Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Qast 80: Thunderbolts And Lightning

Spoiler warning, as we thought, this episode is full of event talk. Jeff Bishop, who just so happened to be on the actual Microsoft Campus during the big event in NYC, gives his impressions on many of our technology topics. We also managed to fit in some news and a "Last Word" too. So grab your dongles, sit back and relax while we discuss Apple and Microsoft.

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In The News:

JAWS 18: Not A Minor Update

Seedlings Braille Books for Children Hosting Online Auction to Pay for Braille Books

The election is Tuesday in the U.S. and there are at least two numbers you can call if you have issues.
"The National Federation of the Blind will host an Election Day hotline that blind and low vision voters, poll workers, and voting rights advocates can call when problems with accessible voting technology or other barriers are preventing a blind voter from casting a private and independent ballot. The hotline will be available on November 8, 2016, by calling 1-877-632-1940 from 7 a.m. EST to 7 p.m. PST."

Election Protection also offers a hotline providing election assistance which you can access by calling 866-OUR-VOTE.

Discussion topic #1: Microsoft Surface Event

Jeff gives us an idea of what it is like to be in Washington the week before Halloween. We understood it to be somewhat rainy. Then we move on to talk about what is in store for the next Windows 10 update with just a few sprinkles of hardware talk on top. Below are some of the articles mentioned in this portion of the show.

Our commitment to accessibility

Windows 10 Creators Update: all the new features Microsoft didn't mention

Windows 10's focus on friends could make it a more human OS

Here s a look at the new Action Center coming in Windows 10 Creators Update

Xbox Had a Few Announcements at the Windows 10 Event Too

Understanding the Expanded Surface Book Lineup

Microsoft's Surface Studio is a stunning desktop computer

Microsoft Surface Studio: A concept five (or more) years in the making

Microsoft Surface Studio: the engineering beneath floating pixels

5 cool facts about Microsoft s new Surface Dial

Here are all the apps that work with the Surface Dial

Microsoft Quietly Delivers New Surface Keyboards, Mouse

Bringing 3D to everyone through open standards

Microsoft Windows chief Myerson talks Windows 10 priorities, VR headsets, Surface hardware goals

Microsoft demonstrates VR, mixed reality and HoloLens at Windows 10 event

Will the VR revolution be ushered in by Microsoft, of all companies?

Microsoft is doing a better Apple impression than Apple is

How Microsoft s Surface Event Captured My Attention

Windows Weekly 489: The Creators Edition

Discussion Topic #2: Apple Macbook Event

Hmm, a lot has happened since we recorded this particular episode. The Cubs won the World Series of Baseball, 15 more reasons for wanting the U.S. election cycle to end arrived, and then there was the fury being vented on every social media outlet upon the new MacBook Pro. A lot of the news from the run up to this event can be found in the October Apple Rundown. However, because there was so much that transpired after our recording, here are even more items that coincide with the aftermath of the event.

To me, Apple's October event had a clear theme: accessibility.

Apple has priced the new MacBooks out of reach of many in the disabled community

Apple s New Touch Bar May Present Usability Challenges For Blind Users

Microsoft was working on its own MacBook Touch Bar

Apple temporarily cuts prices on all USB-C cables and accessories

The 5K display Apple and LG built together just got cheaper

Extra storage just got cheaper for older Macs

Review: The $1,499 2016 MacBook Pro is an expensive MacBook Air on the inside

Beware of foul language, New Macbook Pro can't walk & chew gum at same time(watch wifi + USB = fail) PART 1

iFixit: New MacBook Pros are unsurprisingly difficult to repair and upgrade

New MacBook Pro models reportedly incompatible with certain Thunderbolt 3 devices [ux2]

New 15-inch MacBook Pro appears to offer fastest SSD performance on the market

Apple could have made the USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 transition easier

Apple is now officially a dongle company that happens to make smartphones and computers

Requiem for MagSafe

The New MacBook Pros Mark the End of Upgradeable Apple Computers

Steve Jobs s worst decision was promoting Tim Cook

Apple s Philip Schiller talks computers, touchscreens and voice on the new MacBook Pro

Apple Has Received More Online Orders for New MacBook Pro Than Any Previous Generation

New MacBook Pros and the State of the Mac

The Tech Doctor weighs in on the new Macbooks

Mac Break Weekly Episode 531

DTNS 2894 MacBook Pros and Cons

Tip: Flipp

How many times a month do you place your hand in the mailbox only to pull out a gigantic pile of newspaper? I know, that isn't really newspaper, or even liners for a bird cage, it is the collection of weekly ad circulars that many find useful. With Flipp for iOS -- sorry Android users, this one isn't Talkback friendly, you can now get an idea of just what is printed on all that stuff destined for the recycling bin. Now this app isn't 100% fully read by Voiceover. However, if the community reaches out to this developer, it could be an amazing tool for reading the weekly ads and flyers for many retailers in your local area. As it is now, at the time of this recording, you can skim through these circulars and even clip their coupons. The app is free from the App Store for iOS and we think that it has potential.

Sound Off:

This is the email that Joe mentioned in episode 79, in regards to the Instant Pot, that unfortunately did not get posted in that show's notes.

"Hello Ricki and Jage,
Thank you very much for your demonstration of the Instant Pot. This device was recommended to us by another blind couple and we just purchased it a couple of weeks ago following our wedding. We have the bluetooth Smart Cooker. I find it very simple to use, there are tons of scripts and recipes out there and we are thoroughly enjoying this new kitchen gadget. So far, we have made rice, chili and cooked two whole chickens in it, and everything has come out perfectly so far. It is really quite something to have a whole chicken cooked in about 30-45 minutes without much fuss. The cheesecake is definitely on my to-do list.

You mentioned that accessibility seemed to be a thought that they had in designing these units. Although I do agree, and appreciate how simple it is to use, I don't think this is true. It's accessibility by accident, or at least that's the official takeaway. The documentation says that the device is not to be used by people with physical or sensory impairments without supervision. I have a problem with that type of statement, of course, and I'm sure that it is simply to cover their legal bases, but this is why I cannot say that the device was intended to be accessible. Nonetheless, we will be using my device, and there will only be two blind people here when that is happening. Certainly there are a couple of things around safety that need to be considered, but these should not warrant a statement like that. Besides that sour note, everything else about the unit would receive an A+ grade from me, and I would still recommend it - just be aware that you will be on your own if something happens while using it, but I am completely confident in the built in safety features of the product and am not concerned.

Victor and Marcia"

The Last Word:

We only had time for one story, so you know it was going to be about food, cats or music.
Canwich, a sandwich in a can
Oh and we almost forgot. Escape the Election from the Weather Channel
We still have our second part of the interview with Ginny Owens, our review of the new Google Home device and the Black Friday Holiday Special airing this month. The year might be winding down, but we'll ride it out in style!

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Length: 87:16

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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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