If you have a disability and possess technology skills, the BBC is interested in hiring you. The BBC Digital's People with Disabilities in Tec event in London will be held on April 8 and is free to attend. Participants will gain a behind the scenes look at the technology used in various BBC services including iPlayer and BBC websites and learn about available job opportunities. Check the link on this post to get more information or to RSVP.
The Hadley School for the Blind is the latest organization to update its name to reflect changing times, though unlike others, they're not removing the word blind from the name. The Hadley Institute For the Blind And Visually Impaired as it is now known reflects a change in the program offerings for the long-time nonprofit, which traditionally focused on blindness skills courses by mail but has expanded to offer a variety of curriculum options ranging from braille instruction to entrepreneurship training.
TeamTalk, a popular voice chat solution with blind and visually impaired users, is now available on the iTunes App Store. The app, introduced By Bjoern Rasmussen allows for high-quality multi-person voice, text, and video chat across a variety of devices including Windows and Mac computers and Android phones and tablets. The iOS version includes robust VoiceOver support, thanks in part to user testing by many blind users. TeamTalk is a mainstream chat solution that also happens to be accessible, thanks in large part to the efforts of the developers. The program is free and open-source, and you can visit the Bearware website for more info or to contribute to the project.
Google has added a variety of new voices in its latest update of the Google Text to Speech App. According to Android Authority version 3.8 offers several variant choices for each language. In our initial tests of the English version, 6 additional voices, 3 male and 3 female, were selectable, though all of the voices used similar speech patterns. One might compare these differences to variant settings offered in other screen readers. That being said, male and female options are now available for a variety of languages and should work on any recent version of Android. Get the update now from Google Play.
Stevie Wonder made one of the most public declarations ever of the need for things to be accessible at the 2016 Grammy Awards. As he was about to announce the winner for Song of the Year by reading the name from a braille card, nearly 25 million people heard his message about accessibility.
"We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability"
Watch a recap of Stevie's grammy night below the jump.
Dan Weirich, the W in GW Micro, has announced his retirement from AI Squared, ending a nearly three decade career in the assistive technology industry. He was introduced to the industry through his work as chief engineer at Computer Aids Corporation, known largely for their Apple software products including Word Talk and File Talk. In 1990, he partnered with Doug Geoffray to form GW Micro which sold Vocal-Eyes and Window-Eyes screen reading software for the next two decades. Here's a letter from the Raised Dot Computing newsletter announcing the formation of GW Micro in 1990. Since the merger of GW Micro and Ai Squared in 2014, Weirich held the position of VP of Strategic Programs.
Here's an interview with Weirich from 2011 talking about Window-Eyes 7.5 and another from Shelly Brisbin in 2015 talking about ZoomText Fusion.
Dan posted a message to several AI Squared mailing lists, which we've included below.
The Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter connects to any PC powered speaker, home stereo system, or AV receiver with a RCA or 3.5mm jack and essentially turns the system into a Bluetooth speaker setup that is capable of receiving audio streamed from any device that features the Bluetooth chip. The adapter comes with integrated long range wireless , meaning that audio can be streamed from approximately 50-feet away from the device, a perfect range for the average house.
The Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter also ships with the ability to pair multiple devices at once, meaning simultaneous pairing of a smartphone and a tablet is possible. That pairing is also made extremely simple with an easy pairing feature, and automatic re-pairing when the device is switched on. Given how useful this little device is, and given the fact that there s no requirement to tinker with wires and altering existing audio setups for wireless compatibility, it s pretty much a no-brainer purchase for anyone looking to make a set of speakers wireless.
So if you have an old stereo system that you just don t use much because of the need to connect your audio source to it using a wire, this $27 investment will give your system a whole new lease on life.
Have you ever wanted to record a phone call? If you've ever thought that recording a call on an iPhone is something that could be of benefit to you, then you might want to check out this new iPhone case.
Available for $29 as part of an Indiegogo campaign that s hoping to raise $30,000 in order to get started, the Just In Case call recording iPhone case is actually a self-contained device that doesn t connect to your iPhone at all, and that s what makes it so useful.
While obviously providing somewhere to keep your iPhone, the Just In Case iPhone case has a well-placed microphone that is capable of capturing both your voice and that of the other caller and then saving the call as an MP3 to the included 2GB SD card. Buyers can, of course, put their own, larger card in there, but given the fact this is audio, we expect 2GB to be plenty for most.
The case not only records audio but also timestamps it for later retrieval, and the JIC only has two buttons, making it super easy to use. One button is the start/stop recording button, while the other is to initiate playback through a speaker on the back of the case. There s a rechargeable battery included that is said to be good for 8 hours of use. That $29 is early-bird pricing, so if you think this is something that you may want, now would be a good time to get your order in before the price goes up. JIC is available in red, black, blue, white, yellow, and green. It's designed for iPhone 5 and above, and will start shipping in May 2016.
Valentine's Day is right around the corner and thanks to the National Braille Press, blind children can join in the fun with braille valentines. The 2016 series says "Just POPPING through with a VALENTINE for you!" and includes a hint of popcorn when scratched. Get 32 with envelopes for $14 or 20 for $10 by following the link on this post.
HumanWare is overhauling their lineup of portable video magnifiers by releasing three new models. The Explore series comes in 3, 5, and 7 inch models and is advertised as some of the lightest units in its class. The $249 Explore 3 is ultraportable and includes a built-in stand. The 5-inch Explore 5 comes in at $749 and includes 16 color contrast modes and magnification up to 22X. The larger Explore 7 is available for $1,099 and features a rugged stand and is more ideal for reading Books. They're all available now from the HumanWare website. Follow the link for the full press release.
