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

August 2017 Newsletter And Dave’s News and Technology Updates

It is time for our big event! The tickets for Dinner in the Dark on August 17th can now be purchased. This event will fill at Hotel Roanoke. See the link below to buy tickets.

Eventbrite - Vistar Eye Center presents Dinner in the Dark to benefit New Vision Logo of Dinner in the Dark

We’ll be having a silent auction at the event. If you have a quality item and you’d like to donate it to the cause give us a buzz and let us know. Or email Courtney at the link below. courtney.bass@newvisionroa.org

Another way you can show your support is simply by sharing our Dinner in the Dark Event on Facebook. See the share link below.

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

Nothing much going on here. There are two important things of note, however. First off the Echo Reminders feature will now send notifications to your smartphone if you have the Alexa App setup and installed. This can be handy so you can still get your reminder even if you are not at home. Secondly, Amazon released a device called the Dash Wand, that’s right wand like magic wand. It is a $20 device that can scan bar codes and add the items to your Amazon cart. We have one in the Tech Center if you’d like to try it out. As an idea, it has a lot of promise but seems to have some rough edges that you’d expect in a version 1 product.

Accessible Television

This is our feature item for this month’s newsletter. We’ve had a lot of students asking about accessible TVs and TV equipment. We’ve been accumulating a lot of answers from local providers. So before we unload all that knowledge on you there is some basics to discuss.

So we’ve talked to Cox Cable, Dish TV, and DirecTV about accessible products they provide. Each has offerings, which we’ll get to in a minute. But the technologies fall into two catagories; an ideally if you can you want both. First off you have a screen reader, now they each have their cute name for this but that’s what it is. And each of these boxes offer this. It gives you audible feedback as you arrow around the menus, settings, and channels. Secondly, you have voice commands. That’s where you give a verbal command and the cable box flips channels. Now, be careful, one feature has nothing to do with the other. And you’ll still find that voice commands don’t always get you what you want or are as robust as a screen reader. Importantly, the voice command system isn’t built for us… in other words, it isn’t made for Blind or low-vison people. It can be very handy for us; but as a rule, it isn’t nor has it ever been a feature put into products for us… that goes for Siri, Amazon Echo, and Cortana as well. Now, since I mention the main stream voice assistants I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Dish TV allows for the Amazon Echo to control certain satellite boxes they produce.

Ok, so what’s with the influx of accessible TV boxes. I’m going to assume it has to do with new FCC rules that went into effect in mid-December 2016. You can read about that at the link below. https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/accessible-tv-and-set-top-box-controls-menus-and-program-guides

“So where can I learn more?” you might ask. Below are links for each of the local providers in our area.

DirecTV, satellite service

DISH, satellite service

Cox Cable Service

ComCast Cable Service

As of this newsletter I’ve pretty much confirmed that everybody provides these boxes free of charge and will replace your old box for free. You’ve simply got to tell them you’re legally Blind or otherwise visually impaired. I’m not positive if they require any confirmation of this but I kind of doubt it. In the case of a local student on Cox Cable, they didn’t ask him for any confirmation. Additionally, I spotted at least one of these boxes had some magnification and other low-vision features; but you’d have to investigate.

So that’s the basics of local providers and accessible TVs. But there’s a lot more. For instance are you familiar with Audio Described video or as it’s otherwise known Video Descriptions? If not here’s a brief description. Audio Described content consists of TV shows or movies with an extra soundtrack that can be enabled expressly for the Blind. This audio track has a narrator who adds extra bits of info during a program that otherwise might be missed by a Blind patron.

Would you like to know more? Would you like to learn about what programming is available for broadcast TV networks in your area? Check out the FCC’s website below. https://www.fcc.gov/general/video-description

Here’s a link to a search engine setup by the American Foundation for the Blind. At this website, you can search by your Zip code for audio described content. See the link below. http://www.afb.org/tv.aspx

Additionally, NetFlix, iTunes, and Amazon are making hundreds of their videos and movies available with audio descriptions. See the links below.

