September 19th seems so long ago.
Back in those halcyon days of a month and a half ago, when I knew another Apple event was on the horizon, I mused that I would have little to post other than the iPod turning 15 years old. Maybe a few articles on the new mac OS would be in order. And, if it made the street date, I'd have some things to post about iOS 10.1. Sure, there would be the 4th quarter earnings report to ponder. And I'd end the article with something funny in regards to the headphone jack.
then 2016 happened with its ability to upend everything you know and expect in a rational universe.
A new update for the BlindSquare navigation app has just been unleashed on the iOS App Store which may make some iOS 10 users happy. Version 4.04 supports the new built-in voices which are included in iOS version 10, assuming they have been downloaded. Also, the new feature list includes the ability to repeat previously spoken messages in a speech history mode and a fix to reenable the use of the map in iOS 10. The complete changelog is below.
Accessible Apps has released another free update to the Chicken Nugget Twitter client for Windows. Version 4.3 was largely necessitated by some changes from Twitter's API in how tweets are displayed. Some parts of a tweet, such as a picture or quoted tweet, no longer count in the 140 character limit, allowing for slightly longer tweets to be written in these situations. Version 4.3 accounts for this change and also includes some other improvements. You can download version 4.3 from the source link below, and look at the complete changelog after the jump.
Apple has officially released iOS version 10.1, the latest update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users. This update includes several camera improvements including a portrait mode camera, improves connectivity to some Bluetooth devices, and fixes a laundry list of other issues. As for accessibility, AppleVis reports that a couple of bugs were squashed, including a showstopper for some users which displayed extraneous information on a braille display while using the Mail app. We've linked to the AppleVis post which has more details on mainstream and accessibility updates in this release. iOS 10.1 runs on any device which received the iOS 10 update.
Often, students will decide to focus on blind or visually impaired individuals when developing a new technology as a part of a school project. This survey comes from Master’s students studying Human-computer interaction at the University College London and asks about technology usages and challenges for blind and partialy sighted individuals. The survey is on a single page and is estimated to take about 15 minuts to complete. Follow the source link to take the survey.
HIMS Releases Patch for Braille Edge: Bringing enhancements for JAWS Users, Full UEB Support, and More
HIMS Inc. has announced a "maintenance" patch for the Braille Edge 40 that brings a few new added functions to the device. Some readers may be thinking this is old news, but it's not really. Though this patch was originally announced in September, it was pulled from the website shortly after due to some customers having the update fail.
The American Printing House for the Blind has posted an early version of the manual for the forthcoming Orbit Reader 20, the sub-$500 braille display which is due to be released shortly. In the manual, we learn more about the unit's operation and screen reader support. The Orbit Reader 20 will include two modes: a stand alone mode is designed for reading already translated files from an SD card to display on the unit. Basic text editing is also available in this mode. In remote mode, the unit can be paired with a screen reader using Bluetooth or USB. Support for all major screen readers is currently possible, either directly or through emulation of a RefreshaBraille 18. Details may change between now an the actual release of the unit. Check out the manual to learn more. Thanks to Josh Kennedy for the tip.
MIPsoft, makers of the BlindSquare GPS ap for iOS, has been working on GPS software for Android for the past 18 months, though details are scarce. This according to some recent tweets from the @BlindSquareGPS Twitter account.
Android is getting better and better. We have been building something for Android for last 18 months or so
…not BlindSquare, but something on same area. We don’t have any release dates set yet.
Android users can currently use Nearby Explorer as well as Google's built-in navigation apps and some other free alternatives, but it sounds like more options may be on the horizon. If you care to speculate, post your thoughts in the comments.
Jaws 18 public betas have been flying out the door in anticipation of the upcoming release of version 18. After the recent acquisition of AI Squared, Jaws 18 and ZoomText 11 are advertised as playing much nicer together, with Jaws handling most speech output and ZoomText handling magnification. Touch support gets a lot of love in this update, including the ability to start Jaws using a hotkey from a touch-enabled device. Google Docs improvements include the ability to enter text using contracted braille and a variety of tweaks to improve speech output. Users of prior versions of Jaws may be happy to learn that you can once again import settings from a previous version of Jaws, though this will only work from Jaws 17 currently. No release date has been given, though new versions of jaws typically are release around the end of October. A laundry list of additional features and bug fixes included in the two public betas is listed below.
Learning Ally, the U.S. based nonprofit that offers 80,000 books primarily aimed at students, has relaunched their suite of reading apps as Link, offering more flexibility when reading and searching for titles. It's available now for iOS, PC, Mac, and Chrome and coming soon to Android. Previously, users could not search for books directly from their device, an improvement present in the latest release. Here's a list of features in the new software from the iOS version.
