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.

Podcasts

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

Picture of Amazon Echo (1st Generation)

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

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.

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

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 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

Subscribe to Newsletter via Email

Picture of David Ward

David Ward
Assistive Technology Instructor
david.ward@newvisionroa.org
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Emergency Services on Google Home or Amazon Echo

Picture of Amazon Echo (1st Generation)

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 $30 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.”

Subscribe to Newsletter via Email

Picture of David Ward

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

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

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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