Meet the around me app

Are you looking for a product or service that can help to make life easier
for you or a family
member or friend? Or maybe you are looking for a story to help motivate a
family member or friend who is struggling to deal with their loss of vision?
Not sure where to look?
Well, we have a nifty piece of info to share with you this week.
Enjoy!
The Sterling Creations team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld

+++++++++++++++

Meet the around me app

This nifty little app is extremely useful for anyone who wishes to learn
what is around them without having to ask for sighted assistance and trust
me when I tell you that this app certainly makes you more independent.

The Around me app tells you what is located in the nearby vicinity.
However, you’ll need an internet connection and a GPS receiver in order to
make it work.

When first launched it presents categories of places.
Anything from Apple Stores to theaters to lots in between.
Click on a category and you get a list of places nearby with specific
descriptions.
You hear names of places, and you are given distances to these places from
your present location.

Note: This app does not plan yor route. It tells you how far away you are
from various locations. So if you are looking for a nearby restaurant or
night club, then the Around Me app will do it for you. Or if you are trying
to determine if there is a nearby Apple Store, then this is the app for you.

The Around Me app is available at the App Store through your i Device.
It is very easy to use and you would be amazed to learn how much information
you can get out of it.

So just go out there and find out more.

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low-cost refreshable braille display set to revolutionise the market

Each Wednesday, we will be bringing you an article of interest as it
pertains to the topic of accessibility and we hope you can use
it to become more familiar with this particular area.
This has become a rapidly growing and very important area and why?
Because the number of consumers in this market is growing and will continue
to do so for the forseeable future.
Governments, corporations, and individuals are paying more attention.
Please read on.
The Sterling Creations team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld.

+++++++++++++++

‘taken from e-access bulletin, a free
monthly email newsletter’, http://www.headstar.com/eab

low-cost refreshable braille display set to revolutionise the market
A device that could become ‘the world’s most affordable refreshable
Braille display’ – costing around 80-90% less than current systems –
has been unveiled, and should be available for purchase later this year.
The Orbit Reader 20 was announced at the Annual International Technology
and Persons with Disabilities Conference – known as CSUN – in the
United States, by the Chair of the Royal National Institute of Blind People
(RNIB), Kevin Carey, in his role as president of the Transforming Braille
Group (TBG).
TBG was conceived to realise and produce an affordable refreshable Braille
display, partly as a way to give people in developing countries greater
access to refreshable Braille. Current devices are prohibitively expensive,
often running into thousands of US Dollars or British Pounds. TBG set about
raising 1.25 million US Dollars for the Orbit Reader 20 to be produced by
assistive technology company Orbit Research (further background in a
previous e-Access Bulletin at the following link:
http://eab.li/v
).
Refreshable Braille displays allow blind or visually impaired users to read
text from a computer screen via a system of small rods in Braille cells.
These rods are electronically raised and lowered, creating readable Braille
that constantly changes, or ‘refreshes’, as the user scrolls or moves
across the screen.
The Orbit Reader 20 features 20 Braille cells and can be connected to a
computer or mobile phone via USB or Bluetooth. There is also an SD card
slot to enable loading and reading of books and other files.
Speaking to e-Access Bulletin, Carey explained that the aim is for the
Orbit Reader 20 to be sold for $320 per unit, but this is dependant on
Orbit Research receiving enough pre-orders for the device: “Orbit need an
order of 200,000 to make the optimum price of $320 a unit, so what
they’re doing is collecting wholesale orders. If it’s below 200,000,
the price goes up,” Carey said.
On its website, Orbit Research claims that the Orbit Reader 20 will be the
“world’s most affordable refreshable Braille display”.
User-testing of the Orbit Reader took place in January on 27 prototype
machines, in North America and Europe, by testers both with and without
experience of refreshable Braille systems. Carey will be supervising
further testing in India and Kenya. Speaking about the results of this
testing in his CSUN speech, Carey said that the refreshable Braille on the
Orbit Reader was “the best that experienced users have ever seen”.
The refresh rate on the device was found to be suitable for
“poor-to-average” Braille-users, but not effective enough for
“experienced users”. However, as Carey then pointed out: “Those who
have reported dissatisfaction with the refresh rate are very experienced
users of high-end refreshable Braille note-takers or Braille bars attached
to generic devices – but it is important to note that these are precisely
the Braille readers for whom the Orbit Reader was not designed.” (Read
Kevin Carey’s CSUN speech in full at the Transforming Braille Group’s
website:
http://eab.li/r
.)
Carey told e-Access Bulletin that the device could be revolutionary for
visually impaired Braille-users due to its low cost. “Whichever way you
look at it, the [price] is just way below anything anybody else is
offering,” he said. Carey also pointed out that the timing of when the
Orbit Reader will be available, “is simply to do with how fast the orders
come in [to Orbit Research].”
The Orbit Reader 20 isn’t yet available to purchase by the general
public, but Orbit Research’s website says that the device will be
available in “late 2016”. It appears that when it does go on sale, the
Reader will be sold through the website of the American Printing House for
the Blind (APH), one of the shareholders in the project.
Find out more about the Orbit Reader 20 at the links below:
Orbit Research website:
http://eab.li/s
.
APH website:
http://eab.li/u
.

