August 2017 Newsletter And Dave’s News and Technology Updates

It is time for our big event! The tickets for Dinner in the Dark on August 17th can now be purchased. This event will fill at Hotel Roanoke. See the link below to buy tickets.

Eventbrite - Vistar Eye Center presents Dinner in the Dark to benefit New Vision Logo of Dinner in the Dark

We’ll be having a silent auction at the event. If you have a quality item and you’d like to donate it to the cause give us a buzz and let us know. Or email Courtney at the link below. courtney.bass@newvisionroa.org

Another way you can show your support is simply by sharing our Dinner in the Dark Event on Facebook. See the share link below.

If you know of someone that could benefit from New Vision services feel free to send them our way. Our new Assistive Technology for the Elderly Program is very popular. To learn more see one of the links below.

Program Brochure
General Description of the Program and other New Vision Services

Echo News

Nothing much going on here. There are two important things of note, however. First off the Echo Reminders feature will now send notifications to your smartphone if you have the Alexa App setup and installed. This can be handy so you can still get your reminder even if you are not at home. Secondly, Amazon released a device called the Dash Wand, that’s right wand like magic wand. It is a $20 device that can scan bar codes and add the items to your Amazon cart. We have one in the Tech Center if you’d like to try it out. As an idea, it has a lot of promise but seems to have some rough edges that you’d expect in a version 1 product.

Accessible Television

This is our feature item for this month’s newsletter. We’ve had a lot of students asking about accessible TVs and TV equipment. We’ve been accumulating a lot of answers from local providers. So before we unload all that knowledge on you there is some basics to discuss.

So we’ve talked to Cox Cable, Dish TV, and DirecTV about accessible products they provide. Each has offerings, which we’ll get to in a minute. But the technologies fall into two catagories; an ideally if you can you want both. First off you have a screen reader, now they each have their cute name for this but that’s what it is. And each of these boxes offer this. It gives you audible feedback as you arrow around the menus, settings, and channels. Secondly, you have voice commands. That’s where you give a verbal command and the cable box flips channels. Now, be careful, one feature has nothing to do with the other. And you’ll still find that voice commands don’t always get you what you want or are as robust as a screen reader. Importantly, the voice command system isn’t built for us… in other words, it isn’t made for Blind or low-vison people. It can be very handy for us; but as a rule, it isn’t nor has it ever been a feature put into products for us… that goes for Siri, Amazon Echo, and Cortana as well. Now, since I mention the main stream voice assistants I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Dish TV allows for the Amazon Echo to control certain satellite boxes they produce.

Ok, so what’s with the influx of accessible TV boxes. I’m going to assume it has to do with new FCC rules that went into effect in mid-December 2016. You can read about that at the link below. https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/accessible-tv-and-set-top-box-controls-menus-and-program-guides

“So where can I learn more?” you might ask. Below are links for each of the local providers in our area.

DirecTV, satellite service

DISH, satellite service

Cox Cable Service

ComCast Cable Service

As of this newsletter I’ve pretty much confirmed that everybody provides these boxes free of charge and will replace your old box for free. You’ve simply got to tell them you’re legally Blind or otherwise visually impaired. I’m not positive if they require any confirmation of this but I kind of doubt it. In the case of a local student on Cox Cable, they didn’t ask him for any confirmation. Additionally, I spotted at least one of these boxes had some magnification and other low-vision features; but you’d have to investigate.

So that’s the basics of local providers and accessible TVs. But there’s a lot more. For instance are you familiar with Audio Described video or as it’s otherwise known Video Descriptions? If not here’s a brief description. Audio Described content consists of TV shows or movies with an extra soundtrack that can be enabled expressly for the Blind. This audio track has a narrator who adds extra bits of info during a program that otherwise might be missed by a Blind patron.

Would you like to know more? Would you like to learn about what programming is available for broadcast TV networks in your area? Check out the FCC’s website below. https://www.fcc.gov/general/video-description

Here’s a link to a search engine setup by the American Foundation for the Blind. At this website, you can search by your Zip code for audio described content. See the link below. http://www.afb.org/tv.aspx

Additionally, NetFlix, iTunes, and Amazon are making hundreds of their videos and movies available with audio descriptions. See the links below.

Amazon’s Blog Post NetFlix’s Blog Post Apple’s Content

Podcasts

Now I mentioned this Main Menu Podcast last month. But I failed to mention they discuss a accessible TV, not a box, a TV! So if you’d like to learn more see the link below. http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/file.php?method=stream&episode=2017-06-30

Here are two more podcasts we’ve mentioned before but are jermaine to this month’s topic.

In this episode of the Blind Bargains Podcast listen to Joe interview a professional movie critic. And yes! He’s blind. See the link below. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq098.mp3

Check out the 20,000 Hertz podcast. This is a delight to listen to and really enlightened me about audio description. This is a separate audio track added to movies and TV shows that fills in the gaps about what is happening on screen. They interview a Blind Movie critic, from YouTube. Have a listen. https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/304305143/download?client_id=cUa40O3Jg3Emvp6Tv4U6ymYYO50NUGpJ

Here’s a quick listing of some Blind Bargains coverage from the recently completed NFB convention.

NFB coverage of the Braille2Go notetaker from National Braille Press

Chancey Fleet talks with Beth Carrigan, General manager for the game Materia Magica

Here’s a great interview with the Seeing AI App Team from Microsoft. If you haven’t heard Seeing AI App is an OCR, barcode, and object recognition app. We’ve had about seven different students try it out in the Tech Center and it is a a big hit. Have a listen to the interview below. http://maccessibility.net/podcast/maccessibility_rt137.mp3

Ever wanted a talking clothes washer and dryer. In this episode of Cool Blind Tech learn about a $99 box that does just that and about something called a color catcher for those times you mix your whites and colors. See link below. https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/coolblindtech/VIP-_Keeping_it_Clean.mp3

Echo Hack

Just in case some of you heard a story on the news about the Amazon Echo being hacked and turned into a surveillance device, I felt the need to address it here. So in simplest terms, it is not true; and click bait. These kinds of stories feed on what some in the industry call techno panic. When people hear the term hack, they think of an Amazon Echo being remotely taken over via the internet or WiFi. Nothing of the sort took place, an as an internationally certified IT Security Professional I think my laptop is about a thousand times more likely to be taken over. So what’s the real story? A researcher named Mark Barnes physically took apart an Amazon Echo and changed the software so he could use it as a surveillance device. So the take away is this means nothing. As a rule in the security industry, if someone has physical access to an electronic device you’ve already lost the battle, so that goes for computers, cell phones, you name it. So no worries the Amazon Echo hasn’t been hacked!

