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Beyond The Gallery

Beyond the Gallery: Speak IP Addresses

The last Shortcut I posted was designed to speak the Wi-Fi network you are connected to. This one is designed to speak the current internal and external IP addresses you are connected to. It will also say unavailable if you do not have one of these IP addresses.

Download Shortcut: Speak IP Addresses

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Beyond The Gallery

Beyond The Gallery: Speak Wi-Fi Network Shortcut

VoiceOver users have the luxury of being able to determine their Wi-Fi network from the status bar of their iPhone. This is not the case if you are a low vision user or a totally sighted user of iOS. To assist with this need, I have created a shortcut that will speak my Wi-Fi network if I am connected to one. All you have to do is add the shortcut to Siri and say something like, “Network Name,” and Siri will tell you what network you are connected to.

Download Shortcut: Speak WI-FI Network Name

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 81 – Google I/O Predictions

On this episode, Michael, Aleeha, Jason, and Scott mainly discuss Google I/O and our predictions for what this year will bring. In the news, we talk about Siri providing an explicit definition of the word “mother” and the release of KNFB Reader version 3 for iOS. After the discussion of Google I/O, we give our favorites for the week. Scott’s pick is the Behringer 302 USB Mixer and Shure PG58A microphone, links to which can be found in our podcast etiquette episode. Michael’s pick is an audiogame called Sonarium. Jason’s is the ever popular food ordering app called DoorDash. Finally, Aleeha showcases the password management system 1Password. Don’t forget to send us any comments or suggestions to feedback@iaccessibility.net and follow us on Twitter at @iaccessibility1.

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Report

Managing Your Busy Life: Accessible Task Management Apps

We get it. Managing all that you have to do in your busy life can be a difficult task. That’s why I have gathered four task management apps for analysis here on the iAccessibility Report. I’ll be analyzing Apple’s Reminders app, Things 3, WunderList, and Trello. All are very powerful apps, with very unique feature sets. Let’s dive right in.

Apple’s Reminders App

This one needs little introduction. It’s been a part of the iOS experience for many years and it’s the one that many users turn to for access to all their tasks in one spot. On the up side, this app allows the user to use Siri to add reminders to any list, set time sensitive reminders, and even set location based reminders, such as “remind me to call the doctor when I get home.” Time sensitive reminders appear on the screen when they are due, and managing the notifications on the Apple Watch is easy. The app is available on all Apple devices, but there is no availability for Windows or Android. Also, when checking off items, the app does not appear to work in a way that is helpful. The boxes are checked, but the items do not immediately disappear from the list. As someone who gets overwhelmed by large lists of things to do, I don’t want extra items hanging around once I’ve taken care of them. A workaround for this is to simply swipe up and delete the item, but it will not show up in the completed list.

Things 3

This next app happens to be one of my favorites. Things 3 offers a great deal of functionality, but the interface is quite simple. It has Siri integration, although the language you need to use is definitely a bit clunky. The user can create multiple projects, which are categories for different lists. Checking off items is very easy: simply double tap on the checkbox and the item moves to your logbook, where all completed tasks go once removed from their lists. The app also has the ability to import tasks from the reminders app to assist in easy transition. The app is $10 for the iPhone version, $20 for the iPad version, and $40 for the Mac version, making it a definite expensive solution. Also, the Mac app does not appear to be accessible at all, but I have been talking with the developers, who are working on a solution for this issue. The iOS apps also have some problems, but are not unusable.

Trello

Here’s a very interesting approach to task management. Trello is a free app for many different platforms, including Windows and Android, that allows you to create and share boards: groups of cards, which are like tasks, with whomever you want who has the app, making it ideal for cross-platform collaboration for work, school, or any other project. It does not rely on checkboxes, but rather uses drag and drop to organize cards, which I find a little clunky but which others may find handy. I’m a checklist kind of girl when it comes to these things, so Trello isn’t my favorite, but it’s here and it’s very accessible on all platforms.