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Helping others to navigate

My commitment
Helping others to navigate

This is just one of the commitments that I have made to myself; my mission
with a passion. Those who know me will always hear me say that my top
priority is the kids of the future. To ensure that their playing field is
made more level than mine, to ensure that they have a better chance at
keeping up with technology, and to ensure that their lives as a whole is
that bit closer to mainstream life. In short, my mission with a passion is
to help others navigate.

True it is that we may never be able to obtain a so-called mainstream life
and logic would dictate that this statement is very true but we as blind and
sight impaired persons must not give up. We need to focus on making our
lives as comfortable as possible. We need to ensure that we can find ways
to attain our objectives and we need to do it in ways that are not going to
rub others the wrong way.

As Technology continues to evolve at break neck speed, we too must find ways
to keep up in our own way. We may never be able to keep up with technology
but how about trying to keep within a comfortable distance? Technology is
what rules the world today and we need to keep this in mind. The one thing
that we can do is to help others navigate. Help those blind and sight
impaired who are less fortunate, who are less technically savvy, and who are
less confident when it comes to navigating the mainstream world.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a
terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and share my thoughts with
others. Visit www.nfb.org or www.rnib.org to learn more.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I myself and me

Greetings! I’m Christian Robicheau and for those of you living in my neck
of the woods; happy Victoria Day weekend to you.
Today, I am delighted to share our president’s weekly editorial with you and
for this week Donna J. Jodhan has a very personal editorial to share with
you.
Happy holiday weekend to you.

+++++++++++++++

I myself and me
By Donna J. Jodhan

Now, there are some who may disagree with what I am about to say but after
having had quite a bit of feedback from others; I have decided to take the
plunge and write the following.

What am I talking about today? It’s quite simple! The title of my
editorial for today refers to a description of the attitude of too many
people today. Yes, it’s all about I, me, and myself.

An extremely selfish and self centered attitude where the bearer of this
attitude is only concerned about themselves. There is precious little room
to consider anyone else let alone to be aware that there are others who need
a helping hand.

That there are people out there who need some urgent attention because they
are less fortunate. That there are persons out there who desperately need
to have someone listen to them if only it is but for a few short minutes.
That there are so many out there who are inadvertently ignored because of
the I me and myself attitude/syndrome.

Yes, it is a syndrome that seems to be assuming very unhealthy proportions.
A syndrome that is threatening to affect the very fabric of Humanity and one
that we need to address now.

Could this be due to the world becoming a busier one? Or could it be due to
us having too many choices or could it be due to us being spoiled girls and
boys too busy to do anything else but indulge ourselves?

I do not believe that this is necessarily a generational problem. No! It
is everywhere and it’s just my two cents for today.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan wishing you a terrific day and weekend.
You can follow me on twitter @accessibleworld
and chat with me on Skype at habsfan0526.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authordonnajodhan
To reach me, please send an email to info@sterlingcreations.ca and I would
be delighted to send you an electronic copy of our latest newsletter. Or
you can view all of our newsletters at
http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/newsletter.html

Here is a complete list of where you can view Donna’s blogs and editorials.
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all
http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly features on how to increase your success with your business ventures
http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm
Weekly articles and editorials on issues about accessibility
http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog

Learn more about Author Donna Jodhan and her campaign against bullying at
www.jodhanmysterybook.club
Now you can enjoy Donna’s detective DJ crime crushers Series by visiting
http://www.donnajodhan.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet the Taxi Magic app

Are you looking for a product or service that can help to make life easier
for you or a family
member or friend? Or maybe you are looking for a story to help motivate a
family member or friend who is struggling to deal with their loss of vision?
Not sure where to look?
Well, we have a nifty piece of info to share with you this week.
Enjoy!
The Sterling Creations team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld

+++++++++++++++

Meet the Taxi Magic app

If you are one who takes cabs regularly then this little app is for you. It
is really great and a must have.
Taxi Magic is a travel app. Here are the important features.

You can use it to enter the location where you want to be picked up at and
what time.
You can enter either an actual destination or optional destination.
You will be given costs for both destinations.
Taxi Magic is available in over 40 cities.
If more than one company offers service in your area then you can choose
your company.

Before starting to use the app you need to set up your account and contact
info.
You will need to do this from your computer at www.taximagic.com.
You can specify different locations from within your app.

If Taxi Magic is in your area, the app will tell you when the cab has been
assigned, how far away it is, and you will get minute updates as to how
close it is.

Taxi Magic is available at the app store on your i device.
So why not go out there and meet Taxi Magic?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Managing your Finances from your iOS Device

Each Wednesday, we will be bringing you an article of interest as it
pertains to the topic of accessibility and we hope you can use
it to become more familiar with this particular area.
This has become a rapidly growing and very important area and why?
Because the number of consumers in this market is growing and will continue
to do so for the forseeable future.
Governments, corporations, and individuals are paying more attention.
Please read on.
The Sterling Creations team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld.

