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iA Cast iA GameCast

#IACast GameCast 2 – Beatstar

On this episode of the #iACast GameCast, Aleeha demonstrates a rhythm based audiogame called Beatstar. The game can be downloaded for both Windows and macOS by visiting the Oriol gaming zone.

So, can you keep a beat? Let us know by sending us an email to feedback@iaccessibility.net. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and don’t forget to check us out on YouTube. Also, you can find our shows in the iAccessibility app in the iOS App Store. An Android app is coming soon. Finally, if you can, we ask that you consider heading over to our Patreon page. Any amount you can donate helps us to continue providing you with all the content you’ve come to know and love.

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iAcast 84 – Dealing With Changes In Technology

On this episode of the #iACast, Michael, Aleeha, Scott, Aaron, and Jason discuss the importance of dealing with and adapting to changes in technology.

We also discuss Apple and Microsoft Teaming up to help create new standards for Braille Displays, and the release of iOS 11.4 with AirPlay 2.

Our featured ad is an app called Current City. This app makes it much easier to keep track of different cities you may pass through on your travels. Current City will be available on the iOS App Store soon.

If you wish to beta test Current City, send an email to feedback@iaccessibility.net. Please note that you will need the Test Flight app installed on your device to test beta applications.

Allison’s pick for the week is Voice Dream Reader, a really great iOS app for reading books and other types of documents.

Aaron’s pick is the Sunu Band.The Sunu Band is a smart-band enabling you to travel with confidence. Using sonar, the band will detect objects up to 16 feet (5.5 meters) away. Hhaptic vibrations indicate your distance from obstacles. Use the promo code lp to save 10% when you order.

Scott’s pick is the Speedtest app by Ookla. This app is great for troubleshooting your internet connection, or just to see how fast your internet can go.

Jason’s pick is a really fun flight simulation game called Eurofly. You can easily find it by visiting the AudioGames.net webpage.

Aleeha’s pick is BeatStar, a Boppit style audiogame you can also find over at audio games.net.

Michael’s pick is the Current City app, arriving soon on the iOS App Store.

 

If you’d like to get in touch with us, you can find us on TwitterFacebookYouTubeTumblr, and all over the web.

You can also email feedback@iaccessibility.net.

Finally, if you’d like to support our work, you can visit our patreon page. Every donation we receive helps us to continue providing you with the great content you’ve come to know and love. If you have trouble with the site, you can download the Patreon app to your device, which can be a more accessible experience. Speaking of apps, why not check out the iAccessibility app for iOS. It’s a really easy way to find and listen to all of our content. An Android app is coming soon.

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iA Cast

#iACast – WWDC 2018 Coverage

On this #iACast special, Aleeha, Jason, Allison, Aaron and Matt, with contributions from Meaghan and Michael, voice our thoughts and Opinions on what Apple announced at it’s WWDC 2018 Keynote.

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iA Cast iA PawdCast

#PawdCast 7 – Convention Survival Guide

On this episode, Aleeha, Matt, Lauren, Allison, and Buddy discuss strategies for managing convention with a Guide dog.

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 77 – Twitter Talk

On this episode, Michael and Jason discuss changes to Twitter’s APIs that may affect the functionality of third party applications. We also talk about a rumor that Apple may be moving away from Intel chips for it’s Mac products, as well as our thoughts on progressive web apps.

If you would like to leave us feedback, you can do so by following us on Twitter @iaccessibility1 or sending an email to feedback@iaccessibility.net. Finally, if you enjoy our content, please consider donating by visiting patreon.com/iacast.

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iA Cast

#iACast CSUN 2018-OrCam

In this special #iACast interview, Michael talks with Brian from OrCam about the MyEye 2.0.

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 58: Linux as an Alternative to Windows

In this episode, Jason and Jeremy discuss using Linux as an alternative to Windows and macOS.

Topics include:

  • Ubuntu and Debian, two distributions of Linux,
  • The Orca and Speakup screenreaders,
  • BRLTTY, a braille display daemon for Orca and other console screenreaders,
  • The Debian Accessibility Wiki which has great information about the accessibility options available for Debian. You can also apply the information to other distributions as well.
  • DistroWatch where you can find and download different Linux distributions,
  • and more.

Correction: In the podcast, it is stated that Debian doesn’t offer a liveCD. Debian does in fact offer a liveCD. You can find it on the liveCD page.

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What’s New in VoiceOver for macOS High Sierra

On September 25, 2017, Apple released macOS High Sierra to the public. Here are some new enhancements to VoiceOver.

Enhanced Multilingual Support

If VoiceOver detects that a language has been associated with text that it’s reading, it Will automatically switch to another voice and will read the text in that language. You can set the voice VoiceOver uses for different languages in VoiceOver Utility. For example, if you were to add the Spanish language and set a voice for it, VoiceOver will then use that Spanish voice to read text that has been tagged as Spanish for screen readers.

Image Descriptions

VoiceOver can describe images, just like it does in iOS. To do this, press VO (Control plus option or caps lock, depending on how you have the VoiceOver modifier set) + Shift + L when focus is placed on an image.

Improved Grade 2 Braille Experience

VoiceOver provides a more seamless Braille experience when you are working with text and using Grade 2 Braille. For example, your Braille display now shows “the context of what you’re typing,” and when you edit text, it is no longer translated back into Grade 1 Braille.

Improved Web and Email Navigation

VoiceOver  navigation is more consistent and reliable when navigating webpages in Safari. VoiceOver has better support for navigating tables in richly formatted email messages in mail.

Improved PDF Accessibility

VoiceOver has better support for reading tables, lists, and forms in tagged PDF documents.

Let us know if you’ve discovered anything else new.

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Report VO Change

What’s New in VoiceOver in iOS 11

On Tuesday, September 19th, Apple released iOS 11, bringing with it some new VoiceOver features and improvements.

Apps

You can now drag and drop apps using VoiceOver To do this, do the following:

  1. While on the home screen, double tap and hold to enter edit mode.
  2. Find an app you wish to move.
  3. Set the VoiceOver rotor to”actions” if it’s not done automatically and flick up or down to “drag app name.”
  4. Navigate to where you wish to drop the app and choose an option. You can drop an app before the app that the VoiceOver cursor is focused on, after it, or create a folder containing the focused app and the one you’re dragging. If you wish to drag more than one app, you can choose the final option. This is to “Add To Drag Session.” You can use this method do drag files from one app to another minus the double tap and hold.

Verbosity

VoiceOver includes several new verbosity settings you can now change. They are located by tapping Settings>General>Accessibility>VoiceOver>Verbosity.

These options include:

  • Speak hints. This setting is on by default. Double tapping this setting will turn them off.
  • Punctuation. After double tapping this option, you can choose to set it to all, some, or none.
  • Speak detect text. This determines whether automatically detected text in the focused item is spoken. For example: If you are on an app with an unlabeled button, VoiceOver will announce something like “Button. Possible text: View menu.”
  • Capital letters: This option will change what VoiceOver does when encountering a capital letter. You can choose from speak cap, play sound, change pitch, and do nothing.
  • Deleting text: You can choose from speak, play sound, change pitch, and do nothing.
  • Embedded links: You can choose from speak, Play sound, change pitch, or do nothing.
  • There is a table output heading with options related to the reading of tables.
  • You can toggle reading of table headers and row and column numbers.
  • As in iOS 10, you can turn the emoji suffix on or off, depending on whether or not you want VoiceOver to speak the word “Emoji” when one is encountered.

Mail

You no longer need to three-finger tap on a message to hear the preview.

When reading a message, you have VoiceOver actions to reply, archive, flag, mark as read/unread, and to activate.

If you use threaded messaging, you have a rotor option, “Expand/Collapse Thread”. When expanded, you can manage all of the messages inside a thread on an individual basis.

Smart Actions Rotor

VoiceOver in iOS 11 now has a new feature that allows for the user to continue to use the last used actions rotor item. This is useful for deleting large amounts of messages. This feature also appears in the App Switcher

What have we missed?

Know something that is not on this list? Please let us know by emailing us at feedback@iaccessibility.net or tweet us at @iaccessibility1

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Hear That? It’s an Eclipse!

On August 21, 2017, millions of people will get the chance to see the total solar eclipse as it passes through the United States. However, not everyone will be able to enjoy it. Those of us with impaired or no vision will certainly miss out on this great spectacle, or will we? As Apple adds use to say, “There’s an app for that.” No, seriously!

The app, called Eclipse Soundscapes, aims to give it’s users “a multisensory experience of this exciting celestial event.”

From the App Store

The Eclipse Soundscapes Project app is specially designed so that people who are blind and visually impaired can share in the awe and wonder of astronomical events in real time with their sighted peers.   The app is a joint effort between The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), NASA’s Heliophysics Education Consortium (HEC), the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), and the National Park Service (NPS). Features include an interactive “Rumble map”; audio descriptions of key features of the eclipse; a play-by-play description of the total solar eclipse as it is happening in the user’s area; and a countdown clock to the next upcoming eclipse.   The “Rumble Map” gives the user the sensation of “feeling” the Sun during an eclipse. Our technology translates images of key eclipse features into a series of unique frequency modulated tones that map out variations in light and dark as the user explores the image with their fingertips.  These tones are specially designed to make the user’s mobile device shake, or rumble, in response to the changes.   After the eclipse, the Eclipse Soundscapes app will provide access to a database of soundscape recordings from U.S. National Parks and other urban and rural locations so that users can experience how eclipses change the behavior of different species, including humans. During the next five years, the app will expand to include other eclipses and astronomical objects of interest giving people who are blind and visually impaired – and everyone else – a new way to engage with the universe around them.

You can grab it from the App Store for free.

You can find out more about the Eclipse Soundscapes project here.

I’m really excited to see an app like this because I’ve always had an interest in what events like this looked like. I can’t wait to use it during the eclipse. I think it’s going to be a really neat experience! Don’t you?

Let us know what you think.

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 49 – Post #NFB17 round up

On this episode of the iA Cast, Aleeha, Jason, Matt and Michael discuss what everybody found to be most interesting at the 2017 National Federation of the Blind annual convention. Topics include:

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Tactile Will Translate Text to Refreshable Braille

If you listen to the IA cast, you’ll probably remember me mentioning something about a device called Tactile. But what is it, and why am I excited about it? Read on to find out.

What Is Tactile?

Tactile is a device in development by six MIT students. Chandani Doshi, Jialin Shi, Bonnie Wang, Charlene Xia, Tania Yu, and Grace Li. The idea is that Tactile, by way of a camera, will translate print into braille. It will be about the size of a Candy bar, have thirty-six cells, and they hope to have it cost around one-hundred dollars.

Here’s How it Would Work.

You’d slide the device over printed text, such as that found on a book, a restaurant menu, or a packaging label, etc. The camera captures images of the words and sends them to a micro controller. Then, text recognition is performed. The information from the images taken by the camera, would cause the pins in the display to move via an “electromagnetic activation mechanism.” Just like other Braille displays, the Braille characters would refresh as you scroll or pan through sections of text.

The Effect on the Assistive Technology Field.

I think the idea of Tactile is really exciting, both for real reasons, as well as my own ideas. Let’s start with actual reasons. As all of us are aware, buying a Braille Display isn’t exactly cheep. While that’s starting to change with displays like the Orbit Reader 20, the projected price point of Tactile is even lower, and it would give you the ability to read print. Unlike apps like KNFB Reader, which I love by the way, Tactile would be a dedicated device, that can give you more than KNFB Reader can on it’s own. Braille, and for about the same price. I can see Tactile starting, or helping push forward, a lower cost Braille display revolution, which would not only give us more affordable options, but start manufacturers competing on a more unique feature set. This could only be a good thing for us as consumers. This brings me to my ideas. Keep in mind that I don’t really have evidence to support them, and they are my own. So I’ve talked about Tactile translating print into Braille. That, we know. But I’d like to see it become a Full fledged braille display, with USB and Bluetooth support in the future. I’d like to see it have support for screen readers across all platforms so that anyone using Narrator, NVDA, JAWS, or any other screen reader and windows, could have access to affordable Braille. The same would be true for VoiceOver users on the Mac and Apple’s other iDevices, Android users, people who use Orca in Linux, and any other screen reader and OS combo I’ve not mentioned here. Having cursor routing buttons and a braille keyboard for input would be amazing as well. But Even as it is, I can see Tactile starting a trend the Braille display market hasn’t seen in thirty years.

Want To Learn More?

You can find out some great information about Tactile and the team behind it by checking out this Mashable article. You can also check out a great Podcast from Cool Blind Tech where they’re interviewing Charlene Xia.

Conclusion

I wish Team Tactile the best of luck in bringing there device to market. But even if it doesn’t happen, the idea is still out there, and they’ve already proven that it’s possible. What do you think? Let us know on FaceBook, Twitter, and everywhere else you can find us around the web.