Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Qast 136: The Texas Chili Refresh Rate

Buddy Brannan is back and he is here to show off the new addition to his ever-growing Braille Display collection. We'll then delve into how non Google made Google Home units work. The tip will give you the need for speed, "Sound Off" has a request for Buddy and the "Last Word" will make you forget all about those Furbies from a few weeks ago.

Sponsor: HIMS

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 to learn more.

Also, read more about the Braille Sense Polaris in the January 2018 edition of "Access World"

In The News:

Microsoft Soundscape is a new way to navigate

This survey might indicate that Microsoft could bring Seeing AI to the Android platform one day

Inclusive Android recently tweeted the following...
[A new group is being assembled to provide app developers with access to testers who use Talkback who are interested in helping provide feedback to app developers (e.g. facebook) please join the IA Tester's group

Ciscovision tweeted:
[We regret to inform you that CAVI is not currently teaching audio courses at this time. Because of this we have released our current content for free and you can download it here.

Mystic Access releases a course on the many ways you can use your Google Home

Discussion Topic: Orbit Reader, Tic Home Mini And Insignia Smart Speaker With Google Assistant

Note: Buddy learned from the Development Team that some of the qualms he had with the Braille Me will be addressed in an upcoming firmware update. Stay tuned to our conference coverage from CSUN to learn more about the changes coming to this affordable display.
Buddy is back to talk about his initial impressions about the orbit Braille Reader. He'll talk about it and how it compares to the Braille Me that he spoke about earlier in the year. Joe and Buddy will then talk about third party Google Home alternatives. Buddy has the TicHome Mini

and Joe has the Insignia Smart Speaker. The best part is that each one of these devices is under $500. Quality vs. price comes up a few times as a result.


The previous version of Speed Test was dificult to use because this free utility relied on flash. The updated version doesn't and this is a great way to see if that costly internet package is giving you all your packets at the price you pay for them.

Sound Off:

Long time listener Rebecca Skipper writes in with her thoughts on HR 620...


I join Joe in his opposition to HR620, but I want to point out that the ADA is not the end all be all solution.
Ignorance about people with disabilities will always exist so long as the able-bodied adult exists.
I m not wishing for anyone to have a disability, of course, but it would help if we remember that even the most healthiest individual can become temporarily disabled.
Now, here is my complaint about the government at large.
Not everyone with a disability who works can get any protections under the ADA.
Freelancers like myself may enjoy the flexibility of being our own boss, but that does not mean that we have the same wage or other federal protections.
I read a recent article forwarded to me by someone from Accessible World s Tech Talk program.
The author of this article says that the DOJ has been directed to educate businesses about people with disabilities.

Well, just educating businesses isn t enough!
In fact, I recently had a potential employer say You must not be totally blind because if you were totally blind, you couldn t do this job.
These were his words after I explained to him that I use a keyboard and not the mouse.
I only disclosed my disability after he said that all potential candidates would go through training, and I, to my regret, felt it necessary to explain that I can t use the mouse.
I ended up losing the opportunity anyway because I spent almost half my time trying to get Skype to let me share my screen with a sighted trainer the following week!
In my opinion, there are only two ways forward.
Don t let HR620 become law if we can avoid it.
Voting in November isn t enough!

The only upside to all of this is to consider the efforts of companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and, yes, even Apple despite its recent mishaps.
Since I ve concluded that we will never stop people from being ignorant, we, as intelligent and diverse individuals with disabilities, should create more businesses and make it a point to advertise that we are inclusive and accessible to fellow human beings with disabilities.

No, not everyone can or will start their own business, but I ve been self-employed for almost four years.
Will I continue staying self-employed? I m not sure. But, I can say that we might have to let our wallets send a message by supporting those businesses that show a commitment to providing products and services to individuals with disabilities. We can no longer assume that the government will maintain the ADA as passed in 1991.

You might not want to share the statement I m about to make.

I find it ironic that the same Party that passed the ADA is the same party that is weakening it.:

Next, Cullen Gallagher has a request for Buddy.

""Hello BlindBargains Team,
First, I want to thank you for producing this excellent podcast every week. I always look forward to downloading it each week.
Last week, i finished listening to podcast 132, and found it extremely interesting. I especially enjoyed the information about the ViewPlus Columbia Embosser. I would love to see Buddy come back on the podcast, and do a demonstration of the embosser, showing what it sounds like, how long it takes to boot up, and hear the voice prompts that it has. If he still has his Juliet, maybe he could do a comparison of the two embossers in action. That would be vary interesting to me. There is not a lot of embosser demos, so this would be interesting. I'm really surprised that viewPlus is letting these go for such a low price, considering how fast of an embosser it is. In looking at there site, I was surprised to see the MBraille embosser, which is quite a bit slower than the Columbia, cost so much more.
Again, thank you for the excellent podcasts."

The good news is that Buddy agreed to fill this request. The bad news is that we'll have to wait for April before we can schedule this into the lineup. Buddy will be back with us after our little jaunt to San Diego.

Last Word:

A link with a YouTube clip followed by another about food means the end of the show must be nigh.
High Speed Mechanical Display 60FPS
Flippy, the robot hamburger chef, goes to work

One more episode to go before we fly off to the West Coast for CSUN 18. Fun, sun and information is just around the corner. That and a nap afterwards. Have a great week everyone!

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File size: 81.3MB
Length: 71:18

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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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