+++++++++++++++

Contributed by Dan Thompson
Managing your Finances from your iOS Device
a Snapshot of how I Believe Things are now, and what
I hope they Could Become
Submitted by Mike Taylor
Member of the AppleVis Blog Team
http://www.applevis.com/blog/ios-apps-opinion/managing-your-finances-your-ios-device-snapshot-how-i-believe-things-are-now
Member of the AppleVis Blog Team
Introduction
Until 3 or 4 years ago, I did most of my financial dealings over the phone
or using my bank’s website. Although more recently I have used the app for
99 percent of my
dealings involving finances (in fact, I prefer the app more than the
website), the app has some problems. Due to the world population going more
mobile than ever
before, financial institutions as well as other industries are forced to
embrace the digital age or get left behind. But what is the result for blind
iOS users, and how can
things change for the better?
These are my own views as a totally blind iOS user, although I am interested
to find out how other users find money management through their iOS device.
Please feel
free to comment and confirm or squash my suspicions. I also apologise in
advance, because the politics surrounding the arena of accessibility go
further than the title of
this post, I haven’t edited these out though as I believe them to be just as
important so hope you can appreciate and comment on these points if you
would like to.
How taxing is your banking app?
It’s just my view, but it feels like the answer to the above question is
“slightly taxing,” although it is getting better. I am based in the UK and
use the NatWest app,
which for the most part is accessible—apart from a few instances of button
labelling being unclear, as well as a lack of alternative text for other
items to indicate their
function, and some items that are ambiguous and a user has to guess what
function will be performed when activating an item. It’s fine now because I
understand the
layout of the app, but at the risk of sounding over-confident I would say
that it also has something to do with my confidence with technology and in
particular guessing
and getting it right. I am fully aware though that this approach doesn’t
work for everyone and it can cost time, battery life, data and sanity to try
and keep on top of
your money if you have a really inaccessible app, or just don’t want to play
the guessing game and get it wrong.
Looking after the pennies
At the time of writing, the NatWest app gives me access to all the usual
functions you would expect. I am able to view statement information,
although I struggle to
view more than a month’s worth of transactions due to the lack of response
to touch events; meaning that when I tap and flick to view a statement from
more than a
month ago, the app does nothing. I can, however, transfer money; pay my
contacts; view payees; and get happy or depressed depending on the figures
when I view my
available amount Smile.
So what’s the problem really apart from the brief accessibility short-falls
listed above? It’s the little things… Actually it’s more than that, it’s not
having the ability to do
in the app what I could do at my PC on the full desktop website. Recently I
had to modify the date of a regular payment but I couldn’t do it from the
app, and had to log
in via my PC instead. In the grand scheme of things it isn’t really an
issue, but like many people reading this it is easier to do things while I
am on the go, and frankly I
don’t want to have to be on hold waiting for an agent to answer my call, or
have to sit at my computer if it is possible to use my iPhone. This
particular frustration I
admit was due to a lack of functionality rather than an accessibility
problem, although it would be nice to be able to have this function in the
app but do you think I
have been able to speak to someone about it yet?
Again unless I have time to sit on hold (which I don’t,) we have a problem.
I can’t tell the developers, so they don’t know, and the last time I tried I
was on hold for
half [an [hour. (No, it wasn’t a free phone number, and I had no Skype
credit at the time, oh and no they didn’t have a contact email for the
developers.)
the current landscape, politics and education
I wrote this post over 3 months, which gave me a chance to persist and call
the customer service team again. Thankfully I got the message through,
telling the agent
what I was trying to do, what I couldn’t do and what I would love to happen
in future updates for the app. Having received an apology and no visible
change in the odd
labelling or additional functionality to the app yet, it could be said that
I wasted my time. I disagree for the following reasons:
I have the option of calling again, and I already took the name of the
person who answered my call initially, I can also politely explain again the
issues and ask for a
call back, or provide my email address as a follow up contact. This gives
the bank in this case the chance to at least listen and respond. Worst case
scenario being that
not much happens but I tried, and they have it on file. At best a fix is
implemented, but it is also worthwhile to remember that such things can take
time.
We all know that accessibility for some is not at the top of the list of
priorities for many reasons, and security and stability are just a couple of
other items which I
would class as equally important to a developer. So here we have our nugget
of politics, how do we respond?
Keep doing what we are doing. Not necessarily threatening legal action
(unless of course all other diplomatic roads have been taken.) It’s worth
remembering though
that most organisations will at least respond better to constructive
criticism and suggestions rather than a letter from a solicitor. This would
be our education, in
educating the people who need to know we are dealing with the politics of
prioritising fixes.
Moving towards a usable and accessible future?
This is our current landscape of educating, and if you find yourself
reporting problems to an organisation, suggest an alternative if you can. If
on the other hand you just
feel that it doesn’t work and it should but don’t know where to start, let
who ever listens know your concerns. It’s always worth offering to act as
someone who might be
willing to answer any questions that a developer might have about
accessibility. This helps both them, and you.
I hope that as assistive technology becomes more mainstream, the process of
informing the people responsible for web and app design about accessibility
becomes
easier. Many companies have someone who either works in the accessibility
industry, or who hopefully will have an outside organisation who can be
contacted to help.
Ideally, multiple ways of contacting the developers will also become more
mainstream—making it less frustrating to pass on useful and important
information. Sadly,
there will always be some who simply don’t care. They are the ones who will
eventually learn through education; loss of sales; and at worse, legal
action, that as we all
rely on our mobile and assistive technology more than ever, more can be
done—and should be done—to improve money management, as well as anything
else you use
on your device.
This post has slightly gone from focusing on one aspect and taken in other
factors, but I hope you will understand why I have allowed this to happen.
One last thing:
Use PayPal, it’s great. Clearly-labelled tabs, clearly-labelled buttons and
input fields…but of course I would check the bank before you spend smile.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Air hockey was my thrill

