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#iACast 33 – DemoCast 1: Software Updates on macOS Sierra

Welcome to the very first iA DemoCast! In this episode, Matt Dierckens will walk you through updating software on macOS Sierra, using Apple’s built-in screen reader, VoiceOver. We hope you find this demonstration useful; if you have topics you would like to see covered on the DemoCast, please let us know! As always, thank you for listening!

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#iACast 32 – Our Favorite Tech from CES 2017

We weren’t there, but we were all excited to see what new tech would be unveiled at CES 2017. From the useful to the ridiculous, we were reading all about it. Check out this episode of the #iACast to see what products we found the most interesting.

Computing and Media

Many computers were shown off at CES – from the cheap, to high-end gaming laptops – but we only picked one as being truly worth mentioning, as it is nothing like the rest. We also put televisions, and smartphones in this category. Check out our favorites below.

  • Razer Project ValerieThis prototype was the most interesting one we saw covered at CES; apparently others agree, as it was stolen at the show. What makes it different? Well, it’s a 17 inch gaming laptop, that manages to fit 3 17 inch displays into one laptop! Cool, right?Razer Project Valerie is a gaming laptop with three screens
  • LG W7 ultrathin OLEDIs it wall art, or is it a television? Actually, it’s both. This gorgeous OLED TV is so thin, just 0.15 inches when mounted,, it’s actually flexible. In fact, HDMI and other inputs, as well as power and sound are managed with the included sound bar, that connects to the TV with a thin ribbon cable. This thing is incredible, and it should be, since it starts at $8,000!LG’s amazing W7 ultrathin OLED is wall art that happens to be a TV
  • Sony Xperia ProjectorYou know what the problem is with smartphones? They are designed to be viewed by one person at a time. I mean, sure you could send the video to a TV, but what if there isn’t a TV nearby? This projector solves that problem, by allowing you to project a 23 inch touch screen onto any flat surface. You can even use it as a traditional projector, with view-only support up to 80 inches. It’s really cool, and useful.Sony Xperia Projector turns any table, counter or wall into an Android smartphone, minus the whole calling thing

Home Security

The goal of a smart home is to simplify your life, by automating tasks you do frequently, and allowing access to devices even when you are away. A good smart home, however, should also improve security. So, that’s what this section is all about! Smart gadgets have a high starting cost, but unlike traditional security systems, maintaining them is much cheaper. Check out our security favorites below!

  • D-Link OmnaThere are many indoor home security cameras on the market, and even some others that integrate with Apple’s HomeKit platform. However, what makes this camera special is that it does not require a cloud recording subscription. Instead, you can store files locally on an SD card – this cuts down on monthly subscription costs. Note: You can store files in the cloud if you choose. The camera also records 1080p video, can see up to 16 feet in the dark, and has a 180 degree field of view.D-Link Omna opens Siri’s eyes at CES 2017
  • Ring Floodlight CamNow, this is just a great idea! Ring already has cameras you can mount outdoors, with 2-way audio and HD video recording. The Floodlight Cam, however, takes this to the next level by replacing your current floodlights with smarter ones. Just like with the other cameras offered by Ring, you can see and speak to anyone who is on your property, but you can also control integrated floodlighting and sound an alarm to alert your neighbors to suspicious activity. Want one yet? We do!Introducing the New Ring Floodlight Cam
  • ShadeCraft SunflowerIt’s more than just an umbrella! The Sunflower uses solar energy to track the sun’s movement, and keep you protected and comfortable. It has integrated wifi, and LTE. So, you can take it to the beach and use it as a wifi hotspot for your other devices. You can then charge those devices with the USB port on the umbrella, enjoy your music with the integrated speakers, and control the umbrella and your smart home with voice commands. Wait, how is this a security device? As if all those features weren’t enough, the Sunflower also has lighting and cameras. You can keep an eye on your property, or watch the kids while they play in the pool! Does thing have a kitchen sink, too? Just saying! Wow!ShadeCraft Sunflower solar patio umbrella follows the sun at CES 2017
  • AuraLook mom, no cameras! If you aren’t comfortable with wifi-enabled cameras, potentially recording your every move, and vulnerable to hacking, Aura has you covered. Instead of using traditional motion sensors and cameras, the Aura is a security system that uses radio waves to detect movement, even through walls. You’ll get fewer, if any, false alerts, and the system will automatically turn off when an authorized user arrives home. Pretty neat, right?Aura Protects Your Entire Home Without Using Cameras

Other Devices

There were many devices covered at CES that were just… weird. One example of this is a bluetooth-enabled toaster, which you can control from your smartphone. Why? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! Another example is a hair brush that monitors how well you brush your hair. Again, why? A third example is a connected shower, which you can set while still in bed, or wherever you might be… This may be useful for some, but at this point we don’t see the usefulness of it. Maybe it’s good for lazy people? Hmmm.

