Talking Tech - Vision Australia Radio
Talking Tech 19th January 2021

Talking Tech 19th January 2021

January 19, 2021

Back To School (education in general) Vision Store Webinar by David Woodbridge

 

In this webinar on the 27th of Jan from 12:30-13:30 ESDT, I’ll be discussing assistive and main stream software and hardware to keep you in good stead for the year.

 

Register at:

 

https://visionaustralia.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_r9cjH_XRTtydmVAEShfSbw

 

Competition to Win a Mantis Q40 is still Open Until the 31st of Jan 2021

 

In fifty words or less, explain why you would need a Mantis q40.

 

https://us10.list-manage.com/survey?u=4fb7b10e02480183869d219e8&id=6cf73b1a06

 

Aftershokz OPenMove Bone Conduction Head Phones

 

A reminder that the Vision Store now has the Aftershokz OpenMove bone conduction head phones in stock, still one of my most used head phones.

 

https://shop.visionaustralia.org/shop/product/aftershokz-openmove-wireless-bluetooth-headphones

 

Update on Stuff from CES 2021

 

It was great to hear about the fact that there were a number of assistive technology related vendors at CES covering such products as the Orcam, IrisVision, and Code Jumper.

 

IO’d have to say my favourite product was hiring about the Smart Doggy Door.

 

https://www.cnet.com/pictures/the-weirdest-new-gadgets-at-ces-2021/13/?ServiceType=twitter&PostType=link&UniqueID=B77776DC-55EF-11EB-9662-7B300EDC252D&TheTime=2021-01-13T22:36:02&ftag=COS-05-10aaa0b

 

ATIA Virtual Conference 2021 Registration Open

 

https://www.csun.edu/cod/conference/sessions/index.php/public/website_pages/view/24

 

CSUN 2021 Virtual Conference Now Open For Registration 

 

https://www.csun.edu/cod/conference/sessions/index.php/public/website_pages/view/24

 

Samsung Jan 14 Event

 

Samsung Buds Pro (Jan 15), Smart Tags to use with Smart Things Find (Jan 29 and later in year for Tags Plus), Samsung Galaxy S21/S21 Plus (Jan 29) and Galaxy 21 Ultra 29 Jan (in other words the Pro version), new 1UIw across Samsung devices, new S pen for 21 Ultra only, better integration with Android audio, Digital key for cars, new improved partnership with Google, new version of Talkback on S21.

 

https://insights.samsung.com/2021/01/04/samsung-galaxy-unpacked-2021-watch-the-livestream-here/

 

Search With Your Voice Button Now On youtube.com

 

Works quite nicely, just remember to try and mute your screen reader if you are using one.

 

https://www.youtube.com

 

Galaxy ID Mate Discontinued After 25 Years

 

End of an era for this stand alone bar code reading device. Parts and databases will still be available for a while to come.

 

https://mailchi.mp/envisionamerica/id-mate-is-being-discontinued?e=b2a317a265

 

A Nice Little Bonus  with the VA Connect App for the VA Library

 

If you happen to use an M1 Mac (ability to run iOS apps), you can use the VA Connect app quite nicely on the computer.

Some odd issues but not to bad including: inability to change categories from “All”, text to speech voice for daisy text (such as newspapers) using last speech voice on the Mac, table of contents within a book not working that well, and not sure where downloaded books go.

However, as far as searching for a book, adding a book to your bookshelf, listening to a book, moving forward or backward through a book, and changing the speech rate, all works fine on the Mac.

 

https://apps.apple.com/au/app/vision-australia-va-connect/id1051618020

Talking Tech 12th January 2021

Talking Tech 12th January 2021

January 12, 2021

Some Gadgets I purchased over the Break

 

HDMI dummy plug

 

https://www.amazon.com.au/Emulator-Headless-plateFits-discreetly-1920x1080/dp/B079K3CQRT/ref=pd_rhf_ee_s_rp_c_2_0_1/357-9125430-9408313?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B079K3CQRT&pd_rd_r=314f9c49-0597-4665-9e72-2a27294fc029&pd_rd_w=wvpJR&pd_rd_wg=9EaHi&pf_rd_p=a32725f1-eb12-4745-8c16-335c02b42e33&pf_rd_r=DQBWSRTVTPRN3EN909MY&psc=1&refRID=DQBWSRTVTPRN3EN909MY

 

HDmI Splitter Switch

 

https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B08CZZX95R/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Magnetic 3 in 1 Charging and Data cable

