Updates, 4/17/16

Over the last month or month and a half, for those who visit this site and take an extensive look around, you might have noticed that I have been making an effort to update the various pages here with the latest information on the Mac and the iDevices.

This is no easy task for one person who is running a business and involved in other non-business projects. So, I apologize for anything that you do find that is out of date, but I am doing my best.

To start, since August of 2015, I have been adding audio tutorials for sale on both the Mac and iOS. I have, as indicated, kept the prices for these tutorials under $50 and they mainly average around the $35 area. At this point, I have nearly 30 of them now, and I will be adding more as time passes. You can take a look
here for what is currently available.

I have reorganized the
Documentation page of the site
This includes the additions of the VoiceOver Getting Started Guide for El Capitan, Mac OS X El Capitan Keyboard shortcuts and some updated iOS documentation. I also rearranged and subdivided the page to make it easier for the user to locate what he or she might be looking for more easily.

Note that I cannot currently locate an electronic version of the iOS 9 user guide or updated electronic versions of the Apple TV 4th generation or the Apple Watch guides as of yet.

In addition, the Getting started pages for both
the Mac
and iOS
have been updated and reorganized. I’ve also removed some of the older documentation and resources to make it less cluttered and easier to find the latest information.

Many of the other pages have also been updated or tweaked here and there. Please feel free to look around and provide me with any comments or reference material that I don’t currently have. Also, if you have your own resources or information that you would like to make available or have me promote for you, please also let me know.

Posted in Accessibility, ACSP, General, iOS 9, iOS Devices, Mac OS X El Capitan, Updates | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The first Laugh for Sight for Dogs event

I am posting this here. My good friend, Brian Fischler of Laugh for Sight is expanding their benefits to help dogs. Please refer to this press release below.

Greetings all,

After 10 years of Laugh For Sight Benefits in New York City an interesting opportunity presented itself for a second benefit. We are partnering with the city and the Mayors Alliance For NYC Animals and Maria Milito from Q104.3 for the Inaugural Laugh For Sight For Dogs to be held on Monday, April 25th at Gotham Comedy Club. Legendary Comedian Robert Klein is on board along with Paul Mecurio the audience warm up Comedian at The Late Show with Steven Colbert, Stacey Prussman, Rich Aaronovitch, Allie Klein, and of course Nash and me. The evening will be Hosted by animal lover Maria Milito from Q104.3. Additionally we will be having a few celebrity presenters who will take the stage with one of the disabled dogs up for adoption. Legendary Actor Danny Aiello will be there along with a few surprises to be announced soon.

So what is Laugh For Sight For Dogs? Well, it is a night that will be filled with tons of laugher and a night that will be supporting Two amazing causes! We will be raising money and awareness about retinal degenerative eye diseases as well as raising money, awareness, and adoption opportunities for NYC’s most ignored, disabled dogs! Whether it is a blind dog or a dog missing a limb, these are not bad animals, just animals that landed in a bad situation.

The evening will start at 7pm with a cocktail hour, silent auction, and meet and greet with some of the dogs up for adoption. There will be a adoption van outside Gotham Comedy Club so even if you are thinking about rescuing a dog there will be people on site to answer any questions you may have. The Comedy Show will start at 830pm. Tickets are $50 plus a two drink min. and VIP Reserved Seating with an Open Bar are $150. Additionally Corporate Sponsorship Tables are available. Contact me directly if interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities.

To buy tickets you can go to www.gothamcomedyclub.com, call 212-367-9000, or click here for the direct ticket page http://gothamcomedyclub.com/event.cfm?id=445447&cart

Please do share the attached ad on your social networks. To keep up with the latest updates about this unique event visit www.laughforsight.com, and make sure to follow us on Twitter at @LaughForSight and the Mayors Alliance at @MayorsAlliance.

So come on out for a barrel of laughs and to support two great causes, and who knows you may even go home with a furry friend!
Brian Fischler
Founder/PresidentLFS Ad v1.jpg
www.laughforsight.com
Twitter: @LaughForSight

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More Info about the Cosmo and BERT

A short time back, I posted information on the Cosmo Brailler and the BERT software Braille solution produced by David Pillischer of Electronic Brailler LLC.

Apple posted a press release to their educator group in regard to the products a week or two ago. I wanted to post what was written and, again, ask that folks pass this around as a viable Braille solution for the Mac. This really has particularly important ramifications for educators and providing Braille to students, even if they are not located in the same facility as the Braille teacher. Below is the press release.