This category is for devices, which we found interesting, but which did not fit into the categories above. Some are on the verge of fitting into the category of weird things introduced at CES, but others are useful. Check them out below.

  • Simplehuman’s new trash cansSeveral smart trash cans were unveiled at CES – some track what you’re throwing away, others make use of your leftovers. However, we found these trash cans most interesting, because they are the most affordable, and there are versions available without internet connectivity. You can purchase versions with included wifi, which will order new trash bags for you, but there are versions with simple voice commands and motion sensing. It upgrades the trash can without making your trash can, of all things, too intrusive.Simplehuman’s new trash cans have voice commands and Wi-Fi
  • Incipio CommandKit smart power stripAt $100, this is an expensive power strip, but it integrates with both HomeKit and Amazon Alexa! With 4 outlets, which you can control individually, this product is a great choice for those with multiple products to control. As an added bonus, you can also monitor energy usage. Nice touch!Incipio CommandKit smart power strip works with both HomeKit and Amazon Echo
  • Flying Selfie CamIf you didn’t like selfie sticks, you probably won’t be a fan of this flying selfie cam. It can follow its user, and it will return to its position if bumped. It’s definitely on the weird side, but it would be cool to at least see one in action.The flying selfie camera that follows you everywhere (and won’t get pushed around)

And that’s our coverage of CES 2017! We’re sure we missed some awesome products, since we were simply following media coverage. What do you think of the products listed here? Do you think anything shouldn’t have been listed? What about things we didn’t cover. Do you have a favorite CES product not on this list? Let us know!

As always, thank you for listening to the #iACast! Please subscribe for more episodes, and check us out online at iAccessibility.net!

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#iACast 31 – Celebrating 10 Years of iPhone

In this episode of the #iACast, which was recorded on January 11, 2017, join Michael, Daniel, Ashley, Jason, and Matt as they discuss the impact Apple’s iPhone has had on the world, and on their lives.

A Note about Capacitive Touch Screens

There was some confusion about how capacitive touch screens work. Touch input on the iPhone has nothing to do with body heat; instead, capacitive touch screens can work with anything that holds an electrical charge, including human skin. When you touch your iPhone’s screen, an electrical circuit is completed, and then the coordinates of that touch are translated by the iPhone. For more information, check out this helpful article: Okay, but how do touch screens actually work?

Jessica’s iPhone Story

In this episode, everyone explained how they found out about the iPhone, and their journey as it relates to smartphones. Since I, Jessica, was not on the podcast, the group asked me to detail my experiences in the show notes.

When I first heard about the iPhone, I thought people were silly for running out and paying a bunch of money for a slab of glass. I couldn’t understand how anyone would want to use a touch screen phone, much less someone, like myself, who is low vision. I figured it would register a bunch of accidental touches, and that I would struggle to see the interface. I only knew one person with the first iPhone, and I had a brief experience with it when she showed me some pictures. As I swiped through the pictures, pinching to zoom in and out as needed, I briefly considered it as an option. However, that thought quickly vanished when I remembered how expensive the phone was, and that it was not available on Verizon. So, I continued for nearly 4 years on my quest to find a cell phone that would meet my needs as a low vision user. I constantly looked on Verizon’s website for new phones, and watched phone reviews on YouTube, looking for what might be my dream phone. I had flip phones, and messaging phones, and I even owned a couple of Windows Mobile smartphones. They all fell short. In 2009, when I heard the iPhone had a screen reader, I was blown away. I still couldn’t see how anyone who was low vision or blind would want to use it, but I was intrigued. I hunted down some podcasts, and listened to some demonstrations of people using VoiceOver. It seemed neat, but typing seemed slow and time consuming. Nevertheless, I purchased a 3rd Generation iPod Touch in November of 2009. I was slow to catch on, but by the end of 2010, I carried it with me everywhere. Then, it happened – Verizon got the iPhone in 2011, and I immediately upgraded to the iPhone 4. I’ve had an iPhone ever sense, and it has, without a doubt, changed my life. Thanks to zoom and VoiceOver, I can easily use my phone for anything and everything a fully-sighted person can do. I text, take pictures, send and receive email, use social media, and so much more. It is amazing! It has also made the world around me more accessible. I use it as a magnifier, to read my mail and cooking instructions, and I even use it to set my thermostat. I can use it to see things that are far away from me, and if I need some help seeing something, family members and friends are a FaceTime call away! The iPhone is a game changer for those of us with disabilities, and for the world as a whole.

