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

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

February 2017 Technology Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

Calendars: All of our 2017 Large Print Calendars are either in the mail or already spoken for. We ordered 5,000 Large Print Calendars this year. And roughly 3,500 of them we distributed ourselves, to Virginia Residents. Thanks to our volunteers and staff who made this possible. And a special thanks to our donors who make this program possible!

Holidays and Inclement Weather Closings: Should Roanoke County or Roanoke City Schools be closed due to inclement weather we too shall 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 2017 Braille Calendars by emailing the following Non-Profit your address and request a calendar. calendars@actionfund.org

News

Are you a screen reader user? If so would you like to make 20 bucks. J.J. over at the Blind Bargains website mentions a survey for screen reader users that pays $20 for those who qualify. See the link below.
http://www.blindbargains.com/b/16684

Have you ever tried to prepare you own taxes? J.J. over at Blind Bargains mentions several ways to do it and online accessible services and forms. See link below for his article.
http://www.blindbargains.com/b/16669

Interested in an accessible TV experience. Check out this article that links to a video about a new set-top-box that DISH offers customers. See link below.
http://www.blindbargains.com/b/16668

Big News

There’s big news. ZoomText 11 was just released at the end of January. This is quite a rebirth of the product visually and functionally. If you’re a screen reader user likely you’re thinking I’ll just skip this section. But there’s one thing you might want to know first, especially if you have friends with failing eyesight. JAWS the screen reader, version 18, and ZoomText 11 are officially compatible. That’s to say if you have a friend who loves ZoomText but might need to start moving over to more screen reader like tools this offers a easier transition, where they can use both. Ok screen reader users you can skip this section now if you want.

So what’s the big deal with ZoomText 11? There is a cosmetic difference but that’s typical of most upgrades. Here’s what might flip you lid. Almost all if in fact not all keyboard commands have changed. Yeah, that’s right it is all different. I’ve been using ZoomText for 17 years, it is all new. So we’re all in the same boat. So you might ask, “Why change the keyboard hot keys?”. A lot of the keyboard shortcuts were really starting to show their age; you might have experience some of the same problems I have in recent years. Conflicts with browsers and Windows 10. Here’s one that constantly got me, I’d be trying to adjust the zoom level using the CTRL Key with the mouse scroll wheel and I was forever changing the Browsers Zoom level seperate from the ZoomText magnification level. And needless to say with Windows 10 there’s a few conflicts as well.

So the new ZoomText Model of keyboard commands uses a modifier key technique similar to JAWS. A modifier key is a key that you use in combination with other keys for a specific application, in this case ZoomText. Now the problem the old ZoomText was running into was the CTRL Key and ALT keys were being used as modifier keys. The conflict came in when Browsers, Web Applications, Microsoft Word, and Windows 10 wanted to start using these keys. So back to an example of a modifier key scheme on JAWS the modifier key is the Insert Key. The Modifier key in ZoomText 11 is the Caps Lock key. Now you might say, the Caps Lock key, are you crazy! I need that key! Well the industry has decided you don’t, get use to using the Shift key for capital letters. No, really you can still use the Caps Lock key but its a bit more of a chore to do so now. But in all seriousness, Google Chromebook laptops have replace the Caps Lock key functionality, NVDA offers an option to use the Caps Lock Key as your primary modifier key, and lastly the Magic Magnifier uses the Caps Lock key as it’s modifier key. Ok, enough about the modifier key and down to what you need to know.

Out of the box ZoomText 11 will not, I say again, will not import you ZoomText 10 settings. So if you love your 8x Magnification with Inverted colors, guess what ZoomText 11 won’t automatically import those settings. Which is to say you start with a default configuration. This starts you off at 2x magnification. Now at this point you’d use your keyboard commands to crank up the magnification but remember, they’ve all changed so the way you use to do that is no longer the new way to do that. So you could get stuck pretty quick, hopefully I can help you avoid that.

So here are a few of the primary keyboard commands you’ll need to get things back to where you need them.

  1. Caps Lock Key + the up arrow key will increase magnification.
  2. Caps Lock Key + the down arrow key will decrease magnification.
  3. Caps Lock Key + the letter C will activate color enhancements or color inversion.
  4. Caps Lock Key + ALT Key + Enter Key will toggle the voice on and off.

Now to turn on ZoomText assuming it isn’t set to start automatically you’ll press Ctrl Key + Alt Key + Shift Key + letter Z key. Now depending on your ZoomText 10 installation this may or may not work out of the box. But you’ll find on Windows 10 especially that CTRL Key + ALT Key shortcuts often can run into conflicts so it seems adding Shift to the mix seems to help avoid this. That’s a long way to say the days of CTRL + ALT then a letter for your shortcut are pretty much gone at least on Windows 10.

So for more about ZoomText 11 see the heading below named ZoomText 11.

Podcasts

Check out episode 89 of the Blind Bargains Qast. Shelly and the gang talk about the ATIA conference, the ZoomText Digital Certificate problem, NVDA’s new blog, and much more. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq089.mp3

Blind Bargains Episode 87 is part 1 of a two part break down of the amazing A.T. news from the 2016 year. Topics discussed include the Fire TV Stick, Google Home vs. the Echo Voice Assistant, and much more. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq087.mp3

Blind Bargains Episode 88 is part 2 of the A.T. news review for the 2016 year. Topics discussed include Object Recognition Apps, the Orbit Reader, Microsoft’s Narrator, and the new even bigger VFO Corporation. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq088.mp3

On episode 9 of The Parallel podcast Shelly talks to two gurus about Windows 10 and Microsoft. Jeff Bishop and Joe Steinkamp are deeply entrenched in the Microsoft world and the new innovations comming from the Microsoft Accessibility team. I haven’t listened to this one yet but it is on my to do list. See the link below.
http://media.blubrry.com/parallelpodcast/p/traffic.libsyn.com/shellyspodcastgr8vey/09_DownArrowApproach.mp3

To hear more of Shelly’s work on The Parallel Podcast check out the following website. You can navigate by heading to find different episodes. See link below.
http://parallelpodcast.com/

ZoomText 11

Here’s some helpful guides and videos about using ZoomText 11.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et4i2yQc7pA

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for January 2017. Read about the new Autour App for recognizing visual surroundings and objects. Or read some neat break downs about games or updates made to AiPoly or other apps. See the link below.
http://www.applevis.com/blog/apple-apple-tv-apple-watch-braille-gaming-ios-ios-apps-mac-apps-macos-news/applevis-unlimited

Did You Know?

If you are a ZoomText user and you are moving to 11 you’ll likely need a new serial code. The serial code unlocks the software and tells the company your a paying customer. You’ll likely receive this serial in the mail if you have an active software maintance agreement. Otherwise you can run the software for 60 days in demo mode.

Amazon Smile Program

Picture of Amazon Smile Logo If you’d Amazon to make a donation to New Vision everytime you make a purchase you can use the link below to sign up for the Amazon Smile Program. Follow the step by step directions. A more complete set of directions, for screen reader users, will be included in the next newsletter and on our website. 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 15th of February 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 (South Park Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900

David Ward – Assistive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center

j j j