A great memory!
Air hockey was my thrill

O how I remember the days when I used to play air hockey with my friends!
It was Charlene my best friend who introduced me to it! O yes indeed! That
long table with its sleek surface and the puck going back and forth at
dizzying speeds! The fun and excitement were so real then! I loved every
minute of it and whenever I could I would find someone to play with me.

I can still hear the puck now in my mind! Bouncing back and forth and then
going right off the table. Those mini sticks hitting the table instead of
the puck and then when it did hit the puck! What joy! What ecstasy! Then
when it ended up in my opponent’s net! Pure joy! It was the closest that I
ever came to playing any type of table top game! Just too bad that I did
not discover it when I first got my vision! Nevertheless, it was great fun
for me and I shall never forget!

I’m Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a
terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and tell others about my
experiences with air hockey. Come visit me at
http://www.sterlingcreations.ca.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Forever educators

Greetings! I’m Scott Savoy; managing editor at
http://www.sterlingcreations.ca and it appears that spring is finally here.
Today, I am delighted to share our president’s weekly editorial with you and
for this week Donna J. Jodhan talks about her being forever an educator.
I wish you a great weekend.

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Forever educators
By Donna J. Jodhan

In the normal scheme of things we are educators forever and why? I honestly
believe this because for as long as I am alive, I will have to keep
educating others about how persons with vision loss live, think, and go
about their business.

I believe that most of society is still under the impression that we as
persons with vision loss may not be able to be contributing members to our
economy. They still live with the belief that if one is unable to see
perfectly then they are unable to do for themselves, think for themselves,
and speak for themselves.

On the one hand I think that I can understand this perspective but truth be
told; it often becomes tiresome and somewhat irritating each time I find
myself having to justify why I do not need someone else to speak up for me.

The reaction is a very mixed bag each time I am asked what I do for a living
and when I tell the one asking the question that Yes! I work, I am a
systems engineer, and I own my own company, some people are literally blown
away while others are shell shocked.

I don’t think that these reactions are going to change anytime soon. We may
see more people who would not be too surprised when I tell them I work for a
living but on the whole; we will remain educators forever.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan wishing you a terrific day and weekend.
You can follow me on twitter @accessibleworld
and chat with me on Skype at habsfan0526.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authordonnajodhan
To reach me, please send an email to info@sterlingcreations.ca and I would
be delighted to send you an electronic copy of our latest newsletter. Or
you can view all of our newsletters at
http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/newsletter.html

Here is a complete list of where you can view Donna’s blogs and editorials.
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all
http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly features on how to increase your success with your business ventures
http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm
Weekly articles and editorials on issues about accessibility
http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog

Learn more about Author Donna Jodhan and her campaign against bullying at
www.jodhanmysterybook.club
Now you can enjoy Donna’s detective DJ crime crushers Series by visiting
http://www.donnajodhan.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet the Shazam app

Are you looking for a product or service that can help to make life easier
for you or a family
member or friend? Or maybe you are looking for a story to help motivate a
family member or friend who is struggling to deal with their loss of vision?
Not sure where to look?
Well, we have a nifty piece of info to share with you this week.
Enjoy!
The Sterling Creations team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld

+++++++++++++++

Meet the Shazam app

This is an app that is guaranteed to bring you lots of entertainment and a
ton load of fun.
Quite frequently, we get into informal arguments as to which song is being
played on the radio and where is where the Chazam app can be used to settle
matters.

