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

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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.

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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.

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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

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Mavericks Training Material

Some folks have been asking me if there are any helpful resources for learning Mavericks available yet. Sarah Alawami, as she did with Mountain Lion, has a set of files for on Mavericks. You can purchase the whole set for a very reasonable $6.00. I think they are good training and resources for the new user as well as anyone interested in finding out all about Mavericks and VoiceOver. The details
can be found here.

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Apple’s October 22 Event

As I have updated on the
News Page of the site,
Apple held an event yesterday. All of the details can be found there, but I wanted to make a few comments about the event.

As discussed with Buddy Brannon and Justin Romack on our next Triple Click Home episode, Apple did some really brilliant marketing things. Making Mavericks available as well as the iLife and iWork packages, is certainly going to ruffle the feathers of their competition. To my knowledge, I don’t believe that Microsoft has ever offered a version of Windows for free (Windows 8.1 does not count because it is really a Service Pack to fix all of the issues in 8.0). This, to me, was an interesting change, and it seems that all future OS upgrades will be free. I will discuss Mavericks in a separate post to come over the next few days.

I am going to buy an iPad Air. I think these models are just fantastic. I am using an iPad 3rd generation, and I am looking forward to the faster processor and smaller size. I think the iPad Mini is also a great model as well, but as much as the Mini is a tempting choice, I still like my full-sized iPad.

As for the marketing positioning, again, Apple is spot on. Having the iPad Air starting at $499 and the iPad 2 still being available at $399 is only enhanced by the iPad Mini’s $399 starting price and the fact that the original iPad Mini will be $299. This is a great way to go into the holiday season.

Lastly, the Mac Book Pro improvements are truly impressive too. I’d love to get a new 13 inch model. Apple dropped the starting price for both the 13 and 15 inch models, and you sure get a lot of punch for the price. Before anyone points out that you can still purchase Windows laptops for less money, the only problem with that logic is that such computers still come with that cumbersome operating system/virus called Windows ….

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FYI, an Interview on the Delivering Access Podcast

I am not one who is comfortable with promoting myself or even talking about myself. Some are aware that I do the
Triple Click Home podcast
as well as being one of the “knights of the round table” on the
Maccessibility podcast.

Last week, I was honored to have been interviewed by VaShaun Jones on the Delivering Access Podcast. I was flattered to have been invited to join VaShaun and answer questions about my background and my thoughts about the current state of Accessibility to Apple products. It was a great time, and if you would like to check it out, you can go
here.

The
iTunes link is here
for the podcast.

I thank VaShaun for inviting me onto his podcast, and I hope you guys enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed being a part of it.

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A Book Review that Might be of Interest

Most folks who read this blog are probably used to me reviewing applications or operating system updates. I don’t think I have done an actual book review that I can think of beyond recommending the Take Control series of books by Tidbids Publishing.

I have recently read a book that addresses the iPad specifically and its accessibility from both the educator and parent’s perspective. I found it a very good book and am highly recommending it for you all to spread the word. If you use this in combination with
Jonathan Mosen’s book
on iOS 7, you have a pair of great resources, particularly if you work with students on iDevices or you are a parent of a blind or low vision child who is entering the world of iOS.

The book is called, “iOS Success: Making the iPad Accessible
A Guide for Teachers and Parents, and it is written by a gentleman I have known over the years and many may be familiar with if you have been around the assistive technology field for as long as I have, Larry L. Lewis. It is sold by the National Braille Press and is another winner as far as I am concerned. It is an easy read and does not get overly technical, which, I think, makes it very approachable by both teachers and parents alike. Continue reading

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Updates, 10/15/13

I have updated the
Demonstrations page
of the site with some iOS 7 podcast links Scott Davert of Applevis has kindly given me permission to link to. I will also be adding some of them to the
Getting Started with iOS page
of the site shortly

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

My Review of the iPhone 5S

I finally received my iPhone 5S on Friday. Yes, as much as I love my Apple products, I really have no interest or desire to wait on lines for hours to buy a new device. I admire those who do this, but to me, I would prefer to order mine online and wait the extra time. Anticipation can be difficult, especially as others have already purchased their devices, but I can live with it and I usually have enough here to distract me anyway to keep me busy so that I don’t really think about how much time I have before I receive mine … Really, I don’t think about that at all ….

Fortunately, I didn’t have any crazy experiences during the ordering process. In fact, it’s actually a great story. I used the Apple Store application for the iPhone to place my order.

I ordered my 5S on September 20 at around 9:05 in the morning. I launched the Apple Store app on my iPhone 5, which had to update itself, and went through the ordering process in less than 5 minutes.
• 16 GB model
• Space Gray
• no extra case
• Apple Care included

That was it. It was a completely painless operation. So much, so, in fact, that I found myself calling the Apple Store later just to be sure the order had been placed, even as I did receive an email confirmation. Continue reading

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