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!


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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


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May 2016 Technology Newsletter

May 2016 Technology Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

Picture of SouthPark Office Complex

News: New Vision is moving! New Vision will be moving to our new location during the month of May. Our new location will be at 4504 Starkey Rd. Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24018 (SouthPark Office Building). This location is accessible via RADAR Bus, whether you’re located in the City of Roanoke or in Roanoke County. Our Office suite is located in a complex beside the Carilion Wellness Center, formerly Roanoke Athletic Center (RAC). Our offices are located on the ground floor, in the front eastern section. Since some of the adjoining suites are under renovation it will be most prudent to enter from the side entrance. This is located on the eastern side of the complex or the side opposite of the Carilion Wellness Center. When entering the grounds on a RADAR bus you’ll pull into the parking lot servicing the Carilion Wellness Center; hang a left and you’ll find the complex on the right. The Address 4504 is located in large letters beside the front entrance but you’ll need to continue around the edge of the building to the side entrance. Some photos are shown below of the new facility which we hope to serve us for many years to come.

Picture of SouthPark Office Building and arrow pointing to the Eastern Portion of the bulding as a temporary entrance

]2 SouthPark Office Building

Important Note to Students: The Tech Center at our Melrose Avenue location will be closed Thursday May 19th, and the following Monday and Tuesday (23rd & 24th). So you’ll want to cancel you RADAR appointments. You’ll also want to cancel your recurring RADAR pick-ups and specify a new schedule for our new address. If you are a student with an afternoon classes please be sure to setup you arrival time for 1:30pm and not 1 o’clock as might have previously been the case. We plan to reopen at the new location on Thursday the 26th. If for some reason we are unable to open the Tech Center that day and have to postpone til the next week. we’ll be sure to let our students know.

Additional News: New Vision will be participating in the First Friday event. We’ll have volunteers from New Vision helping out and we’ll be a beneficiary from the event. First Friday’s has expanded to include the first and third Friday of the month, during the summer season. We’ll be participating on May 20 and August 5. Stay tuned via our Facebook page or Twitter to learn more. Below is a link to to the events webpage. http://firstfridaysroanoke.com/not-for-profit-organization-va/

Assistive Technology News

The CSUN conference ushers in what has been called the “The Year of Braille”. Check out Shelly Brisbin’s coverage of this event. See the link below. http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw170402

Interesting rumor that Apple’s going to display and sell a limited number of accessibility accessories that can be used with their products. Read the article at the link below. http://appleinsider.com/articles/15/12/20/apple-stores-to-feature-accessibility-products-in-early-2016-report-says

Do you sometimes find Microsoft Word a challenge? Or do you fell like you could be more productive but not sure how. Check out this write-up by Jamie Pauls about the MLWordTips App. This App is designed to help Microsoft Word users who use screen-readers to be more productive. Learn more at the link below. https://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw170403

Check out this interview with David Woodbridge. Mr. Woodbridge is known internationally for his podcasting and tutorials about iOS devices. If you want to know about a new apple product or feature that affects VoiceOver users there is a good chance Mr. Woodbridge has recorded a tutorial about it. See the link below for more. < http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw170407>


In Blind Bargains Qast episode 59 learn about Mystic Access and NVDA. This episode contains an interview with the Mystic Access team who puts together audio tutorials on various products, such as the Amazon echo. This episode also discusses the new iPhone SE. See the link below for more. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq059.mp3

In Blind Bargains Qast 58, learn about updates to Microsoft Window’s Narrator, Facebooks automatic labelling technology for photos, Talkback 4.5, and a voice assistant app. See the link below. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq058.mp3

On this April 22nd Main Menu program hear an interview with David Raistrick and Amanda Tolson, from En-Vision America. They’ll be talking about the ID Mate Galaxy, a sophisticated bar scanner, and about Scriptalk for medication bottles. Also in this episode you’ll learn about an amazing deal the American Printing House for the Blind has setup for students wanting to get JAWS. See the link below. http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/file.php?method=download&episode=2016-04-22

In the April 8th episode of Main Menu learn about The Voice Dream Reader updates and the Amazon Fire Tablet. See link below. http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/file.php?method=download&episode=2016-04-08

I’ve never mentioned this podcast before. Check out the Maccessibility Roundtable Podcast. In this episode Josh discusses his iPhone 7 theory, hear a discussion of what to expect at WWDC Conference, and a interesting discussion about User Interfaces and Apple. See the link below. http://maccessibility.net/podcast/maccessibility_rt107.mp3

In Episode 106 of The Maccessibility Roundtable Podcast, team discuss the Amazon Fire Tablet. See link below. http://maccessibility.net/podcast/maccessibility_rt106.mp3

Tech Center Experiments

At the Tech Center we recently got a Amazon Fire Tablet. The Fire Tablet has a built in screen-reader called VoiceView and a built in Zoom. These features seem to work pretty well with the pre-installed Apps especially the Kindle bookstore. All of this for an amazing $39.

The following tablets are listed as supporting these new accessibility tools and are part of the Amazon Product line.

  • Fire HD 6 (4th Generation)
  • Fire HD 7 (4th Generation)
  • Fire HDX 8.9 (4th Generation)
  • Fire (5th Generation)
  • Fire HD 8 (5th Generation)
  • Fire HD 10 (5th Generation)

To read more about accessibility on the Fire Tablet line see the link below. https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201829320

We’ll be testing more of the Fire’s features in the classroom feel free to come by and have a look.

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the April 2016 AppleVis Unlimited newsletter. Several video games are mentioned along with a famous Password Manager App. A NetFlix App update and Stop Watch among many more things are mentioned in this edition. See the link below. http://www.applevis.com/blog/advocacy-gaming-ios-apps-iphone-news-opinion/applevis-unlimited-whats-new-accessible-apps-april

Did you know?

You can get the same voices that you use with JAWS with NVDA. NVDA is a free screen-reader, designed by a non-profit in Australia. Below is a reseller of the Eloquence and Vocalizer voice packages for NVDA. See the link below. http://www.atguys.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=20&products_id=231&zenid=9891f6d282c44ee9f2d6cd8b71fb83e6

Additionally, Windows-Eyes allows for free use of their screen-reader if your a Microsoft Office user. If you own a copy of Microsoft Office 2010 or newer you can get a free license. See the link below. http://www.windoweyesforoffice.com/


Microsoft isn’t standing still with its release of Windows 10. Windows 10 is constantly getting updates. But what might be surprising is its also getting updates to the assistive technology built in. A recent update included updates to the built in screen-reader called Narrator. You can read more about these updates as they come out on the official Microsoft Blog listed below. See the link. https://t.co/vBLfh60rhE

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 May 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 3435 Melrose Avenue Roanoke, VA 24017

Phone: 540–985–8900

David Ward – Assistive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center

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