iOS 7.1 Is Released

For those not aware, iOS 7.1 is now released. I just downloaded it on my iPhone 5S. The bug that effected using the rotor to raise the volume of some iDevices, such as the iPhone 5S, above 35 percent is fixed, as well as, “screen lock” being repeated.

For a comprehensive list of fixes and remaining bugs, I’d highly recommend going to the good folks at
Applevis
to read about them all. In particular, for low vision users, there have been several changes and additions.

Posted in Accessibility, General, iOS Devices, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Another Review from Scott

I am far behind, as this was posted by Scott Granados on the mac4theblind email list several weeks ago. Neverthe less, I give you another review from Scott, this one on the Jawbone Era:

So, as some of you may know on 01/27 Jawbone refreshed the Era which is their flagship bluetooth headset. As a refresher the old Era was a very small headset (about 15 grams) and had decent noise cancelation. There was also firmware upgradable code and motion censors etc.

Well it’s time for a new one.

First, the Era by Jawbone is a fully functional tiny headset. A2DP is supported so you can have iPhone audio through the headset as well as several handsfree profiles including the new wide band standard. Sound assassin 4 is now present along with the same old cheek censor.
The headset itself is now less than 10 grams in a very small form factor. The New jawbone is a small rectangular outside with an ear spiraled insert that fits in your ear canal. The headset sits on the outside of your ear with the small bump censor against your cheek or well jawbone. (hence the name) The only controls on the unit are a programmable button on the back you use for operation and a slide switch on the inside next to the ear for power.

Pairing was very easy. Simply power up the unit the first time and it drops in to pairing mode. Select with your phone and the pairing happens automatically including the code key.
The ear fit is a little complicated. You have spiraled inserts that should fit your ear. You sort of spin the headset in to your ear with the ear opening lining up with your canal and the other counter balance side part of the spiral providing counter pressure so it stays lodged in your ear. This is very comfortable because there’s no one point or a few points of friction holding the headset in, rather the whole base supports weight and keeps the headset solid, very well done once you get the fit
Over all I say by the headset. The voice quality, size, ease of operation and quality finally are worth the users time. This is a perfect operating Jawbone, something I haven’t seen before so get

Enjoy

Posted in Accessibility, General, iOS Devices | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A quick note

I must apologize for the lack of posts. There have been some technical problems with the site caused by some corrupted data files. Thus, this has been something my webmaster has been addressing over the last few weeks. I do have things I will be posting and adding to the to the site. So, please stay tuned. This will include new podcasts to the Audio Demonstration series.

Posted in General, Updates | Leave a comment

Yet Another Review from Scott

Here is another product review offered by Scott Granados. This one is on the HP 551DM color laser printer. Enjoy.

So here’s a review of an HP 551DM color laser network attached printer.

Features

Features include double sided printing, 1 GB of printer memory, gigabit Network connection, multiple paper trays, complex remote monitoring like SNMP, EPrint, Air Print and web based server for monitoring use of supplies and printer performance.

The Pluses

this is a great printer. It was easy to set up although it helped to have sited assistance. Finding all the taped portions for shipping and removing all the locks would be tricky if you haven’t done it before. Very possible to learn though if you had to deal with packing and unpacking these units. There is lots of functionality including being able to print on both sides of the page automatically, most print methods are supported including post script, lots of printer memory for storage of jobs and 600 – 1200 DPI print output. Page count is about 33 pages per minute both in color or black and white mode.

Down Sides

The main downsides are the cost, I spent approximately $700 for the printer and another 800 for a replacement set of inks. The printer does ship with all the ink you need however which can knock 200 dollars each times 4 or about 800 dollars off the cost. You can also use recycled ink from ink technologies to cut that cost by 3 quarters. Still it’s expensive although it performs at the high end of the spectrum, I may have bought to much printer for what I need.
The other issue is the size. The printer weighs about 75 pounds unloaded so make sure you have a sturdy shelf.

Overall

Over all I’m very happy. I’d give this printer 4.5 stars. If you need a heavy work horse printer especially for a small office, this is the unit for you.

Posted in Accessibility, General | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Another review courtesy of Scott Granados

Here is another review written by Scott Granados that he posted on the mac4theblind mailing list and has given kind permission to post on this site. This review covers the latest version of the Apple Extreme Base Station.

Here we go, a review of the new airport extreme 802.11AC base station.

The current version of the Airport Extreme from Apple is a base station that provides WiFi connectivity to your apple or non apple devices and can provide routing for an entire network or act as an access point for an existing network. Airport Extremes can also be used together as repeaters.

What’s in the box?

The Airport Extreme 802.11AC comes in a tall rectangular box with an airport extreme base unit, small booklet and power cord. (same power cord as the Apple TV)

The Airport Extreme description.

