screen magnification solutions, ZoomText and MAGic, and screen reading solutions, JAWS, ZoomText Fusion and Window-Eyes, next to the broad portfolio of video magnifiers, scan and read solutions, and refreshable Braille displays.

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Posted Tuesday, 14-Jun-2016 12:05 PM ET in News     5 comments

Amedia Releases Updated Version of their Realtime iPhone OCR App

by J.J. Meddaugh

Amedia Corporation, a Japanese assistive technology company, has released an rebranded and updated version of its OCR app for iOS. Amedia Live Reader offers realtime OCR in a variety of languages and can be used to read both printed documents and objects further away such as street signs, according to the press release.

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Posted Tuesday, 07-Jun-2016 5:12 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Your Passion for Braille Could be Worth a lot of Money, even if you Live in North America

by Scott Davert

As I reported in March, the RNIB hosted their region's version of the Onkyo Braille Contest. However, if you were looking to enter the contest and live in North America, for example, you couldn't enter in to the contest at that time.

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Posted Thursday, 02-Jun-2016 8:21 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Not Eligible for JAWS Student Edition? You Still may be Able to get a Discount on JAWS and Magic

by Scott Davert

The National Federation of the Blind released the agenda for their 2016 convention on Wednesday. While it's packed with info, just like each year, there is also another headline here.

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Posted Thursday, 02-Jun-2016 2:30 PM ET in News     3 comments

Want to go to Orlando in January? ATIA may be Just the Excuse you Need

by Scott Davert

Registration is now open for those who are interested in attending the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference in Orlando. The 2017 edition will be held from January 19--21 in Orlando. Saturday will be a half day, while Thursday and Friday will be full days. Attendee registration prices start at $100 for a half day Saturday and go up from there. More information can be found on the registration fees page.

If you wish to attend the entire conference, and feel you would be well suited to a presentation, you can earn a discount by contributing to the conference itself. If this is an idea you want to pursue, the call for presentations remains open until June 17. Find out more information by going to the above link. While we won't be able to bring you the warmer weather if you can't attend, Blind Bargains will bring you information from the conference as it happens.

Posted Wednesday, 01-Jun-2016 8:25 PM ET in News     Post a comment

New Bradley Element from Eone Time Offers a Premium Watch Design at a Premium Price

by J.J. Meddaugh

Eone Time continues to release variations on the Bradley, the tactile watch which uses magnetized ball bearings to allow a blind person to identify the current time. The new bradley Element features a 3-dimentional surface at a premium price. According to the description, "The topography of the watch face contours toward each marker in alternating raised and lowered impressions. The redesigned case body is engineered from highly durable, scratch-resistant ceramic and is coated with a PVD plating, adding an extra level of durability." It also features an adjustable, stainless steel mesh strap and an all-black matte finish. The Element will ship in early June for $395. Follow the source link to learn more or to place an order. Thanks to Ka for the tip.

Posted Wednesday, 01-Jun-2016 2:17 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Games for Everybody Offers Let's Play Videos with Audio Description

by J.J. Meddaugh

Let's Play videos are a popular trend where gamers will post videos of titles they're playing so others can watch and follow along. Now, a YouTube poster who calls himself Matt has started a new series of Let's Play videos which do the same thing, but with audio descriptions of the action. The Games for Everybody YouTube channel currently features several walkthroughs of his first title, Undertail, a role-playing video game nominated for several awards. Matt both describes the scenes that play out during the game and also reads text that appears.

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Posted Tuesday, 31-May-2016 5:29 PM ET in News     1 comment

Now Available, New $18 Tactile Caliber is a Unique Braille Ruler and Measurement Device

by J.J. Meddaugh

Another device announced at the CSUN conference is now available, and this one won't break the bank. National Braille Press is now shipping their $18 Tactile Caliper, a 12-inch ruler that can be used to accurately measure within 1/16 of an inch.
Here's a short description direct from NBP. "The winner of our 2013 Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation, this mechanical instrument looks like a traditional Vernier Caliper. Whole inches are embossed in braille across the top of the ruler, while fractions are dynamically displayed in braille on a sliding jaw – as you move the jaw, the braille refreshes to the nearest 16th of an inch."
We discussed the Tactile Caliper near the end of this CSUN podcast with CEO Brian McDonald.

