Talking Tech 29th August 2017

August 29, 2017

This week is the 2nd part of the interview that David conducted with robin Christophersen from the UK who’s Dot To Dot podcast is a great way of learning all about the Amazon echo.


Talking Tech 22nd August 2017

August 22, 2017

In this weeks Talking Tech is the first part of a two part interview with robin Christopherson from the UK who produces an excellent Podcast - Dot To Dot - all about the Amazon Echo.

Search and subscribe to Dot To Dot in your favourite pod catcher.


Talking Tech 15th August 2017

August 15, 2017

This weeks Talking Tech is a general tech update.

Please tune in for the following two shows where David interviews Robin Christopherson about his experiences with the Amazon Echo in the UK where it is officially supported.


Talking Tech 8th August 2017

August 9, 2017

David gives up an update of the Orbit Reader 20 Braille display. Vaughan Roles and David then discuss Vaughan’s experience withe the Orcam Smart Glass’s for reading hard copy print.


Talking Tech 1st August 2017

August 1, 2017

This weeks show is all about Smart Speakers in our homes: Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Home pod.

 I thought it would make it easier if I shared with folks my podcasting notes that I will be using when I do my demos on Google Home and the Amazon Echo Dot.


Google Home

 Google Home is the first Smart speaker to be officially available in Australia.


Physical description:

  mute on back of speaker to toggle mute microphone.  Uses dedicated charger rather than micro usb cable (surprised).  Sound is very very base.  On touch surface of speaker: on left side draw half circle clockwise to increase volume and counter clockwise to decrease volume.  1 finger tap to stop or start audio.  1 finger press activate speaker without saying “hey google”. 

Turn Accessible sounds on for speaker listening within the Home app: i.e. after saying “Hey Google” will here traditional beeps to let you know that speaker is listening, say command, then beeps to let user know that speaker is processing command.


Setup the Google Home via the Home app on my Nexus 5 phone.  Downloaded the Google Home and followed the instructions to setup the Google Home Speaker: i.e. joining local network, choosing Google account to use with the device etc.


Google Home seems to have inbuilt functions called Actions.

Comes with a trial subscription to Youtube Red and Google music.


Some useful commands:


Translate “phrase’ in to another language - “Translate What is your name” to Italian”.  Doesn’t alway work.

What can I say.

What is the time.

When is Sun Rise.

When is Sunset.

What is the date.

What is the weather.

How long to get to work.

Turn it up or turn it down.

Roll a die.

Flip a coin.C

Where am I.

Set an alarm.

Cancel alarm.

Check alarm.

Snooze an alarm.

Set a timer (can do multiple timers).

Check timer.

Cancel Timer.

How do I make “dish name”.

Add “item” to shopping list.

Check shopping list.

Tell me a joke.

Tell me a knock knock joke.

Do calculations.

Convert measurements.

Open “6 Swords”.

Open  Blackjack 21.

Open the Christal ball”.

Open Eliza (very old AI conversation app).

Open “The Temple in the forest”.

Open the Magic Door”.

Give me a random number between x and y.

Sing me a song.

Sing happy birthday.

Check my Calendar (Google Calendar).

Tell me the news..

Play podcast xxx (seems to be from Tune-in).

Play chill out music (if Youtube default music player will play from source).  Can also say play  chill out on Google Play Music.

Play aBC radio (plays local ABC radio Sydney).

Play Album name or category.

Whilst playing music - what is this song.

Play 2gb radio (plays from iHeart radio).

How do you spell the word xxx and have it spelled.

What is the definition  of word and have it spoken.

Play Twit Live (plays on Tune-in).

What is the nearest restaurant.

What is the phone number for xxx restaurant.

No reminders or stop watch function.


Google Home app on iOS

Main screen can access:

Across top of screen: Menu button, Home title, and Devices button.

Menu button contains:

Signed in account name

Accounts button,

Close Menu button,

Google Assistant Heading

Things to Ask button,

Music button,

Home Control button,

More Settings button,

Devices button,

Account preferences button,

Offers button,

How to Cast button,

Google store button,

Help button,

Feedback button.


