New Title from Draconis Entertainment Available for the Mac in the Mac App Store

Our good friends at Draconis Entertainment have done it again. They have released a new title for the Mac. The game is called, Silver Dollar, and I am posting the information below on the game. Please purchase the game, spread the word and support a great developer!

Howdy partner, and welcome to the Silver Dollar Saloon!

Draconis Entertainment revisits the popular saloon of the old west featured in many of its audio games for the blind and visually impaired with a new mini title for Mac OS X! (Coming later to Windows PC’s.)

Primarily intended for the blind and visually impaired, SilverDollar offers three mini games that serve as both a great introduction to audio games for new players, and addictive fun for experienced ones.

SilverDollar has no visual elements. Use your fingers, ears, and wits to engage in some western fun.

So put on your 10 gallon hat, partner, and get into a little trouble at the old west’s premier watering hole for outlaws and gunslingers alike.

• Start a brawl with the Silver Dollar’s resident tough guy.

• Prove yourself a gunslinger by testing your shooting skills, blasting flying crockery out of the air.
• Spend a little time at the one-armed bandit.

• Features many favorite characters from previous Draconis titles, including Old Man Stanley.

• Audio hints to help newcomers navigate the game menus with their ears.

• In app instructions for all the mini games.

Other mini games are planned for future updates. Have something you’d like to see? Let us know.

SilverDollar is available in the Mac App Store for $1.99 USD at the following link:

here.

We are open to questions on this title, or Draconis in general. As always, we don’t comment on unannounced titles, but we will do our best to answer questions.

Posted in Accessibility, General, Mac OS X Lion, OS Mountain Lion, OS X Snow Leopard | Leave a comment

Spreading the Word about Good Friends

Being the fact that we live in a community of users of Apple products and that the end goal is to provide as much help and resources for users, I like to post information on other folks who are doing more than their share for the community or even work with such like minded people. Below, I am posting some information on some really good friends of mine who live in England. There company, Mac Access, does a lot of good things, and Gordon and Lynne are simply great people. I will let Gordon describe what they exactly do in his own words:

As a small non-profit organisation, Mac Access Dot Net is proud to be able to team up with MacForTheBlind, as both groups have a common goal; that of promoting everything Apple in terms of accessibility and, by definition, useability by visually impaired and other disabled inividuals and groups.

When Apple released their first offering as part of their Mac OS X 10.4 [Tiger] operating system way back in 2005, there was almost no voice for the visually impaired amongst the apple community. That voice which did exist was, and sadly remains, somewhat insular in its approach, lacking any form of dynamic purpose. At the start of 2007 we decided that we could make a positive contribution to the field of accessibility for blind and visually impaired users, by offering them an alternative voice; a forum where they could post their questions and comment without the fear of being flamd, bullied or harrassed by those with strongly polorised views or even a conflicting interest. The accessibility industry has long been a battleground where different factions turn inward upon one another, when, in order to accomplish the best possible results, we should all be pulling in the same direction.

That is why we decided to start Mac Access and since that time, thanks to a loyal group of members, we have expanded our membership into the hundreds and are now venturing into other areas where we hope we can expand our presence and, motivated by nothing but a desire to help the community, we feel we can make a positive contribution. MacForTheBlind is another like-minded group and we very much welcome the opportunity of working with them. Founder of that group, (John Panares), has ben a friend of ours for some time now, and together, we are sure that we can make things happen.

We very much look forward to 2013 as another exciting and eventful year in the field of accessibility across Apple’s platforms, and we, alongside MacForTheBlind want to be a part of the fun.

To visit Mac Access and obtain additional information, please go
here.

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Happy New Year to all

It’s about a week late, but I wanted to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2013. I got tied up over the holidays, so I know I am late. I also have a few items to post over the next week or two.

As for audio demonstrations, I plan to do others, but right now, the good folks at
Applevis
have been churning out a number of great podcasts, as well as in other places. However, I will figure out a topic and do something soon, or, at least, try to do so.

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A New Audio Game for the Mac for the blind!

I have often been asked the question in regard to what games are available for the Mac that blind people can play. Additionally, along the same lines, I am told that there aren’t anywhere as many games for the Mac as one can find for Windows. This is something that has been changing in recent months, and I am proud and happy to post the following announcement.