 

https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B083DJ3YKL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

11 Port USBC HUb

 

https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B07MX64MTV/ref=pe_10993422_411226512_em_1p_0_im

 

4 In and 1 Output Audio 3.5mm Switch

 

https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B07DNYF22N/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Power Bank with Solar charger

 

https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B081KRHFNM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Audio 3.5mm Splitter Cable 

 

https://www.amazon.com.au/MillSO-Headphone-Splitter-Earphones-Speakers/dp/B07C8GNY1Y/ref=pd_rhf_ee_s_rp_c_2_0_3/357-9125430-9408313?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07C8GNY1Y&pd_rd_r=a82a75b0-6f69-419c-9534-2624aa6c3698&pd_rd_w=eyucr&pd_rd_wg=rGXss&pf_rd_p=a32725f1-eb12-4745-8c16-335c02b42e33&pf_rd_r=WVDWKWT5YYMGG2A3SXCP&psc=1&refRID=WVDWKWT5YYMGG2A3SXCP

 

Male to Female 3.5mm Audio extension Cable (Aux Lead)

 

https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B01N10A5PH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

 

CES 2021 Gos Virtual from US Jan 11 to Jan 14 2021

 

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cnet-highlights-top-trends-and-latest-technology-at-the-first-ever-all-digital-ces-for-consumers-around-the-globe-301202986.html

Samsung Event Unpacked US Jan 14

 

https://www.samsung.com/au/

 

Seeing AI App from Microsoft Introduces LIDAR Support

 

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/seeing-ai-talking-camera-for-the-blind/id999062298

 

Hadley’s School for the Blind free Series on Using Zoom

 

https://hadley.edu/workshops/zoom-series

 

Waterfield Makes the Proper AirPods Max Case

 

https://www.cultofmac.com/731134/waterfield-apple-airpods-max-shield-case/?utm_campaign=twitter&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitter

 

My Unplugged Demo Concerning AirPods Max Connectivity Issues Across Multiple Devices

 

https://s303.podbean.com/pb/5dff72c21b9e53cbc4b61383617a7d02/5ff10fd5/data1/fs54/339150/uploads/unplugged_airPods_Max_connection_demo9um5i.mp3?pbss=7250a507-1300-55cb-8dfa-114ecb3e95c0

 

Demo of Setting Up a M1 MacBook Air

 

https://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/e/demo-of-setting-up-a-m1-macbookair-setup-accessibilityonboarding-vision-and-some-system-and-voiceover-configuration-changes/

 

Demo of the Punctuation in VoiceOver Mac OS Big Sur with Left and Right Bracket Pronounciations

 

https://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/e/mac-big-sur-voiceover-punctuation-pronunciation-bug-when-mac-os-language-set-to-australia/

 

Demo of a bug in Mac OS Big Sur Stopping Users Accessing Context Menu from the Dock and a Work Around

 

https://s130.podbean.com/pb/2925d4b391c3b59a743652160f332e10/5ff11439/data2/fs54/339150/uploads/work_around_for_VoiceOver_Context_menu_not_working_on_the_Dock_in_current_version_of_Big_Sur_6ix9q.mp3?pbss=c047bb48-dd48-5ff7-92e0-66a65a4b2930

 

Demo of the Very Enjoyable game for Mac and Windows - BeatStar

 

https://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/e/demo-of-the-excellent-and-very-enjoyable-beatstar-game-for-the-mac-windows-version-available/

 

Demo of Using the Orbit Reader 20 and the Orbit Writer on the Apple Watch

 

https://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/e/demo-of-using-the-apple-watch-s6-with-the-orbit-reader-braille-display-and-the-orbit-writer-braillekeyboard/

 

Podcast from the Tech Doctors on Christmas Day - A Thank You To Apple

 

http://www.dr-carter.com

Talking Tech 5th January 2021

Talking Tech 5th January 2021

January 5, 2021

Ok The Official Look Back at The Decade - Highlights for me

 

Main Stream

 

Apple

Siri.

MacBook Air/MacBook Pro.

AirPlay.

Apple TV.

Apple Watch.

HomePod/HomePod Mini.

AirPods/Pro/Max.

M1 Macs.

AirPods Max.

Apple Music.

Apple Pay.

Car Play.

Fitness Plus.

iCloud.

 

Touch ID.

Face ID.

 

 

Amazon Echo Alexa.

Google Ok Google.

 

Android Play.

 

Self driving cars, and car driving safety features: eg line keeping, distance from car in front etc.

 

Audio Description expands.

 

Smart Home Tech explodes.

 

Smart TV Accessibility.

 

4G to 5G.

ADSL to NBN.

 

ChromeCast Audio.

Chromecast video.

Chrome-cast with Google TV.

 

Streaming video services: Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Disney, Netflix, Stan etc.

Streaming Music services: Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify etc.

 

Microsoft Windows 10

Microsoft Narrator.

Microsoft Sound Scape.

Microsoft Seeing AI.

Microsoft Surface.

 

Xbox One with Narrator.

 

Sony Play Station 4/5.

Last Of Us II PS4 game.

 

Bone Conduction head phones.

 

Tile Tag trackers.

 

Wearables: Apple Watch, Galaxy Watch, Fitbit etc.

 

Assistive

 

Sangean Accessible Radio.

 

Talking Microwave.

 

Aira.

Be-My-Eyes.

 

Wearables: IrisVision, Orcam, SunuBand.

 

Engergrid Accessible Power Bank.

 

Dot Watch.

 

Orbit Reader 20 (low cost Braille Display).

 

Canute 360 Multiline Braille Display.

 

Swift Playgrounds.

Code Jumper.

 

Accessible Help Desks from Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

Talking Tech 29th December 2020

Talking Tech 29th December 2020

December 29, 2020

2020 in Review

 

The rise of virtual Conferencing and Zoom in particular.

 

AirPods Max.

 

Mac OS Big Sur.

 

The new M1 Mac Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini.

 

iPhone 12etc.

 

iPhone SE.

 

iPad and iPad Air.

 

Apple 1, and Fitness Plus.

Apple Watch Family Sharing.

 

Beats Flex.

 

Apple Watch S6, SE, and still available S3.

 

HomePod Mini.

 

iOS 14, and LIDAR.

All the other iOS updates.

 

Swift Playgrounds comes to the Mac.

 

Sound Scape with street View.

 

Victor Trek with Map view (similar to Sound Scape street view).

 

Bose stopping the Bose Frames.

 

Nest Audio.

Nest mini.

Nest Hub.

Continuing update to Google phones (Pixel).

 

Chromecast with Google TV.

 

Amazon Fire TV Lite with  Alexa Remote (does not work in Australia).

New Amazon Echo updates.

 

PS5 with global screen reader available.

Last of US II for the Play Station 4.

 

New products from Samsung: phone, Galaxy Watch, tablets, buds etc.

 

Windows 10 continues to improve/Narrator.

 

Orbit Writer

 

JAWS 2021 Voice Assistant.

 

Mantis Q40 Braille display.

 

ABC and SBS with 14 hours of Audio Description.

 

Talking Tech 22nd December 2020

Talking Tech 22nd December 2020

December 22, 2020

Fitness Plus from Apple

 

Tried this out over the last week.

Disappointing initially that none of the Workout routines were either Audio Described or had another way of finding out what actual exercises were being performed, I decided for now just to do my own exercises, and use the training and rest times in each Workout.

As there is no actual exercises to do I the Treadmill or Bike Workouts, these worked as expected.

If you use the Apple TV with the Apple Watch, your real time data comes up on the screen so you can monitor and see how others have gone with this particular workout.

You can just use fitness Plus int eh Fitness app on iOS without the Appel Watch, follow along with each routine, but you won’t get any direct data from your Apple Watch.

I think if you had a treadmill, bike or rowing machine, these weekly pre-recorded workouts with the trainer, and great music are fine. Otherwise, perhaps not.

At least you can try it out for 1 month free or 3 months if you buy an Apple Watch. After that, it is $14.95 per month.

 

https://fitness.apple.com/us/subscribe?itscg=10000&itsct=fit-hero-hp_tile-apl-ann-201111

 

New Head Phones from Apple - AirPods Max

 

Cost: $895.00 Australian.

 

Brief Product Description:

 

Apple’s over the ear version of the AirPods Pro with a lot of great features and sound. Stainless steel head band with mesh canopy, aluminium ear cups, and magnetically removable/replaceable ear cup fabric cushions. Two easy access controls, Digital Crown to control media/Siri, and Noise Control for Noise Cancellation, and Transparency Mode.

 

What you Get in the Box:

 

AirPods Max.

Smart case (AirPods Max already inserted in to the case).

Lightning to USBC cable.

Getting started guide.

 

Purchased  Separately:

 

USB charger.

Lightning to 3.5mm TRS audio cable.

