Reviewing EyeNote vs Money Reader vs SeeingAI to Recognize US Notes

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In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we review the three major iOS money reading apps for US bank notes, EyeNote, Money Reader, and SeeingAI. Wile many in the blindness community advocate for the US to adopt tactile bank notes, there is absolutely nothing stopping one from simply integrating one of these three amazing currency recognition apps into their lives. Here are the three and our general thoughts:

  • EyeNote by the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing
    • Version 3.0, December 2017
    • The official app from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing updated Eyenote to support the 64bit requirements for compatibility with iOS 11. The result is a very quick and smooth US currency recognition app that detects and announces the denomination and which side is facing up. The only draw back involves the lack of support for other currencies.
  • Nant Mobile Money Reader (aka Money Reader) by IPPLEX
    • Version 2.6, October 2017
    • Long touted by the blindness community as the best currency recognition app on the App Store despite numerous name and developer changes, Money Reader still preforms admirably. The identification occurs rapidly through your Voice Over’s voice. It also continuously announces the denomination of the note as long as you hold it under your iOS device’s camera. Additionally it identifies most every major bank note in the world.
  • SeeingAI by Microsoft
    • Version 2.0, December 2017
    • Microsoft continuously expands upon the sheer awesomeness of SeeingAI. The recent addition for currency recognition occurs flawlessly. Similar to Money Reader, it will continuously announce any currency you have under your device’s camera, relying on speech settings you selected within its settings under menu. At this point, SeeingAI requires you to select the type of currency you use under Menu, Settings, Currency, and is limited to US, UK, Canadian, and Euros.

… and the winner is… It depends.

SeeingAI will remain my main solution since its capable of recognizing more than just currencies. The multifunctional aspects of it promotes my willingness to integrate it into daily life. I do not do international travel, so being able to recognize multiple currencies is not a big deal. The ability to set currency recognition within the 3d Touch menu only makes it that much easier to access this feature.

The updated version of Eyenote is a very close second and would not dismiss it. If anything, its a great backup and its abilities to inform you which side is facing up aids those Type A folks who need things in a certain way.

If you require the ability to identify multiple currencies, then Money Reader will be the best app to rely on. I have used it during international travels and found it very accurate and simple to use.

If you enjoy the Blind Vet Tech Podcast series, we invite anyone interested in assistive technology for the blind to join us on our monthly tech teleconferences. Click here to see a list of our calls and how to connect via Zoom.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements through the Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews blog and podcasts.

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

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February’s Tech News Update on Low Vision Awareness Month, Blind Vet Tech Monthly Teleconferences Announcements, VFO Becomes the One Ring, and AIRA’s #AIRABowl and Site Access Expansion

After the maelstrom of news and concerns we covered in January’s Blind Vet Tech News Update, we are happy to provide hope and optimism for February. First an administrative note. We will continue to post the Blind Vet Tech News update here on the main Blind Not Alone blog. Followers will now receive all of our content when they subscribe here at Blind Not Alone. Secondly this action enables us to evolve the Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides and Tutorials podcast into the Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast channel. This enables us to advance our mission bringing you more relevant content to assist you in bridging the technological divide we each face when living with a visual impairment. Now time for the news.

February’s Low Vision Awareness Month

did you know February is Low Vision Awareness Month? Low Vision encapsulates a very broad set of visual impairments. The World Health Organization describes Low Vision as an individual with a visual impairment impacting normal functioning even after corrective lenses or medical treatment and is able to use, residual vision for the planning and execution of a task. The American Academy of Ophthalmology describes common low vision symptoms as blurriness, night blindness, restricted fields of view, hazy vision, glare, or blind spots. These are commonly noted in age related conditions like Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy, or Macular Degeneration; childhood and adult conditions like Retinitis Pigmentosa, or Stargardt Disease; or trauma to the lens, cornea, retina, optical nerve, Traumatic Brain Injuries, or strokes.

Low vision symptoms serve as the canary in the coal mine alert for blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment may stop and even reverse the progression of the disease. For this reason, we each need to be aware of what Low Vision is and trust in a hope for a brighter future.

If your vision is not correctable, talk with a low vision clinic, like state blind rehab services, Department of Veterans Affairs eye clinics, ophthalmology or optometry clinics, or Lighthouses for the blind. These entities may discuss with you some rather simple low tech solutions to innovated technological devices. If your field of view is restricted, as with central field loss or blind spots, prism lenses to the eSight glasses will aid in expanding your sight. If you struggle with reading things up close or seeing distant objects, magnifiers and telescopes offer simple ways to focus on newspapers or signs. Alternatively digital magnifiers, Cyber Eyez smart glasses, or the JORDY will enable you to watch your favorite team or read a wonderful book. IF you are tethered to a computer, integrated accessibility options will allow you to increase the size of the text, reduce glare, and improve contrast. If you require screen magnification, Windows users will wish to check out ZoomText, while Apple MacOS users rely on Zoom. Similar items may be found on any iOS or Android smart phones and tablets.

Blind Vet Tech February Teleconferences

If you have any questions with life with a visual impairment or methods to address barriers associated with low vision and blindness, join us on one of our Blind Vet Tech Monthly Talks. Our Monthly Talks provide visually impaired individuals the chance to learn and share information about their favorite devices. Below is a list of our calls for February and how to connect via your computers, smart phones, or landline phones. We rely on Zoom for our teleconferencing platform, which is very usable. More information may be located by clicking here.

VFO Becomes the One Ring

In relatively surprising news, VFO acquired Enhanced Vision. VFO already owns Freedom Scientific, ZoomText, and Optelec. This places the leading stand alone optical character recognition devices, digital magnifiers, and Windows screen reader and magnification software under one financial holding group. This concerns many within the visual impairment tech world, including myself, for concerns best classified as conspiracy theories.

AIRA’s Virtual Super Bowl Party and Site Access

Finally, AIRA executed the best virtual Super Bowl party with the #AIRABowl. AIRA quickly developed into my favorite assistive tech device/service, having relied on it for reading charts and graphs for research articles, following my daughter as she cycles and I run behind her, finding the front door for various establishments, and many more reasons. During the Super Bowl, they hosted the first ever Super Bowl party for the blind with full audio descriptions of the game, stands, commercials, and halftime show. As a long time Chicago Bears fan with a great love for the game, Al Michaels and every other telecast’s announcers simply provide horrendous descriptions during their broadcasts and no one ever provided audio descriptions of the commercials. AIRA’s agents resolved this issue with the tremendous #AIRABowl party.

