Mac for the Blind 4th of July and Convention Sale

In honor of the 4th of July and the ACB and NFB summer conventions, Mac for the Blind is happy to announce a sale on all audio tutorials and Apple Slices! This sale will continue throughout the month of July. Anyone looking to take advantage of this sale can use the coupon code, FB15CON when checking out!

Have a great 4th of July and for those attending the summer conventions, have a safe and great time! I will be speaking at the NFB convention on July 12 for the Trainer’s Division, so I look forward to meting anyone who happens to be there at that time.

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WWDC 2017 Announcements

Once Again, Apple held it’s World Wide Developer Conference, returning to San Jose after some 15 years. There were quite a few product announcements made by Tim Cook during the two and a half hour keynote presentation. I tried to summarize things on the
News page of the site.

From an accessibility perspective, in my opinion, there wasn’t anything specific that caught my attention or anything that I thought was something to really get excited about.
There is a great post from
the Applevis people that talks about the accessibility features expected in all of the new software releases across the board.

Personally, since I am looking to upgrade my 2012 Mac Book Pro, I was interested in the refresh of the notebook models. I will probably end up buying a new Mac Book Pro 13 inch model over the summer, in fact.

The HomePod was probably the one product that I found most interesting. I’ve been on the fence of whether to purchase an Amazon Echo or Dot, but when I heard Apple might be releasing their own product, I held off to see what would be available from them and how it might differ. I will probably end up purchasing the HomePod when it’s available, as its speaker for music is something I really want, along with the kind of abilities offered by the Echo. Additionally, from what I’ve read about the Echo and Dot being “always on” even when it is said not to be and Apple’s commitment to privacy, well, I’d rather go in the direction of Apple when it comes to that particular subject.

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My return to the iAccess VO Podcast

It’s been a few months, but I was, once again, a guest on the iAccess VO podcast hosted by Brian and Ed. If you are interested in listening,
please go here.

As usual, I thank Brian and Ed for inviting me on. There are some interesting topics that we discuss, and Brian and Ed have a great guest, who is the blind mayor of a city in the mid-west.

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Mac for the Blind is Proud to Announce the Apple Slices Series

In conjunction with the Audio Tutorial Series for the Mac and iOS, I am now adding what I’m calling, Apple Slices. These are very short mini lessons of 5 to 7 minutes in length that focus on a specific task or a feature within an application on the Mac or in iOS. Instead of the full overview of an application, as the audio tutorials attempt to do, I just present a single task or tasks related to a specific feature.

So, over the next few months, look for these Apple Slices to start to be added. My goal is to give people the option to purchase very affordable mini lessons that are under $5.00 in cost. The user might know how to use, for example, Mail on the Mac, but, perhaps, they don’t know how to create a signature or exactly how to deal with receiving a mail attachment. This is where the Apple Slices will work for that person. As more are added, look for “Apple Pie” options and other announcements.

As with the Audio Tutorial Series, I am interested in suggestions for additions for the series. If you have any ideas, please let me know. Also, as usual, feedback is always appreciated.

I thank all of those who have purchased the Audio Tutorial Series over the last year and a half, and I hope the Apple Slices will be a great value to others as well. You can look
here to keep track of the series as it grows.

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Cyber Weekend sale on All Audio Tutorials!

A new audio tutorial for the Mac has been added to the
Mac Lessons Page
You can learn about using VoiceOver and SIRI in Mac OS Sierra in this tutorial.

Also, until Monday, November 28 at midnight, receive a 25 percent discount on all audio tutorials by using the promo code, Fav25 when you checkout and are ready to pay. This gives those folks who have bought previous tutorials the chance to complete their collection, as well as give the new person the chance to buy them at a discounted price. Remember this deal only lasts until the end of Cyber Monday!

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Another potential source for Braille input and output for the Mac and iOS

Many probably know that I have a particular interest and strong opinion about the use of Braille by the blind. Braille literacy has become a hot topic, and there is an dangerously foolish attitude out there that because of the cost of Braille, teaching the blind to use Braille is not cost effective any longer. It’s, to me, like saying you will stop teaching sighted kids to handwrite because so many of them use keyboards and tablets these days.

