Amidst all the hardware and software announced at CSUN, there was one announcement we missed, but are here to tell you about now. the Sendero Group announced version 2.1.1 of there GPS apps on iOS. One of the biggest highlights of this release is the introduction of a 30 day free trial of the app. Other enhancements in 2.1.1 include a faster loading time of the app, the "Magic Tap" now announcing the last spoken information, resolving re-subscription issues, many modifications to text for low vision users, updating of Google Maps, and support for the Boni s LoudSteps platform. This platform is one of many possible solutions for indoor route navigation. It is a free upgrade for those with existing subscriptions to the service in supported countries, and is available now in the iOS App Store. Follow the source link to read more specific details.
The FCC is about to propose updates to video description rules on television which would drastically expand the amount of described programming produced. Per this article from TVNewsCheck, the proposed new rules would increase the number of networks required to provide audio described content from 9 to 15, including the top 5 broadcast networks and the top 10 entertainment-based cable networks. For broadcast, this may mean audio described programming in Spanish, as Univision ranks fifth behind ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox currently. For cable, depending on when the rankings are determined, networks such as AMC, FX, and HGTV could be included. Networks such as CNN and ESPN which primarily produce live programming are excluded from these rankings.
In an email that has been circulated far and wide, Winston Chen, the developer of Voice Dream Reader, has discussed what will be coming in version 4 of the app on iOS. The new update, which has been submitted to Apple, contains support for 3D touch actions on the iPhone 6S and 6S plus, a new mode called Pac-Man reading mode, finger reading, and scanning. Scanning allows you to do a firm press on the fast forward button to double the speed of the reading voice. Releasing the 3D touch will return you to the speed you were at before performing the 3D touch. This is an iOS only update, there was no indication as to the state of development on the Android platform. The portion of the email describing the new features has been added below.
Twitter has taken a step to improve the accessibility of images posted on its platform. According to a blog post, users of Twitter's mobile clients can enable an option to add alt text to images when composing a tweet. The text, which can be up to 420 characters, will be displayed to assistive technology users in supported clients. Twitter has also made it possible for third-party clients to incorporate the feature. Before this change, all images were rendered as a t.co link without any alternative text. Check the blog post for more details on the new feature.
#CSUN16 Orbit Research Has Achieved a More Affordable Braille Display; APH Demos the Orbit Reader 20
The amount of announcements at CSUN related to braille technology was higher than usual this year. The common concern among people seems to be the cost associated with this technology. The Transforming Braille Group and Orbit Research officially unveiled the Orbit Reader 20 at CSUN last week. According to this blog post, by Orbit Research, The device "serves as a self-contained book reader, a note taker and as a braille display by connecting to a computer or smartphone via USB or Bluetooth." We stopped by the APH booth to take a look at the new device.
A new version of TalkBack for Android is set to go into public beta in the next week, and Google's Maya Ben Ari and Victor Tsaran told us all about it at a CSUN 2016 session.
#CSUN16 Freedom Scientific Makes two Announcements Related to Future Products, Spills Beans on ElBraille
Following is information presented in FSCast 123 which covered 2 new announcements from Freedom Scientific that were also made at CSUN. This information is presented in textual format so that those who prefer to read rather than listen can also have access to it. From an accessibility perspective, this article is for those who are not able to hear podcasts, who may find the information helpful. Any errors made in the below information are that of the author s, and it may also be worth noting that the author has a significant hearing impairment as well.
The American Printing House for the Blind and Freedom Scientific Partner up
The first major announcement was that Freedom Scientific and The American Printing House for the Blind are teaming up to bring JAWS and Magic, student Edition, to the classroom through the purchase of this software through quota-funds. Each license is good for 12 months, and has 3 user keys. This means a student can have access to JAWS and/or Magic in and outside of school, to complete homework assignments and do research. The license expires 12 months after the first key was installed, unless a school district elects to continue renewing that specific subscription. If the student has had their license renewed 4 times, Freedom Scientific will issue them a home license until that student graduates from grade school. Once that happens, the now graduated student would be responsible for maintaining their SMA. If the place in question does not have quota-funds available, they can also purchase a 12 month subscription from APH for $300. The Student Edition only differs from the other versions of the software in the licensing structure. All features, technical support, and documentation will be available for the Student Edition just like any other version. Eric Damery indicated in the podcast that they anticipate having the program ready for customers by the end of April, and that an official press release will come out when the program is ready to launch.
Adi Kushnir came to the podcast to discuss ElBraille. Think of the ElBraille as a computer inside the form factor of a notetaker. The components are housed on one part of the device, while a Focus 14 makes up the other part. The Focus can be disconnected from the rest of the device, so if you wish to take your Focus 14 and not the full version of the ElBraille somewhere for some reason, that is also an option. The ElBraille has a full 32-bit version of Windows 10 on it along with JAWS 17.