Below this - Listen and Discover tabs.

Listen tab appears to be App suggestions for use on iPhone.

Discover Tab - Voice Command History of your Activities button, heading “Related to your Activity,  command suggestions, Settings button, and then more app suggestions.


To turn the Accessibility toggle (sound that plays to let you now Home is listening) from home screen - Devices button, the 2nd More options button, Settings button, Accessibility Start Sound on/off button.


If playing music, to start/pause music and adjust volume from main screen - Devices button: current track playing is listed followed by Pause button, and Volume button.  Pause will start/stop audio.  Volume button changes to a volume slider to adjust volume.


Available from JB Hi-Fi and other retailers.  Approximately $200.


Amazon Echo Dot (and other Echo devices)


The Amazon Echo Dot can be accessed in Australia, but it is not officially supported which affects local service queries.


Physical description:


Squat and round with 4 buttons at 12, 3, 6 and 4.  AT one side of Dot, micro usb port to plug in to power and 3.5mm audio jack.  Can connect to Bluetooth.

4 buttons are: at 12 and 6 volume up and down, 9 mute mic toggle, and 3 action button (activate Alexa without saying “Alexa”.


As Amazon Echo not officially in Australia, was able to fully connect the Amazon Echo to my Wi-Fi network and access most of the features via the website including skills (apps for the echo).

Turn Accessible sounds on for speaker listening within i.e. after saying “Alexa” will here traditional beeps to let you know that speaker is listening, say command, then beeps to let user know that speaker is processing command.


Amazon Echo has user added functionality through enabling skills (apps).


Amazon Prime music doesn’t appear to be accessible via my Australian Amazon account consequently I just use Tune-in as main music source.


Some useful commands:


Play “my last Audible book” or play book title from Audible”.

  • Play “my last book from Kindle” or “play book title from Kindle”.

What can I say.

What is the time.

When is Sun Rise (have to say Gosford In Australia).

When is Sunset (have to say gosford Australia).

What is the date.

What is the weather (have to say Gosford Australia).

Turn it up or turn it down.

Roll a die.

Flip a coin.

Set an alarm.

Cancel alarm.

Check alarm.

Snooze an alarm.

Set a timer (can do multiple timers).

Check timer.

Cancel Timer.

How do I make “dish name” used with the All Recipes skill.

Add “item” to shopping list.

Check shopping list.

Tell me a joke.

Tell me a knock knock joke.

Do calculations.

Convert measurements.

Open “6 Swords” (after enabling it).

Open  Blackjack 21 (after enabling it).

Open the Christal ball (after enabling it).

Open Eliza (very old AI conversation app) (after enabling it).

Open the Magic Door (after enabling it).

Give me a random number between x and y.

Sing me a song.

Sing happy birthday.

Check my Calendar (can tie the Outlook skill to Alexa).

Tell me the news (flash briefing)..

Play podcast xxx (seems to be from Tune-in).

How do you spell the word xxx and have it spelled.

What is the definition  of word and have it spoken.

Play Twit Live (plays on Tune-in).

Open “stop watch” (after enabling).

Playing music from Tune-in is a bit of a pain.  Also trying to get a local radio to play via tune-in is quite difficult, although triple plays fine. website:

After logging in with Amazon account, gives the following tabs:

Home page - new AAlexa suggestions, shows what you last used/spok to Alexa, and useful links.

Select the Navigation menu to bring up the following Alexa app tabs:

Home tab 1 of 11,

Now playing tab 2 of 11.

Music and books tab 3 of 11

Lists tab 4 of 11

Timers and Alarms 5 of 11

Skills tab 6 of 11

Smart home tab 7 of 11

Things to try tab 8 of 11

Settings tab 9 of 11

Help and feedback tab 10 of 11

Not David sign out tab 11 of 11.


My favourite Alexa apps



My most used Alexa skills and activities are:


What is the time.

What is the date.

What is the weather in Gosford.

Use of multiple timers when cooking.

Set an alarm for 6am.

Flash briefing.

Spell word.



Check my calendar (Outlook skill).

