Blind Bargains

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A free Audio Tutorial now Offers Many more Details on the BrailleNote Touch

As I reported as part of our CSUN coverage, Humanware has created a new product called the BrailleNote Touch. While Blind Bargains was able to give you a written overview of what it brings to the table, along with an interview, there is now a free and in-depth resource to give you an audio tour of the BrailleNote Touch.

Latest NVDA Add Features to Help Badd Speelers and Writers

The next version of NVDA is about to be officially released, and as is customary, you can test new features now with a release candidate. NVDA 2016.2 focuses its improvements on the Microsoft Office suite and also will alert you to incorrectly spelled words as you type by playing a short buzzer sound. This feature can be turned off from NVDA’s Keyboard Preferences. Gramatical errors can also now be indicated while you type, along with some additional formatting features in Microsoft Excel. Follow this link for the complete blog post, and check out the full list of changes below.

A Free way to Gain Access to Skills to Make you More Employable is now Available

Deque Systems,, makers of many accessibility testing tools and designers of a set of courses to teach web accessibility, have announced that they are offering 1 year of free access to all of their training materials for people with disabilities. The blog post announcing the offercited the reasons behind this effort were to help combat the unemployment rate among people with disabilities. While this unemployment rate is high, the demand for professionals who can provide accessibility testing is also very high. The application process for this scholarship asks for a few details.

Google Posts Video of 140 Developer Talks from #IO16 including 3 Focusing on Accessibility

Google appears to have posted just about every session from Google IO to their YouTube channel including 3 which focus on accessibility. The developer event, which we discussed in detail on Blind Bargains Qast 62, was recently held in San Francisco.

American Councel of the Blind Convention Pre-registration is now Open

pre-registration is now open for the ACB convention to be held July 1 through 9 in Minneapolis. There is a $15 administrative fee for registration on top of any sort of events that are paid that you may wish to attend. This year, ACB has moved to a new system for registration, so if you have created an account in previous years, that info will no longer be valid. Find out more details by following the source link. Pre-registration runs through June 22. as reported earlier, that pre-registration for the NFB Convention being held in Orlando will close on May 31.

Startup Disrupter Robinhood Makes their iOS Stock Trading App Accessible

Robinhood is a mobile app that is already disrupting the financial services industry by offering stock trading without service fees. Now, they're one of the first companies to make their trading app accessible to VoiceOver users.

"Not surprisingly, the financial industry has historically been a bad actor when it comes to disability compatible products, and we wanted to change this," Robinhood wrote in a recent blog post. The company partnered with the San Francisco Lighthouse to implement the changes which include providing access to account sign-up, the trading interface, and audible financial graphs.

The new features were released in celebration of Global Accessibility awareness Day, which was held this year on May 19. Robinhood also offers versions for Apple Watch and Android, though we are unable to verify if these also include accessibility features at this time.

The Perkins School for the Blind and Raizlabs Aim to Solve the Last Inch Problem with GPS

Your GPS may tell you that there is a bus stop nearby, but how do you know you're actually standing at the stop and not at a street sign 25 feet away? Thanks to a $750,000 grant from Google, the Perkins School for the Blind has partnered with app developer Raizlabs in an effort to solve this problem.

It's a situation that Raizlabs' Nick Bonatsakis, who is also legally blind, can relate to as he explains in an interview with Boston's WBUR. “I was just walking around in circles,” he recalls. “And had I had something where somebody just said, ‘Look, you know, the entrance to this place is past this mailbox and before this entrance to this other shop,’ that would have been immensely helpful.”

Perkins and Raizlabs aim to offer an app which will provide clues to a traveler in these situations. The app may give clues such as a nearby step, doorway, or grass which could help in someone locating a location like a bus stop in a contextual manner. Those familiar with a location will enter these clues into a database, which will then be available to users of the forthcoming app.

The Perkins School for the Blind was awarded the grant from the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities program which awarded $20 million in grants to 29 recipients.

The app itself is expected to be released early in 2017.

Dictation Bridge Makes Prototype Available for all Users

As J.J. reported previously, the developers of Dictation Bridge are seeking $20,000 to build their product. Now, they have released a Proof-of-Concept, which comes in the form of a NVDA add-on.

