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News: Bluetooth - Coming to a Foot Locker Near You?

Footwear for the Blind: Bluetooth shoes

The Economist http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/07/footwear-blind

JUL 14 2012, 9:09 by A.A.K. ~ Mumbai



 

MORE than 285m people across the globe suffer from visual impairment.

Yet the tools to assist the blind in walking have changed little since the 1920s, when their canes started being painted white to make other pedestrians more aware of their presence. The gizmos that do exist have tended to be expensive and clunky, and have not caught on. This may change if Anirudh Sharma, a 24-year-old computer engineer from Hyderabad, a city in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, has his way.

His innovation, dubbed "Le Chal" ("take me along" in Hindi) pairs a smartphone app with a small actuator sewn inside the sole of one shoe via Bluetooth. The user tells the phone his desired destination, which is translated into electronic commands using voice-recognition software. The app, which can be programmed to run in the background, fetches the local map of the area. The phone's Global Positioning System (GPS) tracks the person's location in real-time, telling the actuator to vibrate when it is time to turn. The side of the shoe where the vibration is felt indicates which way to go. Mr Sharma opted for a vibrating signal because for the blind, who rely on their sense of hearing to make sense of the environment, audio feedback is a distraction.

The system does not require constant internet access. Once downloaded, maps can be stored locally and combined with GPS data. The app uses Open Street Maps (OSM), an open-source rival to Google Maps. OSM allows editing, a helpful feature in updating rapidly changing urban landscapes. A speed-dial function can rapidly retrieve the most frequently visited routes.

The shoe pod is also equipped with an obstacle-detection mechanism. A sensor in the tip of the shoe, devised by Mr Sharma's business partner, Krispian Lawrence,  scans the vicinity using sonar, which emits ultrasounds that bounce off obstacles, indicating their presence. The shoe sets off a distinct pattern of vibrations to alert the person of any obstruction and guides him around it.

For now, the footwear, being tested at the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, one of India's biggest eye-health facilities, may be most useful in areas with little or no traffic, such as quiet residential streets or parks. The challenge, Mr Lawrence says, is to get the algorithm to tell an uncovered manhole from a flight of stairs, but he expects it to be able to do so in due course. Dealing with moving obstacles like cars may take longer, though the pair are working on ways to alert wearers not just about cars' presence, but also their speed.

To ensure that the final product resembles a regular shoe, fashion technologists are being consulted to help with ergonomics and design.

Mr Sharma and Mr Lawrence, who started a company called Ducere Technologies to commercialise their idea, say their high-tech brogues should not cost more than an ordinary, stylish pair. Many of the world's visually impaired will like the sound of that.

 

 

News: ZoomText Releases Windows 8 Support Paid Upgrade

by Ted MC
13-8-2013


AI Squared announces Windows 8 support upgrade.

ZoomText 10.1 for Windows 8 is here, offering:

  • · Full support for the Windows 8
  • · Support for touch screen devices
  • · Support for Microsoft Office 2013
  • · Support for Internet Explorer 10
  • · Faster performance when viewing videos or playing games
  • · Smooth mouse pointers
  • · Additional magnification levels
  • · ...and more!

ZoomText is the first product on the market to fully support the Windows 8 platform, including crystal clear text at all magnification levels. Head on over to the website to learn more about all the new features or download a free 60-day trial to give it a try yourself.

 

Upgrade Today!

Upgrades start at just $79 for Magnifier and $99 for Magnifier/Reader. Check out the upgrade page for complete information. You can also call us at (800) 859-0270 / (802) 362-3612 option #2 or email us with your current serial number to get a quote.

To clarify, ZoomText 10.1 is for WINDOWS 8 ONLY at this time. It's available electronically starting today and will be available as a physical shipped package in a few weeks.

 

Videos

Check out the following videos, showcasing everything that ZoomText 10.1 can offer:

Introduction to ZoomText 10.1 for Windows 8

Watch the Introduction to ZoomText 10.1 for Windows 8 video

Using Touch Screen Gestures in ZoomText

Watch the Using Touch Gestures video

News: Vision Australia Texpo 2013 Services and Vendors lineup

11 July 2013
by Ted MC




Please find below the lineup of Vision Australia services and external vendors for this year's Texpo conference in Cooperoo (Brisbane), Enfield (Sydney), and Kooyong (Melbourne) in late August and early September.  More information as we get closer to the events.