To read more see the link below. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-40517384

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for July 2017. Topics discussed include more games in the BlindFold series, Dolphin EasyReader, and the new Seeing AI App, from Microsoft. See the link below. https://www.applevis.com/applevis-unlimited-whats-new-and-noteworthy-july-2017

Echo Tip

There’s an online Amazon Echo guide as to different features and commands you can issue. See the link below and take a look. https://smile.amazon.com/b/?node=16067214011&ref_=pe_1840220_247810520_MP_AUCC_MX_HV_Sub_Fri_echo_crm_07_28_alexa-guide-footer

Here are some things you can ask you Echo:

  • “Alexa, tell me a quote”
  • “Alexa, flip a coin”
  • “Alexa, pick a card”
  • “Alexa, good morning”
  • “Alexa, rap for me”

Ways to Support New Vision

Kroger Community Rewards

Picture of Kroger Plus Logo

Your Kroger Plus Card can be a powerful tool for supporting local organizations in your community. New Vision recently registered to be a beneficiary of the Kroger Community Rewards Program. Kroger will, in turn, donate toward our mission every time you, as a registered user, make purchases at their stores on hundreds of items.

If you’d like to see how to sign up, see the link below. http://newvisionroa.org/news/use-kroger-plus-card-support-us/

If you are a screen reader user then follow the link below for directions. These directions should apply whether you’re using NVDA or JAWS. http://newvisionroa.org/?p=540&preview=true

If you need additional help feel free to phone us here at the office.

Amazon Smile Program

Picture of Amazon Smile Logo

If you want Amazon to make a donation to New Vision every time you make a purchase you can use the link below to sign up for the Amazon Smile Program. Follow the step by step directions. Sorry, we haven’t had a chance to put together step-by-step directions for screen reader users yet. See link below. https://smile.amazon.com/ch/54-1210770

Local News and Events

Reoccurring Events: Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) meets the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting of the Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) will be on Wednesday the 16th of August at 7:00 PM. For more information contact Dianne Decker at rdeckerjr2@cox.net.

Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts about what could be mentioned in an upcoming newsletter or comments on this newsletter feel free to reply or fill out the following form. See the following link. http://goo.gl/forms/9WXsbr3jPp

Contact Info

New Vision 4504 Starkey Rd. Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24018 (South Park Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900

Subscribe to the Newsletter via Email Click Here

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David Ward
Assistive Technology Instructor
david.ward@newvisionroa.org
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July 2017 New Vision Newsletter And Dave’s News and Technology Updates

News

Tickets for Dinner in the Dark on August 17th can now be purchased. This event will be held at Hotel Roanoke. See the link below to buy tickets.

Eventbrite - Vistar Eye Center presents Dinner in the Dark to benefit New Vision
Logo of Dinner in the Dark

We’ll be having a silent auction at the event. If you’ve got a quality item and you’d like to donate it to the cause give us a buzz and let us know. Or email Courtney at the link below.
courtney.bass@newvisionroa.org

Another way you can show your support is simply by sharing about our Dinner in the Dark Event on Facebook. See the share link below.

If you know of someone that could benefit from New Vision services feel free to send them our way. Our new Assistive Technology for the Elderly Program is very popular. To learn more see one of the links below.
Program Brochure

General Description of the Program and other New Vision Services

Assistive Technology News

The American Council of the Blind (abbreviated ACB) and National Federation of the Blind (abbreviated NFB) Conventions are both taking place around now. So there’s lots of info coming out about products, services, and all sorts of A.T. related goodness. For more about the conventions see the links below.

NFB Convention
NFB Twitter Coverage by Hashtag
ACB Convention
ACB Twitter Coverage by Hashtag

Echo News

The orginal Amazon Echo, that’s right, the Pringle’s can shaped one, can now support Bluetooth external speakers and headphones. That means you can get a Bluetooth headphones and wonder outside or a set of Bluetooth speakers you can take outside on the porch and still enjoy all your music or podcasts without moving your Echo!

Podcasts

In this episode of Main Menu the team talks to folks from Amazon about the Fire TV and Fire Tablet. Additionally, there’s a demo of them using the Amazon Echo to control your DISH satellite box. See the link below.
http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/file.php?method=stream&episode=2017-06-30

Check out episode 135 of the Mac Accessibility Round Table, entitled “Most of Us Are Chickens”. Where your’s truly chips in a few thoughts on Twitter that the team discusses. AirPods, new Macs, and what’s coming in the new iPhone are all discussed. See the link below.
http://maccessibility.net/podcast/maccessibility_rt135.mp3

On this episode of A.T. Frequently Asked Questions the team tackles a few doozies. There’s a discussion about voice commands on a smartphone, durable headphones, and A.T. equipment for college. See the link below.
http://traffic.libsyn.com/atfaq/ATFAQ056.mp3

In episode 106 of Blind Bargains J.J. demonstrates a new product his company A.T. Guys is selling. It is a fully accessible voice recorder, with audio directions much like your NLS player. We often have students asking about a good voice recorder and I think this might be the one. So have a listen and hear the other Blindness related Tech News on this episode of Blind Bargains. See link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq106.mp3

As stated earlier there’s a lot of convention related news. So here’s a quick list of several onsite interviews and other related news.

BBQ Episode: #ACB17 Audio: Be Seen And Be Heard With Elegant Insights Jewelry
BBQ Episode: What’s All The Buzz About With Triumph Technology?
BBQ Episode: Accessible Television Beams Down To DirecTV And U-Verse
BBQ Episode: Is Something Going On At Speed Dots

To see the rest of the Blind Bargains convention coverage from ACB see the link below.
https://www.blindbargains.com/audio/

Info Nugget

Several students have asked about podcasts as of late. “So what is a podcast?” you might ask. It is on-demand audio or radio content. If you’ve ever heard a program on NPR Radio that might be a easy way to help you wrap your brain around what we’re talking about. All those shows are pre-recorded and edited and then broadcast at affiliate stations whenever they want. But what if you want to listen to it when you want to listen to it. You can! Its call a podcast. There are huge databases at Apple, Google, and TuneIn that aggregate these lists of podcasts. As a result a Victor Reader, an iPod, an iPhone, an Amazon Echo, and any smartphone can download an play this content when you want to hear it. Typically, once you find a show you enjoy you’d subscribe to that podcast so your device automatically downloads the most current episode when it is made available. If you have more questions just swing by or call the Tech Center here at New Vision.

Echo Tip

Want to get side effect info about popular medications? What about signs of a heart attack or stroke? Check out the new Web M.D. skill on the Amazon Echo. To turn on the skill simply say, “Alexa, enable Web MD skill”. After that you can just open the skill by saying, “Alexa, open Web MD!” Enjoy!

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for June 2017. See the link below.
https://www.applevis.com/blog/accessories-advocacy-apple-apple-tv-apple-watch-gaming-ios-ios-apps-mac-apps-macos-news-opinion

I also stumbled across this nugget. Microsoft just released a free App for the Blind called Seeing A.I. , A.I. as in Artificial Intelligence. It seems to be a meld of OCR and Object Recognition. Like a blend of KNFB Reader and TapTapSee. We haven’t tried it out in the Tech Center yet but if it is the same App they demonstrated about a year ago it looked pretty cool. And best of all it is free! See link below for a article about it or the following link to get it on your iOS device.
Verge Article
Get it on the App Store

Ways to Support New Vision

Kroger Community Rewards

Picture of Kroger Plus Logo

Your Kroger Plus Card can be a powerful tool for supporting local organizations in your community. New Vision recently registered to be a beneficiary of the Kroger Community Rewards Program. Kroger will in turn donate toward our mission everytime you, as a registered user, make purchases at their stores on hundreds of items.

If you’d like to see how to sign up, see the link below.
http://newvisionroa.org/news/use-kroger-plus-card-support-us/

If you are a screen reader user then follow the link below for directions. These directions should apply whether you’re using NVDA or JAWS.
http://newvisionroa.org/?p=540&preview=true

If you need additional help feel free to phone us here at the office.

Amazon Smile Program

Picture of Amazon Smile Logo

If you want Amazon to make a donation to New Vision every time you make a purchase you can use the link below to sign up for the Amazon Smile Program. Follow the step by step directions. Sorry, we haven’t had a chance to put together step-by-step directions for screen reader users yet. See link below.
https://smile.amazon.com/ch/54-1210770

Local News and Events

Reoccurring Events: Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) meets the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting of the Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) will be on Wednesday the 18th of July at 7:00 PM. For more information contact Dianne Decker at rdeckerjr2@cox.net.

Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts about what could be mentioned in an upcoming newsletter or comments on this newsletter feel free to reply or fill out the following form. See the following link.
http://goo.gl/forms/9WXsbr3jPp

Contact Info

New Vision
4504 Starkey Rd. Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24018 (South Park Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900

Picture of David Ward

David Ward
Assistive Technology Instructor
david.ward@newvisionroa.org

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June 2017 New Vision Newsletter And Dave’s News and Technology Updates

Tickets for Dinner in the Dark on August 17th can now be purchased. This event will be held at Hotel Roanoke. See the link below to buy tickets. Please like us or post about our event on Facebook via the button below!


Eventbrite - Vistar Eye Center presents Dinner in the Dark to benefit New Vision
Facebook Event Logo of Dinner in the Dark

The Tech Center will be closed for general classes during the week of July 10th through the 14th. Classes will resume Monday July 17th.

If you know of someone that could benefit from New Vision services feel free to send them our way. Our new Assistive Technology for the Elderly Program is very popular. To learn more see one of the links below.
Program Brochure
General Description of the Program and other New Vision Services

Assistive Technology News

The VFO Group that now owns the screen reader Windows Eyes has announced the termination of the product. If you’re interested in moving to JAWS and are presently in a Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA) for Windows Eyes you’ll want to contact VFO about discounts they’re offering for switching over.

Echo News

The Amazon Echo line of products now supports two new alert features. Here’s the lineup as of now.

  • Alarms (Only apply to a 24 hour window)
  • Timers
  • Repeating Alarms (These could be set for any day of the week.)
  • Reminders (New Feature!)
  • Timers with Labels (New Feature!)

The new reminders feature allows you to have an alarm with a label. So say you set a reminder for a doctor’s appointment on Friday. Not only will the alarm go off but the Echo will read aloud the name of the reminder. Here’s an example of how you’d set this up.

Me: Alexa, create a reminder.
Alexa: What’s the reminder for?
Me: Doctor’s Appointment
Alexa: When should I remind you?
Me: 9am Friday

The other new alert feature gives you Timers with labels. This allows you to set a timer and get a similar spoken label reminding you what the timer is for. Here’s an example, of the dialog you might use.

Me: Alexa, create a timer called check the meatloaf
Alexa: For how long?
Me: 45 minutes

Enjoy your new Echo features they’re pretty awesome!

Podcasts

Dave Williams interviews Greg Stilson, from Humanware, about their new 14 cell Braille display. Joe takes us back into the kitchen and uses his Google Home. This an much more on the 100th episode of the Blind Bargains Podcast. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq100.mp3

In Episode 101 Dave Wiliams returns to Blind Bargains to discuss Braille Displays with J.J. and Joe. The screen reader Windows Eyes and Uber are also discussed. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq101.mp3

Here’s two discussions about Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (a.k.a. WWDC). A new iPad was released along with a competing product to the Amazon Echo. Have a listen at the links below.

Blind Bargains Episode 104

Mac Accessibility Round Table Episode 103

And for those of you who are wondering what might come next with the Google Home listen to Joe and J.J.’s take on this Blind Bargains breakdown of the Google I/O conference. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq102.mp3

Echo Tip

Along with the various alert features mentioned earlier there is also the ability to have access to your calendar. You can have your Echo use your Google, Microsoft, or Apple calendar. The Apple Calendar is a brand new option. Once you’ve got your calendar connected to your Amazon Echo you can use a combination of Alarms and Reminders to give you audible notification for important events on your calendar. At present, calendar events don’t give you any sort of audible notification.

Additionally, you can connect these same calendars to your smart-phone. This way you have your calendar where ever you go. Changes made at home on your Echo or on your phone while on the road are synchronized in real-time.

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for May 2017. See the link below.
https://www.applevis.com/blog/advocacy-apple-applevis-assistive-technology-braille-ios-ios-apps-news-opinion/applevis

Ways to Support New Vision

Kroger Community Rewards

Picture of Kroger Plus Logo

Your Kroger Plus Card can be a powerful tool for supporting local organizations in your community. New Vision recently registered to be a beneficiary of the Kroger Community Rewards Program. Kroger will in turn donate toward our mission everytime you, as a registered user, make purchases at their stores on hundreds of items.

If you’d like to see how to sign up, see the link below.
http://newvisionroa.org/news/use-kroger-plus-card-support-us/

If you are a screen reader user then follow the link below for directions. These directions should apply whether you’re using NVDA or JAWS.
http://newvisionroa.org/?p=540&preview=true

If you need additional help feel free to phone us here at the office.

Amazon Smile Program

Picture of Amazon Smile Logo

If you want Amazon to make a donation to New Vision every time you make a purchase you can use the link below to sign up for the Amazon Smile Program. Follow the step by step directions. Sorry, we haven’t had a chance to put together step-by-step directions for screen reader users yet. See link below.
https://smile.amazon.com/ch/54-1210770

Local News and Events

Reoccurring Events: Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) meets the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting of the Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) will be on Wednesday the 21st of June. It is time for the annual picnic. For more information contact Dianne Decker at rdeckerjr2@cox.net.

Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts about what could be mentioned in an upcoming newsletter or comments on this newsletter feel free to reply or fill out the following form. See the following link.
http://goo.gl/forms/9WXsbr3jPp

Contact Info

New Vision 4504 Starkey Rd. Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24018 (South Park Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900##

Picture of David Ward

David Ward Assistive Technology Instructor

david.ward@newvisionroa.org

j j j

Audiobooks Made Easy – BARD Express

Learn About BARD Express

Excerpt from Jan. 2017 Newsletter By David Ward

So the BARD Express Application is brand new; that means nobody has used it yet, so we’re all in the same boat figuring out how it works. But I think you’ll find it much easier than that older way of doing things described earlier in the News section. We’re going to install this new application on all workstations in the Tech Center, so you can come in and get some practical hands on experience. As mentioned above it pretty much takes care of everything; no need to go to the website or use Humanware Companion for file transfers. Below are some links to some Youtube videos talking about BARD Express.

An Introduction to BARD Express

BARD Express: Browsing the BARD Collection

BARD Express: Setting & Changing Preferences

BARD Express: Managing Devices

BARD Express: Transferring Materials to a Cartridge

BARD Express: Tips & Tricks

There are a total of 9 How-To videos; for a full listing see the link below.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpAGnumt6iV5ycDQt9YGoQnd9uIXNU0pa

Is BARD Express the only way to get your BARD Books? No, you can still use the old way as outlined before. However, the BARD Express application gives you better feedback about downloads in progress and much more. Additionally, if you’re a NVDA user you might have found Humanware Companion a little buggy; it appears from preliminary testing you won’t have this problem with BARD Express. Oh, I almost forgot, there is also the BARD Mobile App. This is an App you can install on your Apple Device, Android Device, or Amazon Fire Tablet. This App has been around a while but I thought I’d mention it just in case some hadn’t heard of it yet. Anyhow, I hope that gives you an idea of its feature set; see the link below to download the application. The application is designed to run on computers running Windows XP all the way up to Windows 10.
https://nlsbard.loc.gov/bmm/BARDExpressInstaller1229.exe

Picture of David Ward

David Ward
Assistive Technology Instructor
david.ward@newvisionroa.org
j j j

May 2017 New Vision Newsletter And Dave’s News and Technology Updates

New Vision News

Stay tuned for further updates about upcoming events, such as Dinner in the Dark on August 17th. The event will be held at Hotel Roanoke.

Logo of Dinner in the Dark

If you know of someone that could benefit from New Vision services feel free to send them our way. Our new Assistive Technology for the Elderly Program is very popular. To learn more see one of the links below. Program Brochure
General Description of the Program and other New Vision Services

Dial-in News Service

There has been a huge upgrade to the dial-in newsline. As of May 1st, the old newsline number has been discontinued. In collaboration with the National Federation of the Blind the Roanoke Times has been brought into the NFB Newsline system. This upgraded service is available twenty-four/seven, and provides local, national, and world news from a variety of sources. This includes over 300 magazines and newspapers. Listeners to the, now retired, New Vision newsline are being migrated over to the new service. If you have any further questions, or would like to use the new service, please contact Courtney Bass courtney.bass@newvisionroa.org via email or call the office.

We’d like to give a big thank you, to the volunteers who’ve helped so much over the years with our newsline service. Your tireless efforts brought the Roanoke Times and other materials to newsline subscirbers day in and day out. Thank you!

The Basics of the NFB Newsline

Since the NFB Newsline service may be new to many of our clients a large portion of this newsletter will focus on features and resources for learning the ins and outs of this new service.

Like our older system the newsline is a phone number you can call to listen to your local news. But it includes much more! As mentioned weather, job listings, magazines, blogs, and newspapers. And as mentioned, we’re very excited that the Roanoke Times is now available through this nationwide service.

Key Differences

  • The NFB Newsline uses computer synthesized speech, instead of human readers. These are adjustable and the automation allows for articles to be available instantly.
  • You still have to have a PIN code but you won’t be required to put it in after your first successful login. In subsequent sessions, the NFB Newsline will remember what number you called from and not require a PIN code.
  • There are smartphone Apps and a website where you can read the same information.
  • You can have articles emailed to you at anytime

    So those are just a few of the major bullet points that jumped out at me and I felt folks would be interested in.

    How Do I Use NFB Newsline

    Here’s a link to an online discussion of some basic NFB Newsline commands.
    https://nfb.org/nfb-newsline-instructions

    Here’s a listing of all the avaialbe documentation. This includes applications, instructions, and even audio tutorials. See the link below.
    https://nfb.org/newsline-downloads

    Below are links to the audio tutorials.

An Introduction to the service for new users – 13 minutes

Audio Instructions

Track 1 – Main Menu
Track 2 – Reading Publications
Track 3 – Your Favorites and My Newspaper
Track 4 – Subscribers Control Panel
Track 5 – Spell Mode
Track 6 – Search Mode
Track 7 – Global Search
Track 8 – Email Delivery
Track 9 – Emergency Weather Alerts
Track 10 – TV listings
Track 11 – Job Listings

Here’s a list of publications you can get on the NFB Newsline.
https://nfb.org/participating-newspapers

Did You Know?

You can use the NFB Newsline and never pick up the telephone. That’s right! You can have magazines and articles sent to your email inbox. You can also setup a program so you download the files so they can be played back on you NLS Digital Talking Book Player from the library!

Alexa Tip

Here’s a way to get a free audiobook on your Echo. Give it a try! Just say, “Alexa, what’s free from Audible?”.

Podcasts

Interested in a $200 laptop with accessibility tools built in? Listen to the Blind Bargains Podcast, episode 99. Here Joe and J.J. talk about the Microsoft Announcement and much more. See link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq099.mp3

In this episode of the Blind Bargains Podcast listen to Joe interview a professional movie critic. And yes! He’s blind. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq098.mp3

Echo News

Two new Amazon Echo products have just come to the market. One is called the Amazon Echo Look and the other the Amazon Echo Show. One has the ability to take a photo of you and give you styling advise aobut your clothing. The other the ability to have an interactive screen with video conferencing built in. If you want to know more take a look at the link below.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00X4WHP5E

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for April 2017. See the link below.
https://www.applevis.com/blog/applevis-braille-ios-apps-mac-apps-macos-news-opinion/applevis-unlimited-whats-new-and

Ways to Support New Vision

Kroger Community Rewards

Picture of Kroger Plus Logo

Your Kroger Plus Card can be a powerful tool for supporting local organizations in your community. New Vision recently registered to be a beneficiary of the Kroger Community Rewards Program. Kroger will in turn donate toward our mission everytime you, as a registered user, make purchases at their stores on hundreds of items.

If you’d like to see how to sign up, see the link below.
http://newvisionroa.org/news/use-kroger-plus-card-support-us/

If you are a screen reader user then follow the link below for directions. These directions should apply whether you’re using NVDA or JAWS.
http://newvisionroa.org/?p=540&preview=true

If you need additional help feel free to phone us here at the office.