Here s a physical description of the ElBraille as presented in the podcast. The device measures 7.4x4.7x1.5 inches. With the Focus 14 attached, the entire package weighs 1.65 pounds. On the front, you have the Focus 14. As such, all of the controls that you will find on the Focus 14 are what make up the front of the device. ON the right side of the ElBraille, you have 1 button which allows you to detach the Focus 14 from the ElBraille. Continuing along the right side, you have the headphone jack, a SD card slot, USB port, and the power button. The back and left sides of the ElBraille do not contain any buttons, ports, or controls. On top of the ElBraille, behind the Perkins style keyboard of the Focus you have 6 buttons: E1, E2, volume down, volume up, E3, and E4. The top of the unit also contains speakers, a Braille label, and a micro SIM card for cellular connectivity in the upper left corner of the surface of the device.
The internal parts of the device include: 1.8 GHZ quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal memory, comes with a 64 GB SD card that is internal, SD card reader that supports cards up to 256 GB, a built-in microphone, stereo speakers, a vibration motor, 3G modem, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 N wifi and all protocols before it, built-in GPS, accelerometer, a USB port, and a battery life that they advertized as lasting over 20 hours even with wifi in use. The ElBraille also features a rescue mode button which will launch a menu separate from JAWS that self voices and has braille output.
While it does have a full-blown copy of Windows and comes in the flavor of a notetaker, Adi Kushnir indicated that it takes between 20 and 30 seconds to boot when in hibernation mode. It resembles a notetaker, but because it s running a full version of Windows, it s not possible to turn the unit on and be ready to add to a new note quickly. The 3G modem is GSM only, which, for those in North America, means that the device will only be compatible with T-Mobile and AT&T.
Pricing of the ElBraille is dependent on what the user already has. For example, if one already has a Focus 14 and JAWS 17, they could use their existing purchased stuff to lower the cost of the ElBraille significantly. This user would only pay for the docking station which includes the components listed above. The price will, of course, go up from there if you do not already own JAWS 17 or a Focus 14. No specific prices were mentioned and Freedom Scientific indicated the information was not yet available. IT was also made clear in the podcast that Freedom Scientific does not have an anticipated release date, other than it should be in the second half of 2016.
Looking ahead, Adi Kushnir indicated that they are already working on a second generation of the product, and will also be releasing a version which will fit the Focus 40. Hardware, according to Kushnir, is expected to be updated annually. The cost of upgrading, according to both Mosen and Kushnir will be much cheaper than what it would cost to upgrade standard notetakers, because the user only needs to replace the docking station. The JAWS license and display do not need to be replaced. For now, users wanting more information can contact firstname.lastname@example.org At the moment, the website is only in Russian, but they will have an English website coming soon.
It's been 6 years since Humanware has updated the BrailleNote, and today marks the end of that wait. Today at CSUN, Humanware unveiled the BrailleNote Touch, a device which is based on Android 4.4, but runs the Keysoft suite of products. Think modern support for mail and other applications, but with the familiarity of Keysoft. The best way to picture the device is that it has an iPad mini sized screen which a user can perform standard Android gestures on, or a new braille input method described below. There is a Perkins-style braille keyboard which comes down over the screen if the user desires to use that instead. The keyboard overlay attaches to the device and can be removed if the user prefers to use the touch screen and braille display exclusively. The unit also features support for SDHC cards, 16GB of built-in memory, a HDMI port for connectivity with external monitors or TV's, an 8 megapixel camera with LED lighting, a USB 3.0 host port, and Micro USB charging
Freedom Scientific has announced a new product in it's line of Ruby video magnifier series. The Ruby 7 HD, has a 7 inch screen, which is 2 inches larger than the other Ruby products. The older models of this series of video magnifiers allowed the user to magnify text up to 14x, while the new product, thanks to the larger screen, allows for magnification of up to 24X. For more details, please see the press release, which is the source link, or the link above to the Ruby HD 7 product page. Freedom Scientific indicated that the Ruby 7 HD will be available at the end of April, but no pricing information was listed at the time of posting.
Dolphin begins the first of what will likely be many announcements this week at CSUN by unveiling SuperNova 15.03. One of the biggest highlights of this release is a feature called "connect and View". This feature allows a user to connect any HD camera to their laptop or tablet which will then magnify whatever is in view of the camera. It is also possible, with this feature, to connect to a whiteboard or another computer so that, for example, if someone is presenting, the user of Supernova can view what's on the screen right on their laptop or tablet. The user can also customize color schemes and the type of magnification that best suits their needs.
Apple made several major and minor announcements Monday during their latest keynote address. To catch you up with the latest happenings, here's a brief overview.
It's important to note that this is just a brief summary of the software and hardware announced. There are links to each of the topics covered below where you will find more detailed information.
After being discussed for several years, the National Braille Press's B2G Android-based notetaker is now available for sale. The unit features 20 cells of 8-dot braille, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory, an SD card slot, 802.11G wireless, Bluetooth, and support for an optional phone card for cellular connectivity.