Amazon’s Blog Post NetFlix’s Blog Post Apple’s Content

Podcasts

Now I mentioned this Main Menu Podcast last month. But I failed to mention they discuss a accessible TV, not a box, a TV! So if you’d like to learn more see the link below. http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/file.php?method=stream&episode=2017-06-30

Here are two more podcasts we’ve mentioned before but are jermaine to this month’s topic.

In this episode of the Blind Bargains Podcast listen to Joe interview a professional movie critic. And yes! He’s blind. See the link below. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq098.mp3

Check out the 20,000 Hertz podcast. This is a delight to listen to and really enlightened me about audio description. This is a separate audio track added to movies and TV shows that fills in the gaps about what is happening on screen. They interview a Blind Movie critic, from YouTube. Have a listen. https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/304305143/download?client_id=cUa40O3Jg3Emvp6Tv4U6ymYYO50NUGpJ

Here’s a quick listing of some Blind Bargains coverage from the recently completed NFB convention.

NFB coverage of the Braille2Go notetaker from National Braille Press

Chancey Fleet talks with Beth Carrigan, General manager for the game Materia Magica

Here’s a great interview with the Seeing AI App Team from Microsoft. If you haven’t heard Seeing AI App is an OCR, barcode, and object recognition app. We’ve had about seven different students try it out in the Tech Center and it is a a big hit. Have a listen to the interview below. http://maccessibility.net/podcast/maccessibility_rt137.mp3

Ever wanted a talking clothes washer and dryer. In this episode of Cool Blind Tech learn about a $99 box that does just that and about something called a color catcher for those times you mix your whites and colors. See link below. https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/coolblindtech/VIP-_Keeping_it_Clean.mp3

Echo Hack

Just in case some of you heard a story on the news about the Amazon Echo being hacked and turned into a surveillance device, I felt the need to address it here. So in simplest terms, it is not true; and click bait. These kinds of stories feed on what some in the industry call techno panic. When people hear the term hack, they think of an Amazon Echo being remotely taken over via the internet or WiFi. Nothing of the sort took place, an as an internationally certified IT Security Professional I think my laptop is about a thousand times more likely to be taken over. So what’s the real story? A researcher named Mark Barnes physically took apart an Amazon Echo and changed the software so he could use it as a surveillance device. So the take away is this means nothing. As a rule in the security industry, if someone has physical access to an electronic device you’ve already lost the battle, so that goes for computers, cell phones, you name it. So no worries the Amazon Echo hasn’t been hacked!

To read more see the link below. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-40517384

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for July 2017. Topics discussed include more games in the BlindFold series, Dolphin EasyReader, and the new Seeing AI App, from Microsoft. See the link below. https://www.applevis.com/applevis-unlimited-whats-new-and-noteworthy-july-2017

Echo Tip

There’s an online Amazon Echo guide as to different features and commands you can issue. See the link below and take a look. https://smile.amazon.com/b/?node=16067214011&ref_=pe_1840220_247810520_MP_AUCC_MX_HV_Sub_Fri_echo_crm_07_28_alexa-guide-footer

Here are some things you can ask you Echo:

  • “Alexa, tell me a quote”
  • “Alexa, flip a coin”
  • “Alexa, pick a card”
  • “Alexa, good morning”
  • “Alexa, rap for me”

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 16th 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 (South Park Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900

Subscribe to the Newsletter via Email Click Here

Picture of David Ward

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

July 2017 New Vision Newsletter And Dave’s News and Technology Updates

News

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.

Eventbrite - Vistar Eye Center presents Dinner in the Dark to benefit New Vision
Logo of Dinner in the Dark

We’ll be having a silent auction at the event. If you’ve got a quality item and you’d like to donate it to the cause give us a buzz and let us know. Or email Courtney at the link below.
courtney.bass@newvisionroa.org

Another way you can show your support is simply by sharing about our Dinner in the Dark Event on Facebook. See the share link below.

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 American Council of the Blind (abbreviated ACB) and National Federation of the Blind (abbreviated NFB) Conventions are both taking place around now. So there’s lots of info coming out about products, services, and all sorts of A.T. related goodness. For more about the conventions see the links below.