Electronic Brailler LLC developed a comprehensive teaching tool for an underserved population of disabled students designed for schools and government education agencies.
It is the only accessible communication technology of its kind made for blind and deaf/blind students that allows them to communicate with teachers at a remote location.
It has the potential to be a market leader for companies supplying eLearning solutions for students or the state agencies responsible for education of blind / deaf-blind individuals.
Benefits of BERT (Braille Education Remote Tool)
Safety for the itinerant teaching staff
Traffic delays to and from student locations.
Winter road hazards where driving may be postponed or delayed.
Anytime a teacher needs to travel to see students there is potential for auto accidents.
Saving Cost of time
We save teachers travel time resulting in more contact time or meeting with more students on a daily or weekly basis.
Saving Cost of travel
Travel related expense or automobile expenses such as: petroleum, highway tolls, eventual repairs for vehicles, mileage compensation paid to the teacher, or the cost of a driver.
True Accessibility
The teacher does not necessarily need to know Braille to communicate using braille when teaching a blind or deaf blind student.
A TVI experienced with braille can instruct a student using any braille format, teach a student proper braille formats, translation and fingering techniques.

visit here for more info

info@ebrailler.com

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Apple Event for March 21, 2016

On Monday, March 21, Apple held another event, “Let us loop you in”. In typical style, Tim Cook had some announcements involving the latest news from Apple, which included a few new products.

Now, without a doubt, I will not debate the fact that this event was not as exciting or entertaining for me personally. I know there has been some chatter on some of the lists about this, though I would not at all call it, “disappointing” as some have termed it. I think, as blind people, we often lose our perspective on what Apple is doing if it doesn’t directly impact our own personal worlds.

Obviously, iOS 9.3, Watch OS 2 and the new tvOS updates are things that do have some baring on the blind, and I was particularly interested in those items myself. I think that Apple continues to improve the software for their devices, and this also includes the area of accessibility. As an example of that,
Applevis has information on the improvements in accessibility in iOS 9.3 you can read about here.

Apple also spent time highlighting the new iPhone SE, which is a new 4 inch model of the iPhone, as well as the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, which joins the original 12.7 inch iPad Pro as a second alternative. These devices, which will be available for preorder on March 24 and then will be released March 31, though they might not set the world of blindness on fire, fit specific marketing targets for Apple, and, thus, were actually major announcements for them. I personally don’t need to update my iPad as of yet and I already have an iPhone 6S, but still, I think these are fantastic products, and I know of a few people who are particularly interested in the 4 inch iPhone model.

Some people were expecting a new Apple Watch model, as well as announcements for refreshers to some of the Mac product lines. I wasn’t personally expecting a new watch myself, and the Mac models will undoubtedly come over the passing months. In fact, there are already rumors that there will be new 13 and 15 inch Mac Book Pros coming in April. Additionally, the major news in regard to new iPhones, Mac operating systems and new iOS versions usually comes at WWDC, which is held in June.

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Braille Input in iOS and on the Mac, a Possible Option for UsersBraille, Portset,

In my previous post, I talked about Braille output on the Mac. In this post, I wanted to pass along information on a potential solution for Braille input for both iOS and Mac OS X.

Portset Systems Ltd, are an assistive technology company based in England, and have been making assistive devices for the blind and physically disabled for several years. In my “former life” as an assistive technology vendor, I was a reseller for Portset, which included the Portset Reader stand-alone reading machine.

Also, though, Portset developed the Braille KeyG and KeyG2, which are Braille input devices that were originally developed to provide Braille input for the PC and Windows. This was and is a solution that works extremely well. I still use my Braille KeyG2 for input when I am using my PC to this day.

Recently, Portset expanded the capability of the Braille KeyG products to support iOS devices and even the Mac. I have been testing and using my upgraded Braille KeyG2 to test its use with my iPad and iPhone, and on my iMac. I must say that it does a great job and definitely gives on an affordable alternative if one cannot afford the much more expensive Braille displays that offer six-key Braille input.

It may not be the perfect solution for all cases, as there are some limitations to certain functions, such as Quick Nav as it currently stands, but I am sure this is something Portset will address as time passes. Overall, though, for basic tasks, and for things like document writing and composing or responding to messages in iOS or the Mac, either version of the Braille KeyG will get the job done for you. For the Mac with the Braille KeyG2 model, there are two extra keys below the left side of the Braille keyboard that act like the VoiceOver Keys, which gives the keyboard even more functionality.

Even though this is a Youtube video link, there is certainly enough audio in this demonstration to get an idea of the use of the Braille KeyG2 with iOS.
You can click here to hear the video in its entirety.

For specific details about the BrailleKey keyboards,
go here.

Since Portset also focuses on physical disabilities with there products, I am going to add a couple of additional links.

Here is info on their USB auto charger.

And here is the actual product page for the charger.

They also have a iPad 4 switch input to Bluetooth they specially designed for a switch user to communicate with their iPads.

To contact Portset directly, you can send an email to:
sales@portset.co.uk

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Another Braille Solution for the Mac

The topic of Braille translation and embossing by way of the Mac has come up frequently on the various email lists for blind Mac users. I have presented a few posts on this subject over the years, which has included information on the Index Braille Embossers and their Mac compatible software.

As someone who was fortunate enough to have grown up learning Braille and has used it throughout his life, this is a subject that has a lot of personal meaning to me. I am disturbed deeply by the attitude of some sighted teachers and educators who believe Braille is a dinosaur and that in the world of electronic information, it’s not necessary to teach blind children or adults Braille. That is like saying sighted kids shouldn’t have to learn to handwrite because they have keyboards. It’s a matter of simple literacy, in my opinion, so this is a major reason why I am presenting this information.

Let me also be clear here that I do not receive any compensation for sales or such by “promoting” these products. I believe them to be valuable tools that have gotten lost in the world of other Braille equipment producers who receive more attention because of popularity and in some cases, basic unfair politics. David Pillischer is a man who has been involved in the sales, repairs and production of Braille embossers for nearly 30 years, and I have been fortunate enough to have had the Cosmo Brailler demonstrated to me on two occasions. Note that these demonstrations were done by way of a Mac Book Pro laptop.

Recently, I had a conversation with David Pillischer, who I have known as far back as when I was an assistive technology vendor. As a result of this discussion about Braille on the Mac, he sent me a link to an article that I thought might be of interest to some folks. Please pass this information around, as there is definitely another potential Braille solution for blind Mac users out there, especially in the education area.

Please go here and the article is the first one in this issue.

I would definitely check out the BERT software and the Cosmo Brailler. If you would like details about these products, please

visit here

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Updates and Some Other Odds and EndsAudio Tutorials, Coupons, resources,

Audio Tutorial Series Updates

It’s been a while since my last post, so I wanted to mention a few things here before the Christmas holiday week gets here and I will be taking a short break.

The Audio Tutorial Series is going a lot better than I could have ever imagined. I sincerely thank those who have kindly purchased them and who have continued to support me through recommendations to others and general kind words. I have created, with the kind assistance of Derek Lane, over 20 different tutorials now on both Mac and iOS. Of course, more will be added as time passes, and your continued support will surely encourage this project to expand and diversify in the future.

For a limited time, you can take advantage of a 10 percent discount by using the coupon code, HOL2015, when you checkout. This will expire January 22nd of 2016. I also offer bulk discounts if there is an interest in purchasing the entire Mac, iOS or both series. In the future, I will also make other coupons and discounts available, so please check back here often.

Additionally in regard to the Audio Tutorial Series, Jamie Pauls wrote a review of the series in the latest addition of AFB’s Access World. I very much appreciate Jamie taking the time to do such a thorough job in his review, and if you are interested in reading what he had to say, please
go here. Continue reading

Posted in Accessibility, ACSP, General, iOS 9, iOS Devices, iPhone, Mac OS X El Capitan, WatchOS 2 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mac for the Blind is on Facebook

I know a lot of people have asked, and Mac for the Blind finally has a Facebook page. Please spread the word and “like us” as well. Information posted here will be also posted on the Facebook page. You can visit the page by going
here.

Also, please remember to follow Mac for the Blind on Twitter as well, @macfortheblind.

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Laugh for Sight 2015

As I have been doing, here is information on the Laugh for Sight 2015 show. Please try to pass this along if possible.

Greetings all,

It is that time of year again as Laugh For Sight NYC tickets just went on sale. Hard to believe as this will be our 10 Year Anniversary in New York City, and we think we will have one of our most amazing lineups yet! This year’s benefit will be at Gotham Comedy Club on Monday, November 16, 2015. Legendary Comedian Robert Klein will be returning for his 9th year, and be joined by Artie Lange, Gilbert Gottfried, Rich Vos, Bonnie McFarlane, Daryl Wright, Nash and me, and who knows we still might even have a special V.I.P. guest to announce.

The Silent Auction and Cocktail Hour Hosted by Susan Michel will kick off at 7pm and feature fine jewelry, sports items, tickets to late night shows, and other surprises. There will be live music and complimentary cocktails during the hour leading up to the comedy show.

Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Scheie Eye Institute. General admin tickets are $50 and a two item min, and V.I.P. Preferred Seating with an Open Bar can be purchased for $150. Tickets can be purchased through Gotham Comedy Club at www.gothamcomedyclub.com, by calling 212-367-9000, or by clicking here http://gothamcomedyclub.com/event.cfm?id=416596&cart

Please share this ticket link on your social networks, and for up to the date information please visit www.laughforsight.com, and make sure to follow us on Twitter at @LaughForSight.com.

Brian Fischler
Founder/President
www.laughforsight.com
Twitter: @LaughForSight

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3D Touch with VoiceOver on the iPhone 6s

There has been a lot of questions and comments about the new 3D Touch feature of VoiceOver on the iPhone 6s. I have been curious about this myself, and I think Scott Davert of Applevis, once again, does a fantastic job of demonstrating it. He also has a VoiceOver user guide available for 3D Touch as well.

To hear the demonstration,
go here.

You can
find the VoiceOver User Guide here.

Posted in Accessibility, iOS 9, iPhone, Updates | Tagged , | Leave a comment