Blind Bargains

Audio Player Blind Bargains Qast 30: Autotune The Moos

This week J.J. and Joe power through the week's news, show off a few things with a demo or two and the winners of the Jet competition are announced. Of course we also have Sound Off" and the "Last Word". This show may have been recorded as the last show of August, however, it airs as the first show of September. How amazingly "timey wimey" of us.

Sponsor:

This episode is brought to you by HIMS, who would like to remind you that "Your needs are our solutions". Check out the E-Bot Video Magnifier, the Blaze EZ reading solution, the new Smart Beetle Braille Display and more by visiting the HIMS website. Or, follow them on Twitter.

In The News:

The results of the sixth edition of the Web Aim Survey on Screen Readers has arrived

Submissions Now being Accepted for #CSUN16 in San Diego

Petition, Maintain Audio Description for the Blind at Movie Theaters

RNIB Seeks Feedback on Rehab Services in Paid Research

New HumanWare Prodigi Connect 12 is a Magnifier and Android Tablet

New Site For Blind World Of Warcraft Players

Chicken Nugget Twitter Client Updated with a Mouthful of New Features

TuneIn Radio Brings 40,000 Audiobooks and more with New Premium Service

Congrats to our friends at Apple Vis on the announcement of their new blog team

Also, mmm ... sprinkles, BBQ regular Shelly Brizbin has started a new podcast

Sad news from Chris Hofstader, Two Deaths

Demo: Resurrecting an Old Braille Display

J.J. demonstrates how to hook up a HandyTech BrailleStar 40 braille display from 15 years ago to a modern screen reader using the Keyspan by Tripp Lite USA-19HS High-Speed USB Serial Adapter This trick will work on all sorts of old tech, making some of your tech that's gathering dust new again.

Demo: Multi Path Audio for iOS

It's a modern day take on the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" game with snazzy narration and lots of replay ability. Multi Path Audio for iOS has a simple interface, high contrast based controls and a simple "pick up and play" approach to interactive story telling mechanics. Each story is $1.99 and there are currently four stories available. The stories can be played offline for those long trips away from the internet. And you can try a story out before you purchase it in case you find one not to your liking. Each story has multiple endings and you will want to find them all. You can skip past the portions you have already completed, or start over from the beginning and live the adventure to its fullest.

Tip: Give me a Hint

There's a little event happening on September 9, but what exactly will Apple be announcing? IN this week's tip, J.J. asks Siri for a hint on what might transpire.

Jet Contest Winners

A few episodes back, we asked you to post a comment on our website to be entered in a drawing for fabulous prizes (prizes not fabulous). Congratulations to Louis D and mcikeyc who each won a one year membership to Jet. In case you missed it, you can check out our review of Jet from a few weeks ago.

Sound Off:

Jan Brown writes in with another review and a few more comments this week.

"I ordered the Six Dot Braille labeler made by Logan Electronics after hearing it demonstrated on one of your CSUN broadcasts.
I am a gadget geek and for this reason was a bit unsure about this product. I had a difficult dymo labeler in the past which took forever to use.
This new labeler features a Perkins style keyboard with a cutting button which works and is easy to activate.
All of my kitchen spices are beautifully labeled now and the next project is the dread deep freeze and some cupboards.
I really like the product which works as claimed.
The only drawback is the lack of a charger. It works off of 6, yes, count them, 6 double A batteries. We turn it off between label brailling. You can read what you have written as it comes out of the machine and the back is fairly easy to tear off of each label.
I am not a fan of bar code scanners. I am not good enough to locate the bar codes enough of the time.
Taptapsee used to be a favorite but so often I would get responses telling me I held a bottle or box.
I am also a bit concerned by the lack of privacy of these crowd sourced applications.
Nothing beats simple braille for ease.
Yes, you will need sighted assistance to determine what you need to label, but nothing is perfect, least of all me.
Suck it up, buttercup, and get the needed help and you will never have to wonder what you are really having for dinner again."

Ken has lots to say about some of our past episodes as well.

