A "back to basics" show this week. And by that we mean fewer zombies, okay sadly, only two, but they're the hosts after all. We also have an interview, "Sound Off' and the "Last Word" in this return to the original formula episode of the BB Qast.
In The News;
Interview Mobility Technology With Imerciv
Bin Liu, CEO, and Arjun Mali, CFO, sit down with J.J. to talk about the Buzzclip, a device that could make walking around a whole lot easier. The portable unit emits sounds to warn the wearer of overhangs, however, that is just one of the features noted in our interview. Check out Imerciv's IndieGogo initiative. if you would like to know more or to join the company on the ground floor of this portion of the device's development.
DebeeArmstrong mentioned this JAWS feature that we didn't during episode 37.
"A new cool thing we all missed with either this or the last JAWS 16 update is allow reserved web application keystrokes which you can find in the settings center or quick settings. Enable it globally or as a personalized web setting, and either way, JAWS automatically will pass through keystrokes used by FaceBook, Gmail and those Yahoo thingies that use accessibility keystrokes. "
BBQ Regular Steve Clower sent in this fantastic email in response to a listener who wanted more audio app suggestions...
"Greetings Blind Bargain Qasters,
On last week's show a listener wrote in asking about music composition apps for iOS devices. While I will always recommend using a real digital audio workstation (like SONAR, Protools, etc) having a few tools that you can scratch out on idea nearly anywhere, and on something that fits in your pocket can be quite handy.
In terms of general composition apps, the two that I've worked with that are also VoiceOver accessible are GarageBand and Yamaha Mobile Sequencer. GarageBand is, in my view, the more versatile of the two as it allows you to input your ideas in several ways (touch-based instruments, audio, and MIDI). The sounds aren't what I would call studio quality, but they're not terrible, either. For $5 it's a must-have if you really want to compose stuff on the go.
Yamaha's sequencer has better sounds than GarageBand, but this is strictly a MIDI in, audio out application. You create individual parts, which can then be added to sections, and finally from sections to songs. If you've ever used a Motif then this build-up approach will be familiar.
As for dedicated instruments that can be played in real time, Thumbjam is quite fun. A lot of different instruments that can respond to not only touch, but also device movements also.
For any guitar players among you, AmpKit is the only app I've come across that works with VoiceOver. Other apps like Jamup, Mobile POD, Amplitube, and Tonestack either work somewhat or not at all; certainly not enough to where I felt comfortable handing out money for their in-app purchases.
Finally, you'll definitely want to procure two apps: AudioBus and AudioShare. The former allows you to connect apps together, such as the output from Thumbjam or AmpKit to GarageBand, or you can patch in dedicated effects, such as the excellent creations in the AUFX line into your signal. AudioShare can import and export from pretty much anything that iOS supports. Want to send your iKOscilator creation to Dropbox? This app can do that. Need to import something into a track for use in GarageBand? Yup, this can make that possible, also. If nothing else, get these two apps as you'll need them.
If you have an iPad, there are way more musical apps written for the bigger screen such as Auria, and a lot of synthesizers from Korg and others. I have no idea how accessible any of these are.
One company I must warn you to stay away from is IK Multimedia. They create Amplitube, GrooveMaker, and VocaLive among others. The sounds from the apps are quite good, but accessibility is nonexistent. All attempts to contact them have been either met with silence or the usual, "the blind market isn't big enough for us to care about" spiel.
There are lots of other apps available for the more keyboard-centric players, but I'm not qualified to say what's good and what isn't. Hopefuly another listener will chime in.
I hope this at least gets you started in a good direction. Best of luck.
We end the show with two looks at crazy promotions. One went right, while the other went really really wrong.
The Pass That Allows People to Fly Free Forever and the Airline s Attempt to Kill It
The Funky Little Football Phone That Sold a Million Magazines
We are looking for holiday related apps and sites to feature on an upcoming show. let us know which ones are your "go to' faves in the comments below. Or drop us a line in an email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Joe Steinkamp is no stranger to the world of technology, having been a user of video magnification and blindness related electronic devices since 1979. Joe has worked in radio, retail management and Vocational Rehabilitation for blind and low vision individuals in Texas. He has been writing about the A.T. Industry for 15 years and podcasting about it for almost a decade.