KeySoft 2.0 for the BrailleNote Touch will Include KeyMath, Braille Embossing, Braille Terminal, More
More details have been released regarding the forthcoming version 2.0 of KeySoft which will be available soon for the BrailleNote Touch. Humanware's Greg Stilson described many of the improvements in a recent webinar.
Vision Australia and the CNIB in Canada have made the first exchange of books under the Marrakesh Treaty, which is now in effect in 20 countries. The treaty, which allows books and other materials to be shared in accessible formats across borders, took effect September 30 after Canada ratified it in June, pushing it across the 20 country threshhold necessary for adoption.
Humanware has announced that The BrailleNote Apex will not be retiring. Instead, will be available at a slightly reduced price from what it was before the BrailleNote Touch took its place. The BrailleNote Touch 32 is currently selling for $5495, while the Apex is selling for $4995. The 18-cell Touch sells for $3895, while it's older counterpart is selling for $3495. The BrailleNote Apex, a notetaker first introduced in 2009, saw it's most recent update in May of last year with Keysoft 9.5.
If you have a BrailleNote Classic, mPower, or wish to replace your older Apex for some reason, Humanware is offering you the chance to trade it in for an aditional $500 off the prices listed above. Check the Source link for further details.
Hims Inc, has released an upgrade to its firmware for the U2 line of notetakers. This update includes some bug fixes and also introduces 2 new features.
Perhaps you are sitting patiently with a tracking number in hand waiting for the delivery of a shiny new product that has winged its way from China, designed by Cupertino of course, and will be the greatest thing you have ever owned ... until the next Apple keynote, in which you will start the buying process all over again like so many salmon swimming upstream. It is the "Circle of iLife" in perpetual motion. Or, you might be clicking in to see what links I've compiled for launch day based upon my previous posts under this banner. in either case, welcome to a few stories from around the net that deal with the subject of Apple.
Humanware has released 2 new updates to its products. For Stream users, version 4.7, which adds support for the saving of NFB Newsline content and also adds the ability to subscribe to specific publications right from the device. Previous to now, it was not possible to subscribe to newspapers on the Stream directly, the user had to log in to NFB Newsline to manage what they would get on the Stream. But if you aren't in a place that supports Newsline, there is still a reason to upgrade. Version 4.7 allows you to synchronize the time you have set to an online server. This involves setting your Stream to the correct time in your time zone and then enabling this feature. The update is free, and you can update your Stream Second Generation by following the instructions in the source link.
If you plan to attend the 32nd CSUN conference, The Center on Disabilities at California State University, Northridge have announced the call for papers in the General Track, as well as for Pre-Conference Workshops. If you plan to attend sessions, one of these opportunities could be a good way to get your name out there and to also save some money. The source link is to the announcement, which also lists guidelines for submitting proposals to the committee. CSUN will be held at its now traditional spot at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego from February 27 through March 4.
If you plan to attend, but are hoping to do so on a budget, J.J. has provided a lot of tips on doing so. Though this guide was written for the 2016 conference, many of the tips and ideas will carry over to next year's conference.
We now have some more details on the forthcoming tactile graphics display being developed by the American Printing House for the Blind and Orbit Research. For one, the device, which was announced at the recent AER conference, now has a name: Graphiti (notice the spelling). One of the reasons for the word graph in the product name is announced support for the Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator, also produced by APH and Orbit Research. Users will be able to connect to the calculator and feel resulting graphs in real-time.
There are consumer braille embossers that cost under $5,000 and commercial models which can run you upwards of six figures, but not a lot of options in-between. Braillo Norway, a company known for its commercial-grade embossers, has announced an updated version of the Braillo 300 at a reduced price of $23,000. Announced at the World Blind Union and ICEVI General Assembly in Orlando, the embosser prints at 300 characters per second and comes with a free copy of the Duxbury braille translation software. That price may look scary, but to a braille production house, it could be a huge break. An earlier model of the Brailo 300 was being demonstrated at CSUN in 2013 at a price of $57,000. Preorders are being taken now, with shipping expected to begin in October. Check out the Braillo web page on the new embosser for more information.
An ultrasound is one of those magical moments of pregnancy, but to many blind people, it's just a flat picture. A company called IN UTERO 3D is providing accessible 3d-printed ultrasounds for virtually nothing. The free tactile models are available for blind and visually impaired couples around the world for the low cost of 1 Euro. Residents of Poland, where the company is based, will received the actual 3D printed model while those in other countries will receive a digital file which can be produced using a 3D printer. This news article provides more information.
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