Fitbit skill.

Netatmo skill.

Audible skill.

Kindle skill.

Wemo skill.

Play 21 Blackjack.

Play Rock Paper Scissors.

unofficial Zork.

Pig  Dice.

Play Vision Australia Radio Melbourne on Tune-in.

Play Vision Australia Radio Adelaide on Tune-in.

Play MacBreak Weekly.

Play the MacCast on Tune-in.

Add “item” to Shopping list.

Add “item” to ToDo list.

Open this day in history.



Can buy the Amazon Echo devices usually from eBay related retailers in Australia.  Approximate price for the Echo Dot is $100 or so.  Hopefully Amazon actually coming to Australia in 2018.


Home Pod


Physical description: cylinder style speaker with a touch surface top to touch for start/stop music, and adjust the volume. Top also shows when Siri is listening.  Not sure, but likely to have a lightning port to plug in to power.


Tied to Apple Music.

Uses Siri for voice interactions, and of course, use Siri to ask all sorts of questions.

Control Home Kit enabled accessories.

Supports Airplay 2.  Can have to Home Pods in the same room where they will balance the music between both speakers.  Home Pods in other rooms can e controlled by AirPlay.


A few functions that I hope Siri/Home Pod will do:

Allow the use of multiple timers,

Play iBook audio and eBooks,

Not sound to bass when playing spoken word content.

A Tweet noticed in the last week of July concerning the Firmware for the Home Pod emptied that Apple’s Accessibility features such as VoiceOver would be supported in the Home Pod: i.e. perhaps using VoiceOver to read out certain information.

Available from Apple stores and resellers December 2017.  Will retail for round about $600-700 or so here in Australia.


Talking Tech 18th July 2017

July 18, 2017

Two Recent Podcasts from David:


Smart Vision II Android Phone with Touch Screen and Physical Keyboard


Demo of my New Fitbit Charge 2 with the Fitbit app on my iPhone Using VoiceOver.


Microsoft Seeing AI iOS App


App has different channels much like on a TV for reading short text, documents, bar codes, currency (US only), and objects/people (experimental).


From their Blog:


Youtube Demo:


The Untold History of the Talking Book


This interview done via the RNIB about the book “The Untold History of the Talking Book”.  You can get the complete book on


RNIOB Interview


Book title on


Talking Tech 11th July 2017

July 11, 2017

Some Comments on three products that I have been looking at:

Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad

This keyboard replaces the Apple UsB keyboard with Numeric Keypad: i.e. this keyboard does Bluetooth and lightning connection to a Mac.

All VoiceOver functions including the VoiceOver Keyboard Commander work with this keyboard on the Mac.

VoiceOver on iOS works fine with this keyboard when connected via Bluetooth.


The Kapsys Smart Vision 2 Android Smart Phone with Numeric Keypad We had Sam Taylor on from Pacific Vision a few months ago, but actually getting your hands on a product is different and I’ve spent a week or so playing with the Kapsys Smart Vision 2.

This is the Smart phone that is based on Android and gives the user both access to either the touch screen or using a physical numeric style keyboard with extra keys to navigate the Kapsys interface.

What stood out for me the most were:

Inserting the SIMM card very easy,

Starting up and setting up the phone very easy with speech, Good responsiveness of the touch screen, Ease of navigating with the DPad on the physical keyboard, Entering in Alpha/Numeric characters with using the T9 system on the physical keyboard, Answering/hanging up a call by pressing the appropriate answer or hang up button on the keyboard, Dedicated OK Google physical button, Simplicity of adding applications to the Home Screen of the Kapsys interface, Ease of use by typing in first letter of app from the physical keyboard to jump to the app within the Application screen, Using the FM radio in the phone, and The Maps app with clock directions when exploring a route: i.e. 12 straight ahead, 6 behind, street name at 3 etc.


My Recent Podcast on the new Beats Pill Speaker


I recently did a podcast on comparing the new Beats Pill to the older version, and either one of them has some good and bad points.


My Ongoing Attempt to Convert my home in to a Apple Smart Home Kit Home


I have no got 10 Eve Energy switch’s for turning various items on/off such as lamps, electric blankets, fans, and heaters, Now with scenes I can turn on or off grouped items now such as house lamps on or off, boys lamps on or off, heaters on or off, and leaving and arriving home events.


iOS 11 public beta


I’d still suggest to folks not to put iOS 11 public beta on your primary device.

For me I’ve done this and I have had to use my work iPhone to use apps like my Fitbit app as it will not currently work with iOS 11.


If you really really want to give it a go, this article from Macworld will get you started:


Talking Tech 4th July 2017

July 4, 2017

Vision Australia’s first Webinar using the Zoom Platform: Dress with Style

Join Vision Australia’s fashionistas for a discussion on dressing in style when you are blind or have low vision.

We will cover current fashion trends for men and women, how to work out your style, what to wear when, and strategies for going shopping. Participants will be able to ask questions live during the webinar.

When: Wednesday 12th July, 7pm – 8pm (AEST)
How to register: Register for this event here

What you will need: You will need an email address to register for this event. You can watch or listen to the webinar on a computer, smartphone, or tablet with internet access, or a telephone.
Cost: It is free to register for this webinar. Your own internet or telephone usage charges apply

How to join the webinar

You will be sent instructions on how to join the Dress with Style webinar by email after registering for this event.

You will be able to join the webinar online by installing Zoom software using the link we send you, or by telephone if you want to save on your data usage.

Register at the following link:



FYI for listeners: two major conferences on in the US


American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention June 30 to July 7, and National Federation of the Blind (NfB) Convention July 10 to July 15.  ., and


By the way, if you have an Amazon Echo, you can say “Alexa play ACB radio Live Stream on Tune-in”.  Alternatively for the ACB convention, you can use the ACB Link app.


There are usually lots of announcements at these conventions.  Blind Bargains has done an interview with Humanware concerning the new upcoming Victor Reader Trek: combining a Victor Reader Stream and a Trekker Breeze.


The Orbit Reader 20 will be available at the conventions.  We’ll have more about the Orbit Reader 20 in Australia in a few weeks.


dbaust: Deaf Blind Mailing list for Australia


A discussion list for people who are living in Australia who are deafblind


To join, go to 

Put your email address in the box - User Options: Your email address: 

the tab to the Subscribe box - Choose an action:  Go!


Once you have joined - To post to dbaust, send email to:


You can unsubscribe by sending email to with “unsubscribe” in the Subject


If you have any questions or problems please contact the Moderator by email at


A Discussion of my Adventures with the Apple Watch and getting my Fitness up,

Getting my Fitness level up by using the Activity and workout apps on the Apple Watch,

A reminder about the Activity rings of Movement, Exercise, and Stand,

Calibrating the Apple Watch with an outdoor walk for better use with the Activity and Workout apps for stride length/distance walked,

Using indoor 1.0K indoor walk for exercise on Treadmill, and

issues with getting direct access to heart beat and current step count on Apple Watch.


My Adventures with the Fitbit Charge 2

What is a Fitbit Charge 2: touch screen Fitbit controlled by iPhone/Android which tracks steps, exercise, sleeping, and heart rate plus can set vibrating Alarms,

Why I purchased a Fitbit Charge 2 - direct access to step and heart rate count,,

Issues setting it up - putting in code to pair to iPhone on screen of Fitbit Charge 2: rest of setup via the Fitbit app was fine, and

You can completely ignore the touch screen on the Fitbit Charge 2 and completely access all information via the iPhone/Android Fitbit app.


Whilst we’re talking about Health, checkout this next interesting story about a patent from apple


New Apple Patent Describes Sleep Tracking system with Fed Time ritual Sensing, and Power Nap Function 


Talking Tech 27th June 2017

June 27, 2017

Here are the topic links for the story’s covered in Talking Tech for June 27 2017:


AccessWorld for June 2017


A Call for Applications to Join the Applevis Editorial Team


Switching from Window-Eyes to NVDA


FreedomScientific Several Weeks Ago Released Zoomtext Vision