The Airport Extreme is a rectangular box with rounded edges. The airport itself stands about 8 to 10 inches high and is about 6 inches square or the same circumference as an Apple TV. The box has an Apple on the top and bottom and the ports are all located on one side starting from the bottom of the unit. The plugs in order from bottom up are AC power, WAN, USB, and 3 LAN ports.

Configuring and connecting.

Configuring and connecting the Apple Airport Extreme is very easy. Simply attach a cable from the WAN port to your local network you wish to extend or to your modem if acting as a router. Once connected apply power and wait approximately 20 seconds. You’ll see an open network called Apple Network appear in your WiFi list. Join this network and the airport utility automatically starts. Enter in your network name or SSID, password or key, follow the directions and save your settings. Check the firmware, update if an update exists, reboot and reconnect using your new network name. That’s all. Very simple and can be done in only a few minutes.

Once connected you will join your WiFi devices to the new network and enjoy your Airport extreme. You will notice improved connectivity across all network devices whether they support AC networking or not. If you have an Apple Macbook / Pro or Macbook Air that supports AC you will get easily 1 half gigabit throughput. Most devices seem to connect in the 400 megabit range using type N. This will improve as Apple deploys AC networking across their product line.
The Airport Extreme supports both 2.4 and 5 GHZ as well as channel bonding. The best band will automatically be selected and if possible both bands will be used in parallel for maximum throughput. (depends on wireless client’s capabilities)

Conclusions

Over all I like the unit a great deal. As always, the setup is simple and clever, performance is very good and it worked right out of the box. Negatives are it’s not that configurable especially for advanced use cases, QOS isn’t exposed or configurable, but it does boot securely.
For folks who have a USB hard disk available the Airport Extreme can share that drive as a network resource using it’s included USB port. This port can also be used to share a printer.

Over all, I’d give this unit 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a definite must have if you have a majority of your devices with Apple.

Posted in Accessibility, General | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Happy New Year to all!

I just wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2014. Thank you for visiting this site and your continued support.

Unfortunately, from the perspective of adding as much content as I’d like, I have not had the time to do so. My training schedule with clients and other personal commitments has limited my free time. As most of you know, this site is a labor of love and I have really been doing the work here when I have free minutes. Of late, those free minutes have been far and few between.

I have put out the request a number of times over the years, and it still is extended. If anyone would like to contribute anything here, such as articles, “how to” posts or “tips and tricks”, please do let me know. I have had a few people tell me they wanted to help out here, but, sadly, other than a couple of kind folks, there has been no follow up. Nevertheless, I will continue to do the best I can to keep this site up-to-date.

John Panarese

Posted in General | Leave a comment

More Large Print Keyboard Info

On the subject of large print keyboards, Maurie Hill of AISquared was kind enough to point out that RJ Cooper sells a variety of adaptive products for the iDevices. This includes a large print keyboard. You can go
here
for the information.

In addition, I am going to post the latest newsletter from RJ Cooper for those of you who might be interested in checking those guys out. Much of it goes beyond blindness and visual impairments, but they are still a very nice resource to keep in mind.

Hi to my Assistive Technology and AAC ‘fans’!

Can you believe 2013 is almost gone! Unbelievable. And I get 1 year older 🙁 But I’m still going! During the past several years, with the takeover of the iPad in special needs, several people and companies have elected to retire. They helped to create the thriving fields we have now. There’s too many to list here. But there’s one that I believe warrants a mention. As I, that is, *we* all grow older, we start thinking about our legacy, if and what we’ll be remembered for. I truly hope I’ve made an impact on our world. Here’s one person that has been a pioneer in the field, helped thousands, and did something *really* special with his early work.

Walt Waltosz, who created some of the first truly functional AAC systems, one of which was/is used by Stephen Hawking, world reknowned physicist. Here’s an article from that time period (although I can’t tell from the handwriting at the top of it what the year is):

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&ved=0CEsQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rogerhighfield.com%2Fmedia%2Ffinding_a_voice.pdf&ei=r46bUu-0FYbooASVoILwAg&usg=AFQjCNFYPqm-Zvr8zl8D842d1RswNSMMKA&sig2=tWg8jWQeplt54yGDxkl9bw

Of course there are more people, but in thinking about *my* legacy, I wanted to pay homage to *his*. OK, on to *my* stuff 😉

**CRITICAL: You MUST get your order IN to us by Dec. 6 to ensure delivery by Christmas. If you place your order during the week of Dec. 9, you *will* need to pay for UPS 2 day shipping to guarantee delivery by Christmas. NO EXCEPTIONS, so please don’t wait and then ask for an exception, and then get angry with *me* 😉 **

So here’s my latest stuff; I’ll try to be brief. Look over each numbered item and if it’s of interest, click on the associated link for more info.