Note - plug AirPods Max in to chargers that you would usually plug your iPhone in to.

Audio cable is to allow AirPods Max to be plugged in to older devices purely for getting audio out of them, can’t use Siri etc with this cable plugged in.

 

Physical description and Details of the Head Phones:

 

Stainless steel frame head  band with a soft to touch and stretchy canopy

 to take weight off top of head.

Telescoping stainless steel ear cup arms to adjust ear cups to fit over ears.

Brushed aluminium rectangular ear cups with rounded corners.

Stainless steel had band colour to match iPhone 12 colour, and ear cups colour to match iPad Air or MacBook colour.

Ear cup cushions magnetically attached to ear cups, and can be replaced.

Sensors to detect if AirPods max removed from head and will stop media, continuing once head set back on.

When taken off, both ear cups can be rotated 90 degrees to lay flat or to be inserted in to the smart case.

When wearing the head set, ear cups rotate slightly for a better and more comfortable fit.

9 microphones spread   over both ear cups  to deal with calls, noise/transparency modes, and wind noise reduction.

Each ear cup also contains the H1 chip and 10 core audio computational processor.

 

 

What they Sound Like:

 

Music is absolutely brilliant with individual instruments almost having their own space.

Rich sound.

Spacial audio sound is amazing with the music surrounding the listener.

Not basie  at all, only when music calls for it.

Excellent with Head Phone Accommodations that you can truly customise the sound.

Lovely to listen to audio books or podcasts.

Phone calls are clear, and callers report ease of listening. Video conferencing services such as Zoom worked just as well with audio quality.

Noise reduction even better than that of the AirPods Pro, this goes the same for the transparency mode.

VoiceOver is just as responsive with the AirPods Max as it is with the AirPods Pro.

Hey Siri is very responsive.

 

Benefits:

Extremely responsive with VoiceOver on iOS or Mac.

Very comfortable to wear, even though weight is 380 grams. As reviewer is a voiceOver user, wearing the head set all day is not an issue at all.

Telescoping arms allow the perfect position to be set, and take a little effort to adjust when is great as they then do not shorten or lengthen.

Ear cups feel very comfortable over ears, and do not seem to cause sweating etc.

When the AirPods Max are placed in to the Smart Case, magnets in the case put the head set in to a low power mode.

Instant reconnection to an Apple device when placed back on the head. Just simply convenient to turn a dial or press a button.

Easy to locate and use the Digital Crown (volume etc), and Noise Control buttons.

Easy to locate lightning port for charging or plugging in the not supplied audio cable. There is a notch in the smart case to allow a lightning cable to be plugged in to the head set as well.

The aluminium ear cups feel smooth and cool to the touch.

Unlike some head phone cushions, these cushions have a whole magnetic housing which magnetically clips in to the ear cups.

Works with Find My.

Like with AirPods Pro, when playing media or dictating, AirPods Max does not turn this off when using Siri, which it does on Mac OS.

When plugging head set in to a 20W UsBC fast charger, 1.5hours of battery is gained within 5 minutes.

When plugged in to a standard iPhone charger (not a fast charger), from 0 to 95% is achieved in 2hrs.

The aluminium used in the ear cups is the same in the iPod air or MacBook Pros, and is quite durable.

The not supplied Lightning to 3.5MM audio jack cable is purely to connect the head set to older 3.5MM audio devices and offers no benefit besides the physical connection.

Hey Siri and Announce Messages by Siri is also available.

 

Points to consider:

Note - a few software issues, but the hardware is excellent, software can be improved upon.

Supply own charger.

Supply own audio cable.

The 3.5MM audio cable takes its volume from the device, not the head set, maximum volume therefore on such devices such as the Victor Reader Stream, Victor Trek or the Envoy Connect are about half the volume that the AirPods can put out at maximum volume.

Head set is not water proof.

Smart case doesn’t offer that much protection especially if they are placed in a bag etc.

How durable the mesh is at the top of the head set remains to be seen.

Given the cost, strongly suggest Apple Care.

Reviewer would suggest these are more for office/home use, rather than being out in the community.

 

Discussion of the AirPods Max from the Tech Doctor Blog and Podcast:

 

https://s160.podbean.com/pb/dda560e68aab5fc4aff7190c5bc0381b/5fe01898/data4/fs54/339150/uploads/AirPods_MaxcCat8bd7q.mp3?pbss=c6d31427-5cbd-519c-9cbb-667c0c0d8b9c

 

AirPods Max page

 

Https://www.apple.com/airpodsmax

 

 

Things to Keep you Occupied over the Break

 

Podcasts

 

You can find these podcasts on your smart speakers by simply saying the name with Play Podcast:

 

Applevis.