The latest update to the Hims Braille Edge adds native Unified English Braille support. While UEB had worked with screen readers in the past, it now can be used for the Braille Edge's on-board notetaking and other functions. Other minor improvements are also included in the free update. Check the link on this post to get the latest firmware for the Braille Edge, or read on for the complete changelog.
FamilyConnect, a program of the American Foundation for the Blind, is looking for parents of blind or visually impaired children to participate in a focus group about transitioning to Unified English Braille (UEB). "There have numerous been focus group and interview studies in which consumers and vision professionals have been asked about their concerns, expectations and experiences with UEB. A big gap in our research involves the voices of the parents and families of children who are blind and transitioning to the UEB. We want to learn more about what families expect from UEB and what is happening to support them."
Two focus group times are available on either Tuesday, January 19 or Thursday, January 21 and participants will be compensated $50 for their time. Follow the link on this post for more info.
Accessible Apps is working on the latest in their growing list of apps and services and set up a website to tease the upcoming offering. CAPTCHA Be Gone will be a browser extension that aims to solve visual CAPTCHAs, often used to prevent automated bots from hacking into websites. According to the website, "CAPTCHA Be Gone is a powerful but simple solution to solve CAPTCHAs for you nearly instantly. Press a single keystroke, and the CAPTCHA is automatically detected, extracted from the page, sent off, and solved in seconds. As soon as it is solved, an audio cue is played, and the solution is copied to your clipboard so you can paste it and keep going about your day."
The popular Web Visum service for Firefox has not been updated in some time and is now unavailable by default in the latest versions of the browser for security reasons. Rumola is another pay service that is currently available for Chrome and Firefox. Captcha Be Gone will be available as a service for $3.50/month and initially work with Firefox and Chrome with additional support planned. Check out the page for more info or to be added to a mailing list to receive updates. Would you pay for a CAPTCHA service that works with a variety of browsers? Post your thoughts in the comments.
The ballots are in and the votes have been tallied. It's time to count down the top 10 biggest and most influential stories of 2015. This year's panel included Jeff Bishop, Shelly Brisbin, Ricky Enger, Chancey Fleet, J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, and Joe Steinkamp.
Each panelist gave us their opinions on the biggest stories in assistive technology and we've compiled their votes to create our annual list. We'll reveal a new story each day on the way to number one and announce the winner on the next Blind Bargains Qast. The 4th biggest story of the year may not impact you just yet, however, its footprint could be felt for years.
We're about halfway through the Blind Bargains annual look at the top 10 biggest and most influential stories of 2015. This year's panel included Jeff Bishop, Shelly Brisbin, Ricky Enger, Chancey Fleet, J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, and Joe Steinkamp. You can go here for our previous stories
Let's go to panelist Chancey Fleet for our number 5 story.
The ballots are in and the votes have been tallied. It's time to count down the top 10 biggest and most influential stories of 2015. This year's panel included Jeff Bishop, Shelly Brisbin, Ricky Enger, Chancey Fleet, J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, and Joe Steinkamp. You can go here for our previous stories
Each panelist gave us their opinions on the biggest stories in assistive technology and we've compiled their votes to create our annual list. We'll reveal a new story each day on the way to number one and announce the winner on the next Blind Bargains Qast. Our 6th story of the year may prove to be more relevant than some might initially think when the word "Android" is mentioned.
As the time has come to begin transitioning to Unified English Braille (UEB) in the US, I thought it would be a good idea to briefly discuss how to change various adaptive technologies to UEB from US English braille. Many pieces of assistive technology already support the UEB code, it s simply a matter of enabling them. Below is a list of the more common devices and how to make these changes. note that stand alone braille displays such as the Focus, Smart Beetle, Brailliant BI, etc, do not have specific settings for UEB, as these devices only receive input/output from the device they are connected to. Also note that these instructions apply to the latest version of the hardware/software listed, your results may vary on older models or versions of software. It is also assumed you know how to navigate and select various options for the hardware/software listed. A comprehensive guide to each device is beyond the scope of an article. Please consult user documentation for further support as needed.
Inclusive Android has posted a survey to gain user feedback on the accessibility of Google's office products including Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive. The survey applies to versions of these programs both on mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android as well as personal computers. Results will be shared with Google's accessibility team. Follow the link on this post to take the survey. Note: this survey was not created or endorsed by Google.
We're almost halfway through the Blind Bargains annual look at the top 10 biggest and most influential stories of 2015. This year's panel included Jeff Bishop, Shelly Brisbin, Ricky Enger, Chancey Fleet, J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, and Joe Steinkamp. You can go here for our previous stories
You can go here for our previous stories Number 7 involves an unexpected screen reader surprise.
The ballots are in and the votes have been tallied. It's time to count down the top 10 biggest and most influential stories of 2015. This year's panel included Jeff Bishop, Shelly Brisbin, Ricky Enger, Chancey Fleet, J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, Joe Steinkamp.
Each panelist gave us their opinions on the biggest stories in assistive technology and we've compiled their votes to create our annual list. We'll reveal a new story each day on the way to number one and announce the winner on the next Blind Bargains Qast. You can go here for our previous storiesWe continue on with our 8th big story of 2015.
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