 VA Services:

Note that some service displays will be combined when space is at a premium (particularly at Coorparoo).

  • Adaptive Technology and Training Services
  • Audio Description Services and Audio Described Cinema Lounge.
  • Braille Training Services (Kooyong and Enfield only).
  • Children's Services and Feelix Library.
  • Connecting with Others (Telephone Programs, Recreation Programs, Local Client Groups)
  • Employment Services.
  • Equipment Solutions.
  • Independent Living Services.
  • International and Stakeholder Relations including Policy and Advocacy, Client Consultation
  • Library and Accessible Information Services.
  • Low Vision Clinic services.
  • Quality Living.
  • Recreation Services (Coorparoo and Kooyong only).
  • Seeing Eye Dogs and Orientation and Mobility Services.
  • Vision Australia Radio.
  • Volunteer Services.

External exhibitors:

  • Australian Independence Products
  • Blind Citizens Australia
  • European Eyewear
  • Humanware
  • Lions Visual Independence Foundation
  • Optek Systems
  • Oricom Easy Phones
  • Pacific Vision
  • Quantum RLV
  • Sight Management
  • Visitech Magnifiers
  • Real Thing
  • Glass Brick
  • GS1 Australia
  • Beon Light Corporation
  • HIMS International (Kooyong and Enfield only)
  • NVDA (Coorparoo only)
  • Queensland Braille Writing Association (Coorparoo only)
  • Plextor (Kooyong only)
  • Bionic Vision Australia and Monash Vision Group (Kooyong only)
  • Association of Blind Citizens of NSW (Enfield only – we will be opening up the Atrium in Library building)

IOS App News: Voiceye - A Breakthrough in Document Access



BlindMind Editors note:  A great article not only about the latest innovation in code and code scanning, but also gives a great history of the evolution of this technology and it's origins.


Read full article by following the below link:
http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw140605

 

News: Download books directly from Vision Australia's Talking Book Library to your IOS device!

by Ted MC 20/5/2013
———————————————————————-

Hi folks,

For all those people who have an iPad and want to simplify the process of getting our library books, newspapers and magazines, here is the news for you. It has just become a whole lot easier to do!!!  But please remember that there is no one perfect solution for all our clients. This one will be useful to some users. We encourage you to try it out.

 

The first step is to have the Read2Go app installed on your iPad. You can buy it at the Apple app store: www.read2go.org. If you already have the app please make sure it is the latest version. You will know if it isn't as this process won't work.

 

Then when you login to our catalogue on the ipad - go to http://i-accessonline.visionaustralia.org  and select the “download now” option next to the title you want to download. It will download and give you an option of opening the file with Read2Go. That’s it.

Check out this brief YouTube library staff have just created: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXMvj_rhA-E.  Captions and transcript are available.

 

There are also some great guides on how to use itunes etc at http://www.visionaustralia.org/living-with-low-vision/learning-to-live-independently/using-technology-and-computers/help-yourself!-technology-podcasts-and-resources/enjoying-audiobooks-music-and-podcasts

 

If you need further assistance to access library materials please call the Reader Services team at the library on *1200 (for internal staff use only) or 1800 005 965.

 

Please also note that all VA staff are eligible to join the library and use this service. We know that people who try the service tend to stay with it because of the immediacy of access, ease of use and the extensive range of newspapers.


Download or browse the catalogue:  i-accessonline.visionaustralia.org

 

Follow the library on:

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/VALibrary

Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/VALibrary

Blog http://www.visionaustralia.org/living-with-low-vision/library/about-our-library/library-blog

Our library in 15 seconds: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xjZS6-LUUc

 

www.visionaustralia.org.au

 

Kind regards,

 

Tony Iezzi

National Manager - Information Library Service

Accessible Information Solutions

Vision Australia

454 Glenferrie Road

Kooyong VIC 3144

Blog: MMmm, I hardly taste the poison in the Apple-flavored Kool-Aid! Confessions of a Nokia Fan-Boy...

by Ted MC from BlindMind.net


Well, ok maybe I can taste just a tiny bit of poison....I think they call it iTunes.  But it gets rather lost in the vast amount of useful, and yes accessible, goodness.