NFB Convention
NFB Twitter Coverage by Hashtag
ACB Convention
ACB Twitter Coverage by Hashtag

Echo News

The orginal Amazon Echo, that’s right, the Pringle’s can shaped one, can now support Bluetooth external speakers and headphones. That means you can get a Bluetooth headphones and wonder outside or a set of Bluetooth speakers you can take outside on the porch and still enjoy all your music or podcasts without moving your Echo!

Podcasts

In this episode of Main Menu the team talks to folks from Amazon about the Fire TV and Fire Tablet. Additionally, there’s a demo of them using the Amazon Echo to control your DISH satellite box. See the link below.
http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/file.php?method=stream&episode=2017-06-30

Check out episode 135 of the Mac Accessibility Round Table, entitled “Most of Us Are Chickens”. Where your’s truly chips in a few thoughts on Twitter that the team discusses. AirPods, new Macs, and what’s coming in the new iPhone are all discussed. See the link below.
http://maccessibility.net/podcast/maccessibility_rt135.mp3

On this episode of A.T. Frequently Asked Questions the team tackles a few doozies. There’s a discussion about voice commands on a smartphone, durable headphones, and A.T. equipment for college. See the link below.
http://traffic.libsyn.com/atfaq/ATFAQ056.mp3

In episode 106 of Blind Bargains J.J. demonstrates a new product his company A.T. Guys is selling. It is a fully accessible voice recorder, with audio directions much like your NLS player. We often have students asking about a good voice recorder and I think this might be the one. So have a listen and hear the other Blindness related Tech News on this episode of Blind Bargains. See link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq106.mp3

As stated earlier there’s a lot of convention related news. So here’s a quick list of several onsite interviews and other related news.

BBQ Episode: #ACB17 Audio: Be Seen And Be Heard With Elegant Insights Jewelry
BBQ Episode: What’s All The Buzz About With Triumph Technology?
BBQ Episode: Accessible Television Beams Down To DirecTV And U-Verse
BBQ Episode: Is Something Going On At Speed Dots

To see the rest of the Blind Bargains convention coverage from ACB see the link below.
https://www.blindbargains.com/audio/

Info Nugget

Several students have asked about podcasts as of late. “So what is a podcast?” you might ask. It is on-demand audio or radio content. If you’ve ever heard a program on NPR Radio that might be a easy way to help you wrap your brain around what we’re talking about. All those shows are pre-recorded and edited and then broadcast at affiliate stations whenever they want. But what if you want to listen to it when you want to listen to it. You can! Its call a podcast. There are huge databases at Apple, Google, and TuneIn that aggregate these lists of podcasts. As a result a Victor Reader, an iPod, an iPhone, an Amazon Echo, and any smartphone can download an play this content when you want to hear it. Typically, once you find a show you enjoy you’d subscribe to that podcast so your device automatically downloads the most current episode when it is made available. If you have more questions just swing by or call the Tech Center here at New Vision.

Echo Tip

Want to get side effect info about popular medications? What about signs of a heart attack or stroke? Check out the new Web M.D. skill on the Amazon Echo. To turn on the skill simply say, “Alexa, enable Web MD skill”. After that you can just open the skill by saying, “Alexa, open Web MD!” Enjoy!

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for June 2017. See the link below.
https://www.applevis.com/blog/accessories-advocacy-apple-apple-tv-apple-watch-gaming-ios-ios-apps-mac-apps-macos-news-opinion

I also stumbled across this nugget. Microsoft just released a free App for the Blind called Seeing A.I. , A.I. as in Artificial Intelligence. It seems to be a meld of OCR and Object Recognition. Like a blend of KNFB Reader and TapTapSee. We haven’t tried it out in the Tech Center yet but if it is the same App they demonstrated about a year ago it looked pretty cool. And best of all it is free! See link below for a article about it or the following link to get it on your iOS device.
Verge Article
Get it on the App Store

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 18th of July 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

Picture of David Ward

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

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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

April 2017 Tech Center Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

The Tech Center will be closed Thursday April 20th through the 27th. The instructor will be on vacation, classes and the ATE program activities will resume the first week of May.