Sticking with AIRA, they recently announced the site access program exists in the Louisville and Minneapolis airports. Site access enables an AIRA explorer to use the AIRA service at no cost to oneself, as the location picks up the tab. This service needs your assistance to roll. It out in other airports, universities, and metropolitan areas. Click here to learn more about how you can make this happen.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

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Make Your Super Bowl Party More Enjoyable with AIRA’s #AIRABowl Audio Description and Live Coverage

AIRA, a service providing realtime audio descriptions for the blind, is upping their game with live coverage of the Super Bowl. Far to long I have to rely on someone else to describe what is happening in a commercial, visual elements of the halftime shows, or even the time on the clock. Let us face it, the announcers simply fail at these tasks and the radio broadcasts lac commercial coverage.

AIRA through its #AIRABowl coverage will change this by going live at the Super Bowl. For the first time, us blind viewers will understand the punchline of a commercial, hear key pieces of information about the current game, and learn why I feel AIRA is a must have device service for the blind. If you wish to learn what AIRA is about and why I feel its amazing, click here to participate with the #AIRABowl.

AIRA is offering this experience for free to anyone interested in AIRA. You need not be and AIRA Explorer or even blind. Just navigate to http://go.aira.io/superbowl to join AIRA, many of its users and supporters, and I have a virtual Super Bowl party.

Getting Started with Narrator, Activating Narrator

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In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we embark upon our “getting Started with Narrator” series. This series enables one to learn how to use Microsoft Narrator by following along with the “Get Started with Narrator,” located on the Microsoft Support Pages. This series is our companion series to our Monthly Narrator Talk, which occurs on the second Tuesday of the month at 1300 CST. To learn how to connect, click here. To follow along, you will need Windows 10 Fall Creators Edition or later, since earlier versions of Windows 10 do not have many of the same key combos or functions as newer versions of Windows. Anyone with Windows 8 or older will not be able to follow along on their computers, since Narrator was very limited in these versions.

This first chapter focuses on how to activate Narrator. This may be accomplished by doing the following:

  • Press Windows Key plus Control, Enter while on any screen
  • Press Windows Key, Control, “N” to bring up Narrator’s settings and press Spacebar
  • Press Windows Key and “U” to bring up the Ease of Access Center, press tab, and then Enter

If you enjoy the Blind Vet Tech Podcast series, we invite anyone interested in assistive technology for the blind to join us on our monthly tech teleconferences. Click here to see a list of our calls and how to connect via Zoom.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

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Tech Resources for the Blind

Hines Alumni Association and Blind Not Alone, LLC offer and recommend the following list of teleconferences and resources to support your assistive technology goals. Please send any corrections or additions to TERRYKEBBEL@HINESALUMNI.ONMICROSOFT.COM or info@blindnotalone.com

Conference Calls

Blind Vet Tech’s Monthly Teleconference

The Blind Vet Tech team operates four monthly teleconferences. Below is the list with their times and how to connect. You can visit https://blindnotalone.com/zoom/ for more information.

  • Get Started with Narrator on Windows 10, meets the 2nd Tuesday at 1300 CST
  • Monthly MacOS Talk, meets the 2nd Thursday at 1300 CST
  • Monthly Tech Talk, meets the 3rd Thursday at 1300 CST
  • Open Mic Night, meets the 3rd Thursday at 1900 CST

To participate with any Blind Vet Tech teleconference:

  • Visit https://zoom.us/j/7854091838 to connect via your computer or iPhone/iPad app
  • Click this number with your iPhone: 6468769923,,7854091838#
  • Dial (646) 876-9923, Meeting ID is 7854091838#

Hines Alumni Association’s Monthly Teleconferences

The Hines Alumni Association conducts two monthly teleconferences. Below is the list with their times and how to connect. Learn more about the Hines Alumni by visiting http://hinesalumni.org/.

  • Kevin Jackson moderates the Hines computer conference call. It meets the first Thursday at 10 AM CST. For more info, kmjacksonsr@att.net.
  • Rick Olsen moderates the Hines iPhone and GPS Users conference call. It meets the first Tuesday at 10AM CST. For more info, rwoverna2@gmail.com.

To join either of the Hines Alumni conference calls:

  • Click this number with your iPhone, (800) 767-1750,44125#
  • Dial (800) 767-1750, Meeting ID is 44125#

Future Teleconferences

Hines Alumni Association and Blind Not Alone are interested in receiving your feedback and interest for future teleconferences. We believe in connecting virtually to share our thoughts and experiences in order to promote independence. Below is a list of teleconferences we wish to host via ZOOM. If you are interested, email Terry Kebbel at terrykebbel@hinesalumni.onmicrosoft.com

  • Hines Alumni’s Before and After
    The call will provide individuals with the chance to share their experiences and questions related to attending a Blind Rehab Center. The conference is open to anyone who has attended a Blind Rehab Center.
  • Hines Alumni Virtual Book Discussion Group
    Many of us are avid readers, so let’s come together to discuss our favorite books.
    Coaching Sessions on demand
    Hines Alumni Association and Blind Not Alone offer peer-based and professional coaching sessions. If you are interested in participating in a coaching session, send an email to terrykebbel@hinesalumni.onmicrosoft.com or info@blindnotalone.com.

Contractual and Peer Mentorship Services Services

If you represent the VA or a State Vocational Rehab program that requires an assessment or training of a consumer prior to issuing a device, services are available and are conducted by a Licensed Social Worker and ACVREP Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist. For more info contact info@blindnotalone.com

Websites to visit

Below is a list of websites we find the most beneficial. Please visit them and add them to your bookmarks.

Help Desks

Each of the major technology companies offers dedicated support for individuals with disabilities. Below is how to contact the accessibility support programs.

  • Microsoft Accessibility Desk personal – (800) 936-5900
  • Apple Accessibility – (877) 204-3930
  • Amazon Accessibility – (888) 283-1678
  • VFO Accessibility Desk (727) 803-8600

Podcasts

Podcasts offers a great method to listen to news and information on your own schedule. The below podcasts represent some of the best ways to learn more about the technologies and services you use. If you are using a Victor Reader, Hims Blaze, or any podcasting app, just search the name and add to your play list.

  • Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides and Tutorials
  • Blind Vet Tech News Update
  • Freedom Scientific (FS Cast)
  • Apple vis
  • Seminars at Hadley
  • Tech talk archive
  • Eyes on success

Government Shutdown Suspends NLS BARD

At Midnight on January 20, the failure of our partisan political system reared its ugly head. The current age of us versus them mentality prompted this action. The failure for two of the three branches of the US Government to reach a consensus causes different parts of the federal government to shutdown. For our readers, we will directly feel this through the closure of the NLS BARD, Social Security offices for processing new claims or adjustments, IRS, and different aspects of the departments of Health and Human Services and Education.

Below is the official statement from the NLS BARD:

“Due to a lapse in Federal funding, as of 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 19, BARD is not being updated. Updates will resume when funding is restored. The status of Library of Congress operations can be found by visiting www.loc.gov.”

All major news outlets report that benefits and services, like Social Security benefits to VA hospitals, will continue regular operations. Last time, Medicare continued normal operations for participants, while providers faced delays in reimbursements. However programs like NLS BARD do not receive advance appropriations like the VA or reside in the special categories that allows for it to continue regular operations.

At this point we are in a wait and see mode. Predictions on how long the shutdown will last ranges from a couple of days to a week or so. With the shutdown starting on Saturday, Congress has the weekend before anyone starts to really notice any changes.

There is something we can learn from yet another Government shutdown. We must stop fighting amongst ourselves. Politicians and individuals of opposing factions once drafted mutually beneficial compromises.used to talk and agree upon mutually beneficial compromises. Today, Republicans and Democrats play the all or none game. We need to stop the beliefs that the other side is our enemy and come together and talk. The rise in political extremism over the last several years is counterproductive in the art of peace and compromise. Let us work together to end the radicalization of our nation’s political system and demand compromise and not victory.

Hey Siri, whats the latest news: How to use Apple’s stealth update to Siri

A suspension bridge spans the logo with the acronym BVT in the middle. Beneath the bridge the words Blind Vet Tech appears. The bottom of the logo contains morse code reading TAVVI.
In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we demonstrate how to listen to the latest news through a simple Siri command. Apple recently rolled out a stealth update to Siri that enables you to quickly listen to a current news podcast from sources like NPR, CNN, Washington Post, and Fox. This update occurs behind the scenes, so you do not need to update anything, outside of ensuring Siri is able to run and access Apple’s podcast app. To use this feature, try the following Siri Commands:

  • Hey Siri, play the latest news
  • Hey Siri, I want to listen to the latest news
  • Hey Siri, switch to the Washington Post

When using this, keep in mind that Hey Siri does not always work if something is already playing in the foreground.

If you enjoy the Blind Vet Tech Podcast series, we invite anyone interested in assistive technology for the blind to join us on our monthly tech teleconferences. Click here to see a list of our calls and how to connect via Zoom.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

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Blind Vet Tech News Update on Intel’s devastating security exploit, Apple’s battery replacement program for older iPhones, and our teleconferences for January

Happy New Years to everyone. This year starts out with alarming news coverage of the Meltdown and Specter exploits impacting all Intel Processors, Apple’s $29.99 battery replacement plan after admitting to throttling older devices, and The return of our own Blind Vet Tech monthly teleconferences.

If you are wondering about the Meltdown and Specter exploits affecting all Intel processors, yes it impacts a vast majority of Microsoft, Dell, Asus, Acer, Apple, Android, and so many more manufacture’s devices. The best defense we each have is to update our operating systems and internet browsers. Apple and Microsoft recently released OS updates to patch vulnerabilities and more are on the way. If you are using Windows XP still, I advise upgrading to Windows 10 since you will be left out for the most part. Google and Mozilla will be releasing updates to Chrome and Firefox in the near future, and Apple will update Safari for legacy Mac’s and iMacs.

Shortly after Christmas, Apple admitted to throttling iOS devices based on battery health. Their reasoning is one I fully support, to promote the usability of older devices. This affects Voice Over by slowing down its responsiveness and may cause some glitchy behaviors. The solution is to take advantage of Apple’s $29.99 battery replacement for all of your older devices from the iPhone 6 and newer. The catch is the slots at your local Apple Store are filling up a week in advance, so you need to jump on any available time slots with the Genius Bar you see available. The best way to arrange an appointment is to
contact Apple Support or use the Apple Support iOS app.

Finally, January starts our new times and calls for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly Talks. Our Monthly Talks provide visually impaired individuals the chance to learn and share information about their favorite devices. Below is a list of the upcoming calls and how to connect. We have switched to the Zoom platform for our calls, which enables one to connect via their computers, iOS devices, or landline phones in a simple and accessible manner. More information may be located by clicking here.

  • January 9 – Blind Vet Tech Monthly Narrator Talk
  • January 11 – Blind Vet Tech Monthly MacOS Talk
  • January 18 – Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk
  • January 18 – Blind Vet Tech Open Mic Night

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

How to use iOS 3D Touch with Voice Over

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In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we guide you through the basics of iOS’ 3D Touch. 3D Touch is a method to interact with iPhones and iPads by firmly pressing into the screen to bring up a contextual menu, preview of a linked item, and so much more. Voice Over users may require a couple of attempts to get the hang of it, since it requires you to first locate an item through explore by touch and then press into the screen. This is very different from the standard swiping, flicking, and other gestures commonly used with Voice Over, though its similar to the double tap and hold gesture.

iOS offers individuals a couple of settings to customize 3D Touch and a limited practice area. You may find these items by navigating into Settings > General > Accessibility > 3D Touch. Here are the three options in this menu:

  • 3D Touch on/off toggle
  • Sensitivity ticker with Light, Medium, and Firm settings
  • Practice mode button, which may be difficult for Voice Over users to activate as the podcast demostrates

3D Touch may be used on the Lock Screen, Home Screen, and in various locations within apps. Here are a few of the ways I use 3D Touch:

  • Clear away notifications on the Lock Screen
    • Find the notification by exploring the screen with a finger
    • 3D Touch on the notification
    • Swipe to the left or right to locate the desired button, like clear or complete buttons
  • Quickly interact with apps on the Home Screen to compose messages or make a call
    • Find the desired app by exploring the screen with one finger
    • 3D Touch on the app to bring up a contextual menu consisting of buttons for dismissing the menu, sharing the app, composing a new message, calling a favorite person, viewing recent activities, or starting a workout

3D Touch possesses many more exciting functions based on the app. To aid in learning how 3D Touch works, share your favorite ways to use 3D Touch below.