I am talking about having taken the plunge and chosen an iPhone 4 to replace my Nokia N97 which was 18 months into its 24 month contract, and the provider was willing to waive the remainder of the contract in order to re-commit me for another 24 months.  I did waver and ponder for quite a while, tossing up the Nokia E7, a Symbian 3 device similar in look and feel to my N97.  Same horizontal slide-out keyboard.  But unfortunately, same thickness and even a bit heavier than the N97, which I always thought of as a brick.

So what in the world would possess me, a long-time Nokia fan-boy, and Apple Resistance League chairman, to suddenly switch teams?  To jump the proverbial fence?  I think we'll stick with the 'jumping the fence' analogy...I don't like the mental image of "team switching" if it's all the same to you all!

Well, for very practical reasons, I think.  Here's a random non-prioritized list of what was going on in my head as I tried to decide which road to take:

1. No less accessible than Nokia S60.

2. Much better touch screen implementation than Nokia.

3. Really like having the horizontal slide-out QWERTY on Nokia...could get an E7?

4. S60 has an end-of-life date of less than two years...is anyone really still making much in the way of apps for them?

5. How much real development is going to go on by Nuance to continue developing Talks & Zooms?  Won't it really just be bug-fixes and new handset-specific fixes from here on out while they ponder their future?  (This question might be less provocative if Nuance would actually say something substantive about its future...)

6. Nokia still has clearly superior hardware as I got to test in realtime pitting my N97 against both an iPhone 4 and an Android OS Galaxy Tab trying to pick up a far away WIFI signal.  The iPhone 4 barely saw it and seemed to waver back and forth...the Galaxy Tab could see it but couldn't really get a connection.  Meanwhile, I was already finished connecting and updating/downloading the 17 or 18 podcasts my phone was subscribed to.  Thanks Nokia!

7. I really like the implementation of oiceOver, but will I miss the power of things like app-specific settings in Talks, or the choice of voices?

8. Will Talks make a comeback if and when Microsoft supposedly will enable accessibility in future releases of its Windows Phone OS?  Have they been honest in past when paying lip service to accessibility in its PC platform, then not really delivering?

9. What's my best available choice for a fully accessible device for the next 2 years of my life?

10. What about all the apps and accessibility software I like to use on my phone?  You mean I can read PDF's on the iPhone?  And the store is accessible?  And things like OCR, which cost about $600 to do on a Nokia cost about $6 on an iPhone????

11. Things like the Audible app are accessible on iPhone?  Ok, I'm getting close here...

12. Local useful apps such as not only booking a taxi with a press of a button, but then seeing how far away it is using the GPS in the taxi is only available on iPhone?  And my local public transport schedule?  And being able to program my cable TV  box right from my phone?  Really?  I can only do those things on an iPhone?  Is it really likely that any of those things, with what we know today about Nokia's future, will still come out for S60?  What's the address of my mobile phone provider retail shop again?

And so the conversation in my head went.  Even more surprisingly, the voice I heard all those things spoken in was "Karen"!  Yes, that was another good thing about jumping the fence....I was already using Karen on my N97.

Please, I hope no one takes any of this as a suggestion for what is right and correct for anyone else.  I think it's great that there are multiple options available.  I have a very good friend who just re-upped with Nokia and got the E7, and he seems both happy and mostly sane, so I have to take his word for it that it is a perfectly acceptable, viable alternative to the pure bliss and joy that is Apple marketing.  <grin>

'Nuff said.




News: Iris, the new digital station from Vision Australia Radio

from Vision Australia News
10 Apr 2011


The launch of Iris, the new digital station from Vision Australia Radio will take place at 11am on Thursday 14th April at Federation Square.

Iris will be launched alongside other new community digital radio services: 3RR, 3CR, 3KND, 3MBS, PBS, 3ZZZ, 89.9 LightFm and SYN. The Melbourne launch of community digital radio will take place in the Atrium at Fed Square, and be hosted by Brian Nankervis with Mayor Robert Doyle launching the stations.

This historic event will feature a short simulcast on all nine new digital services before The Morning Paper Round's Robyn Winslow and Stella Glorie (from TV Today fame) begins the first official digital broadcast, available on Vision Australia Radio (1179am) and via Digital DAB+ Radios on Iris Digital.

Blog: Everyone in pole position for "In The Driver's Seat"

by Ted Mc from BlindMind.net


Burning rubber, squealing tires, the smell of petrol, cheering fans, and general excitement abounded as the Taken through the front windshield over the driver's shoulderannual "In The Driver's Seat" day was held at world-famous Sandown Racecourse last weekend.

Sponsored by the Lion's Club, "In The Driver's Seat" has been going for years, and offers blind and visually impaired persons to drive grunty cars on one of Long shot of Sandown Racecoursethe better known racing tracks we have here in Australia.

I was fortunate enough to be able to participate this year, and drove a 2.4 liter Mitsubishi Lancer for about 8 laps around the track.  The cars are tandem driving instructor cars, with pedals on both sides in the front, and the instructor keeping one hand on the wheel in case anything goes wrong.  At a top speed of about 110km per hour on the straight aways, it was a great day, reminiscent of the days when I did drive as a much younger man.

Ted Mc standing in front of the Mitsubishi Lancer looking satisfied by his performance

Hats off to the great people at the Lions Club for putting on this annual event.  Other highlights of the day were old car clubs, and motorcycle clubs showing off their fancy vehicles and offering rides to people.  Included in this post are several of the pictures my Ted looking over his shoulder when probably should have been looking at the road!wife took from the back seat, and I'll post a video soon when I take it off the phone it was recorded on.



News: Media Access Australia launches new accessible website

press release by Media Access Australia


Media Access Australia launches new accessible website

Australia’s only independent not-for-profit media access organisation, Media Access Australia, has launched its new accessible website, merging their sites mediaaccess.org.au and audiodescription.com.au. The site, designed by Doppio Design and built by OPC IT, showcases innovative design and the latest web technologies while meeting international standards for web accessibility.

The website is a key source of news on media access developments and practical information and resources on access to media, particularly for people who are blind, vision impaired, Deaf and hearing impaired. The site focuses on access to television, DVDs, digital technology, online media, cinema and the arts and access in the classroom.

CEO of Media Access Australia, Alex Varley said, “Media Access Australia’s core business is about accessibility. We are out there talking to the community, to business and government about the need for accessible websites and our new site shows it can be achieved. Many people won’t see the accessibility features and that is the point. They are there for the people that need them and you don’t need to put a big label highlighting an accessibility feature, it is part and parcel of standard website design which includes everybody.”

Accessibility has been at the forefront of the new website’s design, development and testing. The site has been built to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level ‘AA’ using Drupal content management system. In addition to its development by experienced developers of accessible websites, the site has undergone automatic as well as real world testing for accessibility.

Media Access Australia’s New Media Manager, Sarah Pulis said, “We didn't compromise any of the website's functionality to meet the ‘AA’ guidelines. A common myth is that an accessible website must be a boring website, a myth that desperately needs debunking. For instance, we wanted a rotating feature on our homepage. We worked with both our designers and developers to ensure the feature met WCAG 2.0 ‘AA’ guidelines and also tested it with users.”

Our brand research showed confusion over the ‘New media’ section. You will now find this content and much more in two new sections, ‘Digital technology’ and ‘Online media’. Digital technology contains information on accessible mainstream devices and technologies that make your computer accessible, for example, software and assistive technology devices.

The Online Media section focuses on the internet itself. Here you’ll find information on website accessibility and accessible media on the web, such as audio and video material (e.g. captioned videos on YouTube and movies on iTunes) and social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter).

Sign up to our new customisable news alert system for daily, weekly or monthly news alerts. You can choose which type of news items you would like to receive, whether relating to television, DVD, education, cinema and the arts, digital technology, online media or research and policy, or a combination of these. You can also choose whether you want to receive information relating to the blind and vision impaired or the Deaf and hearing impaired.

If you have any difficulty using the site, or would like to provide us with feedback please phone us on 02 9212 6242 or send us an email.

-ENDS-

For more information about Media Access Australia’s new website, please contact:

Katie Couani

Marketing Communications Coordinator

Media Access Australia

Email: Katie.couani@mediaaccess.org.au

Ph: 02 9212 6242

JB Wired Video Magnifier continues to be huge seller at Vision Australia Equipment Solutions shop

by Ted Mc from BlindMind.net


Everyone knows video magnifiers are great.  We also know they're expensive, bordering on unaffordable to many, especially the elderly or pension-based.

About 6 months ago, Vision Ausstralia decided to take matters into their own hands to offer an affordable alternative, suitable for lower magnification requirements, or for people who just want to read short items, as opposed to reading a book.

Hence, the JB Wired Video Magnifier was born.  Looking somewhat similar to the Max Mouse video magnifier from Enhanced Vision, the JB Wired looks like an oversized computer mouse with a camera and light underneath, and a cord with an AV plug on the end which plugs into any TV, as well as an AC power adapter.

Offering magnification from 2X up to 20X, it also supports several different colour schemes such as white on black, normal colour, yellow on blue, etc., and also has a freeze frame button to 'lock' the current image on the screen even if the magnifier is then moved.  The same button is pressed again to go back to live video.

It plugs into any Tv with an AV input, and will soon also have a USB adapter available for it to be used with any computer as well.

And unlike the Enhanced Vision Max Mouse product, which has a cost similar to portable handheld video magnifier at nearly $600, the JB Wired sells for only $115. 

You probably wouldn't read a book with it, but for reading small things like a letter, a bill, a prescription bottle, it works a treat, and is also quite portable.

The next version, due out in the next few months, is romooured to be a wireless version, which will hae a small base station that plugs into the TV, but then no cords or wires connecting it to the camera device.

Vision Australia are also having them make a portable handheld version similar to the Pebble or Ruby, which will retail for around $200 - $250, a big savings against other portables, the cheapest of which is $650.


See the JB Wired Video Magnifier in the VA Shop


BlindMind.net returns to Vision Australia Radio to review some audiobook thrillers

on Vision Australia Radio's "Hear This!" program


Ted from BlindMind.net returns for another segment on Vision Australia Radio's "Hear This!" weekly program, discussing more recent audiobooks with Frances Keyland from VA's Talking Library Service.


Click the link below to hear the Podcast


  • Hear This, Season 3, Episode 3, 28 Jan 2011 (MP3, 10MB)
  •  




     

    Podcast: BlindMind on Vision Australia Radio

    from Vision Australia Radio


    Ted from BlindMind.net was interviewed on Vision Australia Radio's weekley library show in regards to the interviewing of some big name authors, and also talking books in general.

    Follow the link below to hear the show!


    Click the link below to hear the Podcast


  • Hear This, Season 2, Episode 50, 17 Dec 2010 (MP3, 10MB)

     


     

  • News: Blind Sports Victoria gala dinner and auction

    from Vision Australia News, 22 Mar 2011


    Blind Sports Victoria (BSV) are hosting a Gala Dinner Auction on April 16 at the RACV Club, Melbourne.

    BSV was established in 1977 and is a statewide body providing sporting and recreational opportunities to over 1000 blind and vision impaired people.

    All funds raised at this function will directly support BSV, especially vision impaired tennis and vision impaired swimming.

    In Australia, for people who are totally blind, tennis was only a dream not a reality. Just recently BSV has been conducting a modified game of tennis at the Melbourne Park Tennis Centre and whilst it is still in its early stages we need to meet the cost of hiring the indoor tennis courts, purchasing adaptive equipment, tennis balls, mini nets and tennis racquets. This is a unique program in Australia.

    The aim of the swimming program is to give young blind and vision impaired people an opportunity to learn how to swim in an inclusive and supportive environment.

    We have many wonderful items to be auctioned on the night in both the live and silent auctions including...

    • 2 Tickets to the Men's Final of the 2012 Australia Open
    • Colours' of unbeaten champion racehorse 'Caviar' signed by jockey Luke Nolen and owner Peter Moody
    • 'Sunday at The Stables'- see the equine stars of the Gai Waterhouse Stables and meet with Gai Waterhouse. This is truly an experience money cannot buy as a visit to Gai's Stables are not open to the public.
    • 7 nights accommodation in your choice of Australia or New Zealand at a Timeshare Resort
    • Accommodation packages at 'Four Points by Sheraton, Geelong' and 'Blue Willows Bed and Breakfast'
    • Tug Boat ride for two in the Port of Melbourne
    • Entertainment packs eg. Eureka Skydeck family pass; Luna Park family pass
    • Many, many great hampers
    • Electronic items including printer, scanner, laminator etc.

