Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Qast 65: Copyright MMXVI

Two episodes and two Android-based hardware reviews. Yep, we wanted to balance the scales before the Apple WWDC round up episode next week. We also have a tip, another large complement of comments in "Sound Off" and a "Last Word" that inadvertently ended up being recorded in two parts. That just seems to be the dualistic nature of the odd-numbered episode 65.

In The News:

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

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

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

Amedia Releases Updated Version of their Realtime iPhone OCR App

Let's go crazy with "Crazy Party" the audio game

Blind Louisiana Man Sues McDonald's for Refusing Him Drive-Thru Service

Hardware Review: Braille To Go\

You might have noticed that the CSUN Year of Braille" contained several new notetakers. One of those we featured in our interviews from "Sunny San Diego" was NBP's Braille To Go. Scott gets his hands on a debut release unit and he takes us on a tour of the hardware and initial release software. Hear the lowdown on the menus, the build of the device and his impressions on how the device works for daily use.


Tell most voice assistants good morning, and they'll just give you a simple reply. Tell your Amazon Echo good morning, and you just might learn something new.

Sound Off:

We start off this week with an email from Kathy about another way to avoid Windows 10.

"The computer tech who fixes things for us turned us on to another utility to stop the Get Windows 10 nag. The program is called GWX.

More information can be found at

Kathy Blackburn"

Next, from Randi, some information about Ride Hailing at ACB National this summer...

"I am looking forward to the ACB Convention here in Minneapolis in my own back yard. I just wanted to let you know that Uber and Lyft are very much alive in Minneapolis St. Paul. You can take Uber from the airport as well. Both our main terminal which is known as terminal 1 Lindbergh. Or terminal 2 which is our Humphrey terminal.
I like to say that I love Uber but, my bank account does not. It is so convenient. I am planning on coming to both the sessions I read about in the preregistration."

And speaking of Ride Sharing, Jan Brown sends in this email about options in her area.

"In my county, we have an outstanding cab company I have been using for about 20 years. I used to work in San Francisco and had to make time calls with all of the cab companies just to hope one of them would show up so I could get from one location to another quickly in order to do my job. If ride share had been available then, I would have loved it. However, this county has a discounted ride program for seniors and people with disabilities which provides 8 one-way rides for 14 dollars. This makes using a cab cheaper. But this company has an outstanding record for my purposes. I tried calling Uber about a week ago because I wanted to see how different the experience might be. We had used them once to return here from Berkeley, about a half hour and several cab jurisdictions away. That ride was fantastic.
But, the other week, Uber did not respond and I took the cab which showed.
Sadly, I could not find a cancel ride button on the app, probably my own fault but I could be wrong.

I have been a huge note taker fan ever since I got my hands on the first Braille 'n Speak. I had always dreamed of a way of typing braille only to have it come out in print.

I still own an old BrailleNote mPower which sits by the living room phone for note taking purposes.

I bought an Apex last year because the braille display on my mPower was getting less crisp and clear. I did not want to spend the money HumanWare would charge to clean it. I was extremely unhappy with my Apex experience. The unit would not connect to my wi-fi network and going on-line simply could not happen.

It was slow and I knew I had made a huge mistake.
I sold it for a loss and am reluctant to throw money at any other device.

My goal of writing in braille and having my message available in print is something I can now do with my i-Phone and i-Pad. The iOS braille is so good now that I have gotten used to writing on glass and actually enjoy the experience a lot.

But, when HumanWare called to ask if I wanted to see a demo of the new Touch, I responded positively. I am intrigued, of course. I want to see how their braille compares with iOS or i-Brailler notes. I will go to the demonstration if I can and get my hands on the tablet.

I believe HumanWare could sell the Touch with or without the keyboard. This would allow them to sell a simple braille tablet without the braille display. If they could do that, I just might bite.
You never know.
Thanks for all of your great work.
Thanks to Scott as well for the great iOS podcasts.'
Jan Brown"

Bargain Hound left us a comment about "Guardian Circle".

"Guardian Circle is great. Just remember: Be very careful going to the hospital using a friend or a ride sharing or cab service. When I had bad stomach pain 2 years ago, I was certain it was gallbladder and I went by EMS, due to the slim but present possibility of a gallbladder rupture, a friend or transportation service driver couldn't have helped me if anything had happened. Also, you get seen much more quickly if you go by ambulance, which doesn't mean you just do that to get seen faster, it must be serious to go by EMS. Turns out my gallbladder was so inflamed that I had to be on IV antibiotics for a few days before surgery, thankfully they could do it laparoscopically. Beth"

Lastly, and from the episode comment section as well, MattFromFlorida had this to say about the Mystic Access audio for the new HumaWware notetakers.

"Well about the tutorial on the Braille Note Touch. You say it is Free! Nothing is Free ! Yes Mystic Access is not charging for it ! But that is because HumanWare has already paid them! They got paid for it! Of course This also is rolled up in the price of the BrailleNote Touch. Nothing is Free absolutely nothing! Someone or some group or business or write off of some kind or tax payers is paying for it! Nothing wrong with them getting paid Mystic Access ! But just realize that they're not really giving it away as HumanWare has paid them up front. Like I say it is good business and nothing wrong with it! While I like mystic Access podcasts and have bought one of their tutorial you make it seem that they are giving this one away out of the goodness of their heart and it's just not the case.

While Matt isn't wrong, there are a lot of things that are created these days by other parties for a manufacturer that are similar to what Mystic Access did for the Braille Note Touch. the website iMore does this to some degree for Apple products in order to have early access to said Apple products. it's also a great co-promotion for both parties. And outsourcing this kind of work can result in a lowered production cost, it can get the device out faster and [as we said on the show] it gives people the ability to do a deep dive on the device in a format that many would find more favorable than just reading a bunch of text online. Seems like a "win win' for all. But everything online costs something. Just ask those awesome folks over at NVDA about what it costs to make a free screen reader. Oh, and please donate so we can still have a free screen reader out there by the way...

Last Word:

This week we are honored to feature a listener-created bit of audio mashup. And then an example of why Government moves a bit slowly on technology matters.
Thanks to Dominique Stansberry for sending this along

The Department of Defense Will Finally Stop Using Floppy Disks For Nuclear Operations

next week, four letters that should make Apple fans rejoice. its our look at all the news from the WWDC.

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File size: 80MB
Length: 74:5

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Displaying 1 comment.
MattFromFlorida Sunday, 12-Jun-2016 1:34 PM ET:

Well on the blind guy that was refused service for coming thru the drive thru. This is wrong as there should be an exception in the policy! It is just that plain and simple for a Blind or visual person. Also what happen to the manager or supervisor that night! Anyone with plain common sense would have made an exception in this manner! As JJ has said this reaches much farther than just fast food drive thru! There needs to be acception for these cases. Also I don’t know if their policy has not broken the ADA law on this . Shouldn’t the drive through be accessible as well? They could also took his order and brought it outside to him. As well. I just see where there could have been just a little thought put in this just by the manager or supervisor at that time and would have prevented all this! So his only recourse is to sue! Not only for access and on the grounds of discrimination but hit them where it hurts and that is in the pocket book. I hope that 3 to 6 buck meal they did not sell him now cost them a million bucks . If this happen I bet they would change their policy and give training to all the staff! It is sad that we have to take this rout when a little common sense and caring for your fellow person would have went a long way! I really think he will have no problem winning this at all! JMO! Matt From Florida

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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.

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