A Few New Items to Start the Year

Happy New Year to all, as late as I am. Unfortunately, it’s been a busy end to the previous year and I’ve sort of hit the ground running to start this one. However, there are a few items I wanted to pass along that might be of interest to folks.

First off, Winston Chen, the developer of what I feel is the best reading application on the market for iOS, Voice Dream Reader, has released a word processor application called, Voice Dream Writer. It was built with VoiceOver accessibility in mind from the ground up, and is truly worth the money. I am posting a link to an interview done on Cool Blind Tech with Mr. Chen that is worth the listen if you have the time. The man is extremely fascinating and it’s a great story. Also, he is working towards making a Mac version of the app, which I think would be simply fantastic.

The interview can be found

To learn about the Voice Dream Writer application,
go here.

Additionally, Shelly Brisbin has released an update to her iOS Access book for iOS 8. It is called, iOS Access for All: Your Guide to Accessibility for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch (iOS 8 Edition). From her website from the About this Book link,

“iOS Access for All is a comprehensive guide to the accessibility features of Apple’s mobile devices. From the VoiceOver screen reader, which allows blind users to control an iPhone or iPad, to support for hearing aids and closed captioning, Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, includes features that support use of the company’s popular iDevices by people with a wide range of physical and cognitive disabilities. iOS Access for All is the most thorough, hands-on guide to accessibility features available. Readers will learn how to set up and use an iOS device in an accessible way, and how to get the most from apps provided by Apple, and available from the App Store. The book also introduces iOS tools, including the Siri voice assistant, that weren’t designed for accessibility, but that nonetheless enhance the productivity and pleasure of disabled users.”

To read all about the book, download sample chapters or purchase it, visit
her website for the book.

Lastly, but certainly not least, there has been a lot of talk about the Be My Eyes application for iOS. I recently downloaded it, but have not tried it yet. However, it’s received a lot of buzz in the blindness community and is another addition to the various “recognizer” apps available to the blind.
You can go here to get all of the information and purchase the app.

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Some More Logic Pro Info

The following information was posted on the Mac4theblind email list by Keith Reedy. I know I get a lot of questions about Logic, and I know this information will be helpful to some folks.

Hi folks,

The new Logic Pro X accessibility overview is up.
New information on patches, smart controls and a few new additions in advanced features. Find
it here.

If you missed the podcast find them

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Apple October 16 Event and a Few Other Items

I am a bit behind, but I have updated the
News page of the site
in regard to the event Apple held last week. This includes all of the details about the new iPads, OS X Yosemite, Apple Pay, the iMac 27 inch model with Retina 5K display and the updated Mac Mini.

In addition, iOS 8.1 was released on Monday. Some bugs have been fixed, but there are still that remain. To read a summary of what has been fixed and is still outstanding as far as accessibility bugs go, Applevis, once again, has
a complete run down here.

As for OS X Yosemite, just to be clear here, it is completely safe to upgrade. Compared to Mavericks and it’s initial release, there are no major bugs. A few people are making Federal cases on public lists out of feature changes, such as in Spotlight and iTunes, but the reality is Yosemite is a great upgrade. If you are, though, one who is concerned about bugs and would like to know what to expect, as well as read about the new features of Yosemite, again, I refer you to Applevis and their lists of features and found bugs that can be
found here.

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Laugh for Sight 2014 info

Once again, as I have done over the last few years, here is some info courtesy of Brian Fischler about this year’s Laugh for Sight event.


Please join us for the 9th annual Laugh For Sight NYC on Monday, October 27th at Gotham Comedy Club. This year’s All star Laugh For Sight NYC will be Hosted by Craig Carton from the Nationally Syndicated Boomer & Carton hit morning show and feature Legendary Comedian Robert Klein, Gilbert Gottfried, Jim Norton, Brian Fischler with his guide dog Nash, and more Surprise Guests!

Laugh For Sight raises awareness about retinal degenerative eye diseases and also helps to raise the much needed funds for gene therapy research being done at the Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. Along with the comedy show there is a silent auction featuring luxury jewelry donated courtesy of Susan Michel and friends, tickets to late night television shows, and sports memorabilia. The Silent Auction will kick off at 7PM followed by the comedy show at 830PM. Gotham Comedy Club is located at 208 West 23rd St., NYC, NY. Tickets can be purchased by going to www.gothamcomedyclub.com and clicking on October 27th, by calling 212-367-9000, or clicking directly on this linkhttp://gothamcomedyclub.com/event.cfm?id=341644&cart

Corporate Table and donations for the silent auction are still being accepted and you can contact Brian Fischler at 718-480-3566 or brian@laughforsight.com, and to learn more about Laugh For Sight please visit www.laughforsight.com, and follow them on Twitter @LaughForSight.