WunderList

The final app in this throwdown is Wunderlist: To-Do List & Tasks. It appears to be very accessible on all platforms, has the ability to have multiple lists, has collaboration features like Trello, and makes things disappear with a satisfying little sound when you check them off. I have found free apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. I am very happy with this app, as it combines the simplicity of Things with the sharing features and low price of Trello. It appears to be the best of both worlds.

Conclusion

There’s an app out there for everyone, and I hope this article helps you if you’re looking for something to make your life just a little easier. Did I miss your favorite? Let me know in the comments or mention us on Twitter with your thoughts.

 

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 53 – AI Cast

On this episode of the iA Cast, Michael, Aleeha, Jason, Matt, Anne and Meaghan discuss the current status of artificial intelligence in consumer technology products.

AI Topics Include

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iA Cast iA DemoCast

#iACast DemoCast 7: Apple Music Part 1

On this episode of the iA DemoCast, Matt goes through the steps in setting up Apple Music on an iOS device. After setup is complete, Matt goes through the basics of finding and adding music to Apple music in the Music app.

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Tips

Quick Tip: Initiate Speakerphone Calls Using Siri

It is now possible to tell Siri to have your calls placed through speakerphone. Just ask Siri. You can ask something like “Hey Siri. Call Mom on speakerphone.” That’s it. Your call should now come through the speaker instead of your iPhone earpiece. It’s great if you need to make a call hands-free and you don’t have a Bluetooth or wired headset handy. Try it out, and let us know what you think. Do you find this feature useful?

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Some of My Favorite #macOS Sierra Features

Sierra has been out for awhile now, and while I haven’t had the chance to play with it as much as I would like, I have found some interesting new features and changes. If you’ve been following macOS Sierra news, or if you are using the new OS yourself, you’ll probably know about most of these. However, there’s a chance you might find a few mew gems.

Siri

First and foremost, let’s get the big one out of the way! Yes, we now have Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, in macOS Sierra. The functionality is more limited than I would like, and there are a few accessibility issues with it, but it is a great start! I can’t wait to see future improvements made to Siri on the Mac.

For more coverage on Siri in macOS, check out these articles:

Unlock Your Mac with Apple Watch

Another feature we also have covered on iAccessibility is the ability to unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch. This is a huge step for convenience and security, and those who have tried this feature absolutely love it!

However, there are some limitations, such as:

  • You must have a 2013 Mac or newer.
  • You must have two-factor authentication enabled for your Apple ID.
  • You must have watchOS 3 on your Apple Watch.

Some of these limitations may be show stoppers for some users, such as myself. Unfortunately, I own a 2012 MacBook Pro, so I am unable to use this feature.

Picture-in-Picture

One of the great features from the iPad is now available on the Mac! If supported in the app, or if you are watching video in Safari, you will be able to continue watching video while working in other apps. The video will take up a corner of your screen, and you can continue working. Even if you have little or no vision, this is a great feature, because it means your audio will continue as well! Nice!

Tapbacks

Wait, what backs? LOL! Basically, reactions to iMessages is available in macOS. Want to know more about iMessage in iOS 10, check out this article.

In macOS, simply right click on a bubble, choose, tap backs, and then the reaction you want.

This feature is great if you need to reply to a message, but do not want to lose your train of thought and want to return to working quickly.

Rearranging Menu Extras

Yes! Finally! In macOS Sierra, you can now rearrange menu extras. Simply hold down the command key while dragging icons to rearrange them. Note: This feature does not seem to be VoiceOver accessible at this time.

New Notification Shortcut

Now VoiceOver users can quickly access any notifications they have waiting in an easy-to-use VoiceOver menu.

That’s right. Simply press VO+N to access new notifications. Enjoy!

One Row Added?

This is most likely every VoiceOver user’s favorite new feature, especially if they frequent Twitter. One Row Added, One Row Added, One Row Added got annoying very quickly.

Now we have more control over what happens when the number of rows changes under the VoiceOver cursor, and it is awesome! Most users will most likely choose nothing, but you can also have a sound played or have spoken feedback as before. This is great, because there are instances in which you would want to know a row has been added, such as when adding a marker to an audio file.