Amazon Smile Program

Picture of Amazon Smile Logo

If you want Amazon to make a donation to New Vision every time you make a purchase you can use the link below to sign up for the Amazon Smile Program. Follow the step by step directions. Sorry, we haven’t had a chance to put together step-by-step directions for screen reader users yet. See link below.
https://smile.amazon.com/ch/54-1210770

Possible Workshop

There’s been some interest expressed in a product known as MyEye by OrCam. This is a small camera device that clips to a pair of glasses. It allows for object recognition and OCR of documents you might see out and about. The theory is that it can even recognize locations and faces of folks that might enter the camera view. See the video below.

Video Demo Interview from InDATA Project: Click here

Audio Demo Interview from InDATA Project:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/atupdate/ATU030416.mp3

Local News and Events

Lion’s at the Lake: Will be June 17 from 11am to 2pm at Claytor Lake State Park; shelter number 3 (near where it was last year). Park fees are waved for participants. Anyone with a visual impairment of any age is welcome with family or friends as well as any Lions who might help out. People who have questions can call Dr. Suzanne Ament. Email at seament@radford.edu or 540-381-0963.

Reoccurring Events: Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) meets the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting of the Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) will be on Wednesday the 17th of May at 7:00 PM. The guest speaker will be Mr. David Ward, of New Vision, talking about the new ATE Program involving the Amazon Echo for seniors in the Roanoke Valley. For more information contact Dianne Decker at rdeckerjr2@cox.net.

Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts about what could be mentioned in an upcoming newsletter or comments on this newsletter feel free to reply or fill out the following form. See the following link.
http://goo.gl/forms/9WXsbr3jPp

Contact Info

New Vision 4504 Starkey Rd. Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24018 (South Park Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900## March 2017 Technology Newsletter

Picture of David Ward

David Ward
Assistive Technology Instructor
david.ward@newvisionroa.org
j j j

April 2017 Tech Center Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

The Tech Center will be closed Thursday April 20th through the 27th. The instructor will be on vacation, classes and the ATE program activities will resume the first week of May.

New Vision raised $2,385 from 25 donors through Roanoke Valley Gives Big Day, on March 15th, an event sponsored by the Foundation for Roanoke Valley. Thank you, to all our donors and volunteers!

Dinner in the Dark

Picture of Amazon Smile Logo

Thursday, the 17th of August, New Vision will be having another Dinner in the Dark event at the Hotel Roanoke. Stay tuned in for more!

Newsline Upgrade

New Vision, in partnership with the NFB and the Roanoke Times, has helped facilitate a huge upgrade to the newsline services to the Blind in Southwest Virginia. As a result of this upgrade, the old newsline number and service will be discontinued on April 30th. Active newsline subscribers will receive information about how to login to the new service. For more information please contact us.

News

The California State University, at Northridge (also know as CSUN), hosts a huge Assistive Technology Conference every year, where vendors show off their newest gadgets and software. There will be a lot of podcasts under the heading CSUN news dealing with this latest conference.

Cox Cable recently responded to a tweet I sent them about an accessible cable box. To learn more check out the link below. Additionally, this page talks about video descriptions or what is sometimes called audio described (AD) content. There’s even a link about Braille and large print statements. See link below.
https://t.co/MhrJtAkFYx

CSUN News

Here’s a listing of Blind Bargains coverage of the CSUN conference. See the link below.
https://blindbargains.com/search.php?kw=CSUN

Here’s just a few cool audio interviews from CSUN. Our first is an interview with the KNFB Reader team about the KNFB Reader App coming to Windows 10. KNFB Reader is a premier OCR App for scanning documents. The App has been on Apple Devices and Android for a while; but now is available on Windows 10 computers. Even at a $99 price tag it’s a far cry cheaper than OpenBook, from Freedom Scientific, which is around $600. Have a listen, and by the way we have this app in the Tech Center in case you ever want to try it out.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/170301_knfb.mp3

Learn about a wearable keyboard with Buddy Brannan. See link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/170302_tapsystems.mp3

Podcasts

Check out this Blind Bargains episode where the team does a roundup of all the CSUN coverage. They discuss the BrailleSense, Amazon’s expanding use of VoiceView, and Ambutech’s new cane tips. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq093.mp3

In Blind Bargains Episode 92 the team talks about an Android App for of all things finding Android Apps that are accessible. Additionally, there’s an interview with the team developing the ElBraille. There’s even a discussion of an Ohio State University survey seeking to learn more about Race perceptions amongst the Blind. This and much more at the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq092.mp3

I doubt we’ve mentioned this podcast before but here’s a link to its main webpage. It’s called Accessible Minute, from the guys at the InDATA Project out of Indiana. It is full of little gems and as the name implies its short and sweet. Here’s the link toe the main webpage with various shows searchable by heading. http://www.eastersealstech.com/category/accessibility-minute/

Here’s two samples from the Accessible Minute Podcast.

The GoodRX App helps folks find which Pharmacy has the cheapest prices on their medications. Have a listen.
http://traffic.libsyn.com/accessibilityminute/AM228.mp3

Want to get that item now! Need something in two hours instead of two days by Amazon Prime. Check out this little explanation of Amazon Prime Now, which allows you to order things and get them right now! See link below to have a listen. http://traffic.libsyn.com/accessibilityminute/AM225.mp3

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for March 2017. For the newest info about accessible games and Apps.
https://www.applevis.com/blog/apple-apple-tv-apple-watch-ios-ios-apps-ipad-iphone-macos-news-opinion/applevis-unlimited-whats

Did You Know?

You can add things to your Rotor on iOS Devices using VoiceOver. Here’s a cool one a student found. But first how do get to the option. Ask Siri to open VoiceOver Settings and flick right until you get to the Rotor option. Double-Tap and now you’re in the Rotor settings page. If you add as an example “punctuation” to your Rotor, you’ll get the ability to toggle whether VoiceOver reads punctuation back to you. This is handy for situations where you’re trying to proof read a document or a message. Enjoy! And let us know if you find any other useful Rotor options.

Possible Workshop

There’s been some interest expressed in a product known as MyEye by OrCam. This is a small camera device that clips to a pair of glasses. It allows for object recognition and OCR of documents you might see out and about. The theory is that it can even recognize locations and faces of folks that might enter the camera view. See the video below.

Video Demo Interview from InDATA Project: Click here

Audio Demo Interview from InDATA Project:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/atupdate/ATU030416.mp3

So if you are interested in attending a workshop on this system please let us know. Just email, call, or let me know next time you are in the Tech Center.

Ways to Support New Vision

Kroger Community Rewards

Picture of Kroger Plus Logo

Your Kroger Plus Card can be a powerful tool for supporting local organizations in your community. New Vision recently registered to be a beneficiary of the Kroger Community Rewards Program. Kroger will in turn donate toward our mission every time you, as a registered user, make purchases at their stores on hundreds of items.

If you’d like to see how to sign up, see the link below.
http://newvisionroa.org/news/use-kroger-plus-card-support-us/

If you are a screen reader user then follow the link below for directions. These directions should apply whether you’re using NVDA or JAWS.
http://newvisionroa.org/?p=540&preview=true

If you need additional help feel free to phone us here at the office.