Additionally if you can not make it to this year’s benefit, you can still help support Laugh For Sight NYC by sharing the attached ad for this year’s benefit on your social networks. Please help us get the word out there, as gene therapy research is at a critical juncture where people who have been blind their entire life are getting close to receive the gift of site, and people like me who went blind later in life have a realistic chance of having their vision restore, so taking the few seconds to share this add is greatly appreciated.

Furthermore if you would like to make a tax deductible donation to Laugh For Sight, you can do so through the website at www.laughforsight.com and click the donate button.

Brian Fischler
Twitter: @LaughForSightLFS10-NY-r1.jpg

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iOS 8: to upgrade or Not to Upgrade?

As seems to be the talk with any “.0 release” with an operating system, the matter of whether or not to upgrade always takes center stage in the blindness community. Certainly iOS 8, Apple’s latest version of the iDevice operating system, is no exception.

Let me first start off by pointing folks to a pretty comprehensive resource if one is interested in reading about what known bugs exist in iOS 8 from an accessibility standpoint. This might be the best place to start in regard to making your decision. You can
go here
to read about all of the known bugs and issues.

In my opinion, it is personal choice. From my experience with both an iPhone 5S and an iPhone 6, I have not encountered any bugs that I’d say are definite show stoppers. Some of the bugs Applevis has listed have not shown up at all for me. However, I do not discount them, and, thus, it is up to you as the user to make that all important decision.

What I am advising my clients is simply this. You should take the time to read about the bugs and speak to a variety of users who have upgraded to iOS 8 first. Educate oneself and just don’t rely on a single source. Also, keep in mind that we do have those in the blindness community who seem to have a way of magnifying problems and blowing them out of regular proportion by the way they write about their experiences. In other words, some folks simply make a heck of a lot more than is necessary and probably accurate out of their experiences for one reason or another.

Nevertheless, once one has done the research, then making that all important choice is up to them. Maybe, 8.1 will be best for you to install when it is released. However, I think most users can deal with the bugs that do exist and take advantage of what iOS 8 has to offer. In the end, however, only you as the user can choose for him or herself.

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Correct Link for Logic and VoiceOver PodcastsLogic, VoiceOver

A short time ago, I posted about a podcast done by Keith Reedy on using VoiceOver on the Mac with Logic. I am posting the new and correct link for all of his podcasts that he will be doing on this subject. Please see the podcasts

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Apple September 9, 2014, Event

I’m a few days late here, but Apple held another event on September 9. Once again, they spoke about several new product releases and other news. You can read a summary of events on the
News page
in which I have taken information directly from the Apple Hot News page to make it easier to round up the news.

Basically, the
Apple Watch
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
were the major product announcements. Additionally, it was announced
iOS 8
will be released next week on the 17th. There will be a new service included with iOS 8 and included on the iPhone 6 models and Apple Watch called,
Apple Pay.
Apple and the band, U2,
teamed up to give fans a free album one can download from iTunes.

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A Couple of Links to Share and a Quick Note

Here are a couple of links I wanted to share that might be helpful to others.

The first is from Applevis, and is written by, James Goldsworthy, a client and friend of mine. It’s on how to install the high quality voices for your iDevice. Note that it is written with UK English in mind, but the info James has provided works for all voices.

Go here to read the article.

The second link is for a podcast on Logic Pro X accessibility done by another friend, Keith Reedy. I have gotten more than a few questions about how accessible logic is with VoiceOver. This podcast should be quite useful to those interested in the subject.

You’ll find it here.

Lastly, as a note to the visitors and readers of this site, I have been fortunate enough to have gotten some contract work directly with Apple in regards to accessibility. As a consequence of this situation, I will be traveling out to California periodically. Also, well, I will have work to do for them, along with my training. How everything is impacted remains to be seen, but the point to this note is that updates to this site may not come as frequently and info I’d want to post quickly might be delayed. So, I apologize in advance, but it cannot be helped.

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Something to Check Out

It’s always interesting to me when accessibility is reported on by the mainstream media. This is a good source for Apple info and my brother sent me a link to this article. Whatever you may feel about the National Federation of the Blind, it is nice to see Apple getting some recognition for their commitment to accessibility. I am particularly please because of the nonsense I occasionally read by the ignorant or simple-minded Apple bashers who like to stir up the old and tiresome, “Apple doesn’t care about the blind” statements.

There are links to the original NFB blog post in the article, but the 9 to 5 Mac article can be read,

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WWDC 2014

I am a little late here, but Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference keynote for 2014 was held yesterday in San Francisco. I am not going to reinvent the wheel here. A lot has already been written about Mac OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. So, I will point you at a comprehensive summary done about the keynote and its highlights. The good folks at Applevis have done a far better job than I could do. You can read about it

For details on Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, you can
see them here.

For iOS 8 information,
you cango here
for all of the details.

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