Related Article: There’s an Activity for That

Simplified Preferences

Take a trip through system preferences and VoiceOver Utility, and you’ll notice that some options appear to be missing, have new locations, or are worded differently. Although it is a subtle change, it is a welcome one. It helps to simplify changing preferences, and remove redundant options.

…and that’s it, at least for me! What do you think? Are there any new features I should have added? Do you think tabbed interfaces for all apps should have made it onto this list? Feel free to share your favorite features in the comments, and thanks for reading!

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How to access Siri on the Mac

Apple has introduced its latest release of its operating system for the Mac called macOS X 10.12 Sierra. Apple has added its snarky digital assistant to this release of the operating system, and there are some easy ways to access Siri while on the Mac. We will discuss three of these here.

From the Dock

By default, Siri is an icon in your dock, so you can navigate to the dock and activate Siri. This method works, but it takes you out of your task to work with Siri.

From the Menu Extras

By default, Siri will appear in the menu extras area of your Mac. You can navigate to Siri near Notification Center and activate it there. You will still have to leave your current task to use Siri in this way.

Siri from the keyboard

Yes you did read this correctly, you can use Siri for the Mac by pressing a keystroke on the keyboard. A keystroke is where you use multiple keys to accomplish a task. Activating Siri from the keyboard is off by default, so here is how to enable this feature and set a keystroke.

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Navigate to Siri in System Preferences
  3. Find the option of Keyboard shortcut and select the option you like

Please note that the first option in the list is Command + Space which is used for Spotlight. I personally use Fn (Function) + Space because the function key is also used for dictation.

Conclusion

Using Siri on the Mac with the keyboard is one of the best ways to use Siri. Once you are done with Siri, you are returned to the window you were last using if you press escape to exit the Siri window. I commonly ask Siri questions while playing Minecraft, and this process does not interrupt my gameplay in the slightest.

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A Little Less Type, and a lot More Talking

Want to know the time? Just ask.
Want to know the weather? Just ask.

Now you can harness the power of Apple’s digital assistant, no matter what you’re working on!
From your iPad to your iPod, from your iPhone to your iMac, and everything in between, Siri will always be there, reminding you to bake those cupcakes for auntie Mabel’s birthday, and to always mind your p’s and q’s.

While the mac version of Siri might not be able to control your HomeKit devices, here are some things it can do:
• Control the playback of music in iTunes
• Adjust the system volume
• Toggle on and off accessibility features
• Help you search for files with Spotlight
• Perform web searches in Safari
• Toggle features such as Wi-fi, Bluetooth, and do not disturb
• Give you information about the hardware of your mac, including CPU type and speed, battery level, as well as the amount of storage available
• Place calls with FaceTime
• Send messages and emails
• And so much more…

Notes for VoiceOver Users

Weather: Due to the number of cells in the table and the fact that VoiceOver does not report column headers, the “Details” table can be a bit confusing to navigate.

Notes

iTunes: If you are listening to a song in iTunes and you ask Siri what you are listening to, you will have to read the result with VoiceOver, as Siri won’t speak it, like you might expect from using iOS.
Siri will shuffle songs from artist you request, except for Ellie Goulding. I promise, this is not a joke.
Update: You must preface the request to shuffle Ellie Goulding with the word artist. Example: You might ask something like “shuffle artist Ellie Goulding.”
Mail and Messages: Siri will not read the contents of the messages you dictated as you might expect from using iOS.
Siri will not prompt you for the phone number or email address for the recipient of your message.
FaceTime: Siri will not announce “Making a FaceTime/FaceTime audio call with contact” before the call is placed, like one would expect from using iOS.

P.S. – You are not able to use the Siri voices with VoiceOver in macOS.
The higher pitched tone that is played before Siri answers your request is not allways played in macOS.

Conclusion

Although Siri is not perfect and needs some work, I still think it is a welcome addition to macOS, and I’m excited to see what Apple will do with Siri in the future.