The discovery of what song is being played and indeed the correct name can
be easily determined by this nifty little app.
This song can settle several arguments.
Chazam can determine what song is being played and by whom.
Shazam can use the iPhone’s built-in microphone to listen to the song,
and then it can give you the name of the song and the artist that you are
listening to.
You can listen to a limited number of songs for free but for a small fee you
can use the app entirely.
You can press the tag to search for info on a song while listening to it.

So you see, a nifty little app for you to go out there and make friends
with. It is available at the app store.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Welcome to the DictationBridge website

Each Wednesday, we will be bringing you an article of interest as it
pertains to the topic of accessibility and we hope you can use
it to become more familiar with this particular area.
This has become a rapidly growing and very important area and why?
Because the number of consumers in this market is growing and will continue
to do so for the forseeable future.
Governments, corporations, and individuals are paying more attention.
Please read on.
The Sterling Creations team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld.

+++++++++++++++

Contributed by Dan Thompson
Welcome to the DictationBridge website
http://dictationbridge.com/2016/01/14/announcing-dictationbridge-a-free-dictation-solution-for-screen-readr-users/
DictationBridge will be a screen reader plug-in that will allow blind users
to better enjoy speech recognition.
DictationBridge will enhance the interaction model for blind users of
Dragon
http://search.mediacomcable.com/search/?q=http%3A//www.nuance.comdragon/index.htm&r=http%3A//dictationbridge.com/2016/01/14/announcing-dictationbridge-a-free-dictation-solution-for-screen-
readr-users/&t=0
and
Microsoft dictation
utilities.
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-in/windows/what-can-do-speech-recognition#1TC=windows-7
It may seem that speech synthesis and recognition would conflict with each
other… indeed, if you place a microphone near speakers, it does pick up
sound and can cause squealing feedback. However,
with DictationBridge, screen reader users will not experience this issue for
reasons too complex to describe in this brief announcement.
In most cases, users interact with screen readers via a collection of
keyboard commands. However, there are many screen reader users who have
additional impairments, such as learning disabilities or
repetitive strain injuries, who need to use speech recognition to get things
done. With DictationBridge, they can enjoy their screen reader in a more
efficient manner and one that is compatible with other
disabilities or repetitive sress injuries— a malady which, based on
observational and anecdotal evidence, is common among blind people due
largely to using a keyboard far more heavily than those who
use vision for their computational experiences.
Command and control of one’s system can also be made more efficient for
screen readers using dictation, and DictationBridge provides access to this
as well. Speech-recognition is often represented in
popular culture with scenarios like Star Trek where the computer would do
whatever the crew of the Enterprise would ask of it. Speech recognition is
not quite at that level, however it is possible to command
your computer using speech recognition today and have it carry out
pre-programmed tasks.
DictationBridge enhances the users’ experience with speech recognition and
screen readers. It fills many gaps that occur due to the interaction of
these systems and accessibility problems in the software
from Nuance and Microsoft.
DictationBridge is designed to be as screen reader agnostic as possible. The
program, however, will be first coded for and tested against
the NVDA screen reader
for Microsoft Windows.
http://www.nvaccess.org/
DictationBridge is free, libre, open source software (FLOSS) and it will be
available, including 100% of its source code, upon release. The
DictationBridge team is dedicated to protecting your freedoms.
If you would like to get more information about this project, join the
mailing list by activating
this link
http://3mousetech.com/mailman/listinfo/dictation-discuss_3mousetech.com
to join the DictationBridge mailing list or click the email link found at
this link
http://dictationbridge.com/2016/01/14/announcing-dictationbridge-a-free-dictation-solution-for-screen-readr-users/
which will launch your email program and, with it, you can just send the
mail without adding anything else. Whether you use either the form or the
email, you will receive a confirmation message with
instructions on how to complete your registration.
Those of you who are interested in DictationBridge but don’t want to join a
discussion list and want to follow the project’s progress should come back
to this page often as we hope to be updating it
frequently.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment