Updates, 12/9/12

I have been doing small updates and tweaks all over the site over the last few weeks. This includes a few new sections on the
Links page.
I have added links to both Mac and iOS developers who have proven to be responsive to the blindness or low vision community. Note that these sections are not endorsements or any sort of advertisements for the developers. The links are there as potential resources and for information. I welcome any suggestions for other developers you feel have really gone the extra mile to make their applications accessible to us. I will be adding more as time goes by.

In addition, on the
Technical Corner
page, I’ve added a tutorial on installing Windows 7 via Bootcamp on the Mac, which was kindly contributed by Christopher Hallsworth.

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PinPoint, an app to seriously consider if you are a low vision Mac user

It is not often that I am contacted directly by a developer of an application for the blind or for low vision users. Recently, though, Renaud Boisjoly of Lagente contacted me about an application called, PinPoint. I am a totally blind user of the Mac, but in reading about the application and from email exchanges with Renaud, I believe this is something that would benefit a number of users out there. I know I have had conversations with a few low vision users who have had trouble seeing the mouse pointer itself, so that is what also caught my attention.

Please take the time to check out the app and spread the word. These guys are certainly interested in feedback. In addition, they have offered some product codes for me to give away to some users. I haven’t quite decided how I am going to go about doing this, so I’d also be interested in any ideas or if you find the app useful and helpful, to please contact me.

Here is some information on PinPoint:

PinPoint is an app for Mac OS X which displays a graphic element around the Mac’s mouse pointer. This graphical element can be a simple shape to make the pointer more visible, such as a circle, a larger arrow or special shapes like targets or an image of your choice. It also offers a selection of animated shapes, to make the pointer even more visible. Some of these are particularly visible for those with macular degeneration or specific blind spots as they can display a custom image and have it rotate on itself at a specific position around the mouse pointer. There are many options which can help users with specific vision problems. Some of the pointers pulse or offer visible feedback when the mouse button is clicked. Then, there are many options to have the effect be visible only when the mouse is moved or when it is idle, or toggled by a keyboard shortcut. Another useful feature is the visible keys which display what is typed on the keyboard in a heads-up display of adjustable size. PinPoint is available on the Mac App Store for $4.99US and you can learn more about it on Lagente’s web site:

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Another FYI

Because of Hurricane Sandy, the Laugh For Sight event at the end of October had to be rescheduled. Below, is the updated information for those interested.

Greetings all,

Now that we have gotten past Thanksgiving, we are gearing up for Laugh For Sight NYC Take Two, It’s Like Deja Vu. We are very fortunate to have secured the same exact lineup that we had for the original benefit which was washed away by Hurricane Sandy. This year’s Benefit Show will be kicked off by Celebrity Host Bonnie Bernstein from ESPN, and she will be joined by Legendary Comedian Robert Klein, Eddie Brill, Bonnie McFarlane, Paul Mecurio, Jim Norton, Colin Quinn, Rich Vos, and of course Nash and me. The Silent Auction presented by Patron and Diageo will begin at 7pm and the Comedy Show at 830PM.

The Silent Auction will be Hosted by Host and Comedian Want to Be Mark Farrell. Make sure to get there early to see why Mark is kept in the basement! Donors to the Silent Auction include Comedy Central, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Jimmy Fallon Show, Eli Manning, Jackie Mason, Felix Rey, Exhale Spa, Susan Michel Limited, the NY Yankees, C-Tech, and more. Tickets are $35 for General Admission and $75 for VIP Reserved Seating. You can get your tickets by going to www.gothamcomedyclub.com, calling 212-367-9000, or clicking here directly http://gothamcomedyclub.com/show.cfm?id=191886&cart

If you missed Robert Klein on The Late Show with David Letterman talking about Laugh For Sight, you can view it here. He appears 38 minutes into the show. http://www.cbs.com/shows/late_show/video/2303919777/the-late-show-11-12-2012

If you won’t be on The Late Show with David Letterman, you still can help promote Laugh For Sight. Please get the word out there to your social networks by attaching the ad I have included in here. In doing so, you will be helping spread the word and supporting a great cause. For the latest updates, make sure to follow us on Twitter @LaughForSight, and here’s a tweet you can just copy and paste to help promote the cause.

Get your tickets for @LaughForSight benefit in NYC on Dec 10 at @GothamComedy bit.ly/QJKOTU #fundraiser #nyc #comedy

Thanks, and hope to see you there.

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As an FYI for those who might be interested

I am posting the following announcement in case it might be of interest or help to folks. Anna Dresner writes very useful and helpful books, and this is another one.

An iMessaging guide from NBP!

A Quick Guide to iMessages with VoiceOver
by Anna Dresner
In braille, eBraille, and Word, $6.00

Everybody is texting — sending one another text messages. Texting is so popular because if the other person is available, you can communicate in real-time, but if your friend isn’t around, you can still convey important information quickly. And if you have an Apple device (an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch running iOS 5 or later or a Mac running Mountain Lion), you can text anyone else with one of these devices for free using a service called iMessage. A Quick Guide to iMessaging tells you how to text and use iMessage on all your Apple devices. You’ll learn how to send and receive messages and delete the ones you no longer want. If several people in your family share an Apple ID for buying apps and music but each have their own devices, you’ll also learn to configure iCloud so that you can iMessage each other. Buy this book, and start iMessaging today!

Order at:

See also:
Getting Started with the iPhone and iOS5 for Blind Users, $22
Twenty-one iPhone Apps We Can’t Live Without, $9
iPhone Tactile Screenshot Quick Reference Guide, $27

To order any books, send payment to:
NBP, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115-4302
Or call and charge it: toll-free (800) 548-7323 or (617) 266-6160 ext 520.
Or order any of our books online at

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A good podcast episode to listen to

The Tech Doctor podcast is one I have mentioned before here and have a link to on the
Links page
of the site. Dr. Robert Carter’s latest episode is highlighted with a good interview with Darcy Burnard, one of the early Mac accessible proponents back when I began to switch to the Mac. With his partner, Holly Anderson, they have been doing the
Screenless Switchers podcast.
for about seven years now.

It’s a great interview, and it can be found,

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Updates, 11/11/12

Now that we are recovering from the back to back storms that hammered the North-East and I have my power back, I am back in business. I have added a new page to the site that is under the resource sections called
Technical Corner
This will be a section in which interested folks can contribute articles or tutorials that go beyond the “how to” or “tips and tricks” variety of information. I have place three separate articles as a start. I welcome anyone to please contact me should they have something they think they’d like to add.

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The new iPod Nano, Worth the Money for Sure!

Like the iPhone 3GS when it was announced that it would be accessible with VoiceOver, I had purchased the 4th generation iPod Nano at the time it had come out. I honestly don’t recall how many years ago that was, but it surely has been a good four plus. I can still remember how great it was to have a music player that I could use without having to install any third party software onto it to make it accessible for me, and I can say that i used the heck out of it over the time I have owned it.

For those who know or who can remember, the original iPod Nano with accessibility used the system voice you set for your computer as the speech used for the device. Additionally, not all of the settings were accessible, and, thus, we didn’t have access to things like the clock and some advanced settings. Still, one could access playlists, audio books, videos, etc, and it was certainly a very usable device. It went with me to California a couple of times and various other places across the United States, as well as having been a companion for countless hours while working out or just relaxing. Continue reading

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The iPhone 5, my thoughts and Opinions

The iPhone 5 has been out for almost a month now and I have had mine for a good three weeks at this point. I wanted to give my impressions and, as usual, spout off a couple of opinions that have come to my mind as the weeks have passed and so many things have been written about in regard to the iPhone 5 features and comments by some technical online sites. Of course, these are my personal reactions and like any matter of opinion, you can take it all for what it’s worth.

Simply Cool

I will say flat out that I loved my iPhone 4S. It was a great phone, and with SIRI, it became like a good friend over the year I had it. If you have one or can rather afford it over the iPhone 5, I’d certainly recommend it. It got the job done for me during the time I owned it, and I have no regrets in the world for having upgraded from the 3GS to the 4S.

With that said, however, Simply Cool, is all I can think of when it comes to describing the iPhone 5. It’s noticeably smaller and thinner, and is also faster than the 4S. I practically fell in love with it the moment I opened its package and examined it for the first time. When I had heard it described as being 20 percent thinner and lighter, I really hadn’t been able to imagine that, but trust me when I say that it makes a difference.

Setting up the iPhone 5 went as smooth as silk. I restored the phone from an iCloud backup and also synced the phone to my computer for a few odds and ends I was told needed to be done by way of a direct connection to my Mac. It took less than twenty minutes between the time I turned on the iPhone 5 for the first time and hit the home button three times to start VoiceOver to actually using the phone. Continue reading

Posted in Accessibility, General, iPhone | 1 Comment

Helping a VoiceOver friendly developer

I have neglected in writing about this, as I have gotten caught up in other distractions. However, I’d like to follow up on an item about a developer named, Marco Arment, Maccessibility posted about and who we talked about on the podcast a few weeks ago. The Maccessibility story is
and I recommend to read it.

It is a great thing when you have a mainstream developer talk about VoiceOver on one of his podcasts and to take other developers to task for not making their applications accessible for iOS devices. The episode of the podcast I am speaking of can be found
by going here.

In addition, Marco also released a magazine app as well. I believe in supporting those who do the right things for us, and I would recommend checking it out.
is the link for the magazine.

Please show Marco our support.

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Updates, 10/12/12

I have added a few items to the site that I hope will be of help.

First the 3rd part of my audio demonstration on using the Finder, Episode 20, has been added to the
Demonstrations section of the site.Hopefully, all 3 parts will help you become more comfortable in using Finder from how the window appears, your choice of views, navigating your files and folders, and copying and moving items to using the Sidebar.

Additionally, in the
Documentation section of the site,
I have added a document that contains Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts for Mountain Lion, which was taken from an Apple knowledge base article. Also, the user guide for the iPod Nano 7th generation model is also now available.

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