Posted Tuesday, 31-May-2016 3:12 PM ET in News     1 comment

BrailleNote Touch Now Shipping at $5,495

by J.J. Meddaugh

You may have read our original post announcing the BrailleNote Touch. Many of you listened to our interview with Greg Stilson about the BrailleNote Touch at CSUN 2016. Perhaps you listened to the free audio tutorial on the BrailleNote Touch.
Now you can order the BrailleNote Touch which is now shipping. As expected, it's available now for $5,495, the same price as the BrailleNote Apex. For now, the Touch is available in a single configuration with 32 braille cells and a braille keyboard. One could use a USB or Bluetooth keyboard if typing in braille was not their thing.

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Posted Tuesday, 31-May-2016 3:04 PM ET in News     3 comments

Amazon Ignites VoiceView for Fire TV Owners with Latest OS Update

by Scott Davert

As part of our CSUN coverage, J.J. did an interview with Peter Korn from Amazon. part of that interview featured Amazon's new screen reader called VoiceView for Fire Tablets. Amazon has now launched a preview of VoiceView for Amazon Fire TV.

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Posted Tuesday, 31-May-2016 2:35 PM ET in News     5 comments

Make $125 an Hour in Research Studies for Google

by J.J. Meddaugh

Google continues to seek people with disabilities for paid research studies over phone phone, in person, or online.
Here's a portion of a recent Email they sent out to CSUN attendees:
"As part of our efforts to make Google products more accessible, we conduct paid research sessions with users with all types of disabilities.  We conduct studies both in-person at our offices in SF and NYC, as well as remotely via video or phone.  Users who are selected for and complete our study sessions are generally compensated at $125 an hour, paid out in gift cards that are redeemable at a wide variety of retailers around the country."
Follow the link on this post to fill out the form to express your interest. This does not guarantee you a spot in any study, but will put your name in a pool for future research.

Posted Sunday, 29-May-2016 6:46 PM ET in News     1 comment

A free Audio Tutorial now Offers Many more Details on the BrailleNote Touch

by Scott Davert

As I reported as part of our CSUN coverage, Humanware has created a new product called the BrailleNote Touch. While Blind Bargains was able to give you a written overview of what it brings to the table, along with an interview, there is now a free and in-depth resource to give you an audio tour of the BrailleNote Touch.

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Posted Thursday, 26-May-2016 6:28 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Latest NVDA Add Features to Help Badd Speelers and Writers

by J.J. Meddaugh

The next version of NVDA is about to be officially released, and as is customary, you can test new features now with a release candidate. NVDA 2016.2 focuses its improvements on the Microsoft Office suite and also will alert you to incorrectly spelled words as you type by playing a short buzzer sound. This feature can be turned off from NVDA’s Keyboard Preferences. Gramatical errors can also now be indicated while you type, along with some additional formatting features in Microsoft Excel. Follow this link for the complete blog post, and check out the full list of changes below.

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Posted Thursday, 26-May-2016 5:56 PM ET in News     Post a comment

A Free way to Gain Access to Skills to Make you More Employable is now Available

by Scott Davert

Deque Systems,, makers of many accessibility testing tools and designers of a set of courses to teach web accessibility, have announced that they are offering 1 year of free access to all of their training materials for people with disabilities. The blog post announcing the offercited the reasons behind this effort were to help combat the unemployment rate among people with disabilities. While this unemployment rate is high, the demand for professionals who can provide accessibility testing is also very high. The application process for this scholarship asks for a few details.

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Posted Wednesday, 25-May-2016 10:42 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Google Posts Video of 140 Developer Talks from #IO16 including 3 Focusing on Accessibility

by J.J. Meddaugh

Google appears to have posted just about every session from Google IO to their YouTube channel including 3 which focus on accessibility. The developer event, which we discussed in detail on Blind Bargains Qast 62, was recently held in San Francisco.

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Posted Tuesday, 24-May-2016 2:04 PM ET in News     1 comment

American Councel of the Blind Convention Pre-registration is now Open

by Scott Davert

pre-registration is now open for the ACB convention to be held July 1 through 9 in Minneapolis. There is a $15 administrative fee for registration on top of any sort of events that are paid that you may wish to attend. This year, ACB has moved to a new system for registration, so if you have created an account in previous years, that info will no longer be valid. Find out more details by following the source link. Pre-registration runs through June 22. as reported earlier, that pre-registration for the NFB Convention being held in Orlando will close on May 31.

