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.

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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

If you’re worried about iOS 11 bugs see the link below for a break down.

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.

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 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.

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
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Tech Center Newsletter for November 2015

November 2015 Technology Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

We’ve had an exciting time since the last newsletter. The Tech Center’s second workshop was well attended on October 21st. It focused on Apple Mobile Devices. Points from that workshop will be shared in the months to come, in this newsletter. So stay tuned in.

Former Attendees: Those who were able to attend one of the previous workshops were presented with two special offers. As a reminder Ms. Brisbin made her eBook available at a 25% discount to attendees. And Fedora Outlier has made their 12 step guide to using the iPhone available free of charge. The link to Ms. Brisbin’s discounted book is below and if you’d like the free eBook from Fedorra Outlier just send me an email. http://bit.ly/shellysbook

For more about Fedora Outlier’s training programs for iOS see the below link. https://www.fedoraoutlier.com/

WFXR and WSLS Interviews: WFXR and WSLS recently had several interviews with New Vision’s staff including our Executive Director John Netzel and David Ward. Additionally an interview with Lila Dickerson, President of the New Vision Board was conducted. Interviews with Dr. Joe Blackstock and Savannah Lane (Miss Virginia) were also conducted in connection with our upcoming charity event. This special event is coming up Saturday, November 14, 2015. It’s entitled the Talent Challenge for Charity. See more at link below. https://www.talentchallengeforcharity.com/

The video links to the WFXR and WSLS websites are listed below. This first video focuses on our Technology Center and includes an interview with New Vision’s A.T. Instructor David Ward.

Direct Link to the Website.

This second video highlights our Talent Challenge for Charity event. And has a interview with Miss Virginia 2015, Savannah Lane.

Direct Link to the Website.

Our third video is an interview, conducted with Dr. Joe Blackstock, about the Talent Challenge for Charity Event.

Direct Link to the Website.

We also had WSLS Channel 10 come by and conduct some interviews about our services and charity event. Watch that video below via the direct link to the WSLS site.

Link to Main WSLS Site

Large Print 2016 Calendars: You can request your 2016 large print calendars and if you’re still waiting on yours don’t worry you’ll be getting it shortly. If you still need to request one you can use the card on the back of the Calendar. Simply fill it out and then mail it in; to request the upcoming 2016 Calendar.

Braille Calendars: You can order 2016 Braille Calendars by emailing the following Non-Profit your address and request a calendar. calendars@actionfund.org

In Other News

Want to make $250 for a days work? Check out this info, from Virginia Tech, directed to the Blind and Low-Vision communities. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) is seeking individuals who:

  1. Are 18 years of age or older
  2. Are legally blind

-Total participation time: one day at VTTI in Blacksburg, VA (up to 8 hours)
-Consisting of questionnaires, a hearing test, a 2.5 hour experiment session; lunch will be provided, then another 2.5 hour test session
-This project pays $250 for full participation
-Your data will be kept strictly confidential

If you are interested in learning more, Please contact us at: 540.231.1277 or email, ahall@vtti.vt.edu

Reference “the CROSSING Study” in your message. All inquiries welcome!

In other news NFB is accepting applications for College scholarships. Thirty applicants will be winnners and the scholarships range in value from $3000 to $12,000. See link below for more info. http://www.blindbargains.com/bargains.php?m=13687

Freedom Scientific’s JAWS 17 beta program is over. JAWS 17 is officially available now. What’s new? Should I upgrade? Check out the link below for a listing of new features you’ll find in JAWS 17. http://www.freedomscientific.com/Downloads/jaws/JAWSWhatsNew

Are you interested in downloading JAWS 17? Check out the link below, which includes more info about JAWS 17 and Windows 10 support. http://www.freedomscientific.com/Downloads/JAWS


Do you love games. Check out this cool audio demo of several games you can get on your iDevices. The audio production on this podcast really makes it worth a listen. See link below, to this Blind Bargains episode. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq038.mp3

Here’s a recent Blind Bargains Episode, post Halloween. Topics that are discussed include the new Audio Chromecast, JAWS 17, and Eloquence and Vocalizer voices for NVDA. Enjoy! See the link below. http://www.blindbargains.com/bargains.php?m=13703

Apps for your Apple Devices

Check out the most reacent AppleVis Unlimited Newsletter for October 2015. See the link below. http://www.applevis.com/applevis-unlimited-whats-new-accessible-apps-october-2015

iDevices Info Nugget

Here’s a little snippet from our workshop about iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. If you’re using VoiceOver, the built in screen-reader, you can double-tap four fingers to turn on the gesture help feature. This is synonymsis with the JAWS help feature (INSERT + Number 1 Key) except for finger gestures.

Accessible Technology Tip for the Month

Before running a Windows 10 upgrade be sure to run Freedom Scientific’s special compatibility tool for JAWS users. You’ll also want to have a copy of the newest JAWS just in case. The compatibility tool is called FSPrepareWin10_enu.exe. You can download the file and find Windows 10 upgrade directions for JAWS users at the link below. https://www.freedomscientific.com/Support/TechnicalSupport/Windows10Upgrade

Did you know?

Macintosh computers out of the box have a Zoom application similar to ZoomText and a full screen-reader similar to JAWS. Additionally, you can purchase ZoomText for a Mac at roughly $200 less than the PC Version.

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, November 18, 2015 from 7:00-8:30 pm. This is at the usual location. As always, whenever possible the Lions clubs of the Roanoke Valley will provide rides for those who are visually impaired and have no other means of transportation. For more information contact Dianne Decker at 540/562-0455 or 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 3435 Melrose Avenue Roanoke, VA 24017

Phone: 540–985–8900

David Ward – Adaptive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center

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