December 2017 Newsletter With Dave’s News and Technology Updates

Picture of snowman.

Updates: Our next workshop for the Assistive Technology for the Elderly will be conducted on Wednesday, December 13th. If you are interested in coming give us a buzz or to learn more see the brochure link below.

Link to Brochure

Volunteers: A big thanks to our volunteers from Delta Gamma, and students, including Hazel and Michelle, who’ve been helping out with our calendars. We’ve sent more than 1500 already!

Holidays and Inclement Weather Closings: We’ll be closed Monday December 25th, for Christmas, and Monday January 1st, for New Year’s Day. Additionally, should Roanoke County or Roanoke City Schools be closed due to inclement weather, we too will be closed. Additionally, we’ll put a notice on the answering machine here at New Vision. That’s at 540-985-8900.

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

Podcasts

Way back we talked about the talking laundry machine module, here’s a discussion from the Main Menu team about the unit. See link below. http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/podcast/2017-11-10.mp3

Trying to get some bargains and do some shopping this time of year? Looking for equipmnet and tools that are blind or low-vision friendly? If so check out this episode of Blind Bargains. See link below. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq124.mp3

Interested in gaming or augmented reality? Check out this Main Menu episode. See the link below. http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/podcast/2017-11-24.mp3

Check out the BBQ team as they talk to Marty Schultz, of Kid Friendly Software and Blindfold Games. Marty had some real struggles recently with his development process but hear him discuss his companies future. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq123.mp3

How can modern technology make shopping and chores easier? Check out this episode of Bling Bargains as the team discusses shopping, iPhone 10, and much more. See link below. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq122.mp3

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for November 2017. See the link below for more. https://applevis.com/applevis-unlimited-whats-new-and-noteworthy-november-2017

News

Starting November 20th new or upgrading Sprint customers can get the KNFB Reader App for free. See the article below. I also have some directions from Scott White at the NFB if that will help, just let me know. The KNFB Reader App is usually $99. http://newsroom.sprint.com/sprint-accessibility-offers-free-app-to-customers-who-are-blind-or-have-low-vision.htm

Check out this holiday buying guide from the folks at Access World. See the link below. http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pubnew.asp?DocID=aw181102

Interested in getting those really good online shopping deals? Need a guide? Need some advice? See this article from the Access World team. See the link below. http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pubnew.asp?DocID=aw181103

Check out Jamie Pauls’ article, on Access World, about the iOS 11 Book by Jonathan Mosen. See link below. http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pubnew.asp?DocID=aw181108

Android News

Check out this article about the new Be My Eyes App on Android. See the link below. http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pubnew.asp?DocID=aw181104

Android O or Oreo has some new accessibility features. Listen to this episode of the Cool Blind Tech Podcast that breaks down some of these new features. See link below. https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/coolblindtech/Android_O-_New_Accessibility_Features_in_TalkBack_6.0.0.mp3

New Echo Feature

The Amazon Echo’s calendar now allows you to verbally add and delete events. So here’s a sample conversation to add and delete an event. By the way, the word appointment will also work.

Add Event

  • “Alexa, create an appointmnet”
  • “What day and time?”
  • “Today, 6pm”
  • “What’s the name of the event?”
  • “Dinner”
  • “That’s Dinner at 6pm Today, right?”
  • “Right”

Delete an Event

  • “Alexa, delete an appointment”
  • “Which event would you like to delete?”
  • “Dinner at 6 pm”
  • “Delete, Dinner at 6 pm, right?”
  • “Right”

Echo Tips

Here are a few things to try. Some practical, some just fun. By the way, we post a lot of these on our Facebook page almost daily.

  • “Alexa, who’s hosting Saturday Night Live this week?”
  • “Alexa, are there basketball games tomorrow?”
  • “Alexa, read Little Women from Audible.”
  • “Alexa, tell me a vegetable joke.”
  • “Alexa, how do I add a second user profile?”
  • “Alexa, what’s your mission?”
  • “Alexa, talk to Best Buy.”
  • “Alexa, when is the next Rockets game?”
  • “Alexa, tell me about Stranger Things.”
  • “Alexa, sing me a love song.”
  • “Alexa, what are the most popular books this week?”
  • “Alexa, how do I set up calling and messaging?”
  • “Alexa, what’s the longest word in the dictionary?”
  • “Alexa, how old is the universe?”
  • “Alexa, what’s the 7-day forecast?”
  • “Alexa, how do I play music everywhere?”
  • “Alexa, play the song that goes ‘true love won’t desert you.'”

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: Here’s a note fromR.A.V.E.’s flyer,

“R.A.V.E.’s annual Christmas Banquet will again be held at the Cave Spring Lions’ Clubhouse at 4801 Merriman Rd., SW, Roanoke, VA 24018 (See the following driving directions) The Banquet is on Wednesday, December 20, 2017. Dinner will begin at 7:00 PM, so arrive a few minutes early if possible. The meal is again catered by Adell’s of Rocky Mount, and the cost is $15 for all attendees, except for special guests, Lions drivers and the 3-D Trio.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED by Friday, December 8th. Call Dianne Decker at 540/562-0455 for reservations…”

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

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

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