Amazon Smile Program

Picture of Amazon Smile Logo

If you want Amazon to make a donation to New Vision every time you make a purchase you can use the link below to sign up for the Amazon Smile Program. Follow the step by step directions. Sorry, we haven’t had a chance to put together step-by-step directions for screen reader users yet. See link below.
https://smile.amazon.com/ch/54-1210770

Local News and Events

Lions at the Lake: Will be June 17 from 11am to 2pm at Claytor Lake State Park; shelter number 3 (near where it was last year). Park fees are waved for participants. Anyone with a visual impairment of any age is welcome with family or friends as well as any Lions who might help out. People who have questions can call Dr. Suzanne Ament. Email at seament@radford.edu.

Reoccurring Events: Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) meets the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting of the Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) will be on Wednesday the 17th of May at 7:00 PM. The guest speaker will be Mr. David Ward, of New Vision, talking about the new ATE Program involving the Amazon Echo for seniors in the Roanoke Valley. For more information contact Dianne Decker at rdeckerjr2@cox.net.

Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts about what could be mentioned in an upcoming newsletter or comments on this newsletter feel free to reply or fill out the following form. See the following link.
http://goo.gl/forms/9WXsbr3jPp

Contact Info

New Vision 4504 Starkey Rd. Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24018 (South Park Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900## March 2017 Technology Newsletter

David Ward – Assistive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center

j j j

March 2017 Tech Center Newsletter

News

The CSUN Assistive Technology conference was being held in California the last week of February. And there’s bound to be a lot of news and interviews coming out of that event. To read more about the annual conference see the link below.
http://www.csun.edu/cod/conference/2017/sessions/

New Vision News and Updates

New Vision is proud to partner with Roanoke Valley Gives, our region’s awesome 24-hour online giving challenge. This exciting event is organized by the Foundation for Roanoke Valley and is set to start at 12 A.M. on March 15, 2017.

What is Roanoke Valley Gives?

It is a day of community giving! One of the primary goals is to empower those who love the community to easily support their favorite causes or charitable organizations.

Foundation for Roanoke Valley has teamed up with Click & Pledge for this annual event to allow you to give directly to participating nonprofit organizations that positively impact our community every day.

So, mark your calendars and “give where you live”!

What You Can Do!

Our goal is to raise $5,000 during this 24 hours of local giving. Please help us by rallying your friends and family to support New Vision. Here are some easy ways in which YOU can help:

  1. Like the New Vision Facebook and Twitter pages and share the New Vision page on your personal account.

  2. Post your support of New Vision’s participation in Roanoke Valley Gives on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

New Vision Facebook New Vision Twitter

  1. Add the Roanoke Valley Gives logo and link to your emails. Logo for your email is shown below along with the link.

Roanoke Valley Gives Logo for March 15th 2017

Donate Now

  1. Get a set number of people at your office, church, neighborhood, school to give $5.

  2. Recruit 5 people to help spread the word. Whether by phone, email, social media or word of mouth. Ask 5 people to tell others about New Vision.

Our Donate button on newvisionroa.org is now linked to the Roanoke Valley Gives portal for March 15th!

Podcasts

Check out the 20,000 hertz podcast. This is a delight to listen to and really enlightened me about audio description. This is a separate audio track added to movies and TV shows that fills in the gaps about what is happening on screen. They interview a Blind Movie critic, from YouTube. Have a listen.
https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/304305143/download?client_id=cUa40O3Jg3Emvp6Tv4U6ymYYO50NUGpJ

On Blind Bargains 90 J.J. and Joe talk about ride sharing services. Shelly also has a pre-recorded interview with an executive from the VFO group about ZoomText 11. Also there’s a discussion about a new piece of DISH Satellite TV equipment that is accessible. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq090.mp3

On Episode 91 of the Blind Bargains Podcast you’ll hear about the history of audio books, the next update to NVDA, and much more. Other topics include the release of Magic 14, the new ChromeVox screen reader, and the Fire TV. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq091.mp3

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for February 2017.

ZoomText 11 the Saga Continues

That’s right another blurb about ZoomText 11. Since our last newsletter there has been some additional materials that have come out. This includes six videos from VFO/AiSquared team. Here’s a link to the main listing of videos on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHybM17gK2fAJ0TSy16Qq3PPj4cV6YpZ4

Here’s a breakdown of each of the videos subject by subject.

Here’s an additional article explaining the transition you might experience going from ZoomText 10 to 10. See the link below.
http://www.perkinselearning.org/technology/posts/zoomtext-11-new-key-commands

Did You Know?

If you are a ZoomText user and you are moving to 11 you’ll likely need a new serial code. The serial code unlocks the software and tells the company you’re a paying customer. You’ll likely receive this serial in the mail if you have an active software maintenance agreement. Otherwise you can run the software for 60 days in demo mode.

Amazon Smile Program

Picture of Amazon Smile Logo

If you’d Amazon to make a donation to New Vision every time you make a purchase you can use the link below to sign up for the Amazon Smile Program. Follow the step by step directions. A more complete set of directions, for screen reader users, will be included in the next newsletter and on our website. See link below.
https://smile.amazon.com/ch/54-1210770

More New Vision News

Picture of John Netzel

Our esteemed colleague and Executive Director John Netzel has taken a new position elsewhere and we here at New Vision wish him well in his future endeavors. Guy Byrd is taking over for John, as our new Executive Director effective, March 1st 2017. We welcome Mr. Byrd to New Vision and look forward to achieving great things.

Local News and Events

Reoccurring Events: Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) meets the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting of the Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) will be on Wednesday the 15th of March at 7:00 PM. For more information contact Dianne Decker at rdeckerjr2@cox.net.

Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts about what could be mentioned in an upcoming newsletter or comments on this newsletter feel free to reply or fill out the following form. See the following link.
http://goo.gl/forms/9WXsbr3jPp

Contact Info

New Vision 4504 Starkey Rd. Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24018 (South Park Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900## March 2017 Technology Newsletter

David Ward – Assistive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center

j j j

February 2017 Technology Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

Calendars: All of our 2017 Large Print Calendars are either in the mail or already spoken for. We ordered 5,000 Large Print Calendars this year. And roughly 3,500 of them we distributed ourselves, to Virginia Residents. Thanks to our volunteers and staff who made this possible. And a special thanks to our donors who make this program possible!

Holidays and Inclement Weather Closings: Should Roanoke County or Roanoke City Schools be closed due to inclement weather we too shall be closed. Additionally, we’ll put a notice on the answering machine here at New Vision. That’s at 540-985-8900.