Posted Tuesday, 24-May-2016 1:42 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Startup Disrupter Robinhood Makes their iOS Stock Trading App Accessible

by J.J. Meddaugh

Robinhood is a mobile app that is already disrupting the financial services industry by offering stock trading without service fees. Now, they're one of the first companies to make their trading app accessible to VoiceOver users.

"Not surprisingly, the financial industry has historically been a bad actor when it comes to disability compatible products, and we wanted to change this," Robinhood wrote in a recent blog post. The company partnered with the San Francisco Lighthouse to implement the changes which include providing access to account sign-up, the trading interface, and audible financial graphs.

The new features were released in celebration of Global Accessibility awareness Day, which was held this year on May 19. Robinhood also offers versions for Apple Watch and Android, though we are unable to verify if these also include accessibility features at this time.

Posted Tuesday, 24-May-2016 1:38 PM ET in News     Post a comment

The Perkins School for the Blind and Raizlabs Aim to Solve the Last Inch Problem with GPS

by J.J. Meddaugh

Your GPS may tell you that there is a bus stop nearby, but how do you know you're actually standing at the stop and not at a street sign 25 feet away? Thanks to a $750,000 grant from Google, the Perkins School for the Blind has partnered with app developer Raizlabs in an effort to solve this problem.

It's a situation that Raizlabs' Nick Bonatsakis, who is also legally blind, can relate to as he explains in an interview with Boston's WBUR. “I was just walking around in circles,” he recalls. “And had I had something where somebody just said, ‘Look, you know, the entrance to this place is past this mailbox and before this entrance to this other shop,’ that would have been immensely helpful.”

Perkins and Raizlabs aim to offer an app which will provide clues to a traveler in these situations. The app may give clues such as a nearby step, doorway, or grass which could help in someone locating a location like a bus stop in a contextual manner. Those familiar with a location will enter these clues into a database, which will then be available to users of the forthcoming app.

The Perkins School for the Blind was awarded the grant from the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities program which awarded $20 million in grants to 29 recipients.

The app itself is expected to be released early in 2017.

Posted Tuesday, 24-May-2016 1:19 PM ET in News     1 comment

Dictation Bridge Makes Prototype Available for all Users

by Scott Davert

As J.J. reported previously, the developers of Dictation Bridge are seeking $20,000 to build their product. Now, they have released a Proof-of-Concept, which comes in the form of a NVDA add-on.

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Posted Monday, 23-May-2016 3:22 PM ET in News     Post a comment

A Mock Election: We Tested 3 Modern Voting Machines for Accessibility

by J.J. Meddaugh

Recently, I had the opportunity to test three of the latest voting machines equipped with accessibility features. The Michigan Bureau of Elections held a Mock Election which allowed testers and poll workers to experience each of the machines and tabulate votes for both disabled and non-disabled voters. From my testing of the three machines, it was apparent that the usability of each system ranged from pleasant to downright frustrating. Below are some initial impressions of each machine, presented in the order they were tested.

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Posted Friday, 20-May-2016 10:44 PM ET in Articles     1 comment

APH Unveils JAWS and Magic Student Edition, Bringing More affordable Options to Students

by Scott Davert

If you are a student who uses JAWS at school, owning a copy of JAWS or Magic for home use just became a lot easier. Freedom Scientific and the American Printing House for the Blind announced on a FSCast around the time of CSUN that they would be partnering to offer a program that would allow students to get JAWS under the Quota Funds system in the U.S. This is an annual subscription license, which must be renewed each year.

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Posted Monday, 09-May-2016 3:40 PM ET in News     1 comment

Windows 10 Free Upgrade to be Extended Beyond the Summer Deadline for Users of Assistive Technology

by Scott Davert

Yesterday, as part of a blog post, Microsoft reminded us that they will end the program which allowed users of the Windows Operating system running version 7 and higher to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. Just over 24 hours after the above blog post went out, Microsoft had another announcement related to the free upgrade program.