New Vision raised $2,385 from 25 donors through Roanoke Valley Gives Big Day, on March 15th, an event sponsored by the Foundation for Roanoke Valley. Thank you, to all our donors and volunteers!

Dinner in the Dark

Picture of Amazon Smile Logo

Thursday, the 17th of August, New Vision will be having another Dinner in the Dark event at the Hotel Roanoke. Stay tuned in for more!

Newsline Upgrade

New Vision, in partnership with the NFB and the Roanoke Times, has helped facilitate a huge upgrade to the newsline services to the Blind in Southwest Virginia. As a result of this upgrade, the old newsline number and service will be discontinued on April 30th. Active newsline subscribers will receive information about how to login to the new service. For more information please contact us.

News

The California State University, at Northridge (also know as CSUN), hosts a huge Assistive Technology Conference every year, where vendors show off their newest gadgets and software. There will be a lot of podcasts under the heading CSUN news dealing with this latest conference.

Cox Cable recently responded to a tweet I sent them about an accessible cable box. To learn more check out the link below. Additionally, this page talks about video descriptions or what is sometimes called audio described (AD) content. There’s even a link about Braille and large print statements. See link below.
https://t.co/MhrJtAkFYx

CSUN News

Here’s a listing of Blind Bargains coverage of the CSUN conference. See the link below.
https://blindbargains.com/search.php?kw=CSUN

Here’s just a few cool audio interviews from CSUN. Our first is an interview with the KNFB Reader team about the KNFB Reader App coming to Windows 10. KNFB Reader is a premier OCR App for scanning documents. The App has been on Apple Devices and Android for a while; but now is available on Windows 10 computers. Even at a $99 price tag it’s a far cry cheaper than OpenBook, from Freedom Scientific, which is around $600. Have a listen, and by the way we have this app in the Tech Center in case you ever want to try it out.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/170301_knfb.mp3

Learn about a wearable keyboard with Buddy Brannan. See link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/170302_tapsystems.mp3

Podcasts

Check out this Blind Bargains episode where the team does a roundup of all the CSUN coverage. They discuss the BrailleSense, Amazon’s expanding use of VoiceView, and Ambutech’s new cane tips. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq093.mp3

In Blind Bargains Episode 92 the team talks about an Android App for of all things finding Android Apps that are accessible. Additionally, there’s an interview with the team developing the ElBraille. There’s even a discussion of an Ohio State University survey seeking to learn more about Race perceptions amongst the Blind. This and much more at the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq092.mp3

I doubt we’ve mentioned this podcast before but here’s a link to its main webpage. It’s called Accessible Minute, from the guys at the InDATA Project out of Indiana. It is full of little gems and as the name implies its short and sweet. Here’s the link toe the main webpage with various shows searchable by heading. http://www.eastersealstech.com/category/accessibility-minute/

Here’s two samples from the Accessible Minute Podcast.

The GoodRX App helps folks find which Pharmacy has the cheapest prices on their medications. Have a listen.
http://traffic.libsyn.com/accessibilityminute/AM228.mp3

Want to get that item now! Need something in two hours instead of two days by Amazon Prime. Check out this little explanation of Amazon Prime Now, which allows you to order things and get them right now! See link below to have a listen. http://traffic.libsyn.com/accessibilityminute/AM225.mp3

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for March 2017. For the newest info about accessible games and Apps.
https://www.applevis.com/blog/apple-apple-tv-apple-watch-ios-ios-apps-ipad-iphone-macos-news-opinion/applevis-unlimited-whats

Did You Know?

You can add things to your Rotor on iOS Devices using VoiceOver. Here’s a cool one a student found. But first how do get to the option. Ask Siri to open VoiceOver Settings and flick right until you get to the Rotor option. Double-Tap and now you’re in the Rotor settings page. If you add as an example “punctuation” to your Rotor, you’ll get the ability to toggle whether VoiceOver reads punctuation back to you. This is handy for situations where you’re trying to proof read a document or a message. Enjoy! And let us know if you find any other useful Rotor options.

Possible Workshop

There’s been some interest expressed in a product known as MyEye by OrCam. This is a small camera device that clips to a pair of glasses. It allows for object recognition and OCR of documents you might see out and about. The theory is that it can even recognize locations and faces of folks that might enter the camera view. See the video below.

Video Demo Interview from InDATA Project: Click here

Audio Demo Interview from InDATA Project:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/atupdate/ATU030416.mp3

So if you are interested in attending a workshop on this system please let us know. Just email, call, or let me know next time you are in the Tech Center.

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

Lions at the Lake: Will be June 17 from 11am to 2pm at Claytor Lake State Park; shelter number 3 (near where it was last year). Park fees are waved for participants. Anyone with a visual impairment of any age is welcome with family or friends as well as any Lions who might help out. People who have questions can call Dr. Suzanne Ament. Email at seament@radford.edu.

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 May at 7:00 PM. The guest speaker will be Mr. David Ward, of New Vision, talking about the new ATE Program involving the Amazon Echo for seniors in the Roanoke Valley. 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## March 2017 Technology Newsletter

David Ward – Assistive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center

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

December 2016 Tech Center Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

Your Financial Support is Appreciated

Community support has been vital in achieving our mission. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, it has only been with our donor’s generosity that we are able to provide our necessary services. Your support is desperately needed more than ever so that we might continue to fulfill our critical mission for those with visual impairments.

A donation of:

  • $25 can provide large-print calendars to 12 individuals with significant vision loss.
  • $50 can provide special frequency radios to 2 listeners of the Radio Reading Service.
  • $100 can provide 5 hours of audio information via the Dial-In News Service.
  • $500 can provide more than 15 hours of individualized instruction at the New Vision Adaptive Technology Center.

No donation is too small! We welcome your contribution in any amount, and it is tax deductible! For your benefit and to help us finish the year well, please consider donating by December 31.

By Mail: New Vision, 4504 Starkey Rd Ste 120, Roanoke VA 24018
Online: https://www.paypal.me/newvision

Holidays and Inclement Weather Closings: The Tech Center will be closed on Monday December 26th and Monday January 2nd. These days follow the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays. Should Roanoke County or Roanoke City Schools be closed due to inclement weather we too shall be closed.

Braille Calendars: You can order 2017 Braille Calendars by emailing the following Non-Profit your address and request a calendar.
calendars@actionfund.org

News

Here’s a recent Press Release from the NFB on the new regulations governing nearly silent hybrid cars. See the link below for the full article.
https://nfb.org/national-federation-blind-applauds-issuance-pedestrian-safety-enhancement-act-regulations

Podcasts

Have you heard of the Google Home Appliance? Its brand new and a direct competitor to the Amazon Echo. So the Google Home operates as a Virtual Voice Assistant and sports many features comparable to the Amazon Echo. On this Blind Bargains Episode, number 82, you’ll hear J.J. and Joe talk about its features. See the link below.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq082.mp3

Joe Steinkamp was also interviewed on ACB Radio’s Main Menu Program about the Google Home. Check out the team from Main Menu as they put the Google Home through its paces. See the link below.
http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/podcast/2016-11-11.mp3

Check out Main Menu’s program where they inteview Dr. Robert Carter from “The Tech Doctor” podcast. Dr. Carter takes the crew through his experiences over the years with Macs, iPhone, Windows, DOS, and JAWS. Have a listen at the link below.
http://mainmenu.acbradio.org/podcast/2016-11-04.mp3

This Blind Bargains episode, number 80, has Jeff Bishop on to discuss his recent trip to the Microsoft Campus. On this episode you’ll also hear J.J. and Joe talk about JAWS 18, the new MacBook Pro, and the Microsoft Surface Event. See the link below for this and much more.
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq080.mp3

In this Mac Accessibility Roundtable Podcast hear the team talk about the new MacBook Pro, Paypal, Siri, and the future of the Apple laptop. See the link below for episode 121.
http://maccessibility.net/podcast/maccessibility_rt121.mp3

In episode 120 of the Mac Accessibility Roundtable hear the team talk all about the Apple Press Event. The event started off by discussing accessibility and hear the team breakdown the topic. See the link below.
http://maccessibility.net/podcast/maccessibility_rt120.mp3

