You might be wondering how Blind and Low Vision people can enjoy the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21st. In this episode we speak to Dr. Henry Winter, a real honest to goodness astrophysicist who tells us how we can participate in the big cosmic event. We also sync our Google Home calendars, talk more about the Orbit Reader and we strap on our red shoes for the "Last Word".
Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at https://hims-inc.com to learn more.
In The News:
Here's a story we didn't get to last week when we were discussing news out of Orlando.
Alexa, Open NFB-Newsline
Our friend @AccessAna turned us onto the latest with Brailleback in this tweet:
New beta of #BrailleBack for #Android, featuring contracted Braille input, grade switching on the Fly, and wordwrap.
And, after we recorded this episode, it seems Android O is almost here according to this ArsTechnica article.
Interview: Eclipse Soundscapes
Dr. Henry Trae Winter, an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, sits down with J.J. to talk about Eclipse Soundscapes. Learn how you can use this free app for iOS and Android to experience the solar eclipse on Monday, and how you can participate as a citizen scientist by providing audio of the event. There's more coming up after the eclipse as well, so don't delete the app after Monday.
Tip: Google Home Calendar
The ability to add appointments to your calendar from your Google Home arrived during our time away at Summer Conventions. Joe walks us through the process. However, here is an article that outlines the steps as well.
Here are three emails that touch upon some of our thoughts from episode 109. Firstly, from long time listener Rebecca Skipper, an email entitled "Welcome Back".
Episode 109 is one of my favorites from the BBQ.
I share Joe s concerns about the potential loss of choice, but I m even more concerned about affordability if the government purchases Braille displays on bulk.
Yes, I ve received AT from VR, but once I started working, I discovered just how empowering it can be if you, the consumer, purchase your own products.
I bought my second Braille Notetaker after the first one crashed.
I look forward to the opportunity to buy my own technology in the future.
Please remember how the Orbit Reader 20 was launched from a group of nonprofit organizations who wanted to keep the price down so that more people have access to Braille.
That major milestone should not be overlooked.
What an amazing accomplishment!
Get twelve organizations to agree to and stick with a goal!
That is amazing!
So, I would rather see the consumer become empowered like I did.
Let's give the affordable Braille display market a chance to thrive in the consumer market.
The government can do good things and try to improve access to AT, but prices seem to go up.
Give vouchers to consumers if you have to.
It would be nice if every library system had access to a 40 cell refreshable Braille display, but it would be used very little in some areas to the point where staff would forget how to connect the device.
I wish the blind community truly understood how fortunate we are right now.
From Bonnie Lucas,
"Loved your show on bridges and when J.J demoed the App, I was reminded that when I got it to read a can it said cranberry juice and we do not buy cranberry juice. The can was actually fire roasted tomatoes.
Listening right now and I think there ought to be a way to have a game show at the NFB convention! Listened and loved it!
And lastly from Stanley Littrell...
"While I was listening to the section of your podcast concerning Seeing AI, I was reminded of trying a recent experiment. When I used my ID mate to read a bag of mixed nuts that I purchased through Amazon I couldn't read the barcode because it wasn't in the database. I then used the short reading text mode to read the bag using the Seeing AI app. I was able to read the contents of the bag. I will still proudly use the ID Mate. This app is just one more tool in the tool kit."
From Flying Battery Zone, via Sonic Mania, to just plain batteries. We always finish with some crazy stuff at the end of the show.
Green Hill Zone Act 1 2017
We're just returning to stride with this week's show. It is good to be back and even better to know we have a lot more to talk about before the end of the year. See you next week!
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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.