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

Subscribe to Newsletter via Email

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David Ward
Assistive Technology Instructor
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August 2016 Tech Center Newsletter

August 2016 Technology Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

Update on Last Month’s Event: Our thanks to former Vice-Mayor Dave Trinkle for organizing ‘Dinner in the Dark’ which benefitted New Vision. We had a great time. Several interviews were conducted by local news stations prior to the event with New Vision staff. If you’d like to see the videos see the links below. (Note:The WFXR video is the most accessible if your using a screen-reader.)

WFXR’s Virginia Fist News Segment

WSLS Channel 10 News Segment

WDBJ Channel 7 News Segment

Changes in Email: New Vision has recently setup email accounts at our new domain name at newvisionroa.org. While our old accounts will remain active for a while we urge you to update your records and use our new accounts. The Tech Center’s new account is techcenter@newvisionroa.org. If you’re a volunteer reader, Courtney Bass’ new email address is courtney.bass@newvisionroa.org.

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 August 5. Stay tuned via our Facebook page or Twitter to learn more. Below is a link to the events webpage. http://firstfridaysroanoke.com/not-for-profit-organization-va/


Microsoft’s One Year Anniversary update to Windows 10 comes with several improvements to Narrator the built in screen-reader. Read more at the link below. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/22798/windows-10-narrator-get-started

Neat article from Access World entitled, “Tackling the Research Paper: Tips and Tools for Success for People with Vision Loss”. If you’ve every found putting together your thoughts in a wordprocessor dificult or conducting the research you might find this article interesting. See the link below. https://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw170701

Check out Bill Holton’s article on Access World about accessibility coming to the Kindle Paperwhite via a audio adapter. See the link below. https://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw170703

Jamie Pauls discusses the continued improvements NetFlix is making with Audio described content. Check out this Access World article at the link below. https://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw170707

Learn more about the BeSpecular App which is a Vision assistance service. Read Bill Holton’s take on this new service for iOS devices. See the link below. https://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw170706


The national NFB and ACB conventions took place last month, so, there’s tons of audio content from the various podcasts. So enjoy! The format might vary on a few of these with a very brief description or show title and be followed by a link; do to the shear number of podcasts.

First up, the Blind Bargains Podcast.

This round up from the NFB and ACB conventions contains info about Ride Hailing Apps, OCR, Notetakers, Braille Displays, a Tip, Sound Off and even a Last Word. This was recorded in a live setting so the audio isn’t the greatest. See the link below for episode 68 of the Blind Bargains Podcast. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq068.mp3

NFB 2016 Audio: Feeling The Future Of Art With 3d Photoworks

NFB 2016 Audio: Raising The Bar Graph With 3d Printing And Cornell Tech

ACB 2016 Audio: Explore More With Blind Abilities

NFB 2016 Audio: Navigate A 3d Audio Soundscape Through The Cities unlocked Project

NFB 2016 Audio: The Eye Of AIRA Looks Upon The World At Large

ACB 2016 Audio: Fine The Temperature You Like Best With A Talking Thermostat

NFB 2016 Audio: Facial Feelings Found On Facebook

Main Menu

Check out this Main Menu Program recorded on July 29th. It addresses some of the new accessibility features that will be rolling out with the one year anniversary update of Windows 10. Learn about Narrator and its inporovements. See link below. http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/file.php?method=download&episode=2016-07-29

Convention Highlights from the Main Menu Team from July 15th

ACB Link Update, iPitchPipe and Loopback are featured on this episode of MainMenu.

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for July 2016. Apps discussed this month include the Blinfold Basketball, Blindfold RS Games, and the new BeSpecular App. See the link below for the full listing of Apps and products being discussed this month. http://www.applevis.com/blog/apple-apple-tv-apple-watch-ios-ios-apps-mac-os-x-news-opinion/applevis-unlimited-whats-new

Did you know?

You can still get Windows 10 Upgrade for free! If you use a screen reader or other assistive technology there’s a process for getting it free still. We’re going to try out the process here at the office for a workstation we just ordered from Computers for the Blind so we’ll let you know how it goes. To read more see the link below. http://www.microsoft.com/accessibility/windows10upgrade

Additionally, here’s a few more comments from Scott Davert about the process. http://www.blindbargains.com/bargains.php?m=15658

Tech Center Podcast and News

Hello David here, I’m the instructor here at New Vision. As a low-vision iPhone user I’ve taken the plunge and I’m trying out a new Android phone. Some things are very different, somethings fantastic, other things not so great. But its a process and I’m learning step by step. If you’d like to hear my first impressions about the cost and form factor of this Nexus 5x Android phone take a listen to this brief audio clip below. Just remeber I’m doing a lot of comparisons with the iPhone; mostly because its the dominant phone used by the Blindness community. We might end up rolling several of these out. Not only about Android but other subjects and devices. So take a listen at the link below. http://goo.gl/0wUQ2N

Tech Center Workshops

We’re entertaining ideas about having more workshops now that we’re in our new space. What technology topics, with an accessibility twist, might interest you?

Here are some ideas I’ve had but feel free to give me your feedback at the comments link below.

  • Board Game Night! Not so much a workshop but for those of you who use Braille are you interested in playing some old favorites like Monopoloy, Uno, or something else?
  • How to protect yourself Online? Avoiding fraud and your financial information from being stolen.
  • How to use an Amazon Fire Tablet to read books, play audiobooks, watch movies, and read email for $49.
  • How to rent movies, watch TV shows, using an Apple TV, Xbox, and/or Amazon Fire TV.
  • Apple Devices Advanced Workshop. We’d cover power features of iOS and Apps. Such as image recognition Apps, custom keyboards, Braille Reference tools, and the like.

Let us know what you think either at the Tech Center when you attend classes or via the link below. Or feel free to respond to this email.

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 August at 7:00 PM. 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 (SouthPark Office Building)

Phone: 540–985–8900

David Ward – Assistive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center david.ward@newvisionroa.org

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