Yes, Draconis Entertainment has released an audio game for the Mac, and the details follow below.

It has been a long time coming, but the dragon has awakened at last. Pull up a chair, and we’ll fill you in on what we’ve been doing.

Draconis Entertainment has spent the last few years working on a next-generation game engine for audio gaming. We had several key goals in mind as we began working on this project.

* We wanted to future-proof our games. A game engine that could easily be maintained and kept current in-line with modern operating systems, eliminating the problems of incompatible or out-of-date dependencies was essential.
* We wanted cross-platform compatibility. We are Mac users to the core, and only supporting Windows was no longer satisfactory. Our new game engine will work on Mac OS X, Windows, and iOS devices.
* We wanted a game engine so flexible that it would support any kind of game-style we chose to throw at it, and to build all future releases on top of the same core.
* We wanted to bring our prices down. If the game engine really was as capable as we designed it to be, this would mean more rapid development once the core of the engine was complete.

The enormity of this undertaking cannot be understated.

The game engine has been under active testing by an incredible group of beta testers for the last two years, to whom we are enormously grateful. We could not have done this without them. Thank you all!

Looking ahead..

Our plan going forward is to begin releasing both new titles as well as expanded versions of old ones that have been rewritten from the ground up for the next-generation Draconis game engine.. As our focus has been on perfecting the engine, the first couple of titles will be new versions of some of our classic games with tons of new features, with all-new titles coming very soon.

In general, we expect desktop titles to be released first for Mac OS X, followed soon after by Windows versions. Mobile games for iOS are also planned, as well as special mobile versions of games that have been traditionally meant for desktops.

It is with great excitement, that we are pleased to announce the immediate availability of our first Mac OS X title, which is expected to be available for Windows in the first quarter of 2013 as well.

ChangeReaction, Draconis Entertainment’s classic audio puzzle game for the blind and visually impaired comes to OS X with new audio, three entirely different modes of game play, a host of new features, and a cheaper price tag!

Primarily intended for blind and visually impaired gamers, ChangeReaction is played via the keyboard and your ears. Navigate the game board with the arrow keys, dropping coins on the stacks to create chains of explosions and rack up higher and higher scores! Match three coins of the same denomination vertically or horizontally to trigger a chain reaction that blows up all adjacent coins of the same value! This game has no visual element. Use your fingers, ears, and wits to rack up the highest scores possible!

* Choose from three distinctly different variations of game play.
* All modes support three difficulty levels.
* In ChangeReaction Classic, clear the board of all coins before time runs out!
* In LooseChange, clearing the board just got a whole lot more difficult! Bombs explode on coin stacks and scatter their contents across the board for added challenge!
* In PayDay, try to keep the board from being cleared against all odds, and rack up overtime by clearing positions on the board which represent the hours of the work week.
* Bonus rounds provide a chance to rack up even higher scores!
* ChangeReaction 2.0 has been rewritten from the ground up using the next-generation Draconis game engine.
* Exciting new sounds and music.
* Audio hints to help newcomers navigate the game menus with their ears.
* In app instructions and keyboard reference.

ChangeReaction is available in the Mac App store for $9.99 USD. Anyone who purchases a copy of the legacy Windows version on or after 12/December/2012 will be eligible for a free upgrade to ChangeReaction 2.0 for Windows when it is released, expected to be in the first quarter of 2013. The Windows version will also be available for $9.99 USD. (Prices may vary for your country, based on current exchange rates.)

The direct link to ChangeReaction in the Mac App Store is:

here.

Thank you all for your patience and support. We look forward to a very bright future ahead.

Posted in Accessibility, General, Mac OS X Lion, New Category, OS Mountain Lion, OS X Snow Leopard | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Accessibility, General, Updates | Leave a comment

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:
here.

Posted in Accessibility, General, OS Mountain Lion | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in General, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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:
http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/IMESSAGE.html

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
http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/publications/index.html.

Posted in Accessibility, iOS Devices, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, OS Mountain Lion | Leave a comment

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,
here.

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

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.

Posted in Accessibility, Updates | Leave a comment