Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Qast 173: Alien Probing Cane

J.J. is back from Orlando with the interview that got away from him at ATIA, Bardo Hoffmann Of VisioBraille. We also have a product review in "Sound Off", a ton of news along with a couple of Joe's tweets that influenced a Windows Tip and J.J.'s contribution to the "Last Word". Make a good pot of coffee, or tea, because this one will last more than a simple cup full of content.

Programming Note:

Everyone at the Blind Bargains Qast was shocked and devastated by the news of the recent passing of Rachel Olivero
in January. We're still processing this tremendous loss to our community and we join many others out there in our offering of condolences to her family, friends and fellow NFB members. Rachel
left us with lots of memories and information. But it is her friendship outside of A.T. that we will miss the most. Both Joe and J.J. tell their respective favorite stories about Rachel during this portion of the podcast. And we are sure it will not be the last time we think of her this year on the show.

In The News:

United States Ratifies Marrakesh Treaty to Increase Access to Works for the Visually Impaired

Microsoft helps Blind/VI children to develop an interest in coding from a young age with Code jumper

New Cane and Guide Dog Emojis Coming in 2019, We Asked Aira to Describe what They Look Like

Future of GoldGun: Production discontinued

Crowd funding of the week, AppA11y is attempting to port dice world to Alexa, and they need your help

Jupiter Ascending For APH and portable magnification

QRead Version 3.21 Released, including improved heading navigation, improved goodreads search, and more

Announcing Scripts for the Zoom Conferencing Platform - Professional Edition.

Resources for accessing and using Google Suite with a screen reader

And don't forget about our friends at Mystic Access and their Google Suite of Products Audio Tutorial

Catch the archive of the Microsoft Accessibility Narrator 101 webinar

"Tech It Out" for January focused on Audio Identification and Visual Interpreter Services

Interview: Bardo Hoffmann Of VisioBraille

Starting a company is a hard thing to do. Restarting one is monumentally harder. In this interview Bardo Hoffmann, Managing Director for VisioBraille Sales, provides an overview of what happened to Baum in 2018 and a look at the roadmap of what they have planned for the first four months of 2019. Listen in as J.J. inquires about future for distribution, repair and updates to new and existing products. And be sure to visit the VisioBraille website
to keep up with news and announcements from this year s CSUN and SightCity.

Tip: Windows X

Depending on the screen reader you use, when reading that heading above, you might think our tip was about the Windows 10 operating system. Except the combination of pressing the Windows Key plus the letter X has been around for some time. And it isn't really a power user thing like this article
suggests either. Try it for yourself and hear how you can navigate Windows faster for some common tasks.

Sound Off:

True story, Joe heard about the Bose Frames from an ad while listening to Tune In Radio and then moments later Jywanza sent in this review...

"Hello guys,
I am writing to let you know about my latest purchase. I went to the
Bose website looking to buy a replacement cable for my Bose headphones
and came across Bose Frames. I read about Bose Frames and went the
next day to my local Bose store to purchase them.

Bose Frames are Bluetooth audio sunglasses. From the Bose website:
"Bose Frames have Miniaturized Bose speakers precisely positioned to
direct sound at you and away from everyone else. Nothing in or on your
ears. It's a new way to listen. One that leaves you free to hear and
interact with the world around you, all while discreetly listening to

There are two styles of Bose Frames. Alto and Rondo. Alto are larger
and has the classic sunglasses shape while Rondo have rounded lenses
and a slightly smaller fit. Bose Frames cost $199.95.
I have had my Bose Frames Alto for several weeks and here is what I think:

Audio - The Miniaturized Bose speakers are at each temple and the
audio quality is outstanding.

Audio spillage - No one but you hear the audio. Only if your device
is at the highest volume, some spillage may occur.

Stylish - My sighted friends have all commented that they look good.

Comfortable - The Bose Frames Alto are as comfortable if not more
comfortable than some of my designer sunglasses.

Quality material - The Bose Frames don't feel cheap and the lenses
are scratch resistant.

Integrated microphone - Able to make and answer phone calls and launch Siri.

Battery life - The battery last only 3.5 hours but I have gotten up to
4.5 hours.

Volume control - There is not a volume control on the Bose Frames.
The volume can only be controlled from the device it is paired with.

Proprietary cable - Bose Frames uses a proprietary cable to charge
them and the cable is not that long.

There is much more I haven't mentioned but I believe I have mentioned
the basics. I am happy with my purchase. I am especially looking
forward to use them during meeting to review materials or to use them
to read a menu without having anything in or on my ears. BTW, on a
different note, when I purchased my Bose Frames from the Bose store,
the sales associate informed me that Bose will be closing their stores
in smaller cities."

ilyaru's comment from our ATIA BraiBook interview
sparked possible reasons and actual use case suggestions debate from J.J. and Joe.

"this device is too expensive. in my opinion, it should cost around 50$. you get only 1 braille cell. I don't think someone would buy it for such a price. the idea of one cell is really not practical."

cw's comments from our Braille Note Touch Plus article]
echoed with what many of you told us on social media.

"Looks interesting. Wish I could afford it, but the price is too high for me. I am happy that they updated the hardware and software to something that is currently acceptable, but the price of upgrade from the first BrailleNote touch to this one is a bit high. Kind of highlights the strengths and weakness in my few. The main strength, mind you, is the main stream OS with the keysoft UI, but that is also the weakness. Another weakness is the major upgrade costs of the hardware, but the hardware, in this case, makes the BrailleNote touch stand out. Yes, I wish I had one, but I cannot justify nor afford the price at this time. If I had a good reason to have this instead of the android phones on the market, I might be tempted to set up a go fund me page, but my IPhone is pretty much meeting my on the go needs, and my old pacmate still works reasonably well for writing stuff down (surprisingly). As a side note, you think people would take my desire for a display for my IPhone as a good enough reason? LOL. Just kidding. Yes, I enjoy playing around with tech. Just not good at programming said tech mind you. Yes, the PACmate kind of burned me on main stream Oss when it comes to blind tech. If you remember, the PACmate sort of faded away when MS went to windows phone 7. Now days, mS is out of making the mobile os business. Now days, OS updates on mobile devices seem to be coming a lot faster too. So, forgive me for not suggesting people to go to the braille note touch first. I pretty much suggest that people to see if a smart phone with a braille display would be good enough first unless there is needs that the smart phones of today cannot meet. Education is one said need per say. Of course, not to many ask."

Last Word:

Fear and food make up the strange goings on of the web this week.
The Spectacular Failure of the World's Only Hard Rock Theme Park
Every Steak 'n Shake burger, ranked

Next week is up in the air as our interview is still unconfirmed. However, can you believe we are less than a month away from CSUN? Nope, neither can we!

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File size: 85.7MB
Length: 72:49

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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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