Daily Tech News Show

Dot To Dot.

Double Tap Canada.

Download this show.

iOS Today.

iSee Using Various Technologies from a blind persons perspective.

MacCast for Mac Geeks.

MacBreak Weekly

Main Menu.

Mosen At Large.

RNIB TechTalk.

Rene Richie.

Talking Tech Vision Australia

Tech Doctor Blog and Podcast.

This Week In Tech.

Windows Weekly.

 

Books

 

Great Audible Listens (my top 14 Series):

 

Series - The Demon Accords by Jon Conroe.

Series - Death’s Mantel by Harmon Cooper.

Series - The Keeper Chronicles by JA Andrews.

Series - The Wandering Inn by Pirate Aba.

Series - Chaos Seeds by Aleron Kong.

Series - King’s Dark Tidings by Kel Cade.

Series - The Castes and the Outcastes by Davis Ashura.

Series - Sentinels of Creation by Robert W. Ross.

Series - Dragon Blood by Lindsay Buroker.

Series - The Unbelievable Mr BrownStone by Michael Anderle.

Series - Alison Brownstone by Judy Berens, Martha Carr, and Michael Anderle.

Series - Nightlord by Garon Whited.

Series - The Enslaved Chronicles - by R. K. Thorne.

Series - Hellequin Chronicles by Steve McHugh.

 

Kindle

 

Most of the time these days you can find both Audible and Kindle versions of the same book. However, sometimes a new series may not yet be recorded on Audible or fully complete, in this case, I turn to Kindle books, I just find it nicer to llisten to a good Human Narrator.

One series which there is only one book in Audible is the Edge by Ilona Andrews so I’ve stuck it here as an example.

Series — the Edge by Ilona Andrews.

 

Of course, you can also check out books on the Vision Australia library.

 

Radio

 

You can find these radio stations n on your smart speakers by simply saying the name with Play StationName:

 

Vision Australia Radio Melbourne.

Vision Australia Radio Adelaide.

ABC Sports.

ABC Sydney.

ABC Melbourne.

Any radio station around the world.

 

Music

 

With a smart speaker, you can play any type of music you like: Artist, track name, Album or category.

These are played through music subscription services such as Apple Music, Spotify etc on your Nest Audio, Amazon Echo Dot or HomePod mini.

Where to get Help During the Break with Tech Issues

 

Apple Accessibility support - 1300 365 083.

Microsoft Disability Support - 1800 280 300.q

Remember Aira, and Be My Eyes.

Google Help Desk via the Be My Eyes app.

 

Talking Tech 15th December 2020

Talking Tech 15th December 2020

December 15, 2020

New Product from Apple - AirPods Max

 

Available Dec 15, but completely sold out with orders out to March 2021.

 

https://www.apple.com/au/airpods-max/ 

 

New Product - Apple Fitness Plus powered by Apple Watch

 

Available December 15.

 

https://www.apple.com/au/apple-fitness-plus/ 

 

Similar to Applevis for Apple, We Now Have Accessidroid

 

 

 

https://accessidroid.com 

 

Mantis Q40 Available from the Vision Australia Vision Store

 

Excellent qwerty based note taker and Braille display.

 

https://shop.visionaustralia.org/shop/product/mantis-q40 

 

A Nice Little Utility fort the Mac: Hearing Aid Booster.

 

Boosts audio sounds around you whilst you are using a head set.

 

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/hearing-aid-loud-and-clear/id1530667786?mt=12&ign-mpt=uo=4 

 

Another Handy Utility for the Mac - Simple Count Down Timer

 

https://apps.apple.com/au/app/simple-countdown-a-simple-countdown-timer/id923919232?mt=12 

 

My Last Christmas Special Webinar of the Year - Newcastle Tech Friday

 

Ray and I went a bit crazy on our tech toy gift ideas in this 2 hour long webinar.

