Everything You Need to Know About Using the Mac

March 25th, 2015

In this Tech Doctor podcast, Robert and Allison talk with Janet Ingber the author of
Everything You Need to Know to Use the Mac with Yosemite and VoiceOver
The book is available from National Braille Press.

While some of the information in this book was carried forward from Janet’s first book about learning the Mac, she specifically focuses on everything that is new in the latest Mac OS called Yosemite. There is enough new in Yosemite to justify purchasing this new book even if you have read the first one.

This book is ideal for anyone who wants to gain a clear understanding of what using the Mac with VoiceOver is all about. The book is appropriate for anyone who is considering a Mac as well as the already up and running Mac user who wants to learn the important details about working with Apple Mail, Safari, Text Edit, the Finder, the Notification Center and much more.

Robert and Allison agree that this is a very important book because anyone who follows Janet’s step-by-step instructions can successfully get up and running on the Mac with VoiceOver. It is exciting to finally have clear and thorough documentation on using VoiceOver with Yosemite.


Spring Forward With Apple

March 19th, 2015

Robert and Allison spend this podcast exploring the major announcements made by Apple at its March 9th, 2015 “Spring Forward” event.

The major announcements included a reduction in price of Apple TV and a new HBO Now package.

There was a new MacBook with a 12 inch retina display new keyboard and trackpad. It weighs two pounds and has excellent battery life. The MacBook has only one USB C port and a headphone jack.

Pricing and availability of the Apple Watch was announced as well.

Allison and Robert can’t wait to try these new products. They encourage everyone to go to the
Apple Events Page
and watch the event for yourself. Robert and Allison thought the event was fabulous.


Access For All With Shelly Brisbin

February 23rd, 2015

Robert and Allison spend this podcast talking with Shelly Brisbin. Shelly is the author of iOS Access for All: Your Comprehensive Guide to Accessibility for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch (iOS 8 Edition.

When Shelly uses the words access for all and comprehensive guide she means them. Chapters 3 and 4 cover access for people who are dealing with blindness and low vision. Chapter 5 deals with Siri and voice control. Chapter 6 is all about access for people who have a hearing impairment. Chapter 7 covers physical and learning access including an excellent explanation of switch controls. There are chapters which discuss accessible apps and the appendices list VoiceOver gestures, VoiceOver keyboard commands and VoiceOver Braille commands.

Allison and Robert share the opinion that this book is a must read for anyone who has an interest in really understanding Apple accessibility. The book is available in EPUB and PDF formats. We recommend EPUB. One can purchase the book directly from
Shelly’s Website
or from the
Apple iBook Store.

Thanks Shelly.


Audio Hijack 3: The Developer’s Perspective

February 17th, 2015

In this Tech Doctor episode, Allison and Robert spend time discussing Rogue Amoeba’s
Audio Hijack 3
Mac application with Grant Farr the Rogue Amoeba developer responsible for the Audio Hijack user interface including the excellent VoiceOver support.

Audio Hijack 3 is a major redesign of this extremely popular audio capturing application. At first glance, one would suspect that the highly visual custom audio grid would be unusable by a blind person. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Grant Farr talks us through the interface and explains how he made it work with VoiceOver.

The effort and creativity that has gone into making Audio Hijack 3 fully accessible to the VoiceOver user is most appreciated. It is clear that Grant and Rogue Amoeba have made VoiceOver accessibility an integral part of the design and development of Audio Hijack 3. For those of us who use VoiceOver, it doesn’t get any better than this.


Apple Accessibility More Vibrant Than Ever

February 4th, 2015

Robert And Allison spend this hour podcasting with David Woodbridge, Senior Adaptive Technology Specialist at
Vision Australia.

Most of us know David from his excellent
where he provides concise but thorough demonstrations of how to use our Apple products with VoiceOver.

In this podcast, however, we learn that accessible Apple devices have become an integral part of David’s family life. He uses apps like Find My Friends and Find My iPhone to keep track of family and to locate those lost Apple devices that have hidden under the bed.

David uses the accessible parental controls to ensure that his children are accessing appropriate entertainment. Apple’s new Family Sharing system enable David to share apps and entertainment with all family members.

Finally, the fact that Apple operating systems can be independently installed and updated by a blind person means that David can provide his family with excellent tech support.

While Apple software does have bugs (as does all software) David prefers to report the bugs, find workarounds and he continues to enjoy the power and flexibility of accessible Apple hardware and software everyday.

Apple accessibility continues to change the lives of blind people throughout the world. Isn’t that really what Apple accessibility is all about?


Mac For The Blind Apple Certified

January 24th, 2015

In this Tech Doctor episode, Allison and Robert have the good fortune of spending the hour with John Panarese the owner of an excellent resource called
Mac For The Blind.
This website is filled with up-to-date information to assist blind people in learning to get the most from their Apple devices.

In addition to the website, John offers training and consultation to individuals and agencies who seek assistance with Apple products.

John is a certified Apple Support Professional. He describes the process of becoming Apple certified, telling us what it means and how to go about it. Getting certified by Apple is a rigorous process. We applaud John for completing this certification.

Robert and Allison are pleased to provide you with this information about Mac For The Blind. We encourage you to contact John for training and/or consultation. Thanks, John, we appreciate all that you are doing for Apple Accessibility.


Burning Questions: The Tech Doctor Perspective

December 9th, 2014

In this podcast, Robert and Allison explore some interesting questions regarding recent software and hardware releases from

Both iOS 8.0 and Yosemite OS 10.10 required software updates to fix numerous bugs. While buggy software is frustrating, is Apple slipping in this area? It seems that every major operating system developer has to release bug fixes after a major dot zero release. Apple, however, prides itself on providing the best possible customer experience. Do they need to slow down and not try to do a major upgrade of both operating systems every year? Does Apple try to innovate too much in each release? If they did not, would their competition get ahead? Does Apple need to hire more software engineers to smooth out the development process? Is there any way to get the bugs out of complex operating systems before release? Are we as Apple consumers expecting too much from each new release?

On the hardware side, why are many of us still waiting to get the iPhone 6 Plus which is in very short supply? What does this mean for the next iPhone? Is the demand simply so high that making enough in time for launch is impossible?

After exploring some of these issues, Allison and Robert move into a discussion of the Victor Reader Stream from
While Robert and Allison are very satisfied that they can do everything on their iOS devices that the Stream can do, is the Stream’s excellent user interface enough to warrant its purchase to operate alongside the Apple devices?

Robert and Allison are interested in your input on these difficult issues. Feel free to
the Tech Doctor podcast with your ideas.


Allison and Her iPhone 6 Plus

November 10th, 2014

In this Tech Doctor podcast, Allison and Robert briefly discuss the new Apple hardware and software that was announced at two major Apple events in the fall of 2014.

They quickly move to the heart of the podcast, however, which is a discussion of Allison’s brand new iPhone 6 Plus.

When you listen to the podcast, you just might hear some excitement.


People Helping People

September 29th, 2014

In this podcast, Robert and Allison Speak with Akash Khanolkar. Akash is a junior Information Systems major at Carnegie Mellon University. He is developing an iPhone app called CrowdViz which will allow people who are blind to connect with sighted volunteers for assistance. The app connects people using Apple’s streaming video service called FaceTime.

Akash describes his vision of how the service will work. We discuss several use cases for such a service.

For more information, and to provide Akash with feedback, take a look at the

We invite you to
us with your comments and questions as well.

We are excited about the possibilities for this innovative project and wish Akash and his partners all the best.


Follow the Dream

September 23rd, 2014

In this Tech Doctor episode, Allison and Robert speak with Chelsea Cook. Chelsea is a senior Physics major with minors in Astronomy and Mathematics at Virginia Tech University. Since elementary school, Chelsea has dreamed of becoming an astronaut. Chelsea’s passion for space exploration and her love of astronomy have in no way been dampened by her blindness.

In the podcast, Chelsea explains some of the challenges and creative solutions that have emerged as she pursues her scientific education. She describes how the accessible iOS touch-screen has helped her understand spatial relationships and how VoiceOver accessibility on the Mac has enabled her to more efficiently work with spreadsheet data.

To learn more about how Chelsea does her work, check out this
Virginia Tech TEDX Video presentation
that Chelsea recorded in November of 2013. You can learn more about Chelsea and her work by reading
This Article
which Chelsea published in the January 2013 NFB Monitor. While participating in an internship at Space Telescope, Chelsea developed some images which were recently published in
This iBook.

Robert and Allison are confident that Chelsea has a bright future ahead. After listening to this podcast, you will certainly agree.

Thanks Chelsea, and keep us posted.