Shelly Brisbin is a blind author and journalist. Her most recent work is the iOS Access for All Book. She recently was a pundit on the Daily Tech News Show. Listen to her talk about accessibility in a mainstream setting with Tom Merrit. The youtube link below jumps you part way into the episode where Tom turns to Shelly to ask some questions but after the conclusion of the episode Shelly and Tom continue to have an awesome discussion. Have a listen at the link below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhoHroVvdp8&feature=youtu.be&t=23m12s

New Vision Interview

Picture of John Netzel. Wearing Suit.
We recently had the opportunity to record a 30 minute interview with WRVL – “The Journey” which broadcasts throughout the Roanoke and Lynchburg region. The interview aired this past Saturday at 6 AM, December 3rd. See the links below, where the interview was broken out into three segments.

Interview Segment 1

http://download.liberty.edu/wrvl/peck0.mp3

Interview Segment 2

http://download.liberty.edu/wrvl/klvv0.mp3

Interview Segment 3

http://download.liberty.edu/wrvl/b4k6e.mp3

Student Spotlight

The following article is soon to be published in a Veteran’s Affairs publication, about one of our students, Leonard Hubbard. See the article below.

A Veteran’s Personal Journey: Horsemanship And Therapeutic Riding

Picture of Leonard Hubbard on horseback. Next to fence outside with two other people.
Leonard Hubbard, 57, a consumer of the HUD VASH Program since 2012, has been challenged by the “ups and downs” of addiction throughout his life, including homelessness and impaired sight. Now enjoying the rewards of sustained sobriety which include stable housing, improved health and consistent family support, he sought what he describes as “something to fulfill my idle mind.”

Machele Huff, a Salem VAMC Social Worker and a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Certified Riding Instructor, responded to the Veteran’s interest in riding a horse. According to Hubbard, “I was raised on a farm and I had never ridden a horse before. Just a mule.” Sparked by the Veteran’s request, Ms. Huff connected the veteran with a Paint Thoroughbred mare nick named ‘Tay Tay’ who had recently retired from competing as a show hunter With this mare, he learned how to safely groom and lead a horse. “I fell in love with ‘Tay Tay.’ I learned how to lead and take care of her. She was the first horse I had ever been around,” Hubbard describes.

Subsequently, Ms. Huff and the Veteran’s HUD VASH case manager, Katie Poulos, brought to the Veteran’s attention the Ride with Pride Therapeutic Riding Center in Staunton, Virginia which had a Veterans Riding Program. Hubbard then independently completed his referral packet and secured his medical clearance to ride. “ I received a scholarship to attend the program during the summer and the fall sessions.” Hubbard’s sessions began in June 2016. “Since being in the program I have learned how to care about things other than myself. I have learned how to care about people more through caring about the horse. It helps me with my sobriety and when I have nothing to do, I can think about the horse. Now I have something to look forward to it in the week and now next spring,” according to Hubbard.

For Hubbard, the most difficult aspect of participating in therapeutic riding was “making up my mind to do this because of my mental health issue. Some people think you can’t do certain things when you get older and that’s not true. When I put my mind to something I can do it. The most rewarding thing is the reaction I get from the horse, case workers and my riding instructors when I can control myself and accomplish something I want to do.”

Since his sixteen week participation in the Ride With Pride Program, Hubbard has now learned how to ride various gaits on the different horses that are assigned to him. “I have learned how to maneuver the horses through cones, change directions in the arena and ride a figure eight.” He also participates in trail riding on the center’s grounds as part of his riding lesson.

Each week, Hubbard prepares for his next riding lesson by reviewing videos taken on his phone. With the assistance of adaptive equipment provided by the Salem VA’s Visually Impaired Services Team, he is able to review his weekly riding progress at home.

Recently, he was invited to compete in Ride With Pride’s Therapeutic Fall In-House Show. According to Hubbard, “it is gratifying to actually engage with something you have never been around before. I think it’s amazing when you can care for something and the horse lets you know that they realize you are caring for them.”