If you enjoy the Blind Vet Tech Podcast series, we invite anyone interested in assistive technology for the blind to join us on our monthly tech teleconferences. Click here to see a list of our calls and how to connect via Zoom.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

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Happy Holidays and 2018’s Announcements

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In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and good fortune in the New Year. This past year has been incredible for us at Blind Not Alone, LLC and our ever growing number of listeners to the Blind Vet Tech podcasts and teleconferences. Without the support from each of you, these services and chances to connect with other visually impaired individuals interested in technology would not be possible.

For 2018, our monthly teleconferences will expand to four different calls. These calls are open to everyone interested in sharing. Below is a list of the calls we will offer in 2018:

Teleconference Name Teleconference Date Teleconference Time Connect Via Computers or Zoom Mobile App Dial-In Phone Number Notes
Monthly Narrator Talk 2nd Tuesday of the month 1300 or 1:00 PM Central Time Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android by clicking here Dial – (646) 876-9923,,7854091838# This call focuses solely on learning Microsoft’s integrated screen reader, Narrator on Windows 10.
Monthly MacOS Talk 2nd Thursday of the month 1300 or 1:00 PM Central Time Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android by clicking here Dial – (646) 876-9923,,7854091838# This call focuses solely on learning Apple’s integrated screen reader, Voice Over and other accessibility options in MacOS.
Monthly Tech Talk 3rd Thursday of the month 1300 or 1:00 PM Central Time Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android by clicking here Dial – (646) 876-9923,,7854091838# This call focuses on the greater world of cross platform to stand alone devices and apps for blind and visually impaired individuals.
Open Mic Night 3rd Thursday of the month 1900 or 7:00 PM Central Time Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android by clicking here Dial – (646) 876-9923,,7854091838# The Blind Vet Tech is all about the community of individuals who come together to support each other. The Open Mic Night is open to anything from latest in Apple rumors to asking anything about blindness.

To connect to our monthly teleconferences, click here to view how to access our Zoom room.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

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Narrator’s Five Best Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Features

A suspension bridge spans the logo with the acronym BVT in the middle. Beneath the bridge the words Blind Vet Tech appears. The bottom of the logo contains morse code reading TAVVI.
In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we provide our five favorite updates to Narrator from Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. These are a combination of new and updated features that makes Narrator much more powerful of a screen reader for Windows 10. Its our opinion that Narrator will become the leading screen reader for Windows users, since its an integrated screen reader that Microsoft is vested in enhancing its usability. The top five are:

  1. Caps lock 1 – Input Learning –
  2. Automatic Scan Mode
  3. Caps lock Shift Enter – Toggle Search Mode
  4. Caps lock Shift D – Describe and recognize text in an image
  5. Caps lock W and R – Read the entire window or from Narrator’s cursor

If you enjoy the Blind Vet Tech Podcast series, we invite anyone interested in assistive technology for the blind to join us on our monthly tech teleconferences. Click here to see a list of our calls and how to connect via Zoom.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

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Options for Voice Over when the focus is on the Status Bar

A suspension bridge spans the logo with the acronym BVT in the middle. Beneath the bridge the words Blind Vet Tech appears. The bottom of the logo contains morse code reading TAVVI.
In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we demonstrate some options that becomes available when you place Voice Over’s focus on the Status Bar. The Status Bar is located at the top of an iPhone or iPad’s screen. While on the Status Bar, you can quickly check connectivity status, current time, and battery level. However, Voice Over is also to preform the following actions:

  • Three finger swipe downwards to bring up Notifications
  • Three finger swipe upwards to bring up Control Center
  • One finger double tap to bring the current page’s view back to the top of the page

If you enjoy the Blind Vet Tech Podcast series, we invite anyone interested in assistive technology for the blind to join us on our monthly tech teleconferences. Click here to see a list of our calls and how to connect via Zoom.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

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OrCam MyEye: The most advance stand alone smart glasses for the Blind to recognize the world

According to the National Federation of the Blind, there are an estimated 7 million Americans with a visual disability. According to the World Health Organization, there are 285 million visually impaired people worldwide. That means there are many people out there who are searching for solutions to help them live more independently.

We are lucky to live in a world where the advancements in technology are outstanding. There is a lot of work and research being done to find ways to improve life for partially-sighted and blind people. Reading and recognition devices are just some of the advancements being made. There are video magnifiers, screen readers, braille printers and more. But none are as compact and portable as the OrCam MyEye assistive technology device.

Orcam being used to read a book.

Nicholas Dedekind, an OrCam MyEye user from Belgium, started losing his vision at age 12. Before OrCam, Nicholas tried software magnifiers for on-screen use which he says were heavy, slow, and not very effective. After his parents found out about the OrCam MyEye, Nicholas initially thought that it seemed unrealistic and too good to be true. He thought that maybe these glasses were just like many of the other glasses that aims to improve refraction or increase fields for visually impaired individuals. However, after trying the OrCam device, he was ecstatic. “It was an exciting, eye-opening experience. The product exceeded my expectations,” he says.

OrCam does not rely on connectivity to a smartphone or to a cloud and does not require wi-fi, or Bluetooth connection in order to operate. Rather Orcam conducts everything like text, facial, and product identification through a small module you can place on your hip or in a pocket. This means the response time can be almost instantaneous and the user never has to rely on getting a cell phone signal. Most importantly, it means the system is protected. It is rare to find technology for people who are blind or visually impaired that is this secure and easy to use. The fact that the OrCam device does not connect to a cloud means it requires less power and one charge can last for a while.

Visually impaired and blind individuals who are interested in stand alone wearable devices to increase their independence should check out the Orcam MyEye.Eye. It is perfectly suitable for those with no experience with smart phones and requires a multi-functional recognition solution to advance smart phone users who wish to limit usage of their smart phones.

This post was shared to Blind Not Alone by Orcam, in an effort to share information about Orcam.

Have some #Halloween fun with #Alexa and #Siri with these simple commands

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In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we demonstrate some fun ways to utilize Alexa and Siri on Halloween and other times. Both digital assistants offers an amazing array of daily to seasonal responses that allows you to have fun. Here are some of the commands we used:

  • Alexa
    • Good Morning, to receive a factoid about the day
    • What should I wear for Halloween
    • What are you wearing for Halloween
    • Tell me a Halloween story or joke
  • Siri
    • Happy Halloween Siri
    • What should I wear for Halloween
    • What are you wearing for Halloween

If you enjoy the Blind Vet Tech Podcast series, we invite anyone interested in assistive technology for the blind to join us on our monthly tech teleconferences. Click here to see a list of our calls and how to connect via Zoom.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

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Recognize Images in #iOS11 with #VoiceOver and a Three Finger Single Tap

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In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we recognize images on a website with Voice Over. iOS 11 introduced a simple way for the blind to identify what is happening in a picture through a three finger single tap. Voice Over will announce the number of faces, any clearly discernible expressions, and objects in the photo. Yes, the Photos app received this feature in iOS 10, iOS 11 enables you to use the feature in almost every app on your iOS device. If you are struggling with utilizing the feature, here are some tips:

  • Make sure Screen Curtain is off by preforming a three finger triple tap
  • Make sure the screen brightness is set to at least 30% for best results, though its debatable how much this actually impacts the recognition process
  • Select Images in the Voice Over rotor under Settings>General>Accessibility>Voice Over>Rotor to quickly swipe up or down to the previous/next picture

Thank you for listening to this Blind Vet Tech tutorial on how to recognize pictures and images in iOS 11 with Voice Over and a three finger single tap.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Play

Learn How to Optimize Storage on your iPhone or iPad Through iOS 11 Storage Settings or Offloading Apps

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In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we demonstrate how to optimize your iPhone’s or iPad’s storage in iOS 11. Apple changed how information appears in the Storage settings in your Settings > General settings menu. Of note, you may quickly regain much storage by automatically deleting messages and large files from the Messages app that are more than a year old. If you keep swiping, Apple changed how individual apps appear, and if you tap on one, you may offload the app. Offloading allows you to delete the app while retaining user settings from the app. Here is how the iPhone or iPad Storage settings appear:

  • Amount of storage used and total capacity of your iOS device
  • On/off toggle to automatically delete messages more than an year old
  • Option to view and delete large files from the Messages app that are more than a year old
  • List of individual apps, highlighting their name, storage required, and last used

If you double tap on an app, a detail menu appears with the following options:

  • List the name of the app, developer, and version
  • Amount of storage the app requires
  • Amount of storage the user settings and data files require
  • Offload or a reinstall and delete button an its description

Thank you for listening to this Blind Vet Tech tutorial on how to optimize your iPhone’s or iPad’s storage in iOS 11.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Play

What to Expect from #iOS11 for #VoiceOver and Zoom Users

The frenzy to download and update your iPhones and iPads to iOS 11 is upon us. The update brings a host of new features from cutting edge Augmented reality capabilities, apps which incorporates machine learning to improve accuracy of responses over time, searching with handwriting, Siri becomes a translator to English, and Voice Over stability tweaks. For a full list of updates, visit Apple’s official press release here.

It is my opinion that iOS 11 is safe for Voice Over users to download and install. I have been using iOS 11 on my primary iPhone 6 128GB since the start of the Public Beta release at the end of June. My main concern is for individuals with devices older than iPhone 6. My iPhone 6 behaved rather sluggish throughout the beta and even after the official release. This is even after reseting it to factory defaults and installing iOS 11. So if you use an iPhone 5S, Mini 2, and similar aged products, Voice Over may not react very smoothly all of the time.

Just like earlier iOS updates, Apple included some new features, changed existing ones, and even preformed some updates that you will not realize but improves the overall functioning of your device. This review will focus on accessibility updates, new iOS features, tips on using new features, and conclude with thoughts on taking the plunge. Before we delve into exploring iOS 11, many of you might be wondering two things, is my device supported and how much space will iOS 11 need. iOS 11 supports iPhone X, 8 Plus and 8, 7 Plus and 7, 6S Plus and 6S, 6 Plus and 6, SE, and 5S. iOS 11 will support iPad 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2nd and 1st generation, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad, Air 2 and original, iPad 5th generation, iPad mini 4, 3, and 2. Finally, the iPod touch 6th generation is also supported.

Next, some of you might be wondering how much space will iOS 11 consume. Those with an 16GB device who are pressed for space need not worry. iOS 11 received a significant amount of attention by Apple that not only decreased the amount of room you might need, but almost cut the need for this discussion. iOS 11 requires roughly 1.8GB to download. This should not be a problem, thanks to the attention provided those cramped for storage. iOS temporarily uploads apps into the cloud, installs the update, and reinstalls any removed items. 

Once you finish the iOS 11 update, head over to Settings > iPhone Storage, and see what is taking up space. Here you will notice two new options, the ability to offload apps while keeping app information and clear out messages over a year old. The offloading choice is a nice feature if you have some apps you might access once in a great while, but otherwise really have no need to keep it on your device. When you reinstall the app, all the earlier settings will be in place. The Messages clean out is like spring cleaning. On my personal iPhone, this saved me 300MB of storage on my device. While looking at iPhone Storage, glance through the list of apps. You will see all the apps on your device, the amount of storage they consume, and the last time you accessed it. If you tap on an app, you will see more details about the app, and have a choice to offload the app individually. on your device. If you do offload an app, the amount of space consumed will be updated and the offload button will be replaced with a re-download button.

Accessibility Updates

Voice Over

Voice Over gained the ability to drag and drop single or multiple items. The best place to test this out is on the home screen with your apps. Do a one finger double tap and hold for a moment. Now switch the rotor to action and swipe up. You will have the ability to select items, drag it, place it before or after an app, create a folder, or place an app in the folder. IOS 10 did possess a similar feature for arranging apps on the home screen, but iOS 11 enables you to do this with multiple apps. Add as many apps to the drag session by navigating to another app, swiping up or down and add it to the drag session. You will be ablating do this within an app for moving around items. iPad users will find they will be able to drag and drop items between apps when in split screen mode.

The Rotor received several new features based on the app you are in. If you are on text, an option will allow you to find misspelled words. When you land on the word, the predictive typing above the onscreen keyboard will provide you some options, or you can find the Edit in the rotor and swipe through the same list of alternative spellings.

In the mail app with threaded messages, you can swipe down to expand the messages so you may read each individually. Additionally, the More action in Mail will allow you to just reply, forward, or a couple of other options straight from your messages list. 

When you are looking at a photo in the Photo app, the Show Facial Features rotor option will allow you to find faces, noses, eyes, mouthes, and more. Just swipe up or down on a picture, and double tap on Show Facial Features. There is another option for Show Details, which highlights various meta tags of the photo.

If you are on a news website or blog site with posts or articles, turn the rotor to articles. This will allow you to jump to the next article on the page, without having to worry about heading navigation or running into ads.

IF you enjoy plain around with Verbosity settings, bring up Voice Over’s settings and check out Verbosity. Apple placed toggles to speak hints, punctuation, speak detected text, table output options, and whether Voice Over speaks other formatting options.

The most common Voice Over bug we encountered involves hearing Voice Over’s clicks and swipes but no voice. While no one is sure why this happens, fixing it requires you to just turn Voice Over on and off.

Zoom and iOS’ Visuals

Zoom did not receive any major updates, but iOS received many visual modifications. If you do not have Voice Over on, you can now place a finger on the menu or status bar, i.e. battery indicator, time, etc.…, and iOS will magnify it. The Calendar app’s font is much easier to read and other minor tweaks reduces some of the eye strain reported by many users. Apple even polished the icons of many of its apps, so they appear cleaner and easier to read.

Other Accessibility Features

IF you encountered trouble answering a call, tighter phone, or FaceTime, you may let your device automatically answer. Navigate to Call Auto Routing and tap on Auto Answer Calls. You may toggle this on or off and set the amount of time in seconds for the call to be answered. During this time period, you will be able to dismiss the call. Personally I like this feature and leave it on during the business day.

iOS Updates

Siri 

Apple advances Siri’s abilities to personalize your entire iOS experience. In the release notes, Siri will continuously learn how to better serve you and provide recommendations based on what you consume in Safari, Calendars, Emails, questions to Siri, and a whole lot more. Apparently, the personalization will carry across to all of the devices you signed into with your Applied. These changes become clear when noticing Siri’s settings read, Siri and Search. IF you now have a meeting appointment, flight, or contact update in Mail, Messages, etc.… you will have the option to place it in the appropriate place. Yes iOS 10 rolled out a similar feature, but iOS 11 improves upon it.

Specifically targeting individuals with hearing and speaking impairments, Siri gains a new accessibility setting, Type to Siri. This feature removes the ability to speak to Siri and offering a text box when you press and hold the home button or say, “Hey Siri.” Also in Siri’s accessibility settings, you can set how Siri reacts when you toggle the side ringer option, aka mute switch.,

Looking for a universal translator? If your Siri language is set to English, ask Siri to translate something into Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. You will then hear Siri repeat what you asked in English and then speak the word or phrase in the desired language. Below this command in the Siri card, you can tap on the play button to hear the word or phrase again.

In the never-ending quest for realistic voices, Siri’s default voices sound much more natural. You will need to head to Siri’s settings to sample and download the new voices. In my opinion the American female voice resembles an early 20-something, which may be difficult for those who struggle with higher pitch vocals. However, the American male, and all of the British an Australian voices are nice.

Control Center

Control Center received some significant updates. These include the actual structure to the Control Center when you bring it up and the ability to customize what appears in the Control Center. Let us start with what appears in Control Center. First, we have several new buttons, the ability to turn cellular data on and off, access to media controls on the Control Center’s main page and not buried on page 2, and the standard buttons that appeared in Control Center at the bottom which you can now customize. Overall, Control Center regains its usefulness with options and buttons to control various aspects of your iOS experience.

iOS users finally have control over Control Center. Yes, that pop up that appears when you place VO’s focus on the Menu bar and then do a three finger swipe up, can be customized. In the Control Center menu, a new button states Customize. Two headings appear on this page, Include and More Controls. VO users can perform a one finger swipe up or down to remove items, or a double tap and hold on the reorder button to rearrange items. To add a control, double tap on the insert a control button. Here is a full list of all of the controls available:

  • Accessibility Shortcut will bring up the accessibility shortcut )Triple Click Home) if you more than two or more items controlled by the Accessibility Shortcut
  • Alarm
  • Apple TV Remote
  • Calculator
  • Camera
  • Do Not Disturb While Driving will prevent alerts, calls, and other notifications from appearing on your iPhone if it detects you driving
  • Flashlight
  • Guided Access
  • Low Power Mode
  • Magnifier turns your iOS device into a digital magnifier
  • Screen Recording
  • Stop Watch
  • Text Size provides fast control over the size of dynamic text

TV and TV Providers

The TV app and TV providers arrived in iOS 10, but iOS 11 improves these features. The TV app serves as the central point to find a particular movie, show, or episode from across all of those TV networks’ apps. However, the awesome bit of news comes from supported TV Providers. This might be why many did not realize about this app, since few if any providers signed onto Apple’s program. Now you should really check out TV Providers and link your cable subscription to TV Providers. Then head over to the settings for TV, and toggle on those network related apps. No longer will you be limited to wondering what is on and when, rather the TV app will become the center of your entertainment life.

Emergency SOS

Our iPhones demonstrated how they may save lives thanks to Siri and tracking our locations. iOS 11 advances these capabilities through Emergency SOS. If you push the power button five times, your iOS device will contact emergency services and provide your location. If you set up your Health app and listed some emergency contacts, they each will receive a text message and your location when Emergency SOS activates. You may turn this feature off, so when you press the power button five times, iOS 11 presents the lock screen with a Power Off, Emergency SOS, Health ID, and a cancel button.

Conclusion

We at Blind Vet Tech who tested out iOS 11 definitely enjoyed it. Yes, it contains bugs, but none of them drove us away. Even the most problematic bug with Voice Over’s muted voice is easy to resolve. For a complete analysis of the bugs in iOS 11, check out what AppleVis.com noted.

If you have any questions about iOS 11, join us on our next Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk, and let’s talk about it. These talks are open to anyone interested in learning how the blind uses various tech solutions and devices successfully.

Learn How to Use iOS 11 Camera’s QR Code Reader, Photo’s Facial Features Recognition, and OCR Images with Voice Over

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In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we demonstrate how to use the new QR Code reader in the Camera app, explore facial features in Photos, and recognize text in images through Voice Over. Apple continuously improves features for the blind and visually impaired with each update, and these three new features simply make iOS the goto device for us. Here is how to preform these features:

  • QR Code Reading through the Camera App
    • Open the Camera app and place it over a Qr Code
    • Wait for Voice Over to announce that a QR Code was recognized
    • Navigate to the Notification banner at the top of the screen that allows you to read the QR Code and navigate to the embedded link in Safari (if available)
  • Find facial features in the Photos app
    • Find a picture with a face in it by doing a three finger single tap on a photo in the Photos app
    • With the photo opened, place Voice Over on the picture and do a one finger swipe down to locate Show Facial Features (if this is not available use the rotor to find Actions)
    • Double tap on Show Facial Features and then explore by touch or swipe to find the facial features,/li>
  • Recognize text in images with Voice Over
    • Find an image in Safari, emails, social media or wherever that might have images with text
    • Place Voice Over’s focus on the image and do a three finger single tap
    • You will hear details about the photo, and if text is identified Voice Over will say “Possible Recognized Text”

Thank you for listening to this Blind Vet Tech tutorial on how to use the new features in iOS 11 for QR Code Reading in Camera, finding facial features in Photos, and recognizing text in images with Voice Over.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

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Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk for September

This is an announcement for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk for September 21. This month we turn our attention towards our new conferencing platform, Zoom.us and what is new in iOS 11. Zoom is a highly accessible conferencing platform allowing participants to connect via their computers, smart phones, or through a dial in number, see below for how to do this and coming shortcut kets.