 

https://visionaustralia.zoom.us/rec/play/LQxNivG4Lz8XNra1bCpbxOuWMwcZr6_F3Mj3zMnTQOjMcilgtB-t1jn2TdcNtTFa5b0UpCMa4FtILssh.4KbC1z_1qQYKhUl1?startTime=1607641477000&_x_zm_rtaid=4Wb7o51KS2qS8KbiQlVP9g.1607826555086.94d6f27ea8ddbb0940bc7760bef7961d&_x_zm_rhtaid=654 

Talking Tech 8th December 2020

Talking Tech 8th December 2020

December 8, 2020

The Developers of Fear, The Game of Running Blind Are back with a New Name and Game in Development

 

Mental Home E.U., and the game is called Sonar Islands.

 

https://www.mentalhome.eu/news/

 

Blind Review of the Sony PS5

 

Interesting read, and excellent news for gamers world wide.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nP0eKVeD_hk&feature=youtu.be

 

Apple Accessibility Has a New Look

 

A bit different to your traditional webpage layout, but now an excellent resource even more for features across all of the Apple product lines.

 

https://www.apple.com/au/accessibility/

 

David Woodbridge’s Blog

 

Updated and is where you can find all my webinars, podcasts, etc.

 

https://shop.visionaustralia.org/david-woodbridge-s

 

Humanware and APH Hour of Code - Code Jumper

 

This week in the US it is Science Education week and Humanware/APH are joining in with an hour of code using the Code Jumper system, lessons linked below.

 

#CSEdwin from Dec 6 2020 - Hour of Code - from @Humanware @APHfortheBlind - Code Jumper Lesson 1: Algorithms - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SznjDNlK96M

#CSEdweek from Dec 6 2020 - Hour of Code - from @Humanware @APHfortheBlind - Code Jumper Lesson 2: Threads - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND1gD7t2SOU

#CSEdweek from Dec 6 2020 - Hour of Code - from @Humanware @APHfortheBlind- Code Jumper Lesson 3: - Debugging - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUdFxWRwo_c

#CSEdweek from Dec 6 2020 - Hour of Code - from @Humanware @APHfortheBlind - Code Jumper Lesson 4: Loops and Sequences - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-eU9QBtam4

#CSEdweek from Dec 6 2020 - Hour of Code - from @Humanware @APHfortheBlind - Code Jumper Lesson 5: Constants - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQS4TGFUOHY

 

Continuing with David’s TEch Toy Gift Ideas

 

For this week, a known but very handy feature of the HomePod Mini.

If you like streaming audio for entertaining in the garden, all you need is a USBC power bank to plug the HomePod Mini in to, and off you go with connection to your Home Wi-Fi network.

 

https://www.apple.com/au/shop/buy-homepod/homepod-mini

Talking Tech 1st December 2020

Talking Tech 1st December 2020

December 1, 2020

Reminder - Vision Store Orders by 6 Dec 2020

 

Just to make sure you get your delivery’s before Christmas, put your orders in before the 6th of DEc 2020.

 

Speaking of Orders, the Orbit Reader 20 Braille display and note taker, has been reducedback to the introductory price of $600 whilst stocks last.

 

As they say, get it now!

NB - as this is a special order, you will have to ring the Vision Store on 1300 847 466 or visit a Vision Store.

 

https://shop.visionaustralia.org/shop/product/orbit-reader-20

 

Have Received my HomePod Mini’s

 

These speakers are small, great sound, and does everything the full size HomePod does such as intercom and transferring audio/phone calls etc.

 

Have a listen to my demo of the new HomePod Mini, I’ll think you will be impressed.

 

https://s128.podbean.com/pb/9fe9e031ceab77af52378da67ee3a76d/5fc4611c/data2/fs54/339150/uploads/Demo_of_the_HomePod_Mini_using_VoiceOver6mkep.mp3?pbss=e4ba7e2a-e87d-523c-b901-96f5e3e89c17

 

My First M1 Mac mini Demo

 

I’m still extremely impressed by the M1 Mac mini. As you will hear, VoiceOver is simply efficient to use on the new M1 chip, especially with iOS apps running on the Mac.

 

https://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/e/m1-mac-minidemo-using-voiceover/

 

David’s Own Christmas Ideas

 

Here are some suggestions from my Toy Room.

 

Dyson Air Purifier, Heater, and Fan.

Dyson V10 Animal Plus Portable Vacuum Cleaner.

Samsung Accessible TV (small).

Apple TV.

ChromeCast with Google TV.

Talking Tech 24th November 2020

Talking Tech 24th November 2020

November 24, 2020

Mac mini Initial Review Notes

 

My First Experiences with Setting Up an M1 Mac (the Mac mini)

 

From the outside, feels like a normal Mac mini, including the physical size of the case.

