Getting Started Pages

I have spent parts of this weekend putting up two new pages to the site. These are the

Getting Started with the Mac and VoiceOver

and

Getting Started with iOS Devices and VoiceOver
pages.

I am specifically seeking help from the community for suggestions on what else should be added to these pages. They are works in progress and, in particular, the iOS page still needs specific podcast suggestions.

If anyone has documentation or podcast suggestions for these pages, please let me know. Hopefully, these pages will truly help people in the future and I’d appreciate spreading the word about them.

Posted in Accessibility, General, iOS applications, iOS Devices, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac Applications, Mac Book Pro, Mac Mini, Mac OS X Lion, Macintosh, OS Mountain Lion, OS X Mavericks, OS X Snow Leopard | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Updates, 8/24/13

I have added some more links to the
Demonstrations page
of the site. These are additional podcast links courtesy of Scott Davert of Applevis. My thanks to Scott for sharing these with us.

On a similar note, I’d like to compile a page devoted to getting started with the Mac with VoiceOver. A lot of questions are asked on mailing lists about resources for new users. I’d like to create a page that specifically addresses this topic. Any suggestions or contributions would be appreciated and welcomed. Please feel free to email me or comment here.

I have started the page
here.
However, it is and will probably continue to be a work in progress as time passes.

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Some Updates, 8/11/13

Hopefully, everyone is having a good summer/winter thus far. It has been a busy one for me, and, thus, the lack of regular updates here.

First, with the kind permission of Scott Davert, I am placing a link here to a podcast he did for Applevis on
connecting a Braille display to an iDevice.
I am going to add some of Scott’s other podcasts to the Demonstrations section of the page as time goes on.

Folks, I can’t say enough good things about the Applevis people and community. If you are looking for podcasts on just about anything Mac or iOS related,
that
is the place to go.

Also speaking of Applevis, Greg Kelchner also recently did a podcast on a subject I have seen come up on many of the blind Mac users lists. This is in regard to Safari bugs and suggestions on ways to work around them. Please go
here
to hear it. Continue reading

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Another Review Courtesy of Scott Granados

Here is another useful review Scott Granados kindly has given me permission to post here.

FOr anyone interested here’s a review of the plantronics voyager pro legend which is the continuation of the very successful voyager pro line.

For previous voyager pro users, the headset is very similar in shape to the previous pro HD or pro models. The major difference is the boom now is perfectly tube shaped and thinner, no bulge on the end like the previous models. Also, where the power button was is now a switch, volume is a small slide type switch above the power and the voice command / function button is now on the boom on the under side in an indented area that’s modeled to fit a finger so you can feel where the control is easily. The actual case / hook behind the ear is unchanged and the power cable is now a magnetic type instead of a micro USB. This cable is also used for updating firmware and headset functions.

Overall, the improvements in this model include 4 microphones now instead of 1 or two, a proximity censor to measure when the headset is against your head, newer digital signal processing, about an hour more battery life on standby, and many more voice commands including you n ow say answer or ignore to answer the phone, you don’t press any keys.
In terms of differences in audio, the audio sounds more sharp with a bit better performance on the high end. Noice cancelation is very very good with the headset performing well in a loud switching center on a long duration conference call. Mute is also easily available on the headset set now with the voice command key working as mute during a call. No need to fiddle for mute on the phone’ screen. You can answer the call just by putting the headset on your ear or by saying answer if you’re already wearing the headset. It also seems you can disable the voice commands if you want to use SiRi. I have not done this yet and find the built in function to be very usable.
Cost is $99 with deals to be found on Amazon. Bestbuy for once has the headset at $99 instead of the suggested $129 so you can save money even in a physical store.
In general, I really really like this headset, my favorite in a long time. I’d give the headset 4.75 out of 5 stars with the only downside being it’s not the most comfortable with glasses. If you have the oakley straight style side jackets on your glasses though you’ll be in good shape. The legend is a definite buy.

Thanks
Scott

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New iDevice Game for the Blind

From the developer of the ColorVisor iOS app, an audio based game for both blind and sighted was recently released. The game is called, MouseKick, and is 0.99 in the App store.

There is a Youtube demonstration one can access
here.

For information for MouseKick in the App Store,
go here.

The game, according to the developer, is fully VoiceOver compatible. There are different sounds for the mice and there is a training mode to get the user accustom to the game sounds and play.

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Apple Updates Their Accessibility Pages on Their Website

For those who might be interested, Apple has revamped their accessibility pages on their website. There is a lot of information and great links to additional resources. They are also open to suggestions and comments as well. You can check out the changes
by going here.

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

WWDC 2013, A Lot of Announcements

Since I was working with a client, I wasn’t able to hear the keynote address at Apple’s World Wide Developer’s conference. However, I did catch bits of it and have read plenty of information about it. I summarize the major announcements on the
News page of the site

There will be a new Mac OS coming in the fall that is being called, Maverick. No, not Sea Lion, as was a joking remark made during the keynote that someone I know took seriously. Also, iOS 7 will be launched in the fall as well, and the entire interface has been redesigned. So, us Apple junkies will have some major toys to play with later in the year. This doesn’t even include the new Mac Book Air, Mac Pro and Airport equipment upgrades.

No, folks, there was no accessibility news announced during the keynote address. I have no idea why so many people on the blindness lists seem to think that we are going to hear about VoiceOver improvements or accessibility in general. I can only recall it happening once for the Mac and for iOS over the years. Otherwise, as much as some folks hate to hear this, we really don’t get any kind of billing at these events. For whatever accessibility news, we will have to wait and see. I will surely post anything major I know is credible and that does not violate any NDAs.

Posted in General, iOS Devices | 1 Comment

A Few Other Items

A couple of items that might be of interest to folks.

First, there is a typing application for the iDevices called, TypeWay, that might be of interest to some. According to the developer, their approach is different than that of Fleksy:
” “TypeWay” allows optionally larger letters in the typed text,
and in essence it adapts the configuration of keys to the hand’s position
and to typing habits – see
here
for what makes sense for 10-finger touch typing.”

You can also see that same link for specifics about TypeWay.

For those looking for some tutorials on using VoiceOver and Mountain Lion, Sarah Alawami has made some of her tutorials available for sale. In fact, you can purchase a zip file worth of them for only $6.00.

Please go
here
for all of the details.

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

The ACSP Journey, Part 2.

Just over a year ago, I posted the story of my preparation and experience in taking the Apple Certifies Support Professional exam for Lion. I received a lot of reactions from a number of kind people over the year, and I have been very happy to know that I served to encourage others to take the exam, both blind and sighted alike. To me, that was really the best result of my story. The fact that I helped to inspire and encourage others to succeed was simply a tremendous feeling of satisfaction and pride.

On April 29 of this year, I took the ACSP exam for Mountain Lion Essentials at NovaWorks in New York City with William Keogh, once again, reading me the exam. I managed to pass that exam with another 92.5, and, thus, I am now certified as a Support Professional and Trainer for OS X Mountain Lion, along with my certification for Lion.

I think that the automatic thought from some would be something along the lines of, “well, he took the Lion exam, so the Mountain Lion exam should have been easy”. In fact, that was my initial notion as I began the process of preparing and studying for the Mountain Lion exam. It seemed logical that having already memorized so much for Lion, it would only be a matter of learning the Mountain Lion material. And, how much new material could that entail?
. Continue reading

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Updates, 5/4/13

I’m sure most folks know by now, but the Kindle application for the iPhone was updated by Amazon to now be accessible to VoiceOver. One cannot buy any books through the app, but books can be purchased through the Amazon website and then synced through the app in its settings.

I have not played extensively as of yet with it, but it is certainly VoiceOver friendly now. To me, its great that we now have yet another choice for buying and reading electronic books. If you do your share of reading, I would recommend getting the app, which is free. You can get it,
here.

The next link is something that showed up on a few lists, but was emailed to me privately by Al Szymanski. I haven’t tried doing this myself for Mail, but I thought it might be of interest to some. You can read about it

here.

Lastly, on Monday, I passed my Apple Certified Support Professional exam for Mountain Lion Essentials. I will be posting some information on that experience soon, as I know some have asked me about it.

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