Anyway, before I go on a rant about this, it has been brought to my attention that there is a developer who is both attempting to develop a low cost Braille input keyboard for iOS and the Mac, as well as a refreshable Braille display that could be ready for the market by March and at a lower cost than the other projects claiming to have this technology at an affordable amount.

There is a Kickstarter program out there that I wanted to pass along to any interested people. I please ask that this information gets spread around in as many places as possible and using social media to its greatest extent. This gentleman does not have the experience or the connections to get the word out there to the blind. The more who know, the better this project has a chance to become a reality and go into mass production.

Here is the Kickstarter page.

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Apple Event from September 7 and Some Additional News

I am a bit behind here, and it seemed that Apple decided to release a lot of products while I was on vacation. I summarized most of the announcements from their September 7 event
here.
I did not buy
an Apple Watch Series 2,
but I did upgrade my iPhone 6S to
an iPhone 7.

I have to say that though I wouldn’t consider it a major step up from the 6S, there is a noticeable speed increase overall on the device. Additionally,
iOS 10
which was released on the 13th, runs like a champ on the new phone. I can definitely say that I’m really happy with it.

On the subject of iOS 10, I think the accessibility folks at Apple did a fine job. If you are on the fence about updating your device, I would honestly say it’s not the typical dicy proposition that some initial upgrades can be. To me, what bugs there are are far from a show stopper and in most cases, you can work around them. As usual,
the fine folks at Applevis did a very nice summary of the major and minor bugs they found in iOS 10.

For you Mac users, Mac OS Sierra
was released on September 20 as a free upgrade.
As I said with iOS 10, this is another solid upgrade by the accessibility team from Apple. It’s another upgrade I’d consider to be “safe” for those of you who are undecided about upgrading your current operating system. SIRI on the Mac makes it worth the upgrade alone, though there are really no major VoiceOver additions. In fact, I think the upgrade really took care of many of the preexisting bugs from El Capitan and earlier.
Here is a very nice summary of Sierra provided by the Applevis gang.

I didn’t mention it in the News page, but besides the Apple Watch Series 2 being released,
Watch OS 3 is also available,
and is another great upgrade if you own an Apple Watch, as I do.

So, overall, it was a busy few weeks while I was away.

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Mac for the Blind has a Youtube Channel!

After adding a
Facebook page,
Mac for the Blind now has a Youtube channel. It is a work in progress and I will slowly add some quick demonstration videos. These videos are for TVIs and other sighted people who might assist the blind user, but they will always include audio and will serve blind users just as well. The hope is that users will purchase the
audio tutorials
I have available. You can go
here for the Mac for the Blind Youtube channel.

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Another episode of iAccess VO

In the latest episode of iAccess VO, I was a guest on with Brian and Ed. It was a lot of fun, and we spoke about the upcoming releases of iOS and Mac OS.

You can find the episode
here.

Enjoy!

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The latest episode of iAccess VO

As a follow up to my previous post in regard to the National Federation of the Blind’s 2016-04 Resolution, I commented further on it in the latest episode of the iAccess VO podcast. I am a frequent guest to come on with Brian and Ed, and I verbally explain exactly my opinion about the resolution.

I am posting the link here because I have received a few comments via Twitter and privately through conversations. I want to stress again that my post was not directed in any way at criticizing the NFB or participating in “bashing” the organization. As I clearly state on the podcast, my “problem” is specifically with Resolution 2016-04 because of its language and the fact that other mainstream technology companies guilty of similar shortcomings were not included in it. As I said to an NFB person in Twitter to sum up my overall opinion, the resolution simply should not have been brought up at all or should have been written differently to reflect a broader spectrum of companies who might want to be taken to task for possibly dropping the ball when it comes to advances in accessibility of their products and operating systems.

In any event
the episode can be found here.

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