The developers of Vorail, a rather popular social networking type app which just uses your voice, are looking to bring this platform to Android by raising money through a Kickstarter Campaign. At present, the app is a free download in the iOS App Store. Using voice only (there is no text, video, pictures etc), the app seeks to generate discussion by allowing users to pose questions which other users can respond with answers if they feel like joining the discussion. The app does not require you to give your phone number or to create a password, as it is associated with your iCloud account. At the time of writing, the campaign has raised $1659 of it's goal of $10,000. There appears to be no indication from the developers as to whether the development of an Android app will take place if the financial goal is not met, though the Kickstarter campaign says it will not be funded if the $10,000 amount is not achieved by July 18. For more information, please see the Kickstarter Campaign which also lists several podcasts interviewing the developers and a podcast demonstrating how the app works.
One of the mentions in Monday's Apple WWDC keynote was the addition of Sling TV, a subscription service that brings over 20 popular channels to your device for $20 per month. With this news came the announcement of a promotion that new subscribers can receive a 32GB Apple TV for $89 when three months of service is paid for in advance ($60). This is a $209 value as the device itself sells for $149. You're basically receiving a free three month trial with a purchase of an Apple TV.
Sling TV offers over 20 channels in its base package that includes ESPN, HGTV, TBS, TNT, and more. You can add up to an additional 65 channels such as HBO, Cinemax and more. If you ve been looking to cut the cord, this is a great way to get started. Use the provided link to take advantage of this offer. Note some users report having accessibility issues with this app as it currently stands.
A video was posted as part of Apples World Wide Developer Conference, which discusses a few new accessibility features in the soon to be released Apple operating systems. A summary of the video is provided below.
NV-Access has released NVDA 2016.2.1, which fixes a bugs in Microsoft Word. It also removes their grammar reporting feature in order to correct the issues. This was done in response to Windows XP users having Word crash on start up. Like NVDA itself, the screen reader is free, though donations are encouraged. If you are using the grammar feature successfully, as this is the only fix in 2016.2.1, it may be worth considering skipping this update.
If you live near Redmond Washington, and use twitter with a screen reader, Microsoft is interested in observing you using Twitter. They will allow you to use your platform of and client of choice, and will then ask you questions related to this activity. Participants will receive a $75 Amazon gift card, and will be reimburse for a taxi ride to their office. They didn't list any limit on the amount they would compensate for the taxi ride, though it's unlikely they would fund your ride if you live in Miami, for example. Follow the source link to get in touch with Microsoft if interested.
Geoffray: I'm putting everything I have into this venture and I wouldn't do that if I didn't believe in it.
The following was posted by AI Squared's Doug Geoffray on the Window-Eyes Talk Email discussion list about the VFO acquisition of AI Squared. We've included the complete message below.
With news that is sure to have ripple effects across the assistive technology landscape, VFO, the company which was formed last November to manage the Freedom Scientific and Optelec brands, has added AI Squared to its portfolio.
Adding the brand, product portfolio and capabilities of Ai Squared to VFO gives us the broadest portfolio in the industry, unmatched global distribution and market leading customer support, said John Blake, CEO and President of VFO and former President of Freedom Scientific. The combined company will offer customers the industry's most recognized screen magnification solutions, ZoomText and MAGic, and screen reading solutions, JAWS, ZoomText Fusion and Window-Eyes, next to the broad portfolio of video magnifiers, scan and read solutions, and refreshable Braille displays.
Amedia Corporation, a Japanese assistive technology company, has released an rebranded and updated version of its OCR app for iOS. Amedia Live Reader offers realtime OCR in a variety of languages and can be used to read both printed documents and objects further away such as street signs, according to the press release.
As I reported in March, the RNIB hosted their region's version of the Onkyo Braille Contest. However, if you were looking to enter the contest and live in North America, for example, you couldn't enter in to the contest at that time.
The National Federation of the Blind released the agenda for their 2016 convention on Wednesday. While it's packed with info, just like each year, there is also another headline here.
Registration is now open for those who are interested in attending the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference in Orlando. The 2017 edition will be held from January 19--21 in Orlando. Saturday will be a half day, while Thursday and Friday will be full days. Attendee registration prices start at $100 for a half day Saturday and go up from there. More information can be found on the registration fees page.
If you wish to attend the entire conference, and feel you would be well suited to a presentation, you can earn a discount by contributing to the conference itself. If this is an idea you want to pursue, the call for presentations remains open until June 17. Find out more information by going to the above link. While we won't be able to bring you the warmer weather if you can't attend, Blind Bargains will bring you information from the conference as it happens.
Eone Time continues to release variations on the Bradley, the tactile watch which uses magnetized ball bearings to allow a blind person to identify the current time. The new bradley Element features a 3-dimentional surface at a premium price. According to the description, "The topography of the watch face contours toward each marker in alternating raised and lowered impressions. The redesigned case body is engineered from highly durable, scratch-resistant ceramic and is coated with a PVD plating, adding an extra level of durability." It also features an adjustable, stainless steel mesh strap and an all-black matte finish. The Element will ship in early June for $395. Follow the source link to learn more or to place an order. Thanks to Ka for the tip.
Let's Play videos are a popular trend where gamers will post videos of titles they're playing so others can watch and follow along. Now, a YouTube poster who calls himself Matt has started a new series of Let's Play videos which do the same thing, but with audio descriptions of the action. The Games for Everybody YouTube channel currently features several walkthroughs of his first title, Undertail, a role-playing video game nominated for several awards. Matt both describes the scenes that play out during the game and also reads text that appears.
Another device announced at the CSUN conference is now available, and this one won't break the bank. National Braille Press is now shipping their $18 Tactile Caliper, a 12-inch ruler that can be used to accurately measure within 1/16 of an inch.
Here's a short description direct from NBP. "The winner of our 2013 Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation, this mechanical instrument looks like a traditional Vernier Caliper. Whole inches are embossed in braille across the top of the ruler, while fractions are dynamically displayed in braille on a sliding jaw – as you move the jaw, the braille refreshes to the nearest 16th of an inch."
We discussed the Tactile Caliper near the end of this CSUN podcast with CEO Brian McDonald.
You may have read our original post announcing the BrailleNote Touch. Many of you listened to our interview with Greg Stilson about the BrailleNote Touch at CSUN 2016. Perhaps you listened to the free audio tutorial on the BrailleNote Touch.
Now you can order the BrailleNote Touch which is now shipping. As expected, it's available now for $5,495, the same price as the BrailleNote Apex. For now, the Touch is available in a single configuration with 32 braille cells and a braille keyboard. One could use a USB or Bluetooth keyboard if typing in braille was not their thing.
As part of our CSUN coverage, J.J. did an interview with Peter Korn from Amazon. part of that interview featured Amazon's new screen reader called VoiceView for Fire Tablets. Amazon has now launched a preview of VoiceView for Amazon Fire TV.
Google continues to seek people with disabilities for paid research studies over phone phone, in person, or online.
Here's a portion of a recent Email they sent out to CSUN attendees:
"As part of our efforts to make Google products more accessible, we conduct paid research sessions with users with all types of disabilities. We conduct studies both in-person at our offices in SF and NYC, as well as remotely via video or phone. Users who are selected for and complete our study sessions are generally compensated at $125 an hour, paid out in gift cards that are redeemable at a wide variety of retailers around the country."
Follow the link on this post to fill out the form to express your interest. This does not guarantee you a spot in any study, but will put your name in a pool for future research.
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.
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.
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.
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