Apple releases iOS 11 on September 19, and we are super excited to share what we know. Voice Over received many updates and tweaks, earning our trust and approval. The couple of updates exciting us include the ability to fill out PDF’s, recognize a bit of text in images through a built into Voice Over OCR, find facial features in Photos, and ability to drag and drop multiple items. Zoom users will enjoy the ability to place your finger on the menu bar and automatically zoom into it without Zoom on, clean up of the Control Center for easier navigation, and the easier to see Dock and app switchers.

Participate on the call through Zoom by:

  • Thursday, July 20
  • 1900 Central Time

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android by clicking here

iPhone users simply tap on the phone number below or dial:

  • (646) 876-9923,,7854091838#
  • or (669) 900-6833,,7854091838#

Zoom enables one to control their participation through a series of hotkeys. The table below lists the possible actions and how to complete it based on your connection method:

Action Zoom for Windows Zoom for MacOS Zoom for iOS Dial into Zoom
Mute Alt A Command Shift A Mute Button on app Star 6
Raise hand to prompt moderator Alt Y Option Y Raise/Lower hand Button on app Star 9

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Assistive Tech Trainers and VA Blind Rehab Staff, Learn More About AIRA’s Ability to Assist Us Blind and Visually Impaired Consumers

Are you a VA VIST, BROS, or Assistive Tech trainer? If so, you may have received requests for more information about AIRA. AIRA enables visually impaired individuals to learn about their surroundings by an AIRA agent looking through a pair of smart glasses. Take it from an AIRA user, it’s definitely worth the time to learn more about it, and how it may impact the lives of your consumers.

First, AIRA is a service utilizing a pair of smart glasses that connects to the internet. An AIRA agent views the individual’s surroundings through the smart glasses’ camera, Google Maps, and input from the individual. The agent then describes, guides, reads, orientates, hires an Uber, or whatever else the individual requires from the agent. This occurs in real-time, with more features, like an AIRA system that will not require a smart phone to integrated OCR capabilities, coming in the near future.

I greatly enjoy my experience with AIRA. Over the weekend, an AIRA agent served as a play-by-play announcer during my daughter’s soccer game. This is the first time a dedicated individual described all of the action, allowing me to cheer on my daughter’s team in their first victory of the season. Even better yet, the agent captured some moments, like the below photo. Next up will be AIRA memorializing my starting and finishing of the KC Marathon or the Lap the Lakes Gravel Grinder. Aside from these extraordinary situations, AIRA aids me in some mundane situations, like crossing a parking lot, alerting me when the pedestrian sign permits me to walk, or reading a meeting agenda.
Youth wearing a light blue jersey and kicking a ball during a soccer game.
Understand, I approached AIRA with a high degree of skepticism. If not for the request from several participants of the Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk and close friends, I would not have invited them onto one of our calls. After the call and further evaluations, I determined AIRA will enable me to accomplish many tasks I avoid and empowered my independence.

If you are a VA Blind Rehab Services trainer, VIST, or BROS, consider attending AIRA’s informational webinar through Zoom this Wednesday, September 13, at 1:00 p.m. EDT. You can join by clicking here. This call will be an opportunity for AIRA staff and VA staff to learn about the unique veteran populations each region contains and AIRA’a applicability. In particular, AIRA will answer some common questions like how does the federal pricing work; how might prosthetics and trainers secure hardware; and what type of training might AIRA provide trainers and Veterans.

One of the most common questions individuals ask involves HIPAA considerations for individuals utilizing the device in hospital and healthcare settings. As a Social Worker, student at a medical center, and researcher, I needed to answer this question myself before using AIRA. Based on conversations with the legal and public affairs personnel and AIRA staff, an individual will only need to tell the AIRA agent to stop recording the session. For healthcare providers, you may not be allowed to use AIRA when in direct patient or consumer interactions. Its advised you to consult your legal or public affairs teams at your local facility to obtain their interpretations of HIPAA mandates and local policies.

Learn What Apps Will Not Be Supported in iOS 11 and an iOS 11 Sneak Peak

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In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we demonstrate how to check for what iOS apps are not compatible with iOS 11. iOS 11 drops support for 32 bit apps, which increases performance and battery life of iOS devices. We have a simple way to check for what apps will no longer be supported, which greatly aids in determining whether updating to iOS 11 is right for you. We also cover two new updates to iOS 11, the ability to drag and drop multiple items and Voice Over’s new ability to read text on certain images. Here is how to verify what apps are not compatible for iOS 11:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on General
  • Tap on About
  • Tap on Application
  • Navigate through this page to see what apps are not supported on your device.

Thank you for listening to this Blind Vet Tech tutorial on how to see what apps will not be compatible with iOS 11.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

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Google Announces Pilot Disabilities Support Team

The Eyes-Free Google Groups recently announced a new accessibility and disability answer desk at Google. The project is in a beta version with efforts focusing on the limited user base from the Eyes-Free discussion group. The service aims to  serve individuals with disabilities fully utilize the various Google products and services, like Google Docs, Android, Hangouts, Gmail, and the various other platforms.

I am very excited for Google’s ongoing commitment to enhancing both the accessibility and support for individuals with disabilities, and hope we each may assist in the development of the new platform. Before you consider sending a note to the Google’s accessibility email, please read the below email that announced the creation of the service from the Eyes Free Google Groups. The group started several years back to develop things like Talk Back and has been the go to source for Blind and Visually Impaired Google users. Here is the forwarded email:

Forwarded Email Message follows:

I’m excited to announce that Google has a new dedicated disability support team who can be reached at disability-support-external@google.com. The support team will be available Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm PT, to answer any questions you may have about accessibility features within Google products, general accessibility and assistive technology questions.

While we’ve been testing internally for some time now, like any new product/project, we still have some kinks to work out. Therefore, we’re hoping the eyes-free community can help us

Read more to learn about the team and frequently asked questions.