A Mock Election: We Tested 3 Modern Voting Machines for Accessibility

Recently, I had the opportunity to test three of the latest voting machines equipped with accessibility features. The Michigan Bureau of Elections held a Mock Election which allowed testers and poll workers to experience each of the machines and tabulate votes for both disabled and non-disabled voters. From my testing of the three machines, it was apparent that the usability of each system ranged from pleasant to downright frustrating. Below are some initial impressions of each machine, presented in the order they were tested.

APH Unveils JAWS and Magic Student Edition, Bringing More affordable Options to Students

If you are a student who uses JAWS at school, owning a copy of JAWS or Magic for home use just became a lot easier. Freedom Scientific and the American Printing House for the Blind announced on a FSCast around the time of CSUN that they would be partnering to offer a program that would allow students to get JAWS under the Quota Funds system in the U.S. This is an annual subscription license, which must be renewed each year.

Windows 10 Free Upgrade to be Extended Beyond the Summer Deadline for Users of Assistive Technology

Yesterday, as part of a blog post, Microsoft reminded us that they will end the program which allowed users of the Windows Operating system running version 7 and higher to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. Just over 24 hours after the above blog post went out, Microsoft had another announcement related to the free upgrade program.

Microsoft Reminds Users that They Will Press alt f4 on Free Upgrades to Windows 10 in July

As part of a blog post, Microsoft has reminded users that time is running out to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. After July 29, 2016, when upgrades will again be charged, Microsoft will once again be the only major platform charging for upgrades. Windows 10 Home will cost $119, as noted in the blog post. Microsoft boasted in it's post that Windows 10 is now on 300 million devices worldwide. The time to upgrade for free is almost over.

Twitterific Releases iOS Update With Several Enhancements for VoiceOver Users

The latest update to Twitterific for iOS includes several improvements for VoiceOver users. With the May 2 update, which is version 5.14.3, there is now support for descriptions of images.

Apple Will Now Sell you a Braille Display and other Accessibility Tools to Go with your iPhone

Though there was no official announcement, Apple now has listed several hardware items to assist people with accessing their Apple devices. Doing a search for "accessibility" in the Accessories category now turns up several results.

Uber Settles With NFB: Will Deactivate Drivers who are Barking up the Wrong Tree

Friday, Uber Announced that they reached a settlement with the National Federation of the Blind for $225,000, and stated they will make some modifications to their policy to make the consequences for drivers refusing a user with a service animal more clear.

Ai-Squared releases Upgrade to Zoomtext Which Officially now Supports Office 2016

AI-Squared has released a new update to Zoomtext, called version 10.11.3.
The big announcement from this release is that Zoomtext now supports Office 2016. IN previous releases of Zoomtext, there were many issues with respect to the reliability of typing/Cursor Echo, tracking, the Doc Reader, and several issues concerning stability. According to Ai-Squared, improvements in all Microsoft Office 2016 applications with respect to all of the areas just mentioned have occurred.

If you've Tried Online Dating, A Research Team Would Like to Hear about It

If you have used online dating in the past year, researchers at the University of Washington want to hear from you. The 20-minute survey is available for people with or without disabilities, and participants can enter to win a $5 Amazon gift card. The survey letter is below.

Why it's Better to be 74 Plus on Facebook

Earlier this month, Facebook rolled out it's new Automatic Alt Text description feature on iOS. Today, the Facebook Access team announced on Twitter that this feature is now also available on Android with Facebook version 74 and higher. Users may need to log out and back in again to start seeing posts with the automated alt text being generated, just like some users had to do when the feature was officially released for iOS. Have you been using this feature on iOS before now? Is it working on Android for you? Feel free to leave comments below with your experiences.

Accessible Apps Releases a Meatier Chicken Nugget

Accessible Apps has released a new update to it's Twitter application for Windows, Chicken Nugget. Version 4.0 includes support for Twitter images, the ability to scan text out of images from Tweets, a spell checker, the ability to choose which users to DM, and the ability to translate expanded tweets.

Harriet Tubman Isn't the Only New Feature of the Next $20 Bill

It was widely reported last week that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. The other part of this story however is one that many disability activists have been patiently waiting for. New designs for the $20, as wel as the $5 and $10 bills, will include accessibility features to aid blind and visually impaired users. The United States is one of the last major countries to use inaccessible paper currency, and was forced by a court decision several years ago to change this.

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