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.
https://www.amazon.com/p/feature/ter2a57g6htm6mr

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

Podcasts

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.
http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/file.php?method=download&episode=2017-09-15

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.
http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/file.php?method=download&episode=2017-09-01

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.
http://maccessibility.net/podcast/maccessibility_rt141.mp3

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.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq116.mp3

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.
http://www.iosaccessbook.com/

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.
https://tunein.com/radio/Dot-to-Dot-p961547/

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.
https://www.applevis.com/applevis-unlimited-whats-new-and-noteworthy-september-2017

If you’re worried about iOS 11 bugs see the link below for a break down.
https://www.applevis.com/applevis-unlimited-whats-new-and-noteworthy-september-2017

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.
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 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.
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 Newsletter via Email

Picture of David Ward

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

September 2017 Newsletter And Dave’s News and Technology Updates

Updates: We just had our big event! “Dinner in the Dark” at Hotel Roanoke, an it was a huge success! Thank you so much to our sponsors and those of you who bought tickets. Special thanks to Vistar Eye Center, Harris Corporation, Gentry Locke Attorneys, and Rutherfoord Insurance. We’d also like to thank The Fork Restaurants, The Hotel Roanoke, The Virginia Health Alliance, The Wadsworth Group at Morgan Stanley, Branch Gives, Carilion Clinic, and Eye Care & Surgery. Our Silver sponsors were Southern Graphics and Supply, United Healthcare, Park Commercial Real Estate, Professional Rehabilitation Options, and HomeTown Bank. Lastly special thanks to Phil Hall, Todd Jones, Rob Tulles, and David Hight.

Our event also received some attention in the local press. See the links below to read and watch videos.

The Roanoke Times

The Roanoke Star

WDBJ 7 News

Mr. Ward and Mr. Byrd were recently invited to attend a monthly breakfast held by Friendship Manor. There they discussed New Vision’s services and ATE program. We thank Friendship Manor’s directors, staff, and CEO for the invitation.

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

The Amazon Echo line of products now supports multi-room playback. That’s to say if you have more than one Echo device in your home you can have your music play simultaneously on all the Echos. So I’ve tried this out at home with a classic Echo and my Echo Dot. Its not perfect and it seems to disable bluetooth on all devices while it is in operation. I’d imagine this is because it uses the Bluetooth for the music syncing. If you’d like to know more see the article below.

The Verge’s Guide to Setup Multi-room Support

Accessible Television

As a follow-up to last months newsletter focusing on television providers, we have a few insights. First off, I had one student get the talking cable box from Cox Communications, with no questions and no problems. I had a second student who tried and the sales rep tried to up sell her on her cable package. So I just called Cox and here’s the scoop. To get the accessible cable box and remote, you have to be on a minimum of the Economy Plan. That plan all by itself runs about $35 a month, but it comes with a lot of stations. To add on the internet to that package you’d need to add another $15 to $25 as a new customer. I asked the lady on the accessibility hotline if she could ball park the price for a pre-existing customer, and she said you could probably get a package for around $60 to $70. So there’s the background on that. Just remember the cable box is no extra cost.

If you have any further questions, give the accessibility hotline a call. The phone number is below.

1-888-266-1304

Podcasts

Do you find shopping for clothing difficult? Would you like to dictate a message to your computer for free? Would you like to know more about the new OCR feature in NVDA? If so, then check out this episode of Blind Bargains, episode 111. See link below. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq111.mp3

Ever wondered what to do with those old white canes? Or are you a NVDA user? This episode of Blind Bargains discusses that and much more. There is also a nice discussion about disaster preparedness in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. See link below. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq112.mp3

Joe and J.J. in this episode talk to Michael Feir and Jessie Anderson about games. There is a lot of options out there not just for computer games but also board games and card games. Check out this long form discussion of the topic on episode 112 of the Blind Bargains podcast. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq113.mp3

There won’t be a JAWS 19! That’s right! I’m not making that up. The Freedom Scientific, or VFO Group, is changing their naming of JAWS releases. To learn more and when you need to update your SMA agreement have a listen at the link below. In this episode of the FSCast Eric Damery and Jonathan Mosen cover these changes. http://maccessibility.net/podcast/maccessibility_rt140.mp3

Other News

Here’s a neat article about NVDA 2017 Version 3, by J.J. Meddaugh. This new version has added rapid OCR capabilities and new voices. https://www.blindbargains.com/bargains.php?m=17644

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for August 2017. Topics discussed include the IFTTT App, Blind Fold Games, iAccessibility App, and much more. See the link below.
https://www.applevis.com/applevis-unlimited-whats-new-and-noteworthy-august-2017

If you are interested in new accessibility features coming to iOS 11, see the Applevis article below.
https://www.applevis.com/blog/apple-apple-tv-apple-watch-braille-ios-macos-news/preview-new-accessibility-features-set-come

Echo Tips

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

  • “Alexa, beam me up”
  • “Alexa, can you speak Klingon?”
  • “Alexa, tell me a Star Trek joke”
  • “Alexa, what kids’ skills do you have?”
  • “Alexa, read my notifications”
  • “Alexa, set a 10 minute pizza timer”

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 20th of September 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. 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 Newsletter via Email

Picture of David Ward

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

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

Picture of David Ward

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

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

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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
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New Vision Awarded ATE Grant

NV_David_Receiving_Check_ATE_Program

It is a Privilege!

New Vision is proud to be the recipient of a grant from the Mary Louise Home Fund of the Foundation for Roanoke Valley. It will be an awesome privilege to serve our local community in using Assistive Technology. To learn more about the Assistive Technology for the Elderly grant see the link below. Below is also a statement from the Foundation for Roanoke Valley about the grant that was awarded.

More info about ATE Grant

Press Release

The Statement below is from the Foundation for Roanoke Valley. “New Vision was awarded $21,000 to provide equipment and training in the use of voice-activated virtual assistants. This equipment, used by its elderly clients, can report weather, read audiobooks, play music, communicate with caregivers, and more.”

1: Picture of David Ward, of New Vision, receiving a large check on behalf of New Vision. Other recipients shown also receiving the large group check.

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