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Posted Saturday, 07-May-2016 4:31 PM ET in News     2 comments

Microsoft Reminds Users that They Will Press alt f4 on Free Upgrades to Windows 10 in July

by Scott Davert

As part of a blog post, Microsoft has reminded users that time is running out to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. After July 29, 2016, when upgrades will again be charged, Microsoft will once again be the only major platform charging for upgrades. Windows 10 Home will cost $119, as noted in the blog post. Microsoft boasted in it's post that Windows 10 is now on 300 million devices worldwide. The time to upgrade for free is almost over.

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Posted Friday, 06-May-2016 12:51 PM ET in News     4 comments

Twitterific Releases iOS Update With Several Enhancements for VoiceOver Users

by Scott Davert

The latest update to Twitterific for iOS includes several improvements for VoiceOver users. With the May 2 update, which is version 5.14.3, there is now support for descriptions of images.

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Posted Wednesday, 04-May-2016 3:00 PM ET in News     3 comments

Apple Will Now Sell you a Braille Display and other Accessibility Tools to Go with your iPhone

by Scott Davert

Though there was no official announcement, Apple now has listed several hardware items to assist people with accessing their Apple devices. Doing a search for "accessibility" in the Accessories category now turns up several results.

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Posted Wednesday, 04-May-2016 2:11 PM ET in News     3 comments

Uber Settles With NFB: Will Deactivate Drivers who are Barking up the Wrong Tree

by Scott Davert

Friday, Uber Announced that they reached a settlement with the National Federation of the Blind for $225,000, and stated they will make some modifications to their policy to make the consequences for drivers refusing a user with a service animal more clear.

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Posted Monday, 02-May-2016 8:17 PM ET in News     2 comments

Ai-Squared releases Upgrade to Zoomtext Which Officially now Supports Office 2016

by Scott Davert

AI-Squared has released a new update to Zoomtext, called version 10.11.3.
The big announcement from this release is that Zoomtext now supports Office 2016. IN previous releases of Zoomtext, there were many issues with respect to the reliability of typing/Cursor Echo, tracking, the Doc Reader, and several issues concerning stability. According to Ai-Squared, improvements in all Microsoft Office 2016 applications with respect to all of the areas just mentioned have occurred.

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Posted Monday, 02-May-2016 6:30 PM ET in News     Post a comment

If you've Tried Online Dating, A Research Team Would Like to Hear about It

by J.J. Meddaugh

If you have used online dating in the past year, researchers at the University of Washington want to hear from you. The 20-minute survey is available for people with or without disabilities, and participants can enter to win a $5 Amazon gift card. The survey letter is below.

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Posted Monday, 02-May-2016 5:59 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Why it's Better to be 74 Plus on Facebook

by Scott Davert

Earlier this month, Facebook rolled out it's new Automatic Alt Text description feature on iOS. Today, the Facebook Access team announced on Twitter that this feature is now also available on Android with Facebook version 74 and higher. Users may need to log out and back in again to start seeing posts with the automated alt text being generated, just like some users had to do when the feature was officially released for iOS. Have you been using this feature on iOS before now? Is it working on Android for you? Feel free to leave comments below with your experiences.

Posted Wednesday, 27-Apr-2016 4:16 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Accessible Apps Releases a Meatier Chicken Nugget

by Scott Davert

Accessible Apps has released a new update to it's Twitter application for Windows, Chicken Nugget. Version 4.0 includes support for Twitter images, the ability to scan text out of images from Tweets, a spell checker, the ability to choose which users to DM, and the ability to translate expanded tweets.

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Posted Wednesday, 27-Apr-2016 3:56 PM ET in News     1 comment

Harriet Tubman Isn't the Only New Feature of the Next $20 Bill

by J.J. Meddaugh

It was widely reported last week that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. The other part of this story however is one that many disability activists have been patiently waiting for. New designs for the $20, as wel as the $5 and $10 bills, will include accessibility features to aid blind and visually impaired users. The United States is one of the last major countries to use inaccessible paper currency, and was forced by a court decision several years ago to change this.

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Posted Tuesday, 26-Apr-2016 6:40 PM ET in News     1 comment

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Talks Accessibility with Blind Engineer in New Video

by J.J. Meddaugh

A new video posted to Facebook pairs a popular face with an engineer working on AI and accessibility. Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg spoke with Matt King, a Facebook engineer who happens to also be blind, about Matt's work on the company's AI initiatives including adding descriptive text to images. In the series, titled Live from Facebook HQ, Matt demonstrates the feature with an iOS device and the screen curtain turned on and shows how a blind person might use an iPhone. The 20 minute video has received over 100,000 reactions and tens of thousands of comments since being posted on Facebook.