M1 chip inside of course with 8 cores, 8 GPU Cores, and 16 neural engine core.

I deliberately purchased the standard version: 8GB RAM and 256GB hard drive.

Ports: Ethernet, 2 USBC/Thunder bolt, HDMI, 2 USBA, and 3.5MM ear phone jack.

Under the ports, is a wide vent for the internal fan air flow.

Being a desktop, the Mac mini has to be plugged in to power, no brick as in the very old days.

 

Tips for setting up the M1 Mac mini though: for the initial setup you will need a monitor or at least an HDMI cable that will fool the M1 Mac mini in to thinking it has a monitor plugged in: otherwise you won’t go anywhere.

I also plugged in my Magic Keyboard 2 as a USB keyboard, this made things easier. However, during the setup, the I kept having to dismiss the dialog that wanted me to connect a Mouse or Trackpad.

 

Once I discovered the monitor issue smile, setup was slightly different to what I was used to in setting up a Mac.  Now with Big Sur you have onboarding for accessibility, which whilst I found fantastic, just put in more options to concentrate on in the whole setup process.  By the time I got to choose using two Apple IDS, and not using Fire Vault, my concentration was getting a bit warn, and I ended up getting my I

Ds back to front, and chose Fire Vault.

 

Once setup was complete, my Mac some how decided that I had put in the wrong password to login to the Mac.  After several attempts, I just chose a simple password, which then worked.

 

So usually setting up a new Mac which usually takes me less than 30 minutes, this with all the issues, took me 2 hours.

 

It is great to see the start up chime back, which if you don’t like it, you can turn off in System Preferences, Sound.

 

Once all setup and logged in, the M1 Mac mini has been a dream to use with Big Sur.

 

Because I am using Fire Vault, VoiceOver speech that comes up before the login prompt is using good old Fred, then after logged in, it is back to my usual Karen speech synthesiser.

 

I now don’t need my monitor plugged in, which was my 24 inch TV on my desk for the Apple TV, so now it is plugged back in to the Apple TV box.

 

The first time I ran a non Apple silicon app, I was prompted to install Rosetta, after which all of my usual 3rd party apps were fine: eg Amadeus Pro, Dropbox, Just Press Record, Twitterific, Zoom etc.

 

Now of course, you can run iOS apps on the M1 Macs.

Searching for iOS apps on the Mac App Store is sort of relatively easy.  I tend to search for an item first, then go in to the Toolbar and choose iPhone/iPad apps over the default Mac apps, then usually above my name, is the start of the hit list which I then interact with via VoiceOver.

However, when there is editorial stuff happening or other unknown things, the Mac App Store gets down wright hard to navigate with VoiceOver, I found myself searching on the web for the Mac app link which most of the time brought it up in the Mac App Store.

 

So far I have used (all which have worked) Frotz, Nature Space, Overcast, Sensibo, TravelEar, Voice Timer, Weather Gods, and White Noise.

 

When using iOS apps on the Mac, VoiceOver treats them as “normal” Mac apps.

 

In Big Sur, VoiceOver gives you a keyboard shortcut to get to Notifications Centre VO+O, and the new Control Centre VO+Shift+O.

 

The only thing I could not find in doing all my usual changes to the OS, was Announce Time, it is now under Doc and Menu with in System Preferences.

 

The new VO+Command+Space Actions menu comes in very very handy, and you can also access the context menu from this Actions menu.

 

The only slightly annoying thing I have so far noticed with Big Sur, in the Extras menu for WiFi Connectivity, you don’t get told the name of the network you are connected to.

 

I only got one time the dreaded “busy busy” from VoiceOver during setup.  The only time since I have gotten this is using Twitterific, but no where as bad as it used to be on my other Mac: may be once in the  last 48 hours.

 

The VoiceOver speech rotor VO+Command+Arrow keys, which used to take a second to switch to the next or previous parameter, is still slightly paused on the M1 Mac mini, but certainly usable.

 

The current time accessed with VoiceOver via Right Option+T, is again, a lot more responsive than on my other Macs: a significant delay on older machines.

 

As I type this, I have 18 apps open, am streaming music, and am copying files to an external hard drive.

 

The combination of Voiceover Keyboard commander to allow me to launch apps from the Right Shift key, and all of my favourite apps on the Dock, there is no waiting around on this M1 Mac mini: its actually VoiceOver still speaking whilst the app is sitting there ready to go.

 

As I said, an absolute pleasure to use.