The Ride With Pride Veteran’s Riding Program is made possible by various Veteran Service Organization donations in the Staunton, Virginia area.

Respectfully Submitted,
Machele Huff, LCSW

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for November 2016. Are you an adventurer? Then you might enjoy playing a game as Edward Blake, a Blind Knight, in medieval times; Or perhaps a Gladiator in Roman times. These games and much more are discussed in this months AppleVis Newsletter. Object Recognition Apps and the new MacBook Pro are also discussed. See the link below.
http://www.applevis.com/blog/ios-apps-mac-apps-macos-news-opinion-reviews/applevis-unlimited-whats-new-and-noteworthy

Local News and Events

Reoccurring Events:
“The Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) will hold its annual Christmas banquet on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at the clubhouse of the Cave Spring Lions Club, located at 4801 Merriman Rd., SW, Roanoke. The evening will be catered by Adell’s of Rocky Mount, with music by the 3-D Trio. Reservations required by December 14, 2016. For information, directions or reservations please contact Dianne Decker at rdeckerjr2@cox.net” from 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

David Ward – Assistive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center

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October 2016 Tech Center Newsletter

October 2016 Technology Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

Large Print 2017 Calendars: You can start requesting your 2017 large print calendars! We encourage you to get your orders in early while supplies last. The easiest way is to complete the online form. Please, email us for a link to this form. We will also accept requests by using the post card on the back of the old calendar, but please note that the mailing address should be changed to New Vision, 4504 Starkey Rd Ste 120. Roanoke, VA 24018. This year we’re making a special effort to make sure our supply of calendars has the most effective reach to Virginia residents with visual impairments. Our priority will be individual distribution to visually impaired Virginia residents, one calendar per individual, and group distribution only to those agencies or groups who are contributing to support our mission. Agencies or groups who wish to receive calendars should contact us by phone (540-985-8900) to request an allotment. As a benchmark, a donation of $25 can provide large-print calendars to 10 individuals. Donations can be made online at https://www.paypal.me/newvision.

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

Additional Braille News: A local library in Roanoke had several encyclopedia volumes donated and their looking for a home for them. If you’d be interested please touch base with us here and we can give you the library’s contact info.

Events: Our largest fundraising event this year is Talent Challenge for Charity at the Hotel Roanoke, November 12. The event features live painting by world renowned Blind painter John Bramblitt as well as fun entertainment by local “Stars”. Groups and individuals can purchase tickets online at https://www.talentchallengeforcharity.com/talent-challenge-buy-tickets.php.

Volunteer Spotlight

In this new feature we’ll endeavor to give you a little behind the scenes view into the hard work our volunteers put forth for our various programs. In the photo below you’ll see Ken Wright, a GE retiree. He and Les Brown, also a GE retiree, help with our Radio repairs.

The GE retirement program is assisting Virginia Voice, in Richmond, with repairing some of their radios and told them about New Vision, in Roanoke. Les Brown reached out to us. We are so thankful for their time and willingness to help us. And we thank our other volutneers for their industrious efforts as well. Picture of Volunteer Ken Wright working on a radio

News

Buddy Brannan recently wrote up on his blog about his experience with an accessible Samsung TV. That’s right, a TV where the menu’s are read out too you audibly. See his blog entry about it below. https://t.co/83TrfmTfZ9

If you’d like to hear his little audio walk-through see the link below. http://buddy.brannan.name/blog/wp-content/uploads/Samsung-TV-Demo.mp3

If your interested in finding out more about iOS 10 and the new iPhones you might check out the link below. It takes you to the show notes for Blind Bargains Episode 73. Joe Steinkamp includes a lot of helpful links to various sources. See link below. http://www.blindbargains.com/bargains.php?m=15880

Podcasts

In this Mac Accessibility Round Table the knights discuss iOS 10, Apple TV updates, and Watch OS. See the link below. http://maccessibility.net/podcast/maccessibility_rt117.mp3

Check out Blind Bargains Episode 74. Humanware’s Victor Reader updates are discussed, NVDA’s new tutorial on Microsoft Word, and a controversial subject about Screen Reader detection. This and much more at the link below. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq074.mp3

