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!


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

If you are a screen reader user then follow the link below for directions. These directions should apply whether you’re using NVDA or JAWS.

If you need additional help feel free to phone us here at the office.

Amazon Smile Program

Picture of Amazon Smile Logo

If you want Amazon to make a donation to New Vision every time you make a purchase you can use the link below to sign up for the Amazon Smile Program. Follow the step by step directions. Sorry, we haven’t had a chance to put together step-by-step directions for screen reader users yet. See link below.

Local News and Events

Reoccurring Events: Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) meets the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting of the Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) will be on Wednesday the 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.

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


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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


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


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

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