 

Of Course, Big Sur is Now Available

 

New Control Centre, pin Conversations in Messages, and new VoiceOver VO+O command to take user to the Notifications Centre and VO+Shift+O to the Control Centre.

 

https://9to5mac.com/2020/11/12/macos-11-big-sur-now-available/

 

Victor Reader Trek 2.1 avialble

 

 

Main feature is virtual maps like Sound Scape.

 

Chat to Humanware about the new feature or update it from within the unit.

 

 

AssistiveWare and Acapela Announce discontinuation for the Infovox iVox voices

 

Here is some of the text sent to all Acapela voice users:

 

Dear Infovox iVox User,

 

(Vous trouverez ci-dessous une traduction au français du message)

 

Saying goodbye is never easy, but we are thankful to have you as a friend on this journey. After a long talk and much thought, AssistiveWare and Acapela Group have decided to discontinue development of Infovox iVox due to a shrinking user base and increasing development and support costs. This was not an easy decision, but with the current pandemic economic crisis, the fact that macOS allows you to download free multilingual voices, and AssistiveWare’s shifted focus toward AAC, we were compelled to bring up the topic we could no longer ignore. 

 

The Easy Chirp app is no longer Being Maintained

 

This for a long time was the easy way to access Twitter via the web.

Talking Tech 17th November 2020

Talking Tech 17th November 2020

November 17, 2020

Everyday Bits and Bobs from the Vision Australia Vision Store (and some of my favorite ones)

 

David’s Top Five

 

Talking Key Ring Clock

 

As the name suggests, it just attach’s to the key ring and you can check the time and/or have the times spoken on the hour/Alarm as well.

Sometimes I just like a manual way of checking the time.

$23.

 

https://shop.visionaustralia.org/shop/product/talking-keyring-clock 

 

Audible and Vibrating Liquid Level Indicator

 

Lets you know the level of liquid coming up to the edge of a cup etc.

For me, I’m always adding milk after I’ve made a cup of coffee with my bean coffee machine, and because the milk is Luke warm when I’m poring in to the cup, I still like the fact I get warned from the sensor when the liquid is hitting the top of the cup.

$44.

 

https://shop.visionaustralia.org/shop/product/audible-and-vibrating-liquid-level-indicator 

 

Talking Kitchen Scales and Easy to See Measuring Jug Set

 

Whilst I find this great for the kitchen, because my wife and I are always sending parcels hear, there, and everywhere, these scales come in great for measuring the weight of your parcel as well smile.

$136.

 

https://shop.visionaustralia.org/shop/product/talking-kitchen-scale-easy-see-measuring-jug-set 

 

Talking Builders Tape Measure

 

Over the upcoming Christmas break, my talking tape measure is going to come in handy for myself, I have to measure up my office to plan getting some new desks etc for the new year.

$199.

 

https://shop.visionaustralia.org/shop/product/talking-builders-tape-measure 

 

Sangean Accesible AM/FM Radio

 

Fully accessible radio. I know the price, I know its not Digital, and I know the price is a bit pricy: but hey it works, everything is spoken, and in last years fires I wouldn’t have been without it.

$330.

 

https://shop.visionaustralia.org/shop/product/sangean-pr-d17-amfm-accessible-radio 

 

Amanda’s Top Five

 

Explorer 8 hand-held video magnifier, board and card games, large print kitchen clock, and large print or Braille (on request) calendars.

 

To search for the Explore 8 and Amanda’s other suggestions, use the general vA shop link:

https://shop.visionaustralia.org

 

Apple’s Recent Event

 

All about the new M1 Chip from Apple in the new MacBook Air range, new MacBook Pros 13 inch, and the new Mac mini.

Note - the Macbook Air’s only come as an M1 chip computer now, whilst the MacBook Pro 13, and Mac mini is still available with an Intel chip as well.

Keep in mind, you can also get your hands on a MacBook Pro 16 inch which is still Intel.

As far as we understand at the moment, you can not run Windows on an M1 chip based machine, and we are also not aware that you can do it under a virtual machine either.

 

Check out Apple’s web site for more info on the M1, and go to the events page if you would like to listen to the Apple Keynote.

 

https://apple.com

 

JaWS 2021

The next update foo Job Access With Speech (JAWS) is now available.

I’m quite interested in how the voice recognition within JaWS will go for controlling features, and the image recognition in Word documents.

 

There are also new 2021 versions of Zoomtext, and fusion (combined JAWS and Zoomtext).

 

https://www.freedomscientific.com/products/software/

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