Along with the usual suspects showing off their braille-related technology, there will be a lot of new-comers to the market releasing new products. As I reported previously, a new notetaker running Android will be showcased at CSUN. However, it's not the only new device that will be demonstrated this time around. The National Braille Press has just anounced availability of the long awaited B2G for $2,495.
It's also worth noting the speculation that Humanware may be releasing another notetaker. They began teasing a new product that will debut at CSUN, as J.J reported on March 2. Continuing with the expected releases, we have the development of the Transforming Braille Group. in 2014, the American Printing House for the Blind reported that this device would launch at the 2016 CSUN conference as well. While there is no official word of this being the case, the Transforming Braille Group indicated that the device entered field testing in December on their blog.
CSUN atendees who are more intrested in what lies further ahead in the braille technology market will have some stuff to check out as well. Dot inCorperated will be showing off a 4 cell smart braille watch which is designed for use with a smart phone. For a list of exhibotors who have braill listed somewhere in their description, check out this link
Along with mBraille there is now a new app on the Google Play store which allows Android users to input braille with their touch screens. Soft Braille Keyboard is a $16.57 app now available in the Google Play Store which offers uncontracted and contracted braille input in both US and UEB. Once installed, the app shows up as a standard Android keyboard and is useable wherever text input is an option. There are 2 lay-out modes available, one which is more suitable to phones running Android that is vertical, and also a horizontal lay-out for tablets. There are many braille tables already available, including English, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Italian, Polish, Spanish,
Swedish and Vietnamese. The developer has indicated in the link above that more tables will be added soon. Instructions on using the app can also be found in this link. Have you used this app? How are you finding it works for you? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Yesterday, we posted a story about NeoBraille, a new Android-based braille notetaker which will debut at CSUN. The company behind the product is a relative unknown in the United States, so we took some time to learn a bit more about them.
NeoAccess, one of the exhibitors planning to show off their technology at the CSUN conference next week is debuting a product called the NeoBraille Notetaker. According to this blog from Irie-AT, the company who will be the U.S. distributor, the device will have a 2.1 GHZ processor, run on Android, and will also offer some sort of auto-scrolling feature. The post goes on to state that the NeoBraille will include many other apps that traditional notetaker does not have. Among the new features are built-in LTE, and ways to interact with braille cells to do things such as edit and copy text.
The unit will include a 32-cell braille display, 3GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a MicroSD slot, Mini HDMI port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port, and stereo speakers.
The notetaker is listed on Irie-AT's online store for $4,995 plus shipping. Stay tuned for further details from the BlindBargains crew who will be attending CSUN.
It's a week before CSUN 2016 and that means more teasers about possible new products. Enabling Technologies, who released two new braille embossers under the names Cyclone and Trident in 2014, sent out and Email teasing the possible return of the Juliet, the name behind their former line of embossing units.
It's still several months until Google releases the next version of the Android operating system, but we are already learning some details about future accessibility improvements and changes. According to the Android N for Developers site, Android N, as it is now being called, will include vision settings on the device's welcome screen. Previously, users could activate Talkback by performing a two-finger gesture on this screen, but there was no way to enable other features including magnification support and font sizes. We are unsure if a gesture or shortcut is also available for these additional features.
Rosen Hotels and Resorts, which has been hosting the National Federation of the Blind Convention for the past 3 years, has reported a major security breach that has compromised guest's credit card information. In it's rather lengthy statement, Rosen Hotels and Resorts said that they began receiving complaints in early February from guests who claimed there were unauthorized charges on their credit cards after staying in one of the company's hotels. The chain's statement went on to say: "Findings from the investigation show that an unauthorized person installed malware in RH&R s payment card network that searched for data read from the magnetic stripe of payment cards as it was routed through the affected systems. In some instances the malware identified payment card data that included cardholder name, card number, expiration date, and internal verification code. In other instances the malware only found payment card data that did not include cardholder name. No other customer information was involved. Cards used at RH&R between September 2, 2014 and February 18, 2016 may have been affected.
This may affect payments that were accepted in person, including those made during the 2015 NFB convention, but not credit card information given over the phone. The company says that customers should immediately report any unauthorized use of their cards to the credit card issuer. While Rosen Hotels and Resorts will not refund fraudulent charges, they are offering free credit reports to effected customers. If you think you were impacted by this breach, and need further assistance, the company has also set up a help line which you can reach by calling 855-907-3214. If you have been ffected by this breach, let us know in the comments.
Freedom Scientific has released an update to JAWS 17, named version 17.0.1539. It includes fixes for braille, Adobe Acrobat, JAWS itself, Firefox, Microsoft Office, the Windows 10 operating system, and Thunderbird. This update also adds the notification of when a new episode of FSCast, Freedom Scientific's podcast, has been posted. It's a free update for JAWS 17 users, which can be installed from within the JAWS Help menu. Follow the source link below to learn more about the specific changes.
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