Braille Calendars: You can order 2017 Braille Calendars by emailing the following Non-Profit your address and request a calendar. calendars@actionfund.org

News

Are you a screen reader user? If so would you like to make 20 bucks. J.J. over at the Blind Bargains website mentions a survey for screen reader users that pays $20 for those who qualify. See the link below.
http://www.blindbargains.com/b/16684

Have you ever tried to prepare you own taxes? J.J. over at Blind Bargains mentions several ways to do it and online accessible services and forms. See link below for his article.
http://www.blindbargains.com/b/16669

Interested in an accessible TV experience. Check out this article that links to a video about a new set-top-box that DISH offers customers. See link below.
http://www.blindbargains.com/b/16668

Big News

There’s big news. ZoomText 11 was just released at the end of January. This is quite a rebirth of the product visually and functionally. If you’re a screen reader user likely you’re thinking I’ll just skip this section. But there’s one thing you might want to know first, especially if you have friends with failing eyesight. JAWS the screen reader, version 18, and ZoomText 11 are officially compatible. That’s to say if you have a friend who loves ZoomText but might need to start moving over to more screen reader like tools this offers a easier transition, where they can use both. Ok screen reader users you can skip this section now if you want.

So what’s the big deal with ZoomText 11? There is a cosmetic difference but that’s typical of most upgrades. Here’s what might flip you lid. Almost all if in fact not all keyboard commands have changed. Yeah, that’s right it is all different. I’ve been using ZoomText for 17 years, it is all new. So we’re all in the same boat. So you might ask, “Why change the keyboard hot keys?”. A lot of the keyboard shortcuts were really starting to show their age; you might have experience some of the same problems I have in recent years. Conflicts with browsers and Windows 10. Here’s one that constantly got me, I’d be trying to adjust the zoom level using the CTRL Key with the mouse scroll wheel and I was forever changing the Browsers Zoom level seperate from the ZoomText magnification level. And needless to say with Windows 10 there’s a few conflicts as well.

So the new ZoomText Model of keyboard commands uses a modifier key technique similar to JAWS. A modifier key is a key that you use in combination with other keys for a specific application, in this case ZoomText. Now the problem the old ZoomText was running into was the CTRL Key and ALT keys were being used as modifier keys. The conflict came in when Browsers, Web Applications, Microsoft Word, and Windows 10 wanted to start using these keys. So back to an example of a modifier key scheme on JAWS the modifier key is the Insert Key. The Modifier key in ZoomText 11 is the Caps Lock key. Now you might say, the Caps Lock key, are you crazy! I need that key! Well the industry has decided you don’t, get use to using the Shift key for capital letters. No, really you can still use the Caps Lock key but its a bit more of a chore to do so now. But in all seriousness, Google Chromebook laptops have replace the Caps Lock key functionality, NVDA offers an option to use the Caps Lock Key as your primary modifier key, and lastly the Magic Magnifier uses the Caps Lock key as it’s modifier key. Ok, enough about the modifier key and down to what you need to know.

Out of the box ZoomText 11 will not, I say again, will not import you ZoomText 10 settings. So if you love your 8x Magnification with Inverted colors, guess what ZoomText 11 won’t automatically import those settings. Which is to say you start with a default configuration. This starts you off at 2x magnification. Now at this point you’d use your keyboard commands to crank up the magnification but remember, they’ve all changed so the way you use to do that is no longer the new way to do that. So you could get stuck pretty quick, hopefully I can help you avoid that.

So here are a few of the primary keyboard commands you’ll need to get things back to where you need them.

  1. Caps Lock Key + the up arrow key will increase magnification.
  2. Caps Lock Key + the down arrow key will decrease magnification.
  3. Caps Lock Key + the letter C will activate color enhancements or color inversion.
  4. Caps Lock Key + ALT Key + Enter Key will toggle the voice on and off.

Now to turn on ZoomText assuming it isn’t set to start automatically you’ll press Ctrl Key + Alt Key + Shift Key + letter Z key. Now depending on your ZoomText 10 installation this may or may not work out of the box. But you’ll find on Windows 10 especially that CTRL Key + ALT Key shortcuts often can run into conflicts so it seems adding Shift to the mix seems to help avoid this. That’s a long way to say the days of CTRL + ALT then a letter for your shortcut are pretty much gone at least on Windows 10.

So for more about ZoomText 11 see the heading below named ZoomText 11.

Podcasts

Check out episode 89 of the Blind Bargains Qast. Shelly and the gang talk about the ATIA conference, the ZoomText Digital Certificate problem, NVDA’s new blog, and much more. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq089.mp3

Blind Bargains Episode 87 is part 1 of a two part break down of the amazing A.T. news from the 2016 year. Topics discussed include the Fire TV Stick, Google Home vs. the Echo Voice Assistant, and much more. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq087.mp3

Blind Bargains Episode 88 is part 2 of the A.T. news review for the 2016 year. Topics discussed include Object Recognition Apps, the Orbit Reader, Microsoft’s Narrator, and the new even bigger VFO Corporation. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq088.mp3

On episode 9 of The Parallel podcast Shelly talks to two gurus about Windows 10 and Microsoft. Jeff Bishop and Joe Steinkamp are deeply entrenched in the Microsoft world and the new innovations comming from the Microsoft Accessibility team. I haven’t listened to this one yet but it is on my to do list. See the link below.
http://media.blubrry.com/parallelpodcast/p/traffic.libsyn.com/shellyspodcastgr8vey/09_DownArrowApproach.mp3

To hear more of Shelly’s work on The Parallel Podcast check out the following website. You can navigate by heading to find different episodes. See link below.
http://parallelpodcast.com/

ZoomText 11

Here’s some helpful guides and videos about using ZoomText 11.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et4i2yQc7pA

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for January 2017. Read about the new Autour App for recognizing visual surroundings and objects. Or read some neat break downs about games or updates made to AiPoly or other apps. See the link below.
http://www.applevis.com/blog/apple-apple-tv-apple-watch-braille-gaming-ios-ios-apps-mac-apps-macos-news/applevis-unlimited

Did You Know?

If you are a ZoomText user and you are moving to 11 you’ll likely need a new serial code. The serial code unlocks the software and tells the company your a paying customer. You’ll likely receive this serial in the mail if you have an active software maintance agreement. Otherwise you can run the software for 60 days in demo mode.

Amazon Smile Program

Picture of Amazon Smile Logo If you’d Amazon to make a donation to New Vision everytime you make a purchase you can use the link below to sign up for the Amazon Smile Program. Follow the step by step directions. A more complete set of directions, for screen reader users, will be included in the next newsletter and on our website. See link below.
https://smile.amazon.com/ch/54-1210770

Local News and Events

Reoccurring Events: Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) meets the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting of the Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) will be on Wednesday the 15th of February at 7:00 PM. For more information contact Dianne Decker at rdeckerjr2@cox.net.

Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts about what could be mentioned in an upcoming newsletter or comments on this newsletter feel free to reply or fill out the following form. See the following link.
http://goo.gl/forms/9WXsbr3jPp

Contact Info

New Vision 4504 Starkey Rd. Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24018 (South Park Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900

David Ward – Assistive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center

j j j

January 2017 Tech Center Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

Calendars: All of our 2017 Large Print Calendars are either in the mail or already spoken for. We ordered 5,000 Large Print Calendars this year. And roughly 3,500 of them we distributed ourselves, to Virginia Residents. Thanks to our volunteers and staff who made this possible. And a special thanks to our donors who make this program possible!