Posted Tuesday, 26-Apr-2016 6:23 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Dictation Bridge Seeks $20,000 to Launch Free and Open Source Voice Recognition

by J.J. Meddaugh

The team behind Dictation Bridge is now raising money on Indiegogo to bring its voice recognition app to reality. Dictation Bridge will work with Windows Speech Recognition and various versions of Dragon to provide seemless voice recognition to users of the major screen readers including NVDA, Jaws, and Window-Eyes. The end result will be completely free and open-source, with premium technical support options available for a fee. You can go here to read more or to donate. To learn more, listen to our interview with Lucy Greco about Dictation Bridge on Blind Bargains Qast 55

Posted Tuesday, 26-Apr-2016 1:29 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Hundreds of Items Available in the Seeing Eye's 8th Annual Online Auction

by J.J. Meddaugh

One of the largest and most successful online auctions to benefit a blindness-related nonprofit is back for another year. The Seeing Eye's 8th Annual Auction features hundreds of items and is now open for bids. Items are available for just about any budget, from a $10 gift card to Cold Stone Creamery to a Vintage Gold and Diamond Horse Pendant with Chain valued at $750 currently with a $99 bid. Many assistive technology items are also available. A T Guys is proud to be one of the many companies and individuals who donated to this auction. The auction ends on May 6 at 10 PM EDT. You can go here to view the auction and place bids.

Posted Tuesday, 26-Apr-2016 12:48 PM ET in News     Post a comment

NVDA Con: It's Everywhere and Bigger than ever

by Scott Davert

The free, and widely used, screen reader for Windows, NVDA has it's own conference. It has, in fact, had 3 others, but the upcoming agenda has more sessions and social opportunities than any of the NVDA conferences held prior to this one.

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Posted Thursday, 21-Apr-2016 7:21 PM ET in News     2 comments

Australia's ABC Seeks Feedback on their Audio Description Pilot

by J.J. Meddaugh

If you've been watching audio described programs in Australia from ABC, they'd like to hear what you think. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is seeking feedback for its audio description pilot project on their iview platform. Audio described programs have been available since April 2014, and the 15-month pilot project is scheduled to end soon. TO take the survey, follow the link on this post.

Posted Tuesday, 19-Apr-2016 5:43 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Webvisum CAPTCHA Solver returns to Firefox

by Scott Davert

James Scholes, the creator of Codex, announced on Twitter the availability of a newly signed version of the Firefox extension called Webvisum. Webvisum has been a service which, among other things, allows for the solving of captchas on forms and in other places on the web. It works with Firefox for Windows only, and has been free ever since its first release.

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Posted Friday, 15-Apr-2016 09:19 AM ET in News     2 comments

Review: Which is it: the iPhone SE or iPhone 6S?

by Scott Davert

Among the announcements at Apple's latest event, was the introduction of the iPhone SE. IT has most of the same features as the current flagship 6s and 6S Plus models, but was much smaller. After learning of this announcement, I became intrigued. As an iPhone 6S user since September of last year, one of the few complaints I had about the 6S was its size. While I could get used to the larger phone, and kind of did, it always felt a bit too big for my liking. While an increase in battery life with the 6S Plus models were something I wanted to have, and having more real estate to work with Braille Screen Input is a nice feature, I could buy a battery case for less than the cost of the difference in price. TO add to that, Braille Screen Input isn't something I make very heavy use of. These were the things I considered when weighing the 6S against the 6S Plus.

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Posted Wednesday, 13-Apr-2016 11:07 AM ET in Articles     4 comments

Get Moving With Public app Transportation Moovit, now Accessible

by Scott Davert

An app growing in popularity for those using public transportation is Moovit. In the latest update to both its iOS and Android apps, the developers announced that "In the latest version of the app, we ve made every screen accessible to blind riders with VoiceOver and TalkBack enabled on their iOS and Android devices". In our initial tests, it does indeed appear that the app is now very useable on both platforms. The only minor issue noticed was that the screen would refresh with new information, and it was then possible focus with VoiceOver would move slightly.

