October 2017 Newsletter And Dave’s News and Technology Updates

New Vision News

New Vision has had the privilege of visiting Friendship Retirement Community and Our Lady of the Valley in the past few weeks. Workshops were conducted in connection with the Assistive Technology for the Elderly Program. New Vision is proud to be the recipient of a grant, from the Mary Louise Home Fund of the Foundation for Roanoke Valley, to fund this program. There have been over 33 seniors who’ve benefited. To learn more see the link below.

Link to Brochure

Echo News

Amazon’s Fire TV now supports a Zoom component and Braille support. To learn more see the link below.

Amazon’s Echo Line

Amazon on September 27th released a whole new set of Amazon Echos. There’s even new hardware to allow you to make landline telephone calls and much more. Read more at the links below.

CNET’s Article

Verge’s Article

Tom’s Guide


Check out this Main Menu program; as the team interviews Robin Christopherson. He is a user and podcaster who talks all about the Amazon Echo and other Alexa related services. See link below.

NLS BARD and much more on this episode of Main Menu. Peter Korn, from Amazon, is also back talking about the Amazon Fire TV. See the link below.

Many people have received their new iPhones. The 8 and the 8 Plus have already shipped. But what’s new in iOS 11? Listen to the <b aria-label="Mac Accessibility">Maccessibility team talk about it all. See link below.

On Blind Bargains 116, Shelly Brisbin is on to talk iOS 11 and talk all about the new Apple devices. This an much more, in this episode. See link below.

As an additional, note Shelly does great work with her book iOS Access for All. It is the comprehensive guide to everything accessible on the Apple line of products. Shelly’s even given our students discounts in the past. Here’s a link to her latest book and she says she’ll give you the revised iOS 11 edition soon as it comes out. Case in point how do you make a three-way call on an iPhone using VoiceOver or how do you quickly close all your Safari browser tabs. Shelly’s book covers all of that. See the link below.

Podcast Spotlight

I only recently learned about the Dot to Dot podcast by Robin Christopherson. His podcast is nugget size and deals exclusively with Amazon Echo Skills and features. So if you’re wanting to learn about new things you can do on your Echo this is the podcast for it. The podcast can be played on your Echo, by saying:

"Alexa, play Dot to Dot Podcast"

One caution here, Robin, mentions the word Alexa a lot in his episodes. So I’d recommend shutting off the Echo’s microphone while listening to the Dot to Dot Podcast.

In case you want to take a look at all the episodes and topics he’s covered here’s a link. Beware this page will auto-play, so you might want to use FireFox with the built in mute shortcut (CTRL key + the letter M). See the link below.

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for September 2017. Topics include new BlindFold Games, the YouTube TV App, and an audiobook app called CAL. The YouTube TV service and App is part of a new YouTube program to bring broadcast TV to the internet. See the link below for more.

If you’re worried about iOS 11 bugs see the link below for a break down.

About a week later there was an update to iOS 11, with some bug fixes. To see what was fixed and what is still broken see the link below.

Echo Tips

Here are a few things to try. Some practical, some just fun.

  • "Alexa, pretend to be a superhero"
  • "Alexa, who’s your favorite super villain?"
  • "Alexa, what’s the status of American Airlines 123?"
  • "Alexa, tell me a friendship story."
  • "Alexa, what are the showtimes for American Made?"
  • "Alexa, what skills have notifications?"
  • "Alexa, teach me something."
  • "Alexa, engage the Star Trek Quiz."

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.

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.

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.

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 October at 7:00 PM. For more information contact Dianne Decker.

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.

Contact Info

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

Phone: 540.985.8900

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Picture of David Ward

David Ward
Assistive Technology Instructor