iPhone Announcement

Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone at Mac World on January 9, 2007. He said it was a phone, an iPod, and an internet communication device. Check out that announcement below.

As always, thank you for checking out #iACast! We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode! Please share it with friends, and come back to iAccessibility.net for more of your accessible technology needs!

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#iACast 30 – UnboxCast 5: Logitech Z623

In this UnboxCast, you’ll accompany Michael as he unboxes his new speakers, the Logitech Z623. Ashley, Jessica, and Daniel are also present, and are able to give some additional insight into why someone may still want these speakers, even though there are much newer products on the market. This podcast was recorded on January 4, 2017; we hope you enjoy it!

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#iACast 29 – UnboxCast 4: AirPods

Join Michael, Jessica, Rich, and Daniel as they discuss Apple’s AirPods, and hear Daniel and Michael unbox theirs live on the podcast! Get the scoop on what it’s like to setup and use these new wireless headphones. Are their any issues? Are the AirPods worth the hype? You’ll find out in this episode, which was recorded on December 22, 2016. Enjoy!

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#iACast 28 – The Future is NOW

This podcast was recorded on December 1, 2016, and it is hosted by Michael Doise. Accompanying Michael on this episode is Jason Earls, and Jessica Smith.

This episode covers the following topics:

  1. Black Friday/Cyber Monday DealsIn this segment, we discuss our holiday spending and deals we found interesting.
  2. W1-Enabled HeadphonesIn this segment, we discuss Beats and Apple’s AirPods.
  3. Directv NowAll three of us subscribed to AT&T’s new Directv Now service. Listen to us compare its accessibility and ease-of-use to other services, and hear our opinion on the service as a whole.
  4. Why Unlimited Data isn’t Always GoodIf you can stream Directv Now as much a you want as an AT&T cellular subscriber, why isn’t that good for consumers? What about consumers with other networks? What about other services that want to compete with Directv Now? Hear us discuss these issues and more.
  5. iAccessibility NewsCheck out iAccessibility.net for all the details on app betas, our training program, and more.

We sincerely hope you enjoy the content covered in this episode of our podcast! We have more content in the editing process, and we can’t wait to share it all with you soon! Thank you for listening!

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#Top10 Posts of 2016!

iAccessibility saw tremendous growth in 2016, when compared to previous years. For this, we would like to thank you all for reading our articles, sharing our posts, listening to our podcasts, and following us on social media. To celebrate, we would like to share with you the posts that received the most traffic in 2016! That’s right, here are your favorite articles.

Note: This list is in reverse order, with the most popular post appearing last on the list.

  1. Product Review: Apple AirPods, written by Jessica Smith
  2. Zooming in on the Touch Bar, written by Jessica Smith
  3. This iPhone 7 Plus Feels so Accessible, written by Jessica Smith
  4. VoiceOver at the Bar, written by Michael Doise and Jessica Smith
  5. Organizing Apps in iOS 10 With VoiceOver, written by Rich Cavallaro
  6. A Guide to iMessage in iOS 10, written by Jessica Smith
  7. The Magic Tap isn’t so Magical, written by Michael Doise
  8. New VoiceOver Features in iOS 10, written by Jessica Smith
  9. These Mail Changes in iOS 10 will Make You Happy, written by Ashley Coleman
  10. The iOS 10 Feature No One is Talking About, written by Jessica Smith

There you have it – the most popular posts, as chosen by you, our readers! What do you think? Is this list accurate, or do you have a favorite that did not appear on this list? Let us know! And once again, thank you all for your support! We look forward to bringing you more content throughout 2017 and beyond!

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Jessica’s Favorite Device of 2016!

So many great products were released in 2016 – it’s hard to pick just one favorite! I love my iPhone 7 Plus, Apple Watch (Series 2), Amazon Echo Dot, and Apple AirPods. However, given my love of home automation and security, there is one clear winner!

If you’ve followed me on social media for at least a year, you will know that in December, 2015, I received a gift of a Ring Video Doorbell. I gushed about this product, and honestly, I still recommend that model for anyone interested in an easy, wire-free setup, that will prevent most home invasions and thefts.

This post is not about the Ring Video Doorbell, as that product was not released in 2016. Instead, I am writing about its successor, the Ring Pro. I will continue to reference both models, as I feel you cannot go wrong with either device, if you are in the market for a video doorbell.

The Ring Pro was released in April, 2016, and I upgraded to it from my original Ring Video Doorbell in August, 2016. These two products are very similar in functionality, with some key differences.

  • Both products are Video Doorbells. They can both integrate with existing doorbells, but the Ring Pro must be hardwired, whereas the Ring video Doorbell can be used with an existing doorbell, or on its own. They also have different power requirements, so if you are purchasing a Ring Pro, make sure your current setup can support it.
  • Both record video, have 2-way audio, and have night vision. The difference is in video quality. The Ring Video Doorbell records 720p video, whereas the Ring Pro records and streams in 1080p! Note: Because the Ring Video Doorbell does not require external power, you can use it on its own, and if you do so, Live View will not be available. This means you will need a Ring or Motion alert to start streaming video.
  • The Ring Video Doorbell comes in different finishes based on your decor, whereas the Ring Pro comes packaged with different colored faceplates. This means, it will fit in, even if you move or sell the device, whereas you may wish to purchase an entirely new Ring Video Doorbell if you move. Added Bonus: The Ring Pro is smaller, so it will replace old doorbell buttons much more nicely.
  • They both work with additional services, but because the Ring Pro is hardwired, it will support Apple HomeKit, eventually. Note: This extra power requirement means that there is some additional setup for the Ring Pro. I had quite a bit more trouble getting started with the Ring Pro, but it works great now that setup is complete.
  • They both receive Ring and Motion alerts. However, the motion alerts for Ring Pro are much more customizable. This is great for eliminating unnecessary alerts, but it is not great for users, like myself, who are visually impaired. Setting up motion alerts is much easier with the original Ring Video Doorbell. In fact, you can complete the entire setup process with VoiceOver, the screenreader on the iPhone.

As a legally blind woman, who was living alone at the time, I was originally interested in the Ring Video Doorbell after some unusual activity occurred at my home. After using both versions of this device for a year, I can say that I was right for choosing Ring. I have felt much more secure, and anytime I receive strange motion alerts, it is very easy to share the video with someone who has better vision than I do. I also am more likely to answer the door, which results in missing fewer important messages, such as when a neighbor returned my dog to me after he escaped from the backyard. In everyday usage, once the device is setup, there is no difference in using the Ring Video Doorbell and the Ring Pro – my sole reason for upgrading was HomeKit support, which has been delayed. I can’t wait for it to be released, because it will make quickly accessing a live feed after receiving an alert much easier. It will also enable me to setup triggers to turn on my Hue lights, without using IFTTT.

Do I think you should get a Ring Video Doorbell or a Ring Pro? Many of my family members now have Ring doorbells, thanks to me, so yes, I believe this is a great device for all users, including visually impaired and blind people. As long as you subscribe to the Cloud Video Recording plan, you’ll have access to all videos for 6 months! This is definitely worth $30.00 a year for the peace of mind it affords. The Ring Video Doorbell is $200 and the Ring Pro is $250, so neither option is cheap. However, they are much cheaper than traditional alarm systems, which only alert you after the invasion occurs – Ring is much more proactive. They also have a stand-alone outdoor camera, and a Floodlight Cam. So, there should be an option, or combination of products that works for you and your home’s setup!

Check out Ring’s complete product lineup, including the Ring Video Doorbell and Ring Pro, at ring.com!

What was your favorite device of 2016? Let us know – we love hearing from you!

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Product Review: Apple AirPods

When preorders went live for Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, I acted fast! I knew I wouldn’t miss the headphone jack, because removing it would pave the way for more advancements in technology. With this in mind, it is no surprise that I was also among the first to order Apple’s new AirPods! I received them on Monday, December 19 – 2 days before the original estimate! I excitedly unboxed them, and paired them. Now that I have had some time to test functionality, here is my impressions and review.

What’s in the box?

  • The AirPods in their Charging Case
  • Documentation
  • Lightning Cable

Note: The box is shrink wrapped, unlike some newer products from Apple. Also, the box has a tactile image of the AirPods, which is something I always enjoy.

Setup

As many other reviews point out, pairing the AirPods with an iPhone or iPad is quick, painless, and somewhat magical. Simply open the lid of the case while it’s near your device, and an interface similar to Control Center will appear, asking you to connect. Once paired, you can see the battery level of the case and the AirPods themselves. Now, not only are your AirPods paired with the device you’re using, but they are also paired with all other devices connected to your iCloud account. The only omission, at least for now, is the Apple TV. The reasoning for this is that the Apple TV is generally a shared device, so the AirPods must be paired like traditional bluetooth devices. Hopefully this will change soon!

Pairing with traditional bluetooth devices is made possible with a pairing button located on the back of the AirPods case. This button also allows you to reset the AirPods, if you need to start the pairing process over like I did.

Wait, it wasn’t a seamless experience?

Well, it would have been, had I not been on a phone call at the time of initial pairing. Sound quality seemed strange to me, and I could not get the AirPods to show up on other devices. Initially, I went to Settings > Bluetooth, and forgot “Yessie’s AirPods,” but the next time I tried to pair them, the panel said, “Not your AirPods.” I could have connected anyway, but I wanted to have the experience Apple intended. So, I reset the AirPods.

To complete a reset, open the case (with the AirPods inside) and hold down the pairing button for 15 seconds. Then, the interface I mentioned above should appear. From there, it’s smooth sailing.

Look and Feel

Apple is going wireless, and the AirPods show it off beautifully. If you are used to traditional Apple headphones, these will be an easy adjustment for you, as the AirPods are simply a pair of EarPods with the cables cut off. They look and feel almost exactly the same. Even if the EarPods fall out of your ears, these may not. As it turns out, one major reason EarPods fall out of people’s ears is because of the cables. Who knew? Personally, I never had issues with EarPods staying in my ears, and this remains true for the AirPods. I did, however, have a scary moment where one fell out of my ear while doing house work. I would advise extra caution around trash receptacles or anything with a drain, especially for us low vision and blind folks.

Connectivity

The AirPods link together using Apple’s new W1 chip, and maintain two simultaneous bluetooth connections to your device. They remain perfectly in sync, which is really magical. The AirPods are said to have bluetooth 4 with some “special sauce,” but all that matters is that it seems to work really well. They have improved range compared to other bluetooth devices, and they have less audio imperfections. This is great, because for them to be worthwhile, these need to rival the usefulness of traditional or lightning headphones. In my testing, I would compare the range of the AirPods to that of my wireless, not bluetooth, headset with a USB receiver. I am very impressed, and I have not experienced any disconnections, like with traditional bluetooth audio devices.

Functionality

The AirPods can be charged from 0% to 100% in just 30 minutes, and each AirPod can last 5 hours on a single charge, or 2 hours of talk time. The case provides 24 hours of charge, which means these should easily get you through any long commute, or multiple short commutes with no need for lightning cables. When the case does need to be charged, you can easily do so with the included lightning cable, or one of the many others you undoubtedly have lying around. If you ever find yourself in a hurry, a quick 15-minute charge in the case provides the AirPods with 3 hours of listening time, or 1 hour of talk time. You can quickly check the charge of the AirPods, as well as the case with the same interface that pops up when you open the lid. When both AirPods are in the case, they’re listed as “AirPods: X%.” When one is removed, however, they show up as their separate left and right channels respectively. Additionally, you can check the level of your AirPods while you’re using them in the Batteries Widget on your iPhone. It will even tell you if you are using the left or right AirPod, which is a nice touch.

The AirPods can be used independently as a mono headphone, or together as a stereo pair. Switching between mono and stereo audio works really well in my testing. Just take one out of the case, and put it in your ear. You’ll hear it connect, and you can immediately start playing audio. As soon as you remove the second AirPod from the case, it will begin playing audio and you can put it in your ear for a great stereo sound. Removing either one will pause the audio, and you can press play again to continue playing in mono, or put the other headphone in your ear to continue listening in stereo. I love this feature, as it makes it very easy to quickly hold a conversation with someone without the distraction of audio playing in your headphones. Note: You can change any of these behaviors in Bluetooth settings, and even rename the AirPods.

Seamless Switching

On a recent podcast, I mentioned how I love my Plantronics Voyager Edge for its ability to maintain a simultaneous connection to both my iPhone and Apple Watch, and to switch between them as needed. The AirPods are advertised to do the same, without the need to manually pair to each device. However, in my testing, this has been far from consistent.

The AirPods refused to appear as an audio option on my Apple Watch until I restarted. Once I did, the watch connected to them and VoiceOver’s audio came through the AirPods instead of the watch. However, once I switched back to my phone, and tried switching back to the watch, I was unable to get audio to go through the AirPods again. Attempts to connect through Control Center on the watch often failed, which is a huge disappointment.

Additionally, I noticed that with only VoiceOver running, the AirPods would lose connection to my phone when I set it down. I would have to go to Control Center and remind them that they were supposed to be connected. This is also disappointing.

Music Playback

Music playback with the iPhone works really well. It sounds great – slightly better than the EarPods. I can definitely see myself using these quite a bit for listening to music on the go. My only problem? Siri is not a good replacement for actual buttons. I would like volume controls, and a way to skip tracks. Right now, you can only play/pause, and activate Siri by tapping the AirPods. What’s worse is that you have to tap really hard for Siri to activate, and it’s hard to know exactly where to tap. I’m hoping this will get easier with time, but it would be nice if Apple would give us some additional controls for music playback.

VoiceOver Latency?

Admittedly, I am not the best judge of latency, seeing as how I don’t continuously use VoiceOver. However, I will say that when paired with an iPhone, the AirPods are very responsive. I don’t notice much lag at all when typing long messages, or using VoiceOver. Is it as good as wired headphones? I don’t think so, but each person will form their individual opinion about latency. I’ve heard everything from, there’s no latency, to VoiceOver is very sluggish. There are also many factors to keep in mind when testing latency – the device used for testing and the particular use case are two examples of this.

I would also like to point out that MacBooks before 2015 are not setup to support newer standards of bluetooth, so latency is much worse on those machines. Additionally, they do not support wide-band audio, so any calls will have very poor audio quality. This is not the fault of the AirPods.

Conclusion

Apple’s long-awaited AirPods are finally here, bringing with them the wireless future Apple promised! At $159, the price is cheaper than most comparable wireless earbuds, and the functionality is much improved. Of course, this is more true for those of us in the Apple ecosystem, and who interact with Apple devices on a daily basis. If you are an Android user, for example, there are probably better options available for purchase. If you don’t plan to use these with an iPhone, iPod, iPad, or Apple Watch, I would recommend looking elsewhere. I have had a few issues with AirPods when it comes to switching between devices and with losing connection when no audio is being streamed, which is disappointing. However, I feel most of this is caused by long-standing bugs with Bluetooth in iOS, which will hopefully receive more attention now and actually get fixed. As for the AirPods themselves, future updates may include additional functionality – I am hoping for more music controls. With all this said, I believe the AirPods are a great first-generation product. There is room for improvement, but software updates should do the trick! I recommend these to any iOS user who is searching for well-integrated truly wireless earbuds. Embrace the wireless future with me, won’t you?

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#iACast 27 – Backdoor

Hello, and welcome to another delayed edition of our podcast! We are hopeful that our schedule will be a little more regular soon, so we hope you all are sticking with us. In this episode, which was recorded on November 16, 2016, we cover the following topics:

  • A Backdoor to ChinaHow would you feel if you found out that your text messages, location data, and private information were being sent to China for analysis? Unfortunately, if you own a cheaper android phone, or if you are an international customer, this could be a reality for you. The worst part is you may never know if your phone is affected, and the software that does this was put there on purpose by the manufacturer. Whoa!Your User Data is Secretly Sent to China Through a Backdoor on Some US Android Phones
  • Microsoft Joins Linux FoundationThis surprised a few members of our team. Apparently, Microsoft is reversing course on its opinion of Linux. This is especially interesting, because some of Microsoft’s choices still contradict the choice to join the Linux Foundation. We think it will be interesting to see what the future holds in this regard.Microsoft – Yes, Microsoft – Joins the Linux Foundation
  • Visual Studio Invades the MacNow developers can develop cross-platform applications using Visual Studio on macOS. Although our group finds Xcode to be the best IDE for developing Mac and iOS apps, we believe choice is always good. Hopefully this will allow more developers more flexibility in how and which operating system they use while developing apps.Announcing the new Visual Studio for Mac
  • MacBook Pro with Touch Bar ReviewsIt’s all pretty mixed! Some think the Touch Bar is useful, while others think a touch screen would make more sense. We believe the usefulness of the Touch Bar depends on how you use your computer, and which apps support it. We think it will become more useful over time as mor uses are found for it, and the price will decrease as well. You should definitely feel free to check out reviews online, and if you have a store nearby, check out these new machines in an Apple Store.The Reviews are in — Here’s What People are Saying About Apple’s Latest Laptop
  • First Impressions of Apple’s AirPodsWhat will it be like to use the long-awaited Airpods? What is latency like? Will they work well with VoiceOver? Well, most of us have yet to find out any of this first-hand, since the AirPods have not been released! However, lucky members of the media have been testing AirPods, and we have read a little information from one of our favorite websites, iMore. Here’s the link!AirPods First Impressions
  • We’re All About the TV AppListen to us discuss what it’s like to use theupcoming TV app on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. We think this is a great addition to our TV-watching experience. We find it frustrating that some services, like Netflix, refuse to participate. However, it’s a great start, and we can’t wait to see how it improves in the near future.3 Ways Apple’s New TV App Will Change the Viewing Experience on Apple TV
  • Prevention is Always Better Than Reaction: Twitter is Finally Getting the PictureFinally, Twitter is introducing new features to help users prevent abuse. Muting keywords, usernames, and conversations is now a little easier. We think this is a good step in the right direction, but that Twitter should be doing more to help users have a more positive experience on the social network.Twitter is Adding New Filtering Tools in an Effort to Curb Abuse
  • Is the Google Home worth Ditching the Echo?On our website, you will find Rich’s impressions of the new Google Home smart speaker. He immediately returned his. Would you have done the same? Do you think it replaces the Amazon Echo? Overall, we think it sounds neat, but it is very much a first-generation product. We think it could still be an option for users who are in the Google ecosystem, but if the Echo meets your needs, we recommend sticking with Alexa.Google Home First impressions
  • VO Starter – Public Beta!We welcome anyone who wants to join us in testing version 3.0 of the VO Starter application for iOS. It is a great resource for blind an low vision users who are new to iOS, and you could help us help them learn to use VoiceOver.VO Starter 3.0 Public Beta

Thank you all for checking out our podcast! Please share it with others, and tweet using the hashtag #IACast. Please visit us online at iaccessibility.net, and check out all we have to offer!

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#iACast 26 – Dial It Up

Welcome to episode 26 of the #IACast! This episode was recorded on November 9, 2016. Listen to this podcast to hear Michael, Jessica, Daniel, and Jason discuss the following topics:

  • Accessible VotingAre you over 18 and a United States citizen? If so, we hope you voted in this year’s election. If you did not, because you were afraid of accessibility issues, we have great news for you! Several of us voted, and we have a lot of information for you about what you can expect when voting.
  • Microsoft Surface Studio and 2016 Apple MacBook Pro First ImpressionsMichael recently made his way to the Microsoft store and the Apple Store – check out what he thought of the Surface Studio, Surface Dial, and the MacBook Pro.
  • Google Home Now AvailableThose of us on the podcast this week have not yet seen the recently released Google Home, but someone on the iAccessibility team has! We cannot wait to bring you more information about the Google Home, but here’s what we’ve heard about the device so far.
  • Slack AccessibilitySlack is a service used to communicate with groups of people, in what are called teams. You may need to use this app if you join an organization, beta test, or even work for some companies. Recently, the iOS app was updated to work much better with VoiceOver. We are really happy about this!

As always, if you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with friends! Also, you can reach us on social media, or email us with feedback! Thank you for listening!

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 25 – Fruit or Flop?

We apologize for the delay in uploading the podcast, but we hope you will enjoy hearing our coverage of the recent Microsoft and Apple Events. The Microsoft Event took place on Wednesday, October 26, and the Apple Event took place on Thursday, October 27.

For information about what was released at Microsoft’s Windows 10 Event, check out this link from BGR.

Microsoft Event October 2016: Announcement recap – everything unveiled

For detailed coverage of the Apple event, check out this great page from MacRumors.

Apple Shares Full Video of Today’s MacBook Pro Event [Update: iTunes Version Available]

At iAccessibility, we have some useful posts about using the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro as low vision or blind users.

VoiceOver at the Bar

Zooming in on the Touch Bar

As always, thank you for listening! If you enjoy our podcast, please share it with others and rate us in your podcast app. For feedback and suggestions, please email feedback@iaccessibility.net