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Posted Wednesday, 06-Apr-2016 2:44 PM ET in News     1 comment

First Public Beta of TalkBack 4.5 with Enhanced Web Support Released

by J.J. Meddaugh

The first public beta for TalkBack 4.5, which Google previewed at CSUN, has been released. As previously announced, the beta includes revamped web support which allows for navigation by a variety of modes and also announces lists, headings, and other items. Some of these features, such as announcing lists, extend outside of the web support as well. A new keyboard layout is available which includes keyboard shortcuts for practically every available gesture as well as extended web navigation. As before, all keyboard shortcuts can be modified if desired. This new layout must be enabled under TalkBack's settings. The tutorial mode for new users has been completely revamped and also includes visual indicators of gestures for those who may benefit.

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Posted Tuesday, 05-Apr-2016 10:36 PM ET in News     1 comment

Freedom Scientific Releases Another JAWS Update With Several Bug Fixes and Improvements

by Scott Davert

Freedom Scientific has released another small update to JAWS 17. In version 17.0.186, released today, Freedom Scientific added a feature in the JAWS Window called "Explore Utilities". This gives the user more readily available access to adjusting various settings. The utilities menu was only available by typing "utilities" in to the search box in the Windows Start Menu and selecting the appropriate option. This release also brings enhancements to Windows 10, touch keyboards, and improvements with Magic, braille, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Word, and web browsing. This update is free for JAWS 17 users which can be installed from within the JAWS Help menu. Follow the source link below to learn more specific information about each change.

Posted Tuesday, 05-Apr-2016 8:21 PM ET in News     1 comment

The Writing is on Your Wall: Facebook Officially Announces Automatic Text Description

by Scott Davert

Facebook has officially unveiled it's automated photo captions option. Using object recognition technology, Facebook is now automatically generating a description of photos on individual's timelines and also on gphotos posted to groups. While some users were able to utilize a test version on the iOS app prior to now, Matt King, a member of the Facebook Access team indicated that the previous images that people saw described were part of a study Facebook was conducting to see how useful the tool was. In an audiointerview with AppleVis, Mr. King said the feature is officially now available to all iOS users. The automated text descriptions are now only on iOS, but Mr. King says the intention is to role it out to Android users, then the web, and eventually all parts of the social network. He further cautioned users to give Facebook time to work out any issues they may have with the descriptions, as this is the first release of this feature.

Users should automatically see text descriptions popping up on their Facebook feed. Some users have reported that the text descriptions have not shown up in their timelines until they signed out of Facebook and back in. How well is this feature working for you? Feel free to leave comments about your experiences below.

Posted Tuesday, 05-Apr-2016 12:11 PM ET in News     Post a comment

Sendero Releases Seeing Eye GPS 2.1.1 Bringing a 30-day Trial option and More

by Scott Davert

Amidst all the hardware and software announced at CSUN, there was one announcement we missed, but are here to tell you about now. the Sendero Group announced version 2.1.1 of there GPS apps on iOS. One of the biggest highlights of this release is the introduction of a 30 day free trial of the app. Other enhancements in 2.1.1 include a faster loading time of the app, the "Magic Tap" now announcing the last spoken information, resolving re-subscription issues, many modifications to text for low vision users, updating of Google Maps, and support for the Boni s LoudSteps platform. This platform is one of many possible solutions for indoor route navigation. It is a free upgrade for those with existing subscriptions to the service in supported countries, and is available now in the iOS App Store. Follow the source link to read more specific details.

Posted Monday, 04-Apr-2016 10:42 AM ET in News     Post a comment

AMC, FX, and Others May Soon be Required to Provide Audio Description

by J.J. Meddaugh

The FCC is about to propose updates to video description rules on television which would drastically expand the amount of described programming produced. Per this article from TVNewsCheck, the proposed new rules would increase the number of networks required to provide audio described content from 9 to 15, including the top 5 broadcast networks and the top 10 entertainment-based cable networks. For broadcast, this may mean audio described programming in Spanish, as Univision ranks fifth behind ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox currently. For cable, depending on when the rankings are determined, networks such as AMC, FX, and HGTV could be included. Networks such as CNN and ESPN which primarily produce live programming are excluded from these rankings.

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Posted Thursday, 31-Mar-2016 10:19 PM ET in News     1 comment

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