    Please contact Susan Marshall on 9822 8876 or Maurice Gleeson on 0407 365 962 if you require any further information.

    News: Trials set to start soon for accessible set top boxes in Australia

    by BlindMind.net, 25 Mar 2011


    Accessible set top boxes are coming to Australia in the coming months.  Two manufacturer's hardware devices are currently being tested, with public trials set to begin in April.
                                                
    The set top boxes have in-built TTS with adjustable speed and speaking volume, and allow access to all the set top box's features.

    In Australia, anyone with a Centrelink card will have a box provided to them by the government at no charge when they are released, which should hopefully be around June or July of this year.

    Podcast: Interview - Author Lee Child talks about everything in this extended 55-min interview!

    Lee Child shows why he's the classiest author in the business!<< MORE >>

    Podcast: Interview - Michael Connelly turns the tables on Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller in "The Reversal"

    For this Podcast, we're joined by International Best-Selling Author Michael Connelly!<< MORE >>

    Podcast: Vision Australia TEXPO 2010 Show Notes with links and phone numbers

    Please find below a complete list of the vendors who attended this year's TEXPO in Melbourne at Vision Australia's Kooyong (Melbourne) office. Where possible, web addresses and phone numbers have been provided. Texpo and Open Day 2010 Exhibitor information<< MORE >>

    Podcast: Interview with award winning audiobook narrator Dick Hill

    What a treat it was to interview The Golden Voice himself, and one of the most recognizable audiobook narrators in the world, Mr. Dick Hill. In a career that went from live theater to audiobook narrator, Dick Hill is in high demand as the voice of Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels, Arthur C Clarke's "2001", the early Michael Connelly "Harry Bosch" books, and even the voice of God in the 89-hr New American Standard Bible audiobook.<< MORE >>

    Podcast: Vision Australia TEXPO 2010 coverage from Melbourne

    The Vision Australia Texpo 2010 took place at Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney this past week, and BlindMind.net was there to provide some coverage of the vendors, the booths, and the goodies! This 48-Min Podcast features interviews with the event's organiser Louisa Ferronato, Optek Systems demonstrating the Poet BE, and Kris from Simply Listen and Play. We finish off the event with an in-depth interview and demonstration of Victoria's accessible voting systems which will be in widespread use for the first time in our state elections this coming November. A full list of vendors and their respective web addresses will be posted tomorrow.<< MORE >>

    News: AI Squared releases ZoomText 9.18.9 minor update, adds support for Office 2010

    AI Squared today released a minor update to ZoomText bringing it to version 9.18.9. It includes support for Office 2010, and Windows Live Mail, as well as several bug fixes.<< MORE >>

    Blog: 21 Signs You've Been Spoiled Rotten by Technology

    Do you complain loudly if the Wi-Fi on the airplane fizzles out? Gripe if a YouTube stream falters? Own an HDTV bigger than your couch? If so, you might be spoiled by technology. Read on for more warning signs.<< MORE >>

    Review: High Capacity 1900mah battery for Nokia N97 -- buyer beware!

    One of the most important things for blind and visually impaired persons in terms of mobile phones and the selection thereof is battery life. Because we use magnification and/or screen readers, a battery that lasts a fully sighted person 2 days may only last us one. Therefore, this is always one of the first things one should consider about a potential new mobile phone before buying it. Does it have a sufficient battery? If not, are there 3rd party batteries available to improve the situation? Is there another phone with a larger battery that does the same things I like about this phone? And so on.<< MORE >>

    Blog: Audible releases app for Android mobile phones -- but what does this mean for accessibility?

    News
    by Ted Mc from BlindMind.net, 1 Sept 2010


    Audible today released a client application for Android mobile phones that allows the user to directly download purchased titles from its library straight to their mobile device.

    That's the good news.

    The bad news of course, is that the Android operating system is largely inaccessible, supporting neither web browsing, nor third party applications.  To me, this seems like advocacy just asking to be done. 