Check out this AppleVis podcast about the new featues in iOS 10 for iPhones and iPads. See link below. http://www.applevis.com/sites/default/files/podcasts/AppleVisPodcast1004_0.mp3

In this Blind Bargains Episode learn more about the Orbit Braille display, the new NVDA release, JAWS 18, and iOS 10 features. This and much more from J.J. and Joe at the link below. http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.blindbargains.com/audio/bbq073.mp3

iOS Update for iPhones

The newest version of iOS is out. That’s the software that runs on iPhones and iPads. This new version is version 10. It can be installed on devices as old as the iPhone 5 and 5c. Two new features include the ability to turn off the automatic speakerphone feature that sometimes comes on while making a call. That always drove me crazy by the way. Secondly, and wait for it.. wait for it.. that’s right we now get a new pronunciation dictionary! That’s right! You can now tell it how to properly pronounce your friends names or other commonly misprounced terms. There’s much more, so be sure to see the link below for a in-depth listing of iOS 10 features and bugs. http://www.applevis.com/blog/apple-braille-ios-news/what-s-new-ios-10-accessibility-blind-low-vision-and-deaf-blind-users

Here’s a series of podcasts from Cool Blind Tech that speaks more on specific points connected with iOS 10. This update affects iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, and Apple TV devices. See the show titles below that double as links to the episodes.

iOS 10: A Swipe Through the Major New Features

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Mail Has Amazing New Features In iOS 10

Don’t Touch That Remote! I’m Watching Apple TV

This Browser Has Teeth: Exploring Safari On iOS 10

iOS 10 What’s new: Emergency Bypass

Raise To Wake In iOS 10: It’s Alive

New Voices In iOS10: The Voices In My Head Saturday, September 17, 2016 8:40 AM

iOS 10 What’s new: Rock Your Clock

Don’t Take The Long Way Home: Disable Press Home To Unlock On iOS 10

iOS 10 What’s new: It’s Time To Move It!

iOS 10 what’s new: Big Changes In The Messages App

iOS 10 What’s new: Braille Screen Input Catching Up Thursday

The above was an amazing amount of content put out by the team over at Cool Blind Tech. But there’s more so feel free to check out there website below or the RSS Feed. http://www.coolblindtech.com

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for September 2016. See the link below for the full listing of Apps and products being discussed this month. http://www.applevis.com/applevis-unlimited-whats-new-accessible-apps-september-2016

Student Spotlight

In this new feature we’ll seek to occasionaly mention some local experiences from our Tech Center.

Recently, a former student was able to complete an adoption of a child. And on the other end of the spectrum another former student was able to get some accessible training materials so she could enter the state run training classes for those interested in adopting a child or serving as foster parents. We’re thrilled to see the success and continued achievements of our students.

Did you know?

Did you know? That Podcasts are syndicated on-demand audio recordings that can be automatically downloaded. Podcasts are an extension of RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feeds. In short say you love a 15 minute daily news summary from NPR or you love to listen to the Blind Bargains Podcast every week. These are all available as Podcasts via the Google Play and Apple iTunes Stores. Meaning if you subscribe to the free Podcast feed your device will automatically download the newest episode so you can listen at your conveince and always have the newest content at your finger tips. Podcasts are even available on the Victor Reader and Amazon Echo. If you’d like to know more feel free to contact us.

Windows 10 Bugs

We’re not sure if this is a bug. But it most certainly seems to affect users of ZoomText on Windows 10. Especially, if you depend on the reader functionality. I’ve heard several students say that ZoomText isn’t giving them the level of audio feedback they were accustom too. Now I suspect the new ZoomText Fusion doesn’t have this problem but that’s just a guess. However, a free solution is to combine your use of ZoomText with one of the following screen readers: NVDA, Windows-Eyes (for Office), or Narrator. We’ve been trying NVDA with ZoomText with two students in the Tech Center with good results. It seems to result in more detailed descriptions of content, espically if the user is using the mouse a lot.

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?

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 19th of October 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

j j j

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/

News

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

Podcasts

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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