Holidays and Inclement Weather Closings: Should Roanoke County or Roanoke City Schools be closed due to inclement weather we too shall be closed.

Braille Calendars: You can order 2017 Braille Calendars by emailing the following Non-Profit your address and request a calendar. calendars@actionfund.org

News

The “Cisco Academy for the Vision Impaired: More Than an Education” is a indepth article by Jamie Pauls. He looks into and describes the CAVI school that covers everything from becoming a computer technician, routers, NVDA, VoiceOver on a Mac, Microsoft Office and much more. Some of these classes are free and some have a small cost. There’s even a set of classes for becoming an Audio Editing guru. In case you didn’t know it the Blind Bargains Podcast, SeroTek Podcasts, and Main Menu all have blind Audio Engineers; an they sound fantastic. Anywho, check out Jamie’s awesome article at the link below. https://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw171104

Check out Shelly Brisbin’s article about the Nearby Explorer App that recently came to the Apple App Store. This is a App produced by the American Printing House for the Blind. See the link below. https://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw171105

Big news all you audiobook fans!! There’s a new App for your computer that works with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped’s system. This online downloading system is well known to most of you as BARD. Students in our Tech Center, here at New Vision, have been downloading books forever using this online service. Typically, students would use a browser of their choice, login, download, and use an App like Humanware to sync their book over to a USB Drive. This new Application called, BARD Express, simplifies the whole process. In short it eliminates the need to use the browser, put in your password evry time, and to use Humanware; It can all be done in the new BARD Express App. To read more about the BARD Express App see the link below. https://nlsbardpractice.loc.gov/LOC_02/BARDExpress.html

More about the new BARD Express App will be found below, under the heading “Did You Know?”.

Podcasts

Check out Blind Bargains episode 85. J.J. and Joe talk about Microsoft’s new Accessibility roadmap, for Windows 10. Topics include Braille support for Narrator. Additionaly, the team talks about NVDA’s newest release 2016.4. Lisa and Ricky have an interesting discussion about fitness trackers. This and much more at the link below. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq085.mp3

This Main Menu Episode has Jeff Bishop talking with Neva Fairchild, at The American Foundation for the Blind Center for Low Vision, out of Dallas Texas. They discuss the centers model home with various tools and simple design choices that make it easier for Low-Vision or Blind residents. See the link below. http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/file.php?method=download&episode=2016-12-16

The Roku Audio Guide, the Audio Game Hub, Google Home Assistant, and a math equation tool for Braille users. This and much more on Episode 84 of the Blind Bargains Podcast. See the link below. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq084.mp3

Randy in this episode of Main Menu discussed his new Amazon Echo Dot and some handy tips and tricks. On the later half of this episode Jenine discusses her Buzz Clip and AI App. See the link below. http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/file.php?method=download&episode=2016-11-11

Join Jonathan Mosen on FSCast 135, this episode marks 10 years of episodes. This is a pretty cool episode with a lot of clips from professionals around the world that use JAWS. I found this a very touching episode. See the link below. http://podcast.freedomscientific.com/FSCast/episodes/FSCast135-Celebrating_10_years_of_FSCast,Karen_and_Andrew_Zeman,Ryan_Jones.mp3

Have you ever backed up your JAWS Settings? If not you might want too. In this FSCast Episode you are walked through the process. See the link below. http://podcast.freedomscientific.com/FSCast/episodes/FSCast134-Trelle_Dandridge,Christine_Chaikin.mp3

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for December 2016. Topics include several new BlindFold games, by Kid Friendly Software; such as a Monopoly like game and a Trivia Game. See the link below for more. http://www.applevis.com/blog/apple-applevis-braille-gaming-ios-ios-apps-news-opinion-reviews/applevis-unlimited-whats-new

Did You Know?

So the BARD Express Application is brand new; that means nobody has used it yet, so we’re all in the same boat figuring out how it works. But I think you’ll find it much easier than that older way of doing things described earlier in the News section. We’re going to install this new application on all workstations in the Tech Center, so you can come in and get some practical hands on experience. As mentioned above it pretty much takes care of everything; no need to go to the website or use Humanware Companion for file transfers. Below are some links to some Youtube videos talking about BARD Express.

An Introduction to BARD Express

BARD Express: Browsing the BARD Collection

BARD Express: Setting & Changing Preferences

BARD Express: Managing Devices

BARD Express: Transferring Materials to a Cartridge

BARD Express: Tips & Tricks

There are a total of 9 How-To videos; for a full listing see the link below. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpAGnumt6iV5ycDQt9YGoQnd9uIXNU0pa

Is BARD Express the only way to get your BARD Books? No, you can still use the old way as outlined before. However, the BARD Express application gives you better feedback about downloads in progress and much more. Additionally, if you’re a NVDA user you might have found Humanware Companion a little buggy; it appears from preliminary testing you won’t have this problem with BARD Express. Oh, I almost forgot, there is also the BARD Mobile App. This is an App you can install on your Apple Device, Android Device, or Amazon Fire Tablet. This App has been around a while but I thought I’d mention it just in case some hadn’t heard of it yet. Anyhow, I hope that gives you an idea of its feature set; see the link below to download the application. The application is designed to run on computers running Windows XP all the way up to Windows 10. https://nlsbard.loc.gov/bmm/BARDExpressInstaller1229.exe

Kroger Community Rewards

Your Kroger Plus Card can be a powerful tool for supporting local organizations in your community. New Vision recently registered to be a beneficiary of the Kroger Community Rewards Program. Kroger will in turn donate toward our mission everytime you, as a registered user, make purchases at their stores on hundreds of items.

If you’d like to see how to sign up, see the link below. http://newvisionroa.org/news/use-kroger-plus-card-support-us/

If you are a screen reader user then follow the link below for directions. These directions should apply whether you’re using NVDA or JAWS. http://newvisionroa.org/?p=540&preview=true

If you need additional help feel free to phone us here at the office.

Local News and Events

Reoccurring Events: Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) meets the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting of the Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) will be on Wednesday the 18th of January at 7:00 PM. For more information contact Dianne Decker at rdeckerjr2@cox.net.

An additional thought from Dianne, “Please note that on January 18, 2017, Ms. Julie Akers with Humanware will be the speaker at the Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) to demonstrate some exciting new visual aids. The meeting is from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at the Lions Sight Foundation Building/Eyeglass Recycling Center at 501 Elm Ave., SW, Roanoke.”

Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts about what could be mentioned in an upcoming newsletter or comments on this newsletter feel free to reply or fill out the following form. See the following link. http://goo.gl/forms/9WXsbr3jPp

Contact Info

New Vision 4504 Starkey Rd. Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24018 (South Park Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900

David Ward – Assistive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center

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