What is the Google disability support team?

The Google disability support team currently consists of agents supporting all things accessibility related to Google. This means, any question(s) you may have with regards to accessibility within Google products or accessibility at Google overall can be emailed to disability-support-external@google.com and you will receive an answer to your question, feedback or concern by a support representative within 72 hours. Please note: At this time, the team will not be able to assist with product specific questions that are not related to accessibility.
The support team will be launching with email only, English only, Monday-Friday, 8-5pm PST.

Why is the Google accessibility team launching this?

Additional support and resources is one of the most frequent feature request we receive from customers, community members, Twitter followers, etc. This will be just one step further towards our long term goals of connecting more with the community and providing additional support.
For those who wish to have a more personalized experience with a Google accessibility expert, this will be a great option!

How can I help test and provide feedback?

That’s right, we’re still testing and we could use your help and feedback!
Simply email disability-support-external@google.com with any Google accessibility question (especially questions you may already know the answer to as this will help to provide feedback on the quality of the answer) and determine whether or not the response was accurate, timely (within 72 hours) and helpful. The feedback survey will be provided in the email from the support agent, simply fill it out at the end of your interaction with the team.

Want to know more? Check out some of the FAQs below:

Why the name “disability-support-external@google.com?”

Unfortunately, the word “accessibility” is often misunderstood as “access.” For multiple reasons, we needed to rule out “accessibility”, “access”, and “assist”.
“Support” and “External” are currently required. Eventually we’ll move towards a hyperlinked “Contact Us” throughout our support pages and Google accessibility site.

Why email only?

While we’re launching with email only, we have plans to quickly move towards additional support channels such as chat and phone. However, because this is a testing period, email allows us to take the time we need to ensure our responses and resources are as accurate as possible before moving to live support.

How long will the team be testing for?

We’ll be testing with just the eyes-free and accessible communities over the next month before launching more publicly.

What is Google trying to learn from this pilot?

Everything! Perhaps most importantly, what types of questions do our customers have and where can we improve our resources and external communication.

What are the next steps after the pilot ends?

Continue scaling! As mentioned above, we’ll be looking to add in additional support channels such as chat, phone and hangouts. Expanding support hours, languages and much more!

How to Listen to Podcast Via Amazon Echo

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In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we demonstrate how to listen to podcast through an Amazon Echo via TuneIn Radio. This episode continues to build upon our previous Amazon Echo and Alexa episodes by guiding one through a couple of new commands and further inspection of the Alexa iOS App. In this episode we:

  • Ask Alexa to play the Blind Vet Tech Podcast
  • Search for a podcast through the Alexa iOS app by
    • Open the Alexa app
    • Double tapping on menu in the upper left corner
    • Navigate to and double tap on Music, Videos, and Books
    • Navigate to TuneIn Radio
    • Navigate to Podcast
    • Enter into the search field and search for a podcast
    • Double tap on the Podcast and the episode to start listening
  • Add a podcast to the Favorite list in the TuneIn Radio settings by
    • Double tap on Now Playing tab in the lower right corner
    • Find the Cue link
    • Find the name of the podcast or episode and swipe once to the right so Voice Over is on an unlabeled link
    • Double tap on the unlabeled link and swipe to the right and double tap on Favorite

Thank you for listening to this Blind Vet Tech tutorial on how to listen to TuneIn Radio podcasts on an Amazon Echo.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Play

Optimize iPhone and iPad Battery Life

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In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we demonstrate how to optimize your iPhones and iPad’s battery life. Most iOS devices possess about 1000 charge cycles before you start to see battery life degradation. With these tips and tricks, you will be able to stave off charging your device, even if your battery begins to show its age. These tips and tricks will squeeze every bit of life from each charge by simply modifying various settings. All of these items stem from Apple’s support page on iOS battery life.

  • Check out the health of your battery in the Settings > Battery menu
  • Enable Low Power Mode from the battery settings, Control Center, or by asking Siri
  • Deactivate Screen auto brightness and set the screen brightness to a desired level in the Control Center or Displays menu
  • Turn on/off Cellular Data when needed
  • Set Mail and cloud accounts to fetch data in the Accounts menu
  • Turn on/off bluetooth as needed
  • Turn on/off Location Services in the Settings > Location Services menu
  • Turn on/off Background App Refresh in the Setting > General > Background App Refresh menu

Thank you for listening to this Blind Vet Tech tutorial on how to optimize your iOS device’s battery life.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

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Listening to Podcasts Via Hims Blaze

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In this Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, News and Reviews podcast, we demonstrate how to listen to podcasts on a Hims Blaze. Hims Blaze series of audio readers offers many features to enjoy various audio content like audio books from NLS BARD and BookShare, FM radio, internet radio, podcasts, and integrated OCR capabilities.
The Hims Blaze audio readers provides countless hours of listening enjoyment for individuals with visual impairments. The easy access to NLS BARD, BookShare, internet radio, integrated FM radio tuner, and ability to capture images and OCR text and colors makes it a wonderful addition to anyone’s technology tool kit. You may listen to the latest best sellers and mail, stream international radio, listen to your local FM radio, and much more. This episode focuses on how to acquire and listen to podcasts. NOTE: This Procedure assumes that a Wifi network is configured on your Hims Blaze.

  • Make sure you are connected to a Wifi network by pressing the Info button located in the top left corner on the face of the Blaze.
  • Press the down arrow on the main menu until you reach Podcasts
  • Press the right arrow or the circular OK button located within the four arrow keys.
  • To add new podcasts, press the Menu button located between the down arrow and #2 keypad buttons.
  • Press the down arrow to navigate to the search function and press the OK button, or just press the #8 button.
  • Use the left and right arrow buttons to navigate between category of word input modes.
  • Press the down arrow to explore options, and the up arrow to return to mode selection.
  • If opting to search for a podcast through word input mode, use the numerical keypad to type in the name of a podcast. Then press the down arrow to view results and left and right arrows to go between results.
  • Press the OK button to subscribe to a podcast.
  • Press the cancel button located above the #1 button to jump to the main podcast menu.
  • On the main podcast screen, use the up and down arrow keys to navigate between podcasts, and then the right or OK button to view episodes.
  • When you find an episode to listen to or to download, press the OK button.
  • Press and hold the cancel button for 2 seconds to delete a podcast.

Thank you for listening to this Blind Vet Tech tutorial on how to listen to podcasts on your Hims Blaze.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Play