    Google, while trying to implement some level of accessibility, seems to be largely ignoring the blind and visually impaired community overall.  They seem not to be consulting groups offering their assistance, nor really open to the idea of approach by groups interested in the furthering of Google's attempts at making their products accessible.  I think there would be great value in a person taking the time to write directly to Google to lay out their case, but this new offering by Audible presents a new opportunity.  Audible isn't a small company, and no doubt has more influence than an individual person does.  The blind and visually impaired community no doubt makes up a more significant percentage of Audible's business than we do Google's Android operating system.

    So why not enlist Audible to assist in advocating on our behalf?  Again, this shouldn't replace advocacy directly to Google, but it's a strategy that shouldn't be ignored.

    While you're at it, let Audible know that oftentimes their communication to customers is likewise not accessible.  The announcement of the new Android app came in an email that consisted of a huge image scanned from marketing material, with almost no plain text in it, and did not have 'alternate text' specified for the image, so of course was totally useless to anyone using a screen reader.

    I believe Audible likes our money, and wishes to continue getting it from us.  I think that anyone paying them $10 - $15 a month or more has the right to be communicated with in a manner that can be understood by said customer, and that, if they want to continue getting that $15 a month or more from me, then it would be in their financial itnerest to nudge Google in the right direction while they're at it.

    If you'd like to speak your mind to Audible, their number is: 
    (+1) 973-820-0400.  You can also contact them by their Website
    and going through the Support section and filling out the email form.

    For more information on the Audible Android client, CLICK HERE

    News: Nokia and Open Screen Project want to pay you for your app ideas

    News
    by Ted Mc, from BlindMind.net 31 Aug 2010


    Nokia and Adobe, among others through the Open Screen Project Fund want to give you money to develop the next great best-selling mobile or PC application.

    The goal of the project is to improve compatibility across platforms, and in doing so, also make the updating of plugins used in the development of such applications, such as Flash and Air more widespread and automatic.

    You don't have to be a developer to apply, but be prepared to detail all aspects of your app invention, and then coordinate the fund money to get it done!  $10 million has been set aside to fund projects, so don't wait too long. 

    For more information, go to http://www.openscreenproject.org/developers


    News: Android Captures Smartphone Sales Lead

    Android was the top operating system in smartphone sales in the U.S. in the second quarter, with BlackBerry maker Research in Motion finishing second and Apple's iOS in third, a Gartner analyst said last week.<< MORE >>

    Podcast: Thunderbird tutorial (Blind Cool Tech)

    Raul Gallegas recorded this Podcast for Blind Cool Tech demonstrating the Thunderbird email client. Note, Podcast is 35mb in size. Download the Podcast below. << MORE >>

    News: Nokia 5800 Firmware Update v51.0.006 Now Available

    Nokia is hardly grabbing headlines anymore, and when they do it's not related to any hot smartphone anymore. Their first Symbian^3iPhone and Android device rule the earth with Windows Phone 7 handsets rising soon to fight in this mobile battle also. handset is late and, in the mean time, the << MORE >>

    News: SMS trojan steals from Android users

    "A Trojan posing as a media playerfor Android smartphones automatically sends text messages to premiumrate numbers, according to Kaspersky Lab. Company officials say theTrojan, dubbed Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a, is the first of itskind for the Android platform, even though SMS Trojans are currently themost widespread type of malware on mobile phones."<< MORE >>

    News: Sam's Club to add Wi-Fi for shoppers

    News
    from ComputerWorld



    Sam's Club will start offering WiFi services in stores, providing internet TV and browsing capabilities to its shoppers.  The service will be used to show price comparisons, and will be available in 500 stores in the U.S. by November.

    ..Read full story..

    News: "Stay" Remembers Just How You Like Your (Mac) Windows

    News
    from PC World




    Australia-based developer Cordless Dog released Stay, its first Mac application, earlier this week. Stay keeps windows on your Mac exactly where you want them.

    Stay lives in your menu bar. When you position and resize your windows just the way you want them, you use the menulet to save their locations—whether for all open windows, or just the windows from a specific application. Then, if you need to move things around, you can always restore your windows to their last-saved position.


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