Talking Tech - Vision Australia Radio
Talking Tech 2nd June 2020

Talking Tech 2nd June 2020

June 2, 2020

In this weeks Talking Tech, David celebrates his 30 years at the RBS of NSW and now Vision Australia by discussing some of the tech highlights over his time working as a technology specialist.



With these notes, you get the whole list, enjoy.


Unusual or Meaningful Tech Over the Last 30 years


When I started work for the then RBS of NSW (now Vision Australia) on June 4 1990, my tech on my desk was a Keynote PC Plus based on a Toshiba 1000, a Braille & Speak note taker, and of course a telephone land line.


Tech sitting on my desk 2020 for general everyday stuff, iPhone, QBraille Braille Display, iPad, MacBook Pro, Surface Pro, Google Home, Amazon Echo, and HomePod: plus my audio studio setup for podcasting and my radio program.


In no particular order, this is a list of all the tech that I have personally used for both home and work over the last 30 years covering my time at both Royal Blind Society of NSW then  Vision Australia).


Where amazingly some of the tech still exists when it first came out and where it has evolved to current, I’ve put the updated version in the current lists as well.


Interestingly, there are over 10 products that are Assistive Tech related that have lasted the test of time and are in the old and current tech sections.


Where some of the products may not be that well known (at least according to me smile), I’ve put a very short blurb next to them.


Oddly or not, I wish some of the devices that are no longer around still were, as they did some great specific things.


For me, I think the main technology advances were:

Microsoft Windows 3.1 access (keeping in mind Outspoken had been out for a while for Macs) in the 1990’s,

Mobile and Smart phone access in the 2000’s (Talkback for Synbian and VoiceOver for iPhone) plus VoiceOver for the Mac in 2005,

Smart speakers and Smart home tech in 2010-2020.


Things we still need to conquer:

Ongoing message and change for accessibility across mobile/desktop apps, and the huge one, the web.

Access to self service kiosks.

Indoor navigation.

Accessibility in white goods.

Accessible EFTPOS terminals (Apple Pay sort of gets around this).

More audio described content on free to air.

Hate to pick out out Foxtel, but they sort of deserve it, an accessible Foxtel box.

One final point, we should be careful about assigning accessibility based on the fact that it works with one specific type of software, particularly in the screen reader industry.


  1. Old Tech


If you haven’t heard of some of this stuff, use good old Google, should still be some info floating around.  If it brings back hopefully good memory’s I’m glad.



Keynote PC Plus (Toshiba 100 laptop with Keynote note taking software and insult speech).

Keynote for DOS.

Keynote across portable devices (current today - BrailleNote Touch)).


Braille & Speak (Braille keyboard based simple note taker with speech).

Braille Lite (Braille & Speak with a 40 cell Braille Display).

Type & Speak (Braille and Speak with a QWERTY keyboard).


Inca QWERTY Keyboard for DOS (with two Braille display lines).


Navigater Braille display.


OutSpoken for Mac for System 6.07, 7 and 8.

OutSpoken for Windows.


Enlarge for Mac.


Closeview for Mac.


Artic Business Vision MSDOS screen reader.

Artic Business Vision internal PC Card.

Artic Transport (you could upload the screen reader to the MSDOS PC from the external synthesiser).

Artic Gizmo Pad (an external navigation keyboard for Artic).

Arctic Winvision for Windows.


Double Speak (external synthesiser).


Accent SA (external synthesiser).


Keynote Gold PCMCIA, PC or Keynote Gold external synthesiser (had driver to be made available to other screen readers).


Apollo external synthesiser.


Hal MSDOS screen reader (worked with the Apollo Synthesiser).

Hal for Windows (eventually became Supernova for Windows current today).


DECTalk Classic(very large external speech synthesiser.

DECTalk PC internal synthesiser card.

DECTalk Express external synthesizer.

DECTalk Access software synthesiser.


ASAP (As Soon As Possible) MSDOS screen reader.

ASAW ASAP for Windows).


JAWS For DOS MSDOS screen reader.

JAWS for Windows (current today).


Eloquence software synthesiser (Made famous when first worked with JAWS For Windows V3.2).


Vocal-Eyes MSDOS screen reader (could be configured).

Window-Eyes for Windows.


Master Touch MSDOS screen reader (could read direct video writes).

Master Touch Touch Tablet (25 line by 80 column tablet for navigating with Master touch cursor).


Dragon for DOS.

Dragon For Windows (current today).


Braille to Print for Perkins Brailler.


Jot A Dot (small Braille writer).


Kurzweil PC Reader (internal PC Card supporting the KPR OCR software).


Arkenstone Easy Reader OCR software.

OpenBook for Windows OCR software (current today).


Versa Braille (20 cell Braille note taker using cassette tapes).


Pac Mate note taker with 40 cell Braille Display.


Blazy Personal Embosser


Rainbow  Reader (stand alone reading machine).


Eureka A4 (personal Braille input keyboard note taker).  Oddly had a vault metre, and thermometer..


MountBatten Brailler, Braille Writer, embosser etc  (current Today).

Mimic for MountBatten, LCD display  (current Today).


Braille Mate (single Braille cell on a notetaker).


Light Probe (detects light source - current today).


ABC Courier (deaf/blind Communicator).

Telebraille, deaf/blind communicator.


Talking keyboard plug in box (made any keyboard speak that was plugged in to it).


Nomad tactile and talking diagrams.


Vista plug in PC screen magnifier for MSDOS, had own mouse.

ViewPoint Split PC/CCTV.


Magic for DOS.

Magic for Windows (no longer being upgraded).


Zoomtext for Dos.

Zoomtext for Windows (current Today).


Road Runner text reader.


Book Sense (book reader).


Plextalk Pocket (seems to be no longer available).


Parrot or later Voice Mate (record notes and appointments).


Voice Diary (record notes and appointments).


Olympus DM5 Digital Recorder (with inbuilt speech menus).


Business Memo (voice recorder).


IBM OS 2 Screen Reader for OS 2 and Windows 3.11 with dedicated external number pad keyboard which could also be programmed).


Home Page Reader (from IBM for reading the web - self voicing application for Windows).


PW WebSpeak (self voicing application for reading the web in Windows).


Narrator for Windows XP screen reader for Windows, used to be joked about that this was an example of a screen reader that wasn’t a screen reader.

Narrator for Windows 10 (current Today).


Talking Microwave late 90’s LG.

Talking Microwave 2020 Cobolt (current Today).


Talking Caller ID for land line.


Nokia Communicator 9210 with Talks for later Nokia phones.

Nokia N82 and other Nokia’s running Talks and the Symbian operating system.


Freedom Box talking interface to Windows - self voicing application, name later changed to System Access Mobile network.

System Access Screen reader for Windows (could also run off a USB stick).

SAToGo (run System Access from a Webpage).

System Access Remote Access Manager (remote PC support).


Guide Connect early 2000’s, later sold to Dolphin Systems.

Guide Connect (Dolphin Systems, simple to use menu driven self voicing application for Windows, current Today).


Speaking menus on iPod nano/Shuffle (speech came from PC).


Talking set top  box (Hills Set Top Box).


I can’t remember the name of this, but before land lines had a hands free speaker phone so you could instruct someone over the phone, there was a gadget that you placed the receiver of the phone on and it turned the phone in to a hands free phone for microphone and loud speaker.


  1. Current Tech


A few main stream bits and Bobs in here as well.


The first 13 or so products below, are listed in both sections and whilst they have ben updated or changed, are still around amazingly.


Keynote across portable devices (current today - BrailleNote Touch)).


JAWS for Windows.

JAWS Tandom (part of JaWS but fantastic tool for remote PC support).


Window-Eyes for Windows (this has only recently been discontinued).


Non Visual Desktop (NvDA) screen reader for Windows. Can be completely run as a stand alone screen reader.

Supernova screen reader for Windows.

Hal for Windows (eventually became Supernova for Windows).


Dragon For Windows.


OpenBook for Windows.


MountBatten Brailler.

Mimic for MountBatten.


Magic for Windows (no longer being upgraded).


Zoomtext for Windows.


Narrator for Windows 10 (happy to now call it a screen reader smile).


Guide Connect Dolphin Systems.

Dolphin Pod (use your TV to access entertainment options of Dolphin Guide Connect - plug in box).


Light Probe.


Plextalk Pocket (seems to be no longer available).


Victor Reader Stream.


Victor Reader Trek GPS.


Envoy Connect (basic daisy player.


Focus 14 and 40 Braille displays.


VoiceOver for Mac from 10.4.


VoiceOver for iPad nano, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple Tv.

Various iPod nano (latest version had version of VoiceOver on it before device was discontinued).

Various iPhones.

Various iPads.

Various iPod touch.

Various Apple TV.

Various Apple Watch .

Various AirPods.


Magic Trackpads and Magic Keyboards.


Wireless chargers.


Various Fitbits.


Be My eyes and Aira using 2 way video communication  via Smart phone for assistance.


Various tablet/phone stands.


Xbox One/One S (with Narrator).


Talkback for Android.

Voice Assistant on Samsung phones/Tablets, and Galaxy Watch.

Symapptic software for Android.


Various Macs (all Mac since 2005 with work laptop and current Surface Pro tablet).


Kindle eBook stand alone Readers.


Samsung Tab One (originally to drive my App driven coffee machine in 2017 and iOS version of the app was not accessible).


Samsung Galaxy S10 smart phone.


Surface Pro (Windows tablet).


Smart TVS (Samsung in particular).


RIVO keyboard (custom keyboard to navigate mobile platforms for iOs/VoiceOver, Android/Talks, and

Samsung/Voice Assistant).


Orbit Reader 20 (first cost effective Braille Display).


Brailliant BI14 small Braille Display.


ElBraille Windows 10 docking station with a Focus 14 or 40 Braille Display.


InsideOne Windows Braille TAblet with 32 cell Braille Display.


Tap With Us Wearable Keyboard supporting VoiceOver for iOS.


Dot Watch (smart Braille watch).


Sunu Band (wearable sonar device for O&M).


Mini guide (hand held sonar O&M device).


Buzz Clip (attach to clothing or cane sonar O&M device).


O6 (navigate iOS with VoiceOver).


Orcam OCR etc wearable device.


Accessible Radio (Sangean Accessible Radio).


Accessible Power Bank (Engergrid).


Large print USB keyboards black/white, white/black, yellow/black.


Code Jumper from APH for teaching coding.

Swift Playgrounds on iPad/Mac for teaching coding.

3D printing (Ballyland 3D objects to teach coding).

Dash robots for Swift Playgrounds

Tello Edu Drones for Swift Playgrounds.


Bose Frames (3D Audio Reality sun glasses).


Bone Conduction Head Phones (Aftershokz).


ID Mate Bar code scanner.


QBraille braille display and BT keyboard.


ViewPlus Embraille personal embosser.


Amazon Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Show.

Google  Home, Google Mini, and original Google Hub.



Olitech EasyFlip 4G Mobile Phone with speech/physical keyboard.


Smart Vision 2 Android phone with speech/physical keyboard.


Smart Home Tech: eg AC Controller for Split AC, video doorbell, switch’s, weather sensors, vacuum cleaner etc.


Tile Tag Tracking devices.


Beyond the usual assistive tech of screen readers. Screen magnifiers, Braille displays, Braille note takers, reading machines or OCR software etc etc, the devices that have stood out for me have been (and a few add ins here):

Outspoken for Mac,

Braille & Speak,

The ABC Courier,

Artic Business Vision/Winvision.

Vocal-Eys for MSDOS.

Master Touch.

IBM OS/2 Screen Reader,

Nomad Tactile Talking Diagrams.

Road Runner,

Arkenstone Easy Reader,

Mountbatten Brailler,

Talking Microwave,

Victor Reader Stream,

Victor Reader Trek,

ID Mate,

Talkback for Synbian,

Speaking menus in Nano,

VoiceOver for Mac and iOS,

Apple TV,




Apple Watch,


Swift Playgrounds.

Code Jumper,

3D printing,

Olitech 4G Easy Flip Phone.

Magic keyboards and Magic Trackpad,

App Store’s for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows.


Dot Watch,


RIVO Keyboard,

Tap With Us wearable keyboard,

Sunu Band and Mini Guide,

Aftershotkz Bone Conduction head phones,

Bose Frames.

JAWS For Windows and Eloquence,

Narrator for Windows 10,

Smart Speakers,

Smart TVS.

Be My Eyes and Aira.

Wireless charging.

Tile Tracking Tags.


The End



Talking Tech 26th May 2020

Talking Tech 26th May 2020

May 26, 2020

In this weeks show:


Grizzly Gulch is 20 Years Old


Someone on Twitter mentioned that it has been 20 years since Grizzly Gulch came out, was one of my favourite games to play on the PC with real sound effects.


A Look at the Chest Harness for Smart Phones to Support O&M etc


Mac App - One Timer, Voice Timer


An excellent timer for your Mac.



Logic Pro 10 Accessibility Updates


Apple’s Butter Fly Keyboard on New Macs is No More


Big button cord/cordless phone with with Answering Machine (cordless hadn’t set talks)


The hand set of this phone is excellent as all if not most functions talk.


And other topics.



Talking Tech 19th May 2020

Talking Tech 19th May 2020

May 19, 2020

COVID19 Update Live Web Page


A good accessible website for keeping track of the virus spread.


May 21 - Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)


Global Accessibility Awareness Day Main Page


Global Accessibility Awareness Day (week May 18 from Microsoft UK)


Global Accessibility Awareness Day (highlights from Apple)


Apple Accessibility Playlist on YouTube

From using your iPhone without seeing the screen, to adapting gestures to your physical needs, discover how the accessibility features built into your Apple devices can help you do more.


Accessibility Shortcut Refresh in Gallery - Keep an eye on it for may 21st. 

Accessibility App Store collection highlighted. 


AppleCare Accessibility help line - 

Accessibility and assistive technology - (61) 1-300-365-0831


 Education team have been launching some great accessibility videos. 

Our Apple Professional Learning team is hosting free virtual conferences in our Apple Education Learning Series, including two sessions that specifically focus on Apple Accessibility...


Increase Productivity with AssistiveTouch (presented by Meg Wilson)

AssistiveTouch is a built-in accessibility feature that lets you adapt the iPad Multi-Touch screen to your physical needs. In this video, you’ll learn how to customize gestures and make other features accessible with just a touch from the AssistiveTouch menu. Increase productivity with new ways to search, take screenshots, and work with multiple apps. 


Accessibility: Improve Reading Fluency (presented by Jenny Grabiec)

Every iPad includes built-in assistive features that support your vision, hearing, motor skills, learning, and literacy. In this video, you’ll learn how features such as Speak Screen, Safari Reader, and Speech Controller enable reading fluency, comprehension, and composition for every learning style.


For the complete collection of videos in the Apple Education Learning Series, covering a wide range of topics to help educators use Apple products and their built-in features to enable remote learning for all students, please visit...


Apple Education Learning Series


Virtual 30 Minute One-On-One Coaching Sessions

Virtual one-on-one coaching sessions with Apple Professional Learning Specialists are available for free to help educators hone their approach to online student learning and workflows. Select a date and 30 minute time slot below to register for a virtual coaching session.


News Links to existing content: 


Apple Celebrates Accessibility Awareness Month with New App Collections, Education Discount, and More

Apple today is kicking off their recognition of Accessibility Awareness Month 2020 by rolling out minor yet notable accessibility-focused updates across its various properties—App Store editorial, Apple Support, and more.


Apple kicks off Accessibility Awareness Day early by highlighting apps and features

Apple will celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 21 by highlighting its work to improve accessibility across its hardware, software and customer support.


Apple promotes accessibility tech with dedicated AppleCare team, app curation

In recognition of May's Global Accessibility Awareness Day, the company will be highlighting its tech to help people with disabilities.


Apps for Accessibility: App Store Story

We’re proud to have an App Store full of tools that improve lives. Using the Accessibility features on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, these apps help with everything from routine tasks to communication and language skills.


Apple Accessibility Playlist on YouTube

From using your iPhone without seeing the screen, to adapting gestures to your physical needs, discover how the accessibility features built into your Apple devices can help you do more.




Improvements to the Sound Scape app from Microsoft


COVID info, filtering services, and very excitingly, sharing your Markers with other Sound Scape users.

Talking Tech 12th May 2020

Talking Tech 12th May 2020

May 12, 2020

Olitech Easy Flip 4G Mobile feature Phone with Talkback


Talkback Guide for using the Phone


Demo of the phone


Sending and Receiving SMS MSGS via the Phone


Vision Store Shop Link


AcousticSheep SleepPhones


These headphones in a soft cloth band are designed to be warn for going to sleep.


QBraille a Braille Display with a Twist


Braille Display offering up to 6 Braille Display connections, 6 Keyboard connections, one USB connection, and several insult apps.


ViewPlus Embosser - Personal Embosser


Excellent personal embosser that offers single sheet feed, tracker feed, has carrying case, and works with Mac and Windows via the free Braille Blaster application.

Talking Tech 5th May 2020

Talking Tech 5th May 2020

May 5, 2020

We have Hamish    Mackenzie Global Accessibility Officer from the ANZ bank on this weeks show talking about his impressions of the iPhone SE 2.


COVIDSafe app for Android and iPhone


This Australian Health Department page gives all the info about the COVIDSafe app, and download links for Android and iOS.

Vision Australia recommends we all download the app, and do our best to stop the spread of COVID-19.


Vision Australia Checkin and Chat Webinars


A great way to get access to content on various topics, look at past webinars, and register for upcoming webinars via Zoom at:




AcousticSheep SleepPhones


These Bluetooth headphones in a soft cloth band are designed to be warn for going to sleep, meditating, chilling out etc.  Excellent sound, comfortable, and 9 hours battery life.

David purchased these to stop searching for his AirPods in the bed or on the floor every morning, plus they are comfortable.

Talking Tech 28th April 2020

Talking Tech 28th April 2020

April 28, 2020

Amongst other storey’s, David covers:



Web Based Typing Tutor from APH


Accessible Fitness Tools


Getting Back in to Facebook on the web, and Quite an Enjoyable Experience


I haven’t really used Facebook for about 3 to 5 years now, and was quite impressed by how easy it is to navigate with a screen reader now, especially via Heading navigation.


Two More Podcast from Me - Using the Magic Trackpad 2 on the iPad


The Maiden Voyage of Flying my Tello Edu Drone around the Garden


Using Swift Playgrounds on my MacBook, and of course, the Tello Edu Drone.


Talking Tech 21st April 2020

Talking Tech 21st April 2020

April 21, 2020

In this weeks show, David catch’s up with Tony Wu from the Vision Australia Vision Store to talk about the IrisVision - wearable video magnification .

It has been designed to bring those with low vision life back into focus with their surrounding environment and restore their independence by allowing them to perform tasks for near, intermediate or distance; whether it's viewing the garden, reading the newspaper, seeing friend's facial expressions or observing what is for lunch today.

The new IrisVision 8 offers better and improved software and hardware features and capabilities compared with the previous model. 

The new hardware includes:
- Utilising the camera of the Samsung Galaxy S8 phone, provides the user with an better live image quality. Therefore allowing you to potentially see the world with greater clarity and sharpness.
- Improved customised designed VR headset which allow for easy operation of the IrisVision software.

The new software platform allows for exciting new features such as:
- Taking and saving photos in a gallery
- IrisReader mode which scans for text and reads it out a loud to you
- Operate the unit using Voice Commands and Google Assistance
- Stream YouTube videos (requires Wi-Fi connection)


We also catch up on the exciting pre-order announcement of April 17 2020 of the iPhone SE 2 which is a lower cost modern iPhone in a classic frame: i.e. 4.7 inch screen, Home button, and Touch ID, with the insides of an iPhone 11.  Starting at $749 Australian.


If you are looking for a new Macbook, remember the starting price of the new MacBook Air 2020 which has the same excellent keyboard to that of the new MacBook Pro 16, function keys rather than the Touch Bar, Touch ID, and the upside down capital T cursor cross.  Starting at $1599 Australian.

Talking Tech 14th April 2020

Talking Tech 14th April 2020

April 15, 2020

A Bit of a Warning with Australia Post (and I guess other Delivery Services)


Last week I received my Orcam Wherable device which was fantastic.  Only problem was, when it was delivered by Australia Post, it was left on top of my Mail Box in the Garden, not at my front door.

So jus a warning, keep your eyes and ears open for any delivery’s


cOVID-10 Resource Info pack from Vision Australia


Podcast from Me - Using Google Home to Help you “Wash Your Hands”


Free Audio Book - Meet Me Accessibly - A Guide to Zoom Cloud Meetings from a Blind Perspective


Zoom Improves Security


Some Nifty Resources to Keep Entertained


Just to spark some ideas for you.


Assistance: Aira, Be-My-Eyes, VA AT Help Desk.

Apple accessibility: 1300 365 083.

Microsoft accessibility: 1800 280 300.

Books: Audible, Apple Books, Google Play Books, Kindle, VA I-Access.

Games: Smart Speakers (Echo and Google Home), web sites and

Keeping in touch: Facebook, FaceTime, iMessage, Messenger, Skype, Twitter, Zoom.

Music: Apple Music, Google Play Music, Spotify.

Smart speakers (play games): Amazon Echo, Google Home.

TV: ABC iView, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Disney+, Netflix, Stan, iTunes.

Vision Store suggestions: Accessible Sangean Radio, Envoy Connect Daisy Player, Victor Reader Stream.


The New Talkback Braille Keyboard

Talking Tech 6th April 2020
Talking Tech 31st March 2020

Talking Tech 31st March 2020

March 31, 2020

CoronaVirus Info


Before getting on to the  resources.


 There is a new feature on the Vision Store Shop webpage.

At the top, Live Chat with Us button where you can chat with a staff member about products during opening hours 8:30 to 7:PM Monday/Friday EST.


the best way to shop or order is via the website or email

Quantum RLV for Aussie customers needing to work from home,are offering a 90 day license of JAWS, Zoomtext or Fusion - call 1300 883 853 or email


If you are in Australia, have a print disability or are blind or low vision, sign up to the @visionaustralia IAccess Online Library service for books, magazines, and newspapers (can access on smart phones/tablets) -




Australian Government Health Page


CoronaVirus Aussie Health App






Australian Government on what’s App


Are you on WhatsApp?

Message +61 400 253 787 or go to in your web browser to get #COVID19 information you can trust from the official Australian Government chatbot.


Whatsapp is available from the Apple Store or Google Play.



Apple’s cOVID-19 Screening Tool


Blind Citizens Australia to offer Zoomn Catch Up Happy Hours for Blind or Low Vision Community


Details on Their FaceBook page.


News Article


FaceBook Page for BCA


Accessible cOVID-19 Statistics Tracker


Zoom Cloud Meetings Android and iOS App Links (plus main site for Windows and Mac)






Zoom Cloud Meetings Website


Resource - Zoom Keyboard Commands All Platforms


How to Use Face Group Time Calls





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