"Joe commented about the desire to return to menus for Microsoft programs in a number of BBQs and possibly one summer conference recording over the last few weeks. I will not try to list the incidents where this topic was mentioned.

Screen Reader Experts prejudice
JJ s passing comment in BBQ 24 about Accomplish CashManager to me is another example of many screen reader experts prejudice against less known accessible mainstream programs. I find the lackluster acceptance of programs like CashManager by people like JJ and Joe when compared to a company like Intuit that gets massive praise for producing a somewhat accessible program years after another company developed a highly accessible alternative annoying.

The whole Quicken situation reminds me of a quote allegedly attributed to Larry Ellison one of the founders of Oracle. I paraphrase the quote as: The way to succeed with software is not to create great software. The way to succeed is to be first in the market with something that is good enough.

I will bring up ancient history. The dismissal of BLIO once made accessible is another example of screen reader experts not crediting companies that do good work if they are not a market leader. This despite the fact that BLIO provided useful screen reader access to mainstream books almost a year before Kindle or Nook. I will just mention that I got to read four or five books that were not available in an alternate format or provided by either Kindle or Nook for almost a year and still use BLIO. I vote with my dollars so if there is a book that I want and is not available in an alternate format I start with Blio.

I have observed many other cases of the behavior that I described. I used Quicken and BLIO as worse case examples.

Kelly Ford and Quicken
As someone who gave up on Quicken years ago due to screen reader accessibility issues, I am unsympathetic to Mr. Ford s problems with Quicken. I am aware of two programs that if his interest is in personal money management will meet his needs:

  • American Printing House Money Talks
  • Accomplish Global CashManager (light/home)

I have used Money Talks for about 10 years now. It has a file importing function that supports quicken and comma separated value formats. It also has a categorization and subcategorization function including reporting that should meet the needs of any personal user. The only feature that I cannot make work is print checks. I use on-line payments so almost never need that feature.

I tested several flavors of the Accomplish CashManager two or three years ago. All of the flavors were highly screen reader accessible. I only found two unlabeled buttons in one of the business versions and had to drill deep into the program to find them. I did not find enough enhancements in CashManager to switch from Money Talks. If I were to start a small business, I would use CashManager based on my review. I especially liked the report creation function that produced properly formatted and accessible PDF reports. This is a useful feature for any organization with blind computer using members.

I restate a paraphrase of what I have heard for years from screen reader experts within the assistive technology field including Joe. Try to work with mainstream developers to fix accessibility problems but you better be willing to find alternatives if you want to succeed.

For those with a burning desire for sources, The Kelly Ford situation and the Quicken general discussion are found in BBQ 24.

Windows Verses Mac
I waited for years for someone like Mr. Duncan of Blazie UK to publically state that full featured Windows screen readers are more efficient than the Apple VoiceOver on Macs. I rejected Apple years ago once I learned how the interact mode worked in VoiceOver. I was never convinced that the process of drilling through levels of controls/functions could be as efficient as the methods used by full featured Windows screen readers. Mr. Duncan's comments are from one of the Sight Village recordings. The Blind Bargains URL for the recording is http://www.blindbargains.com/b/13154

Best Wishes,
Ken "

This week's Twitter response was a reply to the following from our @blindbargains account...

Dyson DC39 Multi Floor Bagless Animal Canister Vacuum with Flatout Tool for $259.99 Shipped

... the response that amused us greatly was...

@ASquared_Editor: Does that mean that the canister is made out of an animal or that this vacuum can vacuum up animals? ;) The latter could be useful, though the former is just cruel.

Well played sir!

Hey, did you hear? We're Testing out the @Magic Text Message Personal Assistant, and Need your Help

Last Word:

Joe vowed there would be no food links for this episode. This is what happens in this segment if he isn't thinking, or reading, about food.

The Phone-brella is a hands-free way to keep you and your smartphone dry

The hot new punctuation; the semi colon

Auto Tuned Cows

Next week, Apple Event Commentary! Expect the show to come out just a little later to allow for us to record our reactions to all the new stuff they are going to drop on us this holiday season. Until then, guard all piggy banks closely.

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