January 2018 Newsletter With Dave’s News and Technology Updates

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Updates: In 2017 we successfully conducted 11 workshops, in connection with our Amazon Echo training for seniors in the Roanoke Valley. At present, We don’t have a date scheduled for our next workshop. If you are interested in attending one and entering the program give us a buzz or to learn more see the brochure link below.

Link to Brochure

Large Print Calendars: All our large print Calendars are gone! And as always they are super popular. Thanks, to our donors and volunteers that make this possible. Big thanks to our volunteers from Delta Gamma, and students, including Hazel and Michelle, who’ve been helping out with our calendars.

Braille Calendars: You can order 2018 Braille Calendars by emailing the following Non-Profit your address and request a calendar calendars@actionfund.org.


Maccessibility episode 146 brings the podcast into the new year 2018. Hear Shelly talk about her recent commentary on the iPhone and the team talk about the Seeing AI App’s latest updates. See link below. http://maccessibility.net/podcast/maccessibility_rt146.mp3

Listen to these funny outtakes from 2017, on the Blind Bargains Podcast. See link below. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq129.mp3

Amazon Echo Info

Here’s a powerful resource for info about your Amazon Echo. It the official Facebook page. See the link below. https://www.facebook.com/AmazonEcho/

One of the really cool resources I found on this Facebook page, are help videos about things you can do with your Amazon Echo. Here are some direct links to a few of these.

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for November 2017. Learn about an update to Dolphin EasyReader, Seeing Eye GPS, and a huge update to the Seeing AI App. Also, learn about the 2017 Golden Apple award winners. See the link below for more. https://applevis.com/applevis-unlimited-whats-new-and-noteworthy-december-2017

Android News

There is a bit of drama going on surrounding supposed abuses of the Android Accessibility API’s. That makes it possible for apps like TalkBack to do what they do. Google has recently changed their position on the topic, read more below. http://www.androidpolice.com/2017/12/07/google-pauses-accessibility-app-ban-considers-responsible-innovative-uses-accessibility-services/

Here’s an interesting resource for you Android users. It is a similar site to AppleVis but for Android Apps. See link below. http://www.androidaccess.net/

New Echo Feature

Amazon has added a repeating reminder feature. Reminders give you an audible alarm combined with a label that is read aloud. Additionally, if you have the Alexa App installed on your smart-phone you’ll receive a notification.

Here’s how to invoke this new feature. * “Alexa, create a repeating reminder”

Echo Tips

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Someone recently asked about calling 911 on their Amazon Echo or Google Home. Is it possible? See below for the answers and break down.

Amazon Echo

  • Can the Amazon Echo call 911? No.
  • Can the Amazon Echo, with a $35 Amazon Connect and Landline, call 911? Yes.
  • Are there Services to contact relatives in a Pseudo-Emergency? Yes. Click here for more.

From Website:

“With Alexa calling and messaging, you can call most phone numbers in the US, Mexico, and Canada, either by saying your contact’s name (“Call Dad”) or voice-dialing a number (“Call 222-555-0126″)—emergency services such as 911 are not supported. You can also call or send messages to anyone who has a supported Echo device or the Alexa App on their phone. Learn more. With Echo Connect and a home phone line, you can turn your Echo into a voice-controlled speakerphone to make and receive calls from anyone. You can also call emergency numbers like 911, premium rate, and international numbers (additional carrier charges may apply).”

Google Home

From Website:

“Emergency calls – Calls to emergency services aren’t currently supported with your Assistant on Google Home.”

Ways to Support New Vision

Kroger Community Rewards

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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.

Registration expires each August, and if you did not renew last summer, please do so now.

If you’d like to see how to sign up or renew, 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

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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 17th of January 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

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David Ward
Assistive Technology Instructor
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