1) iOS 7 Switch Control – I don’t have to say much more to get you excited because so many people *are* excited over this. But not me. Although I *do* applaud Apple for it, it’s quite flawed, IMHO (but it can be fixed….but *will* it? 😉 Click below for my reasons:

http://rjcooper.com/ios-7

2) My ScanOver alternative to #1 is moving nicely. I do believe, while it’s not a perfect solution, it’s still better than iOS 7 Switch Control, at this point.

http://rjcooper.com/scanover

3) I’ll have my Ultimate II cases for the new iPad Air by the beginning of new year.

http://rjcooper.com/ipad-ultimate-case-ii

4) I’ve added optional Extensions to my popular Magic Arm for iPads.

http://rjcooper.com/tablet-mounts

5) Some new great pictures showing one of my favorite switch sites, for the most challenged learners/users at…

http://rjcooper.com/mini-arm

6) Here’s a twist on a cool iPad implementation if you’re working with a physical keyboard, possibly with my Spell-A-Word app:

http://rjcooper.com/tablet-combo-stand

7) And speaking of keyboards, I’m now packaging my popular, and almost tip-proof Tablet Stand with my BIG-Blue-Tooth keyboards:

see here.

You might find another one like it from a non-special-needs-devoted company, but mine has my VERY helpful colored-rows and some special iPad functions, and even built-in StickyKeys!

I’ll stop there, but there’s more I’m working on. More next time.

Sincerely (remember, I’m a *person*, not a “vendor”),

RJ 🙂

RJ Cooper & Associates, Inc. | 22600-A Lambert St. Suite 708 | Lake Forest | CA | 9260 | US

Posted in Accessibility, General, iPad | Tagged , | Leave a comment

An FYI for Low Vision Users of the Mac

I have often been asked by low vision users who are switching to the Mac or who are interested in doing so if there are modified large print keyboards or overlays for keyboards specifically for the Mac. I hadn’t had a clear answer to this question, but now I do. AISquared, the makers of the ZoomText products for both Windows and the Mac, also sell large print keyboards and keyboard skins for Apple keyboards. The keyboards themselves are actual Apple keyboards, but have different color contrast options for the large print characters. These products are simply awesome for folks who need keyboards with large print or have an Apple keyboard, but would like an overlay to help them see the keys better.

You can get all of the details
here.

Posted in Accessibility, General, Macintosh | Tagged , | Leave a comment

DoItWrite, a New iOS App

From my friends at Draconis Entertainment, they have released a great app for the iPhone that will help one learn how to write letters and numbers for the new handwriting feature in iOS 7. The app is called, DoItWrite, and I must say that I have been enjoying it quite a bit. Here are some details on the app:

Learn to draw lowercase letters, uppercase letters;;, and numbers for use with iOS 7’s VoiceOver handwriting feature!

This app is primarily intended for the blind or visually impaired, teachers or instructors of same, and other users of iOS 7’s VoiceOver screen reader.

Many blind or visually impaired people are not familiar with the shapes of printed letters or numbers. DoItWrite teaches you how to draw them in a simple way that has the best chance of being correctly recognized by VoiceOver, even if you have never learned the shapes of the characters previously. Once you get them down, practice your speed and accuracy with a fun game to blast characters as they tumble down the screen!.

• Learn how to activate the VoiceOver handwriting feature in iOS 7

• Learn how to draw lowercase and uppercase letters, as well as numbers in a simple and accurate way.

• Practice your newly acquired skills by blasting letters and numbers as they tumble down the screen.

• Use the app to improve your onscreen typing skills by using the keyboard during game play.

• Automatic feedback and coach via audio queues and speech output.

• DoItWrite automatically detects when VoiceOver is not running, and permits the tutorial to be browsed with the onscreen keyboard. Great for sighted teachers and tutors!
• Share your game scores with others. • Many ways to customize your learning experience.

To find the app in the App store,

go here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some Comments about Mavericks

I’m not going to offer a significant “review” or commentary on Apple’s latest version of their Mac OS X platform, Mavericks. I think, by now, a lot has been written about it and you can do a general internet search to read a variety of opinions.

I will say that my initial “stance” or set of comments that I have made to some folks and expressed on Episode 23 of
the Triple Click Home podcast
have “softened” to some degree, as I have done some serious fiddling and experimenting over the last few weeks. However, in some cases, I also have not changed my opinions. Again, this will not be a detailed review, but here you go …. Continue reading

Posted in Accessibility, General, OS X Mavericks | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment